Friday, February 27, 2009


Blaise has an entourage. They follow him where ever he goes. Sometimes willing; sometimes not.

They go on drives, bike rides, occasionally shopping, and always, ALWAYS, to bed with him.

Today, they, along with Blaise, are not very happy with me.

See, all this activity accumulates.

They needed a bath.

Blaise's faithful companions looking very unhappy after their cleaning.
Giraffe, Bear, and Dog. Yes, those are their names.
There is never any confusion about who anyone is talking about.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

ROL, not LOL

Today is February 25. The day that rank order lists are due. (Yes that's ROL.)

The ordered list of where I would most like to drag my family off to for the next four years and complete the ritual that will turn me from awkward medical student to competent physician.

I've logged into the website many times and just looked at my list. And hoped that I have made the right decision.

For all those who were wondering, here is the list.

1. University of Iowa - Iowa City, IA
2. Oregon Health and Science University - Portland, OR
3. University of Colorado - Denver, CO
4. University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill, NC
5. University of Texas Health and Science - San Antonio, TX
6. Loma Linda University - Loma Linda, CA
7. Vanderbilt University - Nashville, TN

This list was a combination of my opinions of the programs, the feel I got when I was there, Keith's opinions of the dental schools, the cost of housing, and how much we felt our family would like and be able to afford living there.

Which is kind of funny. Since I had though previously that weather would play the biggest role.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Best Friend

I've realized several times that I don't talk about Keith as much as I should. After all, he really is the one who keeps me sane, makes me happy, and is the support for all the bizarre things that go on in our life.

So, I've seen this meme going around, both on Facebook and on multiple blogs. And I decided that this was a great way to introduce everyone a little bit more to quite possibly my favorite person ever.

What are your middle names?
Keith's middle name is Keith. Yeah. His first name is Louis. My middle name is Marie. Like nearly every other girl born in the early 80s.

How long have you been together?
We met 10 years ago.

How long did you know each other before you started dating?
Met in September. Started dating in May. So 8 months.

Who asked who out?
He did.

How old are each of you?
He is 33. I'm 26.

Whose siblings do/ did you see the most?
Mine. Most of his live in other states.

Do you have any children together?
Yes. Two gorgeous boys.

What about pets?
We have a fish. But that's really Roman's pet. So no. Keith doesn't really want any. Although I bet I can get the boys to ask for a cat in just the right way.

Which situation is the hardest on you as a couple?
Dealing with our busy schedules. It occasionally requires someone to pick up the slack in other areas.

Did you go to the same school?
Not at all. Unless you count college. We both got our bachelor's degrees from the University of Utah.

Are you from the same home town?
No. I still like to say I'm from California. (Even though Keith says I've lived in Utah for so long, I'm not allowed to say that anymore. And he's right.) Keith is from Montana.

Who is the smartest?
Definitely Keith. I think I can sit down and study harder and longer than he can. But he is better at understanding and remembering things.

Who is the most sensitive?
I'm not sure. We're both pretty sensitive to each other. And we both have times when we're not. If crying is a sign of sensitivity, then I win.

Where do you eat out most as a couple?
As a couple? Um...Olive Garden. As a family, Sweet Tomatoes. (I'm not counting fast food.)

Where is the furthest you two have traveled together as a couple?
Bahamas last summer.

Who has the craziest exes?
I think I do.

Who has the worst temper?
Probably me.

Who does the cooking?
That would be me. I'm the only one who cooks. Although Keith does get breakfast for the boys when I have early morning clinics and such.

Who is more social?
Neither of us are extremely social. We've become hermits. But I express the wish to socialize more than he does.

Who is the neat freak?
Once again, me! Our house isn't always super clean. But I'm the one who freaks out about the dishes, and the fact that no one has vacuumed this week, and that the books are organized by size.

Who is the more stubborn?
It depends on what. I think we are both pretty stubborn about certain things.

Who hogs the bed?
Me. I don't think there's any debating this one. He likes a little space. I don't.

Who wakes up earlier?
Depends. One weekdays, we get up about the same time. He gets up earlier on Saturdays to go to work. And as Keith likes to sleep until noon on Sunday, I get up earlier on that day. Although, this will change depending on school and work schedules.

