Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Lately

Lists, lists, lists!

I need to stop making lists. But oh! What satisfaction in crossing things off my lists. It's like a little drop of sugar in my bloodstream. A tiny little buzz of happiness when things get crossed off.

BUZZ.

One of my lists I've kept lately has been things to share on this here blog. I keep track in my head, but then I usually forget, and so then I write them down in my planner.... which of course means: I get to cross it off if I share them! Here we go.

Favorite thing of late: The homeless man who stands outside of CVS on Wisconsin and O and asks me "How Y'ALL doing??" every time I walk past. The "y'all" is in reference to me and my baby. (Inside me.) Because I am large and in charge these days, let me tell you what.

Second favorite thing of late: Thomas Sweets. At 38 and 5 days preggo, I can't seem to get enough of the best ice cream in DC. The snow, sub-zero wind chills, and sighs of mild amusement from my husband have done absolutely nothing to stop me.


I'm also very much crushing on this T. Swift mashup of Style and Blank Space. I'M IN LOVE. (Thank you, Jenn.)

In other news, did you know that Meryl Streep was such a babe? I, along with basically everyone, think she is the best actress ever.  I'd like to meet her. Here she is at the Oscars in 1979. (See all of her Oscar appearances here.)


In the world of food (yes, food!!) I wanted to share a fabulous slow-cooker recipe that is perfect for days like what the entire northeast and east coast and Texas and mid-west, and basically everywhere, is currently suffering through. (Snow, freezing temps, gross winter blues.) It's the easiest thing ever to just throw the ingredients in the crock pot and not touch it for hours. It's like magic, ye old crock pot! I have totally neglected mine for years, but it's now experiencing a revival. The recipe is for Chicken Tikka Masala. You can make it spicy or mild, and if I were you, I'd forget the cucumber part... it didn't add anything good. And serve the chicken with a dollop of plain greek yogurt on top. (Btw, the recipes calls for Garam Masala, which I couldn't find at the store. Here's how you can easily make your own with spices you probably already have.)

Ok lastly, another musical interlude for your listening pleasure. This time from Lennon and Maisy of the show Nashville. Listen to their Boom Clap cover.

Thank me later.

Bye!


Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Strawberry Cupcake

I've been chuckling at the people standing in line at Georgetown Cupcake for four years. See here. And if you could see into my head, you would see my "Y'all are all crazy" thoughts harboring just below the surface every time I drive past the long line of people who stand there everyday, rain or shine, waiting for their cupcake fix.

Last week, I suddenly had a change of heart and my general avoidance of Georgetown Cupcake turned into a curious desire to actually set foot (gasp!) into the shop and see for myself what the hysteria levels were like.


So we went. We saw. We tasted. We conquered. We left.

All in all, I don't know what the hype is all about. But my date was looking mighty cute so that was good. The cupcakes were ok. I do think the strawberry cupcake I had was pretty good. Not other worldly -- you have to save that rave review for anything you put into your mouth from Baked and Wired. But the strawberry was pretty good.

Side note: At one point, I suggested "Strawberry" as a possibly middle name for our child. Don't tell anyone that.

Back in October, we found out we were having a baby girl by giving the envelope from the sonogram tech to the barista at Baked and Wired with the instructions of packing a chocolate cupcake if it's a boy, and a strawberry cupcake if it's a girl.



It was a strawberry cupcake. So I guess I've had a thing for them ever since. But we probably shouldn't name our child Strawberry. Maybe a horse? Like Strawberry the horse in Narnia!

One day.


Thursday, February 5, 2015

Thursday Distractions

Because it's Thursday...

And I know you wish it was Friday...

And because these things make me laugh...

And because I really should be doing important things like cleaning my house...

And preparing for the presence of the little human being that is going to be rocking my world soon...

I made you a delicious pizza.



And I am cracking up while watching Marshawn Lynch in this little stint. #skittles

And I am doing some serious LOLing while reading this birth plan. (Disclaimer: this is a tad risqué...)

And I am loving this Instagram account of late. Something about all the little lambs just gets me.

And I can't get enough of this song even though Bruno Mars looks like a beautiful woman in the video. Don't believe me, just watch.

And remember:

"You don't feel in Beast Mode. It feels you."

