Sunday, February 15, 2009

Be blessed and be a blessing...
Sorry for the hiatus...we've been swamped! I am done with emergency medicine and Rob just finished with OB. I'm moving on to a much a happier place in the Newborn Nursery and Rob will be doing Physical Medicine and Rehab this month.

I'll start the updating with Rowen's party! We had such a fun time watching Rowen soak everything in. We had a small party with his best friends from our neighborhood; Scott, Ava, Owen, Adelyn, James, Miss Vicky and the Haneline girls We did some wining (juicing) and dining (finger foods and cupcakes) and he opened lots of fantastic gifts! I really enjoyed having a house full of children, but I'm not sure what I was thinking scheduling his party at noon on a day when I didn't leave the hospital until 7 a.m. that morning! Oh well, it was all perfect. My favorite part was watching Rowen eat cake! He made a total mess, just the way it should be.

The next weekend we had a delightful visit from Gigi and Aunt Sam and the girls went for a little shopping while the guys worked around the house and caught some zzz's.

This weekend, we are taking our friends and former neighbors, Mollie and Chris, out for a night on the town to wish them farewell. Sadly, they'll be leaving us for California soon and we had to have one last chance to burn up the dance floor before they move. We're really looking forward to a night out! If you're ever looking for me on the dancefloor, look for the white girl without much rhythm, probably doing the Carlton (of Fresh Prince fame).

Next weekend, Travis and Sarah are coming to visit and we can't wait to see them! I think we're trying out a new tapas eatery in Norfolk called Bardo. I've heard they have an excellent scotch selection, but I would never let that influence the decision.

Rowen is doing tons of new, fun things and he is becoming quite the imitator! He waves, gives high fives, blows kisses, touches his head, pretends to answer the phone (complete with something that sounds like 'LO) and shakes yes and no. He's getting more brave with walking alone and isn't falling as much. He has weaned himself from the bottle and now just takes one in the morning while he's getting his first diaper change (mostly as a convenience to us). Now that we're facing new non-baby issues, I'm back to the Baby Whisperer for advice. We're starting to need discipline with our little monster and we want to start off right and be consistent. I'm a big fan of positive discipline and I know the baby whisperer will have a lot to offer.

Rowen's 12 month check up was yesterday and I'm happy to report I survived. I have a horrible habit of becoming extremely apprehensive about the shots and this time he had 4! And a fingerstick blood draw! You would never guess I practice medicine by the way I get worked up over this simple, commonplace procedure. This visceral reaction I have to seeing my child being stuck and poked is a stark contrast to what I've had to do to patients myself. It's just totally different when its your baby! I try to remember that when I'm working on patients. Anywho, he was a real champ (and I've recovered without complications, as well). No reactions to the vaccines. Perfect exam. He weighs 24 pounds and is 32 inches long, staying right around the 95th percentile for height and increasing to the 75th percentile for weight. He's been as healthy as a horse. We're blessed beyond measure.

Blessings bring me to my next topic: organ donation. I'm reading (listening on audiobook) to The Good Life by Charles Colson. In one of the lines in his introduction of this book, he wishes for each reader to "be blessed and be a blessing." I thought about it and that's such a nice idea. Isn't that beautiful? Especially the be a blessing part. I have come to see, especially in my intern year, one of the most profound ways we can bless others is to donate life. I had the unique experience of being involved with the care of a young person who died unexpectedly with specific directives for organ donation. It was amazing to see how his family reacted, not just to his sudden death, but also the glimmer of hope they had knowing someone, somewhere would LIVE. Wow. After this experience, I felt an urgency to make certain I was a registered organ donor. After all, once I leave this earth, I'll be in Heaven with perfect organs and I won't have any use for my old ones. It's always been on my driver's license, but there's also a state registry you can reach by visiting ELEVEN people die everyday waiting on an organ transplant. If you want to help save them, make your wishes clear. Go ahead. Click on the link. Let me know what you think about this, too. I would love to hear your thoughts.

As a sidenote, some people worry that if they are organ donors, they won't get the most advanced or aggressive life-saving care and it's simply not true. The doctor's utmost concern is the well-being and viability of his or her patient. Period.

Ok, on a lighter note...we're approaching a major season of change in our lives...we're changing websites! This site has been good to us, but it's a little too baby for us now and doesn't allow me to format things the way I want to. I want to do pictures and writing together, like I've seen on blogspot and some other sites, so we'll be making the transition soon. We're buying a permanent domain name, so once we leave Baby Window, we'll have one address forever! We'll post the name of the new site here and it will be available here until September, when our subscription to this site ends.

Have a wonderful week! Remember, Go there now!

The Adventures of Little RP Snow Photo
The Adventures of Little RP Snow
With Rowen's new walking skills, we've welcomed lots more laughter, worry and excitement to our house. There was already plenty, but little babies really know how to spice things up! Rowen stammers around as if he's had one too many cups of "apple juice" and he finally collapses into your lap and giggles uncontrollably. He really cracks himself up. I love it, too, except when he misses our laps and collapses into, say, a coffee table, the changing table, the crib, etc. and has some sort of bump or bruise to show for it. He mostly laughs at these encounters, too. I know he enjoys his collisions, because, even at a young age, boys enjoy giving their mothers' heart palpitations.

Another recent adventure was 2 days ago when Rowen swallowed a mouthful of hand sanitizer. I was changing his diaper on the changing table (where the infamous sanitizer lived) and if you've ever changed a 12 month old's diaper, you know you must give them something to occupy themselves or they will crawl away naked. Don't worry, I didn't give him the hand sanitizer. I gave him a medicine dropper or my cell phone (his favorite). Unbeknownst to me, while I was cleaning his little hiney, he reached behind his head and grabbed the sanitizer and squirted some right into this mouth. I looked up to notice he seemed to have swallowed something just horrible tasting and he couldn't get that bad taste out of his mouth. So, my friends, we've already suffered through our first call to the poison control center. It's quite intuitive that hand sanitizer = alcohol= bad for babies, but I wanted to make sure we could handle it at home. Thankfully, we could. Just close observation. He couldn't drink enough juice that afternoon. I'm assuming he was trying to wash that yucky taste out of his mouth!

I'm on the night shift at the ER. Once I get over the pure frustration of having to leave my house and family at 10 p.m. at night and brave the 20 degree weather, the shift really isn't so bad. Like usual, you have your patients who don't belong in an ER, the ones who are drunk and strung out and curse you up one side and down the other for trying to take care of them (I think just last night I received both physical harm and lawsuit threats), the ones who were hurt by the drunk and strung out ones just because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time, the sweet ones and the mean ones. I've only been a doctor for about 6 months and I've laughed with patients, been angry at them, wanted them to find another doctor, loved them, and cried with them. I guess that's just all part of it.

When I got home this morning I crashed for 5 hours (which hopefully will be enough to get me through another shift!) and then woke up and baked oatmeal cookies. If you know me, you know I love oatmeal cookies. No raisins, no chocolate chips. Katie Campbell and her family make the best ones in the universe, but I settled for Betty Crocker today. This was part of my effort to get warm in our downstairs. Our house is almost 100 years old so its rather hard to keep warm. Anyhoo, half of the cookies are "browned" and half aren't done enough. Somewhere in the batch hopefully there will be a cookie worth eating. I never have to worry about food not getting eaten around here, though. Rob is a billy goat. He will eat anything. Literally. Even if he doesn't like it. I think this is a wonderful trait, but I just can't do it. I enjoy cooking and think I'm a pretty good cook, but we all know every once in a while that new recipe turns disastrous and everyone would be better off if you just let the dog eat it. But, Nooooooo, Rob will eat it. He will eat it night after night after night until it's gone! What a sweet and practical husband I have. LY rps!

I'm painting a little mural with a whale in Rowen's toy room, so let me go work on that. Have a fantastic night!

Happy New Year! Photo
Happy New Year!
2009 is here and Rowen is almost a year old! We can't believe all the changes we've seen, just in the last few weeks especially, and I know there are so many more to come.

We had a fantastic trip down to Georgia and enjoyed the company of my family for a wonderful week. We left at night with the hope that Rowen would sleep for the 10 hour drive and he did! The few times he woke up, he was easily consoled and we really put the portable DVD player and those Baby Einsteins (Thanks, Aunt Shan and Uncle Steve!) to work! During our time home, Rowen was a fitful sleeper in general, mostly because of the different environment and slew of new faces, but we also suspect he had a hint of an ear infection, too. So just before his 1st birthday, Rowen had his first official antibiotic.

While we were home, we visited with my Granny and Papa and enjoyed Granny's amazing food every day. We visited with my Mama and went shopping with her and she kissed Rowen more times than I can count. We visited with my Daddy and Wanda and helped them choose paint colors for their now-in-progress home renovation! We also had the pleasure of visiting with my aunts and uncles and cousins and Rowen's favorite, cousin Karson! Karson is 18 months old and he and Rowen are about the same size!

Rowen decided to take his first steps at my Daddy's house on December 27th! We were all so surprised and excited and he really cracked himself up, too! Wanda was able to capture some of his first steps on video so we'll have to update the videos soon! Since then, he has taken a couple of steps alone everyday, but he still prefers to crawl. It's much faster for now.

We also asked my good friend from middle school, Sara, to take some photos of Rowen to honor his upcoming birthday and she did a great job!

On our way home from Georgia, we stopped over in Clarksville, Virginia, where Rowen's Gigi and Granddaddy Kent have a lake house and we spent the night and explored around the lake. It was so nice to spend some time with the Galvin's and Aunt Sam!

Shortly after our return home, we had a great visit from Grandpa Snow! He came to celebrate Rowen's birthday month and they had lots of fun reading books and playing with Rowen's Christmas toys. We love having visits from the Snow's!

Rowen has developed separation and stranger anxiety, which is completely normal, but came at an inopportune time, given all of our recent family visits. He's always been a mama's baby (which is just fine with me), but lately he's been especially attached and has wanted to know where I am at all times. It doesn't bother me at all, though, because I know there will come a day when it won't be me who can comfort him at all, so I'm just taking it all in.

