Monday, September 30, 2013

Wacky Wild Wichita Style

Ok, I don't know if Wichita qualifies as either wacky or weird. But I haven't been here long enough to pass judgement on wonderful, though we've certainly enjoyed our first 36 hours or so, and alliteration seems appealing since I've only had 1/3 cup of coffee.

Anyway . . . we're in Wichita, safe and sound.

The drive was looooong, but uneventful. We made it out of town Friday afternoon to shave a few hours off, and hit the road again before the crack of dawn on Saturday. This was I-40 before we stopped for breakfast:

Sunrise over the horizon

Then, when I wasn't driving and listening to a John Grisham (I even had Charles interested in this one -- win!), I had this view:

Then, finally, this was out the rear window as we drove across Kansas:

Driving at sunrise and sunset. (Not) awesome.

But, like I say, we made it safe and sound. Yesterday, we were able to sleep late (Clare still seems to be on MST), go to a lunchtime Mass, and do a little exploring (and grocery shopping). Overall, we've liked the little bit of Wichita we've seen (and the house, which belongs to some friends, is wonderful!). Today, Charles is on Day 1 of his rotation, and we are awfully excited about it. So far, so good.

Group selfies by the river

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Friday, September 27, 2013

7 Quick Takes, Vol. 37

Joining Jen et al. I think I can actually make these quick. Aaaaaand go.

1. I should be packing or doing something productive to get ready for the trip to Wichita, buuuuut. I'm going to do this first. In my defense, I have most stuff ready to go. It's just taking a shower and getting last minute stuff ready spaghetti to go. I've gotten pretty good at that this summer.

2. I'm not, not, not looking forward to the drive. Being in Wichita, 4 weeks. Got it. We're gonna rock it. It will fly. Never thought I would look forward to going to Wichita. But getting there? Not so much.

3. I owe lots of thank yous for congratulations and well wishes after my little announcement this week!! We're so happy and excited!

4. Here are some more outtakes from our failed photoshoot. Usually Clare will point at my tummy when you ask her were the baby is, but put a camera in front of her and . . . no go. She will not perform for an audience. Ever ever never.

5. Yesterday was the first day Clare showed more interest in walking than crawling. We're hoping the trend continues. She's also getting up and down from the couch like it's her job. And hasn't gotten injured yet. We consider that a win.

6. My amazing brother-in-law (well, both of my brothers-in-law are amazing, but this is Charles' brother) sent me a box of Harry & David peaches for my birthday that arrived the other day. I have been gorging us all on amazing peachy goodness. So much yumminess!!! Feeling spoiled.

7. Keeping it all in perspective: an old friend from junior high/high school/family friend just got a rough diagnosis for his son who is just a few weeks younger than Clare. The family can use all the prayers they can get, if you will oblige.

One half-watched episode of Bubble Guppies and done!! Not bad!

Have a lovely weekend!

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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

5 Favorites, Vol. 18 (or why I've been a bad blogger)

Yeah, I know I've made a few excuses before, but . . . linking with Hallie and the rest to share my absolute most favoritest things on a wonderful Wednesday.

1. This photo shoot gone terribly wrong:


Not quite

Still no

The shot I wanted . . . wrong parent

2. And this shot:

All bloat and chub, I swear

3. Yep, Lil Bean #2 is expected to arrive sometime on or around April 5, 2014. I'm 12 weeks and however many days. I'm doing well, as long as I have an adequate number of carbs ingested on any given day, particularly in the pre-noon hours. Baby is doing fine and has a nice strong heartbeat. And hearing your own baby's heartbeat, especially for the first time, is one of my favorites of all time.

4. Another real fav -- don't hate me! -- I don't get much in the way of morning sickness. I've never thrown up from it. The worst I've faced is nausea, largely caused by my stomach deciding this or that food is no longer an acceptable option. Carbs are safe, so carbs win. Often. Plus some strange milk cravings?!? And there's been plenty of exhaustion, compounded by life with a crazy climbing toddler-ish person.

