Friday, January 23, 2015

Firetrucks, Bumps, Steals & Deals {Friday Link Ups}

Happy Friday, lovely ladies!

If you didn't catch my post on piko shirts yesterday, be sure to check that out. I know you'll want to stock up when you see the super low prices offered on the site that I shared! And, if you decide to make a purchase, right now you can get 10% off with the discount code thenewly. Hop on it! Now, let's get to the Friday link ups, shall we? To see who I am linking up with today, scroll to the end of the post.

1| Brunch, Firetrucks, and Grandparent Love
Earlier this week, Caleb and I drove up to the Vinings area of Atlanta to have brunch at the restaurant where my mom and I will be hosting my sister's bridal shower in March. The trip was a mixture of things: a chance to spend some time together, a chance to eat some yummy food, and a chance for my mom and I to check out the venue. The food was super yummy (think beignet biscuits a la New Orleans), Hawaiian french toast, egg scramblers and more. And of course, Caleb had a great time getting spoiled by his grandparents. And playing with his mini Melissa & Doug puzzles (which are lifesavers while waiting at restaurants).



After lunch, while my mom and I checked out the room in which we will be hosting the shower, my dad took Caleb outside to run around. After our little walk-through, my mom and I got outside, and saw my dad and C walking over to the firehouse next door. And next thing we knew, the sweet firemen were putting my little man up in the truck, giving him stickers and coloring books, and shining the lights on the fire truck for him. To say that Caleb was a bit awestruck would be an understatement. He simply looked at everything wide-eyed, and was strangely silent the whole time. It was the cutest. thing. ever. 




2| A Cute, Cheap Coat
I've seen this coat on several blogs throughout the blogosphere lately. And loved it. I mean, plaid? Fur? There's nothing not to like. What I did not expect? The price on this baby! It's a steal. Literally. It's like they are giving it away. I don't technically need a coat right now, but at the steeply discounted price, I won't lie. It may or may not have ended up in my online cart. Along with these earrings. Oops.




3| Big Boy Room/Nursery Updates
Happily, the progress continues on Caleb's big boy room and Vivian's nursery. I have been picking up things here and there for both, and getting great ideas for items I'd like to order. The color schemes have been nailed down, all of the furniture has been purchased, or is already in place, and now it's just a matter of getting it all put together cohesively. Well, and cleaning the spaces out. Since Caleb will be moving into what is now the guest room, everything that is in that room now has got to go. Including all of the "off season" clothing that I store in the closet in there - which won't fit into my master closet, despite the fact that it's a good size walk-in closet. This is where I need your help: how do you ladies store your off season clothing? Tubs? Hanging rods? Bags? I need your organizational tips and tricks, so throw them my way!

4| Pregnancy Update
As you all know, I have not been doing pregnancy updates on a weekly basis. The every-other-week posts seem to work well this time around, so I am sticking with it. However, for my own memory's sake, I am taking weekly bump pictures. Here's little Vivi in all of her 25 week, lilac swathed glory! This belly is getting bigger and bigger. And bigger.


As a side note, if you missed my post on maternity favorites from earlier this week, click here for that. I shared some of my must have maternity items, as well as some insight for pregnant mamas on dressing those baby bumps. And saving your dollars while doing it. Winning.

5| New Lip Color
We talked about "go to" lip sticks on the blog not long ago. I have several red/berry shades that I love, and have no desire to find more. However, for every day running around, I am finding myself low on inspiration and wanting to try something new. I need a bit of color to brighten up this winter-white skin, but nothing too garish. I typically go with this colored lip balm, and have been pleased with it in the past. However, I'd like something a little longer-lasting, that I don't have to reapply. Mama ain't got time for all that. Here are a few that I am considering and have heard good things about. Thoughts? Additional suggestions? 




Soft Matte Lip Cream

That's all for this week! Caleb and I are headed to a play date this morning, and are preparing to spend a weekend without Daddy, as B is on call Saturday and Sunday. Sigh. Luckily, I will have a lot to keep me busy, so hopefully the time away from my love won't be too brutal. Wishing you all a very happy weekend. If you'd like to link up for the Friday posts, check out any of the ladies listed below:

5 on Friday with April of A. Liz Adventrues, Christina of Carolina Charm, Natasha of Hello! Happiness, and Darcy of The Good Life.

