Saturday, May 26, 2007

Doctor, doctor!

Hubby had the pins removed from his wrist the other day. My dad took him to the hospital while I spent the afternoon with the kids.
First, I was the "patient."
A four-year-old doctor attached a toy blood pressure cuff to my arm and said, squeezing it so the needle rotated in a constant circle, "Mommy, it's 7:30 o'clock in your body."
A six-year-old doctor took my temperature with a toy thermometer and announced, "Your mouth is on fire!".
At which point the two-year-old doctor came running and gave me a shot in my belly. Which actually hurt more than a real shot in my belly would have.
Then it was my turn as the doctor, and all three kids ended up in "casts" just like daddy. Three less Ace Bandages in the medical emergency kit; three happy kids who are "just like daddy" with their arms wrapped up.
Despite the fears of hubby's general anesthesia and the guilt of not being able to join him at the hospital, it was a GREAT afternoon!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Guilty pleasures

1. Fresh mozzarella, ripe tomatoes and a touch of balsamic vinegar
2. Pop Secret cheddar popcorn. (White cheddar is an acceptable substitute)
3. Breyers' mint chocolate chip ice cream with chocolate sprinkles; also Magic Shell if it's been a really stressful day.
4. Warm brie with a touch of butter, using fresh sourdough bread slices as the spoon.
5. Moist homemade banana bread, topped with cinnamon sugar and oats. This is one of the few things I can succesfully make from scratch!

And two more guilty pleasures of days gone by:
1. Breyers' raspberry mocha chunk ice cream (the actual name of this flavor escapes me at the moment, but I haven't seen it in over a year!!)
2. Publix "Santa's White Christmas" ice cream - mocha and chocolate chunks; seasonal flavor that is sorely missed.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

What If???

Where was I ten years ago? Graduating from Stetson University with a business degree.
I was born and raised on Long Island, and never thought of moving anywhere else. All through high school, I was positive I was heading for a career in medicine. One of my most cherished memories is my time as a volunteer on the maternity floor at a local hospital. I became a volunteer as soon as I turned 14, the minimum age requirement in New York. I worked at this same hospital until I graduated high school - two or three days each week, four hours each day. The nurses quickly became like a second family to me. Once we got to know each other, they bent a lot of the rules and allowed me to do – and observe - much more than the typical volunteer was allowed to. The nursery nurses would grab me and say things like, “We’re doing a spinal tap, would you like to watch?” Eventually, they arranged for me to work one day a week in the labor & delivery area (back then, the units were separate). No volunteer had ever worked there before. I was in heaven, and fully convinced I wanted to work in the medical field – specifically OB/GYN or NICU.
I have a slim gold bracelet the nurses gave me the last Christmas before I graduated, and a goodbye card signed “With much love, All the girls on OB.” I still remember their names….Kay, Kathleen, Sharon…...
After high school, I headed to Adelphi University in Garden City, NY. I had a full scholarship to their nursing school, with a pre-med focus (nursing was a fall-back career option in case I decided not to go to medical school). I was convinced I’d be back at the same hospital in a few years, this time as a physician-in-training.
How, then, did I end up in business school in Florida??
My first love - J.
I met him the summer before my first semester at Adelphi. He was between his freshman and sophomore years at a college in Daytona Beach, and returned to work at the same restaurant I had begun working at during my senior year. There was an instant, powerful connection between us. We dated exclusively all summer, and I was absolutely convinced we would be together for the rest of our lives.
Then the summer ended, and J changed.
He went back to school and broke off the exclusive, romantic part of our relationship. I was devastated.
I am fairly certain it was the pregnancy scare at the end of the summer that caused him to re-evaluate things. (Knowing now what I didn’t know then, I’m pretty sure I was pregnant and suffered an early miscarriage.)
That semester, I visited him a few times - desperate to hold on - and saw him often when he returned home on breaks. I was convinced that, if I followed him south, we’d get back together.
I found a map of Florida and compared it to the Barron’s college book, marking the towns with schools nearest to him.
I painstakingly researched the options, much to my parents’ chagrin.
J returned home for the summer, and our romance rekindled a bit.
I took this as a promising sign and proceeded to defy my parents, forego my full scholarship at Adelphi, and make arrangements to transfer to Florida my sophomore year.
Then the summer ended, and J changed – again.
I still moved to Florida, even though we weren’t romantically involved any longer. We were still good friends, and I needed him. Plus, I remained convinced we were meant to be together and determined to make that happen.
The ending to the story?
J remains one of my closest friends to this day. He’s come out of the closet and now lives with his longtime boyfriend in Atlanta.
I changed my major to “undecided,” since Stetson doesn’t have a nursing school. In exploring other options, I found I had a passion for marketing - a field I had not previously known existed. And I met my husband at Stetson.
The rest is history.
Some days, though, I wonder where my life would be had I made different choices?
What if I didn’t give up the full scholarship? What if I stayed at Adelphi, and fulfilled my longtime dream of becoming a doctor?
What if I met someone else, in NY, and my feelings for J weakened?
What if the “pregnancy scare” with J had grown into a full-term baby, and I had a 13-year-old child today?
It truly amazes me how, looking back, the chain of life-altering decisions were made not by me alone, but through a higher power’s guidance. We do not create our path and lead ourselves down it; we merely follow the path laid out for us by God.
In case you are wondering, two songs usually set off my pensive “what if” mood – “What Might Have Been” and “Unanswered Prayers.”
I heard both on the radio this morning.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Last month in review...