That's all!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

A Wedding Weekend and Diaper Woes

Last weekend marked the final weekend of travel for Michael and me before the baby arrives. To say we are over the moon about no more traveling would be an understatement. We are over the UNIVERSE... or over something infinitely higher than the moon. Despite this excitement, this past weekend was a super fun way to end this busy season: A wedding! In Charlottesville! Fa la la!

My Nora Bora got married and she made the most gorgeous bride ever. Not to mention it was one of the most beautiful receptions ever, too. Here are a few pictures from the weekend:

Nora's in her tango dress after changing out of her wedding dress. SO HOT. 

The bride and groom post-rehearsal dinner.

Sara will kill me for this pic, but how often are you together and pregnant with a best friend you've known since you were 6!

Las damas

Friends4Life


It was such a special time of seeing dear friends and celebrating Nora and Nathan.

While in Charlottesville, we also had a little celebration for Baby Girl Cat with some of my UVA besties and some of the people who have meant the world to my mom and me for over 30 years. (I am only 29 so these people have known me from the womb. Craaazy.) I received some special little trinkets for the babe, like a beautiful quilt that my friend Tilly made me and a gorgeous handmade sweater and smock dress, and some essentials like diapers and wipes and prosecco.

Prosecco, you question?? Yes! To celebrate once the babe arrives. Of course.

While driving back to DC after the wedding, I kept telling Michael that I smelled alcohol in the car. It was actually quite nice... a little bit of a fruity smell, kind of like apples, only kind of sour. (So maybe not 'quite nice.') I checked the gift bag that we had received from the wedding knowing that tiny bottles of vodka and whiskey where included inside, but they were sealed tight. I then convinced myself that I was probably just smell-hallucinating since the idea of a fruity adult beverage sounds very amazing to me these days. (I've looked into finding out if margaritas can be delivered to one's hospital room at Georgetown.... TBD.)

Anyway, upon arriving at home and unloading the car, Michael found the smell culprit. The prosecco had somehow opened and was slowly leaking.... all over the diapers! To be honest, there really was no better place for it to leak. If something's gonna leak, why not leak all over something that is manufactured for absorbency. Makes sense to me.

And here, in the midst of this little debacle, we learned our first lesson of parenthood: diapers change color when wet. Who knew!?? They have a little built in strip that is clean and light yellow when the diaper is dry. And when wet, the strip turns blue.

And smells like prosecco.



I'm chuckling as I write this. Our life lessons of parenthood started with a bang... followed by some fizz and some fruity smelling diapers. Man oh man, are we in it for the long haul or what. Pray for us....

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Ugandan New Years Greetings

Below is a New Years greeting from my parents' surrogate "son" Julius in Uganda. It really can't be said any better. Why don't we all write like this???



Dear Beloved ones,

With 2014 already languishing in the dustbins of history, I have the pleasure to express my HEARTY CONGRATULATIONS to you all on starting a new year, 2015! Just like any other year, I know 2014 had its own highs and lows, twists and turns...but for me, generally speaking, it's been an incredibly remarkable year! Yeah, 2014, I shall forever and always remember it as the incredible year that I lived one of my fondest dreams - enrolling for the much coveted postgraduate programme, MA (Lit) at University in Kampala, Uganda.

As already indicated, 2014 also had the "not-so-good part," but I wouldn't like to conjure bad memories by mentioning some of its lows. My suggestion, therefore, is that we put to rest its sadness, regrets and painful moments and instead, have a new start, full of vigor, optimism and joy. Remember, 2015 can be a golden opportunity to make up for what we missed (or messed up with) in 2014!

I therefore wish you all, my darlings, a year that is filled with joy, happiness, peace and tranquility: may 2015 be the year that all your dreams, hopes and aspirations come to fulfillment and realization! In short, I heartily wish you all a Happy and Prosperous New Year, 2015!!

Affectionately,
Julius

Thursday, January 1, 2015

2014: A Year in Review

Another year has gone,
I hope it was good to you --
Here's what we did this year,
It's time for the year in review!

2014 started with a bang,
Michael started surgery, you see;
He was really very busy,
but still found time to chat with Grammy Lee.

(Seen here showing Michael how it's done. Grammy Lee used to be a surgical scrub nurse.)



We survived another epic snowstorm,
It seemed to swallow the whole east coast,
Boy, I was ready for some sunshine
On my skin, I love to roast.



