Archive | December, 2013

like it’s 2013

31 Dec

It’s 11:37, John and I are tucked in to his grandparents’ pull-out sofa bed (we’re visiting Virginia) while our honey takes the guest bedroom…trying to keep our eyes open until the ball drops.  We are the definition of young hip parents.

2013 has been a remarkably full year for our family, and we’re excited to share some more good news tomorrow.  For now just wanted to share a couple final images of this year, kicking back with her boo, her beverage, and some tunes.  2014, you’ve got a tough act to follow; we are ready for ya!

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the sweet spot of step 2

26 Dec

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I cannot believe we’re already past the halfway point of this pregnancy–it feels like the post-first trimester bit has flown by!  Tomorrow should be a pretty great day.  I’m turning 30 (!!) and we have our anatomy scan, where we’ll hopefully see things like four heart chambers, appropriately-sized functioning kidneys, symmetrical hemispheres of the brain, and the much anticipated penis v. vulva.

Considering that I’m not graduating until May 2015, taking step 2 essentially 17 months prior to graduation is early.  In part, I hope I might be able to show improvement in scores from my step 1 performance before applying the residencies (fingers crossed, please!).  But a HUGE motivation was avoiding having to breast pump between sections.  Although Aurelia was already nine months old and I didn’t need to pump all that frequently, it was still stressful during step 1.  For these tests, we are given an hour break to use as we see fit between testing sections.  So, we can take a few minutes between each hour-long testing segment, or we can store up so we can have 30 minutes for lunch.  But something to consider is that the time it takes getting in and out of the testing room eats away at one’s break time.  Many minutes are lost signing in and out, getting your finger printed, having the metal detector scan you, etc.  Fitting in 20 minutes of pumping multiple times can be tricky.  Thanks to Sophie Currier I should have been able to get extra break time for pumping and make it work, but the process of getting approval would have been such a battle that I’d rather avoid it altogether.

What I did not consider were some of joys of pregnancy during the nine-hour test.  I’m not being sarcastic.  I took the test at 18 weeks, a common sweet spot of pregnancy.  By withholding liquids somewhat (I know, I know, purposefully dehydrating oneself is not advised), I avoided having to urinate nonstop.  And instead I got to feel the fairly consistent kicks and nudges of the tenant of my uterus…definitely gave me a little extra encouragement, especially at the end of the day when I was pretty much the last person in the testing center.  I couldn’t help but think back on the words of one of my favorite clerkship site directors: “Oh, to be pregnant!  It’s like having a little friend with you all the time!”

merry & bright

24 Dec

Oh my goodness, that was an unexpected hiatus.  Hello again!  We just got back from a 48-hour trip to NYC to visit one of my brother’s family, my dad and his wife.  We had planned on venturing to Rockefeller Center to see the tree yesterday, but then our sweet one woke up and was WIDE awake at 4am.  We turned on some Elmo Christmas special, packed up, and got out of dodge.  Battling NYC morning traffic in the rain with a 14-month-old wouldn’t have made for great holiday cheer anyway.

Back at home, I think it was around 11:30 and we were all upstairs.  I had just finished changing Aurelia, then I called for John in the next room.  “I just need you to take our daughter for a minute.”  John later said that I looked like I was about to vomit, but instead collapsed on our bed, wrapped all my limbs around the snoogle (only the best invention ever for pregnant women), and proceeded to sleep for the next three hours.

When I woke up in the afternoon, I think that was the first time I felt rested since taking step 2 of the boards, a week and a half ago!  I don’t know what was wrong with me, but it seems to be a trend in medical students, at least many of those with whom I’m close.  Step 2 is the last major test of medical school, nine hours, computer-based multiple choice.  Since it’s clinical and not entirely basic science (like step 1), it is decidedly less painful to study for, though still draining.  Yet I don’t think I’ve ever taken so long to recover from an exam.  I had such high hopes for the last week, getting papers done and the like.  Didn’t happen.  I did clean the house, at least superficially.

There has been a fair bit of celebrating, though–just the right kind of celebrating, in small groups, as I’m not sure I had the energy in the last week for big crowds.  The day after the exam I had brunch with this great friend/inspiration/person-from-whom-I-perpetually-pepper-for-advice at one of my favorite brunch spots, then had a handful of close girlfriends over for mulled cider and grown-up grilled cheese.  One of the highlights of the evening was when Ari WALKED (oh yes, she’s been walking for over two weeks now!!) to Lauren and tumbled her way into a gleeful hug–the kind where she rests a cheek on a shoulder and really wraps her little arms around the neck.  I’m hoping that helped make up for the time when Lauren was generous enough to babysit the then six-month-old Ari while I went to a meeting, and Ari then wailed for the entire two hours I was gone!  My poor, generous friends!

Then there were Longwood Gardens explorations in the snow with Aubrie and Zach…

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She reminds me of that little brother in A Christmas Story, completely entrapped by his one-piece snowsuit and seemingly endless scarf.

Ari and I attended maybe our first one-year-old birthday party, definitely our first crossfit mamas’ cookie swap, and then Eric’s annual Love Actually showing.  Dogs were present at the latter, Ari was in heaven.  She crashed hard and quickly all those evenings.

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And finally our NYC trip–cousins (and family in general) and the toys they’re willing to share/give away are the best!