THE GOOD LIFE BLOG

Oh Hey Friday with September Farm and The Farmer's Wife.


And Friday Favorites with A Little Bit of EverythingMomfessionals, and Grace and Love.

Momfessionals





Thursday, January 22, 2015

Lovely Lilac {Piko Love}

Am I the very last one to jump on the piko trend? I might be. But now that I've tried it, I'm not going back.



Recently, I ordered a piko tunic from pikoshirts.com. At 25 weeks pregnant, I am always on the lookout for cute, stylish tops that will work for both now and after the pregnancy. I learned my lesson the first time around, and don't want to be saddled with a closet full of overpriced maternity clothing that I may or may not ever wear again. Enter, the piko. A magical combination of soft bamboo spandex, fitted sleeves, and a flowy, universally figure-flattering torso. It's every girl's dream shirt.


I chose the tunic style piko to add a bit of length to accommodate my growing bump. And, as you can see, I have plenty of room for Vivi to keep on growing. The tunic piko is the perfect length to pair with leggings or skinny jeans (whether you are pregnant or not) - anything that you may want to wear to ensure that your derriere is covered. Fellow mamas, you can get down on the floor to play with your little ones, chase them around, and bend about with ease in this top, with no worries about exposing your underwear or panty lines, or having to hitch up your pants before you sit. So comfy and practical. At the same time, you can also throw on a statement necklace, like the one I'm wearing in these pictures, slip on some heels, and voila, you're ready for a date night or brunch with friends. It couldn't be more versatile.


Aside from the tunic option, there are plenty of other piko styles to choose from - long sleeved tops, 3/4 sleeve tops, short sleeved tops, v-neck styles, dresses, and more. There is something for everyone. Another fun fact? They come in - literally - every color of the rainbow. I fell in love with this soft lilac color. However, I also have my eye on the bright red shade shown below, along with the mint green, which would be perfect for spring. In fact, if I could just grab a piko in every color, I would. 


Red Piko Long Sleeve Top - Front

Mint Piko 3/4 Sleeve Top

The best news of all? Piko shirts from pikoshirts.com are only $20. Twenty dollars. And their shipping is super reasonable. Gals, this is a deal. Most of these tops sell for $30 or more in boutique stores. This is truly the cheapest price I have ever seen. If you've never tried a piko, or have overpaid for your piko tops at a different store, well, it's ok. It can all be made right. Hop on over to pikoshirts.com and find a style and color to fit your needs. I will be working on building up my collection as we speak. I may have been late picking up on the piko trend, but I am making up for it now. Cheers to flowy and flattering for 2015!


I purchased the piko tunic featured in this post of my own accord, and loved it so much, I wanted to share it and the company I ordered it from with you all. However, as part of a promotion for bloggers, if you all demonstrate your love for pikos as well, I will receive a credit to the store. So, please be sure to leave a comment on my post today, visit pikoshirts.com, and like my photo on IG. I'd appreciate it!:)


Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Dressing the Bump {Maternity Favorites}

Anyone else notice that there is a major blogger baby boom for spring and summer 2015? A lot of us are pregnant right now. Which means that there are a lot of mamas currently sporting bumps of all sizes. And a lot of mamas wearing maternity clothing.

Having ridden the pregnancy train twice now, there are definitely a few things I've learned along the way. Second time mamas will most likely agree with me on a lot of this. And first timers? Well, take note, ladies. Learn from my mistakes!

Quality Versus Quantity
As with most things in life, this old saying holds true with maternity clothing. The first time around, I thought I could get by with buying inexpensive things, and purchasing them in bulk. Well, guess what? As soon as I had Caleb, several of my maternity items went either right into the trash can, or into Goodwill bags only to have to be re-purchased again this time around with baby #2. A good example of this: the nursing bras we had a discussion about here on the blog a couple of weeks ago. If I would have spent a bit more to get good quality bras the first time, I probably could have avoided having to purchase new ones this time. This time around, I've made investments where they were needed, and purchased fewer pieces. With less than 4 months to go, I'm very pleased with how I've managed to get along so far. Which leads me to...