Where was your first date?
We went to see Forgotten Carols with his family. Our first date with just the two of us was to see Toy Story 2. And we have had a love of everything Pixar ever since.

Who has the bigger family?
I'm not sure that last time someone did a full head count. Counting everyone (sisters-in-law, grandchildren, etc) he does. I have one more sibling than he does.

Do you get flowers often?
No. :( Enough said.

How do you spend the holidays?
For Christmas and Thanksgiving, we switch off every year which family we spend it with. For all the other holidays, we usually spend them with my family, because they are much closer.

Who is more jealous?
Neither of us. What's to be jealous of?

How long did it take to get serious?
What's serious? Dating? We starting seriously dating after about 8 months. Engaged? We got engaged 5 months after that. Married? We got married nearly 9 months after that.

Who eats more?
Probably me. Since Keith often doesn't eat breakfast, and I can't survive without it.

Who does/ did the laundry?
I do. But if it needs to be done, and I'm really busy or not home, Keith does it. Although he carefully avoids anything that looks delicate.

Who’s better with the computer?
I use the computer for more things than he does (FB, blogging, shopping, PhotoShop.) But if anything goes wrong, I call him for back up. He can fix anything.

Who drives when you are together?
He always drives. I don't like to drive at all.

Well, that was supposed to introduce Keith to the interwebs a little bit. Unfortunately, I was the answer to most of the questions. So take it for what it is worth.

I am so lucky to be married to the only person who could put up with me and still love me as much as he does.

Now playing: White Lion - You're All I Need
via FoxyTunes

Monday, February 23, 2009

Happy Birthday...To you and you and...

We have a lot of multiple birthdays in our family. My mom and my brother are a day apart. Another brother and a sister are on the same day. Actually, there are two of those events. And another one of my sister's birthday's is the day after mine. Another brother and Roman are just days apart.

I guess that's what happens when you have a big family. I mean, there are only so many days in the year.

My family


We have gotten used to combined birthday parties.

And we had another one yesterday.

Happy 25th Birthday Salem!! I can't believe you are growing up right along with me. But no matter what, I'm still older than you! You are an amazing little brother. Although I always think of you as the only big brother in the family, since you always seemed so close to the same age as me and we really shouldered through the same things as children. Thanks for being so wonderful and always having a word of encouragement and faith in people every time I feel discouraged and my sarcasm gets out of control.

Birthday Boy!

Blowing out all 25 candles
(Look at the smoke!!)

Happy 45th Birthday, Mom!! I can't believe that you are so young and that you are so grown up. I've said it before and I will say it again (and again, and again...) The older I get, the younger my mom seems. I feel that we are moving towards the same age. You are my best friend. Thanks for always having an shoulder to cry on, and ear to listen, and the patience to put up with your daughter and all her weird ideas and opinions as she slowly grows up.

Blowing out all 45 of her candles

(Oh, and for the record, you know, posterity's sake...I made my mom a cake. A real cake. From scratch. Cake, filling, and frosting. Even with Keith saying, "We could just get a box. You know, the one with the sprinkles." I made a orange zest cake with orange filling and marshmallow frosting with toasted coconut. And it tasted okay. Yeah for me!)

The cake I made! For my mom.

And then, the coconut caught on fire.

And Happy Birthday to you!

Now playing: The Beatles - Birthday
via FoxyTunes

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Science Saturday

Last year for my birthday, Keith got me a family membership to the children's museum. It has been the best birthday present ever. We have been able to go almost once a month over the last year.

But it expires next month. And since we may be moving for residency, we don't know whether or not to renew our membership. So we spent Saturday taking advantage of the time we have left.

Like always, the boys enjoyed their time. And all the activities. (It wasn't as crowded as usual. I think the warmer weather kept people outside over the weekend.)

We had been there a few hours and were thinking about wrapping up and going home.

Until we found out there was a "Science Saturday" going on in the upstairs activity room.

You should have seen Roman's face light up at the words "science experiment."

We all donned goggles and then mixed chemicals and diligently recorded the results.

Keith and Blaise looking snazzy in goggles

Roman was in HEAVEN.

