Saturday, June 27, 2015

Advice for Intern Year: Surviving Residency Is Possible (so far)

Yesterday was the party for the new emergency medicine residents. OH YES PLEASE. The light at the end of this tunnel is a little bit brighter.

It was a fun party and I really like a couple of the new interns, which is a shame, since I probably will not see them as often as I would like... but this year, I am inviting more people over for dinner. The Year of Survival is over.

During residency, anything is possible. It just depends on how much you're willing to sacrifice. One of the graduating seniors just moved back to Arkansas, where his wife lives and works. Yes, they survived three years of living apart. I don't think I could do that. But maybe I could, if I had to.

Then again, I am not quite sure how I survived both of a new job + pregnancy, therapy, doctor visits, editing/writing (okay, this definitely took a hit), living in a new area and a husband who works ridiculous hours. In retrospect, two under two is a breeze in comparison. I'm doubly thrilled not to be moving for a third summer...!! I can keep getting settled, and I like this feeling.

01. Establish your support system

Our families may live far away, but technology allows us to have a direct line. The girls love seeing and hearing the sounds of their grandparents, aunts and uncles, and it gives us a reason to come together, even for a short period of time.

I am an introvert, and so I often get drained after teaching even - but for the sake of the girls (and adult conversation! sort of.), we talk to family often. It's very nice knowing my people are supporting us! Then, of course, there is the occasional phone call, a multitude of texts and e-mailing with friends. Whatever you do, do not hide under a blanket during residency. When your favorite person is gone all the time, you need some sort of outlet!

02. Understand that your person is going to be gone a lot - and they often cannot control that.

Yes, residents now have an 80 hour work week limit. Okay. Unfortunately, there is more work to be done - there is charting, logging, studying for in-service exams, research projects, and waiting for lab results to come back.

A sub-question: do you find yourself feeling resentful? Are you frustrated? This is all normal. This period of time is not easy. Do NOT compare your situation with other people's, because a) you're not going to feel better, b) you're not properly dealing with these feelings, and c) everyone has their own burdens.

The biggest hurdle I am still overcoming is accepting that I (generally) do everything. I pay the bills (with Will's paycheck! HA!), handle therapy and all errands, clean the house, laundry (sometimes), and generally keep the house functioning. This is a full-time job. I might not be saving lives, but I am certainly keeping four people alive, functioning and happy. Pat on the back, people! Give yourself one too!

03. Have many conversations about what that means for you two as a couple, and how you want to re-connect and have quality time together.

Some rotations, I can't expect conversations from Will. This is tough for me because talking is a love language. We do a lot of in-home dates; I might pick up a treat from the store because it's still cheaper than going out (e.g. $6 for a six pack of Yuengling, check).

We'll watch a movie or show, talk about our days and any interesting articles we've read, do extra therapy or playtime with GHB, exercise/ take the girls on a walk, or play a game. We're currently playing a game called Hearthstone, which is like a simpler version of Dungeons & Dragons (so Will says - I am not very game literate), AND it's online, so we can play against each other!

As long as we're together, though, I am pretty happy. I definitely do not take him or his time off for granted.

04. Perspective: this is hard on your resident too.

Will and Grace are two peas in a pod. It's adorable watching them interact and play. I send Will pictures and texts throughout the day to keep him updated on what's going on. There are days Will does not see Grace, and there is a definite difference in her behavior. She misses her dad! So we look at pictures and videos of him, and that is really special. Additionally, if I'm having a busy day and forget to text Will, I'll usually get a reminder text from him!

What if I don't have any kids?! No problem - your resident still wants to hear about what you're doing! He might be super busy and not notice the clock the same way you're staring at it, but who doesn't like texts from their favorite person?

05. Get involved!

At least during EM rotations, the girls and I like to take dinner to Will. Other days, we'll stop by the ER offices to say hello. This year, I've decided to take more initiative to meet people in the program, have them over and have playdates. Isolation in this program can feel its worst on cold, winter days.

I've also decided to start a food and supplies drive within the EM department to benefit the local food kitchen. We're only a few blocks away, and we live close to the hospital, so people can drop off donations on our porch! I am really excited to spearhead this. People in need every month of the year, not just during the holiday season, and we have a duty to serve our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ any way we can.

Here's a great list of items, if you want to help too!

Waiting to see Dad!

