Sunday, December 13, 2009

Real Job

No matter what your current job or profession, I'm sure you remember your first real job. Along the way, I've had a few jobs*, all with glorified titles:

*Loosely defined here as acitivity lasting longer than a single day that involved me receiving money for some sort of work.

1. Professional Lawnmower - This actually was the verbatim title I listed on my 8th grade resume to describe the three summers I spent mowing ONE neighbor's lawn.

2. Fence Painter - People kept running into this fence along a farmer's field when they'd drive by at night. I was hired to paint it white. Still white, last time I checked.

3. Mink Habitat Repurposer - A neighbor had a mink farm and he was transitioning to writing online travel guides for exotic destinations. What this guy should really be writing is a guide to internet entrepeneurship for mink farmers. Enter: computer programmers. Exit: wire mink cages. Benefit: mink + internet surfers wishing they were on vacation. End result: A good friend and I spent most of that summer sitting on buckets cutting apart mink cages piece by piece. Good times Dan!

4. Gas station attendant/motel cleaner/cook's assistant/waiter/concierge/accountant/Navajo rug expert/dishwasher - All in one summer. Not just a bad string of hirings/firings, this was one of the best jobs possible, living in the middle of nowhere on the Kaibab plateau serving up four star food to Hell's Angels and Colorado City socialites in the same afternoon.

5. Ladybug Wrangler - Two and a half summers of undergrad research involving collecting ladybugs in various farmers' fields and from wooded trails near the Logan River. If the job hadn't included raising aphids (a ladybug's favorite food) in a greenhouse, this could qualify as one of the best outdoor ecology jobs ever. Oh, and the trips to collect
yellow start thistle. It's as painful as it looks.

And now, 24 years after starting school, I'm signed on for a job that will last longer than a summer, won't depend on tips and has the potential to grow into whatever I make of it.

In August 2010, Molly and I will be moving with the kids to Salt Lake City, Utah where I begin work at Primary Children's Medical Center as a pediatrician in the Division of Pediatric Emergency Medicine. I'll split time at PCMC between the ED the Rapid Treatment Unit, where children are admitted when only a short hospital stay is needed. We'll be close to home, close to the mountains but will miss all of our good friends in the Midwest. Salt Lake City here we come!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Quite the ride!

A trip to Lark Toys in Kellogg, MN was on the agenda when my parents came for a visit (yeah!) this past week. A gorgeous hand-carved Carousel is one of the main attractions at this specialty toy store. A clip from the Lark Toys website; "The carousel at LARK Toys is unlike any other carousel in the world. Hand-carved from basswood and designed with exquisite detail, each animal is a rideable work of art."
And WOW was that true!

Quinn took a ride on a Deer (those are real antlers)

Dad chose a strong bear with a fish clenched in its teeth

Max was a bit nervous and so opted for the cart that was pulled by a Mama Ostrich (you can see her babies hatching behind Max's head)

I jumped on the back of a Pink Flamingo, gorgeous bird! (your eyes do not decieve you, Mike is casually perched on a Chicken behind me, :)!!
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Mae straddled a Wolf so Mike got on the next closest animal which happened to be a Chicken! Awesome!!!!

My Mom was the photographer, hence her absence in these brilliant photos, great shots Mom! I wish somebody would have snapped a pic of her riding side saddle atop a fierce and staggeringly beautiful-looking dragon! :) In truth, there was a fantastic dragon, but Mom chose to ride something a bit more tame, a seat for photo takers that was placed right in front of Quinn's Deer. I was surprised at how it truly felt like a ride; you went up, up, up and then down, down, down. It went around pretty fast too!

After 5 1/2 fun-filled days, my parents flew back home yesterday. Tonight in Quinn's prayers he said "please bless us to miss Gran & Pa, but not to cry, just to miss them". :) Thanks for coming Mom & Dad! It was so much fun having you here at my house.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Giving Thanks

Here's our Thanksgiving gang this year.
What a nice day. I loved our company, Jean & Bryce, dear friends in our ward, and Ryan & Lindsay, dear friends from our med school days in Milwaukee, and a blessing! they matched at Mayo along with us 2 1/2 years ago. Between the three families, we had 7 cute kids running around and both Jean and Lindsay are pregnant with baby boys. I thought about stuffing a pillow under my shirt just to fit in :). I did get to feel Lindsay's baby kick a couple of times, that was precious for me. There's something so special about carrying life. The day of Thanksgiving, I made sure all the toys in the basement had new batteries, the toy tent was up and ready for "campers", the marble maze was within a child's reach and all the cars were set up on the toy mountain ready for play. The kids took the bait. They played for hours and the lucky parents got to sit and relax, chatting and catching up on all on our busy lives. Please pardon the wacky look on my face in this pic, everyone else looks great, so I had to post it!

Here are my fall "acorns". I took a donut hole, put chocolate frosting on the top 1/3rd, rolled it in toffee chips and stuck a pretzel in for the stem. They turned out pretty cute (I could only find assorted donut holes, you're not supposed to have powdery white acorns!) and were quite a yummy little treat too.