5. So the real reason I've been a bad blogger has been the combination of first trimester exhaustion, first trimester stomach finicky-ness and feeling like I wasn't ready to write about a huge part of my life right now. Since everything seems to be good to go, watch out world . . . crazy pregnant blogger lady is on the loose! Definitely a favorite. :)

Happy Wednesday!!

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Tuesday, September 24, 2013

I Don't Whine Well

I'm not good at whining. I'm not writing this as some sort of blog-wars crown of nonsense. I've said before I love lots of blogs out there -- some whiny, some picture-perfect. I like honesty and realness, whatever that is to you. And for me, that's not whining. I have never been much of a complainer. Even when something is off, I'm more likely to mention it as fact than a "woe be unto me" kinda thing.

All of that is to remark on how much lame, embarrassing whining there was in yesterday's post. Believe it or not, I edited it heavily and tried to make it neatly tied up in a less-whiny bow, but . . . whiny nonetheless.

Apropos of nothing -- Clare and her puppies (and Daddy)

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Monday, September 23, 2013

On Houses and Homes

Over the course of 8 weeks this summer, we lived in two short-term, furnished rentals. We were blessed to find them both via Craigslist. True story. We had a good house with a bad landlord and a bad house with a good landlord. It has given me some time to reflect on things that really make a house a home.

First, some long-promised notes on things the whackadoo crazy landlord who drove me batty in St. Louis. These are the most memorable:
  • She would come over without warning. Or calling from the driveway telling us that she was about to enter.
  • She was so afraid of something happening to her wood floors or 40-year-old furniture that we were paranoid about doing something to them. As a result, we could never fully relax. 
  • She was afraid of soap scum on her bathroom tile, so asked us to only use health-store soap. I'm not faulting anyone who chooses natural health and beauty products. I am saying it's a personal decision, and if I want to use soap, I'm gonna use soap. And we did.
  • She decided to strip the basement floors without any warning whatsoever. So Clare and I spent a morning breathing noxious fumes, listening to loud, scary (for Clare) noises, trapped in Clare's bedroom (because, of course, Charles drove to work that day, so I didn't have a car so we could escape). 
  • She came over a couple of times to show the house to potential future renters, which was totally fine. The first time, she called in advance (!!!!) and we got the house cleaned up and the baby chaos toys contained. The second time, she called as we were sitting down to dinner. We ate a cold meal that evening, because we have enough dignity to not want her showing her house strewn with toys, dirty dishes (from, you know, cooking said dinner), etc.
  • She openly admitted to some sketchy things she does to go around the occupancy codes. That left us unimpressed, but at least it didn't affect us, so we didn't feel the need to make waves.
Babies, furniture, and food . . . oh my!

And some things that have made the Denver house less-than-ideal:

  • No central air conditioning -- Do I love living in a place where "hot" is over 100 and "really hot" is over 110? Not particularly. I dread the first triple-digit day with the best of 'em and watch eagerly for the last one. Then for the last 90 degree day of the calendar year -- hopefully in October, but too often in November. What makes it all tolerable, though? Central air.
  • Stuff. Everywhere.
  • No washer-dryer -- It has been years since I have had to go very far to get to my very own washer-dryer. Did I take that for granted quite often? Heeeeeck yes. Did I appreciate the h-e-double-hockey-sticks out of it when Clare was spitting up hourly? Double h-e-hockey . . .  yes, yes, I did. But did I realize how many little tiny perks come from having your own laundry tools at your disposal until I had to make multiple trips to the laundromat each week to keep us all in clean underwear. No, no, no. I was happy, very happy, to have my washer back.
  • Split-levels -- it don't know that it would be that big of a deal if this was our place and we could thoughtfully employ baby gates, or if it was not such an attractive nuisance for her, but as it is, I spent four weeks hawk watching to make sure Clare didn't hurl herself down stairs or whatnot.
  • The plumbing drama -- somehow, it turned into my problem, and I was not invested beyond the inconvenience of brushing my teeth in the kitchen. Plus, had it been my problem, I'd have been less picky about the particular plumber in the interest of getting the job taken care of and more interested in simply getting the job done. At least I can happily report that it was taken care of.
  • Not having separate spaces for Clare and us -- It was a real challenge not having a safe place for Clare to play that didn't double as our space. Finding creative ways to keep things out of her ever-expanding reach kept us on our toes.
Beyond that door? A foot-wide ledge and several step high drop off.