Other new things Rowen is trying out...waving hello/goodbye, blowing kisses, *trying* to learn his eyes, nose and mouth, saying "all done", getting into everything and pouting when he is redirected, and, we're not sure where this one came from, but he can't stop staying DAP. Maybe dog? Clap?

About a week or so ago, Rob was selected for Flight Surgery training. It has all happened pretty quickly and he told me the good news after an ER shift in the middle of the night, so I haven't been the best messenger. Basically, this is probably the best of all the scenarios that could have happened for next year. He'll leave sometime this summer to spend 6 months in Pensacola learning how to fly and care for medical needs of pilots and the crew. After his training, there's a decent chance he could get stationed back here, but we'll just have to see. Rowen and I will stay here and I'll continue my residency. Sigh. I don't even like to think about Rob being away. The bright side is that he can probably come home about once a month, which is way more than most military spouses get when their husband or wife is away. We're thankful. This path at least gives the chance to come back here. The other options meant definite deployments. God is good; not some of the time, but all of the time. His grace is sufficient.

Now we are getting settled into this new year and planning Rowen's birthday bash. I'm working nights in the ER and Rob is doing OB this month so we're pretty pressed for time, but we're looking forward to having some little people over for playtime and watching Rowen tear into a birthday cake! Today I'm finally off and Rob is post-call, so we're at home at the same time, which is the first time we've had a face to face conversation in a while! We've been surviving on e-mail and text messaging, so its great to have the family in one place, at least for today! Rob and Rowen are taking naps now, and I'm catching up on my to-do list. And now that this website is updated, I better move on!

Merry Christmas!

Greetings from Riverside Regional Medical Center! Yes, my friends, I'm on call for Rowen's first Christmas. After I got over my initial disappointment, it's not so bad. There's something magical about delivering babies on Christmas Day and plus, Rowen has no idea today is THE big day. We actually did the whole big Christmas morning thing last night, but it was kind of anti-climactic. It's not that Rowen doesn't love his new toys and the boxes they came in, but he's a little under the weather and the poor little guy woke up from his afternoon nap on the wrong side of the crib. To make matters worse, I wiped his nose, which completely ruined his day and he wanted to call the whole thing off. Instead of letting his moodiness pass and opening gifts later, we decided opening gifts right then would cheer him up so we paraded down the stairs and helped him rip through his gifts. I'm certain we were more excited than he was. After all was said and done, Rowen really was a pretty good sport given his cough and cold and it is a happy Christmas for the Snow's. Santa's gifts to Rowen were a Radio Flyer wagon, a Leap frog fire truck with cool sounds and sirens that he can ride on or push, a dump truck, a portable dvd player for the car (or plane) and lots of new clothes. His Aunt KK and Uncle Adam sent him a funny elephant toy with balls that he carries all along the house. (By the way, said elephant has found its head in Lady's mouth, as she thought for sure it was hers, but hopefully with a good wash, a snip here and trim there the poor elephant will be good as new.) He has also been showered with gifts from his many adoring grandparents and he hasn't even gotten to Georgia yet! For his part in gift-giving, he painted a flower pot for me with hand and foot prints that got me all teary-eyed (Thanks, Miss Vicky!)

Rob and I also had Christmas last night and we both hit the jackpot! I got a gift certificate to a spa, an Ipod shuffle (yes, I'm joining the revolution...but don't expect me to become liberal...), a new Bible, kitchen scissors, a travel pillow and lots of delicious goodies. Rob got new clothes, a digital picture frame (nerdy), a dresser organizer (nerdier) and lots of stocking stuffers.

Our anniversary was December 9th and every year we take a trip to a quaint Bed & Breakfast in a neat little town somewhere, in honor of our engagement at the Evergreen, which started the B&B tradition. This year, our trip is a little late, but worth the wait. We're going to Savannah! I'm so excited. I'll leave the hospital tomorrow (12/26) around noon and catch up on sleep then we'll leave for Georgia Friday night around Rowen's bedtime. The hope is that he'll sleep for most of the trip but we'll be armed with Baby Einstein DVD's should he be uncooperative. We'll get there sometime Saturday and spend the week catching up with my precious family in the sweet, sunny South. On January 1st, Rob and I will head to Savannah while Rowen spends quality time with his grandparents. We are going to have such a wonderful time. Being away from Georgia and Alabama is bittersweet. I love Virginia and the Lord knows my life has flourished here...I met Rob and amazing married...had a a medical degree...but there's still no place like home. I miss Southern culture. I miss how, as Paula Deen says, southern folks treat their family like company and their company like family. There are "southerners" speckled all across the country, though, and it has been my good fortune to run into them almost everywhere I go. My heart aches to be there, and very soon, I will be!

Ok, I'm going to try to sleep now before pregnant ladies all around eat too much for Christmas dinner and go into labor!

It's been a while! Photo
It's been a while!
I'm sorry its taken a while to chat with you all. Here are some good thoughts I wanted to share from our reading of The Purpose Driven Life. This book is so simple and true that I'm surprised how much I'm learning as I re-read it, but these are ideals I need to be reminded of often, and maybe you'll like them, too.

1. Being successful and fulfiling your life's purpose are not the same.

2. Life is a test. God is watching our responses to people and situations.

3. The heart of worship is surrender, not out of fear or duty, but out of LOVE.

4. The deepest level of worship is praising God in spite of pain. Admitting hopelessness is a step of faith.

5. Life's greatest privilege is the opportunity to be a child of God.

6. "...his command is this, live a life of love." 2 John 1:16

Enough of my on to what you all really want to hear about! Our little man! Rowen is too much fun! We had a wonderful visit from my family over Thanksgiving. My Granny and Papa, Mama, Aunt Sharon and cousin Jay visited and we had a great time. Of course, the trip had 2 of life's key elements, eating and shopping, so we really couldn't go wrong. This was the first holiday we've hosted so I was pretty nervous about it, but just couldn't wait for everyone to arrive. I wanted to be responsible for cooking a traditional Thanksgiving dinner, but my Granny took a little of the pressure off by bringing the turkey and ham. So I made dressing, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, squash and pumpkin cheesecake. We thanked the Lord for our immeasurable blessings and ate until we were miserable. Then we dispersed to all corners of the house and some had a movie afternoon, while others dozed. Friday we went shopping and it was entirely too busy to have bothered. We knew it would be, but we couldn't turn down the opportunity to shop since we were all together. We had another movie night on Friday and then I was on call Saturday. My family visited me at the hospital, which was the highlight of my shift and they left for Georgia on Sunday. I loved having them here. I think one of the top 3 things in the whole wide world must be lounging around with your family after stuffing yourself with delicious food. I think the only thing that trumps that feeling is being a wife and mommy. My favorite is on a Saturday morning when Rob and I are both off and we "sleep in" (to 6:30) and Rowen stirs in his bed and we both walk in and see him jumping all around and his face erupts in this perfect smile because he is just thrilled to see his two favorite people. Then we put him in the bed with us and we hid him under the covers and he gets so tickled. You just can't top that.

He's babbling a lot now. Mostly saying MAMAMAMAMAMAMA. He's been talking like that for about a month now. He's also just about to walk and enjoys cruising around on the furniture. He will stand alone for short periods and can't understand why we're all holding our breath for him. In all honesty, I'm in no hurry for him to walk. The past 10 months have already gone by entirely too fast. We just want to soak up every minute we can.

He has developed a little bit of a temper, too. He stages a minor protest when you try to change his diaper and he squirms all over the place in an effort to sabatage your mission. He often succeeds, and you have to resort to giving him a non-toy object (i.e. alarm clock, cell phone, remote control, toliet paper, toothbrush, etc.) to keep him occupied while you complete the maneuver. Another funny thing he does is throw a little tantrum if you pull him away from some inappropriate thing he's doing (i.e. playing in the toilet bowl, playing in Lady's bowl, eating the Christmas tree, etc.). When you pick him up and direct him to something else, he jerks his body in such a way you would swear he was a teenager! Then he'll scream like you have actually physically hurt him. Of course, we just laugh because we know it's completely developmentally appropriate and we'll be able to tease him about it later!

Well, I need to get some zzz's. I'm on a really tough month...OB. Overall, the nature of the work should be really satisfying, but sadly, our population isn't generally thrilled to have a baby and you can't help but wonder what the future holds for our patients. There are happy times, though, and they make it worth the sad times. By the way, for anyone wondering, the patient I wrote about in the last entry is still ALIVE. Keep praying!
Thank you for reading. I am one of God's works in progress. Thankfully, He's a pretty patient guy. I pray you all are having a great Christmas season and that God will rain down blessings on you!

Reasons Why
What I tell you in the darkness, speak in the light... Matthew 10:27

Our God sometimes has mysterious ways. Every once in a while, He lets us in on his plan. Whether he whispered it to me in the darkness or had been trying to hammer it into me for a long time, I have finally appreciated at least a small part of God's reasoning.

I had the privilege of taking care of an elderly lady who died this week with her husband and 6 daughters at her bedside celebrating her life as she breathed her last breath on this earth. As her emotionally devastated husband left the hospital, I wondered why this had to be. This gentle man was leaving behind the love of his life. Yes, I know they'll meet again in Heaven, but the heavy melancholy of his loss burdened me. So, I ruminated on the whole situation and prayed for my patient's family and went about my work.

Later this week, a very sick and much younger patient was admitted with a very high likelihood of not surviving long at all. Despite repeated attempts, we have been unable to find any friends or family members. And that's when it hit me. It may be devastating for a forlorn husband leave the hospital for the last time without the love of his life, but at least someone cared. I wonder if anyone besides his physicians care if this patient lives or dies. I think our poor young patient is in the saddest human condition of all. Surely we all deserve to be valued, even loved, and I am particularly attached to and protective of this patient because I'm afraid no one else will be. I'm praying for grace as we wait upon the Lord to see what the next few days will bring for this patient.

