a start

I got on the treadmill and ran today, the first real exercise aside from a vigorous walk that I have done in months. And by “ran” I mean mostly walked, but interspersed some 1-2 minute stretches of slow jogging. It hurt.

Back in my 20s, 6mph was my base running speed. I could run 3 miles capably. Maybe not fast, but I could get it done. That would be a typical workout – 3, maybe 3.5 or 4 miles.

Now, at the end of my 30s, 5mph is my base running speed. And sometimes that hurts and I drop down to 4.8mph. When I’m in better shape than I am now, I might maintain a 5.5mph for a while.

But today, no. It just hurt. My hips hurt, my legs hurt, my lungs hurt. My pride really hurt. But it was something, it was a start. During harvest especially, when my life is 98% work and kids, I need something to make me feel like I’m more than just a zombie working mom, something to call my own. And that something needs to be done in my house, at whatever time that I can squeeze it in. So maybe this could be it, and maybe I could become a bit less mushy in the process.


Morning hush

There is nothing more peaceful in my life than my house in the morning, the stretch before anyone but me is up. The pets will paw around the house a bit but so long as food bowls are full you’ll get nothing from them louder than a friendly good-morning mew or welcoming stretch. The sound of breathing might come through the baby monitor. The road is silent as it’s to early for farmers to be moving quite yet (plus our road is usually pretty silent). It is the only time all day I have that is entirely my own until about 8:20pm, and I love it. When I am able to get up bright and early, having this 30-60 minutes of solititude will improve my whole day.

Eventually it will be interrupted with the footsteps of one one of the boys: small little thud-thud-thuds. My littlest can make his way downstairs on his own, but he’ll often stop to “play” with Dad in bed or wake up his big brother. And my biggest will be down quickly, but inevitably his movements will wake the littlest. And so, in an instant, the peace of morning turns into the also-enjoyable calm-before-reality, in which the kids are still sleepy and sweet and pleasant and haven’t built up the motivation or energy to start truly being kids with yelling, running, fighting, etc.

I just love mornings. Someday, I’ll wake up and the mornings will truly be my own. Either the kids will sleep much later or they’ll have moved on entirely. But for now, during this sweetest but most exhausting phase of life, this is what I’ve got.


Harvest, again

I never used to love fall. I was a spring-and-summer person, all the way. But then, you know what happened? Pumpkin Spice Lattes happened. And I discovered the previously unknown-to-me world of apple orchards and pumpkin patches. And fall became more than just the calm before the misery that is winter, it became cozy sweaters and orange hues and crisp leaves. And then it became little boys tossing leaves and  and GOING BACK TO SCHOOL. Just for the record, I don’t really care for PSL. They’re fine, but not something I’d go out of my way for. But they, along with everything else, romanticized fall. And now, because I’m a 14-year-old girl in a body 5-months from turning 40, I. Love. Fall.

Fall also happens to coincide with harvest, obviously. It’s amazing to me how much things like harvest and grain prices and combines now mean to me, where 10 years ago I knew nothing, NOTHING of them. Harvest takes away my farmer, so long as rain isn’t falling, he’ll be gone from 7 until whenever he gets home at night, which is almost always past my own bedtime. In the first year of our marriage, I’d hop in a tractor or combine with him every other day or so so that we could catch up on life and visit and whatnot. In the second year, I spent early harvest riding the combine or ripper, hoping that either bumpy ride would induce labor (no luck); and the latter part of harvest in a first-time-mom-with-a-newborn stupor. And since then, I’m just the delivery girl – rather than going for the rides myself, I drive the boys out so that they can go clomping through a rough field and spent an hour or two riding in the buddy seat, sharing their Dad’s snacks and learning all about farming.

So it’s bittersweet – I become a single parent in fall, this season that I have come to love. A lucky single parent for sure, with a strong support network and caregivers for our boys. But still, it’s a rat race of sorts, one that I can often enjoy (there’s some satisfaction in getting through a full day of parenting and shuttling and working and more shuttling and dinner making and playing and bedtimes and having the house in on piece) and can sometimes get worn out by.

But still, this is my life, from now until November, and maybe December if the weather cooperates. I will make the most of it.

Starting Somewhere

My son is four-and-a-half. It is cliched but amazing, how quickly the time passes. He is darling, he is smart and funny, he is sometimes naughty and moody, he is wonderful. He likes ninja turtles and superheros and his dad.

He also is a big brother. We welcomed Baby Boy #2 last October, just 3 days prior to Baby Boy #1’s third birthday. P is D’s little mini-me. They are so similar in sweet demeanors and gorgeous little fuzzy blond heads that usually when I see a picture of D when he was less than a year old I have to do a double-take to figure out who is who.

Having a newborn and a three year old at the same time sure made for an interesting few months. I about lost my mind. But fortunately we’re getting into normal life now – D is a little less crazy than he used to be, P is a good sleeper, we are good.   I’d like to say that D is a wonderful big brother, and really he mostly is, but then there are those times I see him walk by his baby brother and punch him in the arm for no good reason, and I realize: he is just a big brother.

Things at the clinic are great. We’re 5 years old! How did THAT happen?? I often think back on those first few days, weeks, YEARS of being a brand new vet and practice owner and you know what I think about? Absolutely nothing. I don’t remember those days at all.  Suffice it to say, I’m happy to be where I am now, almost 6 years out.  I love the clinic, I Really love my clients and my staff. It’s a good job, and it makes for a good life. Sometimes it’s extremely stressful, but for now, it is all well worth it.



