First birthday

First birthday

Friday, November 14, 2014

Date Nights!

Eric has been on an elective month for the last few weeks. It's been really really really nice.

I don't think the general public understands how rare it is for resident families to get to see each other for more than a couple of hours a time. Or to get to have lunch together (or sometimes dinner for that matter). Or to go places in the same car. I kind of forget that normal people do those things.

Well, this month has spoiled us for sure. Since he basically gets to choose what he does, Eric's been mixing it up by:
1) Following a private practice nephrologist (kidney doctor) around and talking with him about what life is like post-residency. (News flash: it's sweeeeeet!). 
2) Working on a research paper with one of the medical students and attendings.
3) Working in his own clinic a few days a week (the free clinic downtown - all the medicine residents have to put in a few days a month). 
4) Going to various academic lectures etc. and getting free lunches while he's there. Nice.

That seems like a lot, but it's translated to a lot of not going into work until 9 (like normal people I guess??) and being home by 4/5/6 at the latest. And only having to work 1 weekend out of 4. (Once again, this may not seem that great, but after a month in the ICU with 90-100 hour weeks, it's gold.)

So we've been taking advantage and have basically gone on 4 dates in the last week. That's right, 4. It's not that fiscally responsible, but I don't even care right now. :-) 

1. I found a groupon for a local driving range/putt putt place. We've been wanting to work on our (non-existent) golfing skills, so we got a babysitter and took off for a couple of hours last Saturday afternoon. As expected, Eric's not too shabby. I'm terrible. Like miss-the-ball-40% of the time-terrible. But it was fun. :-) 

I'm terrible about taking pictures of the two of us, so this is all we have!

2. One of the perks of being a resident is that the department puts on dinners twice a week from November through January for incoming interviewees to meet with current residents/ask questions etc. They're usually at fairly swanky places and they need at least a few spouses to tag along too. So Monday night we left Samuel with a friend and took off downtown to a fancy restaurant we would probably never actually spend the money to go to, all expenses paid. Granted, we had to chit chat with people we didn't know all night. But we got to dress up and act all swanky and I had the best chicken I've had in forever, so I can't really complain. It was definitely date-esque. And hopefully we'll get to do this two or three more times in the next couple of months. :-D

3. This is probably the least romantic thing ever, but Samuel had preschool yesterday so Eric took the morning off and we went to the dentist for the first time in forever and got our teeth cleaned. Then, since we'd already arranged for Samuel to stay late in case our appointments ran long, we went and enjoyed a nice leisurely lunch at Panera. Just us, eating soup and sandwiches on a cold day, cuddling in a corner booth. Perfection (the soup and cuddling, not the dentist part). 

4. Our YMCA offers a Parents Night Out a couple of times a month on the cheap (like, less than half as much as a babysitter). Since Samuel LOVES the Y, we arranged a few weeks ago for him to try it out tonight. He had a blast, and we got 4 hours of us time, which we spent running a few errands, trying a new restaurant, doing some Christmas shopping (aka playing with the toys at Target) and filling our Operation Christmas Child shoebox, and then heading back to Panera for yummy hot chocolates with caramel sauce. In the big mugs, because we weren't in a hurry to get away, <3 nbsp="">

Seriously, these things are soooo good!

Anyway, needless to say, it's been amazing. It's back to reality and long workdays/weeks/random night shifts etc. on Thursday. But this month - it's been just lovely. <3 comment-3--="" nbsp="">

Thursday, November 6, 2014

The Work/Home Dichotomy and Why Being a Woman Kind of Sucks.

Let me preface this by saying that I love my life now. I love staying at home with Samuel and being there for all of his crazy antics and teaching him things and hugging and kissing him when he falls down and all those good things.
I love keeping an extra little baby.
I love that I have time to work out and (sometimes) clean my house and catch up with friends and fold laundry and maybe catch a House Hunters during nap time.
Seriously, I'm one lucky lucky chica. Really, I am.

Unfortunately, there's the other part of me. The part of me that skipped 4th grade and became a national merit scholar and graduated valedictorian with a bajillion and one scholarship offers. The part of me that worked really hard and graduated summa cum laude and got named student of the year by two different departments.