Well, the election is over, and while my guy won't be the next president, I'm happy we're moving on. I had a good sob session over John McCain's loss and during his concession speech and it still makes me sad to think how much this great man deserved to be our president and never will be, but I'll be fine. We all will be! No matter who our president is, God is still LOVE, and always will be. The most patriotic thing we can do is pray for our country and her leaders.

Rowen has reached an incredible milestone: indiscriminate babbling! That's when babies say "ba-ba", "da-da" and "ma-ma" without really knowing what they're saying. The funny thing is that the phrase he likes most is "va-va" and we're not sure where that came from, but its still really cute!

He's also dancing. He sways back and forth and kind of moves his head really funny. We're trying to get it on video to share with you!

The Election
This is just a quick note on the election. I received a great e-mail from Emma Hollon Bush that included a letter from James Dobson of Focus on the Family. I have been waiting patiently for more evangelical leaders to embrace McCain and Dr. Dobson finally makes his thoughts clear. While he doesn't "endorse" McCain (like I think he should), he is "supporting" McCain and I'll take what I can get. He outlines several reasons for this, which I've paraphrased here. You can get the full publication at

- McCain remains pro-life while Obama can't actually verbalize when, in his view, a baby gets human rights.

- W
hen Obama was a state senator in Illinois, he voted four times against legislation that would have saved the lives of babies that managed to survive the abortion process. As a physician and mother, I can't even begin to wrap my brain around the thought of not trying to saving a baby fighting for his life. State Senator Obama was chairman of the committee that opposed this protection of babies, and in 2001 and 2002 was the only legislator who rose to argue against the Illinois Born Alive Act.

- The persecution of Sarah Palin and conservatives by Obama campaign cohorts and the media is out of hand. Even I have been unfair to her. As governor of Alaska, she fought widespread corruption--including that within her own party--in the face of great opposition. "Her time as Mayor of Wasilla and then as Governor of Alaska gives her a greater degree of executive experience than Senator Barack Obama can claim. Her qualifications to be Vice President, I would submit, exceed those of Senator Barack Obama, who spent only 143 working days in the U.S. Senate prior to announcing his run for President."

- Just when Americans need more money in their pockets, Senator Obama has proposed enormous new federal programs that will cost millions of dollars! I believe his plan is for businesses to bear the brunt of this spending, but that will inevitably hurt small business owners and will certainly trickle down to you and me.

- My thoughts on homosexuality, gay marriage, and sex ed in schools does differ slightly from Dr. Dobson's. I don't believe homosexuality is what God intended and I do not condone it in any way, but I just don't believe that issue is as pressing as the some others. And I certainly don't believe there should be constitutional amendments supporting OR banning these relationships. I believe adolescents should learn more about sex ed than abstinence only. By the time sex ed rolls around in 5th or 6th grade, some of these children already have mindsets against abstinence so I think we should do all we can do to educate them on the risks of their behavior and make sure they have "safe" options. Of course, abstinence remains the most important and safest way, but we can't ignore the fact that the abstinence only way won't work for some children.

Well, I guess this turned out long. Sorry, I just felt compelled. I love John McCain. Can you tell?

Finally, on a beautiful note, my aunt Deb told me at least 11 of Wes's friends have become Christians since his death 2 weeks ago. I smiled and cried all at once. God is good, and saves us just when we think we can't take much more.

Wesley Jackson Mullis
I am sad to write that my cousin, Wes, was killed in a car accident last Wednesday night. This past week has been a struggle for our family. I can't even imagine the anguish of his parents right now. I think what has made it harder for me was not going home to be with my family during this time. We had just arrived in Minnesota for the Snow family reunion when we heard the news and we discussed turning right back around and flying down to Georgia. Finally, we decided to stay in Minnesota because we had so looked forward to visiting with Rob's family and they were looking forward to seeing us, especially Rowen. We had a nice time and it was wonderful to catch up with the Snow's but I felt sad and distracted in general most of the time. I just have a lot of guilt for not going home. There's nothing I could have done, of course, but it would have been good for my soul to be among my family during such a hard time. All of the Snow's, from Arizona to Virginia to Minnesota, were so warm and understanding and I'm thankful for that.

Wes was 17 years old and such a good person. He was a football player at Dodge County High School and an avid Georgia Bulldog fan. He was a good old boy, as solid as they come. He was humble and approachable and kind and a joy to be around. I remember him visiting my Daddy's house one time and we were all watching (of all things) country music videos when the song "Long Black Train" by Josh Turner came on. I remember Wes saying that was his favorite song and I thought that was so interesting because its a rather somber song for a teenager. Then I thought about the words and realized then how mature Wes was. The chorus goes something like this: There's victory in the Lord I know/There's Victory in the Lord/Cling to the Father and his Holy name/ And don't go riding that long black train. Wes would always surprise you by showing up places you thought teenagers wouldn't be interested in. He came to Virginia for our wedding 2 years ago and my daddy teased him to ask all my friends to dance. They'd never know he was only 15, Daddy said. Then we were so happy to see him in Blacksburg for our graduation this past May. We arranged a tour of the VA Tech stadium and I think he really enjoyed that. At dinner that night, I regret not talking to him more, letting him know how much it meant that he came all this way to see us, telling him how proud of him we were. As I rummaged through our graduation pictures, I was disappointed to not find any of Wes.

We're left with sadness, regret for things we should have said and didn't, and sweet memories. But most of all, despite my selfishness in wishing he was still here with his family, I'm left with peace that Wes is in Heaven now. I hope he's smiling knowing that he is truly loved and will be forever missed.

In light of our loss, Rob and I are reading The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren. I read this book before medical school and it changed my life. If you haven't read it, take 40 days and do it. But before you run out and get the book, take 10 minutes and watch this video. You will not regret it.
I'm sorry for such a sad journal. Sometimes that's just the way life is. Life isn't fair. God never said it would be. But he's a Just God and we have to keep the faith.

My favorite things
This is just a start, and quite a random mix, but I wanted to get these down before I forget them.

1. The fact that people are so fired up about this election. Whether they're for my guy or the other guy, it warms my heart to see people get excited. I sure hope the winds blow McCain's way on election day, but either way, the people's vote will be heard and that's what's most important!

2. Norfolk's 5 points Community Farm Market. Every Friday in October, they'll have a pick-up Bluegrass band, delish food, local beer and wine and wholesome food grown by farmers in VA, NC and SC. At good prices, too! We bought a bunch of apples, carrots, squash, garlic, potatoes and zucchini for 14 bucks.

3. Shop Girl by Steve Martin. I needed a light read after finishing I Know This Much Is True by Wally Lamb and I listen to books on tape during my commute over the water every day, so I took a chance on this one at the library. Shop Girl isn't turning out to be particularly light and thoughtless like I intended, but it's sure got me hooked.

More favorites later...


I finally finished inpatient pediatrics. It was a good, long, hard month. On the last day, everyone was so gracious and complimentary that it made me wonder why I was so ready to be done. For a moment, I forgot how sad it made me and thought I could do it all over again. Then I regained consciousness and scurried out of the hospital as soon as I could.

I'm back at home now, in the Brentwood Family Medicine clinic. I love that place. I love outpatient medicine. I love getting to know my patients and their families and their problems and being a part of their lives. It's just what I'm supposed to do. I've only been back in the office for one day, though, and I've realized I must be the only conservative in the whole building. That's a hard part to play! All these extremely intelligent people around you disagree fundamentally with your beliefs and you suddenly start to question why you believe what you believe! After all, if all these enlightened folks disagree with me, isn't it me that's the crazy one? Nah. Not really.

Aside from my support for John McCain, who happens to be a Republican, I do generally vote rather conservatively. Therefore, I should be able to communicate why I'm a conservative and not a Republican and not a Democrat. So, with a little help from, here goes...

* The preservation of human life is of paramount importance to all moral people. The unborn child is worthy of the same legal protections enjoyed by all other individuals. Too often, abortion equals birth control. This is not to mention the emotional and physical toll elective termination takes on the woman, the would-be mother. No one wins with abortion.

* Free market principles should be applied to public education and health care. Institutions and individuals who perform the best should be rewarded accordingly. As a physician, I expect to be compensated based on the quality of work I deliver. In our current system, all physicians get reimbursed too little. A better system would reward physicians who yield better outcomes for patients. A little friendly competition would be very healthy for our health care system. Likewise, schools and teachers who exude excellence should be rewarded accordingly.

* This brings me to my next point...individuals who make unhealthy lifestyle choices should pay for it! Before Rob went active duty, we both paid outrageous monthly premiums for private, individual health insurance. Not to mention how much we paid for Rowen's delivery! We expected that and were prepared for it, but it doesn't change the fact that Rob and I are two of the healthiest people I know and we occupy such a minuscule burden on the health care system, yet we're paying the same or even more money than people who smoke and drink and are obese and enjoy a weekly visit to the emergency department for their most recent symptom de jour. If people aren't willing to take responsibility for their own health and make positive changes to impact their future, they should pay with their pocketbooks. That doesn't mean we won't treat them. In fact, one of my favorite aspects of my job is weight loss counseling. It just means we have to wake up and be accountable for our own health!

Ok, so those are just a few and I didn't even attempt to tackle the economy or foreign affairs. I can't pretend to be up to date on this 'bail out' that's all the rage right now. The bottom line for me is (and this is entirely too simplistic for most people, but it works fine for little old me) there's no greater country than these United States, where people can disagree so vehemently and still be the best of friends. And people can bet money that the sky is falling and it probably never will. And we'll keep trucking along during these hard times with a war and an economic crisis but all these hardships ...they too shall end...and we'll still be standing because we're America.

I need to have faith that things will work out, mostly because I have a child and I need to know that he'll grow up in a wonderful place. He needs to learn that hard work counts and I want his heart to hurt when he thinks of those less fortunate and I want him to do something about it.

So that's it for me tonight. Was that heavy or what? If you have a good one liner about why you're a conservative or liberal, I'd love to hear.

What a month... Photo
What a month...

