Archive | November, 2014

thanksgiving 2014

28 Nov

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Such a tender mother-daughter Thanksgiving Day moment, “cooking” side by side…mere seconds before Ari abruptly recoiled and screamed, “HOT!!!!!”  Rookie mom mistake: fake cooking too close to a very real (and in action) slow cooker.  As my punishment, Ari quickly squirmed out of my arms, sobbing “DADDYYYYYYYY!” then ran into John’s arms.

Ari recovered quickly.  Things got worse for me.  I pouted to John that she so prefers him to me.  He just shrugged and said, “Yeah, I don’t know why that is.”  Dude, come on!

It occurred to me that Anna In Med School has had some eventful Thanksgivings…

2010 in Sienna

2011, saying goodbye to my childhood home

2012 and the butterball hotline

2013 in Minnesota (coinciding with such a relief!)

It felt good to spend Thanksgiving in our home.  Our friends Jon and Jamie (and their sweet one-month-old daughter!) joined us for a low-key celebration.  I told John last week that I didn’t have it in me to make a turkey, so I made this roast chicken using the slow cooker and experimented with spaghetti squash fritters and a few other paleo-ish recipes from Well Fed and Against All Grain

Thanksgiving selfie attempts:

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In the spirit of the holiday, Ari’s idea of sharing (a.k.a. Give Evie all the things!!!  Snack cup, fake food, old junk mail, etc.)…

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Happy Thanksgiving to you and your loved ones!!  xo




25 Nov


“Tiger!  ROOOOAR!”

10623620_10101513223195387_2170462541438635596_o 10623355_10101513223205367_5987537539653218534_o10547816_10101512965157497_7587558095837284574_oHer love of tigers might rival that of my mother’s, which inspired my dad to have a three-week-old tiger cub pay my mom a visit in our home on one of her last birthdays.

“GÖT!  Poo-poo!”  We also watched goats defecate.  Hard to say which event was more fascinating to our young mind.

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After the zoo, “Neville” (the tiger lovey) didn’t leave her side.  Yes, he is carpooling with Elmo and Ernie in a lawn mower.  There is no other way to travel.

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She’s been tucked away in a covered carseat for most pictures recently, so I wanted to share some evidence that our enthusiastic eater is growing and thriving.

photo 3 photo 4Thanks so much Emilia and Ellen for braving both wind and tantrums to join us this weekend!


in kid news…

21 Nov

John and I brought Ari and Evie in for their double-header well child check-ups on Wednesday.  I was initially going to do the appointments solo, but John was working the PM, so he offered to join…which ended up being incredibly fortuitous.  I threw my back out lifting Evie’s carseat out of the car (I’ve never felt so old: 30 going on 70, I tell ya!), so I’ve been having a rough go of it the last couple days.

Though Evie needed all the typical six-month shots (body armor, I love it, but a little sad in the moment), I was thrilled that Ari could have the flumist (a spray in the nose) instead of the standard flu shot.  Ugh!  We should have elected for the shot.  At the split second, Ari twitched her head, and the syringe must have hit a capillary or something.  Blood everywhere!  My poor toddler was inhaling and swallowing her own blood and completely mystified as to why, why, why this was happening to her.

I (in my mind, smartly) packed a very special treat (a piece of Ari’s favorite chocolate from Trader Joe’s…the one with peanut butter and jelly), and promptly gave it to her for putting up with the ordeal and being a relatively brave little girl.  Unfortunately, it had partially melted-congealed-melted in the diaper bag, so now John was covered in Ari’s blood, melted chocolate, peanut butter, and jelly, and he had about 30 minutes before he needed to leave for work.

It all made for a spectacular scene in our Subaru Forester: John, annoyed at best, floridly pissed at worst about being late and stained and sticky; me, eyes shut and bracing my uncomfortable, crooked body at every turn and bump in the road; Ari and Evie, both asleep so quickly but with faces and hands caked with dried tears and snot and blood and chocolate.

To better moments (captured by Julie):

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20 Nov

Last week was a big one for me.  I got a chance to interview at an exciting and supportive program and, in doing so, took my FIRST trip without dependents since Ari was born.  I felt so light leaving the house without a diaper bag complete with every possible snack (or “special treat”) I could use to bribe Ari into tolerating the carseat.  The five-hour drive felt surreal, and I caught myself periodically checking the backseat mirror for the girls.  I stayed with one of my best friends, and she insisted on sleeping on an air mattress in her dining room so I could sleep in her bed without disruption pre-interview.  Exhaustion overcame interview nerves, and I slept a solid seven hours!

I think the interview went okay, and the day itself was lovely.  Right before hitting the road for the long drive home, I got notice of my first formal rejection.  It stung.  The program that rejected me is, by all measures, excellent, and I would have received fantastic training there.  I have friends there that I respect a great deal, and with whom I would have loved to work.  But, even when first applying, I questioned whether I was a good fit for this program, whether it was a good fit for me.  So I’ve been nursing a wounded pride, but I’m also, oddly, finding myself trusting “the match” process more.  I feel more confident that my family and I will end up where we ought to be.

