bird babies

A few months ago at Walmart:

Studoc: "Let's get a hummingbird feeder."
Me:  "Why?"
Studoc:  "It would be fun to watch the hummingbirds eat and fly around out on our balcony."
Me:  "Yeah, but then I'll get stuck having to refill their sugar water all the time.  I've got enough to do taking care of our son."
Studoc:  "I'll refill it.  Plus, (pointing to son) he'd like watching them fly around out there, too."
Me:  (now feeling like if I say no I'd be denying my child a simple pleasure) "Well, okay.  As long as you promise you will be in charge of refilling the sugar water.  They are YOUR bird babies."
Studoc:  "Okay!  You'll see, you'll like watching them, too."

Enter the bird babies
A few weeks later at Walmart:

Studoc:  "Let's get another hummingbird feeder."
Me:  "What?  Why?  We already have one!"
Studoc:  "I have to refill the feeder like every other day.  If we get another one, a bigger one, I won't have to refill as often."
Me:  "I don't want another one.  Especially not a bigger one.  Then we're gonna be those weird people with tons of bird feeders on their apartment balcony."
Studoc:  "It won't be that bad.  Haven't you enjoyed watching the birds?"
Me:  (sigh) "Yes."
Studoc:  "Then let's get another one and we'll have even more birds.  It'll be fun!"
Me:  "Okay, but I seriously draw the line at 2 feeders.  Seriously.  Any more feeders and you'll become the crazy cat lady's male equivalent, only with birds."
Studoc:  (laughs and fully appreciates the Simpsons reference)

Enter the super-sized feeder IN ADDITION to the smaller one
We get so many hummingbirds
For reals
Apparently hummingbirds are quite territorial.  They constantly fight to be king (or queen) of the feeder.
It's normal for us to watch 8-12 birds twittering about out there.
Studoc had fun numbering them in this picture.
View from my "spot" on our couch.  I have to admit, they are fun to watch so closely!

Here is a video of the balcony bird babies and their daily antics.  If you listen closely, you can hear them tweeting.  If you watch closely, you can see flashes of a smaller black dot dash around.  That's the bee that tries to scare the birds away from the feeder.  If you wonder who wins out in a bee/hummingbird showdown, the bee usually does!

Truth be told, I enjoy watching the birds.  And Studoc has stayed true to his word about being in charge of the refills.  I think he likes having other things to do and set his mind to other than med school stuff all the time.  It's good for him.

A few days ago at home:

Studoc:  "Even with the 2 feeders, I have to refill them every 3 days.  We're going out of town for a week soon, and if they run out of food I've read they may not come back."
Me:  "Honey, I really don't think we should buy more feeders.  We've gone out of town before and they came back."
Studoc:  (thinks for a minute) "Then I'll try to fashion another feeder out of Rubbermaid tupperware we're not using."
Me:   "Oh, dear...."


Love Story

Studoc and I met at a church activity at a roller skating rink surrounded by our friends.  While skating in the middle of the rink, a guy friend of mine bet me 3 dollars to ask "that guy sitting down over there" (pointing at Studoc) to skate with me.  I didn't know him, but being the starving college student I was, 3 dollars may as well have been the lottery.  Plus, "that guy over there" was really good-looking .  (Win-win!)  So against all my rules of never "making the first move," I went up to Studoc and asked him to skate with me.  We skated and talked nonstop for the rest of the night about anything and everything.  We just clicked.

The end of the night came, and everyone loitered around outside the rink.  I chatted with my girlfriends to stall and give Studoc time to come up and ask for my number.  What was taking him so long?  We talked all night and he still hasn't asked for my number!  Finally, when girl conversation died out and I felt I did my job to make myself available, I walked across the parking lot towards my car and thought "Well, if he really wants my number, he'll get it somehow."