I feel like its been forever. This very intense month is seeming to last forever. I’m still on the pediatrics ward and I love the children. I must admit, though, there’s much more sadness than happiness in a children’s hospital. At least from my point of view. Just in the last three weeks I’ve cared for a little boy suffering from an inborn error of metabolism which will eventually take his life, a baby girl awaiting liver transplant to save her life, and a teenager with profound neurological defects who will supposedly never walk or talk again. See my point? Please pray for my patients. Pray that I can be an effective physician. Pray that I can talk to them and their families without crying. Pray that my child and yours will be forever happy and healthy. And pray if that’s not the case, God will give us peace and understanding and comfort.

On a happier note (!!), our little guy is still so stinkin’ happy. He enjoyed a visit from his Gramma several weeks ago and we were all spoiled by the time she left! We had a great time with my mom here and Rowen had her completely wrapped around his chubby little finger! We visited Mount Trashmore, a pretty park built on an old landfill. I know, its strange. You wouldn’t believe how popular this park is. When I moved to Virginia and noted this park’s name, I thought it was a joke, but Virginians don’t find it funny or weird! Anyway, we had fun there! My mom left a fridge full of delish food which we enjoyed for days after she left. We were so sad to see her go, but look forward to seeing her and my Granny and Papa when they visit Virginia in November. We won’t be able to go home to Georgia until after Christmas. I’ll work through Christmas and have the week after off. I can’t wait to go home.

We’re also really looking forward to our October trip to Minnesota for a Snow Family Reunion! Chris is hosting a great big shindig for everyone and it will be great to see Rob’s Arizona family. We were both able to secure some time off for the trip and it will be such a nice break. I will be in the outpatient clinic next month, which I love, but Rob will be in a super intense surgery rotation. He’ll work >80 hours per week and the vacation will be a necessity I imagine.

Rowen is doing several new and adorable things. I think I’ve already mentioned the clicking sound he makes with his mouth. I’ll try to get that video downloaded soon, so check the videos page. He has FOUR teeth now! I can’t believe it! The two bottom teeth are in the center. However, his two top teeth are on each side of where his center two teeth will be! We never can get great pics of his teeth, but we’ll keep trying. He’s eating baby food about three times a day and really enjoys it. We’ve started giving him the teething cookies, which he also thinks are pretty great. He makes a huge mess with them! He pulls up on everything now. Getting into everything is officially his favorite thing to do. The most precious thing is when you hear him stirring around in the morning and walk in his room to find him standing in his crib with the widest grin greeting you!

To my surprise, he seems to be developing a touch of stranger anxiety. We were demonstrating to a friend how you can clap your hands and hold them out and he’ll reach for you, but he didn’t really want to go to her. When we handed him over, he buried his head in her neck and started crying! Poor little thing! He was immediately fine when she handed him back. I just couldn’t believe it…he’ll always go to anyone! Oh well, it’s normal! We’re also trying to teach him how to clap and wave hello and bye. He hasn’t done either yet. We’re also repeating “dada” and “mama” ad nauseum to encourage him to start babbling more.

Ok, now for my obligatory section on the campaign trail. I am the first to tell you I am not at all well read on what’s going on now. I finally got around to watching the Tivo’d Republican National Convention and I thought Sarah Palin’s speech was outstanding. I cried. She’s gritty and real and sincere and fresh and strong. I agree she is relatively inexperienced, but I think some people just have what it takes and she does. I completely support her. And of course, just as I have since 1998, I continue to admire, respect and fully support John McCain.

We are so thankful for our precious child. He’s delightful every single day. It pains me to be away from him so much this month. Next month will be better. Thanks for checking in on us. When I have time to write again, I have some church stuff to share, as well as a list of my favorite baby things. I have several friends who are expecting and have asked for some advice. I’m going to try to post a top 10 list.

Talk soon!

Lots of firsts Photo
Lots of firsts

This is just a quick note to fill you in on the exciting news in our house! Rowen is definitely crawling now! He's also pulling up, as discovered by Candy and me Friday night! With this new-found mobility comes plenty of worry, too...the stairs, Lady, etc. but we'll get through it. And the wildest new thing is that he is growing a little TOOTH! Of course we knew he was teething, but to have a tooth actually sprout up is just the neatest thing.

We had a blast this weekend with Candy, Anthony and Sheldon. We were lucky enough to have them stay with us and enjoyed feeding the ducks and visiting Lagoon Pool with them.

I've posted lots of pics from the past few days and I'll try to update more soon. We're super excited about Rowen's changes and its amazing to watch him explore his ever-growing world, but its a little sad to say good bye to the stages we're leaving behind. I often hear my parents lament that we grew up way too fast, so I guess this is what being a parent is all about... Remembering the good times, cherishing every single minute, and looking forward to even better times :)

Is this creeping? Photo
Is this creeping?
We had a fantastic weekend with everyone at home and really enjoyed the company of our good friends Saturday night. We have been planning a house party for over a month now and we're just so excited the house is finally at a point that we can have company! We've really come a long way on this old house. We love it. So, we had close to 30 or 40 friends over Saturday and we had a great time!

Rowen was in rare form this weekend! He was irritable. Our easy-going, happy child was so fussy! We kept looking at him, thinking "who is this child?" I just felt so bad for him because he was clearly uncomfortable. I can't tell if teething or learning to crawl was bothering him, but it was something. He basically just whined and had a hard time falling asleep all weekend. It wasn't horrible or anything, just different. Then, Rob and I kept the nursery Sunday at church and almost every baby in the room except for Rowen threw a fit! We nodded at each other and realized we have nothing to complain about! Rowen is such a sweet baby...this is just a little rough patch. Sunday night he was back to sleeping soundly, so hopefully we're back on track. Poor little thing. He's so excited about his new skills that he can't pause to rest!

We are hesitant to call what he's doing "crawling" but it's definitely creeping. I think. He can get to where he wants to be on the floor. This is an exciting stage, but brings challenges all its own. He grabbed a fistful of Lady's hair the other day with his little death grip and pulled with all his might. Our poor, sweet dog. I was on the floor with both of them and she just jumped up and ran away. It's concerning to think about that can of worms. She's a dog. So many people expect their dog to be a human and know how to restrain themselves around children. That's a nice thought, but I think its our job as parents to circumvent encounters like these in the first place. We'll work on that. It's going to be hard. Rowen is clearly our number one priority, hands down, no questions asked. But Lady is such an important part of our family, too. I'm sure everything will be fine.

Rowen is thinking about drinking from a sippy cup. He mostly just plays with it in his mouth then gets frustrated because its not what he's used to. It's so much fun to watch him explore his little world. Our favorite thing is getting him laughing really hard, to the point where he has a little baby snort sometimes. It just makes your whole entire year to hear him laugh. Your heart will swell and actually hurt in your chest.

He has learned to cough this week, too. The baby book says its because he has excess saliva, presumably from teething, and sometimes needs to clear this throat. In any event, he'll cough and we'll look at him and talk about the cough. So, I think he has learned its an attention-getter and he keeps doing it! What a clever little guy! We just enjoy every minute with him. He's growing way too fast!

The big one Photo
The big one

Seasoned parents are always telling me about the successes and failures they experienced when their children were younger. The big one they always relate is letting their child roll off the bed/changing table/other object. They say it happens to everyone at least once. Well, it happened to me.

I was elated to be able to spend a Saturday morning at home with Rowen and when he woke up around 6 a.m., I picked him up from his crib and put him in the bed with me. Rob was on call last night and was still at the hospital. So, Rowen and I were just hanging out and trying to convince ourselves to get out of bed. At least I was anyway. When I did get out of bed, Rowen was still laying there being precious, cooing at his feet. I turned away for a millisecond and I saw him roll off the side of the bed. As I dove to reach him, I heard the most horrible noise in the world: the thud as my child hit the floor. I snatched him up immediately and did a quick once over his head to make sure there wasn't any obvious trauma. There wasn't. But he was screaming. I cradled and comforted him for a few minutes while he and I cried it out and then he ate and it seemed to be over for him. Not so much for me. How could this happen? What kind of parent does this? The answer it that great parents do it every day. We get a little too cavalier about turning away for just a second and all of the sudden, that feared fall happens. And you just feel like a total heel over the whole thing. Usually, the baby is completely fine. Just scared. I've actually taken care of babies in the hospital that have fallen or been dropped by well-meaning parents. Even when the skull is fractured, all we do is observe the baby as long as the fracture is non-displaced. After Rowen was peaceful again, I did a thorough physical exam: no obvious fractures, no broken skin, no hemotympanum, no altered mental status.

All the baby books are right: Don't turn away, even for a second. I won't do it again. Sure wish I could start this morning over, but I can't. We'll be ok.

In happier news, Rowen is sitting alone! He doesn't sit for very long before he decides to work on his crawling skills, but he did sit long enough yesterday for me to get a picture. Now, when we go to the grocery store, he'll sit in the front of the cart with a nice cloth cover. At least that's what we're trying today. He's talking a lot. Still loves his feet. He is also pretty sure that in order to fully appreciate anything it needs to be in his mouth. He is starting to show a preference for certain things now. If I take away a receipt or cup or other random object that he has decided to make his own, he'll stage a brief protest. It's funny.

I haven't written much about McCain lately, so I guess I should touch on that. I'm disappointed about the negativity coming from his camp lately, but I still think he's the best person for the job. Unfortunately, conservatives think he's too liberal and liberals think he's too conservative. When will this country learn we need a MODERATE president to get anything done? Another thing is that the Evangelical right doesn't seem to embrace McCain despite the fact that he's been pro-life his entire career and has a proven social conservative record. I'd like evangelical leaders to pinpoint exactly what it is they don't like. And I'd like to know what they're solution is? Do they propose supporting a nominee in who voted in favor of partial birth abortions? Sorry, I get worked up over this ;)

The Maverick needs to work on being more likeable. The likeability factor wins elections. That's why GW Bush was elected twice. He's a personable guy. That's not the only reason, but its a large part, especially for his second term. Obama is coming across as a very likeable non-politician with an extremely dynamic personality. That will certainly win him votes. McCain’s camp should just stop the negative ads and focus on what a great leader he is. I would also love to see them use more technology to reach younger people just as Obama has. We’ll see where the next few months takes us. The best thing about this whole election process is how many first time voters are fired up about the election. No matter what happens in November, big changes are in store for us. It’s exciting to think about!

