Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015 in 12 Photos

At the end of every year (since I've started blogging) I like to summarize our year in a dozen or so pictures. Typically I spend hours pouring over every photo I've taken in the last 12 months until I find just the right ones to summarize our year. It becomes this whole big thing for one little summary. However this year has been anything but typical AND I'm running short on time and energy, so instead of finding the perfect pictures I will be using the good enough pictures I have on my phone already. I'm sure it will suffice! 

The month started out with lots of sickness (for our entire family) and Braxton hicks contractions (for just me). And ended with this little guy! And oh my goodness...I've been smitten with him ever since we met (just moments before this picture was taken). We all have been! 

We hunkered down and enjoyed the first weeks as a family of six. We stayed home as much as possible and learned who Levi is and how he fits into our family...perfectly! Joe also turned 32 which was celebrated with a lunch and trip to Walmart (without kids!) because we sure know how to party;-)

I'm pretty sure this was the longest, slowest month in history! Time moved so slow it felt like it had practically stopped as we waited for Match Day. The fact that Joe was away for the entire month (back at school) and my parents were in Montana (waiting for my sister-in-law to have her baby) and Levi decided he would rather nurse all night instead of sleep DID NOT HELP. But we all survived and finally we learned we would be moving to Texas!

April brought Joe's very last day of medical school!!! Which means I did a lot reminiscing (see collage above) and pondering what life in residency would be like. Joe made a quick trip down to Texas to buy us a house and cowgirl boots for our girls. We are thankful for both. 

I spent most of May working like a mad woman sorting, purging and packing our belongings. Preparing to move our crew cross country was no easy task (even with 80% of our belongings already boxed up in storage!). The highlight of the month was our Memorial Day weekend trip out to my sister and brother-in-law's ranch in South Dakota. All 14 grandkids (plus their parents and grandparents) were under one roof all weekend! It was so much fun. Minus the small incident in which four kids locked themselves inside an antique trunk that has no key! That part I could have done without. The rest was great:)

This month was HUGE. Absolutely filled to the brim. End of school year for the kids. My birthday. Charlotte's 5th birthday. Isaiah's 8th birthday. Medical school graduation for Joe. All of which were much anticipated and celebrated. After we finished partying we packed the truck and hit the road for our 1400 mile move. If there is anything that will test your sanity it's a cross country move with a 4 month old and a 2 year old while the sale of your future home is falling apart. Trust me. We survived and Joe started residency. Like as a real doctor! Oh and we got the house in the end. 

It was initiation by fire for our family. Joe started residency with a grueling 6 week rotation in the ICU...that turned into 7 weeks:( The kids and I were left on our own to unpack the entire house and to navigate our HOT new town. Everything was new and exciting at this point. 

Besides working on our tans, we celebrated Hannah's third birthday with a "Par-tea" with new friends. At the end of the month the big kids started different schools. Just to keep life complicated. Isaiah started third grade and Charlotte started KINDERGARTEN! They both did great. I however struggled with the decision to start Charlotte in kinder so young. Joe finally got to work in the emergency department!

The little kids and I found our groove at home with the big kids at school all day. MOPS, storytime, tumble time and playing at parks. We hosted a medical student, his wife and three children for two weeks. It was really fun and it made me wish medical families always lived together. It was great built in support and babysitters! Charlotte started dance once again. And Joe was on an orthopedics rotation. 

Joe started a month of nights. And I HATED it. It was a tough month for all of us. Thankfully my parents and cousin and aunt & uncle came for a visit. It was a much needed distraction. Not enough of a distraction for me to wonder if maybe I wouldn't be able to survive three years of residency with four kids though. And just when I thought my proverbial plate was full we added our first pet to our family. Frankie the baby tortoise. Oh and Isaiah finished his second soccer season. He was a scoring machine!

November brought sweet relief in the form of a lighter schedule for Joe and more family time. Oh and slightly cooler weather.  Thank you ultrasound and radiology rotation! The month started with a visit from Papa & Grandma. Then we hosted a "Friendsgiving" dinner in our home for all the residency people. Followed by a three day family camping trip. It was the the first time we needed jeans and jackets since we moved here! The kids and I drove up to Dallas to spend Thanksgiving with my cousin and her family while Joe returned home to put in a bunch of hours in the emergency department. 

It has been a blur of activity. Decorating, shopping, baking. Going from one Christmas activity to the next. I'm not sure quite where this last month has gone?! But I know it's been a good one! Especially having family here for Christmas. And even though it was a work week for Joe he was able to get to the beach with us one day and to the Christmas Eve church service. 

