Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

We're back home from our five glorious days of St. Cloud. We managed to hit five Christmas parties in five days and see almost all of our relatives! Our kids slept in LATE today after being back in their own beds. Now all we have to do is unpack the three giant cardboard boxes of "stuff" in the living room....

....more pictures to come. We pray that you and yours had a relaxing and joyful Christmas Holiday.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Lake Effect Snow

Sorry I haven't had the chance to blog in the last week. I'm afraid that everything we own has been covered by an enormous blanket of the white fluffy stuff. I blame it on the 24 hour christmas station that has an obsession with "Let It Snow."

OH the weather outside is frightful (Yes, not being able to see where the plow buried your car is scary)
...but the fire is so delightful (Yes, candles burning to keep the house warm are fun for a two year old)
and since we've no place to go (That's debatable...I have a million places I"d like to go! I keep getting these fliers in the mail about the great pre-Christmas sales and I CAN'T GET THERE)
let it snow, Let It Snow, LET IT SNOW! (Enough already! It's like a prayer...or a chant...one "Let it snow" isn't enough....let's say it three times just to make sure I get stranded at the post office when I do venture out of the house)

I counted six versions of Let It Snow just this morning.

I think it has been snowing continuously in Duluth since last Wednesday. A weeklong blizzard. We have had three snowstorms come through, followed by blowing snow and sub-zero temperatures, which is just a good ol' Minnesota Winter. However, inbetween these arctic blasts, we've had the privilege of being inundated with the "Lake Effect." People up here kept warning me about the "Lake Effect," but I never put a second thought to it....until today. It's a different kind of snow. It's not your typical December snow with teeny tiny dry flakes. It's more like a March snow, with great big clusters of white coming down relentlessly all day and all night. Except that March snow is usually wet (snowman-style), and this stuff is dry as can be. The closest thing I can think of to compare it to is the fake snow you see in a department store window. Now multiply that by several feet and you have Duluth.

I think they need to start playing that other Christmas song that I only hear once a week on the "all Christmas" station:
"Mel-lik-a-li-ki-ma-ka is the thing to say, on a bright Hawaiian Chrismas Day....."
This is our neighbor's house. I was trying to get our camera to take night pictures...and I obviously mastered that skill.... ha ha ha. This was taken three days ago, since then, the snow has crept up the stairs and is level with their front door.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

...it smells like Papa in here....

I need to start writing down all of the funny things that Julia says in a day. That girl is sharp as a tack. Most of the things she notices I never would. Like this morning, when I had her at the hospital with me for a few minutes....we walked into the call room, and she says,
"It smells like Papa in here."
"Julia, why do you say that?"
"Because it stinks in here and he's a boy."

O...kay... I guess I can't blame her for her astute sense of smell. Sorry, Mike. Instead of telling you this, you are probably reading it on the web.

Another one:
I asked her what she wanted from Santa this year. Her response?
"I want Marge."
"She gives me french fries."
(Marge is the cafeteria lady at St. Luke's hospital. I will have to share this one with her.)
I guess Santa is going to have to figure out how to fit Marge the cafeteria lady into his red sack on Christmas Eve. Why can't Julia just ask for a dolly or a train set?
Tonight when Mike was singing Julia her bedtime song, I walked by the bedroom door and heard a familiar tune. I couldn't place it: was it a hymn? no.... Some Christmas song??? No..... Some classical tune off of public radio? no..... I knew I had heard it before, so I strained my ears to figure it out. All of a sudden, I had flashbacks to seventh grade ballroom dancing: My husband was singing "Moon River" to our kids for a bedtime song. Whoa. What ever happened to a good old fashioned lullaby? Oh well, at least he was willing to put the kids to bed after I had them alone all evening....
Why is it that the toddler ALWAYS knows what items are most important to you? Case in point: my chapstick. Julia likes to hunt for chapstick. Before she was mobile, I swear we had twenty sticks of the stuff. - one in every room, a few in storage for later, one in every coat pocket, etc. Well, Julia thinks it's just delicious. Doesn't matter if it's menthol or sparkly or *expensive Bath and Body works chapstick that was a gift to mommy from a patient*


I will let you guess which tube The Toddler decided to eat today. Above, you can see that Julia found my favorite chapstick in my jewelry box and, while I was at work, schmeared it all over her face. She did tell her papa that it was delicious.

Monday, December 15, 2008

A Sunday at Home

Yesterday was just great. We had a nice Minnesota blizzard, complete with about a foot of new snow and lots of wind and drifting. Mike got to rev up the snowblower and I reved up the oven all day to keep our house warm. (The people who built our house in 1928 forgot about insulation). Needless to say, we didn't go anywhere after church.

