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Lives of Doctor Wives: May 2013

Monday, May 27, 2013

The Time Has Come....

I’m sure like many of you, the road to medical school has been a long one.  It’s full of planning and hoping and dreaming.  After 3 years of planning…the adventure is about to begin.

Our house is full of boxes, tape, bubble wrap and paper.  It’s a mess of things to sell, give away and pack up.  We get out house in a different state in just 5 days. I’ve never lived anywhere but within 30 minutes of where I grew up.  We’ve planned for this time for so long..and it’s finally here! 
I’m excited and nervous..but so ready.  I’m ready for my husband to finally start medical school…one step closer to his dream…our dream.  

Our kids are usually well behaved and these past couple weeks have been rough.  I know it’s all of the anxiety and uncertainty of moving and leaving all they have ever known.  That’s what is hard for me right now.  We know that this move is best for our family and our future…but kids who are 8 and 5 can’t understand that.  All they know is that we are moving.  We have a surprise at the new house for them.  We ordered a trampoline and will have it set up when they arrive.  We’re hoping that little surprise will give them something to be excited about!

We are lucky that we aren’t moving too far from home.  It’s about a 4 hour drive.  So we have the benefit of moving our things and setting up the house over a week while they kids stay with grandma and grandpa. 
It’s just hard to believe this time in our lives is finally here! 

For those already in medical school and beyond…did you find that your kids had a hard time adjusting after a move?  What was the one thing you looked forward to when moving to a new place?

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Monday, May 20, 2013

Survivor Stories - tornado season

This was published a year ago tomorrow and with all of the tornadoes that have been hitting lately, it seemed appropriate to share again.  Thanks, Allison!



Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Residency Roundup: Making Friends in Residency

As we have slowly moved through this medical training, I have found that making friends has become increasingly complicated.  While preparing this post I have been reflecting on my friendship efforts over the last two PGY years.  Below I have listed how residency has complicated finding friends and what approaches have had success.  

Why friends are hard to find during residency.

- Time with DrH-  DrH/Daddy is coming home! Finally! Quality family time is important, which I then hesitate to interrupt in order to nurture a new friendship.
Mothering-  I stay home with our two cute kids.  Their needs are the priority for my schedule.  My adults interactions are often limited to parents of my children's friends.
- Conflicting call schedules with co-resident families-  Should be easy to be awesome friends with a co-resident family.  But in actuality their DrH is home opposite of your husband.
- Friends with other couples-  Invited as a couple or family for a visit but they insist on rescheduling until DrH can attend. 
- Unpredictable schedule- I claim the 'univerise' is working against my social plans.  Every time ....well at least most of the time... when I plan to have people over or meet up with new friends, that is when DrH's has a long case and can't make it home.  If only doctors could predict all delays and emergent cases!
- Finding people to understand our sacrifice for the DrH's training-  This topic could be a blog post by itself.  I have had abrasive conversations with people that misunderstand or have no empathy towards how difficult and lonely this crazy path is. 

How I have found friends during residency. 

Keep trying-   Set small goals to keep your confidence.  Find new and simple ways to include others (costco trips, lunch  date, or phone converstions)
- Be seen at events -  I attend all or most of my local resident support group, DrH's program parties/events, children's play group, and church meetings.  Consistency shows you are interested and reliable.  This is not an easy thing, I just had to commit to the idea. 
- Coordinate schedules  -  Calling the other co-residents wife and combing through the schedules to plan evenings together.  Midnight grocery shopping, phone calls after kids are asleep, dinners togethers while both DrH's are working all have built a friendship.
- Finding mothers with similar aged children -  Huge common interests, one friendship began from going to the same city park and striking a conversation with a local mother. 
- Participate in the community- Helps you feel involved in the community.  Find a service project or volunteer opportunity to help you learn to appreciate your new residency location. 
- Find a friend that can understand the unpredictable DrH schedule -  Yes, both lists have this one.  Cannot stress enough what a make or breaker this can be for a friendship.  This type of friend understands and is also flexible with the ever-changing schedule.

Melanie Gorman, wrote this helpful list for the Huffington Post, entitled "Five tips for creating new adult friends."  