So where does that leave us now? Enjoying Joe's week off as a family. (And by "enjoying" I mean getting projects done around the house...hanging pictures, painting walls, cleaning & organizing the garage, etc. and playing with the kids. We are preparing for the next six weeks. Which are notoriously the worst ones of intern year. Trauma rotation. And by "preparing" I mean getting my parents settled into life with us. But mostly we are excited to see what 2016 has in store for our family! And if I'm being completely honest, just a tad nervous too:) Here's to another year! 

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Merry Christmas Y'all

Our first Christmas in Texas has been a huge success...and I can say that without taking ANY of the credit or bragging. Because I have been the epitome of the Scrooge, the Grinch and a bah-hum-bug combined! Seriously. Every time I saw the presents under the tree (half of which I purchased!) I would get stressed and crabby! The thought of fitting MORE STUFF in this house totally overwhelmed me. Speaking of the house I really did try to clean it for Christmas but my children tried just as hard to unclean it.  One child (who shall remain anonymous) smeared poop all over my freshly scrubbed bathroom while the baby squirted ketchup all over himself and my formerly clean kitchen floor. And I'm not even sure how he got his little hands on the ketchup packet in the first place. The tree did get set up and decorated. All thanks to my hardworking non-Scrooge husband. If there was one thing I could brag about it would be the three types of Christmas cookies I baked (on Joe's only day off while he watched the children and ran to the store for silly things for me like sugar and butter). Let's just ignore the fact that none of the sugar cookies got frosted. That's completely irrelevant;-)

The real reason Christmas was such a big hit was the fact that we somehow convinced my parents AND my sister, her husband and four children (ages 4 and under) to make the 1500 mile trip to visit us!!! They must really love us...either that or they were desperate for some sunshine and warmth in their lives. Regardless my kids have been loving spending so much time with their cousins. Everything is better with cousins and grandparents! 

It's even made having a zombie-like or sleeping or absent husband more tolerable for me! (Thanks night shifts)

Now if only we could convince them to come back for Easter too! That would be perfect. Not very likely but perfect. 

Monday, December 21, 2015

Residency: the first six months in review

Six months. Half a year of residency. Done. 

That's crazy to me. I'm not even sure how that happened. Actually that's not true. I know exactly how it happened. The synopsis is this: it started out fun but slightly lonely, then it got really hard and more lonely, and now it just feels normal. Sometimes fun. Sometimes hard. A little lonely at times. But mostly just normal. 

In med school I heard all about the horrors of residency...from the spouses' perspective...and the thing is I thought I was prepared. Ready mentally for the long hours and tired husband and lonely nights. I thought because I knew ahead of time just how hard and lonely it was going to be that I somehow wouldn't succumb to it all. That I would be immune to the loneliness and the sadness. I thought because we moved to a fun and exciting place for residency that it would be fun and exciting too. Which I now know is foolishness! Maybe some spouses sail right through this transition to residency unscathed but I did not. I cried. I threw grown up sized tantrums. And I fought it. Hard. I didn't want to accept this life. For a while there I lost myself. I couldn't even remember who I was or what I enjoyed. It was scary. And sad.  

And the hardest part was this: while I felt so incredibly lost and lonely I was watching my husband thrive. Right before my eyes he was becoming this great new version of himself. The confident and happy, albeit tired, new doctor. He was becoming the person he was meant to be while I felt like I was disappearing. And I didn't know what to do about it. I had thought ahead of time that we would be miserable together this first year of residency. I assumed HE would be more miserable and I'd be mostly okay but still able to commiserate with him. But that wasn't even close to reality. He was happy. And I was sad. Very, very sad. 

But I'm not there anymore. Thank goodness because it's a miserable way to live. So what changed? First my husband spoke truth and love to me. He reminded me of who I am. Fun. Energetic. Creative. Loving. Social. He reminded me of all the good things in our life. Our kids. Our house. Food on the table. Beautiful weather. New friends. New experiences. And he gently told me I had to stop wallowing and starting living this life. And that's just what I did. (After one more hour of crying in bed.) I quit fighting it. And started accepting it. All of it. The long hours. The lonely nights. Solo parenting four kids. Being the new person in town. New experiences. The good and the bad. Making new traditions in our new home. Finding our rhythm.

So here I am. Six months later. A little battered and bruised. But still standing. Because even though this life can be hard at times, it's beautiful and so worth fighting for.