It's gotta be downhill from here...

It's been a really long week. Working such long hours with so little time left to soak up our sweet little boy is really taking its toll. Plus my last call night was unbelievably busy and tragic. Aside from staying busy admitting people too sick to go home, there were 4 codes. Sadly, none of the code patients lived. It was hard to keep going through the night knowing we weren’t able to save those patients. It’s all part of the plan though. At least that’s what I keep telling myself.

The rest of the week was tough, too. I got caught in the cross-fire of several different attendings and the intern is the easiest person to let it all out on. Service medicine is getting old! Really though, I’m learning so much and realizing there’s so much left to learn. I start surgery on Monday. I’m looking forward to having weekends off. Its one of the few months we don’t take call and I’m so excited!

Rob starts ICU Monday and it will be another long, hard month for him. He’ll be on call every 3rd night taking care of the very sickest patients. He’s so smart. It’s kind of annoying.

Rowen is 6 months old now! He has started this hilarious (and sometimes obnoxious) squeal/scream. He does it when he wants something or is frustrated. I think we have it on tape somewhere and I’ll try to post it soon. He’s doing great with rice cereal mixed with peas or carrots. We’re still just feeding him that every evening before his good-night bottle. His 6 month well check is coming up and I’m not looking forward to it! For one thing, we have to change pediatricians because now we’re on military insurance (which I’m SO thankful for…don’t get me wrong) but they only cover a Navy pediatrician. We really felt so comfortable with our pediatrician. We met her while I was still pregnant and she worked diligently with us through Rowen’s initial weight loss and mild hyperbilirubinemia and she was a real cheerleader for nursing. It will be ok…it’s just a matter of getting to know another doctor, who I’m sure will be super.

The other reason I’m not looking forward to the appointment is the shots. I am apprehensive days before these appointments. I guess I need to get a hold of myself…he won’t even remember this!

I have been off today and had the pleasure of spending the whole day with Rowen! He’s such a delight to be around. Still such a happy little guy. However, he was a little fussy today, which is totally unusual. I wonder if he’s teething? When I rubbed my finger across his gums, he didn’t seem to like it. I pray he’s not getting an ear infection or other illness. He’s never been sick! I know that first little cough or cold has to come sometime, but that will be a hard day for me! He kind of held onto his right ear for a little while this afternoon, but that’s not a very sensitive indicator for ear infection. He could have just been tired. Even so, the vast majority of ear infections are viral, so it would be self limiting. Although, try telling that to a fussy baby! Anyway, he settled down during our walk like he always does and is sleeping soundly.

I’m on call tomorrow night for the last time this month. After that, I'll start gearing up for the first party at our house. It's about time we had our friends over. 635 Connecticut is finally coming together and we're thrilled to have our first house party! Then our good friends Candy, Anthony and Sheldon are visiting, followed by Katie, Adam and Lula and then my mom! We have a great month coming up!

Peas and milk Photo
Peas and milk
We've started feeding Rowen rice cereal mixed with peas this week. He's having a pretty good time with it and making a great big mess! A few nights ago Rob was feeding Rowen his supper because I was late getting home from the hospital. Over the phone he told me everything went great. And it did. But listen to this...he mentioned that he mixed the peas with milk. Just milk. No cereal! I just thought that was the most hilarious thing. I can just picture Rowen eating those runny peas, thinking that something must be different ;)

We're staying very busy at the hospital. Last night, Rob and I were both on call so Rowen stayed about 30 hours straight with Mrs. Vicky. We missed him like crazy, but he did well with the change. On most nights, we pick him up between 5 and 6 and play for a while and he's ready to go to bed between 6:30 and 7:30. I'm having a hard time with that, but I do get to put him down to sleep, which equates to the best part of my day.

Rowen is getting closer to sitting up and will probably sprout teeth in the next couple of months. If he's teething now, it would be hard to tell because he's just not a fussy baby. He's been stuffing everything in his mouth for several months so I know its coming. I'm in no hurry for him to grow up though.

I really love being a doctor. I think I always knew I would, or else I wouldn't have endured the 4 year uphill battle that was medical school, but I'm finally getting to see how wonderful it feels to help people heal. I'm a believer that God really does all the healing and I just help facilitate it, but it's a pretty awesome privilege for someone to welcome you into their lives in such a personal way.

I've posted pictures in the new July album. We're still trucking away on the house when we have the chance. You'll see photos of Rowen's room, which despite its small size, is turning out to be so great. We'll keep you updated!

Rowen and work...

Well, Rob and I have been working on the wards for about a week now and we’ve both been initiated into the grueling realm of internship with our first nights on call. Being on call is funny because you think to yourself, “Surely I’ll have a break to eat/use the restroom/brush my teeth/etc.” But as the night grows, you realize that time just doesn’t come. We worked really hard in medical school and spent long hours at the hospital, but nothing like this. I went to work at 6:00 a.m. on one day and worked through 12 noon the next day. It was amazing. I learned so much and it was a great experience, but I was completely worthless by the end of 30 hours (hence the 80 hour work week law!). Rob had basically the same experience. Thankfully, all of my attendings and fellow interns and nurses are wonderful. What a steep learning curve we have to climb this month!

Rowen is taking our frequent absence in stride. We thank God every day for Mrs. Vicky and her sweet family for loving and caring for Rowen just like he’s one of their own. I do at least get to put him to bed most every night. I rock and feed him for a while and lay him down so he can drift off on his own. He’s such a joy to be around. Such a sweet and funny little boy!

Rowen is actually eating cereal now! We’re feeding him rice cereal every evening and I can say with a fair amount of certainty that most of it is now making it to his stomach. When we first started at just over 5 months, his clothes and surrounding objects were wearing more cereal than he swallowed. But now he’s an old pro. Tomorrow I’ll buy a vegetable to add to the cereal and go from there. We’re only introducing one new food per couple of weeks. I’ll let y’all know how it goes. Although we’re really excited about this new phase of Rowen’s development, I have been putting it off because I know my nursing days are basically over. I’m producing about two ounces a day, which is a drop in the bucket compared to Rowen’s needs. I’m just thankful I was able to nurse at all. It really has been a blessing to me. If you’d asked me in the first 10 weeks, I would have had a different answer for you. Nursing was really a struggle in the beginning, but we got used to it and it was a special time for me and Rowen. Oh well, I know he has to grow up, but it’s already happening too fast!

We’re working on teaching Rowen sign language. We meant to do this much earlier, like when he turned 4 months, but you know how it goes. Sign language is thought to help children develop language skills early and help them communicate their needs before they can talk. So far, Rob and I only know “milk” and “thank you” so we’ll see how much he actually learns. It will be fun to watch him learn to use words and communicate with his world.

Guess I better go. I have the day off tomorrow and have about a gillion things to get done. I hope everyone had a super happy 4th of July, especially our men and women in the armed services. Thank you for securing our country’s independence!

Another quick note... Photo
Another quick note...
Hello! I've posted new pictures of our time in Rhode Island at Ted and Susan's very beautiful wedding, Rowen's first trip to the beach, and other fun stuff. I haven't had time to re-arrange them to show the newest pics first, so I suppose you'll have to scroll through them all. I posted 2 new videos, too. Sorry...once I have more time, I'll work on making the pictures easier to navigate! Not sure when more time will make itself available, though...

We've started our internships and are certified in every type of life support possible: children, neonates, pregnant women and adults. We've been quite busy getting ready to do a little doctoring :) We both start with service medicine and have overnight call on the same night several times this month. That means Rowen will be spending several nights with Mrs. Vicky. We've been prepared for that, though, and are so blessed to have found a real sweetheart in Mrs. Vicky. And her whole family, for that matter. I can tell they all really love Rowen, and that's what matters most.

I apologize for the abbreviated update, but I MUST wash my precious pup tonight. It's funny to see how my neurotic need for a squeaky clean dog has changed over the years. When I started medical school, Lady had a bath every week. She hated it. Then her baths dropped to once every 2 weeks. She was a little more happy with that. Now she may have one bath a month. She loves that. So, off I go, to wash Lady girl, for the first time in over a month!

A quick note Photo
A quick note
Hey everyone! Just a quick note to say the rice cereal trial was fun! I think Rowen could take it or leave it, but we plan to try it several times a week. He's 5 months now and I'm sure he'll warm up to it by 6 months. In about 2-4 weeks, we'll add vegetables. I'm going to try to make baby food from my family's famous and wonderful green beans. Of course they will have to be rinsed to remove any salt, but at least we won't have to worry about nitrates. I'll let you know how it goes, but thankfully, that's some time away. I've added some pictures of the rice cereal trial and the house. It's a work in progress. There is still so much left to do, but once internship starts (in 4 days) most of the work will come to a screeching halt. For a while anyway.
We're off this weekend to Ted and Susan's wedding in Newport, Rhode Island. We're really looking forward to visiting with friends, but also thankful this is our last travel for a while.
Have a wonderful weekend and we'll catch up later!

The Doctors Snow Photo
The Doctors Snow

Graduation week has now come and gone and we're finally, officially doctors! It still sounds funny to say and thankfully, we (and our patients) have the benefit of the American graduate medical education hierarchy whereby we'll be "precepted" by attending (experienced) physicians for another 3 years. For those of you who watch medical dramas on television, we'll be interns. Of course, ALL of those shows are so very unrealistic, but that gives you an idea at least. Internship is the first year of your residency. My residency is in Family Medicine and will last 3 years. Rob's internship is referred to as transitional and precedes either a tour as a General Medical Officer (GMO) in the Navy or a residency in Anesthesiology. We have exciting and trying times ahead of us!

