Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Another kind of long day

I always feel terrible when I don't enjoy a day at home with the kids.

I remember when H was a baby, and I was a 4th year on clinical rotations, and I would go literally days at a time without seeing him at all (or just gazing at him, asleep in his crib, before I went to bed myself when I got home at midnight), and ALL I WANTED TO DO was stay home and spend all day, every day with him. Even when I graduated and started a real job with more-normal hours, I still wished I had more time with him. So now that I get to spend the entire day alone with both kids 2-4 days a week, I always feel like I should be enjoying every minute.

Maybe enjoying every single minute isn't realistic; of course everyone is going to have the occasional trying moment, but I look at how BIG and OLD H seems compared to himself a year ago, and how unbelievably QUICKLY they're both growing up, and I want to savor this time because it will end so soon.

But yesterday was such. a. long. day. By the time M got home from work around 7:30, I was so done - I was giving the kids baths, and H had a tantrum because he didn't want to share the tub with E, so she was in the tub by herself and H and I were sitting next to it, and I was pretty much just staring at the wall waiting for bath time to be over so I could go to bed. Instead of enjoying my adorable, fat little baby who was splashing in the tub! Instead of concocting outlandish imaginary scenarios involving cars (or Cars, I guess - they usually feature McQueen or Mater, among other characters) with my adorable, imaginative little man! I was literally staring at the wall, answering H with monosyllables, and waiting for bedtime.

H just woke up on the wrong side of the bed, and never really recovered. E and I both have mild colds, so he may be coming down with one and not feeling quite right. Or he may have just been having a random 3 year old day. But he had a meltdown at breakfast because we weren't getting his food fast enough, a tantrum because I asked him to put on his shoes so we could go outside, he pooped in his underwear and then announced it with a big smile, he insisted on pushing E's stroller when we went to the grocery store and kept running it into things, when I tried to play cars with him during E's nap he was bossy and kept telling me "No! Not that! Here! Do this instead!" and grabbing whichever car I was playing with (which he'd just given me a minute earlier), at dinner I made chicken barley chili (he loves chili) and he had a crying, screaming meltdown because he didn't want corn in it, despite the fact that I had removed a serving of chili for him before adding the corn to the  pot because I KNOW he doesn't want corn in his chili, and he'd been happily eating it for several minutes before he noticed that there was corn in MY bowl. And at least a dozen other episodes throughout the day that totally sapped my energy and patience, so that by the end of the day I just wanted to go to bed. And E was very clingy, probably because of her cold, and didn't want to be put down most of the day, but ALSO didn't want to go in the Ergo, so it was very hard to do anything since she needs both hands to be held safely (she likes to arch and lurch and dive, so I have to hold her with both arms).

We had fun moments, too. We went outside and played catch; we went to the pool and I carried E around while towing him around in his PuddleJumper, and he even would let go of my hand and let me walk a few feet away and then kick to me! I was so proud of him! We played a board game, he and E crawled around on the floor together making each other laugh, we read some stories.

When we were walking home from the pool, it was a beautiful evening and we were all finally in a good mood at the same time, and I was already sad about how hard the day had been, and I was thinking that in 20 years, I will give anything I have, trade anything in the world, for just one more day of this time with the kids at these ages. They'll be grown up and gone away, and I'll talk to them on the phone a couple times a week, and I will wish I could trade something - anything - for one more day with them as little ones. Even a hard day!

But, when I was in the middle of yesterday, it just seemed soooooo loooooooong. And I hate when that happens!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Long days

I've gotten so used to working part-time that when I have a full day, it feels like it lasts forever. Yesterday I worked from 8A - 10P, so I was gone from 7:15A - 10:45P, which legitimately IS a long day, but I used to do that regularly and I don't remember it feeling so . . . . . . . exhausting. I know part of it is that E is STILL not sleeping through the night (why, oh why?!?!?) and usually wakes us up twice (once she can be comforted with a papi, or a sip of water, or a brief cuddle; the other time she insists on nursing), and is usually up for the day by about 6:30. So on nights when I'm off, and have the discipline to go to bed early, I can get a full night's sleep (interrupted, but still a reasonable number of hours), but on nights that I don't even get home from work until almost 11 PM, it's just not going to happen.

