the day the holiday stress came full circle

Monday, December 24, 2012 | | 0 comments
i have let the stress of the past week get the better of me.  i had a work week far busier than expected (and with the holiday i expected it to be really busy!) ~ full of very sick patients, difficult family conversations, and tons of paperwork to catch up on.  i'm working my butt off on a 90 minute educational talk that i'm delivering to my fellowship group a few short weeks from now ~ it's a difficult topic to cover and i really want it to go well.   santa is delivering a very large and quite impressive outdoor play structure....and the last few days have consisted of attempting to keep it secret while the grandpas have constructed this thing.  there are tarps covering our windows and i have NO idea how the kids aren't getting curious.  emma's birthday is coming up (the big 3!) and i'm hosting a baby shower the following week.

all of this has been bubbling under the surface for a while and i have physically felt the stress growing inside.

yesterday, sweet benjamin woke up with a swollen and red eye.  he seemed happy and cheerful ~ just like his usual self.  regardless, it worried us.  when he woke up from his mid morning nap, the redness and swelling had spread and was covering the entire right side of his face.  i was terrified and straight to the ER we went.  lots of poking, prodding, and dietary review later....the doctors think he likely had an allergic reaction to something.  what, i'm not sure....but we've been pumping benadryl into this kid like its going out of style.  i took him back in this morning after his sweet pediatrician (who i LOVE!) felt like she needed to see it too to make sure it wasn't a developing infection that could be quite serious.

it's just felt like one thing after the other.  when ben got sick cup just runneth over.  i've done it before and i'm sure i'll do it again.....the long therapeutic cry in the shower.  i'm not even sure what in particular i was crying about.....but it felt good to release all that pent up stress.

i'm not one of those people who has unrealistic ideas about creating a perfect picturesque holiday.  my needs are simple really.  family. friends. hugs. snuggles. if i'm lucky, a yummy meal (bacon wrapped, stuffed beef tenderloin?? a bauer family tradition).  and now, with that therapeutic cry out of the's time to bask in the true beauty of the season, just in the nick of time.

so tonight, we'll don our new christmas pjs and drink hot chocolate in front of the fire.  we'll talk about gratitude and read the night before christmas.  we'll also talk about how much we love each other and how the thing we are most grateful for in this life is one another.  we'll say goodbye to mr. juke as he flies back to the north pole and ryan and i will say goodbye to mornings spent jumping frantically out of bed to hide him last minute ;)  we'll leave cookies for santa and prepare for the (hopefully!) squeals of joy the morning will bring.

merry christmas eve, my friends.  may we all be blessed with simple pleasures tonight, tomorrow, and all year long.

newtown, we will not forget you.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012 | | 0 comments
i've been struggling, searching, trying to find something eloquent to say about what happened last friday in newtown, ct.  the truth is, the fact that i can't find anything to say....well, that says it all.  there are no words for the pain....the chest-heaving, throat clenching pain....that we all feel in the wake of such an unimaginable day.  i am thankful for my own sweet babies every single day....but have been hugging them extra tightly lately.  i am grateful only for the fact that they are too young to understand what has happened and that i do not have to explain.

despite the horror, i have to continue to have faith in the good in the world.  the beauty i see in the eyes of my children. the fierce and indescribable love i have for them and the prayers of immense gratitude i say every day that god entrusted them to me.  i am their mother and they are my life's greatest joy.  this is my truth.  that love and that is what really matters.

to the families and community of newtown.  i think about you every day. we are all praying for you. we will not forget your sweet children. and we will not forget you.


my trip to ASH : an unexpected reminder

Saturday, December 15, 2012 | | 0 comments
i wrote this post earlier this week while i was home sick with the flu.....apparently i felt so bad i forgot to hit "publish".....

i'm home sick with the flu and while i should be sleeping, resting, taking it easy....i'm too hopped up on over the counter flu medicine to do any of that.  so i sit here, aching all over with skin that feels prickly ~ too warm to be covered in blankets yet stinging cold at the same time.  pity the fool.  the fool who thought the flu shot would actually work for me this time. thank goodness for sport beans because i'm pretty sure they are helping me feel better even if i can't train right now.