Wow! Has it really been almost a month? Time sure flies!
Much has happened in Mayberry....some good, some bad, some ugly and some just plain funny:

Too Much Information
My father-in-law and his wife are in town, the latest link in the ongoing chain of family helpers while hubby is in a full-arm cast following his surgery. Last night, he was grilling dinner on our deck while hubby and I were discussing the latest statement from our medical flex plan. Despite the recent surgery, this has been a reasonably healthy year for us...which means we have an excess of funds in the account which we will lose at the end of the year.
He suggested I might want to consider Lasik.
After a moment of pondering, my response was, "I wonder if laser hair removal done at the gynecologist would count?"
At that precise instant, my FIL walked in with a plate of steaks. The look on his face was priceless.

Fast Food
We have got to start eating healthier. As evidenced by my two-year-old recently, at the drive-through window of our bank. As soon as the window went down, she hollered "No pickles, no onions, girl toy!" at the teller.

Vacation Countdown
We are taking a weeklong summer vacation as a family, to the Smoky Mountains. I have never been there, and we're all really looking forward to it. We still haven't finalized a place to stay, but have narrowed it down to a few choices. We are definitely doing a little cabin (not a hotel) and we want to be in a quiet place in the mountains, outside Gatlinburg. The trip is less than a month away!

School Countdown
T-minus one week until I am the only person in our house who must rush around to get ready in the mornings. What a relief that will be!!

BMW Fenders cost $1,100 each
I learned this the hard way, by parking my invisible black 325i behind my husband's aunt's minivan in our driveway. It happened one afternoon while I was at work (I carpool), but nobody told me that evening. I noticed the damage to the front bumper the next morning when I left for work, and I immediately called my husband. Who said, "Oh yeah, I meant to tell you...."
Later that day, my four-year-old explained the details of how it all went down:
"I'm sorry I have to tell you this Mommy, but Aunt Judy hit your car. She drove backwards and made a loud noise and bonked your car and then she said, 'Shoot!' and Daddy moved your car to a different spot and we went to Publix."
We both felt awkward asking his Aunt to pay for the repairs, since she stayed with us for 3 weeks to help out. The guy at the BMW dealership referred us to a reputable body shop, who said they could fix it - instead of replace it - for half the price. Better...I guess?
We still haven't gotten it fixed. Although I really like this car, and it's my first NICE car (it replaced a 4-year-old Chevy Venture), I just can't justify spending $500 to fix a cosmetic issue.

We're Portable!
My brother-in-law's cousin got married last weekend. It was a brief ceremony and casual party afterwards. We brought the kids, and had a great time.
We brought the kids...and had a great time.
It used to be that we would never even think about bringing the 3 little ones to a wedding. The stress just wouldn't be worth it. Heck, we wouldn't even think about taking all 3 to Publix at the same time! But now....we can do fun things together as a family, and actually ENJOY them.
Like the wedding.
The kids had an absolute blast dancing, and we got some really great photos. I wish we had brought the video camera, since still shots didn't capture the hilarious essence of the moment very well.
The whole ride home, I thought about what a perfect place our little family is in right now....