06. Accept your limits!

Limits are human, unlimited resources is impossible for anyone, and burn-out is very, very real.  Treat yo' self! Get sleep, eat well, exercise, pray and be kind to yourself and others. This period can feel worse than it is without a lot of love going around.

07. When in doubt, carry on. 

For as tough this final leg of learning is for the residents, remember why you're even in this situation: you love that doctor-person! Do everything out of love, even cleaning the floors.

Also, make a schedule. Just me? I need to know when I'm going to squeeze in:

  • therapy
  • doctor appointments
  • class
  • meal planning
  • errands (i.e. grocery shopping)
  • rest time
  • sleeping
  • exercise
  • prayer/ read the daily readings/ prayer of spiritual communion
  • cleaning schedule
  • play dates
  • reading/ class prep
  • writing/ editing

Et cetera. Because the fun don't stop! However, we're also up for taking a break and ignoring the schedule. Those are usually the best times. 

Today (and the next three days), Will is gone all day. After I finish this post, I am going to fix lunch, finish a book review, make the bed, and fold laundry. Once Grace wakes up, I'll give her a little more lunch, and then we all might go to Chik-fil-A to play on the play-set (rainy today!) and enjoy a peach shake. Or, we might do that next week! It's summer. We're free.

Thanks for hanging out, readers! And mucho thanks for all of your support this year. Could not have done it without my little blog platoon!

How do you survive stressful times?

Thursday, June 25, 2015

#5Faves: Summer Needs

Since us Baldwin ladies are officially back on the east coast for the summer, there are a few things we are needing...


Sanuk sandals - yoga sling 2 variety

These babies are HEAVEN: made from recycled yoga mats, and I love the unique bands. These are actually my house sandals, as silly as that sounds. When talking to the running shoe saleswoman last week and discussing why I am looking for more support, she asked if I walk barefoot around the house.

"Sure," I replied.

"Then it doesn't matter if you have supportive shoes for outside if there is no support inside!" she replied.

So right. My feet are much happier! The coziness is unreal.


Grace loves water. She has swim therapy once a week, and when we were home, we took her to the swim club a few times. I realized a few things: I'll never be able to handle both girls at the pool; water is an awesome motivator for therapy; there's got to be an easier way to have fun without leaving our own inflatable pool.

Then again, we have a bag of play sand, so maybe this one: Step2 Shady Oasis Sand and Water Play Table

UPDATE (since writing this part): we actually bought this one last night: Step2 Splash N Scoop.

(Anyone else absolutely nails-on-the-chalkboard despise "N" instead of "and" too?!?)


My sister bought me an awesome glass water bottle for Christmas, but it's tough to share with Grace (who loves whatever Mom is drinking/eating), so I am buying a second water bottle for the not-so-secret reason that I adore camelbaks and I miss my old one.

I also bought this cute little one for Grace!


Our rental duplex has no air conditioning. Okay, we're okay. We have a couple of ceiling fans, a couple of little fans, and Laura even has her own personal fan (because girlfriend seems heat/humidity-sensitive). In the front room, I love our Honeywell tower - it cools down the room, isn't too noisy and really is a fantastic instrument. If we didn't have ceiling fans, I would buy more of these!

Swim diapers

Since disposable swim diapers are heck-a expensive, Grace has swim therapy once/ week, AND we're called to be stewards of the earth, these swim diapers are winners + super cute.

I also really like the Honest Company's collection - may need to buy a back-up pair!

My other summer must-haves: sparkling water, Aveeno sunscreen, my REI sunglasses, watermelon
Will's summer must-haves: cold coca-colas, fresh tennis balls, baseball hats, chips & salsa

What are your summer must-haves?

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Tales from the Emergency Room

One of our favorites:

Or something like this... happy Wednesday! Will is sleeping off night shift, I turned in an article and have the babysitter over while I deep clean the house (taking a break while the kitchen floor dries... and I'm off again to swiffer the stairs!).

Are you the doctor, the doctor-patient, or Hobbes? I think I'm Hobbes. 

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Know Thyself, Own Thyself

Driving back from the Philadelphia airport, Walk the Moon's song "Shut Up + Dance" came on the radio, which resulted in me grooving in the passenger's seat. I can't help it: I feel music. I love dancing and am convinced I should have trained as a dancer.

Even in the dark, Will is smirking at me.