Invest in Key Pieces
There are several things you can't get away without buying while pregnant. For most of us, this list will include denim, undergarments, and basic layering items. If you've got a good pair of maternity jeans, a quality maternity/nursing bra, and several thick, long tank tops that can cover that belly, you are golden. Really. Pre-pregnancy clothing like cardigans and swingy tops can be worn over your pregnancy tanks for almost the whole pregnancy. In summer months, maxi-dresses from the normal clothing section can be worn (trust me, and don't waste money on the maternity versions that you can't wear after having the baby). And, as we all know, yoga pants and leggings can go the distance. 

*For mamas who work in a professional environment, a few other key pieces may be necessary: a black dress (or other dark colored business casual shift), dress pants with full panels, dark tights or pantyhose - if pregnant during the winter months, and a blazer that can button over a growing belly are all worthwhile investments (and items that I quickly learned I needed while working and pregnant with Caleb).

Hold Off on Buying Too Early
This is one of the absolute hardest things to do when excitedly anticipating the arrival of a little one. After all, showing off that bump is a badge of pride for most soon-to-be mamas. However, buying too early is also one of the biggest mistakes a pregnant mother can make. You see, that little 19 week bump you think is SO big will be nothing compared to the bump you will be sporting at 36 weeks or so. You truly have no idea how big that belly will be, so the wisest thing to do is wait as long as possible before purchasing anything. Work with what you already have in your closet until you can make it work no longer. And when you do purchase clothing, be sure you give yourself plenty of room to grow. Invest in a belly band or do the rubber band trick to extend the life of your pre-pregnancy bottoms. Order a size up in anything fitted (like tees, tanks and skinny jeans). And read reviews. Read, read, read. I am always so thankful for customer reviews to get a good sense of how items will fit before I purchase anything online - this is especially important while pregnant, when most of your clothing will come through online purchases, since so many stores don't carry their maternity lines in store.

Buy Maternity Only When Necessary
As mentioned above, there are a few key things that you absolutely cannot get away without purchasing while pregnant. However, if you're careful about your purchases, you need less than you might think. After getting rid of so much after having Caleb, I was determined to purchase as few maternity items as possible with baby #2. After all, these items can only be worn for a few months (you will never want to see them again after giving birth, I promise) and tend to be more expensive than normal clothing. So, mamas: be wise in your purchases. Over-sized, flowing tops are in style right now, are perfect for both pregnancy and after, and can found at stores ranging from Target to your neighborhood boutiques. It's great to know that an item you purchase this year will be able to be worn again next year, instead of packed away in a bin, gathering dust, am I right? Size up if you need to. Pay attention to fit - if it's loose in the abdomen area, it's probably a good bet. 

Dress for Your Body Type
By all means, ladies, embrace your bump. But do yourself a favor, and be aware of your changing body as well. Don't let the numbers on the size tags scare you away from buying things that flatter you. Pregnancy can be a bit humbling - after all, you'll likely never be as big as you while carrying a child! - but don't let that get to you. Wear what feels good. Wear what looks good. And wear it with confidence.

On that note, here are a few of my favorite items for pregnant mamas! Some of these are maternity, and some aren't. But all of these things are sure to make you look and feel good:

Maternity Must Haves

1/2/3/4/5/6/7/8/9

My favorite 'go to' stores for maternity clothing:

Target

Nordstrom
Pink Blush Maternity
Gap Maternity
Old Navy Maternity

Stay tuned, as later this week, I'll be back to share my most recent non-maternity favorite find that works perfectly over the bump!  


Monday, January 19, 2015

Whew! {Weekend Review}

I have one word for this weekend: Whew!