Rob's first day on the job is today. Well, he's technically in orientation and his first day on the wards will be later this month. My first day will be June 16th. We both start with Service Medicine (AKA Internal Medicine) which is a very intense rotation where we will admit all the patients who come into the ER too sick to go home. Its known as one of the harder months of internship and we're happy to be hitting it hard upfront. I'll move to surgery next and then inpatient pediatrics. Rob moves on to intensive care. We'll try our best to keep you guys updated as we begin our internships, but please have mercy on our late postings!

Our graduation week in Blacksburg was awesome. Our families were in town for several days and it was amazing to share such a special time with them. We arrived in the New River Valley on Tuesday after spending the night in Charlottesville on Monday (Thanks, Travis and Sarah!). We stayed with Katie and Adam (Rowen's Godparents) and had great visits with all of our med school friends. We went to our class party Wednesday night while Rowen enjoyed the company of Carrie and Jeff and the Neal children. We were happy to have Daddy, Wanda, Mama and Chris join us for the Awards Banquet Thursday night. Rob received an award for starting and being the first president of our school's chapter of the Wilderness Medical Society, for being a member of Sigma Sigma Phi (the medical school honor society), and for being a Navy scholar. I received an award for leadership and an outstanding scholar award in family medicine. On Friday, Rob was promoted to O-3 in the Navy. He looked so handsome. I am so proud of him! Saturday was the big day when we walked across the stage to make things official. Rob and I were hooded together and Rob even carried Mr. Rowen across the stage with him! The president of our college, Dr. Wolfe, presented us as a trio and asked what year Rowen would be graduating from medical school. It was really cute. He also asked Rob to introduce Rowen, so they definitely had their 15 minutes of fame. Thankfully, Chris caught the whole thing on video! After all the pictures and congratulating, we went to Katie's graduation party and then spent time with my family before they headed back down south. As usual, they all left us with plenty of goodies like fresh Georgia peaches, squash and zucchini from Daddy's farm and green beans from Granny.

Rowen was a real champ all week and enjoyed meeting all the other babies from our class! He enjoyed seeing Madison Moore so much that he put her feet in his mouth. He has a thing for feet ;) Of course, she tempted him by putting them right in his face, so what was he to do? His bedtime is usually 7 or 8 but was closer to 10 or 11 during the past week. He slept well considering all the changes around him. He's such a good sport!

He absolutely cannot wait to crawl! He spends a lot of time on his belly trying very hard to make his little body move. He's so long and wiggly that he's about to grow out of his boppy chair. We've noticed that he's almost wiggled out of it recently! We were trying to hold off any solids until 6 months but he is so interested in food that we're going to try rice cereal this week. We'll make sure to post photos! We are also planning Rowen's first beach trip this week! I can't wait to see how he reacts to having sand between his little toes!

We headed back to the Tidewater on Sunday and Chris is spending a few days visiting with us and helping Rob with house projects. I'm doing house projects and studying this week for courses I'll take when I start internship.

Check out the pictures in the June album to see how much fun we've had over the past few weeks. Thank you to everyone for your well wishes at graduation. Please continue to remember us in your prayers as we continue this beautiful journey into marriage, parenthood and medicine. Much love to you all!

A wonderful birthday! Photo
A wonderful birthday!

My 28th year was absolutely wonderful...and I know my 29th will be even better. We celebrated our progress on the house, Tim and Erin getting married, and my birthday this weekend in Wilmington, North Carolina. What a great city! Rob always has grand plans for celebrating special occasions and he made reservations at a delightful bed and breakfast called the Front Street Inn near the Cafe Fear Riverwalk in Wilmington for the weekend. We made plans to go NC months ago and asked Gigi to keep Rowen for us. We were both reluctant to leave him, simply because we knew we would miss him like crazy, but I knew he would have a blast with the Galvin's. Grandma Lentfer was even in Stafford and she spent a lot of time with our little man, too! So, Friday rolled around and we dropped him off and headed south. I had my tearful phase, but was altogether very excited about a weekend with Rob. We arrived at our beautiful Inn that evening and went to eat at the Union Cafe' on Water Street. We sat on our own private balcony and listened to a Beatles cover band rock the night away. We had so much fun just cutting up! One of the highlights of the night was the "Scotch Flight" I took. This is the neatest thing...the restaurant offered 3 scotch samples of your choice and its known as a flight. So, of course, I jumped at that opportunity! I've been enjoying scotch for about 6 years now and there's still so much to learn. I asked the bartender to surprise me with the scotch choice and he chose very well. The last one was Lagavulin and it was the smoothest scotch I've ever tasted. Smooth scotch may sound like an oxymoron to you, but you gotta try Lagavulin.

On Saturday we had yummy breakfast at the B&B and did some sightseeing downtown. A film crew was filming a movie and Rob was star-struck. There weren't even notable celebrities there but the cameras and crew really took him for a whirl! I practically had to drag him away, especially after we were kind of scolded by a stage hand for standing near the set. It was really funny! You'll see a few pictures of the set in our Wilmington photos in the May album.

Erin and Tim's wedding was Saturday afternoon. We were so thrilled to be part of their big day. They are our classmates and its been awesome to watch their relationship grow. The ceremony was beautiful and we had tons of fun at the reception. We just lounged around after the reception and counted down the minutes until we could come home to see our little babe!

After meeting Gigi and Grandma Lentfer near Richmond today to hand over Rowen and have lunch together, we headed east, back to our home sweet home and our sweet pup. Boy, this place is still pretty cumbersome with boxes and ladders and power tools everywhere. But it looks better and better every day. I promise to take photos of the work in progress soon.

Rowen had his 4 month well check last week and once again, our pediatrician gave him a great report card! He's now 14 lbs and 1.5 ounces! He is in the 97th percentile for height and around the 50th percentile for weight. He's a long, skinny little guy! My least favorite part of the whole visit was his 4 shots. I had really worked myself up over it and didn't really concentrate on anything else all day. Rowen screamed like a mad man during the shots and about 5 or so minutes after, but he was consoled with lots of TLC and took a long, hard nap. He has not had ANY reaction to this set of shots and we are so happy! God is SO good all of the time and we are just so thankful for our little boy's health. In addition to tolerating all of his vaccines very well, he hasn't ever been sick to date!

Rowen is still so very interested in his surroundings and reaches out to grab everything...his mama's hair, important documents, etc. He has such a strong grip and seems to be happiest when he's standing up on your legs or a hard surface. He's a roly poly when you put him in his crib or on the floor and just makes his way around the place by rolling over and over again. He's still a mama's boy, although being home with daddy during May has stolen some of my thunder ;) He is just a pleasant child to be around and we feel so lucky. He has tolerated countless trips to Lowe's and Home Depot with a smile. Of course, we can't leave without him charming everyone in the store, but he just can't help himself. He's laughing at us when we're especially goofy and even gave Granddaddy Kent a giggle or two over the weekend. We put him in his stroller like a big boy for the first time this week. We usually buckle his carseat into the stroller, but last week we sat him up in the stroller itself and buckled him in and he looked so grown! It was precious!

He is kind of sleeping through the night...See, he was consistently sleeping 9-11 hours for a couple of weeks before we moved but since we've been in the new house, he stirs between 2 and 4 a.m. He doesn't require a feeding, but is just restless. Now that he sleeps on his belly (we put him to bed on his back still and he rolls), he wakes up and squirms every so often. I just go in and pat his back and he drifts back off soon enough. I know I need to stop going in his room and just let him work it out by himself, but by the time I remember that, I'm already by his crib, watching his beautiful breathing. Oh well.

Well, we're home for one night and then we all pack up (Lady included!) to start our journey to Blacksburg for graduation! We're staying Monday night with Travis and Sarah near Charlottesville so the trip won't be quite as brutal. Our car is going to be loaded to the max with me and Rob, Lady, Rowen, moving boxes for Travis and Sarah, Rob's bike rack, toys for Rowen, and clothes for all of us for a week! Wowzers. We'll make it.

We're super excited to see all of our family this week! My mom, Granny and Papa, cousin Jay, neice and nephew Lauren and Ryan, Daddy and Wanda, and Chris and Cindi are all coming in Thursday night and then my aunt Deb and family will be in Friday, as well as Shannon and Steve, and the Galvins, Sam and Grandma Lentfer. Our administration has graciously arranged a tour of the VA Tech stadium for my family and that will be awesome! After the festivities are over, Chris and Cindi will be joining us back in Norfolk for a few days. I can't wait to have our first house guests. Actually, they will need to enter at their own risk, but they're good sports, so I'm sure everything will be fine :)

Graduation has really snuck up on me and I can't believe I've made it through. It's totally God's grace. He has carried me through, because I certainly couldn't have done this by myself. I came to Virginia 4 years ago with my dog and my jeep. Who knew I would be leaving with a brilliant husband, a beautiful son, AND my dog and my jeep! Life is good.

In the news... Photo
In the news...
Here's a newspaper article about the giant graduation party at the Galvin's:
Also, I'm reorganizing the photo albums on this website. I think it is quite confusing the way I have so many different folders. I'm moving to a monthly folder system (I sounds way too much like Rob with this organization scheme!). So, check out the May folder for new pics of Rowen and the house!

Happy Memorial Day!

I just wanted to take some time during this holiday weekend to thank those men and women who have served and are serving in our armed forces.

John 15: 12-13 reads, "This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. "

There is no other profession that asks so much of its members and demands so little in return. Thank you, thank you, thank you to those who serve in our great military to preserve and defend the freedoms of all people, even those who trample their flag and demean their belief in the greater good. How blessed we are to live in a country where there is no warfare on our soil? Thank you for defending our borders and keeping us safe in our homes. Thank you for keeping a strong spirit, though you return home from war zones broken, physically and emotionally. I'll always remember a young man I helped care for in January who almost lost his left leg after an IED explosion in Iraq. Many of his comrades didn't make it home. Despite his now disfigured body and the night terrors he suffers, he only wants to return to finish the work he set out to do. Thank you--a million times over.