Good things yesterday: Cafe Americano from Starbucks on my way to work. LOVE that drink. Why does their coffee taste so much better than mine?!? I have an espresso machine, and I use their beans! I get that I'm not a professional barista using professional-grade equipment, but really, should the difference be THAT significant? A SB espresso is a completely different creation than one of mine. On bad work days, I fantasize about going to work at Starbucks, at least temporarily, so I could learn how to make coffee like they do. :)

Beautiful, beautiful weather!!! It seems like fall has come early this year! Which is a great relief, since our electricity bill was almost $300 last month! Yikes. 3rd floor apartment woes. I'm sure it'll go back up to the 90s at some point, but I'm really enjoying it right now.

H and E both woke up before I left for work, so I got to give them both some hugs and kisses, and squeeze E's fat little legs. :) H blew me a kiss as I left, and E waved goodbye. I love them so much!

I felt like all the patients I saw yesterday were reasonably manageable, which was nice.

I got to wear real clothes to work! We used to have a scrubs dress-code, but recently we were given the option of business casual dress as well. I loved wearing scrubs (what could be easier or more comfortable? It's like going to work in your pajamas! And requires zero thought or planning!), but now that I've been wearing them every work day for 2 years, it's nice to dress up in pretty clothes sometimes.

Suboptimal things yesterday: I only got to see the kids for 5 minutes in the morning before I left for work.

I dropped my beautiful Medela Freestyle pump on the floor while I was pumping at work! And since then it's been noisier than usual, and I think the suction is a little weaker. :( I had it clipped onto my waist band, and I crouched down to pick up something I'd dropped, and when I stood up it fell off and crashed onto the floor. Well, at least it still works.

I had a couple of bummer cases, including a sad euthanasia of a young, otherwise totally healthy pet because of a life-threatening (but very treatable) condition that the owners just truly couldn't afford to treat. That hasn't happened in awhile, and it's really heart-breaking when it does. I always think about those patients when I wake up in the middle of the night and can't go back to sleep, wondering what if I had done this, or that, or the other thing, could I have helped them?

Things I'm looking forward to this week: Pumpkin iced coffee! I had a small cup this morning, and it was soooooo good! If the weather's going to be fall-like, I may as well celebrate!

Finishing my reading about proteinuria. After reading several consensus statements about diagnostic and management considerations, I feel like I have a better handle on it than I ever did before, and I love that feeling!

Working on my 10-day meditation run. I downloaded the Headspace app last week, and I'm on day 6 today. I usually do the meditation when I go to bed, and sometimes I doze off (the intro series are each only 10 minutes long, so I must be tired if I can't even stay awake for 10 minutes!)

Maybe finishing The Life of Pi!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Weekend deliciousness

Saturday I had a reasonably good day at work; no crazy cases and I left relatively on time. It was a beautiful day, so when the kids woke up after I got home, we walked to a nearby elementary school with a playground. E watched from the stroller while M, H and I ran all around and climbed on things and chased each other. :) I was a monster trying to eat H, and he loved it. Didn't bring my phone, so no pics! It was a very nice evening. I think M and I stayed up too late after the kids went to bed, though. We were having so much fun with the kids that we also put them to bed late, too. They've been playing a lot with H's little Ikea circus tent recently, crawling in and out of it and playing peek-a-boo with the door flaps. They both giggle and it's so adorable, it's really hard to stop them when they're having fun together.

Sunday morning we got up early (oh, it was hard to get up! Saturday morning I'd fed and walked the dogs before leaving for work, so M got to sleep in until 7:30. Sunday morning he returned the favor by getting up with the kids, but even with the extra little bit of sleep I was still SO. TIRED.) and threw clothes on everyone, then hit the road for brunch! There's a restaurant in the city that we LOVE for brunch, and we hadn't been there in months. It gets really crowded if you don't get there early (they open at 8), and E usually takes a nap around 9 or 9:30, so we wanted to get there right when they opened.