The moment I reached my car and opened the door, I saw Studoc SPRINTING across the parking lot towards me.  That image is forever burned into my memory.  It was like the end of a cheesy chick flick where the guy has to chase after and catch the girl thereby solidifying the relationship.  I loved it!  He hardcore ran full speed allllll the way to where I was, in front of his teasing guy friends, because he had to get my number and see me again.  (He was too nervous earlier.)  So now our joke is that even though I technically made the first move and asked him to skate, he still had to literally RUN after me.

A year later we got married in the San Diego LDS Temple.  Five years of marriage and one baby later, we still can't get enough of each other...all because of a bet for 3 dollars.  Which I still have yet to receive! :)


One important lesson I took home from the story of how we met is that amazing things can happen when and how you least expect it.  I went into that skating rink feeling seriously confused about my dating life, and finding my future husband that night was the absolute last thing I expected.  But everything happens for a reason.  I was where I was supposed to be.

I also relate it to medical school.  If you had told me a few years ago that we'd move to this city in California and be attending medical school, I'd have said you're on crazy pills.  Not that this city isn't beautifully lovely--just completely unexpected.  But everything happens for a reason.  And I take comfort in knowing that right now I am where I am supposed to be.

And that maybe someday I'll collect those well-deserved 3 dollars.


how to date your med student

One of my dear friends Bri recently did a sweet newlywed post about things she and her husband do to continue to date each other.  I've decided to do my own personal version of dating tips amidst med school life.  I'm not pretending to be good at these things all the time, but they are things I make an effort to do because they work for us.


I put it on my calendar: DATE NIGHT.  And if I already have an idea of what I'd like to do, I write that down as well.  For some, planning date nights on the calendar may seem mundane and/or unromantic.  But let me tell you....it reminds you both that you need to spend time together and break away from your normal busy living routine.  It also prevents you both from getting separately sucked into the TV, internet, etc, and then at 9:45pm suddenly thinking, "Shoot!  Tonight was supposed to be date night!" <----this has happened to us too many times!  And so I've learned to plan.


We like going to the local library as a family.  My boy just loves books.
And Studoc and I have sparkling conversations about different books and authors as we browse.
What does "quality time" mean to you?  What does it mean to your husband?  With limited time between daily life and studying, it's important to define what quality time means to you as a couple, as it means something different for everybody.  EXAMPLE:  Studoc will watch TV with me sometimes on a study break.  Later, I may complain, "I feel like I haven't gotten to spend time with you today."  He may respond, "But I watched TV with you for a while on my study break...did that not count?"  Well, yes and no.  These days time "together" means anytime Studoc's at home, even if he's locked away studying.  But quality time?  That means something a little more to me.  Don't get me wrong, I wholeheartedly appreciate any and every minute he spends with me with his busy schedule.  I just feel it important to make time for activities where you both feel like you've really reconnected.


Don't judge moms for letting their kids do this in the toy aisle until you have a kid.
I promise you'll understand! :)
Our situation equation right now is: POOR + NO BABYSITTERS + LIMITED TIME = DATE ERRANDS.  For example, we have Target Date Nights.  We always seem to need something from Target, so we pick up what we need and have a grand old time perusing the aisles together.  We hug each other as we watch our 2 year old have a blast in the toy aisle playing with toys we can't afford.  My point is, it doesn't matter what you do, it just matters who you're with.  And if you label certain errands as "dates" then you both act differently--there is more sweetness in your voices.  More hand-holding.  More stolen kisses.  Even if you're at Target.


Part of the fun is simply having something to look forward to and getting excited about it.  It also makes me less grumpy about not being able to spend a lot of time with Studoc during the week.  You'll be in your office studying tonight again?  Okay, at least I have date night to look forward to at the end of the week.  And when Friday comes, I'll tell Studoc how excited I am for date time and we talk it up.  I'll text him extra sweet texts during the day, and he'll send some back if he can.  It's great to have something to look forward to.  Even if we end up laying in bed together watching episodes of Chuck on the laptop while eating ice cream. <--- actually one of our favorite things!!