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Sorry for the very adrenaline-filled post–just trying to squeeze in glimpses of the holiday merriment before the big day.  Cannot believe Christmas is already upon us, and very thankful that Aurelia will be just as pleased with the wrapping paper as anything else.  John’s working today and the 26th, so we’re spending tomorrow just us three at home.  In the 10 years John and I have been together, this will be our first Christmas waking up in our own home!  Tonight we’re going to a friend’s Christmas Eve fondu party and, so conveniently, at the store yesterday at closing time, a clerk thrusted a few huge crusty baguettes for us to take home free of charge.  There are so many things for which we’re thankful this year, far too many to begin to enumerate.  But finally starting to have a community of true friends in the suburbs, that’s certainly up there.  I wouldn’t have been able to think of anyone locally last year who would have considered having us over for Christmas Eve.  Guh!  So happy!!

From our family to yours, a very merry Christmas, and a happy New Year!!

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(slowly) getting into the spirit

9 Dec

In test mode, the stuff of life takes a backseat.  If you’ve ever felt embarrassed by your lifestyle, my current one would help reassure you.  There might still be oatmeal caked onto the kitchen floor from this morning’s (okay yesterday’s) breakfast smash.  Most of my dinner tonight might have been the remnants of daughter’s, eaten directly off the kitchen floor.  Classy?  No.  Efficient?  Absolutely.

But we couldn’t wait to get a tree…we’re just waiting to decorate it until after boards.  So it’s been sitting naked in water in our living room for the last week:

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Here was the runner-up:

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(My friend/neighbor/sister-of-another-mother has a hilarious story about how her dad once ruined Christmas.  The parents had bought a robust fraser fir.  Upon returning home, they thought it would best be displayed propped up on top of a coffee table [don’t ask me why].  Of course, now their tree of generous size could not stand erect without hitting the ceiling.  The patriarch solved this problem by chopping off the top of the tree like the one picture above.  Some individuals might have been quite emotionally affected by this action…)

And Aurelia and I had a small little holiday excursion this Saturday–an attempt to get out of the house for several hours to guarantee John some sleep post-late shift.  The local elementary had a crafts fare, and our good friend was the main attraction of “Breakfast with Frosty.”  I almost wonder if Ari had a sense of the woman behind the snow, because she instantly snuggled into her white fuzzy arms…

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506 left

6 Dec

The q-bank is not as sexy as it sounds.  I’ve blundered my way through about 1712 practice questions this round, with the rest to complete in the next five days, though I don’t have high hopes for work over the weekend (my daughter is pretty great at self-play, but not so great that I can completely ignore her to focus on timed questions–I’m thankful for that!).  This is the reason I haven’t been writing.  The bulk of my recent days is not that bleak, just dull.  It’s a kind of boredom that very few things other than hour upon hour of practice questions can achieve.  No one wants to read about that!  But the end is so close, and I am having a hard time believing that this will be my last test of med school (assuming/hoping I pass)!!

This week has not been without it’s triumphs.  My daughter isn’t walking yet, and to be honest, I’ve been apathetic about it.  It’s just not a milestone that I’ve gotten psyched about.  I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’d like her to walk eventually and will definitely have her evaluated if she’s not comfortable trotting on two feet by 18 months, but we’re cool with the current state of things.  But then this week she started really standing on her own, unsupported, without anything other than her core strength getting her from downward dog to mountain pose.  And I find myself getting excited.  Just in time for her to reach up and smash Christmas ornaments, too.

Instead of her usual hands-and-knees crawl, she’s now bear-crawling (walking on hands and feet) at a dead sprint–awkward, fast, and adorable!

Here’s a sweet moment from this evening.  It’s so difficult to get them on film these days because she definitely has a sense for when the camera’s on her.  But this time I had a reproducible sound that had her in stitches.


1 Dec

We just got home from a festive Thanksgiving weekend just outside Mankato, Minnesota, where Ari got a chance to see grandparents, meet a HUGE amount of family (including another set of great-grandparents), and basically get spoiled non-stop (so many new faces, toys, and foods!).  It was special, though we are certainly happy to be home and thrilled to not have airline travel plans with our daughter anytime soon (our patience and bank account could use the break!).  (I mentioned many times this weekend: poor second child is going to get shafted in terms of travel.)

Some of the highlights were 21 people breaking bread and giving thanks together around a massively long table, Ari reading book after book with her great-grandfather (rather, him reading them to her, at least for now), and the antics of a dog named Buddy.  The low point was definitely the food poisoning.  I didn’t know my body could produced so much bile so quickly.  In all seriousness, though, it happens to all of us at some point or another, and I am ridiculously thankful that it happened while I was in a comfortable home with grandparents who were more than happy to take care of my child while I lay curled around the toilet.  It could have been so much worse.

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Unfortunately, due to illness and studying, I got close to no pictures over the weekend, so below are snapshots of our few glimpses of peace on the travel home.  The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no screen time before the age of two years, but I kind of feel like on an airplane, when it’s nap time and your toddler is practically pulling her hair out being constrained on your lap, most anything goes.  Is 15 minutes of “Ten Little Numbers” on repeat to get her to sleep really going to do any lasting damage?  (If so, please let me know!)

photo 2 (8) photo 1 (10)photo 2 (9) photo (80)Aurelia’s brief slumber gave me a chance to skim the Obstetrics chapter in USMLE Step 2 Secrets, which I sorely needed.  How pathetic is it that I’m doing the worst on the OB questions in my step 2 q-bank?  I missed a question on prenatal testing yesterday…I mean, aren’t I in the middle of all that, for the second time?!  Maybe I’m exercising some defense mechanism by not learning too much about what I’m experiencing on the patient side of things…the opposite of intellectualization; maybe thought suppression?  (You’d never know I was scoring better on the psych questions…)