We've been going there since H was a tiny little baby (possibly before? It's so hard to accurately remember the BC era that I'm not sure), and it's so much fun to look at pictures of how SMALL he was, and how BIG he looks now! He's so grown up!

And this is H and E, at around the same ages:

Don't they look like twins?!?!? I always think that E looks so much different than H did at the same age, but when I compare pictures, they're very similar.

And the two of them hanging out and chowing down together:

We had creme brulee French toast (my favorite ever. We usually try the French toast on the specials menu, but this one is the best so far), fried chicken and waffle Benedict, and sweet potato fries (mostly for the kids to munch on). And good coffee (they brew La Colombe, which I love), and fresh-squeezed OJ for H. We stuffed ourselves silly! I haven't been that full in a very long time.

E fell asleep briefly on the way home, but luckily only about 10 minutes away, so she woke up when we parked and then still took a normal nap once we got home. She did think about taking a little snooze on M's shoulder on the way inside, though.

While the kids took their afternoon nap, I went running! It was so nice. :) Because I worked long days the week before last, I never worked out, and then this past week I just . . . . . didn't feel like it, I guess. So it felt great to move around again. The weather was beautiful, too. After running, I read an ACVIM consensus paper on proteinuria (exciting, my weekend is!) then dyed my gray roots (blech) and showered. 

When the kids woke up, we headed out again to another playground! We're very lucky that there are 4 decent playgrounds within reasonable walking distance (2 are only about a 10 minute walk), so that's pretty much always an option for something to do when the weather is okay. H and M ran all around and climbed on things, and I sat on the wood chips and pushed E in the swing. H doesn't like swings (???) but E seems to, so far.

For dinner I made that ridiculously easy "chili" (can of black beans, can of diced tomatoes, half a packet of taco seasoning) and added half a bag of frozen corn. We ate it with Fritos; H decided he didn't want the corn and spent half the meal painstakingly extracting every single kernel from his bowl using his little spoon. Then of course he just wanted to eat Fritos, and although I don't want to turn mealtimes into battles, and I don't want him to think that eating healthy food is a "chore" you have to do to get to the "good" part (dessert), I also don't want him to eat nothing but corn chips for dinner! So we had to cut him off after his second helping of Fritos, and he eventually ate his (now corn-free) chili.

Then it was time for baths and bedtime, far too soon! I do wish weekends were 3 days long.

Friday, August 15, 2014

This week

Reading: Interesting article with some tips on improving sleep: How to Manufacture the Best Night of Sleep in Your Life. I'm not sure I buy all of it, but it suggests several changes I think would help me!
Also reading The Life of Pi. I'm halfway through and loving it. 

Eating:  New recipe for fastest dinner ever:
1 can black beans, drained
1 can diced tomatoes, not drained
1/2 packet of taco seasoning

Combine ingredients in pot, bring to a simmer, serve over brown rice or tortillas or corn chips or pasta. Top with shredded cheese if you're feeling crazy. About 2 minutes of work, and maybe 5 minutes of cooking time! Healthy and delicious. You can jazz it up with whatever you feel like adding - different beans, onions, chili peppers, cilantro, avocado. I made this for dinner one night last week when I realized bath time was in about 15 minutes and I hadn't given any thought to cooking! Everyone loved the result - even H, who historically has been an extremely light dinner eater (sometimes he doesn't eat a bite; rarely will he finish one helping of anything) ate a whole bowl and then asked for another one! He said, "I love chili!" and I figured it was close enough. :)

Working out: I haven't worked out in 2 weeks. :( I was on a nice little roll of running and swimming each at least once a week, with a third workout most of the time, and I felt really good. Slow, but good. Last week I worked two very long days, getting home after 10 PM, so those days were obviously out. I was too tired the next mornings to give up half an hour of sleep to get up and exercise (plus it would require M to also get up early with the kids), then I worked Saturday and M worked Sunday, so there wasn't a good opportunity. Usually I squeeze in a workout before daycare pickup on my early day, and between drop off and work on my late day, and then one on the weekend, but last week they were all long days.
However, due to the brilliance of the breastfeeding diet (eat all the food, lactate, watch fat evaporate!) I'm still at my absolute minimum weight since adolescence, which is very nice. My clothes all look wonderful. :)

