Big Changes

Friday sure was a big day for us! It was match day and I found out I got my first choice!! We will be moving to Colorado in about 2 months. And if that wasn’t exciting enough…we accepted an offer on our house that afternoon! The inspection and appraisal still have to be OK before anything is finalized, but it looks like all the cards are falling into place.  It will be bittersweet to say goodbye to our first home, especially with how much work we put into it. But the person who purchased it is young and will hopefully have many years of  memories in our updated home.

We couldn’t be happier to try out a new area with milder weather and more outdoor activities than we can begin to count. People keep asking if we will stay there or come back. At this point, we aren’t sure and are planning to keep our options open. If we love CO, we will stay there. If we miss WI, we’ll be heading back this way in 3 years. Until then, we will just enjoy the wonderful opportunities that have come our way.

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Long Overdue Update

Wow – I can’t believe I haven’t posted for over 6 months! Where has the time gone? Oh yeah, being a mom, wife, and 4th year medical student. I have so much to update but I’ll keep it as short as possible.

Motherhood

Let me start by saying Eli is absolutely amazing and I truly love being a mom (most days). This wasn’t the case at the beginning and now I am realizing that I’m not alone in that feeling. I didn’t cry when Eli was born or feel an overwhelming sense of love for him the second I saw his face. Don’t get me wrong, I loved him and he was beautiful, but it wasn’t much different than what I felt when I saw another friend’s beautiful new baby. I wondered when this would change and honestly, it was probably around 3 or 4 months when he really started to be interactive. The first few months were OK. I was tired from never sleeping more than 2 hours at a stretch, but I was getting the hang of things. I really wanted to go back to work and thought about starting back a few weeks early. I missed the mental stimulation of medical school rotations and needed a break from baby. I decided to hang in there and went back after 10 weeks, as originally planned. Going back was the best thing for our relationship. It made me realize how much I did love him and left me looking forward to our evenings together.

As the weeks passed by I became amazed at how much he changed. By 3-4 months he was sitting up in a bumbo and grabbing at our food and trying to feed himself. We decided to let him taste a few things around 4 months, even though I originally planned to wait until 6 months. He was developmentally ready, so I reminded myself that books and recommendations are guidelines that need to be tailored to the child, not the other way around. By 5 month he was sitting up unassisted and loving his food feeder. He was babbling up a storm and really turning into a little boy. He took his first flight at 5 months and did OK. By 6 months he was trying to stand on his own (while holding something) and really started to love his solids. By 7 months he was able to pull himself up to stand and was trying to figure out the whole crawling thing (thankfully he hasn’t figured it out yet!). He officially loved food by this point – a lot – and figured out chewing, despite having no teeth yet. He will be 8 months in a few days and it looks like crawling will likely happen in the next few weeks -eek!

He is one of the happiest babies I have ever met and I am so incredibly in love with him. We were able to spend a lot of time together these past few months because I am wrapping up rotations and have some time off. I am so grateful for our time together! Looking back, I’d rather have started back at work after 6 weeks if it meant I could have 4 more weeks with him now. He finished day care in December and has been home with me, my mom, or J over the past few months. J is going to be a stay-at-home dad starting in April and is so excited about it. He knows it won’t be a walk in the park, but he is looking forward to really getting to bond with Eli.

 

Med School

I am so grateful I finished my board exam before Eli was born, because baby brain is for real. Sleep deprivation does some crazy things – one thing in particular is loss of word-finding ability. I can’t begin to count the number of times I couldn’t think of simple, everyday words. Going back to work was an adjustment – if I couldn’t think of the word cardboard how was I going to take care of sick patients with pneumonia?? After a few weeks I got back into the swing of things and it started to improve. Even now I still have trouble recalling things, but I just look it up and study  harder. Thankfully the year is wrapping up and I haven’t had many tests. In fact, I just finished my last exam of medical school and only have one 4 week rotation left (for the month of April)! Where has the last 4 years gone??