i returned home from a 4 day work conference in atlanta on monday (American Society of Hematology aka ASH).  despite my single room with a huge king bed and cloud-like down comforter, i still came back exhausted.  but i learned, and bonded, and ate some wonderfully delicious food.  one night in particular, a co-fellow and i were treated to a spectacular meal at woodfire grill (for any Top Chef fans...Kevin Gillespie's restaurant.  in a word...amazing).  it was dubbed the "women of hematology" dinner and we sat at a table with 5 women in particular who are doing great things with their lives.  they are hematologists, oncologists, mothers, wives, and friends.  they've been where we are and are paving the road ahead. a couple of them in particular are mentors to me and while i'm sure they tease me if they read this....they are the ones i look to in moments of uncertainty, the ones who inspire me, the ones i want to be like "when i grow up".  if you are reading know who you are :)

the conference was attending by a massive amount of people and some of them are very highly regarded in their field.  from basic science researches to leaders of major clinical trials.  from industry executives, private practice physicians, and practitioners from academic medical institutions.  from folks with focus in benign hematology to those to perform bone marrow transplants for diseases like leukemia or lymphoma.  between educational sessions, scientific research presentations, to career development workshops and beyond....there was a lot of learning to be done! it was a very diverse bunch from all over the world and the nerd in me picked up on the energy, the excitement, and the passion for the field.

ryan played single dad for 4 days while i was gone and assumed all the responsibilities that this entails.  from diaper changes to rides to and from school.  from the breakfast table to goodnight tuck-ins.  a tough job....but one that he has mastered since he's pretty much the best dad ever!! we tried to facetime a few times but for one reason or another the reception was wierd in atlanta and it didn't work well....i bugged him constantly for pictures and missed them all so badly.

the take home message from this trip is simple really and not one that is new to me. i am a very tiny fish in a gigantic sea.  but i love what i do and i care deeply for the people i take care of.  i love my family even more than all of that and i know going forward from here i will grapple with sneers from colleagues when i leave early to attend a soccer game or a dance recital.  but i'll do right by my patients and the people i work with.  i'll do right by myself and the family and friends i love dearly.  i think any working mom wonders if you can possibly do all of this....even i question it some days.  it's hard, a daily challenge, and something i feel like fighting for. deep down inside i truly believe that it's possible.  to have your cake and eat it to.  to be all the things you want to be in your life.  to have your priorities straight.  it may not always (or ever) come easily....but nothing worth having ever does, right?

these truths aren't always self-evident and sometimes we all just need a little reminder of the things we knew deep inside.  sometimes these reminders come in strange and unexpected ways.  thank you, ASH, for being my reminder.

random updates...

Thursday, November 29, 2012 | | 0 comments
it is a very rare occasion where i sit in an entirely quiet house on a random wednesday afternoon enjoying a warm cup of tea and a (very late) breakfast.  i managed to eat my entire bowl of oatmeal without sharing with anyone.  pandora's indie christmas station is playing in the background and deja is cuddled at my feet keeping me warm.

i am on vacation and it feels strange.  last year's "vacation" was maternity leave which, while magical even in it's most tiring moments, was not particularly restful.  i have fully established that i am not good at doing nothing....and with this establishment, i am trying really hard to do something about it.  it's not going so well.  i ache to fill the empty moments with things, errands, noise.  there is clearly much work yet to be done in the quieting department.

life is busy these days....sound familiar? time feels like sand slipping through my fingers and i keep wanting to do a simple "murphy life update" post.  i planned to include a little family update with our holiday cards so consider this my preamble ;)

this time of year is pure magic.  the only thing that makes the sentiment of the holidays more beautiful is those same holidays with my babies by my side.  emma is just shy of three years old and if i were to describe her in one word it would be "firework".  she sits in the back of my car as we cruise around town belting "baby you're a fiiiiiiiiiiiiirework!" and i think it's quite appropriate.  she shines bright ~ her eyes sparkle with wonder and a deep curiousity about the world around her.  she wants to know how things work....and why.  always why? sometimes to the point of mental exhaustion when i just can't come up with a good answer.  she commands a room and oftentimes directs us while she creates pretend situations....."mommy, you lay right here and i will put you to bed.  do you need a paci? do you want some chocolate milk?"  it's endearing and heartmelting and i love listening to her mind work out loud.  these sweet moments are punctuated with the sounds of her independence blooming...."No!", "I do NOT want to brush my teeth!" and the like abound and we just roll with the punches.  she's a tough cookie and i know this strength will serve her very very well in life.  she will move mountains one day, this one.

