Monday, March 23, 2015

Currently -- March 23

Doing my own daybook thing, but keeping the (on a break? defunct?) Currently title, because I've already got the graphic.

Thinking about: Last week, Kelly wrote a great piece about Writer's Block, and in contemplating it, I've come to realize that I am suffering from Writer's Block's evil cousin, I-hate-everything-I-write-itis. I'm sure anyone who writes in any way has been through this, where you're not necessarily short on ideas, but when you try to write, it just comes off bla. Very bla. You're rambling. The point you're trying to make is just not getting made. Your humor is flat. Your voice is off pitch.

Anyway, diagnosing the problem actually makes me feel better. It explains why I just keep writing and rewriting drafts and never hitting publish. And it gave me a game plan:

First, I'm trying to push myself to keep writing and rewriting those drafts. Even if I'm not hitting publish, I'm honing my skills and working through thoughts.

Second, I'm doing what I do when my writing it at its best -- making myself write more posts about everything and nothing. More updates. More link-ups. More practice.

Third, I'm going to keep reading. Blogs and books and articles and anything I can get my hands on, which is my favorite thing to read anyway. ;-)

Hopefully, in a few weeks or months, I'll feel like I have my voice back and can get back to writing things I like. In the mean time, it means lots of pictures of the kids for the family.

Like this.

Reading: I just got Unbroken off of the library's wait list, and I cannot wait to start it. I've heard great things!

Making: A new starter. I've really turned my bread making up a notch in the last few weeks. I'm excited to give sourdough another go.

In Residency: A week of nights. When Charles left last night, we were both already over it. Probably because it seems like he just did nights. And really, it was just a couple of weeks ago. This back-to-back service month thing, well, let's just say that I'm glad that it happened during Lent. It is very penitential. And, as if that was God's intention all along, Charles is off on the last day of the rotation which just so happens to be . . . Easter. Believe me when I say that I'll be excited to bust out the Alleluia! We all will be.

Clare likes eating meals next to Peter. 

Grateful for: Charles. In every way. Today is his birthday, so of course, I'm so so thankful for him, for him as my husband, for his fatherhood, for the ways he blesses those around him. I feel so blessed by each day I get to spend at his side. We had a little family celebration Saturday evening because of the whole night float thing, and it was lovely. Happy birthday, Honey!!

Birthday cupcakes

New year, new fire pit 

Praying for: Charles on his birthday, of course. I'm also praying for a long-time family friend and his family, and especially for the soul of his son who died tragically over the weekend. Eternal rest grant unto him O Lord.

Happiest of Mondays.

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Thursday, March 19, 2015

On Liturgical Living These Days

A lot of months ago, I declared my intention to really start incorporating the Liturgical Year into our home life in a more meaningful way. Since neither Charles nor I grew up that way, we're starting from scratch here, and if we try to do anything too unnatural -- inorganic to our lives -- it feels flat and forced. It doesn't work or stick. Maybe it's a great idea that we're just not ready for. Or maybe it just wasn't a great idea for us.

Regardless, it's really important to me that we find things that do work for us. I've understood for awhile that our human hearts, for whatever variety of reasons, crave the rhythm of liturgical living. We want to live seasonally -- we plant, tend, harvest. We work six days and rest on the seventh. We spent cold hard cash on decorations and goods for every holiday imaginable. We pepper our year with celebrations of all sorts. Pi day, anyone?!?

As a family, I'd call us "rising intermediate" (read: we're getting better) on the liturgical living scale. We celebrate a lot of days, but we don't go big. We keep it simple.

We have a good grasp on the basics: a big "Sunday dinner" on Sundays. Lent, Advent, Christmas, Easter. We're getting there more and more each year.

We celebrate what Kendra calls the "Big Three" -- birthdays, baptism days, and name days. The person getting celebrated gets to pick what we have for dinner. Bam! Easy Peasy. And since I can't help but celebrate stuff, there are often things like cupcakes and cookies and candles and treats and giving you your favorite breakfast, too.

Thanks to our kitchen chalk board, remembering the saints and feasts is much easier. I try to add an extra little treat or something to our day to acknowledge those saints to whom one or more of us has an additional devotion.