For some time now I have been meaning to send a letter and care package to a soldier via My intentions have gone unanswered until today, when I decided to finally "get around to it" in honor of Memorial Day. There is a customs form to complete, but the website explains everything. I'll let you know how it turns out and if I hear back from the soldier I am writing. Hopefully so!

We had an awesome time at the GIANT graduation party at Sheila and Kent's this weekend! It was obvious that months of loving effort were poured into this huge event and we felt so blessed to be there! One of the most special parts of the whole day was Rowen meeting Uncle Brent, Great Aunt Kathy, and Great-Grandmothers Lentfer and Leheney. Rowen was such a good sport and had a great time with all the new faces to study. He was passed around and bounced up and down so many times and handled it all in stride. It was so wonderful to have so many people at this great event!

It goes without saying that I love my little monster. I love him so much it hurts. There aren't words to describe how much I love Rowen. Rob and I both. However, I can't tell you how good it feels to drop him off in the church nursery for an hour and worship our Lord on Sunday mornings. Today's service was no exception to the outstanding service we have become accustomed to. It is amazingly freeing. Of course, at the end of the service, I'm always biting at the bit to see my little man, but my spirit is restored and I am a better parent because of it!

Gotta hit the hay...tomorrow starts our whirlwind house work week. We have pretty lofty goals of what needs to be accomplished by Friday. We'll post new party and house pictures soon. In the meantime, wish us luck with our home improvement endeavors! :)

Our house
We're officially moved in! Getting settled will be a long process, but its all so exciting! We've been painting and cleaning and running around like crazies for at least a week now and there's more to come. This won't be a comprehensive update because I need to get back to unpacking, but just wanted to let you all know that we're in love with our house. Actually, Rob may tell you differently right this moment because of the massive honey-do list he has (hanging chair rail, building closet shelves, bathroom tile work, etc.) but I'm confident he'll come around after he sees how fabulous everything will look once the hard work is done! There's just nothing like an old house with original hardwoods and heavy framed doors. But along with all that charm inevitably comes lots of work. Hopefully we're up for the challenge!

Rowen has been so patient with us through the move as well. He is sleeping very well at night; about 10-12 hours, with a little stir around 4 a.m. but he falls right back to sleep with very little intervention. He's reaching for everything and his favorite new toys are his feet. As long as he can play with his feet, he's content to entertain himself for a while! He's even been putting them in his mouth, which is the most hilarious thing. Of course, he's doing a lot of laughing and rolling over both ways, too. He's starting to show interest in food, but we're holding off for another month or 2 to introduce cereal and other foods. He's 4 and 1/2 months now and has his well check this coming Tuesday. We're not looking forward to the shots, but we love seeing our pediatrician. My main concern at this point is my dwindling milk supply. I knew it would only be a matter of time once I returned to work, but I'm hoping to keep nursing for at least six months. We'll see.

We have new pictures, but it will be a few more days before I get around to downloading them. I'll catch up soon!

So much to say... Photo
So much to say...

OK, if you’re in a hurry, you may have to read this entry in sections…I have a lot to catch up on!

My first Mother’s Day was absolutely perfect. Rob and Rowen recorded a cute little conversation on one of the music cards from Hallmark and I’ve had fun listening to it over and over again. You can actually hear Rowen cooing! Rob got donuts for breakfast and also made me a very generous coupon book. I did assure him this would not be one of those sentimental coupon books that would be put in the junk drawer and never cashed in. I’m already plotting to cash in my dinner and a movie, head massage, and back scratch very soon. And just wait…I can see a Girl’s Night Out in my near future J It’s so funny to see the disclaimers on some of them…e.g. Not valid during ICU, Surgery or Internal Medicine months. HA! You can tell what profession we’re in!

We were also blessed to have Rowen's dedication fall on Mother's Day. This is a time for parent's to pledge to raise their child in a home filled with Christ's love and the church pledges to support parents in doing so. It was really very sweet. Along with many church friends, Shawntea and Amanda (Alex's mom) stood in our support. I think the best part was when Pastor Kenny was praying for Rowen, he prayed that we, as parents, would respond to Rowen the way that Jesus responds to us. It is telling the way parents respond to their children, especially when we're in a hurry, frustrated, or tired. Might we be parents that remember Christ's patience with us when we respond to Rowen.

Our Mother’s Day weekend was topped off by a wonderful visit from Rob’s mom, Sheila. Rowen really enjoyed spending time with his Gigi! We ate yummy food and just enjoyed catching up with each other. We are so blessed to have wonderful parents, all the way around. We’ll be seeing Gigi again soon as she and Kent are having a huge graduation party for all the kids in the family who are graduating this year! Jackson is graduating from elementary school, Sam is graduating from high school and on her way to James Madison University (JMU), Alli is graduating from JMU, Brent is graduating from the University of Wisconsin and Rob and I are graduating from medical school. It’s going to be a pretty big bash!

On the weekend after the graduation party, Rob and I are going Wilmington, North Carolina for Erin and Tim’s wedding. They are yet another couple who met in medical school and we’re so excited for them to tie the knot! It’s my birthday weekend, so we’re making it a mini-vacation. I’m not sure if I’m ready to do this, but we’re planning to leave Rowen with his Gigi for the weekend, too! I don’t know, we’ll see if I can go through with it J

We had the final walk through of our house today. I can hardly wait to move in! We have so much to do and it’s rather overwhelming to think about all the painting that we’ll do in the next couple of weeks/months. This will actually be a great lesson in patience for me. I’ve been asking God for more patience over the past year or so. Instead of just granting me patience automatically, I’m finding he’s putting in my path more opportunities to exercise patience. Practice makes perfect, right? Anyway, I just have this anxious feeling like we need to get EVERYTHING done in the first several weeks, but I know that won’t happen, so I’m working on accepting that. I would also like to think that eventually, everything will be perfect. But I also know what there will always be something that needs to be done. My “inbox” will always be full. Don’t sweat the small stuff, right?

We’ll be getting a head start on some of the painting this weekend as my dear friend Annie is coming to spend the weekend with me and Rowen while Rob travels to Madison for Brent’s graduation (Congratulations, Uncle Brent!!). It’s Annie’s birthday weekend, so in addition to putting her to work on our new house, I’m taking her for a night out on the town. Don’t let that fool you…I bet I’ll be missing my baby by 10 p.m. and I’ll make a bee-line to the sitter’s house in a hot second. Still, it will be tons of fun to have some girl time with one of my greatest friends!

Some of you may be wondering about my patient in the ICU with a ruptured AVM. He is doing SO much better and I just know it is God’s hand that is moving him through these crucial days of recovery. As it goes with most critical care, we take at least one step back for every 2 forward, but that still puts us a little bit ahead. And that’s all I can ask for. My attending is a different bird all together and his philosophy is that all we have to do to improve survival in the ICU is kill fewer patients. He says the most appalling things, but some of it actually has a little truth in it. Anyway, he was making negative remarks about my patient’s prognosis and I looked him head on and said, “This patient is going to do great.” He quickly scolded me for such an attitude, saying “Hope, without reality, is the most dangerous thing in an ICU”…to which I very matter-of-factly replied, “I have a healthy dose of reality. This patient is going to do great.” Thank you very much.

Along with everything else, we have two more very exciting events coming up: graduation and employment! We will receive our medical degrees (it sounds surreal) on June 7th at Virginia Tech. And before we can come down from cloud 9, we’ll be thrown into the hospital as interns. I can hardly believe we’ll actually be employed as doctors. Thank goodness we’ll be interns and still have opportunities to learn and be supervised. It’s exciting and scary all at once. I take comfort knowing that the Great Healer really is sovereign over our successes and failures.

Have a wonderful week!

This beautiful life Photo
This beautiful life

We had a neighborhood party Saturday and had such a fun time! Our neighbors are THE BEST and we're seriously going to miss them. We will definitely keep in touch with them, but it just won't be the same as seeing them almost daily. We'll just have to find new excuses to get together, like the dog park at Colonial Place, our new neighborhood. Christina and Mollie--I'm holding you to it!

As much as we'll miss Granby Shores, we are very much looking forward to making Colonial Place our home. Sunday evening we parked at our new house and walked along the river. It was so picturesque. The sun was going down over the water, Rowen was peaceful, Lady was happy and we just felt God's blessings pour down on us.

As I started my ICU rotation today, the team was discussing a young, active duty patient with a cerebellar hemorrhage, likely from a congenital arteriovenous malformation. I completely believe that God has a plan for us all and his timing is perfect and he can bring good from any tragedy, but I still struggle to find the justice in the circumstances my young patient has found himself in. Sadly, I became aware of another young patient with a hemorrhage secondary to AVM through a friend recently. There seems to be no end to the sadness that surrounds us. Sometimes I just feel helpless when I see patients like this and like anything I could offer would most certainly be insufficient. But I have to remind myself daily that God intends for me to be a competent doctor and he wouldn't have brought me this far if he didn't mean to bring me through it. I just have to concentrate on those things I can do for now and pray God will guide my steps--as a wife, mother, and soon-to-be doctor.

We are expecting a visit from Gigi this weekend! She'll be coming just in time for Rowen's church dedication on Sunday. We are very excited to have Rowen dedicated and to pledge to raise him in a home full of God's love. Our church is absolutely wonderful. I have grown more as a Christian in the past 10 months since we've been going to Tab than in my whole life. If any of you are in the area, you are welcome at Rowen's dedication this coming Sunday (Mother's Day!) at Tabernacle Church in Norfolk. Gigi is also coming just in time to give Rob a hand in his Mr. Mom duties. He doesn't need the help, but I know he'll appreciate it! Today was his first day alone with Rowen and it went great. When I came home, they were both upstairs in Rowen's nursery and Rob was playing the guitar for Rowen.

Rob's other project for the month is building a bookcase. He spends many hours analyzing angles and types of wood casing. We thought it would be more cost effective to build a solid wood bookcase than to buy one, but so far, the tally for this bookcase is more than even super nice bookcases. And its not even finished. But, I know this masterpiece will be worth the money and the wait. We'll post pictures of the "small fortune" bookcase once its finished.

