Friday, May 23, 2014

7 Quick Takes, Vol. 66

Joining Jen for Friday fun (and my musings on the end of the school year).

1. Yesterday was Charles' last day of school. EVER. Not the end of training or the end of books or studying or the like, but the end of school. It is weird to reach a milestone that always seemed just beyond the horizon. So much excitement and joy!

2. However, graduation isn't for two more weeks. I keep teasing Charles about how he is still just a guy with a B.S. in biology. Looking forward to a couple of weeks of having him home, getting packed, and having some good family time.

3. It killed me all day yesterday not to share the results of my little mid-morning photo shoot. I printed these off for Charles' "big" last day of school present.

Yes, those are Charles' scrub top and white coat

Official caption: "we have awfully big shoes to fill."

4. And I made signs and set up a little celebration. It's a big deal around here -- and big deals need to be celebrated!! Even if that means being celebrated with crayons, since Clare is not to be trusted with markers!

Way to Go!

Woo hoo!

You're the best -- balloon style!

5. Speaking of the balloon, when we went to buy it at the grocery store, it was in a little cellophane package that you give the clerk to blow up. She then gives the package back, so that you can pay for the balloon when you check out. Clare latched onto it, though, convinced that it was a pack of stickers. No matter how many times I told her it wasn't, she was sure she knew better. Thankfully, when we got home, I was able to distract her and throw it away before the full realization that there were no new stickers in the package could result in a toddler-size meltdown.

6. I'm honestly not sure how I managed to do any of that, since yesterday saw me running on a teeny, tiny bit of sleep and a lot of caffeine. It was worth it, though, to do nice things for my guy. On the flip side, he got up with Clare, and let me sleep in until 7 something this morning. It felt so good!! Remember when you were 16 and the idea of getting up at 7 seemed like torture?!? My how the world changes.

7. Speaking of higher education, Peter has already selected his future Alma Mater. Mommy maybe only helped a little.

4th generation -- Bear Down!!

Have a lovely weekend! Enjoy Memorial Day, and stay safe!

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Tuesday, May 20, 2014

3 Weeks

Unrelated--one kid in focus isn't bad, right?!?

3 weeks from today, we'll be on the road, somewhere between here and there.

Between Phoenix an Wichita.

Between med school and residency.

Between past and future.

Between what was and what will be.

To say it's bittersweet is too easy.

I'm feeling anxious and antsy about the moving process. I am juuuust starting to begin boxing and sorting books and clothes and odds and ends. Trying to purge and whittle and cut down. I don't know anyone who doesn't hate moving.

I'm sad to be saying good-bye. My whole life, really, has been spent in Arizona. My family is here. My memories are here. I will probably write at least a couple of pensive, reflective posts. Even when we make it back here, neither it, nor any of the people, nor I will be the same. You can never step in the same river twice.

And yet, I'm excited and eager to start our new chapter and our new adventure. After feeling like we were hanging in limbo for so long, it's freeing to finally know where we're headed and to know that we'll get to stay -- for a little while, at least. I'm excited to do it, not just talk about it. I'm excited to see how the experience changes me as a wife, as a mom, and as a person. I suspect they will be changes for the better. For the stronger.

3 weeks. And they'll be gone in the blink of an eye.

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Monday, May 19, 2014

Currently . . . (Vol. 3)

Linking up with A Mama Collective and Home Away From Home.

Thinking about: Clare's surgery last week. It went well and she is recovering nicely. I've sat down several times to write a post about it -- for myself and my own memories as much as anything, but I'm not sure how much I want to share, about her (hopefully resolved) medical condition, or about my feelings about things. It's a pretty raw emotional state. I'm just glad that we've made it though, glad that she's doing well, that this will only be a story to her, that Charles was able to be with us the whole time, and that we live in a time and place to have access to the doctors and technology that were able to help my baby. I've gotten lots of great baby snuggles from both kidlets in the last few days -- so that is a silver lining.

Reading: Nothing in particular. Womp. Womp.

Listening to: Peter breathing as he sleeps on my lap. Listening for Clare to wake up from her nap. Enjoying not hearing Disney Jr. or The Lorax or whatever else poor Clare wanted to watch all weekend.