While Mike was snowblowing and I was baking something, Miss Julia took the liberty of finding herself some new toys. She has started to play with dolls by herself. It's usually two naked barbies (she disrobes them immediately....she doesn't have the taste for dressed barbies just yet) . Sunday afternoon, however, I found her playing with some ceramic angels I have collected as gifts..... (see above picture), along with Mary, from the ceramic nativity scene that I have foolishly placed at eye level of a toddler.

Welll....you probably know what's coming.... A few minutes after I took this picture, I heard a suspicious "crunch." Then, the scurry of feet running out of the dining room. I inspected the site of the crime, and this is what I saw:
If you can't read the sign that the angel on the left is holding, it says, "Find Happiness in All that You Do." Next to her is another angel who has been beheaded. The angel on the left has a suspicious sly smile on her face....

Perhaps Angel #1 decided she wanted the nick-nack shelf all for herself?

She is my number one suspect in the murder case.
I guess I need to include the Toddler as number two.
....I think we all know the truth...

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Caption for the picture below:
Julia is helping with the laundry. She gets to take it out of the laundry basket and throw it at Mary. Mary is supposed to be folding it but is seriously slacking in her work.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Monday, December 1, 2008

Family times

Hello out there in blogland...

Thanksgiving is such a fun holiday: family, eating, napping (well...OK...sometimes), leftovers, and not a whole lot of stress. Plus, when the festivities are over, you get to go pick up your Christmas tree and move right into Christmas season! We had a good week. Mike worked the Holiday and we both needed to work the day after, so the Sprengelers came up for dinner at our house. Despite a minor mishap involving a twenty three pound frozen bird, gravity (darnit Newton!!!), and a broken plastic baking bag lightly dusted with flour; a little frenzy during morning church service; and a few margaritas and some wine for our guests (and our cook...) dinner made it onto the table. I think everybody was satisfied, even Mary, who spent dinnertime in her bouncy seat eating a bun with her face. I guess I have to hand it to her....eating with your mouth directly off of the table saves a step. There's no need to allow your hands to get in the way of things.
Here's Julia playing this rockband video game of Tim's. It's like DDR (dance dance revolution) with drums and guitars and vocals. She really got into things!

The Thanksgiving spread
We somehow made it to Penney's with matching outfits on for a Christmas picture. We'll see how they turn out....

On the way to grandma's house. Sorry Annie for the half-face shot.
grandpa Roger
Mary, Aunt Susie, and Nala the dog.
Mary and I had a little photo shoot while I was putting some laundry away

These last few pictures were put in backwards by a computer-illiterate individual. Oopie... Just pretend that the tree was decorated first, then we turned the lights off for an "oooh, ahhh moment." sigh...

Julia took the liberty to arrange the Nativity. I thought she did a pretty good job. Jesus, who didn't have a jacket on, was given a blanket. The kings are off to the left. Joseph ("big Jesus") is standing at baby Jesus' side....Mary is nowhere to be found, and Minnie Mouse stepped in for her.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The older child is starting to become creative. Very creative. I'm almost afraid to see what sort of things she'll come up with when it comes to be time for free-writing class. Here are a couple of interesting examples, heard just today, as a matter of fact.

1. Getting Julia to use the potty is always a chore. I have to use all my parenting wiles sometimes to have her sit on the thing for more than ten seconds at a time. Which leads me to this evening's little exchange.
Me: Okay, before you get in the tub we have to try using the potty.
Julia: No! I can't!
Me: You mean "I won't." You can, you just won't. Just try, okay?
(I sit her up on her little seat and hold her there so she doesn't jump off. Turn up the bath water so that hopefully the sound will make her pee.)
Julia: I can't go!
Me: Just hold on. Try. Here, drink this nice, cold water.
Julia: I don't want it. It's not nice, it has hyenas in it!

Yes, that's right everyone, Duluth's water is fortified with nutritious hyena juice. Yum.

2. Sarah was quizzing Julia about one of our family friends. Sometimes J can be very opinionated about people and acts out to keep from seeing them.
Sarah: So, what about it? Do you like her, Julia?
Julia: No, I don't like her.
Sarah: Why? Is she mean to you?
Julia: I think she is.
Sarah: What does she do that is mean?
Julia: Every day, she gets a spider, and she puts it on my face.
Sarah: (trying very hard not to laugh and failing miserably) That is mean!

There are probably other examples but I forget. I'll have to start making a list and put them into a book for her. Maybe she can draw on it for excuses as to why she doesn't have her homework done someday. (My homework has hyenas in it!)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

....the camera isn't unpacked yet...