But cozy days were nice,
lots of resting and time to snuggle,
Well.... that was the case for me, at least --
Poor Michael, he was a tired puddle!



Spring brought some fun travels -
I went to California for a quick stop.
Paris was also on the list,
but this is about as far as I got:



Mom came to DC for a visit,
The cherry blossoms she hoped to see,
Alas, it rained the WHOLE time,
So instead, she got a lot of.... me!



I love my Bible study girls,
They make my heart so light,
This constant and faithful community,
Makes me sleep so well at night.


This past year brought lots of changes,
Namely a lot of new babies we met,
Our friends sure did produce some cuties,
Just you wait.... there will be more, I bet!



There were also quite a few weddings,
Such sweet celebrations they are,
A fun time to catch up and dance
With friends from both near and far.


It was about this time
That Michael and I celebrated three years,
And lo and behold,
we still love each other to tears!


I do love that man so much,
He is my hunk of burnin' lovin'
Much to our happy surprise,
We learned there's a new bun in the oven!


We had some friend reunions,
Us girls getting together is no fluke,
And Michael went out to Colorado
To hang with his besties from Duke.


And then, the beautiful fall came,
And with that, some rotations away:
A month in Durham and then in Nashville,
They were both lovely places to stay.



With November came a life milestone,
And my age makes me slightly blue,
It was my 10-year high school reunion (Oh my!)
HPHS, to you I'll always be true.


Alas, we've got a baby girl coming,
We're now just waiting on that stork,
Baby Cat was celebrated
Both in Dallas and upstate New York!


In the midst of all this fun,
We've been on the road a LOT
Living out of suitcases gets old,
but residency interviews don't stop!


We spent Thanksgiving with the Cats,
and Christmas in Dallas raiding the fridge,
We also bid farewell to my dear Grandma,
She is now in Heaven playing bridge.

Grandma and me in 1999


Only one more week of travel,
And then we are resting our weary feet,
We can't wait to meet our little peanut,
I'm thinking she's gonna be an athlete :)


March will be here quite soon,
And that means the new baby girl;
Also the news of residency comes,
Gosh - it's going to be a whirl!

So Reader, I bid you farewell,
Do know how much I love you,
2015 is now here --
So 2014, I bid you adieu!

Friday, December 19, 2014

The Wife of a 4th Year Med Student

Back in February, I wrote a post about being the wife of a 3rd year med student. To my surprise, a lot of women with super busy husbands (whether in med school or not) totally identified with what I said. I was reminded of the age old adage: Strength in numbers, yall! In summary, being the wife of a 3rd year med student was the pits. We got through it - praise the Lord - but it certainly wasn't my favorite year of med school.

Fast forward to now. Michael is half-way done with his 4th and final year of med school and we are flying home tomorrow to Dallas for eight days of Christmas puzzles, movies, Blue Bell peppermint ice cream (be still my heart!) and lots of family and friend time. Today, I'm writing from a hotel room in Hershey, PA, the chocolate capital of America, while Michael is currently in the midst of an interview at Penn State. Today is his 14th of 20 residency program interviews.

Repeat: 20 interviews.


Now that Michael is over half way done, I'm feeling much better, but the whole process has been incredibly draining. I've played madam secretary to Michael this fall and helped to schedule interviews, book flights, rental cars, and hotel rooms, and have been his travel companion to eight places.



Wait. Hold the phone. Whyyyyyyy am I talking about myself?!?? Michael is the one who actually has to be on his A-game all day for 20 interviews. He's the one who is working to actually have a JOB next year, while I sit in coffee shops and drive around towns to see if we want to live there, and visit the local bakeries to see if the cookies are any good. (I got a sugar cookie last night here in Hershey that was sub-par. My fault though -- who orders a sugar cookie in the chocolate capital of America?? Rookie mistake.) I'd say my role of travel buddy/ taster of local treats/ real estate agent is far, far easier than sitting through day-long interviews where any number of random questions can get thrown at you. Such as:

If you could eat dinner with anyone, past or present, who would it be and why?

What would you do in this scenario: you have a flat tire...

Why do you want to go into this field of medicine?

Speaking of that, Michael is going into neurosurgery. I don't think I've actually written that here before. Back in the spring, Michael did his general surgery rotation and then had two surgical sub-specialty rotations, one of which was neurosurgery. Previously in the fall, he had done a neurology rotation and found it completely fascinating, so he wanted to see what the surgical side of it would be like. In a nutshell, for Michael, it was love at first sight when he scrubbed into his first neurosurgical case. He came home that day and said he wanted to be a neurosurgeon.

