Monthly Archives: April 2009

Here’s a quarter (or however much it is these days)…

Oh, so many things to choose from today.  Swine flu, high maintenance/obsessive parents…but alas, I’ll save those for a later post.  Today, I have got to get something off of my chest.  Or maybe two things, since I just noticed I have something crusty on my sweatshirt.

Anyway, as many of you know, my husband is currently working his butt off as a medical resident.  For those of you who are not familiar with the “road” to becoming a doctor, let me get you up to speed so you have an idea of where we are in this process.  

First there are four years of college, next four years of medical school, then this lovely place where we are called residency.  These can range anywhere from around 3 to 7 years.  That’s right, this is all after completing four years of college and four years of medical school.  Right now, we are in year 2 of a 3 year residency.  After residency, my husband will start his fellowship, which is another 3 years in which he can specialize.  He is hoping to do Hematology/Oncology.  At any rate, totaling up the years that he has spent working towards this goal of finishing his training, we are talking about 10 years- AFTER COLLEGE!!  

What this means is that while many of our friends started their career jobs just after graduation, we started on this path which some days feels like it goes on forever.  We’ve seen friends buy homes, settle down, enjoy the freedom of two incomes, 60 and under hour work weeks and the like.  I don’t want you to hear that I have any regrets about our path, because I don’t.  We made this decision together and I am 100% behind the process and think that my dear husband will be one of the finest doctors ever.  I just wanted to give you a little bit better idea of what it takes to become a doctor.

Back to the blog title, “Here’s a quarter.”  I continue to find it odd how often people come and complain to me about doctors.  These complaints are not even usually doctor specific, but rather generalized disdain for those who are associated with the profession.  What I don’t understand is how they think I will at all agree, nod along, or listen quietly to their rants.  I am all about hearing a friend share about a hard time or personal experience, but going on and on about how terrible all doctors are…are you freakin’ kidding me?  Three of the men I love and admire most in this world are doctors.  My grandpa, dad and now my husband.  And, they are three of the most honorable, loving, and kind men I know.  They are just, they love their patients, and THEY WORK THEIR BUTTS OFF.  Do I think all doctors are as fabulous as this trio, of course not.  In each and every profession there are the good eggs and the bad eggs.  I just don’t ever see anyone calling all chefs “corrupt” after getting food poisoning from bad sushi.  

What I’m trying to say, as politely as possible, is to take your anti-doctor comments elsewhere.  Unless that is you would like me to make bold sweeping statements about your husband and his colleagues?  If your doctor sucks, get another one.  If you think you are being blown off by your provider, go elsewhere, or reconsider whether your child’s clear drippy nose is really swine flu.  What I can tell you is that I’m done and cannot promise that I will be civil when the next train wrecks in my presence.  So, prepare yourselves, you’ve been warned.

People make mistakes.  And those people include your mechanic, plumber, professors, accountants, hairdresser (you know you are hating your new cut right now), midwife, or cable guy.  Just like them, doctors are people too and unfortunately their job involves more than whether or not you look cute.  They will make mistakes, they are human, not God.  Give them some grace and know that they are trying, and working hard, and learning each day.  No two people are the same and no two doctors are either.  Remember that.  If you end up with one of the bad ones, run like hell.  Educate yourself and assert yourself.  Honestly, it’s okay to shop around and find the provider that is a good fit for you.  It’s expected.  So, don’t settle.

And remember, next time you start to complain, how many mistakes you make at your job everyday.  Thank God you don’t have to be perfect and pray for those who are expected to be.

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I know someday I’ll look back (and what not)

Sometimes when we are out in public, say Applebee’s last week on vacation, I find myself glancing over at other families seated around us with a sense of longing.  These are the families with two little girls, 10 and up, who are sitting together laughing, having a conversation, and eating.  Food is not falling onto the ground, things are not cut incorrectly, sisters are not stealing each other’s food, and things seem pretty harmonious in general.  Yah, yah yah, the teen years and what not, I get it.  BUT, at this point the thought of having children that could handle a meal in harmony where I could focus solely on what to choose and then get to eat it!!??  Wow, that would be pretty fab-tastic.

I guess the problem we all run into during this life is that we continue to look ahead to the next stage, thinking the present is far worse than what is to come.  When we are single, we look to marriage, when we are married we look to having kids, when we have kids we look forward to packing them off to college or helping them find their first apartment!  There is also lots of letting go and dread along the way.  Have you seen my husband’s face at the mere thought of one of the girls actually falling in love and getting married.  Yikes, good thing he has some time to prepare!

