Sunday, April 28, 2013

Jump In!

Well, after weeks of nonstop pestering, the toddler finally got his way and got to go swimming (despite the fact that it was 70 degrees outside)! Daddy is such a trooper, and I'm not entirely convinced that my child isn't really a fish. :)

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Surviving Medical School--Married!

There we were, four years ago--full of high hopes and dreams. I was bursting at the seams with excitement and pride and more than a little anxiety. My husband (of less than two months) was starting medical school. I remember that evening like it was yesterday. I had a killer migraine and felt like passing out the entire time, but when he walked across that stage and got his white coat, I had tears in my eyes.

We'd been together through college, and I'd seen how hard he had worked to be there on that stage. I stood up, and despite the fact that I knew not at all what the next four years would hold, in that moment, I wanted to scream at the top of my lungs "That's my man!"

If you're not a usual blog reader of mine, I'm guessing that you've stumbled onto this post because you too are in my shoes. What will the next four years hold?

I will be candid. All that we heard leading up to medical school was negative. "You're getting married right before he starts medical school?" "How are y'all going to make it?" "You know he doesn't make any money, right? I mean, how are you going to pay for your house?" "You will never see him, and he'll be exhausted all the time." "Wow. Getting married right before medical school. That doesn't sound like smart idea. You two need to wait until he's finished."

All things I heard. All things I was told.

As a twenty-two year old fresh out of college, I have to admit that those were daunting things to hear. The words hung like wet blankets on my heart--cold and weighty. I was afraid of. . . well, I wasn't sure what I was afraid of. But no one wants to hear only negative things when they're starting a new endeavor.

And here I am on the other side. Not bedraggled, not worn out, not defeated. I wish I could go back in time and tell every one of those people to shut up. Okay, I wouldn't say that--that wouldn't be very polite. But I would smile and let it go in one ear and out the other. I've lived long enough to know that the world is full of joy stealers. Don't let anybody steal your joy--or, when it comes to medical school, your peace of mind.

You can make it through medical school married. You can have a stronger, better marriage on the other side of those four years. How?

1. Keep God in the center

  • Nothing in life is going to work without God at the center, and medical school life and marriage are no different. Whenever you can, attend church together, pray together, read scripture together. These are activities that would strengthen any marriage, and are especially important during the strain of medical school. 
2. Learn to give grace
  • Your spouse is tired, really tired--especially for the better part of those first two years. It's so easy to get into fights. Resist that temptation. When both of you are tired, it's not a good idea to interact at all--much less to "get into it." Learn to give grace. Learn to identify times when it's a "perfect storm." Husband home late. He's tired. You're tired. You're frustrated about something. His brain cells are too fried to process whatever that is. The best thing you can do is smile, ask about each other's days, and let it go. You can fight with him about leaving his boxers on the bathroom floor some other time. 
3. Prayer
  • Pray for your husband. He's in a shark tank 24/7. He's in survival mode. He's being told he's inadequate. He's the low man on the totem pole. He's competing with 175 really, really smart people. Pray for him. Pray for peace, discernment, wisdom, strength, confidence. Pray together. Pray together every night, if you can. 
4. Find non-medical friends
  • You might disagree with this. And if you do, that's fine. I've found that this has worked well for us. Get out of that toxic we're-in-debt-up-to-our-ears, what-did-you-make-on-that-test environment and hang out with people who don't have a clue about medical school. It reminds you that there are other things outside of medical school.
5. It gets better
  • Years one and two, when they're in classrooms taking impossibly difficult tests all the time, it is harder. Years three and four are much, much better. If you keep a positive mindset that this is temporary, it will make it much easier on you and on your husband.
6. Pick up your pom-poms
  • You are the biggest, and most important, cheerleader in your spouse's life. I like to compare medical school to taking a person and tossing them into a washer and dryer. In other words, it can beat you up. Speak words of encouragement to your husband--hell, shout them if you need to! He's looking to you, in the midst of the competitive environment he lives in, to tell him he's the best. He's the greatest. Say it over and over and over. Don't let a day go by that you don't tell him how proud you are of him.
7. Dream together
  • Never stop the dialogue of dreams. "When we're done, and you're some famous doctor, and we don't have to worry about such-and-such..." Keep it coming, girl. It's fun to think about what he's working so damn hard toward: a stable future. A good income. For the most part, they come with the territory. There's a reason he's in there working to death for years. Dream together. My husband and I always get caught up in this fun dialogue. It gives us hope and excitement. Now, we're so excited to have two incomes and be somewhere cool in the country where we've never lived before. We're watching the first part of the dream come to fruition. This is also a great way to remember that medical school is temporary. It does not last forever and ever.
8. Put ear plugs in
  • No, this isn't a tip on what to wear if your exhausted husband is snoring too much. Please, for God's sake, if you don't hear anything else from this blog post, hear this: Don't listen to people who complain and moan about medical life. Don't listen to it. Refuse to listen to it. God has called your husband to a wonderful profession where he gets to literally save lives. With every step of medicine--medical school, residency, fellowship, debt management--you will have WAY more people speaking negativity into your life. Just smile, blow them off, and feel sorry for them. (I want to quote Dr. Seuss so badly right here, but I'm resisting the urge.) 
9. The debt
  • Yeah, most of us are in it (up to our eyeballs). Unless you are one of the very, very lucky people whose parents paid for medical school, you've got debt. PLEASE do not listen to the sermons about debt being sinful being preached by a bunch of people who've never been to medical school. The notion that you should have stockpiled a couple hundred thousand dollars before starting medical school in order to avoid being in sin is ridiculous. And don't let the money hover over your head like a dark cloud. Yeah, it's there. Yeah, you'll be able to pay it off. The end. Be smart with your money and find a system that works for you, but stressing about medical school debt won't get you anywhere.
10. Take a step back
  • Remember, will you, how hard he worked to get to that white coat ceremony. Remember the hours of studying for the MCAT. Remember the difficult classes and the grades that meant a whole, whole lot. Remember all the interviews he traveled to. Remember the applications, the fees, the deadlines, the essays. Remember how hard that man worked to get to day one of medical school. Instead of dreading medical school, let's be appreciative to be here. Instead of being negative, choose to be positive. Instead of focusing on how hard medical school is, focus on how blessed you are to be there.
And who am I? Only a woman who has had two children while my husband was in medical school, started and completed a Master's degree while my husband was in medical school, and has worked for four years to support my family.