5.  FORGET HOW POOR YOU ARE (once in a while):

Studoc and I are very careful with our money, and we don't go out to eat or spend a lot (as evidenced by my cheap date confessions thus far).  But once in a while, you gotta forget how poor you are and treat yourselves!  Studoc and I recently celebrated our 5 year wedding anniversary.  We went to a really nice Brazilian steakhouse while visiting my family in San Diego.  It costs a pretty penny.  But it was definitely worth it to celebrate with all you can eat mouthwatering meat brought to your table constantly on impressive swords.  We will typically go out to eat somewhere or spend money doing something fun after Studoc finishes a bunch of big tests...it's a much-needed, well-deserved reward for us both!

What are some tips or ideas on dating that you have in your relationship?


Now Class, Here's Your Worksheet

For someone who has never really considered being a schoolteacher, I sure do enjoy a lot of things teachers get to do.  One of them is making worksheets.  (Do teacher's even make worksheets anymore??)

Studoc has an exciting (aka soul crushing) week of tests next week.  In the past, I've made some worksheets for his anatomy lab practical that he says are helpful.  So here's a snippet of what I've been working on:

There are a few things I need to clear up right off the bat:
  1. I didn't type all this out.  Studoc is given many pages of lists in a handy Word document complete with everything he needs to first memorize and then be able to identify on a cadaver.  All I do when making my worksheets is choose words that look important (lots of z's, x's and y's) and delete everything except for the first letter or two of the word.  And then I add an underline.  That's it.  It's only time consuming because there are many pages of lists.
  2. I don't understand anything.  To me his lists are a foreign language of gobble-di-gook.  Once in a while, I'll see something I know ("Clavicle!") but other than that, your guess is as good as mine.  (Unless you are a med student reading this, in which case your guess is waaaaaay better than mine!)

I'm glad I can help him out studying a bit, because goodness knows he is too busy studying for multiple tests to make worksheets and study aids.

And who am I kidding.  It's sort of fun to me.  Maybe I should become a teacher after all? :)

P.S.  I don't grade his worksheets.  Gotta draw the line somewhere.


How to Interpret Your Med Student


1.  Studoc:  "I have a test in 3 weeks."
     Interpretation:  "You won't see me for 3 weeks."

2.  Studoc:  "I'm on my way to anatomy lab."
     Interpretation:  "I can't text you for the next 3 hours, cuz I'll be elbow-deep in a dead guy."

3.  Studoc:  "My quiz is in the morning."
     Interpretation:  "I'll be up studying all night, so sleep with this pillow next to you."

4.  Studoc:  "I learned something really interesting today."
     Interpretation:  "...and now I want to practice it on YOU!"

5.  Studoc:  "What?  I don't remember saying I'd take out the trash."
     Interpretation:  "My brain is so jam-packed I now communicate on autopilot."

6.  Studoc:  "We worked on cadavers again today."
     Interpretation:  "...and that's why I smell all funky."

7.  Studoc:  "I wouldn't be able to do all this without you."
     Interpretation:  "I wouldn't be able to do all this without you."


5 Things That Got Me Through Med School Year 1

Well, we're about a month into year 2 of medical school, and so far it is not nearly as difficult as year 1!  Year 1 is hard, yo.  Too many changes at once.  One of the hardest things was fear--not knowing what to expect from life in medical school, and at least going into year 2 we pretty much know what to expect.  Yes, it's still hard, but we've adapted.

Looking back on year 1, I don't even know how we got through it all.  But we did!  And here is my personal MS1 survival list, in no particular order.

1.  Donkey Kong
I've never been big on video games.  A big waste of time, I use to say.  Thing is, sometimes you want pass the time.  Sometimes you need a distraction from the stress of daily life.  Sometimes collecting coins and bananas relaxes you and makes you feel like you accomplished something other than worrying.  So thank you, video games, for the distraction.  I say bring on the bananas.

2.  Going on Walks
I use to think going on walks was for old people.  Either I was wrong, or I am now old people.  Walks are like magic.  They are so calming, boost your mood, and rekindle your appreciation for nature.  We live in such a beautiful, picturesque city in California, and soaking in the fresh air and landscape does wonders for me.  I grab my toddler and the stroller and walk nearly 2 miles every day.  I'm addicted.  And I highly recommend it!