Watching: Tonight is the premier of The Bachelorette. Yes, I know it is terrible television and totally fake. No, I'm not surprised that the relationships never work. It's a train wreck and I can't stop watching. Totally guilty pleasure TV. *shoulder shrug*

Thankful for: This is Charles' last week of school. EVER!!!!!!!!! I cannot tell you how excited we are for this, and for everything that comes after. Life is a little bit like a runaway train right now, but I don't think I'd have it any other way. I'm so thankful that this part of the ride is over. I'm thankful to be married to such a hardworking, dedicated, Godly man. He's living a dream come true, and listening to God's call in the process. Our kids have a wonderful role model in him. We are so blessed.

Wishing: I like to think of my To Do list as more than a wish list, but alas . . . the Currently girls are probably more right than I'd like to believe. Especially with a baby who likes to sleep on me -- and there's only so much baby wearing this girl can handle!

     1. Set up a couple of before-we-leave doctor's appointments
     2. Start packing a few boxes a day.
     3. Clean out nursery closet.

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Sunday, May 18, 2014

Answer Me This, Vol. 5

Linking up with Haley in place of Kendra (who is in France -- color me jealous).

1. What's the scariest thing that's ever been in your yard? Fire. I've had two too-close-for comfort experiences with Arizona's fire season. First, my senior year of high school, Memorial Day weekend, I took a nap on the back couch while no one else was home. I woke up to the smell of burning wood (BBQ gone bad?) and a neighbor knocking at my door alerting me to the fact that a fire was had burned over the hill across the street into the flat area directly across the street. They were going to start hosing off the carport "just in case." Thankfully, some friends from the neighborhood came over to check out the situation and hung out with me until my family got home as we watched helicopters dump water on the fire. Thankfully, it was put out pretty quickly/easily and didn't get out of control.

Then, two years later, we were evacuated for a few days for a forest fire that made it to the subdivision just south of ours (with fire moving north!). That was the year of the Rodeo-Chediski fire. Then, there was the loss of the hotshot crew last summer.

Needless to say, wildfires scare the heck out of me. Patron of fire safety, pray for us.

Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord.

2. Beards. Thumbs up or thumbs down? Thumbs down. I mean, I like them in theory, and on people I'm not married to. They're a great topic of conversation. But whenever Charles claims he's going to grow one (which never works, in large part because he's such a clean-cut guy), I balk. I don't like the scratchy growing out phase. I'm not a fan of how it looks. It's just not us. Sorry, babe. :)

3. If stuff breaks, can you fix it? Not really. I mean I wish I could. I like to pretend I can. But really, not so much. Thankfully, Charles is good at that kind of stuff.

4. What was your first car? Trace. A Mercury Tracer. Color -- tealy tourquoisey goodness. Lost in a car accident in college thanks to an uninsured driver who didn't know how to turn left.


5. How often do you eat out? About once a week, in one way or another, be it breakfast after mass, eating with family, or picking up sandwiches after a particularly long day.

6. Why is your hair like that? Because it strikes the balance between easily dealt with on "Mommy" days -- pulled into a ponytail or scrunched with mousse and spot curled to pretend it's wavy -- or it can be straightened and styled and look nice when I want/need it to. Keeping it one length makes it easy to maintain. And my face needs bangs or something near the face to soften my features or make me look my age or something. I don't know. I don't like real bangs, because I am not on top of things enough to get them trimmed regularly, so I go with the swoopy bangs. When they get long enough to tuck behind my ears, I know I'm due for a haircut.

Happy Sunday!

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Tuesday, May 13, 2014


Our weekend was, as promised, crazy, to say the least, but the absolute, definite, for sure highlight was welcoming sweet Peter into the Church.

He was baptized in a group baptism Saturday morning, along with four other new Christians. Like Clare, his Uncle Zak turned into Uncle Godfather Zak. He fussed through the first part of the Rite, but seemed to calm down with each passing stage: claimed for Christ, Oil of the Catechumen, and was asleep by the time we got to the water. He started with each pour of the water, and was sound asleep by the time he was topped with Chrism.

The priest asked that we not take pictures during the ceremony, but rather to just pray for the children instead. We did, however, manage to get pictures afterwards! (Photos from my camera, but taken by BG! Thanks, Rhonda!)

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Monday, May 12, 2014

Answer Me This, Vol. 4

Kendra tagged me last week (which totally made me feel like I was invited to sit at the cool kids' table), so of course I'm playing along! But, we all know that I'd probably be playing along anyway. :)
1. What's for dinner? Yesterday, it was pizza. Since I didn't get this posted Sunday, I'll share the more interesting meal for tonight which is shredded chicken (for tacos or burritos) with rice.