Then there was the part of me that moved 1000 miles away and had a terrible time networking. There's the idealist part of me that turned down perfectly wonderful jobs that would have made us really good money because I wanted to do something that made a difference in the lives of others. The part of me that, instead, worked in a thankless job that was way below my skill level for 2 1/2 years while my husband was in medical school (though I did occasionally feel like I got to make a contribution to society, which was the whole purpose of taking that job in the first place) because I knew eventually I would get to go back to school and really figure things out.

And I knew this entire time I wanted to have children, though I never really worked that into the puzzle when I was planning my life out as a newlywed. I didn't know I wanted to stay at home, but I'm glad that I am.

But at least once a month I start to wonder... what about when I'm done? Babies don't stay babies forever.

I still want to go back to school. I still want to have a career. I want to believe that that intelligent, driven woman is still lurking back there somewhere. That she's still capable of learning and applying complicated concepts and giving new insights into problems that really affect people.

But sometimes I get scared. What if mommying fries my brain? I mean, I make sure I read a lot and try to stay semi-up-to-date on things and I have been working really hard to find some creative outlets etc. It's not like I'm not doing anything.

Still, it's not the same as being in the scholastic/work world. What if, at 35, I finally decide to go back and find that I just don't have it anymore? What if I can't cut it? What if - because, hey! my child(ren) might go to school, but they'll still be around! - I don't want to cut it because I still don't want/need to sacrifice that time that I could/should be giving to my family? I definitely know myself well enough to know that I will want to go ALL IN. What if I just can't do that and balance a family?

I know lots of women work and have kids. It's not a bad thing. But at this point in my life, with a husband who often works 80+ hours a week, I have a hard time seeing beyond that.

Maybe I won't ever go back. I mean, ultimately, that's okay. As long as I'm doing what I feel God has called me to do - and right now, I am - then I can just take it one step at a time. But if I'm not supposed to do more, why do I still have this desire to?

Sure, I feel sad sometimes when I hang out with some of our female doctor friends. I know that was a path I could have gone down and chose not to. I also know that they will eventually face the same dilemma I'm in only from a much different perspective. How many female doctors have I known/heard of who quit entirely to stay at home? It happens pretty often.

I guess ultimately I should be grateful that things have worked out like they have. I didn't take a prestigious job that would be difficult to quit and I put off school because Eric was already accruing enough student loans for both of us. I went ahead and had a baby at 25 and now, instead of having a lucrative career that I had to put on hold to stay at home with my children, I can do it without any qualms about what else I should be doing.

It's really the best thing, and I'm grateful for the way things have gone. I still often wonder what will be, though.

Once again, don't get me wrong. I love my life now. But these two lives I really want - they're two that I don't know can ever really coexist. Maybe when I'm 60.

Anyway, there are  the rambling thoughts of an overly tired mother who should have gone to bed an hour ago. Congratulations if you made it this far. ;-)

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

21 Months

Oh my, my baby is getting way too close to 2!! He's definitely acting like it too.

At 21 Samuel is... a mess. A funny, loving, wild, spirited mess that we love more than life itself.

In an average day, He...
Changes his mind about things approximately 350 times. He cries about at least half of these.
Changes clothes twice, though sometimes as often as 4 times (no, literally, I mean he is a MESS. It's one of his favorite words)!
Gets some form of time out/toy time out/picking up food we've thrown on the floor about 15 times.
Hugs and kisses us and rolls on the floor laughing at least once an hour.
Hurts himself at least three times.
And runs and runs and pretty much never stop running unless Thomas the Tank Engine is on (or we are eating or sleeping).

This month has been definitely been one of our most challenging. Thankfully, Samuel's words have improved drastically. We still have a lot of communication struggles, but lots of people have commented to me how impressed they are with what they can understand from him. That's reassuring.

I'm pretty certain he still doesn't understand what "hit" "kick" "throw" and "time out" mean though. And I say "Samuel, stop screaming and use your words please!" about 28 times a day. That's enough to make me want to pull my hair out!!

(Please don't get me wrong, though, I would not trade this for anything in the world)!