Many of these families that I envy, you know with the self sufficient/self cleansing kids, I find looking over at us with the same longing look!  What???  You people are in the promised land, you’re there, are you INSANE?  But no, they really aren’t.  Let’s face it, these years raising small kids are INTENSE (wow, I’m all about the bold words today) and push us to the limit, but they are so short.  They are truly gone in the blink of an eye.  I want to remember that, and know that I will not be able to scoop my girls up in my arms forever.  They won’t want to, and frankly, they won’t fit.

So how do we keep perspective when we are losing our minds?  I joke about it lots, but let’s face it, there are days when we all feel like we can’t do it anymore.  At least I do.  How do I, on those days too, remember the longing looks shot around restaurant tables across the world?  I really want to, because I don’t want to miss out on what’s happening today because I’m so excited about what I think might happen tomorrow.  Even though it’s good, bad, and frankly ugly at times, I want to lap it all up like a voracious dog after a nice long run with a faithful owner.  That thirst, that pleasure, that insatiable desire for more.  The desire for more when I’ve had all I can take of these sweet little one.  I want to drink them in today.

Body After Baby

Yikes, do I dare even bring up this topic?  But alas, I must, because let’s face it ladies, it’s a reality.  I don’t care how much you work out, what you eat, or what type of “procedures” you’ve had done, our bodies are never quite the same after we have babies.  Things move around, disappear, grow in places that were previously uninhabited, and hang.  Yes, stuff definitely hangs.

I find that regardless of who I am talking with, most women deal with insecurities about their body on a daily basis.  Even before we have children, we dread trying on bathing suits, shopping for new bras (at least I did), or stepping on the scale at the doctor’s office.  We suck it up at the beach with a tasteful coverup, use synthetic materials to fill in the gaps under our shirts and flat out lie about our weight.  It’s actually a lot of hard work trying to present this facade of physical perfection and I am totally burned out.  Aren’t you?

As I was “admiring” some of my less loved parts in the mirror the other day (can we say stretch marks, cellulite, stomach skin that droops over the waisteband…) I began to feel a veil of sadness drape over my heart.  I heard that teenage voice inside of me  saying, “Why did you let this happen,” and I began to recount the extra bowls of ice cream, times I didn’t order my latte nonfat (I mean seriously, it’s just not as good) or God forbid I actually ate bread.  I would love to give that teenager within a good slap across the face.  She has no idea, no right to judge, and frankly she’s not who I want to be anymore.

This body was not built to last and I think pregnancy and childbirth is a huge magnifying glass for this truth.  We keep trying to preserve what can never truly be saved.  I’m all about eating healthy food, exercising and not running into oncoming traffic, but in the end my control is limited.  I cannot turn back the clock, undo all damage, or make things perk up.  I will forever live with parts that don’t stay where they are supposed to, grow beyond the boundaries originally intended for their habitat, and varicose veins that frighten small children.  That’s the truth.  What I have to do is find JOY in it all.  I need to muster up the strength to tell all of my imperfections, basically that they are crap.  They don’t matter.  They can go to places where the sun doesn’t shine, etc.  

Let’s face it ladies, we had babies!  We grew another human being inside these broken vessels that we call bodies.  That is AMAZING.  Your boobs totally disappeared too?  Well, they deserve a hiatus after entirely nourishing another human being, don’t you think?  I may look longingly at a photo of myself with breastfeeding cleavage, but hey, those babies were not built to last.  

I just want to offer encouragement to us all as bathing suit season rolls around.  Let’s get out there together, tell each other we look hot, and rock it on the beach with our kids.  So we’re flabby, and wearing tankinis now, who cares.  Let’s wear our “baby wounds” with pride and embrace the gift of being women and mothers.  I know I don’t want to sit on the sidelines in an oversized t-shirt this summer watching only the “hottie” moms swim with their kids.  Do you?  

Join me, I’ll be wearing the slamming checkered tankini I found at Marshalls, and yes, it has a skirt.  It’s a mom suit, and I’m a mom.  And I’m gonna rock it.  See you at the beach!