2. What's the last thing you borrowed from someone? I don't know; I can't think of much that I borrow. What I end up with, though, are dishes/plates/tupperware. I feel like I always have a stash of stuff to give back to people. I just don't know if it is borrowing in the strictest sense of the word.

3. What is your favorite prayer? I love the Our Father for so many reasons. I love it for how unifying it is. I love that all Christians (or at least all of the ones I have encountered) know it. I love that it is the prayer that Jesus taught us to pray. I love that it has so many levels of depth. It is perfect in its simplicity, yet not simple at all, really. It is also something that unites my childhood faith with that of my adulthood.


4. What is the oldest thing in your house? My aunt recently passed on a saint statue that had belonged to her great grandmother, so my great great grandmother, so it must date back to the 1800s sometime, and is probably from the Northern Mexico/Southern Arizona region. (Paging Antiques Roadshow.) It is described as a Saint Francis, but it doesn't bear any traditional Francis identifiers, and instead looks like a priest or bishop. We might not know with certainty who this holy man is, but we sure hope he's praying for us!

5. What's the best concert you ever attended? That's really tough. There is a time in my life that I went to a lot of concerts. Now, it is rare indeed. I can think of a few that were really fun, but one standout in my mind is seeing Keith Urban open for (or at least on tour with) Kenny Chesney right before Keith Urban became much cooler (IMO) than Kenny Chesney. Yes, I like country music. No, I'm not sorry.


6. Do you have a nickname? Does Ash count? When I was a baby, people called me Ash Rash, but I don't have a nickname like "Sparkles" or "Bud" or "Ranger."
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Friday, May 9, 2014

7 Quick Takes, Vol. 65

Joining with Jen, taking time out from her fancy-pats author-ing duties (<-- link to her craft) to host us.

1.  Mother's Day is this weekend. Since gifts are soo not my love language, I won't be offering a gift guide any time soon. But I do want to share my thoughts on Mother's Day -- since they are and always will be the same as last year, I'll just link it here.

2. I'm not good at writing "negative" posts -- not just in the whiny sense, but I have difficulty writing (indeed talking about at all) about difficult and challenging things in my life. There are lots of reasons for it: a genuine desire for optimism, not feeling a need to air dirty laundry, knowledge that others bear much heavier crosses. All of that said, Clare is going to have surgery next week. It shouldn't be a big deal, and it should correct the problem. I hope to write more about our medical adventure next week -- for myself more than anything. But the situation is lingering heavy on my heart, so any prayers would be most welcome.


3. On a more uplifting note...Peter is getting dunked in the morning! Should make for a fun (and Chrism scented), but busy weekend! Hopefully, I'll do a better job of taking pictures this time than I did the last.

4. I don't know if I've mentioned my freakish mental calendar. I have an uncanny ability to memorize dates. Maybe it's a sign that I really was meant to be a history major. I keep waiting for motherhood or something to take my strange gift away, but it's still there. As a result, my brain sees the next few weeks as: baptism --> Mother's Day --> Surgery --> OB appointment --> last day of school --> packing --> gala --> graduation --> party --> move --> get settled --> start orientation. It's dizzying, and overwhelming, and oh, so exciting!! The end and the beginning are near.

5. Totally unrelated, I have been encouraging Clare to interact with Peter when I sit with him on the floor for tummy time/play time. Yesterday, she showed him Noah's Ark, and it was pretty much the sweetest.

Check out my zebra!

6. Ever since March, Clare has been talking about riding the horses at the train park. Since it was a relatively nice morning, and since Charles has really been wanting to go, we headed over there and wore out our kiddos.

7. I'm wiped. I've got nothing, and I have a sweet baby on my chest. Signing off to enjoy the baby snuggles. (Note: this prepublication statement was followed by a much needed snuggle nap, something that Clare has never once granted me. Bliss.)

Have a lovely weekend!

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Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Peter -- 1 month

Somehow, my little Peter is a month old. I think I'm going to be saying that a lot this year. Somehow...

I don't like to post stats for my babies online -- Clare was a peanut, and it was hard to watch high-percentile babies zoom up the charts while she seems to have inherited her mama's metabolism, poor thing. It took a lot of prayer and patience to accept that every baby is different, and every mama needs to know that she is doing the best she can growing her baby to be the baby (with the body) that God gave him or her.

That said, Peter is growing to be the big, strong man he dreams of being. I had to finally stop being an ostrich and move him from newborn to 0-3/3 month clothes this week. Because my kids are (relatively) long and lean, they always outgrow clothes length-wise with plenty of room left in the middle!

