October 28, 2010

One of those days

It's been one of those days. You know, the kind where you can't wait for it to be over....

First, I watched the hard-saved money for our future hospital bills go down the drain when our cheap little car required more work done on it than it was worth, then I waited in the rain for a bus so I could still get to work, then someone at work kept correcting my interaction choices with staff and patients (and not in a friendly, helpful kind of way but in a "I'm superior and must instruct the ignorant masses" kind of way, which normally I can brush off but was particularly grating today), and finally I came home remembering that I was supposed to pick up the main ingredient for dinner, which of course I couldn't pick up without a car.

Yep, it's been one of those days. Thank you for allowing me to complain.

Tomorrow is another day,

and I hope it gets here soon.

I'm going to go think about cute baby giggles, ice cream, and hugs now.

October 27, 2010

Naming 101

Next week we find out whether we're having a boy or girl. I feel like the days are going by extra slow as the day approaches. In the spirit of this event, I remembered a super cute blog my friend Kristina did a while ago about their naming philosophy. I can't remember her 'rules', but I'm sure some of the feelings are mutual!

Disclaimer: the following are personal preferences of Ben and Lisa. If you or your child's name happens to fall in one of these categories, don't be offended! This is meant to be tongue-and-cheek, I promise!

Our Naming Rules

1. No gender neutral names. We tend to like names that are either more masculine or more feminine. Also, we want to avoid anything that could generate confusion.
2. No intentionally calling our child by their middle name instead of their first name. Again, generates confusion.
3. No last names used as first names, or as my friend coined them, 'country club' names. This is a newer trend. I honestly like some of these names, but because it seems to be a trend I try to stay away from it.
4. Must have a strong meaning in either the first or middle name (preferably both, but at least one)
5. No double first names like Mary Katherine or John David.
6. No alternate spellings i.e. replacing C's with K's, I's with Y's, or A's with ae's. This is a slight pet peeve of mine. I can't see using baby's name as a way to express one's ability to be a creative speller. Exceptions might be made if it's easier to correctly pronounce the name using an alternate spelling.
7. No top 10 names,
8. And the other side, nothing too weird or unusual. My objective measure of this is when you tell someone your baby's name, they don't look confused.
9. Only names that mature well with the child. Some names sound super cute for kids, but not-so-classy for adults.
10. Personal prefs: love girl names that end in -a or -elle. We also like boy names that can't be shortened to one-syllable nicknames, though they're hard to come by.

Granted, these are just current tastes of ours. Maybe they will change!

What is your naming style? Pet peeves? Loves?

October 23, 2010

At the End of My Rope

It's been awhile since I've written; Lisa could probably tell you how many months and how many days. She likes to count down (baby) and up (marriage).

For those who don't know, I'm 5 months into a 27-month Physician Assistant program. My life and therefore, often Lisa's, is centered around my studies, because the program is so intense. For example, "Oh, you want to hang out on Saturday? I’m sorry babe but it'll have to be next weekend, because I have a huge Pharmacology test on Monday"...."Hey, want to watch a movie? I can take an hour and a half break." You get the idea.

The upside of studying non-stop and rarely getting a breather is that it drives me straight to the real center of my life. He never fails to love, encourage, supply what I'm lacking, etc. I’m always so blown away that he cares about a measly test of mine. Here’s the latest example:

Last week was brutal. I had 4 tests Tuesday through Friday, a project due on Saturday, and then the mother of them two days later (this past Monday): Pharmacology. Whenever anyone in my class mentions the words “Pharm” and “test” together in the same sentence, half the class impulsively shivers. So Sunday evening, I’m spent. None of the material has really sunk in, and I know I’m in trouble. I remember thinking, “Wow, I really am at the end of the proverbial rope!” So I cry out to God and remarkably he never gets tired of bleating lambs crying out in fear. For a split-second, I have this image in my mind of a rope dangling above me. I felt God was saying, “Oh, you’re at the end of your rope? Grab mine.” Then of course instead of saying “OK,” my mind rushes to the “how.” How is he going to do it? Will the test be postponed, will he magically give me the answers I so desperately need during the test, or will I fail a test for the first time since my very first undergraduate test many years ago (an 8/100 in biology)? What drives me crazy even though it’s great for faith-building, is that he never tells me how beforehand. He just says he will do something and implicitly or explicitly asks me to simply trust him.

The next day I take the test, turn in the Scantron, and self-grade using the key provided. I score a 72.5. Only 2.5 points from passing. I am told several answers are miskeyed, but with my lack of knowledge going into the test, that could easily hurt me more than help. And then there’s the possibility of the curve, but who knows what that will be. I’m pretty upset for a few hours. Over the course of the week, I go through the 5 stages of grief, all the while waiting like the rest of the class with anticipation for our grades to be posted. At first I think, “What about that rope, God?” Then, I think, well, I shouldn’t have passed, so if I did, then there’s the rope I guess. Then I remembered the morning of the test, I did happen to find out that a certain review sheet was the skeleton to the test and was invited to study last-minute with a couple of classmates who were able to explain to me 90% of the questions on the review. I guess that was a miracle of sorts.

Yesterday, Friday, at the end of the day, I receive an email that we will be re-taking the Pharm test on Monday, as only 25% of the class passed the test. We will have the opportunity to review the old test together and then re-take the SAME test an hour later. What??!! I have never heard of that happening in our program, not in this class nor any other. This probably is an unprecedented act of mercy by a professor who previously refused to push back this test two days, considering the preceding string of tests and project. No, there’s the rope. As if a Pharmacology test was too big for him! And as I write this, I am reminded of another thought I had on Sunday, “God, if you can move this mountain, I’ll believe you for anything.” Gulp.

