Monday, June 22, 2015

(not) Christmas in June

For months well meaning friends and family members have been telling us that moving into our new house would feel like "Christmas in June!"  And naively I believed them. By golly 90% of my belongings had been in storage for a year. Clearly it would be wonderful to finally unpack them. To be surrounded by my stuff once again. 

But truth be told, it wasn't wonderful. It wasn't even good. Sure I had missed a few things. Like my clothes drying rack, my full length mirror and my recipes. But mostly unpacking our belongings was a big fat disappointment. It would have been like Christmas IF Christmas involved opening up package after package of old worn out household items. Rusty, dinged up pots and pans. Mismatched dishes. Stained, musty dish towels. It felt more like rummaging through a secondhand store than Christmas morning. 

The whole experience made me wish I could go back and tell my 19 year old bride-to-be self to REGISTER FOR QUALITY STUFF...because it's going to have to last you at least a dozen years! But alas my mom did tell me that when I was creating my registry. But I was young and dumb. And I wanted pretty things. I couldn't fathom cooking with the same pots and pans and spoons and spatulas for an entire decade!!! Quality wasn't on my radar.

Well jokes on me. Because those things aren't so pretty anymore. Thankfully they are mostly functional though. 

Speaking of unpacking and jokes...sweaters! Those things look like a joke down here. I can not even fathom the day I would want to pull on a sweater. Actually at this point I can't even imagine wanting to put on a t-shirt or SOCKS! Even socks look hot when it is 90 degrees and 100% humidity every day. Ok. I exaggerate. It's only 80% humidity. But we are told it's going to get hotter. Eek. So I just went ahead and re-packed those socks and put them in the deep, dark recesses of our master closet. Maybe one day I'll want to wear them again. Maybe. But until that day I'm happy to wear my daily uniform of tank top, shorts and sandals. 

Some days I just wear my swimsuit. 

Sunday, June 21, 2015

10 days in Texas. My first impressions.

A week and a half ago I walked into our new house for the very first time. After 3 days on the road I was beyond excited to be here. To finally step foot in the house that we will call home for the next three years! It was my first time seeing the house in person. In fact it was my first time in our new town. And only my fourth time in the state of Texas in my entire life. So while I was extremely grateful to be here, it has been an adjustment. To say the least. Texas feels kinda like a foreign land to me at the moment. And while it is still fresh in my mind I wanted to record it.

The house. 
Oh my. It's got space. More space than I've ever had before. And I am incredibly grateful for it. And for the first day I was super excited about it....but then I started really seeing the house. Noticing it's not updated 1970s style and somewhat dingy "rental home for the past 5 years" details. And I started to fall into a pit of despair. But a few trips to Home Depot and one REALLY big trip to Target later and I'm beginning to think we can (and will!) freshen this place up and make it feel like home after all.
That wallpaper is already gone! And the chandelier isn't far behind it....

Ten days ago I didn't know what a cockroach looked like. Let alone killed one. Today I can tell y'all that they are brown NOT black like I had previously envisioned. And they vary in size from teeny tiny to ginormous. And they are EVERYWHERE. Including the middle of my playroom during my first ever playdate in this house. I was mortified! But the resident's wife who has been here a year assured me that it is normal. Not sure I like this normal:(

Like how I snuck in a little southern drawl there?

Our neighborhood is filled with pigeons. And their cooing is nearly constant. My first day here I thought they were going to drive me crazy! But it turns out I can get used to just about anything. Because now I hardly notice them. Hopefully I can say the same about the cockroaches soon!

The people. 
Southern hospitality is a real thing. At least in our neighborhood it is. Within hours of being here we had neighbors greeting us left and right. We had cool drinks and fresh baked bread and tools out on loan all within 24 hours of our arrival! People here are downright friendly. Everywhere I go someone wants to talk to me and/or my children. (So very unlike the suburbs of Chicago!) I've never been called "ma'am" this much in my life. I'm not sure how I feel about it yet. Oh and apparently little girls are referred to as "mama" around these parts. It confuses Hannah and I a lot:)

The food. 
Oh the food! I love the food. Fresh tortilla shells with everything! At the grocery store there is even a special tortilla bakery. Flour tortillas. Butter tortillas. Chipotle tortillas. Wheat tortillas. Tortilla chips. Speaking of the grocery store. When I step in there I feel like I've walked into a different country. Almost everything is labeled in English and Spanish. So much fresh produce and sea food! Live crawfish crawling around in a kiddie swimming pool. Not sure what I would do with them?! But they are fun to watch. Oh and the fruit is cheap and GOOD! Two pounds of strawberries for $2.30, yes please! 