When he needs something -- especially a fresh diaper or some food -- he lets us know in no uncertain terms that he's unhappy, but calms right down when he gets what he wants. He is a sweet, mellow guy, who loves to nurse and snuggle and hang out until he drifts off to sleep. And when he does, he sleeps like a baby champ, giving me 3-4 hour stretches at night (and generally going right back down after he's filled up on the ol' milk).

His neck is getting stronger -- Peter desperately wants to be able to hold his head up and look around. If he's 1/3 as observant as his sister, we're done for.

He's starting to crack a smile or two here and there. I can't wait until we get more!

And of course, there are more pictures:

P.S. As an early one-month birthday present, yesterday Peter got the best gift a kid could ask for: a cousin. Congratulations, sweet Whitney, and welcome Baby Makenzie (or Baby Keensee as Clare calls her)!!! We love you!

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Monday, May 5, 2014

Currently (vol. 2)

Joining A Mama Collective for some reflection.

Thinking about: How fast time is moving these days. My baby keeps getting bigger. Clare keeps talking more. The calendar keeps flipping. There is so much I want to do -- people to see and places to go and tasks to complete -- but time is whizzing by (and I keep getting sucked into snuggling Mr. Tiny Snuggles on the couch).

Reading: The entire internet. At least it feels like it. Breastfeeding does that to me.

Listening: for the UPS truck. I've been waiting for a delivery, and wouldn't you know, they tried while I was at the grocery store on Friday. And, of course, I have to sign, so I'm anxiously awaiting today's arrival.

Dying for: a chance to get with the cool kids and read Something Other Than God. Doing so in the quiet, cool, bustle-that-is-not-my-kids of a Starbucks, drink in hand, would be even more ideal.

Thankful for: the weekend. It wasn't always fun, but we survived! Thankful for a successful trip for Charles, for mostly good sleep from Peter, for the company of family and friends, for a fresh today after a challenging yesterday, for the knowledge that I can do it, even if it isn't fun or easy, for Charles in so, so many ways.

Wishing: someone (not naming names, but he is the shortest member of the family) is getting dunked on Saturday. A couple of doctor's appointments and a little getting things in order for the baptism are the focuses of the week. Then, it will be another busy weekend with family in town and the festivities and Mother's Day and a million things to do in the next month. Wishing there were more time for down time as a family.
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God's Hand -- Medical Mondays

Home sweet future home.

It's amazing what happens in a year.

Last spring, Charles and I were anxiously and eagerly obsessing over residency programs. He had 99% decided on family medicine, but choosing programs to apply to was something akin to finding a needle in a haystack. There are literally hundreds of programs out there.

A chunk of our (we approached this as a team project, so it has always been and will always be, a "we" thing) list was based on geography -- programs that were close to home in Arizona, or close to Charles' family in Colorado. A few programs on the long-short list were programs that had a good reputation for whatever reason. Sifting through the options, we felt overwhelmed, and as if the perfect program just.didn't.exist. And, of course, it doesn't. But we hoped for a perfect program for us. We were on a mission.

Last April, due to a series of coincidences, we talked to some new Church friends from Wichita. She mentioned that there was a program back home that she was familiar with that we should look into.

I was driving home from an event that day, and Charles was reading up on the program on his phone. As he read off one program feature/benefit/highlight after another, we (and especially he) got more and more excited. It was like checking off item after item off of a dream program checklist.

He emailed the program that weekend to see if, by chance, there was any way he could still get a sub-I (a sub-internship; an away rotation to allow him and the program and to check one another out). They let us know that they were already full, but that he was on a waiting list. We figured that was that; the odds of making it off of a mysterious waiting list seemed long. We moved on with plans for our already planned trip to St. Louis and Denver.

In May, it all turned topsy turvey when Charles was offered a sub-I position in October. Of course, we jumped all over it! But there were still a million things to figure out, including housing plans, which were slow to pan out.

In July, we found out that I was pregnant, and through another series of coincidences, our friends from Wichita found out that we would be there in October. Since they were planning to be away during that time, they offered to let us stay at their house, which ended up being just wonderful in all ways.

While we were in Wichita, in addition to a great program, we found the potential for a great community (city, residency community, Church) for our family for the residency season. The experience left them heads and tails above everyone else in the running.