I’ve been doing a lot of organizing at home, and tackled our bedroom a few weekends ago. I hate to start with a tangent, but just as I was thinking, “I really need to get this room organized…”, my husband woke up one morning, heard a little squeaking sound, opened the bottom drawer of his bedside table and came face-to-face with a little mouse. Even though I’m a vet, I have an irrational fear of rodents in my house (no problem whatsoever seeing them as patients), so I’m glad it wasn’t me. Not that it would have been, becasue when I hear mouse-like sounds, I freeze in fear, I don’t go investigating. Anyway, two mouse-trap snaps later, and I got serious about organizing and cleaning the heck out of our room.

Of all the rooms in our house, the bedroom seems to collect the most dust. It’s the least lived-in room, and collects the most clothes, dust, etc. So it was great to clean every drawer, table-top, etc. It’s amazing, the crap that accumulates.

In the bottom drawer where the ill-fated, previously mentioned mouse was found, I found my journals. Back in 1991, my sister, then quite a journaler herself, bought me my first journal, and so I have this fantastic record of every ridiculous thought that went through my teeny-bopper head, and my overwrought college-student head, and my jeez-my-20s-were-rough head. The journaling fizzled significantly with vet school and halted completely with marriage and children.

I realized as I read through my early years with true enjoyment and, certainly, some embarrassment, that I would be totally remiss if I didn’t keep it up. Because I think maybe my 70-year-old self will get a kick out of what I thought about my life during this time.  And so it became apart of my New Year’s Resolution (which I still LOVE), and now every Sunday before bed I jot down a few notes in my journal about life. It’s fun.

Similarly, I feel like I might miss THIS record of my life, and so I’m thinking about starting it up again. It’s not a resolution, but I’d like to give it a go. I miss it, and blogging has always been a fun outlet for me – at least for the past 10 years.

So, we will see how it goes.

and she lived happily ever after.

I was sitting at the dining room table this evening eating dinner with my boy, and only my boy, since it is harvest and my husband is reduced to this guy who I have apparently long conversations about the Sopranos with when he finally makes it to bed around midnight each night. In typical almost-2 fashion, my boy ate some and then threw his sippy cup across the room, and then ate some more, and then got up to try his bottom on every other chair in the dining room. Eventually he got to the chair next to mine, decided it still wasn’t good enough and gracefully, insistently and undeniably crossed the gap into my lap, wedging himself into the small space between me and the table.  It was just One Of Those Days when I had to pick my battles and right then, having a naughty but happy gorgeous boy in my lap wasn’t a fight worth fighting.  Instead I teased him while taking a few bites of my own meal, until he decided that facing forward wasn’t good enough and he needed to be facing me. Again, whatever. I didn’t help him and it took him awhile to figure out the turning maneuver, but eventually there he was on my lap, nose to nose with me. He wrapped  his arms around my neck, laid his head on my chest, and fell asleep almost immediately. This was at 6:30, when normal bed time is 8. 

Sometimes the universe just hands you lemonade. 

I read this blog often.  I’ll recall an event that I blogged about and wish to revisit it, or it will randomly pop into my head: “what WAS life like as a 2nd year vet student?”, and I’ll go back and remember.  I love being able to do that.

I grew up in Maine. Small town, small high school. It was pretty sheltered and innocent and a good foundation. 

I used to live in Boston. I worked in an office, sitting at a computer all day.  I went shopping 4 times a week, dated lots of wrong men, went to trendy bars and dive bars hung out with my friends and lived a pretty stereotypical city life.

I went to vet school. I spent four years stressed and studying and studying and studying and studying and hanging out with new friends and feeling rather awkward and out-of-place and occasionally lonely.

I met a farmer, I graduated. I married him. I moved to the country.  I opened a vet practice. I had a baby.

The past few years of my life – the years of this blog – have been full of massive changes and upheavals.  It was a great time, and hopefully a good story.  Now that things have calmed down, I wonder more than ever – what DOES come next? Another baby? A new direction for the clinic? Changes with my family or friends’ lives?  Maybe this is just it for a little while.

Now, I’m a mom, a veterinarian, a farmers wife, an Iowan (eh, sort of). I live in a farmhouse in the country. There are things I miss from my old life, and things that irritate me about my current one, but still I feel like there was a lottery for happiness, and without even knowing that I had entered, I WON.

 It’s the right time to retire this blog, because it couldn’t have a happier ending than the life I’m living now, and I love a happy ending.  Thank you for reading. 


Remember all that nice stuff I said about how it was good to get forced back in the office manager role since my real office manager was out? Yeah.

It has now been 3 full weeks that she has been gone and I. Am. Done. Her recovery is taking a lot longer than she anticipated, and so for the past three weeks I have been hitting the clinic by 7:30am, sprinting for a pretty full 8-9 hours, and then leaving SOMETHING undone as I rush home to spend a lowsy hour or so with my boys before I fall asleep on the couch.  I am exhausted.

Even though I like the practice management of my life, and I really, really, do, I feel like I’m doing two full-time jobs. It is hard, perhaps impossible, to balance both, and so my clients aren’t getting the attention that I am used to giving, and the practice doesn’t run as smoothly as I am used to.  Having to figure out the monthly big pet food order when you just got some labs back showing that a favorite patient’s cancer has returned just doesn’t work as well as I when I can focus on one or the other.

Worse yet is how bad I am at balancing all of work with all of home.  About half of the time I leave for work before my boy gets out of bed and get home about an hour before bedtime. I hate that.  Sometimes I can at least get him up and dressed and have breakfast with him. And day care days of course I get to hang out with him for an extra hour in the car that day, which actually makes a big difference. But I am missing a lot.

I’ve long thought that I wasn’t cut out for being a full-time, stay-at-home mom.  I think that I would lose my mind, especially living out here in the middle of nowhere, where I’d really have to go out of my way to be social and adventurous. But now I know that I’m also not cut out for being a full-time working momma.  This experience has at least let me realize how freaking lucky I am, with my part-time full-time career. Now just to get back to that balance!!