Roman, showing off the results of his experiment

Blaise wanted to take a nap.

Apparently, this is going to be a regular part of Saturdays at the Children's Museum. I guess we'll have to take advantage of our membership just a couple more times.

See ya next time!
(Yes, Roman can fit into the coat lockers.)

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Off and Running

Another sunny, slightly warmer day greeted us today.

Beautiful view of the mountains
(Although there is still a little too much snow on them)

And as we had the entire afternoon to ourselves, I decided to pull out the bicycles.

Roman took off like it hasn't been almost 5 months since he last rode his bike.

Roman is happy to be back on his wheels

Off and running

Blaise, on the other hand, is taking another step from baby to little boy.

Last summer, we put Roman's old tricycle together for Blaise. But, of course, since he was only just 2 year old, he was too little to ride it. His feet didn't even touch the ground. So we put the tricycle away, and bought him a little pedal-less scooter thing (ya know, the things really little kids ride...what are they called...anyhoo...) Well, he loved it. And could go suprisingly fast on it. But during the months of being cooped up during the winter, and in the process of being, well, being Blaise, he broke off both handles of his little boy bike.

So it was time to pull to tricycle back out. (Thank goodness it remained assembled.)

Blaise, looking very pleased with
his new, more grown up set of wheels

He loves it. Even though he refused to use the pedals today.

Okay, this picture has no point
I just thought it was funny

Turns out, he can go even faster on this one.

Even harder to keep up with now

Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Scariest Thing of All

Blaise is taking the most official step there is between being a baby and being a little boy.

That's right. We have started potty training.

As a new parent, I think I was more afraid of potty training than anything else. Give me 3 am feedings, give me fevers of unknown cause, give me terrible twos and adolescence. But please, please, spare me from potty training.

As it turned out, Roman was a breeze to potty train. It could not have gone better.

Blaise is 30 months old. 2 1/2. The perfect age to start. (Especially since pediatricians recommend that potty training not be started until after the age of 27 months.)

I have been dragging my feet on getting started. I always had excuses. "I'm still in school." "I'm traveling for interviews." "I'm working on a research project." I kept telling Keith, my mom, and the daycare that I was waiting until I had more time at home and could focus on it.

But truthfully, that's not the reason. Blaise still seems so little to me. He is round, and chubby, and dimply, and giggly. He's still my baby. And I want to keep it that way as long as possible. Potty training means that he leaves the title of baby behind and joins his brother as a little boy.

But, as he kept asking to go potty, there wasn't any sense to continue to procrastinate. He's ready, so I need to become ready.

So we have started. Slowly.

Wish us luck.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Road Kill

Coming back from my brother's and sister's high school play of "Pride and Predjudice," we hit a skunk.

Just my luck. The first skunk I have seen in the wild, well, alive. And now it is road kill. Poor thing.

Our car stinks. At first we didn't smell anything. But 30 seconds later, the smell was so overpowering, my eyes watered. They say that if you get sprayed by a skunk, you should bathe in tomato juice. What if your car gets sprayed? And still stinks 4 days later? I don't know any car wash centers that offer tomato juice cycles.

This is the second animal we have hit.

We hit a deer the day after Christmas.

We hit poor Pepe le Pew the day before Valentine's.

Tell the rabbits to stay off the road around Easter.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Sugar and Hearts

Valentine's Day in our house means crafts. Both the paper and the culinary kind. (And by culinary, I do mean a cake mix and pre-made frosting. Oh, and sprinkles.)

Roman assembling valentines at the kitchen table
(The center for all creativity in our house.)

Two days before, the boys and I made valentines with construction paper, paint chip mosaics, and glitter (and obvious Valentine's essential).

Roman showing off his progress on his valentine

The finished product: mosaic and glitter love notes

Blaise, although not quite up to assembling a paper mosaic, did enjoy having me cut out a stack of hearts for him and then flew his "butterflies" all over the house.

Blaise showing off his "butterfly"
(And yes, that's a bouncy ball in his mouth
and I'm perfectly aware of the choking potential.)

The day before we make cupcakes, which in this house, are almost synonymous with Valentine's Day (and St. Patrick's day, but that, obviously, calls for a different color of sprinkles.)