After med school there is this thing called residency. It’s sorta a big deal. Most of 4th year is spent applying and interviewing for residency. I have decided to go into family medicine with the intention of practicing full spectrum FM (outpatient, inpatient, and deliveries – you know, the way all doctors used to be). These jobs are a little hard to find, which means the residencies are also hard to find. I had specific criteria for what I was looking or and ended up interviewing at 9 programs in Wisconsin and Colorado. I have found my dream program and next week (March 20th) I will find out if they liked me as much as I liked them. The way residency match works is I rank the programs I like and the programs rank all the people they like. Then this fancy computer program looks at all of the lists across the world and puts you in your best possible match. On March 20th, I will open a white envelope at 11am and find out where I will spend the next 3 years. It’s pretty exciting and I can’t wait to find out!

 

Other Stuff

I have been spending too much time on facebook. I justify it by saying that I am showing family members pictures of Eli, when really I’m just wasting time I don’t have to waste (which has to come from somewhere, so it probably comes from more important things like sleep, exercise, and family). So, I am thinking about giving up the facebook thing all together and just updating this blog more often. We’ll see if that happens. If it does, you all have lots of cute baby pictures to look forward to 🙂 Here’s a great one to tide you over:

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Meet the newest addition to our family!

7.20.14Elijah James was born on July 17th at 6:13pm. He was 6 pounds 7 ounces and 18.75″ long.  He was 2 weeks early, but that was when he decided he was ready to come. My water broke at 9 am that morning, while I was at work. Note to all pregnant women – be sure to wear black pants to work when your due date is approaching!

The labor and deliver went smoothly. Honestly, I would do 10 deliveries over 1 pregnancy. I am positive that being physically fit played a role in this. Little Elijah did have a triple nuchal cord, which is very rare (0.5% of all births), but thankfully there were not complications from this after he was given some oxygen.

I’m nursing and was very lucky that my milk came in by day 2. He latched on his first attempt after birth, which is also very lucky. He’s a natural 🙂 We went home after 36 hours and quickly began adjusting the new routine (well, lack there of).  Bailey didn’t realize there was a new addition, but Bandit noticed right away. The first day he was extremely jealous and gave us the cold shoulder. Then he realized if he warmed up to Elijah, he’d get more attention to. Now he sleeps under Elijah’s cradle and tries to sit on my lap when I nurse. I think they will become best buds in a few months.

During his first week home we had his newborn pictures taken. They turned out great. Feel free to take a look here.

He is now 2 weeks old and has been doing great. He had some issues with gas that made him extremely fussy. I thought he was in a lot of pain, but it turns out that he was likely just frustrated that he couldn’t get the gas out. He has been starting to do much better with this.

At his 2 week appointment he had already gained 1 pound from his birth weight! In case you aren’t familiar with baby weight gain goals here is a summary – all babies lose some weight in the hospital b/c the mom’s milk isn’t in yet. Elijah was down to 6 pounds 2 ounces at discharge. Two days later babies go in for a weight and color check (to see if they are jaundiced) with the goal of <10% total weight loss from birth. Our little eating machine had actually gained 1/2 ounce from his discharge weight, so he was on the right track. At the 2 week appointment the goal is to be back to birth weight. Elijah is already an overachiever and decided to gain not only 5 ounces, but an addition 16 ounces…in just 10 days. Needless to say I feel that all I am doing is nursing and changing dirty diapers, haha.

Surprisingly, I have been adjusting well to the lack of sleep. I get 1-2 hours at a time during the night. I usually get 3-4 of these naps in so it is  total of 5-6 hours per night. I usually am pretty awake all day but occasionally take a nap sometime after 3pm when I start to crash. So far so good, but I am sure this will start to wear on me. Let’s hope he is one of those magical babies that sleeps through the night after a month or two.