Riding up front

Did you take family road trips as a kid? We did. Not across country or anything major, but to surrounding states and definitely to the beaches of California. Often my parents would wake us up around 2 or 3 in the morning, and by “wake us up” I mean carry us out to the car, then get us settled in the backseat so that we could sleep for the 6ish hour trip to CA. When we woke up, the sun was shining and the beach was calling. I don’t know how my parents did it! They must have been exhausted. I remember the excitement, the sound and smell of my parents’ thermoses full of coffee (they must have REALLY needed it), and my brother and I snuggled up in the back in our sleeping bags (not illegal back then, mind you). Great memories. There was something so comforting and wonderful about seeing my parents up front and getting to enjoy being the child in back.

Yesterday, as our family of four drove 2 ½ hours for our first family vacation, I turned around to see our two sweet babies asleep in the car and realized once again that I am no longer a child. It’s hard to believe that I am the one up front. There wasn’t a thermos of coffee, but there was a 32 ounce ½ diet ½ regular Coke and the “Daddy” sitting next to me driving was non other than Matt, who I still picture as the goofy guy I fell in love with at 18. Are we really old enough, responsible enough, or at all equipped to be up front?

I began to wonder when it happened. I guess I should have realized that there had been a shift in my role when I gave birth to our first daughter, right? I am reminded every day, all day long that I am in fact a mom. And heck, now we have two little people running around. And yet, there is a huge part of me that still identifies as a daughter, a child. Can anyone relate?

What I’ve started to wonder is whether or not we ever start to picture ourselves as adults, deep in our hearts at our core. I think for most of us, even if we are 99, there is part inside that never grows up. That little voice inside your head (remember the “Wonder Years”), what age would you appropriate to that voice? Mine is definitely no older than 16. I wonder if that will ever change. Heck, I might even internally use the phrase “When I was your age,” and be thinking of it like a teenager. Who knows.

Maybe it isn’t an accident that our hearts remain forever linked to our childhood- to the need to be loved, to be cherished, and to not be the ones who always have to sit “up front.” Maybe God wanted it that way. I think I’m content to remain a “woman-child,” if you will. Responsible enough to pay my takes on time and recycle, but young enough to know I can’t do everything, I still have lots of questions about how things work, and that it’s important to let others guide me at times. This life is such a journey, as cheesy as it sounds. Regardless of the destination, or my seat in the car, I’m going to enjoy the ride.

She didn’t do it all for the cookie

I don’t think I’ve mentioned this yet, but just last week our church launched a pilot Mother’s Day Out program.  VERY exciting for us here on the East Coast where these type of programs do not exist.  So, for the next 8 weeks I will drop off BOTH girls for 4 hours on Wednesdays.  That’s right, did I stutter?  4 HOURS!  I can’t even believe I will have that kind of time on my hands.  AMAZING.  Maybe now I will be able to keep up with my own personal hygiene and what not.

Since the program runs through the lunch hour, I get the task of packing a lunch for both ladies.  Molé is at that ravenous beast stage of eating where if it’s near her, she can pick it up, and it looks like food she will eat it.  Lint, the occasional stray hair ball, trash somehow look appetizing to that one.  BQ is luckily past this phase and eating like a normal person.  She’s actually very easy when it comes to food, so no complaints.

At our house, the rule is that at dinner you can earn a “treat” if you eat well.  Sometimes it’s something really good like ice cream and other times I am the lame mom who gives her kid fruit.  Well, when I packed her lunch this morning I tossed in one of the Gerber banana cookies.  You know, the pasty/no sugar added/dry/maybe if I dipped it in chocolate it might have a chance, kind.  To her, they are the creme de la creme.  We actually have them at our evening “tea parties.”  She’s a big fan.  

Back to the lunch.  So she had a turkey sandwich, apples, pretzel goldfish, the “juice with all the fruits mixed up” (fruit punch, Motts for Tots people don’t get any ideas), mandarin oranges (she’s currently obsessed and says the word in an intensely cute way), and the lone banana cookie in one of those mini snack size ziploc bag (aren’t those WORTHLESS?  i think the only reason they are ever bought is by mistake- that’s why i have a drawer full.  don’t you have some too, mom?)  As the kids finished up lunch, one of the teachers came over to help BQ pack up what she hadn’t eaten.  She was admiring the cookie and then said, “Mommy says I can have a cookie if I eat a good dinner.”  The teacher looked at the virgin turkey sandwich, conquered mandarin oranges and apples, and wondered how to proceed.  Luckily, BQ took the reigns with the following, “Did I eat a good dinner?  I think we should ask mommy,” and then put the cookie back in the bag.  

I know it sounds really trivial, but this was definitely a victory moment for me.  I never know what they are going to do when I’m not there grilling them to say their “nice words,” be respectful, and not speak about certain parts of their anatomy in public.  She could have eaten that cookie, with ease, and yet she chose not to.  As we say in our house, “it’s all about making choices.”  So maybe she’s learning?

