Friday, May 29, 2009


We have been having fun a lot of fun in DC. We toured the Air & Space Museum, the Natural History Museum and the new Capitol Visitors Center. The boys loved the rockets and airplanes and the dinosaur bones. It was so much fun sh0wing them around.

There has been rain off and on but it has been mostly beautiful weather around 80 degrees. I totally forgot how humid it is here. It definitely competes with the humidity in Honduras but it is less heat, for now anyway.

We have been enjoying staying up late and sleeping in and taking it slow and easy. So far, the vacation has truly been restful. We have gotten to hangout with lots of friends and there are more friends to come.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

soooooo big

My boys are growing up. They are so big! On the airplane ride out to Washington DC, we had the boys sit together on one side of the aisle and Bryan and I on the other side of the aisle. They sat so nicely the whole flight. They talked to each other like big kids. They entertained themselves and watched some movies too. I just love listening to their conversation when they talk to each other. The loved flying on the airplane. Everything was so fascinating to them and they had lots of questions. I love answering their questions. Traveling to DC was a blast. I am sure the flight home will be fun too and I am hoping it goes as smoothly.

The downside is that I seem to have forgotten many things, mostly my things. My contacts, prescription sunglasses, shorts, pants in the dryer (still wet) and swimming suits (for my whole family). I think we are going to have Bryan's sister overnight my contacts to me. I don't think I can make it a week without them.

Monday, May 25, 2009

off for vacation

Our family flies out on Tuesday for a week in the Washington DC area. We can't wait to tour the city with our kids and see friends and celebrate a wedding. We are looking forward to lots of fun times. We love that city and it has a special place in our lives after living there for seven years.

I really tried hard to leave lots of down time so we feel rested and relaxed when we return. We'll see how that turns out.

Bryan's sister, Kim, is now living with us for the summer, or at least part of it. It will be nice to have her taking care of our house while we are gone. We can't wait to spend more time with her. The boys are really excited for Aunt Kimberly to be here too.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

stay up to enjoy it

Tonight begins a two week break from work for some vacation time. Bryan and I should really be in bed but life is too good and too full (in a good way) to go to bed. I just want to stay up and enjoy the vacation in my own home. I have been working really hard at ATK lately, so I am especially ready for a break.

We leave for Washington DC on Tuesday and we are going to have a blast! I can't wait. We are staying with good friends in the city. We are getting together with lots of friends we haven't seen in awhile. We will be seeing good friends get married. And, on top of that, we get to be tourists with our boys in one of the best cities in the world. Tuesday will be here soon!

Monday, May 18, 2009

my kids made me happy

I have to admit that my kids frustrate me often and but they do laugh a lot so they are good at lightening the mood.

Today work was not fun and was quite depressing to me. I was really looking forward to seeing the boys, even though Bryan had a work meeting tonight. Usually I don't look forward to evenings without Bryan but tonight was different. I couldn't wait to be with my boys and have them cheer me up and forget about all the downside of my job.

We had fun tonight despite all of the times I had to discipline my boys. We laughed a lot. We ate mac-n-cheese. We raced in the house and timed each other running. We played the piano. And the boys told me lots of stories from school today.

They rejuvenated me and I am ready to go to work again tomorrow. Jaden and Clay are excited to do their work at school tomorrow. I love that the Montessori method teaches kids that work is good. I can actually have a conversation about work with my boys and they seem to get it. They have work. Mom has work. Daddy has work. Grown-ups work. They think this is good because they like their work. I hope they will always like their work and find work that they love to do.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

end of an era, no, just 2 months of work

Today at work, I almost teared-up. A coworker of mine stopped by to let me know that ATK in Utah is ready to accept my work on Ares that I did. That means that I need to pass on whatever I have done to someone, not sure who yet but someone will get it, hopefully, eventually. I really hope my work is not lost. I know that not all my work will be lost but some might.

It was saddening to realize so quickly that I won't be finishing up anything...just passing it on. No more work on Ares for me. Well, this just makes the chance of the Ares work returning to Minnesota ATK even slimmer.

It is saddening. I really want to be doing aeroSPACE engineering.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

bad qualities exposed

Tonight I had a lot of fun hanging out with the ladies from our meal group. We have lots to celebrate: an upcoming baby in one family and an upcoming marriage in another soon-to-be family. We all got pedicures and went out to dinner. It was a lot of fun.

I still came home not so happy. Tonight was one of those nights where I wish I would have acted differently. I think I tried to get my own way instead of looking out for others first. I pushed my opinion on others and was slightly confrontational. I was not the nicest version of myself. I was more selfish than I wish. Sometimes the yuckiness comes out and I don't know how to stop it. Sometimes the night ends and all I want to do is say sorry but I am not sure I could have fixed things. The people I was with may not even feel like I hurt them but I know that God could have helped me be more loving if I let Him.

There is my confessional. I am choosing to accept God's forgiveness and will be apologizing to my friends.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

project homeless connect

Monday was an amazing and emotionally exhausting day.

Bryan and I volunteered at the Minneapolis Project Homeless Connect. It is a one day fair aimed at ending homelessness one person at a time. They have every service imaginable for homeless people. There are free haircuts, medical services, legal services, food, IDs, free voicemails, job fair, housing info, dental services, veterans services and youth services. It was held in the huge Minneapolis Convention Center which was donated for the event. They have been doing this twice a year for a few years now and have helped and served many homeless people.

This time there were over 1400 volunteers and around 3000 homeless people attended. The homeless guests come in and find a volunteer/guide to take them around and help them get the services they need most. The opportunity was eye opening for Bryan and I and gave us a chance to get to know a few homeless people really well. We understand their situations a lot better and hopefully we helped them a little too.