"What?!?" I demanded, my head still bobbing.

"Every girl I know loves this song." (And by girl, he means any female at the hospital - they listen to music during shifts.)

I give him side eye. It's the Zora Neale Hurston effect, when Zora is at a Blues venue with a friend:
"Good music they have here," he remarks, drumming the table with his fingertips. 
Music. The great blobs of purple and red emotion have not touched him. He has only heard what I felt. He is far away and I see him but dimly across the ocean and the continent that have fallen between us. 
Will laughs at me as I argue that this song is a modern ballad set to indie electronic - the story of seeing into the future, desire and action. Plus, it has amazing beat. (Walk the Moon is a great band from Cincinnati, Ohio!)

"I never said it wasn't a great song. Just own it! Own that you like this song. Who cares that other girls like it."

Own it. Yes. Too often, we add qualifiers or apologize for having interests. Am I alone in this? Why do we always try to deflect even minor criticism?
"Oh, I like that because I am a ____."
"Yeah, I'm such a dork because I like ____."

No one needs peer review to decide what to like. No one needs qualifications for having hobbies. We're allowed to change our mind. We don't need someone else's permission to have a dance party. We shouldn't paint our life neutral colors.

I changed my favorite color the other day. I went to a running store, bought new running shoes and am teaching myself how to run with a honking double jogger stroller. I've been thinking how much I used to love drawing with oil pastels, and when I FINALLY clean my office this summer, I'm buying myself a new set.

Sometimes, we all need to stop overthinking what things mean - ooo-hooo, shut up and dance with me!

Own it! Whatever "it" is. Great things can happen.

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Saturday, June 20, 2015

Try Something New-ish: Reader Feedback

I'm home again, home again, jiggity-jig. I fly with two under two (bet you want to read THAT story) and my eyes are adjusting to contacts only until my new, unbroken glasses are ready, and yeah! Messy-ish galore around here, and it just feels good to be home and DONE with grading for the summer. I have a long list of half-written blog posts and a nice stack of books to review.

So! Let's hear from you, my dear readers!

1. Where are you currently situated?
2. What is your vocation?
3. What is your passion?
4. Are you religious?

{A good friend of mine from high school told me last weekend that he likes to read my blog, even though he's not religious. I'm so glad he does (hi Danny!) and I am glad we can all have respect and conversations, since we're all on different life journeys. I'm especially glad this blog isn't pidgin-holed away!}

5. Favorite book to recommend to people?
6. A few of your favorite things?
7. What do you like about The Corner with a View?
8. Anything you'd like me to write more about? Any question you're dying to ask me? Curious about residency, long distance relationships, cerebral palsy, procrastinating, teaching, editing or why I update my instagram more than my blog?
9. What does the phrase "beauty will save the world" mean to you?

Answer 1 or 9 or none, but at the very least, watch this video of fifth grade boys as they synchronize swim on land. Hilarious!

Hope you're having a great week, y'all! Praying and reflecting a lot on what happened in Charleston, and very glad to see the awesome sense of justice and mercy rising up. It is not the multitudes of failures that define our country, but the inherent goodness of our people in spite of tragedy.

UPDATE: A few of you are having trouble submitting comments - feel free to message me or comment elsewhere, like on the FB page!

Friday, June 12, 2015

This Love We Share

Waiting for the dentist...
We're a day away from being gone for two weeks, visiting homes and spending time with loved ones. It's a small consolation prize that Will's shift schedule is very busy while the girls and I share a room every night. (Not as terrible as it could be; not always ideal either!) I'm surprised how much routine we're able to keep going, though bed times are significantly later, which the grandparents all love.

The absence of Will is palpable to me. Staying in his parents's home could be hard; so many memories, and pictures around. (This is also a good thing!) My parents have pictures of Will up as well, and even with more hands on ship to care for and love the girls, my mind naturally wonders what Will is up to without our little attention-seekers in the house, and I'm pleasantly surprised to realize that I never stop missing Will. I always thought our long distance relationship would help mellow those feelings in time. Rather, now, it is our shared work as parents that makes me know a stronger love.