But I've had this nagging issue with Holy Days of Obligation and other Solemnities.

It started in August when, for reasons I no longer remember, I was looking at the school calendar for the parochial school attached to our parish, and I realized that they don't have school on Holy Days of Obligation. Like a thunderbolt, it struck me: as Catholics, these are not merely days that we need to drag ourselves to Mass. They are days that we should be treating as holy days . . . as holidays. Gasp! (No, really, it was that earth-shattering to me.) So, accordingly, I've been trying to, at least, make what would normally be a special or Sunday dinner on those days.

Then, when I was reading Kendra's post yesterday on Solemnities, and starting to feel overwhelmed once again with trying to invent traditions for all of them, the solution dawned on me. Like I said at the beginning, we are at the point where "celebrating the liturgical year" still means keeping it simple.  And what could be simpler than adding to the meal we're already enjoying? Adding dessert, which we almost never have as a family? What is more celebratory than dessert? And with the decision that there will be dessert for Solemnities, there was peace.

So today, on the Solemnity of St. Joseph, we're eating roast and having ice cream. Easy, beautiful, and celebratory as that.

St. Joseph, pray for us.

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Friday, March 13, 2015

7QT, Vol. 79

This week . . . it was wonderful. Just not in a blogging kind of way.

1. I'm blaming the weather. It was so warm and sunny that it seemed like a waste to spend it inside staring at a computer.

Cozy Coupe Antics

2. But we did take a trip to one of my favorite places in Wichita -- the Museum of World Treasures. It is an interesting place. The original donor amassed an incredibly . . . eclectic . . . collection of stuff: mummies, dinosaur bones, documents, historical artifacts, and they all ended up in this museum. It's no Smithsonian, but I like that it is small enough to manage with the kids in a pretty short period of time, and it really does have interesting stuff (to this history major, at least). Anyway, we went for the preschool program, which was okay, but Clare loved the T-Rex, so all is good. She actually cried to me that afternoon, begging to go see T-Rex again. Paleontology (or Dinosaur Train?) for the win!

Peter wants to be set loose, I think.

3. The highlight of last weekend was Confirmation. I cried as Bishop Kemme anointed our Confirmandi, which pretty much sealed my fate to be a weeping mess when my own kids receive their sacraments. I mean, I formed and prayed for those kids for a few weeks; I'll have formed and prayed for my own kids from the verrrrrry beginning.

I was going to do a What I Wore Sunday. #neverhappened

4. I took the kids to the grocery store yesterday. Clare danced allllllll the way up and down the aisles. I was getting pretty exasperated with begging her to not stray too far from the cart, not to get in the way of other shoppers, not to sit on the floor. An older gentleman stopped and whispered to me, "Honey, they never do what you want them to." Touche.

The shirt says it all.

5. Last weekend, this guy turned 11 months old. 6 teeth. Eats everything he can get his hands on. Moving all over, but not quite walking. Looks increasingly like a kid instead of a baby. I can't handle it. He is such a joy in our lives.

6. I've got a couple of interesting posts floating through my head these days, and a couple of drafts, and a week of night float two weeks from now, so hopefully I'll be hitting publish a bit more in the coming weeks. I also need to finish loading pictures on my new "About" page. Dealing with my camera pictures has been a bigger project than I had expected. Not surprising, but still a headache.

Blurry but cute


7. Charles took these last weekend, and they are too wonderful not to share.

Have a lovely weekend!

Visit Kelly for more!

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Friday, March 6, 2015

7 QT Vol. 78

Joining Kelly and Crew.

1. Oh my gosh! Yay for flipping the calendar to March. February is hard for everyone. I get it. But for this desert transplant, the last couple of weeks have been brutal. To illustrate, this was February last year:

2. And this has been February this year:

3. I didn't manage much posting on the blog again this week, partially because I'm dragging myself through Night Float. Partially because I'm working on a little "spring cleaning" 'round here. I redid my header. Hopefully, a new, much-needed "About" page will go live this weekend. We'll see what's next.