benjamin shines just as bright with a certain calm about him that is infectious.  he is so talkative these days....constantly babbling and chattering.  oftentimes real words come out....things like "ball!!" or "what that" and he gets particularly animated when talking about our dog "deja!".  he loves a good game of peekabo and has really perfected the ever charming act of blowing kisses.  his belly laughs fill our house when he's tickled or getting showered with strawberry kisses.  he is so strong and oftentimes doesn't realize it.  despite this strength he is also very sweet and sensitive.  he breaks down in the most heartbreaking tears if told "no thank you" or if his sister is a little too rough.  he will snuggle with me until there is no tomorrow and i will never ever get enough of this.  he is working so very hard on his walking skills....he takes steps but is very careful and cautious.  he spends most of his days standing and pushing things around the house.  he has yet to meet a food he didn't like ~ this is fine by me because there is much more of him to love this way :)  his heart is as big as he is and i can already tell, he's gonna be a lover not a fighter. i love this little man more than words are fit to describe.

ryan and i are, as you might imagine, quite exhausted!  these two, along with 2 full time jobs, keep us quite busy.  but, for all the exhaustion, there is never a dull moment in our house and we wouldn't have it any other way.  he is still working for the housing authority and learning a lot in his unique role.  in his free time, he's working hard on the various home projects we constantly have going and just finished building an outdoor kitchen for a client with one of his buddies.  it came out beautifully.....and has been added to our own list of additions :)  i'm so proud of this guy.....his ability to balance his role as father, husband, friend, employee is really quite remarkable.  i learn from him every day as he is way better in the balance department than i am.  he's such a hands on dad and the most supportive husband around.  love you, honey.

many of you know that i passed the "6 month seizure free" mark back in october.  i'm driving again and i thank my lucky stars for my health, my life, and all my blessings.  work is good but very very busy.  it can be all consuming and much of this year has been about not only learning the science and medicine itself, but how to create boundaries, draw lines in the sand, and not let my work life eat me alive!  again....a dynamic and fluid process i'm sure i will continually wrestle with.  but, i'm really enjoying what i do and couldn't be more thankful for  the opportunity to do what i love.  i'm training for my first half marathon ~ the disney princess half in february!  all i'm hoping is to not get picked up by the courtesy van that scoops up the slowest people at the tail and we are really looking forward to taking the kids to the park for their first disney experience!

we are packing up and headed to south florida this weekend to spend some time with our friends.  the kids are headed to the grandparents for some serious spoiling and everyone is excited!  we don't get away alone much and are really looking forward to some fun this weekend.  and when we get back....time to deck the halls.  i have this weird thing about holiday decorating that it feels strange to do it before december 1st.  i have no idea why since we always did it right after thanksgiving when i grew up.  i've started putting up little holiday trinkets here and there but we haven't broken out the boxes yet or gotten our tree.  we have been having fun with the newest member of our family....our elf, mr. juke....he's been quite the hit and is helping us all get in the holiday spirit :)

more to come...

special delivery : the arrival of mr. juke

Sunday, November 25, 2012 | | 0 comments
in the midst of a rough weekend (sickness abounds! want some strep throat? come on over!!)....someone showed up at our doorstep this afternoon to spread some christmas cheer.

as we unpacked our bags from a quick weekend away....the doorbell rang.  the kids startled a bit an wondered what was going on.  we usually know when visitors are coming and were caught a little off guard.

with some encouragement from her daddy, emma cautiously opened the door.  sitting in the entry with two chocolate kisses in hand was someone we've been talking a lot about in the murphy house lately.  our elf! straight from the north pole!

the kids got super excited and i scooped him up, explaining that this would likely be the only time any of us were allowed to hold him.  they ate their candy and we read the book that came with mr. elf (emma decided that this was most definitely a BOY elf and promptly began blowing kisses.  her exact words were "i can hardly believe it!!").  we learned about his christmas magic and how he flies to see santa every night to give report on how emma and ben have been doing each day.  we can't touch him or else he'll lose that magic and will never make it back to santa.  we also learned that he can't talk to us.....but we can talk to him and he will listen intently to everything we say.

in order for the christmas magic to begin, children must give their elf a name.  emma has the upper hand on this for the moment since she's the only one who can really talk....if it were up to ben, elf's name would be "ball!" or "what that?!".  for now, emma has chosen "Mr. Juke."  lord only knows where that came from or what it means but "Mr. Juke" it is.  don't worry sweet ben, next year you'll get to add your thoughts on the subject too :)

for now....lets get this christmas magic party started!!