It is not just the love we feel as much as the love we share that matters in this world. While talking to Will over FaceTime this morning, I thought about sharing. We are mostly independent entities - my work as a teacher and his work as an intern do not overlap. Still- we share this work. One of us takes over girls duty if the other needs to play catch-up. I discuss ways he could improve efficiency with his hospital responsibilities (charting and logging, etc.), and he encourages me in the same (with grading). Today, he made a phone call to check on Grace's secondary insurance for therapies before running a couple errands, and I told him how the girls and I spent our morning, and what we plan to do this evening.

I miss Will. Five more days till we are home again, where we will share the same space just as we share in this life. For Will and I, our marriage seems to fall into very traditional roles - I stay at home with the girls (and teach, etc.), and Will goes to the hospital nearly every day. And still, what we encounter in an everydayness that must be shared: laundry, cleaning, appointments, therapies, consistency, meal times, food prep, and routine.

Parenthood feels like mission impossible, and the purposefulness of it is growing on me. A person cannot survive on love alone. People need purpose, want interdependence, and are always looking for ways to create community because it is in this sharing of purpose that true love, in the selfless ways, comes to fruition.

Leo Tolstoy wrote in Anna Karenina,
Levin looked more attentively at Ivan Parmenov and his wife. They were loading a haycock onto the cart not far from him. Ivan Parmenov was standing on the cart, taking, laying in place, and stamping down the huge bundles of hay, which his pretty young wife deftly handed up to him, at first in armfuls, and then on the pitchfork. The young wife worked easily, merrily, and dexterously. The close-packed hay did not once break away off her fork. First she gathered it together, stuck the fork into it, then with a rapid, supple movement leaned the whole weight of her body on it, and at once with a bend of her back under the red belt she drew herself up, and arching her full bosom under the white smock, with a smart turn swung the fork in her arms, and flung the bundle of hay high onto the cart. Ivan, obviously doing his best to save her every minute of unnecessary labor, made haste, opening his arms to clutch the bundle and lay it in the cart. As she raked together what was left of the hay, the young wife shook off the bits of hay that had fallen on her neck, and straightening the red kerchief that had dropped forward over her white brow, not browned like her face by the sun, she crept under the cart to tie up the load. Ivan directed her how to fasten the cord to the cross-piece, and at something she said he laughed aloud. In the expressions of both faces was to be seen vigorous, young, freshly awakened love.

How do you share in love?

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Saturday, June 6, 2015

Walk This Way

The girls and I just had the best week visiting my in-laws. Great-Aunt Susie came up from Missouri, Aunt Stephanie came in from Iowa, and we were fresh from Pennsylvania.

One day, we went to the best Mediterranean restaurant overlooking the Ohio River and Louisville. Grace had an equally fancy lunch.

She also worked on being discovered as an artist.

We took a walk across the Big Four Bridge and saw the construction of the new (much needed!) bridge. Hallelujah!

Hail to American industry...

It was a little cooler than the weatherman originally predicted, and just perfect for a long walk across the river. It's a fairly new walking bridge, and leads right to the river front, where Will and I had our third date. 

This summer, I'm looking forward to walking more (again) and exploring with my girls. I'm going to buy new running shoes when I'm in my hometown so I can start couch-to-5k training again (my postpartum fave), and I'm looking forward to exploring more parks and trails near our PA home.

How are you all getting out this summer? Any adventures on the horizon?

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Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Waiting for Goslings

Hello from Indiana! Grace, Laura and I are visiting my in-laws and following the movements of a goose family. We watch them crossing the road between two nearby ponds. I am pretending to be an amateur ornithologist.

My MIL alerted us to their existence, and we're having a wonderful time watching.

It's just lovely weather in Indiana. A bit colder tan the weather man predicted, hence the sweater, jeans and blankets on the girls.

sweater: Ann Taylor LOFT// ThredUp
sandals: Born // DSW
stroller: Delta DX Side by Side Umbrella Stroller // Babies R Us
babies: Laura and Grace // Will + Julie 

I love watching the geese. I love their Roman history of guarding homes, and I know how many people have been traumatized by being chased or hissed at by a goose... but they are so beautiful and lovely from afar, and I love how geese mate for life.  My in-laws are especially glad that there are still six goslings in the bunch, and this family has not lost any to tragedy!

During this particular encounter, my MIL went closer, expecting them to honk at her; instead, they hissed, much to Grace's delight. This morning, Grace and my MIL watched them cross the road closer to the house, and the goslings practiced hissing at them while the parents calmly kept them in check. Just a wonderful scene to behold!

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