Here are five tips for creating new adult friendships:
  1. Like attracts like. If you want to find other people who are looking for friends, you have to be open to meeting them. Practice striking up conversations with people you know but are not close with.  Talk about things you have in common, like your kids, and then move the conversation to a more personal place and talk about yourself. Ask questions to discover what you have in common and see if there's a mutual need/interest in forming a friendship. You don't want to be a reporter and only ask questions. Take the risk to reveal things about yourself; after all, real intimacy is a give and take.
  2. You're most likely to find friends in social settings that are interesting to you. While you may enjoy working the booth at your kid's soccer game, it's not the same as going to an event where people are discussing issues you love. Try www.meetup.com to find local ideas, and if you don't find one you like, consider creating your own. You might be surprised to find out how many people are interested in the same book you're reading or your favorite hobby.
  3. You get out of life what you put into it, and friendships are no different. Once you find people you are interested in, try reaching out a few times. People can be shy, distracted and may mistake your overture as simple kindness. Also, you never know when someone's having a bad day. By reaching out a second or third time, you may find they're more interested in connecting and that they appreciate your efforts to get to know them.
  4. Consider alternative resources like Facebook and Twitter. I know this may sound a little counterintuitive because we're talking about face-to-face friendships, but social sites are excellent places to practice. I've met several people on Twitter with whom I'd be tied at the hip if we lived in the same city. As it is, we'll settle for being virtual soul sisters. 
  5. Revive friendships that may have been placed on the back burner. Scroll through your e-mail, Facebook or even your high school yearbook to find people you've lost touch with. With the invention of social media, most of us have found our long-lost sixth-grade buddies by now. Once you connect, take the extra step to invite them out for coffee/lunch. You can also host a play date and invite their kids to come along. Often kids can act as the easy topic of conversation to help you connect and explore rekindling your friendship
See her full post " Adult Friendship 101: Tips for Making New Friends After 35" at   http://www.huffingtonpost.com/melanie-gorman/adult-friendship-101_b_789388.html

Number three has inspired me to keep trying!  To often I have explained to DrH that inviting a person twice without any acceptance or return invite means they are not interested.  Melanie Gorman's article simply reminds me of human nature and the need to try again.  I suggest we forget the times a friendship hasn't worked or has had a slow start and that we find ways to build a support group with new friends. 

Cheers to new friends that help us survive residency:)


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Friday, May 10, 2013

Party Like It's 1999!!! Cheap Party Ideas!!

By Alexandra Howard
Over the years, we have thrown many a shindig! Parties are just plain fun, but if you aren't careful, they can get super expensive! We just entered party season here at The Howard House! With one spring birthday, two the middle week of June, and another one due in July, our party season is fast and fabulous!

All those cute little plates, party favors, invitations, and decorations can make a party look fabulous, but they can also drain your wallet quickly as even small items add up!! And don't even get me started on the cost of gifts!!! So in an effort to keep party cost down, our family tries to follow some helpful guidelines.

1. Set a yearly party budget
This budget should include everything you will need for a birthday party for each person in your family. Our family only throws party for the kiddos, so that helps free up more money for the little one! With three (soon to be 4) birthdays a year to plan, things can get expensive super quick! Setting a budget is important, but remember, sticking to it is what counts!

Our family's budget is around $150/year, giving us about $50/child including the cost of their presents! This may seem low but most kids have no idea what you are really spending and their expectation really play off  what we as parents feel is a must!

2. Make as many things as possible
Now not all of us are super gifted when it comes to crafts but even the most "creatively challenged" person can find some simple and easy ideas online to help stretch that budget as far as it will go. Many a low budget party has been made possible with the help of the internet, my printer, card stock, and some creative planning!
The cheapest party I've ever thrown turned out to be one of my son's favorites!
He didn't know that the cupcake toppers cost me only the price of ink, the cupcakes were from a box, or the cupcake tower wasn't a store bought Bubble Guppy product!

3. Re-use what you already have
Of course buying new things is more fun, but many party supplies can be reused, recycled, or re-purposed in a way that no one will ever even know! If you haven't noticed, most party decorations (especially for boys) have primary colors as their main hues, making them easy to mix and match from party to party. We have a small birthday tub that keeps our leftover supplies organized, I always "shop" there first.

I have a fun primary colored table cloth that has been used over 5 times now between my two boys combined 9 birthday parties! I also have lots of primary colored napkins, plates, cups, and plastic ware that easily mix and match for a fun looking table. My cupcake tower has been used at a Cars part, a circus party, a Bubble Guppy party and more, just by changing the scrapbook paper on the edges!!