 

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I never had a chance to post my 3rd trimester bump pictures, so here they are:

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Week 28

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Week 29

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Week 37 – mowing the lawn with the Reel Mower!

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Week 37.5

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Week 38

2nd Trimester Update

Second trimester has come and gone…2 weeks ago already! I have been busier than ever (hence the lack of posts), but have been feeling well. Around 20 weeks the nausea ended – yes! and then returned – no 😦 and then left for the most part – I’ll take it. Around week 20 we also found out that we will be having a little boy! We don’t have the name officially picked yet, but we have a few in mind. We are keeping them a secret and will decide once we see him.

During 2nd trimester I finished up my stent in family medicine, completed my internal medicine rotation, and started my general surgery rotation. I went from being 99% sure I’d do ob/gyn to considering family medicine to loving internal medicine. Right now I am pretty sure I’ll end up as a hospitalist after doing an internal medicine residency. However, there is still hope for family medicine – I have 4 weeks of family medicine coming up at the end of June, during which time I am hoping I’ll make my final decision. While I loved ob/gyn during the rotation, I think it was just the first rotation that got me excited about being a doctor and not actually what I want to do forever. I am in the middle of my surgery rotation and while it is fun and interesting, I don’t think I want to be a surgeon, so it has  made ob/gyn less of desire as well. But, things can change and we’ll see what the next few months bring. I have 4 weeks of surgery left (cardiothoracic and plastic surgery) followed by 4 weeks for family medicine and hopefully 2 weeks off before baby comes. In the next month I have 2 big clinical exams (i.e. standardized patients) and 2 big multiple choice exams (surgery shelf and step 2 CK board exam). I am not sure how I’ll do it, but I’ve realized not worrying about that part makes it much easier – it will all work out in the end and I’ll do what I need to do to get there. The best part – when baby comes I can spend all of my time with him 🙂 and hopefully it will make the transition to parenthood a little easier.

So, on to the pictures. At the start of 2nd trimester I thought I was HUGE. Then each week passed and I realized how much huger I was becoming. Looking back it  makes me laugh to see what I thought was “such a big bump” at the time. Take a look to see how much he has grown:

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Week 14

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Week 17

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Week 18 – Before we visited the ice caves!

Week 19

Week 19

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Week 20 – It’s a boy!!

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Week 21 – my first maternity outfit!

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Week 22 – Go Badgers!!

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Week 23 – WMS Annual Meeting and Presidential Scholar Awards Banquet

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Week 24

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Week 25

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Week 26 – Internal medicine shelf exam day

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Week 27

Tangled Twigs and Twine

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In the midst of the craziness called life, I have taken up a new hobby. I should probably be studying to figure out how to save people’s lives, but instead, I am crafting. I guess even doctors need to take breaks once and a while.

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For Christmas I made wire wrapped necklaces for a number of my friends any family. I was surprised how impressed they were with my “skills” and was told by a few I should consider selling them. I had a free weekend, brainstormed my plan, and decided to give it a try. And with that, Tangled Twigs and Twine was born.

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The necklaces are all handmade by me – not someone I pay or someone overseas.

They are bird nests of beads wrapped in wire.

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They come with 3 different size beads, with the final product measuring just under 1″ to about 1 1/4.”

They are sold with or without an 18″ 1mm chain.

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My most favorite part of all is the packaging. The paper mache box is hand stamped with the cutest birds on a twig. The box is filled with “nest” material for the necklace to rest on. I hope you love them as much as I do. Please head over to my shop and take a look!

Out with the Old, In with the New [Year]

I know, I know…..I’ve been a horrible blogger the last few months. Things have been so busy and blogging has been the last thing on my mind. I am living back home now (yeah!!) and spend my free time crafting and hanging out with J. The holidays added to the craziness, but now it’s a new year and it’s time to start fresh. No promises on how frequently I’ll post, but I do promise I’ll give it a valiant effort.