Throughout interview season, and the turmoil-and-anxiety-filled months that followed, we knew that the Wichita program was our #1 choice, but we did our darndest to keep our dreams and expectations in check. It felt natural and like a long-shot, all at the same time.

Then, we got the emails:



We couldn't believe it. A dream come true. Answered prayers.

It was clear to us, as each step unfolded in a way that was more and more unbelievable to us, that God's hand was guiding us and Divine Providence was opening doors and windows that we just couldn't expect. We're so excited for the next step of the journey, with all of its challenges and unexpected twists and turns around the corner, and excited to see where God leads us next.

Wichita, here we come!

Linking up for Medical Mondays with From a Doctor's Wife and Your Doctor's Wife.

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Sunday, May 4, 2014

Answer Me This, Vol. 3

Linking up with Kendra.

1. Are you becoming your mother? Not yet. I mean, I definitely am trying to incorporate some good things I learned from her into my parenting, but she was the classic extrovert and I am a classic introvert. I think that's why we got along so well.

Love this too much not to share again: my mom, my baby sister and me.

2. Coffee or tea? Coffee. I mean, I like tea and all, but coffee is where it's at. If you don't know that, you don't know me. And didn't read the name of my blog. :)

3. What foreign country would you like to visit? Italy. It sounds so cliche. Of course, I love all things French and would never, ever turn down a chance to visit (and practice my French, bien sur). But I've only ever spent a day in Venice. I want to walk, talk, breathe that religious history. And the vino, and the beauty and and and . . . It's funny, because I had a couple of chances to go when I was young and non-Catholic, and it never really worked out. I think, in a way, my heart was waiting until I was Catholic so that I can appreciate it more.


4. Do you cry easily? Yes. Especially in the last 4 weeks. Man, postpartum hormones do a number on me. Newborn sleep schedules don't help.

5. How often do you wear heels? Occasionally. For a long time, I was a heels every day girl. Then, I got over my height issues, got some ballet flats and have never turned back. I am a big fan of the flats, but still rarely wear tennis shoes unless it is for athletic purposes. My notToms fall somewhere in the middle and work well for the park, walks around the neighborhood, etc. I wear heels for weddings and funerals and the like. I occasionally pull them out for Mass, especially when I wear slacks, because I feel like it makes the pants more feminine.

6. Do you play an instrument? I played piano from 4th-10th grade and could have been pretty good if I had practiced more. I can still play the right hand of the main theme of Fur Elise by memory, and can get my left hand going if I have the music in front of me. I could still be decent if I practiced. And had a piano. Clearly this is not a current priority. :)
Thanks to my first teacher, I've played on some really nice pianos. Via
Happy Sunday!! (And thanks to the tag, I'll most definitely be back next week! :) )
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Friday, May 2, 2014

7 Quick Takes, Vol. 64

Must be Friday. Joining Jen, fancy pants author and all.


1. I love, love, love sweet teeny tiny newborns. What I don't love, and struggle, struggle, struggle with is the lack of schedule/routine. We are a household of routine people -- even Clare needs her routine or else -- and it (obviously) takes babies awhile to get into one. I know that we'll get there, so I'm feeling less twitchy about it with Peter than I did with Clare. I love the tiny baby snuggles and know they don't last long. But there are still plenty of evenings that leave me longing for the structure that that future must surely hold.

2. I have a problem. I am pretty much obsessed with this look. I retake the same photo at least once a week, because it is so sweet. These moments are so fleeting, and I don't want to forget.

 3 weeks

2 weeks

1 week

1 day
3. Sign that time is moving way too fast: Peter is going to be a month old next week. Wasn't I just complaining about still being pregnant? Where did the time go? On that note, fair warning that there will be monthly update posts for the next 12 months. :)

4. Always ready to assist Baby Peedow, Clare helped me get out the door to run some errands on Tuesday by buckling Peter into the car seat while I checked that there were diapers in my bag:

Nailed it.

Don't worry fellow car-seat safety obsessives. I fixed it. :)

5. The other day, I took Clare for a cookie and run at a local outdoor shopping area. She had been before, but she really noticed the fountains this time, and kept talking about "splashdown, water." I repeat myself, I know, but I love seeing everyday things through the eyes of my kids. Talk about seeing the extraordinary in the ordinary.

6. 'Cause she is just too cute.

7. Charles is off to Wichita this weekend for a little house-hunting expedition. Praying for safe travels, success on the housing front, and sanity for this Mama home with her two littles.

The gruesome twosome

Have a lovely weekend!

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