Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Saying Goodbye

Tonight we said goodbye to our residency home. The plan was to have a “picnic” in the empty house and reminisce together. However reality is that moving is exhausting. Change is hard. The kids were crabby. And we were all short on patience and kind words. It wasn't exactly the storybook ending I was hoping for. Charlotte did manage to muster up some final words about the house, “I’m glad we got to grow up here”. And with that we called it quits.

Because going from this: 

To this:

Is only magical and easy in pictures. The actual process is somewhat painful and slow when moving with four kids in tow (and a husband that is working seemingly endless hours). I may or may not have thrown an adult sized fit in middle of this entire crazy process. After which I texted my husband and apologized like the mature 34 year old I am. But I also told him I am NEVER moving us again without movers. This is our eleventh move in (almost) 15 years of marriage. I’m done moving. I mean it.

Except I’m not actually done moving. This was just stage 1 of our end of residency move. Currently we are residing in a furnished rental home until the end of residency. We are all adjusting. Including Frankie the tortoise.

In two months (or sooner depending on our house buying process) we will move to East Texas for Joe’s post-residency job. His first big boy job:) But that move HAS to be easier, right? I mean 90% of our stuff is packed and in pods just waiting for our next home. Unloading and unpacking HAS to be better than packing and loading. It just has to be. Because this move was pure torture. Physically and emotionally.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018


Just when I thought we were finally recovering from all the sickness and trips to the doctor Monday happened. A day in which I took two kids to the ER for two separate emergency visits. That was two too many visits for my liking!

The ONLY good part of these ER visits was we got to see daddy on a day that we otherwise wouldn’t have seen him until bedtime. Gotta count your blessings where we can find them! And really Joe and his colleagues took such good care of us. 

Here’s the synopsis of how it all went down. All three big kids went off to school like normal. Mid morning I got a call that Isaiah was having sharp chest pain with breathing. After a few calls/texts between me, Joe and the kids’ pediatrician,  Levi and I went to get him. The three of us went to the ER. Ultrasound revealed an infected but otherwise normal lung. Thank goodness. We head home. Levi, Isaiah and I pick up the girls from school. Back at home I’m starting an early dinner (because Charlotte has dance) and I call the big kids into the kitchen to work on homework. Charlotte makes an extra running lap around the coffee table. She slips and busts her chin open. After a few crazy texts and pictures to Joe we head back into the ER. Me, Charlotte, Isaiah, Hannah & Levi. Mind you the hospital is under construction so the closest parking I could find was on the opposite side of the hospital so we got to parade through the entire hospital before reaching the ER. Just me and my entourage. Charlotte mercifully has stopped screaming “I’m dying! I’m bleeding. Call 911! I’m dying...” by this point. 

And no one did in fact die. We survived. It kicked my butt. But we survived. Oh and I never did make that dinner. We ate McDonalds in the van:)

Sunday, April 1, 2018

A South Texas Easter

For the past two weeks I’ve had a sick kid and I’ve been mostly house-bound due to that. So it felt extra good to get out and celebrate Easter...South Texas style:)

Outside egg hunt with residency friends a couple days before Easter. 

Unfortunately Isaiah was still sick this day and missed the egg hunt. Thankfully his dad was off work that day and able to stay home with him. 

Lightweight summery clothing on Easter Day. No snow boots or tights or even cardigans necessary! Minnesota got lots of snow for Easter this year. 

Hannah wore my Easter dress from childhood. So I present Easter 1988 and Easter 2018: 

She was definitely cuter in it than me! Unfortunately due to sick kids and being stuck at home I never made it to the store to buy Easter hats for me girls. That would have really completed the look!


These confetti filled eggs are a Mexican tradition. One that brings good luck;) I was intending to buy some for our last South Texas Easter but then...sickness. There were a lot of things I was going to do for Easter that just didn’t happen. But then these cascarones found us! They were the table decorations at our Easter potluck with Joe’s grandparents at their RV park. My kids happily collected them after lunch and smashed them on each others’ heads outside! It was fun. I’m glad we snuck this tradition in this year! 

Lastly we spent the rest of Easter swimming and hanging out with the great grandparents at the RV park. 