Chores: Spent half an hour on the phone this morning, getting M and H added to my (and E's) insurance plan. Spent almost $1000 at the dentist yesterday getting 3 cavities filled. :( I hadn't been to the dentist in over 2 years - that is so dentally negligent, I can barely admit to it. It's a pain in the ass to arrange childcare on days that I don't work, and I can't go to the dentist when I'm pregnant because I have such a ridiculously sensitive gag reflex that I can barely even brush my own teeth, let alone submit to an oral exam. And it just got away from me. I finally noticed that the edge of a previous filling was loose, and that got me in gear. That loose filling had to be replaced (involving 2 teeth) and then I had one new cavity (and a bunch of incipients that he's just keeping an eye on for now).

Fun: I had a couple of really great days with the kids this week. H has been in a really good mood, and we've had so much fun playing together. Last night was particularly awesome. When I got home from the dentist, we got a couple of soft rubber balls and a wiffle ball bat, and went outside in the beautiful fall-like evening, and played some crazy variation of 3-man baseball while E watched from her stroller and nommed her feet. It was so much fun, and so funny, we had a great time.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Tuesday fun

Yesterday was an awesome day. H was in a great mood the whole day (pretty much. There was one tantrum because E was trying to play with us when she woke up from her nap - we'd been playing with H's train set - and he didn't want her taking his toys. But it blew over pretty quickly.) and we just had a great time together. We played with his trains, gave his little dinosaurs rides to various places on them, read Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs several times, and went to Acme for groceries.

After naps, we went to the apartment complex pool for half an hour, which was a lot of fun. H has a Puddle Jumper, which is a Coast Guard-approved flotation device, so I can carry E around in the water while I just tow him with my other hand. He splashes around, kicks his legs, jumps off the side while I catch him, and goes up and down the stairs over and over again.

Then we came home and had a delicious dinner that took about 5 minutes of actual work, based on this recipe from Iowa Girl Eats.  - I simmered 3 chicken thighs in a pot with a jar of Trader Joe's satay sauce and half a can of coconut milk, then cooked some jasmati rice using the other half the can of coconut milk. It was delicious! I also made a big salad of spring greens, corn, peaches, feta, spicy-sweet pecans, and a homemade lemon garlic vinaigrette.

E had a great time crawling all around, playing with H, being carried around in the pool (she gets a little worried when I dip her in the water - she's fine until it gets up to her waist, then she starts kicking her legs and looking very concerned until I pull her back out again), and eating vegetables! I gave her steamed broccoli florets and baby carrots for the first time, and just like H, she LOVED the broccoli.

And M even got home in time for baths! 

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Monday recap

  • Hours worked: 13.1 (from 7:58 AM to 9:46 PM, with 3 pumping breaks)
  • Times pumped: 5 (once before work, 3 times at work, once before bed)
  • Patients seen: 20
  • Phone calls returned: 12
  • Longest phone conversation: 25 minutes
  • Time spent working out: 0 minutes
  • Time spent with kids: 5 minutes with E before I left, unless you count nursing her at 3:30 AM, which I don't. H was still asleep when I left so I didn't see him at all, just kissed him goodnight in his sleep when I came home.
  • Meals eaten: Steel cut oats with butter and salt, half-caf iced coffee with sweetened condensed milk, SB cheddar and egg sandwich, venti half-caf white mocha for breakfast. Turkey and mayo on wheat, hardboiled egg for lunch. Apple pie Lara bar while I pumped in the afternoon. Leftover broiled salmon with tomato/corn/avocado salsa and asparagus for dinner at 10:30 PM. Chocolate covered caramel and a peach for dessert. 
  • Favorite moment of the day:  Driving to work in the morning with the windows down, listening to Emerald Rose and drinking my coffees. 
  • Least favorite moment of the day: Looking at the clock at 8 PM and realizing I still had at least another hour of work to do before I could leave.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Monday morning