4. I said this fall that I wasn't into the capsule wardrobe trend, but as spring is approaching, I might be eating my words. I feel good in my winter "momifom," of jeans, shirt, cardigan, and boots, but I think I need to find my "voice" so to speak in the spring/summer realm. Which seems really ironic, given that I've spent most of my adult life in a climate dominated by spring/summer clothing. But I do, so I think I might try putting a spring/summer capsule together. We'll see. I'll report.

5. Since Charles' next rotation is another service month on pediatrics, I did another month-long meal planning session and non-perishables shopping trip. It included Charles' birthday, Holy Week, and all of March's other liturgically important days. And then, suddenly, Easter will be upon us. With Peter's 1st birthday right on its heels (or, since his birthday is in the Octave of Easter this year, right smack in the middle of it). Um, February might have dragged, but I suspect March is going to fly.

6. Cute kids always qualify as a take, right?!?

Clare is hamming it up. Peter is unimpressed.

7. We will be celebrating Confirmation tomorrow night with our six Confirmandi and Bishop Kemme. Please pray for them. Veni Sancte Spiritus.

Have a lovely weekend!

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Thursday, March 5, 2015

Night Float

I've decided that I'm going to write the occasional post about my residency experiences. It's not about whining or bragging or anything really. I truly believe that residency is kind of like childbirth -- it is messy and painful but really, at the end of the day, you just get through it. And no matter how much people tell you what is will be like, you have no idea until you're there. Everyone's experiences are unique. [/bad analogy]

This is old and recycled, but I'm pretty sure it sums up Nights well enough.

So night float. It could be worse. In plenty of programs, people do a month of night float. In Charles' (and most?) family medicine program, they do it for one week -- really 6 nights -- each month on service, meaning their "core" rotations, if you will, in inpatient internal medicine, pediatrics, and on the L&D floor.  We're currently mid-way through the fourth of six weeks of night float this year.

But OH MY GOSH!! Night float. Many a tear, much ink, and plenty of liquor/chocolate have been spilled by medical spouses extolling the yuck that is night float.

Before residency, even when we did night shifts in medical school -- you think, how bad can it be? You have visions of early dinners or cozy breakfasts dancing through your head. At least I did.


This is how it goes down for us. Charles leaves on Sunday night at about 4:30 pm. His shift goes from 5pm to 6am. He might admit 6 or 10 or something people, which means he works his tail off for 13+ hours. Meanwhile, I solo-parent my way through Witching Hour, dinner, baths, and bedtime. Then I entertain myself (Facebook, blog, book, Netflix) until my bedtime. I fall asleep with some kind of white noise, deal with night wakings (and usually end up with at least one kiddo in bed with me), and get up by 6 to drink coffee and have my morning quiet time.

Charles gets home when he's done with his stuff -- usually between 6:30 and 7:00 -- and we hang out for an hour or so. Most days, that one teeny tiny hour, is our only sliver of time together for the day, catching up, his decompressing from work, playing with the kids, everything.

At 8ish, he goes to bed in the basement guest room. The kids and I go about our day -- I try to make sure we get out of the house every day, but sometimes sickness, weather, whatever conspire to keep us at home. He gets up between 3:30 and 4:00, just in time to take a shower, drink some coffee, and head back to the hospital.

Lather. Rinse. Repeat. Survive until Saturday morning.

Most weeks of night float, on Sunday, I'm a super optimistic cheerleader. We got this! It's just 6 days! I'm going to write a ton! I'm going to read a book! I'm going to binge watch a show on Netflix! The kids and I are going to do so many fun things!

By midweek, I'm slugging. I'm getting weary of dinners with no conversation, of evenings with no companionship, but I'm still doing ok. The hardest part are the double good-byes. When he goes to bed and we'd all rather be together, and then again, when he rushes off for the night at work. But I still have goals -- writing, reading, whomp whomp.

By the end of the week, we'll be ready, so ready for the days "off" (post call Saturday and all of Sunday) that come at the end of night float. Yes, maybe Charles will take a long nap Saturday morning, but when he gets up, it will be over. At least for this time. And this weekend, the forecast is calling for warm, sunny weather. I can't wait.

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