It's been two weeks since B had a weekend off, and before this weekend even started, I'd been hoping that we would be able to get a lot done. My nesting instincts have been kicking in big time, my to do lists just keep growing, and our time before bebe is quickly waning. An impending sense of panic has been growing inside of me with everything that we have yet to do - a good long weekend was just what we needed. And I am happy to report that a good long weekend was just what we got! B and I were able to make the very most of every single second, and got so much accomplished. We may have gone to bed absolutely exhausted last night, but it was a good kind of exhaustion, that's for sure. A fulfilled sort. The kind that leaves you thinking, " Hey, I feel good about that!" Let me do a little review for memory's sake.

On Friday, Caleb and I ended up spending most of our day with B's grandmother, whom we call Mawmaw. She and her husband, David, hadn't seen Caleb since the holidays since Caleb had been sick, so I planned to take little man over to visit them for a bit on Friday morning. We got to their house around 11 am on Friday morning, and while chatting, we decided that we wanted to get out of the house to do a bit of browsing around. I had a gift card to Kohl's that I wanted to use. I like to pick up end-of-season kids clothing on sale for the coming year, and usually end up purchasing the bulk of Caleb's wardrobe on deep discount this way. However, with Vivian's impending arrival, I had neglected to do much of that this year. So, on Friday, Mawmaw, Caleb and I headed out. We stopped for steakburgers at Freddy's before we hit Kohls. Have y'all ever had or heard of Freddy's? It is so good! Like a Five Guys, but better (the shoestring fries!) Caleb was a total stinker at lunch. He refused to sit in the highchair, cried his head off for no apparent reason for about 5 minutes straight, and then purposely dumped his kid's cup on the floor (where the lid promptly popped off and spewed lemonade everywhere). I scolded him for dumping the cup onto the floor, and he immediately crossed his little arms in a pout and began to cry some more. What a mess. Fortunately, the crying didn't last long....But I still felt like "that" mom for a short while. You know, the one who can't control her fussy toddler. Sigh. Can't win them all. 

After lunch, Caleb was a perfect gentleman, and Mawmaw and I were able to scoop up a variety of great deals in the toddler boy section at Kohls (mostly on play clothes and pajamas). While picking through the racks, I kept thinking that I can't believe I am already buying him a 3T. What? They look SO big to me. Is it possible that Caleb will be wearing that size just a year from now? After Kohl's we headed to TJ Maxx, where I then found a bunch of fun stuff for Vivi's nursery. I can't wait to share these items, along with my nursery inspiration, with you all. It's going to be so cute! Mawmaw insisted on purchasing the items that I found as part of her shower gift, so that was a completely unexpected surprise. Grandparents are the absolute best. After TJ Maxx, we headed home before we could do any more damage. Friday night was a quiet night at home. B and I put our sweet baby to bed, and then watched a Kristen Wiig movie. I can't even remember the name of it now, but honestly, it wasn't that good. We love Kristen Wiig, but it seems like her movies are super hit and miss most of the time. 

Saturday morning, we slept in until about 8 am, and then were up and around for the day. I whipped up two raspberry coffee cakes - one for us, and one as a belated birthday present for B's little sister, who requested that as her birthday cake. After breakfast, we did a thorough house cleaning - which was more than necessary, as it's been a while since we've really scrubbed good. After that, we headed to Covington to meet B's dad for lunch at a little sandwich shop there, and pick up a twin mattress for Caleb's big boy room. We also visited Home Depot to pick up the supplies we need to redo the guest room closet - we'll be adding another shelf and hanging rod for more storage space. We carted the mattress and closet rods home, and then set to work setting up Caleb's new bed. We purchased this bed (in the espresso finish) from Pottery Barn for him back when they were on a great Black Friday sale, and it's been sitting in its box in the garage ever since. We were so excited to finally get it out and see it all put together - it's so cute. Saturday night was another night at home with my loves. Caleb had his bath and then sat in the family room for a while, looking at his new Toy Story book. His little cheeks were looking so particularly round and delish that night, I couldn't help but snap a couple of photos. I wish he'd always be this little.