All in all (despite the sickness) it was a great Easter. I’m always grateful when Joe has a holiday off. Being together as a family is wonderful and not a guarantee around here. We take it when we can and don’t take it for granted. 

And now I’ll end with this adorable Easter bunny picture. Of 3 out of 4 of my kids...because sickness. 

We ran into him at Walmart after our egg hunt while I was buying stuff to fill their Easter baskets. Discretely buying candy and small presents for your kids with your kids...I don’t recommend it! But it was the best I could do. Back to the Easter bunny. It was completely unplanned. But my kids were so excited to see him (and his candy!). They ran from the register for a picture and I followed them...without paying for my full cart. Oops! But it kinda perfectly summed up our Easter this year. Typically I make plans and we visit the Easter bunny. Typically I also buy my kids’ Easter basket stuffings early and without them. This year was anything but typical. But it was still lovely. We were together. And our Savior is still Risen. 

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Where are we now?

A million years ago when I started this blog I was a brand new stay at home mom to three itty bitty kids (newborn, 2 & 5) and my husband was a second year medical student. I was overwhelmed. (Ha, I guess not much has changed! I'm still overwhelmed:) And I felt like there was no way we were going to survive medical school and residency. Ok that's not true. I knew we would survive. It just felt like too much. Too long. Seven years of long, brutal hours for Joe at school & work and me at home with the kids. At that time one thing that I found the most encouraging was reading blogs of other medical students and resident wives. Women that had gone before me. That had conquered this medical training beast. I literally read entire blogs from start to finish like a book. They gave me a real life look into what medical school and residency looks like as a family. They gave me hope. And I didn't even know these ladies and their families! Since I had dabbled in blogging before (about garage sales...what was I thinking?!?!) I decided to give it a try once again. I figured if others' blogs had helped me maybe my blog could help someone just starting out on this long process. And what I discovered along the way was that I loved blogging. I loved processing my thoughts through writing. I loved documenting my kids as they grew and changed. I loved having a virtual history book of our family. I don't know if anyone reads this. I don't check the stats or keep track of followers. I just know that this has been incredibly therapeutic for me during these past six years. A great outlet. It has become something I LOVE doing. However lately it just hasn't happened. Life has been busy. Good busy. Mostly. But not blogging makes me crabby. Its my hobby. And I miss it when I don't make time for it. So I'm making the time. I'm back.

And I'm going to do a little life catch up. Because maybe, just maybe there is another medical student wife (or pre-med or resident) out there reading and following along and wondering how this crazy, long journey is ending for our family. Maybe they want to know how life looks at the end. So if you are out there. Just know it does end. Medical school ends. Residency ends.

And not surprising we all are a lot older. Our kids are now 3, 5, 7 and 10. The oldest three will have birthdays soon and be 6, 8 and 11. That brand new kindergartner I was writing about when I started this blog will be starting middle school next year. And my baby boy - who did not even exist when I started blogging - is a full blown opinionated toddler. He's a big boy in UNDERWEAR. I no longer have anyone in diapers! Which as a mom is crazy. I mean obviously I can do math. I knew when Joe started medical school that we would all be a 7 years older by the time Joe finished residency. But at that time I had a 1 & 4 year old. I had NO IDEA our family would look like this now. I was also in my late twenties then. Now I'm getting real close to 35. I couldn't comprehend mid-thirties then. But here I am.

Ok. Enough about ages and math. We are all older. Got it. So what does the end of residency look like for us? I wish I could say its all wonderful. Rainbows and unicorns. But that would be a lie. I always thought the end would be so exciting. Lots of celebrating and fun. We finally get to make the important decisions for our lives. Like where we want to live and where we will send our kids to school. Turns out those big decisions are STRESSFUL! And being DONE is bittersweet. These years were hard and long, but at the same time they were amazing too. Filled with great people and experiences. We had a cohort of people that were going through the same thing. We were all in it together. And all of that is about to end. And that feels a little scary. Our residency safety net is being pulled out from under us. And as it turns out Joe and I aren't very good at figuring out big life decisions together. What we are really good at is making the best of the life situation we are dealt. Wisconsin, Illinois and Texas were never our first choice of places to live but we moved to each because that is what the next step of our training required of us. And we made the best of each of those moves. We settled in and established a life that we loved at each of those places. Now we get to choose what comes next and that is hard!