The perfect Valentine's cupcake (and they're delicious)

These darling cupcakes were made with paint card hearts, an idea "borrowed" from this charming blog.

And with the strawberry flavor, the pink-white-and-red color combo, and hearts, this is the perfect Valentine's treat.

Happy Valentine's. Wishing you many frosting covered kisses.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Apple Doesn't Fall Far

Roman has a "journal" that he writes is for homework. He writes three sentences about a topic. Sometimes he chooses. Sometimes I choose. Yesterday, I had him write about Valentine's Day.

Apparently, the male attitude towards Valentine's Day starts young. Like at six.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Poll Results

Those of you who visit here regularly may have noticed the poll on the side bar. (Well, don't go looking now, it's gone.)

It contained all the places I applied to for residency. I was going to let everyone vote on where they thought I should go. (But I had to leave Utah off the list, because I know that many of you can't stand the idea of us going any where but here.)

The poll closed back in November or December.

There were plenty of options, 16 all together. Loma Linda, UC San Diego, Stanford, Oregon HSU, Denver, Iowa, Texas Southwestern, Texas San Antonio, Vanderbilt, Wake Forest, North Carolina Chapel Hill, Virginia, South Carolina, Washington, Virginia Mason, and New Mexico.

The votes weren't as plentiful as the options, but the opinions were:
- Loma Linda: 2 votes
- Stanford: 1 vote
- Southwestern: 1 vote
- Vanderbilt: 1 vote
- South Carolina: 1 vote
- Washington: 1 vote

I appreciate everybody's input.

However, the reality of interviewing and my opinions about the programs didn't really match the poll results (especially since I didn't get interviews at Stanford, Washington, or Wake Forest. I also canceled interviews at Virginia, New Mexico, and Virginia Mason. So really, there were only 10 choices instead of 16.)

My finalists (in alphabetical order to not indicate any preference) are Colorado, Iowa, Loma Linda, North Carolina, Oregon, San Antonio, and Vanderbilt.

I'm waiting until rank lists are due (February 25) until I actually start talking about programs and my preferences. Just because I'm superstitious. I don't want someone for one of the programs to come across my blog and change their opinion (good or bad) of me because of something I wrote. (Although there are programs left off my list, which obviously means I'm not even considering them, which if those programs find out, I don't really care.)

So stay tuned.

(Oh, and if you want to own up to your vote and tell me why, feel free to drop a line.)

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Lights, Camera, Birthday

Yesterday, we met up with Keith's brother to celebrate our nephew Stryder's birthday. He's turning 6.

Happy Birthday, Stryder!

He is literally a ball of energy.

So his birthday was at the perfect place: Chuck E. Cheese.

We have never been there. We did walk through the front door once, took one look around and promptly left. The boys didn't complain. They didn't know what they were missing.

This time, we braved the crowds to celebrate with the boys' cousin.

After cake and presents, the kids dispersed to play games, spend tokens, and collect tickets.

Chuck E. Cheese is a casino for kids.

Lights, noise, and mirrors everywhere. And kids running everywhere. We felt claustrophobic.

We let Blaise ride the mini-carousel a couple times. And then we escaped to the Burger King down the street to let the boys play on the nearly empty play area there.

Ah, peace, and quiet, and hand sanitizer. Perfect.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Filling the Days

I'm finally settling into my new routine.

Which means that I don't feel overwhelmed and can actually start doing things that feel fun.

The last several evenings have been full of games.

We pulled the train track set out last night. Blaise is finally old enough that he doesn't spend the entire time knocking the track apart, so we can actually all play together. It also helps that he discovered Roman's motorized Polar Express train, which completely fascinates him.

Blaise watching the train
(Well, he was, and then he started to get tired.)

The boys were content to watch for a while, and then spent the rest of the time placing things in front of the train and laughing as it crashed into wooden roosters, people, and trees. At least it is safer than placing pennies on real tracks.

This night was spent is a competitive game of Twister. Which I nearly always win (only because I have a wider wingspan than Roman and Keith is one of the least flexible people I know.) We do prefer to add to the difficulty to the game by trying to remain upright when Blaise jumps on your back when you are in an awkward position.