Quinn, donning his Turkey headband. Quinn's preschool at the YMCA has been great. He loves going and I love all the cute things he comes home with (this darling headband for instance).

I really enjoy a small group of loved ones when feasting at Thanksgiving. Everyone brings a few of their favorite dishes and desserts, and because the numbers are few we all know who brought what so we can shower them with compliments and beg for recipes. With just 6 adults, we were all involved in the same conversations; we all got to hear about Ryan's recent trip to the Dominican Republic (beautiful beaches and crazy van rides with 15 people aboard, stuffed into a van the size of our Odyssey!) , Bryce's thoughts on personal hygiene (I didn't shower today, Bryce :), what is on Mike's Christmas wish list (Mike went to the computer and pulled up his dream couch shaped like a boulder, $$$$$$, hey Thanksgiving friends, I'm going to need your donations to make that wish come true!!!), and how I am a softie and buy everything that any door-to-door man, woman or child is selling if they have a great pitch!

My prayers were were rather lengthy on Thanksgiving because I have been given much. I hope you too had a wonderful Thanksgiving day.
Now, bring on the snow, the holiday lights and the goodies! Christmas is on its way!!!!
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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Fall Photo Shoot

Mike got some great pics during an
'after-church-before-you-change-out-of-your-Sunday-clothes' moment

These three little people are my work. I find myself working constantly! It's a good thing I enjoy my job.

This little guy has so many goofy/crazy/cool expressions. I could have posted at least 5 more funny, but cute! pics of him

What delightful small children. As I'm typing, I'm reflecting. Lately I've noticed that my feelings have changed towards my kids. It's been gradual.....I don't exactly know when I stopped feeling mechanical, frustrated and tired and instead, started feeling warm, happy and proud. I'm noticing that the three people who are in my care have beautiful little souls. I'm starting to see them as real people. People I can interact with. People I can laugh with and tell jokes too, and they get me! We share every moment of every day and it's better than "work". It's rich and fun and rewarding. It's cute and hilarious and loving. It's....what I hoped it would be.
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Saturday, October 31, 2009

Sugar Rush!

Check out this pumpkin we grew!
Mike threw a few seeds into the ground and this beauty sprouted.

Then these three cuties sprouted!

My tasty little Candycorns.

We had a really great day.
It was fun having Halloween on a Saturday when Mike was home and we could party from daylight to dusk. At one point, while trick-or-treating our street, Mae asked me to hold her candy jack-o-lantern. It was just too laden down with Halloween treats, her tiny 2 year old arms couldn't take the weight! :)

p.s. Happy Birthday to my dear brother C! Hope you had a spook-tacular b-day!
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Sunday, October 25, 2009

Winter Strikes

On Friday October 23rd, Minnesota was hit by winter. Three inches of it. We passed through it unphased and, with 50 degree weather the next day, we are now enjoying a wonderful spring.

In retrospect, this winter wasn't half bad!
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Sunday, October 18, 2009

Boundary Waters 1

From 9/3-9/8 I went to the Boundary Waters (along the US/Canadian border) with Ralph Whitesides, C Whitesides, Dave Lund, Dad (that'd be Dave Johnson) and Kurtis Tucker (the other counselor in our ward young men's presidency). The trip was great. Here are a few pictures.

We camped the first night on the shores of a quiet lake just outside of Ely, MN.

This was taken from the short of the campsite on Knife Lake where we spent most of our time. The weather was clear and warm with some beautiful sunsets.
And sunrises, here on Moose Lake as we paddled out on our last morning.
Here's a shot of our campsite on the night before we paddled out (more to follow).
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Boundary Waters 2

Ralph showing proof that the load was shared over our 5 portages.
And Dave, wondering why there's so much walking on a canoe trip.
And Dad making sure that we don't go hungry (fishing poles) and make it out alive (first aid kit).
We all had a chance to carry the canoe on our shoulders. Here's C doing it in style.
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Boundary Waters 3

Kurtis walking the trail.

Dad with photographic proof that fish were caught...

and fried, in a very dramatic fashion, by C. If you look close you could see the hairs on his forearms curling.

And some very fancy-looking food was dished out, garnished with "backwoods lobster".

Friday, September 18, 2009

What's Up?

I have been remiss in my blogging....
A few fun things have been going on in our household;

