Married to Medicine

Married to Medicine

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

I'm here. We're here. And it's gonna fly by...

For *all* the hours of my life...

- all the hours bored in grade school.
- all the blissful childhood summers.

"Up North" Wisconsin - my favorite childhood memories.

- all the countless evenings spent in my childhood home, hanging out, safe and happy.

Family.  *So* lucky.

- all the exams stressed over and all-nighters pulled.

8th grade - Prosecutor.

- the trips with dad to visit college campuses.
- the wondering and dreaming about college.

If only I could dive into this picture and be there all over again...

- college: the campus, the classes, the professors, the friends, the boyfriend, the magic.

- Freshman year, Ellingson Hall.  Best EVER.

- the "big trip" to study abroad for a year and prove my independence.
- the post-college year living with friends and planning a wedding.
- the wedding!

The one thing from St. Olaf I took with me forevermore...
Five years of dating and neither of us had a clue the ways in which we'd later be tested.
I'm thankful for every bit of our foundation.  We needed all of it.

- law school: stress, excitement, boredom, and a lot of cafe-studying.  The thrill of being one of the top 4 finalists in Honors Moot Court and going to regionals.

All women our year!!

- the lawyer years:  stress, excitement, boredom, and wanting to be a mom.  A few big victories (a settlement and a suprising win on a federal court motion) I'll never forget.  Shock at some of the depravity in the non-academic world.

- the big move to Boston...
- finally pregnant...
- finally a baby...

- the baby days... the stroller walks to cafes and parks, messy feedings, cherished nap times.
- the "difficult phase" ... wondering if my son would ever be well-behaved.
- the baby girl.
- the relief, amazement, and euphoria:  They get along!

- more relief, amazement, and euphoria:  He's a total sweetheart!
- "in just two more years, she'll be the age he is now, and it'll be a little easier..."

- "someday we'll have a nicer place..."

I feel like my entire life has been building up to where I am right now, because this was my dream.  Not the grandest dream, but definitely what I wanted out of life.  What I most wanted was to be happily married and raising kids - not babies even, but the kid stage.  I wanted to repeat my own childhood; I wanted to give my children what I'd been given and to relive childhood with them.  And I wanted this more than I wanted to live in France for a year and become fluent... more than I wanted to go to law school... more than I would have wanted to win the lottery - for real!  And the crazy, cool, terrifying, and exhilarating thing is that I'm here.  This is it!  I can look into the face of my daughter, that is what her face looks like, it's her!  I can marvel at how sweet my son is, blown away every day that a spirit so good was somehow created by our bodies.  I can actually decorate cookies with them and it's not a disaster, and read books with them that I enjoy, and answer interesting questions about life.  I get a break when they're at school and then I enjoy them all the more when they come back to me (for the first five minutes, especially... haha).  This is it!  I'm here!!!

But the here is bittersweet.  It took long enough to get to this pinnacle of life that the enjoyment is tinged with the knowledge that

- there are only a few years of this bliss before they're teenagers... I enjoyed my teenage years with my family too, but those little old ladies at the grocery store are right, the kid days go by so fast.  And then they're gone.  Just a few more years... after all those other years.  A lifetime of waiting... a blink... gone.
- real struggles await my children.
- heartaches and pain await them.
- tragedy may well await them.  This thought is ever-present when one's spouse is an oncologist.
- my health will fade.
- my parents will pass on.
- and when those things happen, this "pinnacle" of life will seem like the blink of an eye ... the big goal is just a blip.  The best of the best is transient and fragile.

It is with this knowledge that I'm making extra efforts this fall to enjoy.  To do all the fall stuff with my kids.  To go through our books and make sure we're not forgetting any great ones.  To catch up on our stack of Kiwi Crates.  To keep my house clean so that I can maximize my enjoyment of living.  To go to bed on time so that I can live this particular blip of life with eyes wide open and memories fully processed to store and cherish forever.

It's "now" as I type... but someday it'll just be "way back when."

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Monday, October 10, 2016

Best EVER Fall or Holiday Cookies! Spicy Cream Cheese Cut-Outs!!!

Oh.  My.  GOSH YOU GUYS!!!!!  I haven't been this excited about a recipe in a long time!!  Sorry to boast but I legit SOLVED the ever-frustrating conundrum of sugar cookie cutouts being SO cute and SO fun for kids to decorate, but just not that amazing to eat.

Longtime readers may be familiar with this recipe - my favorite cut-out recipe that yields soft cookies and a little something extra in the cream cheese frosting.  Well, this weekend my I spiced it up - literally - and the result was divine.  The autumn spices were the perfect thing to cut the sweetness and they, along with the cream cheese icing, made for cut-out cookies that broke the "yummy" ceiling and finally achieved "addictive" status.

Without further ado...

Spicy Cream Cheese Cut-Outs

For the cookies...
1.5 cups powdered sugar
2 sticks butter, minus 1 tbsp
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 large egg
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cream of tartar 

For the icing...
1 stick butter, room temp
1 package cream cheese, room temp
3 3/4 cup powdered sugar (sometimes I do less)
1 tsp vanilla
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp cloves

Add ingredients in the order listed from the first list above; that's the dough - you can consider making a half batch or a 3/4 batch if you aren't feeding a crowd.  Split the dough half and wrap each half in plastic wrap; refrigerate for 1-2 hours.  Working with one half at a time, roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface, using a lightly floured rolling pin, and sprinkling more flour on top of the dough (spread it around with your hand) as needed.  When the dough is slightly flattened but still a couple inches thick, pick it up, reflour the surface underneath (spread with hand), and flip it over, then sprinkle a little more flour on top and continue rolling.  This will ensure the dough is easy to work with and doesn't stick to the table.  You can also dip the cutters in flour if you need to.

Once the dough is about 1/4 inch thick, cut with cookie cutters.  Place the dough shapes a couple of inches apart on a pan that is either buttered/greased or that has an Artisan Nonstick Silicone Baking Mat - these mats are the best money you will ever spend if you bake cookies; they give cookies a professional, uniform texture and are nonstick to the extreme - you can literally lift cookies off with your bare hands once they're cool, even cut-out cookies!

Bake at 375 for 6 minutes.  They won't look done but you do NOT want them to if you like soft, moist cookies.  Allow them to cool slightly (they'll firm up) before removing them to another surface to await icing.  Make the icing by mixing the ingredients above - do not ice until the cookies are fully back to room temp.  These will be great right away but even better the next day; moisture from the icing will seep down, further softening the cookies, and the icing will harden on top making them easier to transport.  Apply sprinkles immediately after icing so that they will stick.

Tip:  My kids at 4 and 6 LOVE to decorate these - my 4 year old excitedly exclaimed that it was her "favorite thing she had ever done."  To minimize the mess, try (1) giving them a large pan (with edges) to decorate in and/or (2) giving them each a mini muffin pan with different sprinkles in each cup so that they don't have access to the big jug and they can pinch some sprinkles with their fingers.


Married to Medicine Blog is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to where products carried on Amazon are mentioned.