This is going to be a long week. I'm working extra shifts because my boss is going on vacation and needed coverage; and when I'm scheduled to work 12 hours, between catching up on charts and phone calls when I finish seeing patients, and then my 45 minute commute, I'm gone for a solid 14-15 hours. That means MM gets to do both the morning routine and the evening routine by himself, and I don't see the kids at all. :(

Luckily I do have 2 weekdays off, so I'll get lots of kid-time then, but I really miss them on days when I'm at work from before they wake up until after they go to bed.

And we had an awesome weekend. After all the berry-picking and playground and picnicking fun yesterday, today we just hung out at home. H and I did go to the Y for his swim class, and he did SO WELL! It's a very basic class, most of the kids are 2-3 years old, and we just work on supported floating, kicking, blowing bubbles, and jumping off the side. I think it's more of a "becoming comfortable in the water" kind of class than a "learn to actually swim" class. Today he really followed directions well and performed all the skills the teacher asked for - I was very proud of him. Other than that and a few short dog walks, we were home all day. It was relaxing, we finished the laundry, I cooked dinner (broiled salmon over asparagus with a tomato/avocado/corn salsa), E got to do all the crawling she wanted, and H got to play with his beloved trucks.

Tonight I'm going to go to bed early - I stayed up reading too late last night and then E woke up at 4 AM to eat, and then I had a hard time falling asleep again (allergies and random irrational worries about myriad dangers that could befall the kids), so even though I got to sleep in, I was still tired today. Tomorrow I think I'll treat myself to Starbucks on my way to work. :) I cold brew coffee concentrate for iced coffee, and I have a pitcher of half-caf in the fridge right now, so I can enjoy one iced coffee while I'm getting ready for work, AND then have another one for the rest of the morning.

Favorite thing this weekend: Playing with Harrison all day yesterday

Least favorite thing: M and I were in weird moods with each other all day today, and kept annoying each other. It sucked because we so rarely have two consecutive days off together and we should have enjoyed it!

Reading: Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert, and Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare

Eating: Broiled salmon with tomato/avocado/corn salsa and asparagus, Chocolate Therapy Ben & Jerry's

Working out: Nope. I ran (with E in the stroller) on Friday, and since then my right hip has been bothering me. I probably could have gone swimming, but that's considerably less convenient than running, especially on the weekend.

Looking forward to this week: Having 2 days off with the kids, celebrating my nephew B's birthday at family dinner

NOT looking forward to this week: Pumping at work is very inconvenient and often gets pushed back enough that I'm really uncomfortable by the time I finally get to do it, which will be more of a problem working long days. M just showed me a letter from his and H's health insurance company saying they have to pick a new policy by the end of August, and this happy task will fall to me because I have some weekdays off and can spend hours (and hours, and hours) on hold on the phone with insurance companies. Yay. There will be 2 or 3 days this week when I won't see the kids at all.

Goals for this week: Swim once, run twice, get M and H enrolled in a new insurance plan

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Berry picking and picnic

Yesterday I think we succeeded in wringing all the fun we possibly could out of one day. :)

I let M sleep in a little bit when the kids woke up at 6:30 (he returned the favor today) and played with H and E in the living room for awhile. H loves to copy everything that E does, which I think is really funny since he's the older brother and I'd think she would copy him? Maybe it'll change when she gets older; I guess she's not really old enough yet (at 9 months) to copy most of what he does. Anyway, he was crawling around behind her, picking up whatever toy she picked up and then putting it in his mouth (or whatever she was doing). It's always funny when he does that.

When E took her first nap (she's a two-nap-a-day lady right now, which I LOVE, and they're usually both solid 1.5 - 2 hour naps. She is more than making up for the nap challenges she had when she was an infant!), I made bacon, biscuits and gravy for breakfast. DELICIOUS!!! I used to make them pretty often for MM, but haven't in over a year. They turned out very well, although I used beef bacon as the fat source, and I think pork bacon fat is more flavorful (I stopped eating pork years ago). MM rescued them with a tiny sprinkle of bacon salt that he made months ago and froze (basically you char bacon in the oven, then pulse in a food processor with coarse salt) and with that addition it was perfect.