Sunday morning, we were up and around and headed to church like normal. Which felt amazing after a few weeks away. After church, we carted our sleeping baby to Bed, Bath & Beyond (church nursery always wears him out), and bought him a bedding set and sheets for his new big boy bed. I wish I could share more, but want to wait until his room is done to reveal any more. We came home and had lunch, and then put the bedding on his bed. And again, I was hit with the, "I can't believe this is happening" thoughts. Though we don't plan on switching Caleb to the big boy bed for a few more weeks, it's still surreal to see this little twin bed sitting in what will be his new room. We still have a long way to go, and a lot of decorating to do, but it's all coming together. I'm trying not to stress about the boxes of china that are still sitting in that room, or the bags of baby stuff that need to be sorted out once the closets have been switched over, but for now, I am super pleased with our progress. 

After measuring for nursery fabrics and re-hanging some canvases around the house, B and I decided to take a break and took Caleb and Ellie to the park near our house. Caleb got to run and swing and slide his little heart out, while B threw a ball around for Ellie. Then we headed home to turn on the playoff games, and while that was on, B and I went through all of Caleb's baby bins to pick through the things that we think we can use for Vivian. There was a lot more gender neutral items than I remember there being (mostly for 0-3 months), so we were pleased by that since we haven't picked up much in that size for her yet. We did receive this sweet little package full of pink over the weekend.



Sometimes, it's hard to believe that a tiny little person will be wearing these sweet little pink things. So different than what I'm used to. But so exciting at the same time!

B and I were disappointed by the results of the Packers v. Seahawks game. Though it was an exciting game, it was sad to see Greenbay lose their edge like they did right at the very end. After the game, B and I put Caleb to bed and then watched a bit of the Pats v Colts before switching over to some Friends re-runs on Netflix. All in all, a perfect end to a busy, but satisfying weekend at home with my loves. There's no better way to start the week. And tomorrow, Caleb and I are headed to lunch with my Momma in Atlanta at the restaurant that we have chosen to host to my sister's bridal shower in March. Can't wait to try the food and see the venue. So many fun things ahead in the coming months! 



Friday, January 16, 2015

An Assortment of Things {Friday Link Ups}

Happy Friday, lovelies!

To find out who I'm linking up with this week, scroll to the bottom of this post. Today, I've got a random assortment of things to throw out there. Let's get to the Friday fun!

1| Posts From This Week
If you missed my post from earlier this week on current loves (most of which are on sale!), you can find that post here. For some reason, it didn't show up on the Blogger feed until over 12 hours after I published it, so I'm sure some of you probably missed it. And, if you didn't see my pregnancy update from yesterday, be sure to click over and check it out. I'm almost 25 weeks now - aka large and in charge! I was so excited to get out of the house this week for my doctor's appointment, with freshly showered hair and real makeup, I took a celebratory selfie to document it. You know you're really living when you're excited to go to a doctor's appointment.



2| Upcoming Fun
I was filling in my calendar for the upcoming weeks with all the little tasks I want to be sure not to forget...And I realized that we are going to be busy, busy, busy for the next couple of months! I've got my bff's gender reveal party, B's birthday, Valentine's Day, Vivi's baby shower, my sister's wedding shower, my bff's baby shower, our 4th wedding anniversary, Caleb's 2nd birthday, and then all of my sister's wedding festivities, culminating in the WEDDING! Oh, and of course, the delivering of a baby sometime in between there too. No big deal or anything.

3| Awesomeness at the Pump
This happened yesterday. And it made my day. I mean, really - $1.78 per gallon? I shop at Kroger and get discounts for getting my gas there too, so I had .20 cents off per gallon. But still, gas for a regular price of $1.98? I think I might have been in high school the last time prices were that low. It took just $32 to fill up my SUV. And that, my friends, makes a good day, indeed. Lord knows, that money will be used elsewhere (see below!)


4| A Target Stroll
I made the mistake of wandering through Target yesterday while Caleb was at Mother's Morning Out. I had a legitimate reason for going. And I managed to come out with only what I needed (for which I am still super impressed with myself). However, I somehow found myself in the baby section...which is not why I was there. And now I can't stop thinking about sweet little ruffle-bottom leggings and bubble outfits and onesies with bows on them. I know it's still January, and that warm weather and baby girl are still a few months away. But that doesn't stop me from wanting to stock up on all the pretty pastels and fun prints. I need all the things. Sigh. My bank account will never, ever be the same.