In other words, I know damn well what I'm talking about. 

Our marriage is so much stronger now than when we started. Medical school taught us how to pick our battles, how to give each other grace, how to cling to God, how to build each other up, how to manage our money, how to focus on the good. 

And, since I can't resist. . . 

"Congratulations! Today is your day! You're off to great places! You're off and away!" . . . 

"And will you succeed? Yes, you will, indeed! 98 3/4 percent guaranteed! KID, YOU'LL MOVE MOUNTAINS!"

Feeling Dizzy

Friday, April 19, 2013

Life With Two!

Life with two little boys. That's my life now. And I'm loving, loving, loving every second of it.

Is it full of dirty diapers and scraped knees? Early mornings and late nights? Loads of laundry and Hot Wheels all over my living room?

Yes, ma'am.

I have to say, life with two is lots of fun. I love babies. So, when little tiny one wakes up at 5:00 AM hungry, I really do cherish that time. I slip on my robe, tip-toe down the hallway, wrap the two of us up in a warm quilt, and rock him while I nurse him. Love, love, love. Like, can I bottle that please (no pun intended)!?

The toddler is so madly in love with his little brother. He will pull out all the baby's toys and help him play with them. And in the midst of crashing cars and jumping all over the furniture, he'll stop and give him a hug and a kiss.

Life with two is not at all what I imagined it would be. I imagined it would be much harder than it is. Really, having a baby is never easy. If the toddler needs to go to the bathroom, he can go. If he wants a snack, he can grab one. If I tell him it's time to take a nap, he'll go in his room and lie down on his bed. So, of course, having a baby is more demanding.

What can I say? I'm loving my life with two. If you're thinking of having a second baby and all your friends are telling you, "Just wait 'til you have two!" (and they say it in a way that makes you think of Armageddon), just blow them off. :)

It's FUN! :)

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Crock Pot Chicken Teriyaki

Okay, I made this tonight and oh my gosh was it good! I mean. . . new family food staple! I got the "recipe" on Pinterest. Actually, there was no recipe, just a list of the ingredients. So, I had to be a bit inventive (which, honestly, is my favorite thing to be in the kitchen).

To feed two adults, you will need:
  • 2 chicken breasts, cubed
  • 1 can of chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup of soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup of dark brown sugar
  • 3-4 tsp. of minced garlic
  • Rice (whatever kind and whatever amount floats your boat)
1. Place all ingredients (except for the rice) in a lightly-greased crock pot.
2. Cook on high 1 hour, then cook on low 4 hours.
3. Cook rice. 
4. Serve on rice! Enjoy!

My youngest sib stopped by for dinner tonight, and he gave it two thumbs up!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Colors Of Spring

My flower beds are making me so happy right now! My azaleas are about to bloom, my oak leaf hydrangeas are bursting with green, and my flowers are colorful and inviting. I enjoy gardening so much--it brings me a lot of joy and it reminds me how very creative our Creator is!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

A Walk With The Boys

There they are. My boys. My co-adventurers, co-explorers, partners in crime.

I'm in limbo, which probably accounts for the absence on the blog. I'm here right now, enjoying my life. And yet, in a very real way, I feel like I'm not here. My life has begun somewhere else. Somewhere I've never been before. Somewhere far away, in a beautiful place, where those people we'll be eating dinner with in three years and laughing with and having playdates with and going to church with are yet to be met. The house where my boys will run around and come crashing into the table at dinner time has yet to be bought.

And so we're here. Enjoying our time. Enjoying each other. Enjoying that spring has arrived.

Guess what we found today? A roly poly. (I don't like the way that's spelled.) And we named him Pete.

When we were exactly thirty minutes away from the car, the baby woke up and screamed.bloody.murder. the entire way back to the car. But, Mommy and Daddy sure did burn some extra calories. The power walk became a jog.

Here's a pic I snapped before the screaming. I could just eat those rolls up. (Okay, I pretty much do.)

A nice day with my precious fam. I couldn't ask for more. :)