When E woke up, we hustled out of the house (the one disadvantage of a two-nap-a-day baby is that we only get 2-3 hours of activity time between naps, which does break up the day quite a bit. But I'll take it over the alternative!) and drove out to a pick-your-own orchard about half an hour away. They have the BEST apple cider donuts (at pumpkin season you can get them warm out of the fryer! OMG! The last time we went I think I ate 6!), a goat pen, and a small playground in addition to all the orchards and vegetable fields. So we got some donuts and paid for a blackberry-picking basket, then went over to the playground to let H burn off some energy.

He loves the slide. He does not like the swings (I'm so confused - I LOVED the swings when I was little! I still like them, although I actually get a little motion sick now, which is a bummer). But he'll spend an hour going down the slide over and over. It was empty since it's not a peak picking time (it's packed every weekend in the fall when apples and pumpkins are available) so we got to take turns sliding down and then racing each other back to the ladder. :)

We finally pried him away from the slide to go visit the goats. They have little candy dispensers that are filled with cracked corn, and you can buy a small handful for a quarter, so we got some corn to feed them. This one was a total pig and ate most of our corn; there were 5 or 6 other goats that came over to investigate us but weren't hungry, and a few that just hung out on their toys in the middle of the pen.

He liked the goats but didn't want to feed them (or touch them in any way), so he just put his corn into the little corn chute that sticks through the fence.

E was not impressed.

Then we negotiated down to only 5 more trips down the slide, and after a quick potty pit-stop in the parking lot (we brought his potty with us; now that he's 3 we're getting serious about potty training), it was time to go pick blackberries! We drove over to the blackberry field, and while we were parking, a beautiful red fox ran across the lane right behind our car - it was really cool. I've never seen one that close before. We picked and picked - the blackberries were HUGE and very ripe, and it took maybe 20 minutes to pick 3 pounds. H helped a little, then spent most of his time squishing all the berries that had fallen on the ground.

I sat on the tailgate and nursed E while MM finished filling our basket, then we headed home. We rocked out to Harlem by New Politics all the way home at H's request (he says, "That's my song!") and the Doodle napped in her carseat. After a quick lunch, both kids went down for real naps, and I hung out with MM, made mixed berry galettes from a Pioneer Woman recipe for our picnic, and uploaded photos from my phone. When they woke up, we headed out again to the playground for a picnic dinner!

Delicious picnic (thrown together from the odds and ends in the fridge) of salami, cheddar, Wheat Thins, crusty bread, olive tapenade, turkey sandwiches, sparkling lemonade, and an apple for each kid, with the galettes for dessert. H grudgingly ate an apple and a few Wheat Thins, then wanted to play on the playground. E attacked her apple like it was her job - each time she's been given an apple (maybe 3 times now), she spends at least half an hour (if not longer) completely devoted to eating it. With only 4 teeth, 2 of which are barely erupted, she doesn't actually ingest much of it, but boy does she love working on it!

Look at those fat little arms. Look at the rolls! I just want to bite them all day long.

E's new trick is doing, "So big!" and she loves it - she'll do it dozens of times in a row, mostly when we're eating. H likes to do it with her. Here they're both doing "So big!" but E didn't want to relinquish her apple. :)

Here is a proper execution. :)

Then it was past bath time, so we packed up our picnic remnants, drove home, bathed the kids, and got them into bed. Later on when I was putting the blackberries away, I discovered that almost ALL of them are infested with tiny little WORMS!!! Dr. Google assures me they're probably harmless fruit grubs, but YUCK!!!! I don't think I can eat them after that discovery. :( A sad, sad waste of 3 pounds of beautiful blackberries.

Worms aside, it was pretty much a perfect day. Even the weather was perfect - cool and overcast, which is great for playing outside all day. I had a wonderful time, and I wish we could have weekends like this more often!