3.  The Bachelor / Bachelorette
The Bachelor and Bachelorette are the only crap TV shows I watch.  And I enjoy them terribly.  What better way to forget your own drama/problems than to watch and judge other people's?? :)  Truth be told (and I know this sounds like rationalization) I really enjoy watching relationships form and change.  Plus, it fills the time Monday nights while Studoc is studying for hours.  So, I'd like to give a loving shout out to crap TV.  Thank you for enduring fame and trips to Tahiti for my entertainment.

4.  Family & Friends
Before you start saying this should be number 1, remember I said it was in no particular order!  Yes, how could I have gotten through MS1 without family and friends??  We don't have family where we live for medical school, but my wonderful family and kind in-laws made frequent visits, driving many hours to help us through a difficult time in our lives.  I also made several friends that have made me feel included here, and I'm part of an amazing playgroup where I get to chat with super nice moms and let my son play with friends as well.  Double win!

5.  Vampire Academy
Well, let it be known I'm also a fan of teen novels.  I'm not ashamed.  Reading is supposed to be fun, adventurous, and introduce you to characters you feel you know on a personal level.  And Vampire Academy definitely delivers (and made the lonely nights of Studoc studying much more enjoyable).  There are 6 books in the series, and each book gets better and better.  This series makes Twilight look like child play.  And (sorry Bella) the main girl character in this series is not insecure, whiny or clumsy--she is strong, sexy, and a fighter!  Such a fun character to read.  Amazing characters, action, and love story.  I teared up a few times.  I will tell you that this is a PG13 book.  There's some language, most of which subsides after the first book (because she matures as a character).  And it's surely sexier than Twilight (but vampires in general are just sexy, right?).  Anyway, I was glad to have great books to go to and read them all as fast as my local library could dish them out.

Looking back, Year 1 of medical school was a year of surviving and distracting.  I'm hoping to make year 2 of medical school a year of more enjoying. :)


Living with Uncertainty is Okay

Somewhere along the road to becoming adults we decided that we needed to have control of our lives and have everything planned out before us all neatly in a row.  We decided this is what keeps us calm and makes us happy.

I know, I think the exact same way.  I am a planner.  I get giddy walking down the calendar aisle at Target.  I love to have things organized so I feel like I'm in control of my life.

It's why I'm mildly obsessed with Microsoft Excel.  I make spreadsheets for everything, anything.  Our finances, my cleaning schedule, my weekly To Do schedule, my son's daily routine.....if a spreadsheet can be made for it, I make it with a satisfied smile on my face.  Oh how lovely that everything fits so nice and tidy in each little box!

Unfortunately for me, life is not like this--for anyone--no matter what the career path.  But especially not with medical school.  Why can't I use a calendar to plan out or lives for rotations, after medschool, for residency, after residency?  There are so many unknowns, uncertainties, and whatifs....why doesn't everything just fit neatly into a box?

After completing year one of medschool, I've finally made my peace with not having our lives perfectly planned out even a little bit.  Sure, it still stresses me out sometimes, but I use to wage an internal battle against the medschool process without its knowledge.  It didn't do anything but give me anxiety and make me a bit bitter.  I've made my peace.  No spreadsheet for medschool. :)

I'm currently reading a thick book on creative writing, just for fun.  In it I found a quote that novelist Robert Stone said about the process of creative writing....and when I read it I immediately thought, "That's exactly like medical school!"  And life in general, really:

"It's like driving a car at night.  You can only see as far ahead as your headlights, but you can make the entire journey that way."

You can make the entire journey that way.  Now that was reassuring.  I guess it's kind of like my son's Easter egg hunt this year.  He didn't know where all the eggs were hidden, but he was happy as a clam to find one egg at a time, and eventually his basket was full.  One egg at a time.

(How's that for an analogy so I can include a cute picture of my son? :)

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