1) Quinn started preschool at the YMCA. He's 4 1/2 years old and ready for some fun in the afternoons (he was getting rather bored with Max & Mae napping every afternoon and Ma wanting to clean the kitchen or prepare dinner, where's the excitement in that???). He's gone three times and had a great experience so far. I am giddy when I put the twins down for a nap and have almost 2 hours to myself. So many possibilities!!
2) Mike spent 6 days canoeing in the Boundary Waters of northern MN. My Dad, my brother (C), my brother-in-law (Dave), Mike's Dad and a friend from the ward (Kurtis) joined Mike on this awesome adventure. While they were far from civilization, my Mom and Hilary (C's wife) joined me and the kids here in Rochester for a great girls retreat. We hit Mall of America (LOVE that place), our local mall (we may not have Gap Body, but we've got ColdStone.), stayed up late watching BBC films (North & South and Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell--amazing stories!!), Mom and Hil helped me grocery shop--a chore I detest (when I made them eat waffles for dinner one night and eggs and toast the next they said, enough! we will help you tackle the grocery aisles! Bless them forever.), they spent morning noon and night with me and the kids, it was glorious!
3) Max split his chin open. Again. Mike's talent with steri-strips was required. Again.
4) Quinn is potty trained! YES! This miracle happened just recently and I've never known such happiness. Quinn is quite proud of himself too. I don't know how it happened, what clicked inside his brain, but he just decided that it was OK to go on the potty and that was that. Why did I stress and struggle with him for 1 1/2 years???! I choose to forget those dark times. It's in the past now.
5) Mike's pediatrics residency at The Mayo Clinic ends in June 2010. Just a short 9 months away. Eeeekkkk! Big decisions on the horizon. Go for a public health/academic fellowship or try for a real job? Intimidating to say the least. I find myself looking fondly on those days when we ranked our choices of schools and programs and then waited to find out where we had matched. This whole choosing your future location and final destination could keep one up at night! Mike's a great pediatrician, I'm sure we'll land in the right spot. Hopefully a little closer to family.....
6) The brain boggles. That's all I can come up with.

I tip my hat to all the outstanding bloggers who post daily, weekly or monthly (you've all got me beat). I thoroughly enjoy checking your blogs and hearing about your inspiring lives.

p.s. Mike is not here to help me figure out my picture struggles. Why am I so pathetic when it comes to computer know-how???! If you will, please envision crisp, beautiful photos of my children taken by Auntie Hil. They will be posted and soon.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Obama’s Health Care Speech

After hearing the health care speech and being in the middle of the Mayo Clinic during all this health care turmoil, thought I'd post this overview of the speech for anyone who's interested.

Obama’s Health Care Speech

And, if you'd like to read the Mayo Clinic's position on health care reform, this is what was circulated internally last week.

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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Utah Summer Trip--Good Times!

Here we are on our way OUT to Utah, three cheers for a road trip!!!

Here we are, 2.5 weeks later, on our way BACK from Utah, three cheers for coaxing family members to drive back to Minnesota with us!!!

And here are a few things that happened in between:

We walked the beautiful grounds at the Logan Temple.

Mike taught the twins the fine art of leg wrestling. (I can't remember who won, probably Quinn intervened and triumphed)

Mae & Max went fishing while at the cabin. You like Mae's fishing hat? We all decided it looks like it belongs to Cookie Monster! I was worried it would blow off and then we'd have tears, but Mae kept it on.

Max found a warm spring at Mike's family reunion in Saratoga Springs, UT. After stepping one foot in and then two, he decided it wouldn't do to just splash in the stream, he must lay down in it. Very amusing for all of us.

The kids went 4-Wheelin' with Pa at the Whitesides Family Cabin.
(sorry I didn't get a pic with Gran driving the 4-wheeler, she really cruises and the kids love it!)

Here's Quinn, cooling off in Grandma's hot tub. Mae also went for a swim, sitting safely on the stairs. Max refused to put his swimsuit on the entire trip, but as you can see from the photo above, not wearing a swimsuit did not stop him from immersing himself in warm, shallow waters.

Pa took Quinn for a ride around the neighborhood in Logan, UT on the motorcycle (it used to be my brother C's until his wife surprised him with a Harley-Davidson a few years ago. Bu-bye Honda, Hello Hog!)

Here's a pic of Mike's river rafting trip in ID/Montana with his siblings. Mike is not in this pic because he's the one snapping it. What a loaded raft!

A day at Mt. Rushmore on the way back to MN. Fun, fun day! Very cool carvings.

Almost all the cousins (Maren was running to the canoe) on their way to the lake. Jess's great kids, Anna, Maren and Kira and my three make all the grandkids on my fam's side. They had such a fun time together!! We miss you cousins!!!

Mae, playing dress up with cousin Natalie's old dance recital outfits. I'm not sure what the "bunny" is doing here. Playing dead? Love that fluffy little tush!

The favorite toy tractor at Grandma and Grandpa's. There is a pic of Mike playing on this same tractor when he was Quinn's age. Some toys are timeless!

Mae, taking a break from life on our road trip out to UT. We borrowed 2 portable DVD players and while I was rather bent on sticking to books and window gazing, I was VERY grateful to be able to put on a movie when we still had 4 hours to go, it was dark, and the twins were DONE!

(Please note that Mae is not wearing a hairbow in this picture. Rare.)

I feel like I blinked and my glorious 18 day summer vacation was over. It was so fun to see family and to be in beautiful Utah. I miss you all very much and look forward to the day when we live closer than a 20 hour van ride! The good news is that Ty and Connie are hanging out with us for a few more days before heading back to Cache Valley. I don't think I could have handled it had we come back to MN empty handed. Having Ty & Connie in the 'way back' made me feel like my summer vacation was lingering a little longer.

whew. Well, this post has taken me about 2 hours, all of naptime. I 'aint no speed machine! I hope you enjoy all these pics! :)