So what have we done so far?

Joe interviewed for post-residency jobs last August. The kids and I traveled with him...because FREE vacation! But just figuring out WHERE to interview was hard. Joe loves Texas. And I love Joe. So we settled on Texas. But Texas is a big state. So the options still seemed vast and too many.

October is when he signed his first post-residency contract. We are headed to East Texas. Because...well 1) its in Texas and 2) it looks/feels like Minnesota with a very distinctive southern twang. He will start work mid-August.

Then we coasted for a few months and enjoyed our last winter here.

About a month ago we started getting serious about getting this house on the market. Resurfaced bathroom counters. Finally fixed the fence Harvey tore down. Fixed the hole in the kitchen ceiling (an entire year later).  Wallpapered the master bathroom. Painted almost all the trim. Finally painted the lower kitchen cupboards to match the upper cupboards. Stained all the doors. Scraped the windows (and cried big fat ugly tears while doing this tedious task). Planted flowers and cleaned up the landscaping.  Purged, packed and staged. Basically we did everything we always intended to do for this house. And it looks beautiful now. Just like I dreamed it would.

And now that I’ve typed up all of that it sounds like all good stuff. And it is. It’s good stuff. We’ve made it to the finish line (almost). But it’s been a tad stressful. Less celebrating and more “discussing” than I ever imagined. To be completely honest we don’t have it all figured out yet. We don’t know where we will live for the last couple months of residency if we close on this house before graduation. We also don’t know what we will do with all our stuff. And we are yet to choose exactly which town we want to move to. Then there’s the entire “should we rent or should we buy” debate that feels endless. Renting seems reasonable since we know next to nothing about Joe’s new job and the town. But at the same time our kids are getting older and we feel bad uprooting them so many times. So buying sounds like a great option. Except...we can’t get a loan until 60 days before Joe starts work...which is basically the same time as graduation. It’s complicated. I know it will work out and we will get to the celebrating part. But for now we are trudging through some big decisions. Decisions while not always fun I’m grateful we finally get to make. It feels like we finally get to choose what we want our life to look like. And that feels good.

Now back to that time/math thing. Here's a little visual of what seven years looks like...

These next pictures are from Joe's first day of medical school in 2011 in Illinois. A very sweet 4 year old Isaiah had packed his Batman backpack for his daddy's first day of school. Charlotte was just learning to walk. They were all sporting MSUM Dragon shirts because Joe was supposed to wear a college t-shirt for his first day of school.

Here are a few pictures from the beginning of residency. Unfortunately I didn't take a first day picture. But these were all taken within the first couple days of residency. Back when we had no idea what was coming. Residency seemed like a fun adventure then.

Friday, March 9, 2018

Selling Our Residency House.

1,001 days ago we moved into this house. And slowly but surely we made it home.

Today we put it on the market to sell.

So many mixed emotions with selling this house. I snapped some pictures with my phone right before the professional photographer came to photograph our house. I posted those pictures on instagram along with my thoughts in that moment. Instead of trying to say it all over again I am going to just copy & paste from Instagram....

"1,001 days ago was my first time seeing this house in person. And oh boy did it need help/work (see the last picture). I’ve had a love-hate relationship with this house ever since. Making this house into a home wasn’t easy. But gosh I love it now! And now we are selling it. Our home went on the market today.  It will be sad to say goodbye to this house. A house that has seen us stretch and grow and strengthen as a family. A house where we learned we could do hard things. And not just home renovation hard things 😜. This house has been our refuge and gathering place for family and friends-that-have-become-like-family. So many play dates and impromptu get togethers. Out of town guests and sandy floors from days spent at the beach. These pictures might be just a house but I see the people that have filled it with love and laughter and great memories. People that have carried me through some long residency days/weeks/months. How do you put a price on that?"

To answer my own rhetorical question. You don't. That's why we hired a realtor. We leave that up to him. A year ago I thought this would be a really happy and exciting day. Instead it feels sad. The beginning of the end. I haven't always loved this house or this life here. But I love what we've made of it - both this house and this life. I'm going to miss them.

I just hope someone else will discover this house for the real gem that it is and make a life they love in this home.

Our kitchen the day we bought the house.