Add caption

mischief maker

blowing kisses to her new friend
introducing....Mr. Juke!

giving thanks

Thursday, November 22, 2012 | | 0 comments
who has been a super bad blogger lately?  THIS girl.  things have been {good} busy in the murphy world and i promise to jump back on the bandwagon soon.

for today though...just a few thoughts on thanksgiving.

while today is the national holiday of giving thanks....may we all remember to carry that forward into our everyday lives.  i find comfort in thinking of "thanksgiving" more as a concept and way of life rather than a day we celebrate once a year.  there is much to be grateful for....both big and small.  those things are easily seen on days like today, when many of us are surrounded by the ones we love the most with delicious food to enjoy.  the warmth of the love of my family and a wonderful meal shared is perhaps the perfect way to spend any day.  the thanksgiving traditions created by my parents and the ones i now get to create with my children is something i look forward to all year.   dad, if you're reading this, hope you dusted off the "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation" because we'll be watching it later.  chevy chase is a Thanksgiving staple in our family.

it's a little harder to remember our gratitude on days that wear at our edges, days that challenge us, or aren't so obviously grand.  it's in those days i think it's even more important to remember.  give thanks for all that you have. all that you are. and all that you have the potential to be.

today i am thankful for the love in my life.  my sweet husband and dreamy littles.  for a family that loves me no matter what.  for supportive and fabulous friends.  for a work life that while really hard, is also really gratifying.  for patients who trust me to walk with them in their darkest hour. i'm thankful for my own health ~ knees that (usually) allow me to keep running and a brain that (usually) allows me to keep on thinking ;) and i'm thankful that i am here to enjoy it all.

happiest of thanksgiving to you all.  may the spirit of the season stay with you all year long :)

six months later :: on perspective gained

Friday, November 2, 2012 | | 0 comments
as we headed to the restaurant that night, he reached his hand across the center console and grabbed mine. just like he always does.   the sun was setting and we both smiled as emma was singing in the back and ben sat jabbering away.  he gave my hand an extra we both could silently understand.  six months ago, life looked very different.

as i stood in front of the mirror earlier that morning, getting ready, it hit me.  i thought the day would be marked on my calendar yet it crept up and surprised me.

six months ago, friday, i had a seizure.  and a big one at that.  and then another in the emergency room. A CT scan, 2 MRIs, a spinal tap, 2 EEGs, lots of bloodwork, and one prescription later....everything looks to be OK.  {nothing like a little sleep deprivation and some electrolyte imbalance to really send you over the edge.}

six months ago, last friday, my life flashed before my eyes.  all the things i'd been so sure of all along suddenly weren't so sure anymore and for a few moments {that turned into days that turned into weeks} i wasn't sure life would ever be the same.  would i get to see my kids grow up? would i get to celebrate my next wedding anniversary? what about my job ~ would i get to start fellowship as planned? or be around for that at all?

strangely enough, life hasn't been the same. it's been better.  are you crazy, m?  ha...maybe just a little. but it's true.

sure, there is the medication to take and the six month break from driving {now THAT was frustrating} and the little voice in the back of my head that whispers "what if you have another seizure?".  but then there is the perspective.  the wonderous perspective. the reminder that, despite what the song may say, time is not on our side.  that life is more precious and fleeting than any of us can really wrap our minds around.  that there is beauty in the breakdown.  that every moment of my life is valuable and one that i'll never get back.  it has taught me to love more deeply, forgive more easily, and to try my absolute hardest not sweat the small stuff.

i have so much gratitude to express to the small handful of magically wonderful people in my life.  without you, dear family and friends, i never would have made it through this last 6 months. for all your love, words of encouragement, rides all over town, and unwavering support.....THANK YOU.  it isn't nearly enough to say....but thank you.  you mean the world to me.