But then came months of going back and forth, much prayer, and much discussion between us about what it would mean to go into that field. Neurosurgery is a 7-year residency, and then Michael may still do a fellowship after that. Neurosurgery means a LOT of days and nights on call. Neurosurgery means a lot of missed weekends, lots of me feeling like a single mom, lots of missed Dad-time, lots of me doing everything around the house on my own, lots of going to church sans a husband, lots of frustration, lots of grace, lots of communication, and lots of sacrifice.

Michael and I talked and talked about this decision and weighed the pros and cons, the possibility of choosing a different specialty, and what the lifestyle would be like for us as we raise babies in a new location. Through our conversations and a ton of prayer, we are moving forward day by day in this decision and trusting that the Lord will carry us through the next several years. More than ever, I know we will need our friends and a good community and church to support us. And I'm hoping that our baby girl on the way will be a breeze of a baby so that moving in late May will be a cinch. (Wishful thinking... I know!) But we do feel at peace about neurosurgery, and I love that Michael LOVES what he will be doing with his life. Nothing is more sexy than a man passionate about his job. Heyy-oh! (Although I think a man passionate about his kids is going to be pretty hot, too.)

Back to being the wife of a 4th year med student. Ok, listen up. Here is the key to getting through this year (at least the fall of this year): FLEXIBILITY. There is no way around it. Life is just different this year. So very different. Michael was doing away rotations for two months this fall and was completely gone from DC. For a lot of students going into surgical subspecialties, they actually do three or more away rotations. This blows my mind -- I cannot imagine Michael being gone for another full month at another program. The day his final away rotation ended in Nashville, we drove to his first residency interview. This was on October 25th, and literally every week since then, Michael has traveled every 2-3 days to get to his interviews. It's INSANE. But it's the norm for this time of year, especially if you are going into a surgical subspecialty. By God's grace, I've had a flexible work schedule and was able to go with Michael on his two months away, and as mentioned above, have been able to accompany him on several of his interviews. In January, we are going on a tour of the Southeast and driving to five interviews in seven days. By all accounts, it is an exhausting process, but having a good attitude seriously helps A LOT. Also, being 7 1/2 months pregnant is making me a tad more fatigued than normal, but I'm grateful to get to keep Michael company on so many of these trips.

Funny story: the picture above is of Michael and I riding the tram at Newark airport. These are the trams reserved for disabled people or senior citizens. During this particular trip, we had to walk about a mile to get to our connecting gate, and the driver took one look at me and said "get in." Yes sir. No complaints from me!

Now, I know that I am in the minority in being a wife who can accompany her husband on these interviews and away rotations. I don't think most people have the work flexibility to do that, or they already have children to take care of, or for any number of reasons just can't go. And that is where flexibility comes even more into the picture. Your husband may be across the country for a month doing an away rotation. This might mean that you have to wake up early or go to bed later to talk to him for 10 minutes on the phone each day. This might mean that it's just going to be a really cruddy and hard month. This might mean that you feel alone and tired and frustrated. This definitely means that you are going to have to show amazing grace and patience toward your husband and toward the whole away rotation/interview process. And this definitely will mean that when he is finally back home, y'all will eat popcorn on the couch, and watch 10 episodes of Friday Night Lights, and be so excited to actually be going to church that you take a selfie with your church in the background.

Red brick steeple

No matter what, I think this season takes a huge amount of trust in the Lord. Trusting that he will give your man the stamina he needs to get through these interviews, trusting that you will be alright as you wait for him to come home from traveling, and trusting that the Lord is preparing a place for you both come Match Day when your man tears open the envelope that tells you where you will be living and working for the next 7+ years of your lives.

No big deal, right?!?

Our baby girl is due March 6th, exactly two weeks before Match Day on March 20th. We are anxiously waiting for these two events with a lot of joy and no small amount of trepidation. I know I have a "God who sees me" (Genesis 16:13) and holds me and Michael in his hands as we wait for so much to unfold, and I am so grateful that he has carried us through this far already. And I've no doubt that it will be the same for you if you are facing many future unknowns.

Ok, time to run -- gotta go find me some chocolate :)

A little glimpse into the future