5| Caleb Updates
I plan to do a post on Caleb very soon. Though I no longer do monthly updates, I do like to do little write-ups on him now and then to remember what he's been up to. And he's been up to a lot lately! His vocabulary (which I'd been a bit worried about) has been exploding lately. He's trying to talk all the time now, and mimicking the words B and I use. He also mimes our facial expressions, which is so darn cute (did you all see the video of him trying to wink at me that I posted on IG? I died). He's dancing. And twirling circles. And climbing everything like a madman. My little baby is definitely ALL boy now. I mean, look at this picture. I'm sorry, but when did he turn 5?




As a side note, I am happy to report that, after 12 days at work, B is off this weekend. We are so looking forward to sleeping in and enjoying some much-needed time together as a family.  Au revoir, sickness! We are ready to be back to our busy selves. And definitely have a lot of baby-related to do's to get started on. Wishing you all a very happy Friday and a wonderful weekend:)

If you'd like to link up for any of the Friday link-ups that I am participating in today, please visit the following gals:

5 on Friday with April of A. Liz Adventrues, Christina of Carolina Charm, Natasha of Hello! Happiness, and Darcy of The Good Life.


THE GOOD LIFE BLOG

Oh Hey Friday with September Farm and The Farmer's Wife.


And Friday Favorites with A Little Bit of EverythingMomfessionals, and Grace and Love.

Momfessionals


Thursday, January 15, 2015

Baby K #2 {24 Weeks}



How Far Along: 24 weeks, 4 days 
*For now, despite the fact that Vivi is measuring about a week ahead, the doctor wants to keep my original due date of 5/2/15. I will have an ultrasound at 28 weeks, and a final decision will be made based on her progress then!

Weight Gain: As of my 24 week appointment yesterday, I am up a total of 16 pounds. Which surprised me, as at this point in my pregnancy with Caleb, I was up 18 pounds. I seemed to grow in spurts with him, and with Vivi it's been more steady, so there's really no telling where I'll end up! The first time around, I gained a total of 27 pounds, so hoping to keep it at 30 or less.
 
Symptoms: The round ligament pain and pressure has felt a bit stronger this week, making walking around and getting up and down from a sitting position a bit uncomfortable. Also - TMI, I know, but things have gotten really "slow" around here if you know what I mean. Ugh. Lovely.

Cravings/Aversions: Definitely went on a Dunkin Donuts spree last night - which involved going to two different DD's just to get the kind of donut that I wanted. Totally Vivi's fault:)

What I am Missing:  Coca Cola (as usual). The occasional glass of wine/champs. And that's about it right now. 

Size Of Baby: Week 24, baby is the size of an ear of corn (about 1 1/3 pounds, 12 inches). I can definitely tell some growth has been going on just by the size of my belly, which has really popped. My 23 week picture below really shows how round and ball-like my bump has become!


Sleep: The pregnancy insomnia is still kicking my booty. I can't fall asleep until midnight or later. And every morning, like clockwork, I am up between 4 and 5 am and cannot go back to sleep. I don't ever remember having this with Caleb, so this fun symptom is completely new to me!
 
Workouts: Being sick and cooped up in the house this week, on top of the frigid, damp weather we've been experiencing here in GA has not been conducive to working out. So, once again, aside from some stretching in the evenings and running around after a toddler all day, nothing to report here.

Clothing:  Yoga pants for the win. And still squeezing into two pairs of pre-preggo jeans. Otherwise, all maternity bottoms, all the time. Wearing a mixture of regular and maternity tops.

Gender: A baby GIRL - Vivian Pearl!

Nursery: The fabric swatches for the nursery came in, and B and I have narrowed it down, so now it is on to getting the window treatments and crib skirt done! Thanks to a tip from sweet Elise, we also went forward with ordering Vivi's rug, and were so excited to check that off the list. I'll be sharing some nursery inspiration here on the blog soon. Along with making some progress for our little gal, we are also moving forward with plans for Caleb's big boy room. His bedding has been re-chosen (after realizing that the original bedding we'd selected for him was sold out). 