so my friday message is this :: take the time today to really bask in the beauty that is your life.  be thankful for all the wonderful things that fill it up.  it really is beautiful.

here's to healthy brains & happy hearts!


and they called him king of all wild things : a first birthday bash

Monday, October 22, 2012 | | 2 comments
this past saturday, october 20th, our littlest wild thing....benjamin ryan....turned 1 year old!! on that beautiful fall day, without a cloud in the sky, we celebrated with family and close friends the first year of ben's life. over brunch. with lots of toys. and with LOTS and lots of love.

while ben isn't really a "wild thing" like the theme would suggest but rather a very laid back, constantly happy, snuggly gem of little man there was one thing that he was quite wild about and that was CAKE.

{and his family and friends went wild when he took his first step! at the party!}  

i'll let the pictures do the talking...

happy birthday, sweet benjamin. may you always know how loved you are.

{i have to give very special photo credit to our sweet nina who just happened to have her camera and snapped away for me.  we love the moments you captured! thank you dearly!}

causes for celebration : a big week in the murphy house

Saturday, October 20, 2012 | | 0 comments
i can't let the sun set on today without saying a few words about what a big week it has been in the murphy house.

ryan and i celebrated our 4th wedding anniversary on thursday. october 18th.  our love story started in the back of 10th grade algebra....passing notes rather than paying attention to numbers and equations....and has grown 15+ years later into something more than i ever imagined when i first sat in that hardback plastic chair next to a certain cute redhead in class.

this past january we attended the wedding of dear friends.  during the ceremony, the rabbi relayed a thought on marriage that said it all to me.  in that beautiful temple, to a hushed audience, he addressed the couple saying "many people will tell you that marriage is one of the most important things in your life.  i believe that it is THE most important thing in your life for it is the foundation upon which you build everything else." i couldn't agree more.  for better and for worse, in sickness and in health, through whatever life brings our way....i couldn't imagine a better man to have built my foundation with.  the butterflies i used to feel as i walked to algebra class each day, in anticipation of seeing him there....they're still fluttering away :)

i love you, ryan. and i look forward to a lifetime of butterflies ahead.

2 days sweet little Benjamin turned 1 year old.  at this exact moment 1 year ago i was snuggling in a hospital bed with my brand new son swaddled in warm blankets and wrapped in my arms.  i remember every moment of that day, just like with emma's birth, like it was yesterday.  i remember waking early in the morning to shower and curl my hair.  it was so silly and ryan teased me for it....but i wanted to look pretty to meet my son.  labor was short and stark contrast to the pregnancy which seemed to last forever but was quite easy.  at 1:26pm benjamin entered the world and i remember the overwhelming sense of completeness that washed over me.  i remember feeling so awestruck with the way one's heart has enough room to love a second child as deeply, madly, and profoundly as the first. i remember his face and the way he smelled and how his hair, even then, had the softest hint of red. it was love at first sight....and i believe in that because i am a mom, their mom.  that thing they say about moms and their is SO true. this past year has been the best year of my life with our family of four. 

sweet benjamin, you have a magic about your soul that captures us all.  i love you more than all the stars.  happy first birthday, little one. we LOVE you SO!

{more to come on his "where the wild things are" themed first birthday. that is deserving of a post all it's own. as the picture above might suggest ben, and everyone else, had a wonderful time!}

and they called it the perfect day.

Sunday, October 7, 2012 | | 0 comments
the 2 best grandmas. 2 babies. 1 mommy. 1 rented minivan. and a whole day of fun and adventure at busch gardens.  this is the way we spent our saturday.

while pretty much everyday qualifies as an "adventure" around our house....this one was extra special.  i learned a few things : emma is terrified of sesame street characters in costume {especially cookie monster}, ben will sleep anywhere {he gets that AND his thighs from his mommy!}, gainesville REALLY needs a splashpark, and despite how hard it can be to travel with two little really was the perfect day.

the entire murphy house has been fighting the horrible viruses that are traveling around right now....the trip was in jeopardy the few days before the trip thanks to runny noses and high fevers.  thankfully though, the kids' sick clouds parted just in time.  i got hit the morning we left but watching the kids excitement and the fun of the day may have been the best medicine :)

please to enjoy a few photos of our day...

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