So, with those things in mind, what makes a house a home? I've had this sitting in draft for, literally, over a month trying to answer that question articulately. And it left me doing a lot of soul-searching. One thing that kept creeping into my head was, "Home is where the heart it." If my heart is in my spiffy kitchen gadgets, fancy couch or king-sized bed, there's something wrong. My heart is with my family, and they were with me the whole time.

We have been so blessed to have places to stay the whole time we were on the road, and even more blessed to have plenty of space in those houses. In many ways, I think I've been blessed with the gift of perspective, a new way of seeing and appreciating all that I do have.

That said, coming home to our space was such a breath of fresh air. We have relished in a renewed way our stuff, our autonomy, and the comfort of our own space. And I think this perspective will carry me far in Wichita. I'm excited to embrace the real truth, which is that, at the end of the day, we have each other. We have food and shelter and our health.

Where my heart really is.

The rest is gravy.

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Friday, September 20, 2013

7 Quick Takes, Vol. 36

Joining Jen and the rest for Friday (afternoon) 7 Quick Takes.

1. Clare is going through some sort of nap reset/resistance/nap dropping phase. I mean, I know it's normal and all, but it's totally messing with my mojo and making my ability to get back on the blogging bandwagon more difficult as I try to figure out what my day looks like when there is only one nap. I'm determined. Plus, I have a couple of posts in draft status that I think will unblock a bit of writer's block. I hope.

Motto: more coloring, less napping

2. Yesterday was my birthday. The introvert in me is all about not making a big, crazy deal out of it, but I had a lovely day of breakfast with extended family, a stroll through Target, and dinner with Charles and Clare. I'm sure 32 is gonna be awesome. It already is. :) Really, what more could a girl ask for?

3. Answer, a break from this **** heat. I'm over the 100+ temps. I really, truly am. Growing up, the county fair was the weekend after my birthday and you always, always needed a sweatshirt at night when you went to the fair. Here, a mere 2 hours south . . . not so much.

4. I'm going to stop complaining about the (lack of) fall. I am. In large part because this is our last week in Phoenix before another (and last!) away rotation for Charles. Next Friday, we head to Wichita, Kansas. I never, ever, in my whole life imagined going to Wichita (or much of anywhere else in Kansas), much less potentially living there, but here we are. The medical journey has already taken us places, literally, that I've never imagined. The beauty of that is how much is has already stretched and grown me as a person. And I know there's more to come, because I know residency has plenty of surprises up its sleeve for us.

5. That was kinda two takes, so I'll fill this one with a picture. You're welcome.

Insta Mama feeding her baby

6. The good thing about this second departure is that we're much more experienced as packers and road warriors. And it's only four weeks. We got this.

Road warrior and her straw sippy.

7. I'm sure you've seen this Whole Foods satire floating around the web (or Grace's QTs). The timing was perfect, because a new one opened nearby this week. Every time I drive by, it is teeming with cars, circling like mall vultures on Black Friday. I have to admit to enjoying an occasional wistful wander through the ridiculous, wishing it were not completely crazy to spend a billion dollars on gorgeous, high-quality ingredients. Even so, the parking lot reaction is crazy!!

Enough babble from me. Have a lovely weekend!

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Friday, September 13, 2013

7 Quick Takes, Vol. 35

Back on the bandwagon, with Jen and the rest.