I told my friend* that when I start to look pregnant again she can just assume it's my tortilla baby and not an actual baby. Because I absolutely do not have an ounce of restraint when it comes to the butter tortilla shells! 

The weather. 
Its hot. And humid. Stepping outside is like stepping into a wall of heat and humidity. It's intense. And for our first couple days here I would be inside, comfortable in the air conditioning and completely forget just how hot it is and every single time I stepped outside the heat and humidity would take me by surprise. Also surprising (to this Minnesota girl) is the fact that the temperature at night is not very different from the temperature during the day. Just less sun. Nighttime is only 5 to 10 degrees cooler than daytime. 

Even my camera is having a hard time adjusting to the weather.

Related to the weather, I've quickly learned (the hard way!) that it is always a mistake to leave my water bottle at home. I need that constantly attached to me somehow while out running errands so I don't melt!

*Friend - might be too strong of a word. In reality she is just a really sweet resident's wife that is reaching out to me and helping me feel at home here. And boy do I appreciate her!

Saturday, June 13, 2015

These Doors

I'm alive. I'm here! I didn't fall off the side of the world like it may appear. (Even though at times it kinda feels like I have). WE are here. In Texas. In our house (that is not quite our house yet)! Unpacking box after box after box after box. Mostly of toys. And kitchen stuff. Slowly setting up our life here. But not documenting it. Though I have intended to. 

After our first day of travel I was going to sit down and write about our move - while we were still in the thick of it - but I was tired and chose a shower and bed instead. Then again after our second day on the road I intended to write something but I fell asleep before I could even get my pajamas on. After our THIRD day on the road I had no intentions of writing. I was exhausted and feeling pretty hopeless about the move as our closing was delayed yet again...until later this week after Joe has started residency. I had driven over a 1,000 miles with a baby and a toddler and it was beginning to feel like it was all for naught. But alas it wasn't. Because we made it. And Joe has started work at the hospital. Or at least orientation. 

All of that was my very not brief way of saying LIFE has overwhelmed me lately. Not surprising. There have been a lot of major life changes in the past week. In fact I knew I was going to be overwhelmed. So I prepared (best I could) and asked my dear friend (and reader!) to write a guest post for me. Which she did. She wrote an excellent piece from the perspective of a medical provider in the ER. She even sent it to me last week! I just never posted it. Because I was overwhelmed. But now I'm starting to feel a little bit like myself again and like my life isn't completely out of control. 

So without further ado please enjoy the writing of my amazing real life friend and ER physician assistant. It's incredibly fitting as this is my husband's first week of his emergency medicine career. Thank you friend for sharing your insight and wisdom (and adorable dog!) with me and any remaining faithful readers I may have left. 


Doors represent so many areas of our lives. They open and close leading us through the chapters of life. 

But these doors…these doors can seem heavier and bigger than most.  

These doors represent a lot of fear and often the ‘bad’ days in people’s lives. Patient’s come in scared and not sure what to do next. Some people walk in, some are pushed in or rolled in. 


Here – this isn’t a ‘easy’ place. It’s not where most people want to be – but it is where I want to be. Here I work with a team of incredibly knowledgeable and trained staff and providers. People who give their nights, weekends and holidays to be there for others 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. People who give up time with their families and miss important events in order to be there for others.


I walk in through these doors most days knowing I am scheduled for a 12 hour shift. That 12 hour shift will however often turn into at least 13 or 14 hours. My shifts are so unpredictable that my husband has an app to be able to track if I have left the hospital yet in order to curb his anxiety that something has happened to me. 

Through these doors are the rooms in which fears are crushed or at times come true. Tears are shed. Reassurance is given. 

The shifts are long and exhausting, physically and emotionally. But the shifts are also rewarding. The trust and ability to help others in a very real way – that is something I am amazed by on a daily basis. 