I took the boys to the Utah Museum of Natural History. It is one of the best deals. I still have my student ID, Blaise is less than 3, so we pay $3.50 for Roman, and get hours of entertainment. We always start with the rotating exhibit downstairs (which, by the way, currently has the most amazing display of photographs about the birds of the wetlands. Worth the visit.) Then we stroll through the mineral hall and the vertebrate hall. We always finish with the paleontology hall. Can you get better than giant ground sloths, mammoths, and of course, dinosaurs?

Roman is the best person to go to museums with. We've go the the museum a couple of times a year, and every time, he is just as excited as the last time. He wants to look at everything, have me read nearly every plaque, and examine every detail. And every once and a while, he will give a little happy squeak and say, "Museums are awesome." I tried to bypass the Native American anthropology hall and he almost cried. (There is also a fabulous "Bugs Alive" exhibit which I also highly recommend. Roman wouldn't get with in three feet of any of the bug containers. But that is what he has talked about the most.)

Blaise was also good. He didn't climb in to any exhibits, lick any windows, or fall into crevices behind exhibits (yes, I speak from experience.)

Now I need to come up with more family friendly activities. For days and nights.

I think I could get used to this.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Slowing Down

My schedule has changed dramatically.

I don't have classes anymore. I'm finished traveling. I won't have any overnight call until (hopefully) July. I have a small research project that consists of chart review and data entry.

But for the most part, I'm home.

Things haven't been like this for 2 1/2 years.

The boys still go to daycare 3 days a week, so that I can have time to do my research (and run errands, and catch up on some much neglected projects). But in the afternoons, we are all home together.

And Thursdays and Fridays during the day, it is just Blaise and me. The last time it was just Blaise and me was when he was 5 months old, and Roman when to preschool for 2 hours 3 times a week.

Blaise by himself is a completely different child. He is still silly, and spunky, and likes to lug ALL of his toy boxes into the middles of the living room and dump them out. He still likes to see if he can get away with drawing on the side of the bookshelves.

But he is quieter, softer, snuggly-er.

On our last day home together, the sun was coming in the patio window, and looking amazingly inviting. I took a blanket, and pillow, and my book, and laid on the living room floor in the sun. Just so cozy and relaxing.

Blaise was playing with the train tracks a few feet away.

As I'm reading, I suddenly notice Blaise standing over me. He has gotten his blanket out of his crib. He lays it over me, pats my shoulder, and say, "It's okay, Mommy. Take a nap."

I love this time together, just us.

Monday, February 2, 2009


We haven't been sledding in a very long time.

That's because the last time we went, Roman sat by the car and cried the entire time. Okay, he was three or four, and didn't like anything cold, or wet, or fast. So obviously, sledding wasn't going to be right up his alley. But we tried. And then never went back.

Until Friday.

No matter how much I dislike winter, I can't stand being coped up inside. So I arranged to meet up with my mom and take my boys and her girls sledding.

We bundled them up as much as we could. And then we chose a nice, small hill.

I took Roman down once with me. And then he agreed to go with my little sister.

Galilee (my little sister) and Roman,
about to set off on their first run of the day

There they go!

After we got the inner-tube pumped up, he agreed once again to try it out with me. And then, to my amazement, he spent the rest of the time there, sledding down the hill on the inner-tube. By himself!

The look of a brave six-year-old

And then the look of happiness!

And every time Roman got to the bottom, he would jump up off the inner-tube, stick his arms in the air, and yell at the top of his lungs, "That was totally wicked!!." Every time.

I took Blaise down, and like expected he laughed the whole way down. At the bottom he immediately wanted to go again. However, one more ride down the hill, and he was done.

Like I said, he was done.
(My mom thinks I'm mean for taking and posting
pictures like this.
I think they're funny.
What do you think?)

Since he is only two, we can still "make" him go down. Which we did. I mean, I can't just leave him up there at the top of the hill by himself.

Blaise, getting a ride back up the hill with Grandma

When the sun set, it was time to go home. Blaise was crying and Roman was laughing.

And today, they both think they had a wonderful time.