So what have I been up to? Here are just a few things:

School
I didn’t mention much about my first few rotations, so I’ll add a little about them here. First, I did a research elective in quality improvement and obesity research at the local Family Medicine residency clinic. It was a lot of fun and we made some great progress. We were awarded a grant to expand the project throughout this year, which was very exciting! My 2nd rotation took me to Milwaukee to practice psychiatry. It was a pretty fun rotation and I enjoyed the content, but it isn’t the specialty for me. My 3rd rotation brought my back to Madison where I did neurology. I loved neurology, especially the 2 weeks of inpatient stroke service I did. Neurologists always ask, “where is the lesion?” I love puzzles, which is what that felt like. Not, what caused this or what is the diagnosis, but where is the lesion – find that you then you can figure out the rest. Despite my interest, my exam was far from stellar (thank goodness for clinical grades). It is still on my possible specialty lists, but just not #1 now.

From the end of Sept through the rest of 3rd year, my rotations are a 40 min drive or less from our home (pending snow….). This has been such a blessing! My first rotation back home was OB/GYN. Going into the rotation I didn’t think it would be for me, but after a few weeks it really started to feel like a good fit. I loved the variety – surgical cases at 7 or 7:30 am, patients from 9/10 – 5, deliveries throughout the day, and a few 24-hour call shifts a month. I loved that the patients were a nice mix of young and healthy women for primary care, mothers-to-be, and older women with GYN concerns. OB/GYN seems like the perfect mix of primary care, specialty care, and procedures (in office, surgical, and deliveries). It would be a perfect fit for my nutrition background and would still allow me to practice preventive medicine. Newer studies are showing that the prime time to make a difference in childhood obesity prevention is with mothers looking to lose baby weight right after birth. They are the most motivated and they make the majority of food decisions in the household. If you can help them lose weight healthfully, they are more likely to continue those habits with their family into the future. They surgeries are great because they have a focused area of anatomy and rarely last more then 90 minutes. Many are minimally invasive and your patients go home the same day. Generally, women are very grateful for what you do as an OB/GYN – you bring their beautiful new baby into the world, catch and stop their cervical dysplasia before it becomes cancer, help them when things go south “down there” after 3 deliveries, and so much more. It seems like it would be a very rewarding field. So what’s the catch, right? The hours. My rotation site had amazing hours – four 10 hour days a week and only three 24-hour call shifts a month. I don’t think this is common in most practices. When I read about the specialty, most OB residents are described as crabby and miserable because of the hours. I am going to need to think long and hard about my ability to wake up at any hour to deliver a baby, or about my ability to stay awake for a 36+ hours straight on call nights.

After OB/GYN I had pediatrics. Not my cup of tea. I loved the kids, but the work itself just wasn’t for me. I won’t bore you with the details, but this has put a kink in my plans. I originally thought I’d be a family practice doctor. Well they see a lot of kids and if I don’t like peds, it probably isn’t going to work out well. Another downfall is that FM doesn’t do OB/GYN anymore. In theory and training they can, but in reality they don’t (at least not in WI). That being said,  my next rotation (which starts next Monday) is in Family Medicine and I am going to approach it with an open mind. After FM I have internal medicine and Surgery. And then 3rd year is done! It is crazy how fast the time is flying by. I need to pick my specialty in the next few months, so there will be more to come 🙂

House Projects
Finally, the house projects have settled. Last year we remodeled the entire kitchen (pictures here) and I had a number of building and decorating projects. We also had new flooring installed. At this point, all that is left is to sand and paint one last pocket door that has been out of sight and out of mind. We would like to remodel the basement to add to the resale value, but are torn about whether it is worth the cost. It is up in the air for now.

Life
We recently took a trip to Washington DC, which was a ton of fun. We had never been there before, but were pleasantly surprised with how clean the city was and how easy it was to get around. We went right after Christmas and were a little worried about the weather but it turned out great. On our anniversary we had a balmy 55 degrees and sunny day. Two days later in WI the high was -2. Ick.