At the end of the shift, I walk back out those double doors.  Open the car door and sit. Alone for the first time in hours, able to sit and reflect. Emotions are allowed to be feltagain…because for the last 12 hours – there has only beentime for action and reaction. There has been history, physical and differential diagnosis. Treatment planning and plan for further care. Tears have been shed on plenty of drives home. Many nights I pray more for patients I have cared for than anyone else.  


But finally – each night (or in the wee hours of the morning), I walk through the most important door for meThe door that leads from the garage into the entryway of my home. This door represents my other life. The life that keeps me going. I take a deep breath and exhale before walking through. I let go of the last shift – because on goes life and behind this door, is the little dog that will run to greet me wagging his entire rearend instead of just his tail. The husband who supports this craziness that I enjoy and has learned the hard way that we don’t make plans for after a shift... or for early morning after a late night shift.

As the doors keep opening and closing, you learn what’s most important…or rather who is most important. I’ve learned to say ‘I love you’ without hesitation to all those I care about. I’ve learned to be tough – because being the youngest provider and female isn’t easy. I’ve learned being wrong has real consequences, but all we can do is keep learning. 

Because the best part? Tomorrow is a new day with new doors that may lead anywhere.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

EIGHT years of Isaiah

It seems like only yesterday that we were bringing this sweet seven (almost eight) pound baby boy home from the hospital. Completely clueless as how to actually raise a child. We had NO IDEA what we were doing. But LOOK!! We made it! Or at least we have made it for 8 years. And that feels pretty significant.

Happy 8th Birthday Isaiah!!!!
You are one great kid.
I'm proud to call you mine.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Ready. Set. MOVE.

Joe picked up our moving truck at six o'clock this morning. 

Which of course means I was up packing until...well...eeerrrrr....late! Or early. Depends on how you look at it. I've never met a deadline I don't love. I love them
so much that I like to snuggle up real close to my deadlines;-) Me and this "pack everything up" deadline we are tight. 

But I made it! Despite Levi's best attempts to NOT sleep and hang out all night and thwart my packing efforts. It's done. We are packed. 

I packed the boxes. Joe packed the truck (with help from family!). We make quite the team. 

We hit the road in the morning! 

Whether or not we will close on our house in Texas before the weekend...that is yet to be determined! Unfortunately the closing did NOT happen today as planned. Regardless of our housing status Joe starts at the hospital on Monday. 

Ready or not HERE WE COME!

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Graduation, celebration and saying goodbye. AGAIN.

Friday morning Hannah and I spent quality mother-daughter time together buying all the last minute things for Joe's graduation party. Not surprisingly I felt panicky about the food situation and bought the largest bag of carrots and Doritos I could find (in addition to all the food I had planned). Just to be safe! Somewhat surprisingly Hannah was an excellent errand running partner. Although she was slightly disappointed to discover there were no giraffes in Costco as it was not a literal zoo despite her mother describing it as such. The samples made up for the lack of safari animals. I think. I hope. 

We arrived home in time for lunch AND more importantly just in time to watch the end of the live stream of Joe's graduation ceremony! It was a bit surreal. Feeding the children ravioli while all of Joe's friends were being announced as "Dr. So & So". Unfortunately for Joe he missed most of this because Levi chose this exact moment to have THE BIGGEST blow out diaper all over himself and his newly minted doctor daddy. And then while I was nursing Levi (and therefore pretty much useless), Hannah went downstairs to her room and peed and pooped on the floor (we think on purpose!) thus ensuring Joe did not watch the end of the graduation either. 

And THAT is exactly why Joe did not want to go to graduation. We couldn't even hold it together for 30 minutes of graduation in our home! The three hour ceremony might have actually killed us. Or more likely our fellow graduation audience members would have wanted to kill us:) Such a wise man I married. 

Saturday we had yet another big party. To celebrate Joe. Because graduating medical school is worthy of a party! And a really awesome cake made by yours truly. I say another because this past week feels like it has been one continual celebration. First my birthday then the last day of preschool then Charlotte's birthday and the last day of second grade. We've eaten a lot of cake and ice cream lately. I suppose there are worse problems to have! 