Here's a few other stats about my sweet boy:

Play/Toys: Samuel learned how to jump - for real this time - soon after he turned 20 months. It's definitely one of his favorite hobbies right now. He now knows where the park is and gets REALLY mad when we go by and don't stop. He loves it (as he should - we're there almost every day)! He learned how to climb in and out of the bathtub last week, too, so now he plays in there just for fun too. He also loves making animal sounds, singing (we finally figured out the song he was begging us to sing for weeks was "Wee Willy Winky" - it's now in our nightly rotation), playing with his new Thomas the Tank Engine toy (he sleeps with it sometimes), and his John Deere tractor. He's still a huge fan of bubbles. And dirt. He's also really into his cars/track and has been known to play with them in his room for 15-20 minutes at a time, which I find pretty impressive! He also loooooves brushing his teeth and playing with the sink. Fun.

Eating: Anything with cheese, apples, raisins, crackers, green smoothies, and "cookies" -  aka any type of healthy-ish baked item I make. ;-) I still try to give him some of whatever we're having, but he usually just throws it on the floor unless it's chicken.

Sleeping: He's been a great little sleeper this month! We had a few rough nights due to teething - poor baby boy has an extra tooth that will probably have to be removed - we are going to the dentist next week. Other than that and a few rough nap times, though, he's been a champion sleeper. I hope that keeps up when DST ends!

TV: So. Much. Thomas! Curious George gets in there some, and Super Why. Veggie Tales has been a favorite a few days too. We tried Mickey Mouse and he was NOT impressed. I definitely allow/encourage the TV watching more than I should probably, but, seriously, this kid does not sit still. Maybe one week next month we'll go TVless. We'll see.

Words: Samuel says a ton, but one of the funniest things he's doing right now is saying, "Oh my! Oh no!" to pretty much every little catastrophe. I.e. if the baby I watch sometimes starts to cry a little - "Oh my! Oh no! Josh! Oh no!" It's really cute.
He also likes to count, but only to two... "one.... two.... uh... one... two..."
I hear him in his room a lot saying, "Night night teddy! Teddy teddy" ::kissing noise::" He loves his teddy.
He likes to say "bye bye" to his "wee wee" when I put his diaper on. Oh my.
He's obsessed with the word "happy" this week. We listen to the song by Pharell sometimes and I think he's trying to sing it. It just sounds like he's saying it over and over again though.
He likes to "cheese" sometimes -- like on the playground the other day (pictured below), he climbed up a ladder, looked at me, and said, "Mommy! Cheese!" Silly goose.

He's really into the color "blue." I don't know that he actually distinguishes it from other colors, but he likes it. A LOT.
He also knows the difference between "Stop" and "Go" - Not sure where that came from!
His "backpack" is also a favorite subject of conversation.
And, since he's going to be a dinosaur for Halloween, he likes to remind me that dinosaurs say, "ROAR!"

There are lots more things, I'm sure. but it's almost midnight, so I should turn in. Month 21 has been crazy and hard and exciting and fun. I can't wait to see what this little guy learns in Month 22!

My Epiphany

So I had a bit of an epiphany at Bible study this morning.

Our session this week was about our ministry/spiritual gifts and how we can best glorify God using who we are/what He gave us. Like pretty much every believer who has spent any amount of time in church, I've heard this for basically my whole life. You were given gifts and talents and you need to to use them in the right way.

So one of the things that I've always been good at, one of my natural, God-given talents, is singing. There are plenty of people better than me to be sure, but I can carry a tune and have been pretty successful in choir/voice/performance competitions throughout the years. So, of course, I started singing in church at a young age and went on to lead worship in college and be involved with our worship team here.

The thing is, I've never liked getting in front of people to sing. Even long before my anxiety issues surfaced, I felt more than just a little nervous in front of crowds. I've never felt particularly worshipful in those leadership situations, and, frankly, I've most often taken on those roles because I felt I should. It was my gift and I was supposed to use it, right? And I have always just assumed that the problem was probably with me not walking closely enough with God and that I would eventually grow out of the discomfort as I grew in Him.

But today we discussed how to know what our ministry is/should be. In Beth Moore's "Children of the Day" study of 1 Thessalonians, she points out that "What do you look like when you love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength?... What is your passion? What are you bursting to do when your heart is flooded with divine affection? That's very likely the stream of your calling....You're supposed to look like the version of you that loves Jesus with every particle. That's the real you."