“Was my arm too short to ransom you? Do I lack the strength to rescue you?” Isaiah 50: 2b

October 21, 2010

Ode to Veggies

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

For the last several years I have had a love for veggies. Fresh veggies of all kinds. I love them all- zucchini, broccoli, onions, mushrooms, potatoes, squash, green beans, green peas, Lima beans, black beans, any beans, carrots, peppers, garlic, tomatoes, spinach (fresh, not cooked), salad, asparagus, cucumber, corn.

I love it all. Steamed, sauteed, baked, or broiled. I would be happy with a meat free diet. I had to consciously refrain from eating the entire zucchini last night during dinner so that Ben could have his share. I never have veggies for lunch leftovers because I always finish them that night. Seconds, always. Thirds, usually. Post-dinner clean-up I can usually be found bent over the veggie pot eating any left morsels while Ben comments, "I guess we won't have any veggies for lunch tomorrow".

I don't know why I love veggies so much. You would think that because of my sugar addiction I would prefer fruit. Fruit is pretty, smells good, and is sugary. But for some reason, I've never really craved fruit like I crave veggies. I will certainly eat berries, oranges, apples, and bananas when offered, but I don't typically crave them the way I crave veggies. Not sure why that is.

My biggest challenge is that, because the produce here is not all that great, when I buy veggies for the week some of them go bad before I finish the week's meals. It's quite a disappointment when I go to grab the green beans from the fridge to cook for Saturday's dinner and I have to throw them out. Yes, I could use frozen veggies (which I end up doing in situations like this)... but it's not quite the same.

All I can say is that I'm glad my addiction is for veggies instead of fried food or hamburgers. I guess one can never eat too many veggies.

In honor of veggies, here is my favorite way to cook each one, though there are so many lovely options. I usually prefer cooked, not raw, veggies but NOT the southern-style mushy versions. Usually I like them pliable but still with a little crunch. Thank you to all my veggie teachers along the way, including trial-and-error :)

Green beans- baked or sauteed with a lot of fresh garlic, some olive oil, juice from two lemons, and some salt and pepper.
Spinach- in salad with sliced red onions, cucumber, sun dried tomatoes, and feta cheese.
Broccoli- microwaved in a covered pot with homemade vinaigrette dressing (gives that steamed effect without the hassle).
Zucchini- quartered and sliced lengthwise, brushed with olive oil, topped with a little Parmesan cheese, and paprika. Broiled in the oven until brown- yum! Also good sauteed in half moons with onions. So many ways to cook this one!
Asparagus- broiled with olive oil and Parmesan cheese, a little lemon juice.
Potatoes- how many ways! I love boiled and smashed red potatoes with onions, butter, and salt, quartered red potatoes baked with rosemary, balsamic vinegar, and Italian seasoning, and baked potatoes with chives and sour cream ... oh there are too many ways to describe how much I love this vegetable.
Bell Peppers- sliced and sauteed with onions with a little soy sauce and Worcestershire sauce makes a delicious stir fry. Also good chopped up in salad.
Tomatoes- thickly sliced and topped with Italian style bread crumbs mixed with Parmesan cheese and drizzled with olive oil., then broiled in the oven until brown (Au gratin). Tomatoes are the only veggie I'm not crazy about, unless they're sun-dried.
Squash- sliced and sauteed with chopped sweet onion, garlic, a little brown sugar, pepper, and nutmeg (yum!)
Onions- a joy of my life. I LOVE onions. In anything! And on their own! I think red onions are the best for salad, sweet onions for sauteing. Grilled onions are good on just about anything, especially meals that can typically be boring like grilled cheese sandwiches.
Beans/Legumes/peas- not really anything special to do with these. Black bean cakes are a-mazing though!
Corn- on the cob with butter
Cucumber- on top of toasted french bread pieces with feta cheese. Or in salad.
Mushrooms- sauteed with onions or used as sandwich toppers.

And that's all that's really on my mind right now...

October 10, 2010


We got a crib today. A little early, yes. But it relates to my strategy. Living off of one very humble salary while your husband is in school and living in a small apartment means you have to have a strategy for these baby items. It means no brand-new nursury decorated to the nines with all brand new items. Heck, we won't even have a nursery, just a crib in our bedroom with itty bitty walking space. I call them the "big 3"- a crib, stroller, and car seat. The must-haves. The most expensive items (other than the astronomical health bills :) I needed a strategy on how I could save some money. Time was on my side. The longer you have to look around for something, the better chance that you'll find a great deal and won't have to settle or buy something out of a sense of fear-urgency (never a good idea). I kept shopping around online and didn't want to spend over 200 for everything, but when you look at crib, mattress, and if you want a changing table, you're looking at 300-400 range. I found a nice, small crib on sale for half price that had great reviews. I ordered it for $150, even though it was a little early (great deal, I told myself).

When we got it, lo and behold it was missing all the hardware. So we had to arrange for it to be picked back up (because they wouldn't just send us the missing pieces)and a replacement sent. When we got the replacement on Friday, it was missing the same pieces! Ah! A sign? :) I looked on Craigslist today and found a sweet grandma selling a 2-year old crib WITH mattress and changing table for $50. No way! I hadn't seen anything that great for a while on Craigslist. Ben went and checked it out and the crib was great, no recalls, good condition, matched our furniture, though had some baby teeth marks and that gently-used feel. I can deal with that. So we returned the missing-pieces-crib and within 24 hours we had a nice used crib, mattress, and changing table. Yay! Now I just have to get used to the itty bitty strip of carpet in our room that you have to squeeze by to get around the bed :)

Not fully assembled, but you get the idea. Notice the bed corner in the lower left?

Now, if any of my new-mom readers have any great advice for baby stuff, share the love with the pregant woman.