Hi friends!
Well, we're home from our weeklong adventure. We spent a week of vacation time in greater Minnesota again, searching out future practice opportunities. I must say, this is much harder than I thought it would be. I always pictured us finding the perfect place to go....about an hour from the grandparents, a nice independent practice in an area with clean lakes and lots of trees...with a good school system, great citizens, a grocery store with cheap prices, a life-sized stuffed T-Rex on main street and unlimited Thomas the Train rides. (ok...that's in Julia's perfect place....) You get the picture.

Unfortunately, we didn't find that town yet. It seems that all the places we visited had some excellent perks. Each place had a major flaw, however...and it is really, really hard to consider all of these different parameters and pick something. I guess there's no way to know if something is going to work out well until you try it, but this is a big deal. Ideally, Mike and I don't want to move again until we are in assisted living. :) Every time I have had to make a big decision in life, there have always been limiting factors to help guide the decision. I only looked at one undergrad institution. I looked at two med school (most people look at ten) and three residency programs (many med students look at ten or even TWENTY). This is the first (and hopefully the only) time in my life when I've (we've) had to make a big decision and there hasn't been any extenuating circumstances that have limited our scope. Mike is a pharmacist and I am a family doc. There is an enormous, huge, great, giant, big, humungous need for rural primary care docs and pharmacists right now. How in the world do I pick a place? How does Mike pick a place? How do we AGREE on picking the same place?!?!?


I have no idea how we are supposed to do this. I tried using the radio for guidance. We were in the car coming back from Ortonville, and I said to God, "Please just let the next song on the radio tell us where to go. I don't care what it says, just TELL me." I kid you not, about two seconds later, the DJ came on to introduce the next song, "No Such Thing" by John Mayer.

ha ha ha, God. You are funny.

Friday, November 7, 2008

See you next week...

Well, our week off has finally arrived!!! We will be spending the next nine days with family and touring a few potential practice sites in rural MN. We'll keep you posted on our progress if we can get close to a computer. Have a good week and say a prayer that all the driving and interviewing goes over well...

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Feeding the baby

Today, I realized that my Julia is growing up. For the last year or so, she has acknowledged her dolly's existence, noticed when she is absent, and sometimes carried her around for a few minutes. That's about it. The dolly never had clothes on and it didn't really have a name. Today, Julia's baby had a much more exciting time. She was rocked, dressed, and even shared some of Julia's Raisin Bran! Julia has started to talk to her dolly like we talk to Mary. I'm not sure what prompted this...both Mary and the doll have been around for awhile... I guess Julia must think that that's what we do around here: take care of babies. Sometimes, I think that's all we do around here. (I had the chance to go to Target tonight and it was like a little vacation, eventhough I had one child with me and all I needed to do was buy vitamins and paper towels.)

Monday, November 3, 2008


Hi everybody,
Another Halloween, come and gone. Papa sewed costumes for the girls this year: you can see that Miss Julia is a cheerleader, and Miss Mary is a homecoming football. We (she) trick-or-treated for a whole hour this year, and rah-rah-sis-boom-bah Julia made quite the killin. I forgot how much candy you can acquire in such a short time on Halloween. We had to dump her bag of candy into our pillowcase every twenty minutes because the candy was too heavy for her. After one short hour of trick-or-treating, Julia's toddler-time patience expired and she made her Grandma Beth carry her home. It wasn't all for naught, however....Papa, Grandma, and I had our Just Rewards....after Miss Julia went to bed, we made a raid on her loot.

Julia poses with Aidan and Sawyer, the Twinkies baseball hunks...

Julia expresses her displeasure. She was NOT interested in snapping a cutesy little pumpkin guts photo this year. This Halloween stuff is serious business! Why are we still in the house at 5:00?!?!?!?!? We should already be trick or treating!

Here, Julia is modeling her cameo "HAlloween Delightful Toddler's DIsposition..." (HAD IT). She was practicing for her future as a head cheerleader...and we were her tardy squad members. It was now 5:05 and we STILL hadn't left for trick-or-treating....

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The kiddos

Hi everybody!

Well, today when I opened up the thing to post a blog, it said that we were on our 200th post! How exciting! Even more exciting? I am home from call and blogging at 1239AM. Home with a closed service....I am full of admissions and can't take any more. Maybe I'll get some sleep tonight! I can't go straight from hospital to bed. I have to do something for at least five minutes before I throw my scrubs on the floor and jump in next to my sleeping (and warm!) husband.

Here are some pictures of the girls (mostly Mary) from the last week or so. We were in St. Cloud last weekend for a wedding...yup...Julia danced the night away again....anyways, enjoy the pics and we'll talk more later when I'm not up typing after midnight. :) We are all doing well. I can't wait for Halloween...not only is it a fun holiday centered around pumpkin guts, kids, and candy, but it's also the END of the month of OCTOBER...which means my month of internal medicine at St. Mary's is coming to an END. To celebrate, I guess there will be lots of candy-eating and perhaps a drink or two....