And I realized - When I'm walking closest with God, I may want to sing and sing loud - but I don't think any part of me has ever wanted to get up in front of people and lead them in singing with me. Ever.

And maybe that's okay.

When I'm overflowing with love, I want to talk to people one on one, to get to know them, to connect. I want to serve others, to make them feel apart, to make meals or clean bathrooms or serve food to the homeless.

That's who I am, who I'm supposed to be.

I've spent my whole life trying to fit this mold because that's what I was obviously supposed to do. I've felt SO guilty the last several months because I really should be singing with the worship team, but with Eric's schedule and my sinus issues and anxiety, I haven't been able to. Something about it never felt quite right anyway, like I was always trying to force it. I guess that's because I was.

So I'm giving myself freedom - Freedom to not be tied to leading worship anymore. To not feel obligated to use that gift in the way everyone else thinks I should. To further embrace things I truly feel passionate about and to worship without guilt of what I "should" be doing. I love to sing, and plan to continue to do so. It will not go unused, but can only be enhanced because I can finally freely worship without self-condemnation.

Maybe I will lead again one day, I don't know. Maybe that's something God has for me down the line. For now, though, I'm embracing the liberty to worship freely and to pursue ministries where I feel like I can truly bloom. And I'm looking forward to seeing what that looks like.

"We always pray for you that our God... will, by His power, fulfill every desire for goodness and the work of faith." - 2 Thess. 1:11

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Haircut #2

So I am not a big fan of haircuts. Well, actually I'm not a big fan of paying for haircuts. Haircuts themselves are great, but how much money do people spend each year just on getting a little bit of hair trimmed off? And we aren't even going to talk about how much money highlights/coloring/keratin treatments and things cost. Maybe it's just because I'm cheap (because I seriously seriously am), but haircuts are one place where I've had no qualms about cutting expenses the last few years.

I bought some clippers for $40 the year we got married and have been cutting Eric's hair myself ever since. I generally keep my hair long so I can get away with getting it cut 2-4 times a year... One of our med school friends used to cut it for me for cheap, so we've spent a grand total of about $60/year on our family's hair the last few years. My friend's family recently moved for residency, unfortunately, so I had to go somewhere new last week and pay a whopping $40+ for a trip. I will admit, though, my hair feels soooo much better.

Since I was already shelling out the big bucks for my hair, I figured I might as well go ahead and get Samuel's hair cut too. We took him to a cute kids salon called Snip-Its for his first cut back in March. It was really cute, but at $10-15 a pop, it seemed unnecessary, so I've since been trying to cut his hair myself. That's proven to be easier said than done lately, though. There's been lots of pulling the scissors away and screaming and kicking the chair while I clip. Plus I don't actually have any experience that qualifies me to cut a toddler's hair. So I finally gave in.

 I think the result was great! He was pretty upset about having someone mess with his hair and definitely pulled away from the stylist a lot. But he got to eat animal crackers the whole time and watch a movie, so that distracted him a bit. And he got to fight with someone who was not me, a fact I greatly appreciated. :-)

Seriously not a fan.

Handsome boy. :-)

I have a few more coupons left for this place, so I may end up going again before too long. I'm hoping that he will eventually get used to it and hold still enough for me to buzz his hair like I do his dad's and we can go back to being a cheap-o hair family. For now, though, I have to admit: he's pretty stinkin' cute. 

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Fall Y'all.

We (meaning my MIL and I, as Eric was on call for two days. Poor guy.) went to a pumpkin patch today and dressed Samuel up in his Halloween costume (because, seriously, why do they only get to wear those things ONCE?). It was adorable. I put pictures on facebook, but these were cute enough I wanted to blog them too.

His little tail would shake when he ran through the pumpkins. It was pretty much the cutest thing ever.


Samuel and Maddux. Buddies from birth.

He kept calling the pumpkins apples. And trying to eat them.

And just for comparison's sake, here are some pictures of Samuel and his buddy Maddux from last fall. Where did my baby go??

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Samuel - 20 Months

So I kind of feel like saying Samuel's age in months is getting a little ridiculous. When people ask how old he is now, I usually just say "One and a half" or "He'll be 2 in January." For my own records, though, I figure I'll keep up with months for a little while longer. Obviously his month-to-month changes aren't quite as drastic as they were this time last year, but they're still significant (I think. But I am his mom. :-)

Samuel started preschool again this month and, not surprisingly, he LOVES it! His teachers this year are Mrs. Katie and Mrs. Sharone. They have music time and get to play outside, two things he didn't do last year. They also do tons of artwork and play with cars and trucks, apparently a winner with him as well. We pull in and he starts saying "Car! Car!"