Crafting
I have been spending way too much time on pinterest. Everyone got some type of crafted gift from me this year. There was jewelry, canned watermelon syrup, knit wool hats, sewn fabric flower barrettes, knit infinity scarves, decorated burlap wreaths, and a knit santa hat for Bailey. I posted a few pictures here if you’d like to take a look. Unfortunately I didn’t think to take a picture of each item before I gifted it, so I will need to take some of them in their new homes and update later.

Pets
Bailey continues to age but is generally doing well. Her vision is quite bad and she gets confused sometimes (which usually results in hours of licking a pillow for no reason). She is still a happy dog and the vet said she sounds great, so she will have a number of good years left. Bandit is back to his mischievous self. He loved the Christmas tree (as always). I got one of his favorite toys out of storage and he has been going crazy with it. Here’s a video of him playing fetch (yes fetch, like a dog). If you like that, here’s a video from last year of him doing flips with his fish toy (similar to the toy he fetches) and here’s a video of him flipping onto my computer chair.

All in all, 2013 was a great year. We ate great, local food from our CSA and grass-fed cow. We finally figured out how to deal with the distance and then were able to live together again. We were productive (if you know me, that this is really probably what I wanted to put first b/c I’m kind of obsessed with productivity). I am looking forward to all of the good times to come in 2014 and hope my blogging itch continues so I can share them here as well.

Pinterest Post Update

After some thought, I’ve decided to turn off the auto-send “recipes” from IFFTT – this is the cool tool that would send my pins from Pinterest to this blog automatically. While it is a super cool feature, I pin way too much and any “real” posts I do get lost in the mix. With that, I wanted to share my Pinterest boards with you all – feel free to follow me 🙂

Appetizers

Breads

Brunch and Breakfast

Gluten/Grain-Free

Made from Scratch

Meals

Tasty Treats

Snacks

 

Moving Forward

Last Friday I finished my 2nd year of medical school. After the exam, I was expecting to feel more excited than I’ve been in a while. What I actually felt – absolutely nothing. It is a strange thing to explain. A few of my friends and I went out for a celebratory beer and while walking we were pretty quiet. Yes, we were excited, but we were also in disbelief that two years came and went right before our eyes. Two years – think about how much a child grows and develops in just two years. It is amazing to think we are here now, about to start clinical rotations (well, after that little thing called boards).

Now that I have had a few days for it to sink in, the excitement is starting to grow. I moved out of my apartment at school and have moved back home with my husband (yeah!) to study for the next month. At the end of June I take one of the hardest exams of my life – USMLE Step One.

The medical school has graciously given me 8 months of rotations within driving distance from home, which means I won’t need to have two addresses and two monthly housing payments. This also means I will (hopefully) be able to get back to making regular meals and (maybe) blogging with pictures of what we eat…I am really, really going to try to do the latter. In the past it has been hard for me to remember to take pictures before rush into eating and move on to the next thing on the “To-Do” list. I am going to try my darndest to make sure I post original content more often. While I am sure you all love the pinterest ideas as much as I do, the original purpose of this blog is for me to share my recipes, advice, and life.

For today, I am going to share our menu plan for the week. We basically eat the same thing every day for breakfast, lunch, and snack, so dinner is where the menu planning comes in. Here is what I have in store for J this week:

Week of 5/19/13

Sunday and Monday
Traditional Hamburger Helper with Green Beans
(I will probably add a bunch of vegetables into the hamburger helper mix – I am thinking zucchini and green peppers for sure. I will also probably add some portabella mushrooms so I can cut back on the pasta)

Tuesday and Wednesday
Baked Salmon with Avocado-Mango Salsa and Caprese Corn Salad

Thursday and Friday
Honey-Lime Chicken Skewers with Grilled Asparagus and Chili-Orange Quinoa Spring Rolls