Just sprinkling some of Julie’s work into the coming posts…

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anna #1

11 Nov

During a go-round at the callback for an a cappella group, I explained that I hoped to create the undergrad major of music therapy.  I didn’t get into the group, but I did make a pretty pivotal relationship.  Anna #1 (as I affectionately called her) was then the assistant music director of the group, with multiple scholarships and achievements in both science and music, impressive at any age, but particularly for a third year undergrad.  I was intrigued when I got an email from her a few weeks after my rejection from the a cappella group and, frankly, pretty floored that she remembered me.

Anna was a premed who had a passion for music.  She envisioned a volunteer group of musicians who bring their talent into the hospital, to provide music at patients’ bedsides, and she wanted me to be a leader in its creation.  Musicians on Call, from my perspective, developed into a success, with hundreds of members each providing many hours of music in the lobby, hospital floors, and the intensive care units.  It branched out to other locations and even other universities.  It continues today.

The funny thing is, I was going to go into music therapy, or maybe to get a higher degree in ethnomusicology.  Yet my own experience playing the cello in the surgical trauma intensive care unit was a significant influence in my decision to pursue medicine as a profession.  Anna was going to be a doctor, and a phenomenal one at that.  I have no doubt that she would have gotten her pick of the top medical schools.  But the heart wants what the heart (and mind?) wants.  Every time someone comments positively on my decision to switch career paths, I think of Anna who, after graduation, decided that she wanted to pursue a career in music therapy.  Given her impressive track record in science at the university and beyond, I think her decision was much more deliberate, provocative, and brave.

I regret that we have lost touch over the years, but I still think of Anna often.  And I appreciate her role in helping me realize my calling in life.  Every now and then I learn of an update from or about her.  It was a tremendous joy to actually HEAR her in the video above.  “Sincere” is the word that first comes to mind when I hear her sing.  The video gave me chills!  Enjoy!


10 Nov

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What color is the grass?


What color is mommy’s dress?


What color are the leaves?


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Got a visit from the big cousins this weekend (and their parents).  Oh my goodness–just like having four uber-attentive full-time babysitters.  Mondays are tough on everyone.

our most recent transition

7 Nov

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When I mentioned our move back into our home in Philly, I didn’t delve into what was next on the docket.  Between the requirements for the Master of Bioethics and those for the research component of the Penn curriculum, I have roughly 80 pages of writing to complete by May 2015.  In addition, when we left for Virginia, we took the kids out of daycare without any solidified childcare plans upon our return.  So for the last two weeks, I’ve been a stay-at-home mom, the first week of which was spent with John in Chicago.  It’s been…an abrupt change for me.

Our babysitting plans for last Thursday, when I had an all-day residency interview, fell through.  I frantically called anyone I could think of and, as a last ditch effort, emailed my med school class.  I got an email back from a student I didn’t know.  She was rejoining our class after completing most of a PhD and having a child herself.  She was in between rotations, available, and happy to show up at my home at 6:30am before my interview.

I remain profoundly grateful.  This instance is not the first time I’ve depended on the kindness of a near stranger, and I had only days prior relied on the generosity of good friends (more than who was mentioned in the linked post) to get our family through a rotation.  As a mother, a med student, simply a member of our species, I have learned how to better ask for and accept help, and I’ve gotten better at resisting protest and just saying “thank you.”

But this hiccup also made me realize that I need to be more proactive (and feel less guilty/stressed) about setting up childcare if I’m going to attend my residency interviews and complete my med school requirements.  I put up a job listing, have been interviewing sitters, and have already made some arrangements.  I initially thought the babysitting time would be largely protected working time, and I hope it develops as such.  But this week, most of the time got sucked up in doctors’ appointments, an MRI (btw, the avascular necrosis of the shoulder is stable, and this time I happily fell asleep in the disturbingly loud machine), and buying a new suit (my sweet grey linen Jackie O skirt suit, which I brought prior to my first real job interview and wore to every med school interview, is on it’s last leg).

I love our lives.  I love the changes and new transitions, and basically that our chosen professions, not to mention our daughters, keep us on our toes.  But sometimes I wonder what it would be like if John and I both had nine-to-fives (do they still exist in other professions?).  Would we have a stronger marriage and happier lives if we slept in the same bed at the same-ish time of day, woke up and had coffee together, tag-teamed the kid duties, came home and had dinner together as a family, shared in the bedtime routines?  Would our kids feel more secure if their routine was more standardized, if they didn’t wake up to a new babysitter they had only met once before (if at all), if they weren’t somewhat often relocated for rotations or interviews?

Ultimately, I think we’re okay.  While the relationships within our family unit and our day-to-day development aren’t strain-free, there is, I hope, strength of heart and character derived from that.  And–who am I kidding?–I’m sure families with the most stability and consistency experience their share of stress.  The other families in our circles simply complain a lot less than I do.

More of these in the coming weeks…while at UVA, we were able to sneak in a family photo shoot with our good friend Julie.  I love seeing our entire family in one frame, and getting a few pictures of the kids laughing that aren’t blurry beyond recognition!