Who knows.  I won’t tempt fate by putting M&M’s in there next week- she’s only human, people!  But, resisting a dried up tasteless cookie…what a way to make a statement.

While they were sleeping

You know the days when your kids are driving you nuts?  When you contemplate telling your husband that you are going to run away to some exotic locale, and your return is questionable?  Yah, I have those days too.  

Who knows, maybe it’s my mood, their mood, or our moods put together that causes the explosive results.  Regardless, not all days with our kids are going to be as blissful as a baby wipe’s commercial.  I mean, if they can make the act of wiping look sweet, fresh, and pleasant, is there anything they CAN’T do?  I on the other hand live in the reality where the poop smells, the wipes are all gone from the container, the extra package is way down in the basement, and I’m stuck with a 13 month old who is about to roll around in her own feces.  Do you think I could pitch it to Huggies?

Anyway, I have found something on these crazy days that helps me to regain my sanity.  It is a magical little time of day called “nap time.”  Isn’t there something amazing about little ones when they are asleep?  The serenity and absolute beauty of a sleeping child is incredible.  Each night when we go into the girls’ room to make sure they are covered up and comfy, I am struck by how awesome it is to have them in our home.  Even if the day has been completely horrible, I am refilled with love and passion for these two little people.  What a gift.

Maybe God did that on purpose.  I already think He knew he had to make them cute or non of this would work.  But to give us the sweetness of their sleep on top of it all is truly brilliant.

So, if you’re having one of those days, hang in there and wait for nap time.  And if nap time isn’t happening and that is what is making your day horrible, wait for night time.  At any rate, they will eventually sleep again and when they do, go take a peek.  Breathe them in, pause for a moment, and realize that at the end of the day all is well.  And you, their mommy, are very blessed indeed.

Well, what did you expect?

I hope you’re ready for a return to my usual motherly musings and rants, because that is exactly what you are going to get this morning.  

There is one thing that I have learned during my short three years of mothering, well I guess there are probably other things too, but one in particular that I have tried to remember at all times.  Basically, it’s the reality that we as parents can often set our kids up for failure or success.  Let me explain.

The two main areas where this plays out are in our children’s sleeping and eating habits.  As infants, we control 100% where, when and what they do in these ares.  The eating thing is pretty straight forward until you enter that lovely stage of solid foods.  Most babies though are pretty easy going and we can find at least one fruit or vegetable that they don’t spit back in our faces.  Then, we move on to more table food, etc., and the waters can become a bit murky.  In the sleep category, we bring this little baby home and most of us have no idea how to help promote healthy sleep habits.  It is very easy to get into bad patterns, which we later end up regretting and having to break.  Many parents get into the habit of having their kids skip naps, nap on the go or stay up late, all of which can seem pretty harmless at the time but come back to bite us all in the behind later.

All this to say, I learned early on that sleeping and eating are equally important and if I am allowing either one to go by the wayside, it is my children who ultimately suffer.  Are we going to have a special activity in the evening?  Well, then I need to make space for my children to rest so they won’t be cranky.  Is dinner a long way off?  Then, obviously, I need to provide my kids with a good snack that will keep them going.  Tired and hungry kids…YIKES!! They are miserable and they make us miserable!

Yesterday I helped out with a group of kids ages 15 months to 2.9 years.  It was a blast and they were so much fun.  We had a range of personalities, of course, including the shy one, the clingy one, the chatty one, the eater, the super mellow I’ll do whatever one, and the bouncing off the walls does this kid ever sit/listen/behave one.  The last category was a sweet little boy who I’ll call Larry.  He was 2 1/2 and had lots of energy.  We tried to direct this energy the best ways we could, but it was hard considering we can’t really discipline in this setting.  He was lots of fun, don’t get me wrong, just exhausting.  For lunch, the parents had packed lunches for the kids.  We started pulling them out and then got to Larry’s.  Wanna know what was inside? A big box of juice, Frosted Flakes, those fake cheese crackers that come in a six pack, and Trix brand yogurt.  That was a big “a-ha” moment.

I was thinking that this boy’s mom is probably lamenting on how high energy and wild her son is, because let’s face it, he is!  But, come on lady, is it really any surprise?  If I had a sugar packed lunch like that, I would be bouncing off the walls too!  I am not perfect when it comes to feeding my kids.  They eat pizza, they’ve had chicken nuggets from McDonalds.  But the reality is that we are what we eat and so are our kids.  So if our kid is hyper and we’re saying, “He’s just a boy,” while we hand him a donut, is that really accurate?  Or fair for our child?