I had so much fun getting to know Erik. He suffers with mental illness and is 52. He is highly educated and used to have a stable life about 9 years ago with a good paying job and girlfriend. He has been homeless or been couch-surfing, as he liked to call it, for the last 9 years. He did not like me to refer to him sleeping "on the streets." He finds a bench or semi-comfortable spot to rest but you don't get much sleep, especially when you are paranoid about what people will do around you. He tries to nap during the day and walk around at night. He has some income but also some debt but really needs some treatment for his mental illnesses. He was very talkative and entertaining and surprising clean. I got to know him very well and really hope that I run into him again someday. I think he enjoyed the homeless lifestyle to some extent. Well, maybe not enjoyed, but at least could make the best out of it. He was incredibly grateful for all he received yesterday. I really hope and pray that it is a step in the right direction for him. He will remain in my prayers. He truly touched my heart and made me more compassionate for homeless people.

Thinking of all that Erik goes through without a home, brings tears to my eyes. I know that God has a plan for everyone but it is so hard to think that about the suffering of homeless people. There are many reasons people are homeless: mental health, job loss, unstable family, living on the government system or frequently a combination of these. But no matter what the reason, you can't deny that homeless people have hard, very hard lives. My hardest days are still nothing compared to their everyday. My heart has a soft spot for homeless people. I would like to see them not homeless but at the same time, some of them just need resources to survive. I don't ever want to walk by a homeless person and ignore them. I want to care and do whatever I can. I will give them money, buy them food, pay for their transportation or even leave my leftover restaurant food on top of a dumpster or garbage can (the newest advice from Erik). I want to help them and show them God's love in any way I can, no strings attached. I want to love the homeless unconditionally, not assuming the worst, but with hopeful expectation.

Project Homeless Connect takes place in cities around the country. The next one in Minneapolis will be on Dec. 7.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

little men, big personalities

I love seeing my boys' personalities develop and show through as they get older. The past few days their personalities are becoming clearer. It also helped that we got to hear about them at a conference with their teacher, Mr. Jason.

Jaden is a very social kid. He loves being with others and is great at getting other kids to do things with him. He is rarely alone. He loves to have fun and laugh, a lot and loudly. He is turning out to be a caring and compassionate kid. He helps others when they need it and doesn't brag about helping. He loves letters and phonics and words. He is full of energy and life. The thing that I hear most is that he is a big smiler. He smiles way more often than he doesn't. He tends to be more like me than Bryan.

Clay likes to be alone and works/plays by himself most of the time. He is very focused and not easily distracted. He is independent. He is caring and loving. He enjoys physical affection. He is emotionally expressive and imaginative. He is quiet and obedient, for the most part. He is an amazing sleeper and can sleep just about anywhere, any time. Just yesterday he fell asleep sitting in the front of the grocery cart and slept with his head leaning on the front of the cart and then on a package of pull-ups. He transferred in and out of the carseat and then onto the floor of our living room without any problem. He is much more like Bryan than like me.

We are in Yankton, SD visiting Bryan's extended family. Jaden is enjoying his cousins and second cousins and first cousins, once removed (whatever all of their official names are...). Today Jaden got to be with 6 year old, Kenzie and he was in heaven. At one point, I was concerned because they went to the bathroom together at a graduation party at a local country club, unbeknownst to me. I went to check on them and Jaden had already went to the boys room by himself and washed his hands, with soap (this was a first). He was waiting in the pink flowered chair at the women's entrance. Just waiting for Kenzie. He seemed so old. So much older than 4...and a half. I can just imagine him someday waiting for a girlfriend to finish up in the bathroom. Wow, he is getting big and acting so mature. The flash of the future quickly faded as Jaden fell out of the chair and hurt his knee. He held back the tears and quickly brushed it off once Kenzie arrived. And they were off...

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

mexico city

Today I made a festive Cinco de Mayo dinner. We had chips and guacomole, Mexican sweet corn with green and red peppers and onions, quesadillas and chorizo pollo (chicken) con queso y tortillas. (I'm working on my Spanish in preparation for Honduras in July.)

Today I was remembering back to being in Mexico City in 2002, 7 years ago this summer. It was a great and challenging time for us. We were on a medical mission trip there where we set up a clinic in one of the many poor areas of the city. Twenty million people live there. Today they should have been having a great Cinco de Mayo celebration but the big fesitivites were called off due to the flu.

We tried to have a little fun around our house but it is nothing compared to the fun they should have been having in Mexico.

I think of the people we met in Mexico City often. They have hard lives but still feel very blessed. I have a lot to learn from them.

Monday, May 4, 2009

missing my side by side

This past Sunday as I was waiting for Bryan to arrive at church after working all day, I was reminded of one of the things I loved about Rochester. When we lived there, I was part of an amazing group of women, Side By Side. It was a Christian ministry for wives of doctors at every stage of training and beyond. Some people might think that doctor's wives have easy lives, so why do they need a ministry. It took me awhile to realize the answer to this also. During residency, I quickly realized that when your husband is at the hospital all the time, life is not easy or fun.

The women of Side By Side helped make my life more enjoyable in so many ways. The best thing about the group was just knowing that people could relate to your life. They knew that your husband would have to work long hours, many days and have little time off. They also knew that when he was off, he would still have work to do and would be thinking about patients all the time. When his mind wasn't occupied, he was so sleep deprived that he couldn't be "present." They understood it was hard and at times, impossible, for your husband to go to church with you. That was what I was reminded of this Sunday and last. Last Sunday I attended church without Bryan because he had to work that evening. This past Sunday, I was lucky enough to have Bryan meet me at church after working a long day. I was still glad to have him there even though he was late. My eyes teared up as I thought about Bryan not being with me at church. It was now so great to have him at my side. There is just something special and spiritual about having the man you are "one" with share in your spiritual journey.