Best Moment This Week: Getting to hear sweet little Vivi's heartbeat at our doctor's appointment yesterday - that's always a highlight of the monthly appointments. And B was there this time to hear it too, so that was nice. She clocked in in the 140's today. Sweet baby girl! 

Looking Forward To: A weekend together as a family! After all of us being sick over the last week or two, compounded by B having to work for 12 days straight, we are MORE than ready for some time off together. The guest room is in the process of being cleared out, the baby bins have been brought down for me to go through, a registry has been created...things are moving along. It's amazing how much can be accomplished when we have some time off together:) 



Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Letter to a Future Resident's Wife

At first, I thought it may be too soon to write something like this. After all, B has only been a resident for 6 short months, and has a loooong way to go. But then, I thought about it. And I decided that now is as good a time as any. After all, each of the five years of this residency experience are sure to have their own unique challenges and successes. I'd like to remember them all, so I decided to go ahead with this post while these thoughts and feelings are still fresh on my mind. As a side note, I've decided to address this letter to the wives of future residents. I realize that there are plenty of female doctors out there who will go through residencies with their male spouses. But, I am coming from a female perspective, so this letter will reflect that viewpoint.



Here we go.
.....................................

Dear Future Resident's Wife,

I don't know where you are right now. I don't know whether your husband or significant other is a 4th year in medical school, completing rotations and applying for residency positions, just hoping to get a spot in his specialty of choice. I don't know whether or not the specialty he chose is a competitive one. I don't know whether or not you are accompanying him on interviews, where you'll be dragged to awkward "Meet & Greet" functions where everyone tries to get to know each other in a short period of time, when in reality, most of those people don't matter. I don't know whether you're hoping to match into a program in a new state, or are like B and I were, and are hoping to match somewhere close to home to be with family. I don't know whether you're enjoying his 4th year of school, or are wishing it were closer to being over so that you can move on. After all, 4 years of school is a long time. And medical school ain't easy.

I don't know if you're working full time. I don't know if you're a student yourself. I don't know if you are pregnant, trying to have a family, or have started one and already have a precious bebe or two running around the house. I don't know if you want more children. I don't know if you're past childbearing. Or maybe you just don't want children at all. I don't know.

There's lots of things I don't know.

But there's a few things I do know. And you will learn them too starting July 1st of next year, when your husband/significant other begins his sentence. Residency - at least the first year or two - is undoubtedly a sentence. Designed to test the strength and fortitude of the residents in each program, and weed out the strong from the weak. If you know this, maybe you won't be quite as surprised as I was by the viciousness of the schedules and everything else that comes with the territory of medical residency programs. I've written you this letter to share with you a few things that I've learned. 

||First, and most important: enjoy every. single. second. of the time you have right now. As hard as you think those 4 years of medical school are...well... I hate to tell you this, but they are an absolute breeze compared to what you will experience during residency. Especially during intern year. And especially in a competitive specialty. Take advantage of the free time you have with your hubby now, because trust me. It will be few and far between very soon. Go on lunch dates. Plan dinner dates. Take that weekend getaway. Get it all in now.

||Understand that every piece of paperwork - the employment contract, the human resources documents, etc - that states that your husband will work an average of 80 hours a week is a lie. A complete and total lie. Especially in competitive specialties in which few spots are offered and many are sought. Residents are taken advantage of wholeheartedly. By upper level residents, by attending doctors, by doctors from other programs, by nurses - you name it. And there's absolutely nothing they can do about it. It's just part of it. B has worked a minimum of 100 hours a week for most of his weeks on the job. To put that in layman's terms: he works the equivalent of almost 3 full time jobs every single week. He's worked periods of 14 days straight. He's worked weekends and nights and holidays. Sometimes it feels like he lives in that hospital. In reality, I guess he kind of does. Again, just part of it.