Just some food for thought.  I know it’s hard to get our kids to eat good things and sometimes even harder to make them nap, but think of the alternative?  Do you really want to send your kid into a group setting only for her to be labeled the “difficult” child because she had fruit loops for breakfast?  I know I don’t.

So there you go.  And to Larry’s sweet mom, I still wonder, “Well, what DID you expect, hon?”

Rules, Schmules!

I completely understand why we live in a world that needs and insists upon having laws and rules.  Protection, safety, harmony, equality, and much more are upheld when we all “follow directions,” right?  Why is it then that so many rules, when enforced, end up negating the very thing they were made to promote?  

As you all know, our loved ones are adopting an amazing baby boy.  Right now he’s in a clinic being monitored and taken care of before they can bring him home.  Okay, makes sense.  So, the clinic has some extremely rigid rules regarding visiting hours, etc.  I get that this is all to “protect” the babies and for whoever created them, they must make sense.  But, I think they are crap.  Basically, our friends can only see THEIR son for one hour a day four days a week.  Say what?  Yah, it’s crap.  This is a situation where the rule is actually, in so many ways, hurting the baby.  He needs to feel love, to be held, talked to, covered in kisses, and most of all with his mom and dad!!  It seems so simple, so obvious, how could they possibly enforce these lame restrictions.  And yet, they do.  And again, it’s crap.

So, I ask that for those of you who are the praying kind, that you would pray.  Pray that rules would do what they are supposed to do- protect the heart and purpose of what they were originally created for!!  One thing I love about Jesus is that he pretty much said, “rules are crap.”  It’s what is behind them, what is in your heart that matters.  And he was right.  

Let’s pray that these social workers, nurses and other staff would remember that, even if they’re atheists, Jesus got this one right.  Let’s look beyond the “letter of the law” and see the heart, the people above anything, in everything.  

Otherwise let’s face it, it’s crap.

(wow, I said crap a lot in this post.  crap)

I forgot!

Sorry for the delay in updating you all about the wonderful couple and their adoption process.  I am so glad to report that I have happy news!

Since things aren’t completely “official” yet and I’m not sure how public they want to be, I am still not going to reveal their “identity.”  Any-who, it looks like these two are going to be parents of a beautiful baby boy!!  He was born on the 30th, so he is just an itty bitty little man.  They will get to meet him, hold him and love on him for the first time tomorrow.  He is doing well, but unfortunately was exposed to meth, as his birth mother used that and possibly other substances while pregnant.  We are praying that he won’t suffer any long term effects from the exposure.  He is currently in an amazing facility that serves babies suffering from drug withdrawal after birth.  Hopefully he will be discharged soon and they can begin their life together as a family of 3.

So, we are rejoicing and thanking God for this gift of life.  This sweet little boy has a mommy and daddy that will love his socks, or booties at this point, off.  I can’t wait to watch him grow, to see his mother and father flourish as parents, and to bathe him in kisses.  

I’m so reminded of God’s faithfulness and hope you are too.  When life, well, sucks and seems completely “unfair” (though I hate that word), hopeless, or you feel that God has completely forgotten you exist or simply doesn’t care, He hasn’t.  He’s there, even in the small stuff.  And His loves does not fail.  That doesn’t mean things aren’t going to, well, suck.  They will.  He makes no promises and on the contrary tells us that things are going to be pretty freakin’ dark at times.  But have hope, cling to the promise that He will never leave and His loves truly does endure.

Can’t sit still

Can I tell you a secret?  How about this, I’ll keep most of the facts secret, but give you the low down?  That’s fair I think.

Two of my favorite people in the world are in the process of becoming licensed foster parents.  I cannot even begin to explain how amazing they will be and how blessed these children will be to be loved by this amazing couple.  Their ultimate desire is to adopt a child through this process, which excites me to no end!!  

Well right now as I type there is a BIG possibility that they may have a son.  He’s 3 days old and seems like a great fit for their family.  They may know for sure tomorrow whether or not they get to bring this little one home.  WOW.

 I just cleaned out and reorganized my garage- can you tell I’m a bit antsy/excited/anxious/freaking out!!??

Please pray for this situation.  I am confident that God will provide the perfect child at the perfect time.  I, personally, would just like it to be now.  🙂