1. Clare has been something of a walking(ish), climbing, sleep resisting disaster for the last week. A cute, sweet disaster, but a disaster nonetheless. Meaning I've been chasing, saving from imminent danger, and rocking a lot this week. I'm pooped.


2. Her vocabulary is taking off though -- she's saying more words and her identifications are getting better and better. The cutest is when you ask where her diaper is. She smacks her diaper and proudly announces "bypow." I think I'm going to enjoy toddler speak a leetle too much.

3. Wednesday was a strangely lovely day. Charles got a bonus day off, so I got a bonus solo trip to Target -- mom bliss. We also got an early dinner, ran some errands, and put a Cold Stone gift card we had floating around to good use. It felt like a bonus Saturday, which was just what the doctor ordered, even though we didn't even know we needed it!!

Repeat -- but who doesn't love a good ice cream shot?

4. In the midst of that, we had our a/c go out. Thank goodness Charles' dad had recommended a great company to us a couple of years ago. They were able to get over and take care of business within a few hours. Yeah, it got warm, but it wasn't too bad, as these things go. 

5. Proof of how awesome lame  old-married-couple we really are: Charles and I have been watching the Million Second Quiz. Overall, we a little iffy about our feelings for the whole thing, but it's been a fun choice for our after-baby-bedtime TV watching. Most fun, though, watching NBC figure out their TV broadcast, noticing the little changes every night. It's interesting. Plus, who doesn't like a good quiz show?!?


6. I cannot believe that we're already down to two weeks left in Phoenix before we hit the road again. We knew the time would fly, but it really truly has. In fact, this whole (academic) year is flying. Interview season is coming up fast. The holidays are around the corner. Match and graduation and and and are going to be here before we know it.

7. I cannot believe the flooding and rain in Colorado this week. It's hard to believe that we were there just a couple of weeks ago and, now that I know the area better, it's that much easier (and more heartwrenching) to envision what's happening. The family in the area is safe and sound, but prayers are still going up for the whole state.

Random picture from Denver. <3 to CO from AZ.

Have a lovely weekend, everyone!

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Wednesday, September 11, 2013

5 Favorites, Vol. 17

Joining Hallie via Grace. And getting back on the blogging train. I hope.

1. Not blogging -- Okay, not really a favorite, but it seems to be, since I have barely touched the computer in nearly 2 weeks. I could write a big update post, but really it was more like this: We were in Denver. We drove 1 million miles and hours home, but it wasn't bad, because we hit zero of interest on the weather front. We got settled back into life in Phoenix. I got a cold. I'm mostly over it. Yep, exciting life I'm living.

From our day trip to Vail. Clare was very impressed.

2. Over-the-counter medications -- Said cold was made a billion times more tolerable by the classic combo of generic Tylenol (better when I'm sick than ibuprofen, always), cough drops and fluids. Not gonna lie, I've included some decongestants along the way. Scandal. No, I'm not one of those people who only uses medication if I'm dying of the plague. Why do you ask?


3. Tea with honey -- I might go all modern-medicine on you, but I also love a good cup of tea with honey. It helps the throat, it warms you up, there is nothing cozier.


4. Zucchini --I know lots of people have a certain amount of dread for this magical time of year when zucchini is abundant and no one has any idea of what to do with it all. Especially the ones that are the size of a small child. Not me. I love it love it love it. I love squash in all forms, if I'm being honest, but zucchini season holds a special place in my heart.


5. Dreaming of fall -- I know I talk about the weird phenomenon that is Arizona weather far too frequently, but the struggle hits the hardest this time of year. The mercury is still topping 100 on the reg, but everyone else is getting fall wanderlust fueled by Pumpkin Spice Lattes and apple stuffs. Only we're not immune to the disease, so we put out pumpkins and browse sweaters and boots with longing for the November day where we'll only look slightly crazy wearing them.

Yeah, right! Via

Happy Wednesday-ing!

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