Since we will be leaving in THREE DAYS and we don't know when we will be back this party also served as a goodbye party. Two birds one stone. 

We unfortunately are getting to be old pros at these goodbye parties. Four years ago we said goodbye to Wisconsin. One year ago we said goodbye to Illinois. And yesterday we said goodbye to Minnesota. There are many things in life I aspire to be good at. Farewells isn't one of those things. Unfortunately I've been forced to learn how to say goodbye, move, and set down roots in a new state.  

The party also morphed into a mini birthday party for all our kids as well. Three birds one stone. Efficiency at its best!

All in all the party was a big success. Good friends and family. Lively conversation. Good food. A pretty amazing cake if I do say so myself:) Lots of Pokemon cards for a certain almost 8 year old boy. Even the weather cooperated. The forecasted rain clouds stayed away until the very end. 

It's hard to believe that in another three years we will (most likely) be doing this all again. The celebrating and saying goodbye when residency ends.

Gosh. I love this man. I'd follow him just about anywhere. But I suppose our history has already proven that point. 

Friday, June 5, 2015

The day of the M.D.

Today this guy became a doctor. 
Yesterday he was a medical student. An M4. 
Today he is a medical doctor.

I am ridiculously proud of you Joseph. 
Your work ethic and determination cease to amaze me.
Because of you our kids will know that dreams can come true.
With a lot of work and perseverance. 

You dreamed it 7 years ago. And today it came true.
Those two little letters were hard earned.

Solid work doctor. Now lets celebrate!

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Five years of Charlotte

Welcome to the big kid league my dear Charlotte! You made it. Its been an amazing five years with you in our family. And I know its only going to get better. 







We love you Charlotte Esme

Monday, June 1, 2015

the end of the world.

"I can't believe it's the end of the school year so soon! And then we will be moving to Texas. It's all happening so fast. Sometimes life is like you are driving a race car and you are coming up to a bend and everything comes so FAST. That's what it's like right now."  -Isaiah, age 7 (almost 8)

Um. When did my kid get so wise and articulate? Because that is exactly  how our life is right now! There is just SO much coming at our family in next two weeks it's hard to even comprehend. And if I'm being 100% honest it is hard for me to function at times. The stuff. ALL THE STUFF that needs to happen between now and June 15 is overwhelming me. Its good stuff. But it feels like too much. Too many BIG LIFE EVENTS in too short a time period.

And since I am overwhelmed and tired and feeling behind already I am just going to list the stuff. Everything we need/get to do. Short & to the point might be best right now.

June 3: Charlotte's preschool graduation
June 4:  Isaiah's last day of school & Charlotte's 5th(!) birthday
June 5: Joe's medical school graduation (sadly we won't be able to attend)
June 6:  Grad party/kid birthday party/goodbye party
June 7-8: Nothing. Ha! More like last minute get ready to move craziness!! (Hopefully pull together a last minute playdate/birthday party for Isaiah.) Probably go a little crazy.
June 9:  Close on Texas house, pick up and load the moving truck
June 10:  Start the 1,400 mile drive to our new house/life
June 11:  Isaiah's 8th(!!) birthday, arrive in Texas
June 12-14: Unpack. Settle in?!? Attempt to buy all our major appliances (because apparently in Texas those don't come with the house!)
June 15: Joe starts residency orientation

I know I've said it before, but I'm going to say it again. I really HATE CHANGE. So while this is all good stuff. Its hard. (And a little bit scary.) Its hard for me to remain happy. Its hard for me to be cheerful and excited about the next BIG thing. But I need to be. Because I have these little people that are also facing a lot of change and uncertainty in their worlds. And they are looking to me wanting to know it is all going to be alright.They are looking at me gaging my level of worry/excitement/happiness/stress and acting accordingly.  That is a lot of responsibility when I am feeling this stressed and this overwhelmed!

Though I fail daily (sometimes hourly!) at remaining cheerful about all this stuff, I pray my kids come out the other side of these two weeks happy.

Or at least alive and not scarred for life!

P.S. I realize it isn't really the end of the world. Joe just keeps telling me I am acting like the world is ending tomorrow. And in someways it does kinda, sorta feel like its ending. Or at the very least changing drastically.