 He still likes to go visit his old teacher, Mrs. Barbara, as well. Hers is one of those names he can say really really well, so he likes to go point at her and say "Bah-buh! Bah-buh!" It's really cute.

I like him going to preschool too. I can get so. much. done! It's crazy! Tuesday I did some work around the house and ran errands, and I think I went to 8 or 9 different places in the hour or so I was out. I also went and bought myself some shoes today, something that would be next to impossible to accomplish with Samuel in tow. Starting next week I will be watching an extra baby on one of his preschool days, but I'm still really pumped to have my one morning a week to myself.

Anyway, back to Samuel.

Eating: Um, still a lot. He has gotten pickier lately though. He's slowly learning how not to throw food on the floor if he doesn't want it. His (and my) new obsession this month are laughing cow cheeses. Holy schnikes, those things are good! I managed to get a bunch of them on sale, so we've been having one every day. It's a nice little boost of protein since the only meat he will eat is chicken nuggets/tenders. I still pretty much give him whatever we're eating, though, so hopefully he'll come back around one day. 

Singing: Skinna-marinky-dinky-dink. And Twinkle Twinkle and Itsy Bitsy Spider. The only one he actually sings is Twinkle Twinkle. And don't even try to fool him by singing ABCs instead, because he WILL NOT stand for it.

TV: Apparently Super Why is out, Clifford is back in. This week anyway. And Daniel Tiger is ok too, unless it's an episode that Owl isn't in, because why watch it if you can't see "Ow-EL?"

Sleeping: We've had some 6-6:30 am days thanks to this one last eye tooth that WILL NOT COME THROUGH. Not fun. I make him stay down til 7 at least, but with our rooms being right next to each other, if he's awake, I'm awake. Naps are still 1 1/2-2 hours usually. We had a few bad days with that recently too, but 9 times out of 10, there's no real problem.

Clothes: We're pretty solidly into the 24 month clothes now with some 2Ts mixed in there. A few of his 18 month things are still acceptable, but definitely getting tight. When did he get so big?

Books: I'm so glad my child loves to read! A few favorites right now are Hop on Pop, The Nose Book, Bunny's Garden, B is for Bear, a Thanksgiving book, Peek a Boo! I love you!, and Hands are Not for Hitting (oh yes, we went there!).

Toys: As aforementioned, the kid is loving some cars right now! I also got him a little truck he can ride around on and that's a hit, as well as anything he can push around. He also likes to hammer on his tool set, "ride" his bike, and play on his slide.

Play/Climbing: Because the two are synonymous for him. He learned how to climb up the twisty ladder thing at the park and get onto the platform 5 feet off the ground. And go up the rock wall. And down it. He scares his mama to death every time we go. He can also climb the fence a bit. And get on our dining room table. And climb the shelf in my closet. Oh my.

I think it's also significant to note that Samuel RUNS. Like, seriously runs. Everywhere he goes. Not just sometimes. Not just a quick spurt of running then panting. But a literal, all-out toddler run. I have to jog to keep up with him. Walking beside me and holding my hand is torture for him. Poor guy. I guess he got his momma's genes there. ;-)

Words: Samuel talks a lot. We've gotten pretty good at the yes/no game, so I can typically deduce what he is saying after a series of questions. He's gotten really good at saying several names, particularly "Carter" "Josh" "Conner" and "Barbara." He's also started calling Eric and me "Daddy" and "Mommy" which is really cute. He refers to his grandparents as "nana" and "bubby" (why I don't know!) and, occasionally, correctly identifies "pappy". He can also correctly identify a good chunk of letters, which I'm pretty impressed with. And, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the fact that he loves talking about his "wee wee." He tells it "hi" and "bye bye" every time we do a diaper change. He's such a boy.

Annd now it seems that nap time is over. ;-) I love my crazy cuddly little bug, as much as he wears me out. And, as always, I'm so glad to get to be his mom! <3 nbsp="">