Friday, October 15, 2010

So I'm now nine weeks into medical school. It's been crazy times, filled with...well, studying. Seriously, I'd love to share some hilarious anecdote with you, but it would be something like, "Oh, and THEN I realized that phosphatidylcholine can be made via TWO DIFFERENT REACTIONS depending on the tissue of synthesis! OHHH!"

And now you are all bored.

So, instead of witty tales of sphingolipids, I'll share with you something about my method of study. I'm sort of a tactile learner, I guess, because I can remember something really well after I write it down. As such, my study regimen has come to center around hand-copying the notes I take on my computer in class. Then for each test, I rewrite a condensed study guide of the major points from each lecture.

This is no mean feat, friends. I have killed three pens so far. They were good and faithful companions for about a week, after which they pretty much kicked it. My pen habit was going to get expensive, I could tell, because I had grown accustomed to a well-shaped gel pen.

Upon killing off number three, I reached into my drawer and realized that the only economically viable option remaining was use of--I am loathe to say it--a BiC pen.

Now, nothing against BiC.


No, pretty much everything against BiC. The price is the only attractive feature on these things. They're little sticks that dig into your hand and do not make for comfy writing, especially when you're going for the marathon like I often do.

I tried using a BiC, but after just two minutes of writing I could feel my fingers aching from where its hard plastic pressed into my flesh. This, I thought, will simply not do. But what would? I can't justify buying expensive gel pens just because they feel nice in my hand!

Then the wheels started turning.

I had a pen carcass with no soul, no essence, but a perfectly viable body.

I had a BiC with a usable cartridge, but no beauty that man should it desire.

I felt a mad scientist laugh well up within me as I realized that I, Doctor Frankenstein, could raise my beloved pen from the dead by forced transfer of a foreign lifeforce!


Frankenpen allows me to use BiC cartridges to my heart's (and wallet's) content, but sheathed in the surgically altered shell of my beloved gel pen.

What could possibly go wrong?

The labours of men of genius, however erroneously directed, scarcely ever fail in ultimately turning to the solid advantage of mankind.
Mary Shelley, Chapter 3, pg. 34

Family Update!

As of yesterday, Ellie is one month old.  She weighed 11 lbs 1 oz, so she's growing like a weed and is a bit of a chunker.  The time has both gone by quickly and slowly.  It definitely feels like she's always been here, although I'm still learning how to juggle two kids rather than just one.  In some ways it's not much more work.  Like cloth diapers.  It's very little extra work to cloth diaper two kids rather than just one.  However, taking them both to the store by myself is definitely a juggling act.  I've been  very lucky so far on that front, but I'm sure it's just a matter of time.  So, just figuring things out.

Ellie is a very good baby so far.  She has had a fantastic sleeping schedule since she was born.  In the hospital, I decided I would keep her in my room the last night until she got cranky, and then I'd send her to the nursery.  However, she slept until 5 a.m. and then ate and went right back to sleep.  She has pretty much kept this schedule.  She likes to go to sleep at around 10 or 11 at night, and then sleep until 5 or 6, and then go back to sleep until 8:30 or so.  It is really a huge blessing to me, because sleep is something I don't cope well without.  Besides sleeping, Ellie LOVES to be held.  She's more of a cuddle bug than Lydia was and will snuggle and fall asleep on your chest.  It's nice.

Ellie does get bad gas though.  It's sad.  You can tell she has it when she cries really hard out of nowhere and then stops some and cries again.  We tried a number of different things, but recently we discovered a baby formula that works with her and significantly reduced her gas pains.  Now, rather than crying for a few hours at night, she lays there happily trying to smile at us.  It's a much better situation for all involved.

Lydia has reacted much better to being a big sister than I thought she would.  When I was in the hospital, she was weirded out by everything, but didn't get angry with me.  She didn't want anything to do with the baby, though, and that's mostly how things have stayed.  She calls Ellie "Baby Ella" and is not bothered by her presence at all anymore.  Sometimes she even likes to talk about her.  She says "Soft Baby Ella" and pets her head or "Baby Ella Bopful" (Baby Ellie's bottle) when I'm feeding her.  The funniest, though, is sometimes she blames Ellie for her misfortunes, like when she trips and starts crying, she'll say Ellie's name all accusingly, like it's Ellie's fault.  Hopefully she'll get over that.

In other Lydia news, Lydia has discovered a deep love of Winnie the Pooh.  Grandma Severson got her the original Disney movie on DVD, and Lydia asks to watch it almost every day.  She's learned all the characters' names and is generally delighted when the movie gets to parts she knows.  Also, her love of books has only gotten stronger, and she spends almost her entire day looking at them or asking me to read them to her.  Lately, she's started telling herself about what she remembers happening on the page.  It's fun to see her developing.

Tyler is doing extraordinarily well in medical school.  He already finished up his first two classes and received A's in both.  Right now he's taking two anatomy classes, and already got A's on the first tests for them.  He's really enjoying the material, and it's keeping him very busy.  He studies every day for several hours, on top of the time he spends in class.  It's stressful for him, but he is enjoying it overall.

As for me, I'm recovering quite nicely from my c-section.  I feel like I'm doing much better than last time.  Already I think my energy level is about back to what it was before, and minus a little understandable soreness, I'm managing the house and both the girls without too much trouble.  It's much trickier juggling two kids, but I love it.  I find it incredibly fulfilling to stay home with them and see them grow and develop.

We are very blessed in our lives.  We have a house that is going to make the next few years very comfortable, Tyler's doing well in school and it looks like we made the right choice, deciding to have him become a doctor, and our girls are both healthy and happy.  We are in a position where I can stay home with them, and somehow still manage to make our finances work out all right.  Overall, Tyler and I feel like we're getting more than our fair share of blessings, but you won't hear us complain about it!

Now, here are some pictures for your viewing pleasure.  They are in order from oldest to newest:

Still in the hospital.  This is one of my favorites from then.

The only time Lydia would come near me or Ellie.  She was very nervous about that baby, but a book enticed her.

Lydia reading her favorite book, Madeline, near Ellie.  She kept taking breaks and touching Ellie's head and saying, "Soft Baby Ellie, soft."

The last week or so, Ellie has been trying to smile.  It's hard to catch them on camera, though, and this was the best shot I could get.

I thought she looked a lot like Tyler in this one.