4. Host parties at free or almost free locations
Just because your kid is begging you to have their party at Chuck E. Cheese doesn't mean you have to pay $25 for a cake the size of a cupcake or dip into your college fund to provide pizza for all your guests. There are many fun and super cheap places to hold your party. While many years we have held parties in our home, now that the kiddos are getting bigger, it's great fun to head out to a fun location. Splash pads, playgrounds, mall play places, McDonalds, and parks are some of our favorite FREE locations to hold a get-together! Even Chuck E. Cheese can be a super cheap option if you plan ahead and think outside the box!

We just held a super cheap party at Chuck E. Cheese. By holding the party around 6:30/7ish we didn't have to feed our guests dinner, they allow you to bring in your own cake, ice cream, decorations, and tableware, and by going to their website you can print off different certificates to reward your child with free tokens! I did buy cups for soda for our guests, but juice boxes from home or water would lower your costs even more!

5. Rethink gifts
As a mom who hates clutter, stuffed animals, and too many toys in the house, birthday season is a frightening time!! ;) My family is really good about asking what the kids want and need and sticking with the list, so most of the time I know what will be coming home to The Howard House! However, the cost of gifts seems to continually be on the rise, so parents have to get more proactive about planning what to get their child. I always try to remember that many other people will be buying gifts as well, so most of the time we try to stick with 1 nice gift and another small item.

The last celebration we had followed this guideline to a T. We got our son a Bible and cover for his nice gift and then I sewed him a super hero/knight cape and mask and picked up a knight shield and breastplate at Dollar Tree for $2. The material was scraps I had in my sewing basket so that didn't cost me a penny!

Birthdays are a true reason to celebrate! Rejoicing in the lives of our children and celebrating the person God made them is a wonderful way to show our kids we love them but doesn't have to break the bank. By planning ahead, sticking to a budget, reusing items, choosing smart options, and realizing that our kids expectation aren't always as high as we think, parties can be a fun and enjoyable time for both the kids and the parents!

For more fun ideas check out Alexandra's blog www.thehowardhousehold.blogspot.com


Sunday, May 5, 2013

Frolic, I must!
I really want to write an awesome post for this blog one day. That day is not today. It will not be today because my husband is experiencing a case of Senioritis . A case so severe that it has contaminated that rest of the household, including yours truly. The case is extensive and advanced. To the point that I don't want to get much done other than frolic somewhere sandy and sunny. Senioritis, it seems has struck, making us a bit lazy and a lot delusional. Frolic? Please.

Perhaps your home also includes an MS husband suffering from this 'crippling disease'. How can you tell, you might wonder. Let's look to the wisdom of Urban Dictionary, shall we. It states that this 'disease' strikes HS seniors listing laziness, lack of studying, repeated absences and dismissive attitudes as some of its symptoms. In light of that description, I felt obligated to tell you that Seniorities does not affect only adolecents at the cuspt of young adulthood as UD would have us believe. Seniorities can also strike the mature, wise and hardworking mind of a medical student in the last few days of the school year. We were surprised by this. Really?! We said. We are adults, married and we are parents. Goodness. This should not be happening to us. But it has and it is. If Senioritis has struck your home, I wanted to share my story so you don't feel alone. You are not alone in thinking your husband could use a litle motivation to reach the end of the year, you are not alone in not getting those boxes packed or really, getting that pesky laundry all done. I've come to conclude our house will not fight Senioritis too much. It is what it is and soon, it will be gone. Soon our homes will be back to whatever our normal is, where odd schedules and little 'stressed out husbands' will reign once more. Let us not worry about this going on for far too long. When that worrysome thought enters your mind, just think STEP I, STEP II or the start of residency and picture us maintaning this blissful bubble forever. No, my friends this too shall pass.

Until the day when sweet freedom arrives, press on!

*Clearly a lot of this was written with a tongue in cheek tone and I hope no disrepect is felt by those suffering from a real illness.  

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Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Tasty Tuesdays: Vegan Recipes

A vegan diet is a wonderful way to not only eat healthy but also save money.  Even if you're not ready to make the full vegan plunge, incorporating a few vegan recipes into your diet would be a great way to liven up your meals with something different.  I asked the LDW ladies for vegan recipe recommendations, and soon found my stomach growling while reading these!  Examples are listed below, but for the full recipes click here.

Quinoa with Pears & Maple Vinaigrette

Curried Quinoa

Black Olive Curried Spaghetti

Sri-Lankan Style Chickpea Curry (Kadalai Curry)

Pasta and Avocado Sauce

Crock Pot Beans

Choffy peanut butter cups