||Expect your husband to be late every day. He will call and say he's getting ready to check out. And then a trauma will come in, and three hours will pass before he really gets to leave. He will say he's walking out the door. And then you won't hear from him for 30 minutes. And guess what? He's still there. He will not make it to dinner most nights. Some nights - at least weekly - you will finally go to bed before he ever even arrives home. He will miss special events. He will be absent for birthdays, graduations, baby showers, etc. Your friends will be going on weekend trips and date nights, and it will feel at some point as if you are not even married at all anymore. You will be alone a lot, so prepare yourself for this. Go ahead and start becoming familiar with the thought of going places by yourself - to church, movies, lunch, etc. Surround yourself with friends, family, colleagues - any kind of good support system you can rely on to be there for you during this time. Otherwise, prepare to be very, very, very lonely. I wasn't prepared and the first few months were very hard on me. And we live close to family. 

||Be prepared to run things. Because the responsibilities will fall on you. ALL of them. For the home. For the family. Whatever it may be. You should plan to pay the bills. You should plan to keep the house clean and tidy. You should plan to care for the pets. You should plan to be a single mom. You will do breakfast, and lunch, and dinner, and bath time and bedtime all by yourself. Day in and day out. He'll help out when he can. But that's the key phrase: when he can. And that won't be often. He has no control over that. And again, that was something that I struggled with. I was mad and resentful over all of the responsibilities that I suddenly had to shoulder alone. And I had nowhere to direct my ill feelings, because I knew that it wasn't B's fault, and that he would change it if he could. But he couldn't. He just literally couldn't be around to assist me with the things I wished I had his help with - the things I was used to having his help with before residency. So, again, prepare yourself for this.

|| Know that he will be tired. All. The. Time. Period. 

||The money will NOT be worth it. Your husband will not be banking it during residency. Not by a long shot. He will be making a paycheck - which is definitely something to be thankful for after coming through 4 years of no paychecks and bunches of student loans during medical school. But it will not be a generous one - suffice it to say that a family living on his paycheck alone will have a difficult time. And it will DEFINITELY not compensate him in any way for the total amount of hours that he spends actually working. Broken down into wages per hour, your husband would actually make more money working at a fast food joint than he does working as a resident in a hospital. Which seems a bit sad for someone who's out saving lives, am I right?


All in all, they tell us that it's worth it in the end. You can be sure I'll be letting you know then.

Love,
A Current Resident's Wife


.......................................

I hope that my letter didn't come across as bitter, but rather, as brutally honest. I don't want to scare any of you who may be preparing to go through this, or cause you unnecessary stress or anxiety. But I also don't want to sugarcoat the tough realities of this lifestyle. I really wish that someone would have told me these things so that I could more adequately prepare myself for what we were about to face. You hear light talk of, "Oh, he'll be gone a lot," and other comments of that nature thrown into conversations about doctors in residency programs. But the true difficulties that I (as spouse to a resident) would face were never really broken down and explained to me. I think if they had been, I may have been at least a bit more prepared when we began this journey. There's really no support system in place for the spouses of residents and I truly don't understand that. After all, the residents all have their little cohort of fellow residents to lean on - that understand what each other are going through. That face the same challenges together, day in and day out. But the spouses? Well, we have no one. And it can be a very lonely existence.

The first few months of B's residency have been really tough on me, even to this day. After 6 months, I feel like I am managing it better now, especially now that I know what to expect, and have changed my mindset a bit. But there are still tough days. Like Sunday, when I was sick and B was on call (of course). I would have given anything to have him home making me a bowl of chicken noodle soup and keeping an eye on Caleb, like a normal husband with normal hours would have been doing for his sick wife. But, nope. Instead, I was coughing and sneezing, and trying to go about our day as normally as possible, while really wishing I could crawl back into bed. And such is life as wife of a resident.

All that said, I'm so extraordinarily proud of my husband. Not everyone gets to say that their husband literally saves lives every day. I couldn't be a luckier wife. And you know what? I'm pretty proud of myself too. For keeping everything together on a daily basis. It ain't easy. But we're doing it. 

I'm absolutely open to talking about our experience and sharing any knowledge that I have, so if you have any questions feel free to comment or email me. Be back tomorrow with an update on baby #2!

 
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