Check out the new pictures of the last week and our party on Saturday!

Done with DHA and Blessed Sleep! Photo
Done with DHA and Blessed Sleep!

My mom flew home to Georgia Tuesday. We were so sad to see her go. We had a great time while she was here! We did a lot of eating and shopping and eating. Probably the sweetest part was her time with Rowen every morning. After he had his morning feeding around 6 or 7 a.m., I would take him downstairs to snuggle with Gamma while I got ready. I know he’ll miss that. But we’ll see Gamma, along with all the rest of our parents and grandparents, at our graduation in Blacksburg on June 7. With GranDanny, Grandma Wanda, Grandpa and Grandma Snow, Gamma Bonnie, Granny and Papa Cravey, Gigi and Kent and Grandmas Lentfer and Leheney and more all there to love on him, Rob and I will be lucky to even see him at all that weekend!

For those sweet friends and family members who have tolerated me droning on and on about essential fatty acids (namely, docosahexanoic acid) and cognitive development of the infant, I AM DONE with my research! I just wanted to scream out loud when I typed that last reference, but Rowen was taking a nap so I went outside and sat on the front porch and just smiled. Boy, this may have been the most tedious academic work I’ve ever done and I just can’t describe how good it feels to be FINISHED. I will submit it in person tomorrow and then say a prayer that my grade reflects all the hours I poured into it. Actually, the paper could be much better than it is, but my focus was on being a good mommy who was really present with Rowen during my “research month” so I will be satisfied with whatever grade I receive. Basically, the conclusion of my research (for all of you mommies-to-be, nursing moms or just curious folks) is that DHA supplements are not harmful, but they don’t necessarily provide the amazing cognitive developmental results that corporate America would have you believe. I’ll stop now before anyone nods off, but suffice it say, I’m so, so, so thrilled to have this behind me!

Also, I am scared to even say anything because I don’t want to jinx myself, but for the past 2 nights, Rowen has slept 7.5 hours! WOOOHOO! He stirs around 3 or 4 and I go in and change his diaper and re-swaddle him and he dozes right back off. I know part of his waking up now is habit because he’s old enough to go a bit longer between feedings. We still haven’t been able to use the “cry it out” method either. I know this is a perfectly healthy way to teach a child to sleep, but I just can’t do it right now. Plus, it doesn’t seem like I’ll have to! We’ll keep on keeping on with our current approach because its working and we’ll keep you updated. For now, I’m praising the good Lord for letting my little sweet sleep through the night!

We’re having one last hoorah at our Bayview house this weekend, so if you’re in the area, come on over!

Updates Photo
We've had another fun weekend! My mom is here to visit and Rowen is really enjoying being spoiled by his Gamma. She has been cooking the most wonderful food, too, and I think my post-baby weight loss will stagnate because of it ;) I have about 6 pounds to go, and while my mom's visit may have set me back, we have invested in a treadmill that will surely redeem my efforts!

Rowen has now rolled over from belly to back 4 times. He is usually really mad about being on his tummy and then gets totally fed up and rolls on over. Its so much fun to watch! We are also loving how interactive he is with his environment. I think we can officially say he is "playing" with toys now. His current idea of playing is shoving things into his mouth to see what feels good to his gums. He especially likes the soft, long legs on Mr. Jangles. You can see those for yourself in the photos of our day outside this weekend. He's not teething, but he's drooling like crazy and loves to see what will fit into his mouth. He also has a tiny epithelial cyst on his upper gum that will eventually disappear on its own.

Rob is putting on his handyman hat this month as he readies himself to invest time and effort in an almost 100 year old house. Really, the house is quite well-kept and very move-in ready, but we're looking forward to a few little projects. Rob is building a bookcase and I'm so excited about the other projects we'll do now that he has purchased so many power tools. Isn't this every man's dream? A month off to babysit his infant son and play with power tools in the garage? I pray that both Rob, Rowen, and the house are in one piece each day when I get home from work :)

I'm done with ophthalmology and look forward to moving on to intensive care for my last ever medical school rotation. On one hand we're over being medical students and ready to have our own patients and put what we've learned the past 4 years to work, but the responsibility and liability are quite overwhelming. I have to keep reminding myself God wouldn't have brought me to this place if he didn't intend for me to become a competent physician. This will be my mantra for the coming year of my internship. Your prayers for us and our patients are much appreciated!

A whirlwind week! Photo
A whirlwind week!

We have so much to catch everyone up on! The wheels are definitely in motion for us to move into our new house in May! We are set to close on May 15th and the Navy will be moving us on May 20th. We absolutely cannot wait to get our hands on the house and make it our own. It is really so much more charming than this picture conveys. You’ll just have to trust me until we get more photos to post J

Along with our move comes many other changes, too. We’ll be moving across town from our current neighborhood, which we absolutely love. There’s not a week that goes by when we don’t visit with our neighbors or have someone over. And when its nice weather, someone is always having a cookout for the whole crowd. I’ll really miss that. But, I know where they live and they haven’t seen the last of us J

Another huge change is that we’ll be changing sitters for Rowen. Shawntea has been so good to us this month and helped make the transition back to work much better for me. However, she lives across town from our new house and the commute just won’t work. After dropping Rowen at his sitter’s, I still have to drive to the peninsula through the bridge-tunnel, so we prayerfully decided to look for another childcare provider. God answered our prayers and affirmed that he really did want us to buy this house by providing a new sitter literally 4 minutes from the new house! Her name is Vicky and she is a wonderful lady with a sweet family. Vicky says we’re an answer to her prayers, too, because she has been wanting an infant to love and hold for a long time. Rowen will be her only true full time child and we’re looking forward to many good times ahead with the Haneline’s. We still plan to stay in touch with Shawntea, too. Once a person shows love and kindness to your child, you’ve made a friend for life.

We went to Charlottesville this weekend to visit our friends, Travis and Sarah Smith, and go to the Banks-Beverage wedding at King Family Vineyards in Ivy. We had an awesome time! Travis and Sarah are such great friends and we always have lots of fun with them. Plus, this was their first time meeting Rowen! While we went to the wedding, our friend Jenny kept Rowen. I know she had fun with him, but she did mention that her neighbors came to her rescue after they heard Rowen screaming. What can I say…he’s a mama’s boy…and that’s just fine with me!

Rowen is doing a lot of drooling these days. He’s still trying to take great big bites out of his fists, but hasn’t consistently sucked any of his fingers yet. He has laughed a few more times, but we haven’t been able to catch it on video yet. It will make your year to hear this sweet child giggle. He's getting closer to rolling over again but hasn't quite made it yet. He holds his head up well enough that we're going to try out the exersaucer this week! We'll be sure to let you know how that goes. He is batting at toys more and really loves play time with Daddy. He’s gaining weight steadily and has little rolls on his arms and legs. They’re the softest, most wonderful chubby rolls you’ll ever feel. Because he’s breastfed, we’ve started a multivitamin and it really smells bad. He tolerates it just fine, but makes a hilarious face every morning when we give it to him. We’ll try to catch that on video soon so everyone can see. His sleep has been a little less predictable this past week and he is averaging about 4 hours at night before waking for a feeding and then back to sleep for another 2 hours or so.

My mom is flying in this weekend and we’re so excited to see her! We have a fun weekend planned with lots of eating, a little bit of shopping and hopefully, a few movies. We also have a few birthday parties to attend and I still have to finish my research paper! Wish me luck ;)

I think we bought a house... Photo
I think we bought a house...
Ok, I'm new at house-buying, but I'm pretty sure we did. We've signed and the sellers have signed and something called earnest money has exchanged hands, so it sounds like a done deal to me! We're SO excited! The inspection and appraisal will be coming up in the next 2 weeks so we'll be looking forward to getting those done to confirm that everything is sitting pretty. The house was built in 1924, so there's potential for some hiccups, but we have a great love for old houses and are prepared for whatever comes our way. We think...

It's a traditional colonial house with 3 bedrooms and 2 baths, a cute (little) fenced backyard, and a great front porch (my favorite!). The historic neighborhood we'll call home is situated along the Lafayette River in Norfolk. We're just 2 blocks from a beautiful walk along the water. There's tons of character to be found in the heavy wood molding, arched doorways and original hardwood floors. We just can't wait to make it our own. I'll post pictures soon and you'll have to visit us to see it in person!

Rowen and I have been going it alone this weekend as Rob visited friends in NC. We had a splendid time together! After our usual chores on Saturday, I rented Pride and Prejudice and Rowen and I had a movie night...poor little guy. I just finished the book and while it was better than the film, I really enjoyed putting faces to the characters. Its a wonderful love story. Maybe Rowen's face in this picture illustrates how he felt about watching a romantic comedy from 1813 ;)

As an update to Rowen's sleep schedule, he's now sleeping about 5 hours at night, which I consider to be fabulous. I feed him around 4 a.m and then again around 6 a.m. Now that I've started back to work, I cherish even more our mornings together. I usually bring my breakfast up to his room and sit in the rocker until he stirs and then feed I him. He's a very happy baby in general and he is especially pleasant in the mornings. He eats, we play, he watches with great interest as Rob and I get ready for work and then he's off to Mrs. Shawntea's. He's enjoying his time with her, too. We're so thankful for her.

Today in church I was struck by the words of a praise song. The lyrics ask God to fill us up with his light. I could certainly use to shed some of what fills my heart and replace it with God's light. Our human nature is to pass judgement on others, often without even thinking. Yet I feel very small when I feel others are passing judgement on me. I'm asking God to replace those thoughts and feelings with those that glorify his name. Despite my sinful nature and for reasons I will never fully understand, he continues to rain down blessings on me. I remain in awe of our heavenly father.

Have a beautiful Sunday :)

A lot of firsts...
Rowen has been so busy learning new things this week! On Sunday, (4/6) he rolled from belly to back! His arms were propped up on his tummy time pillow (like in the pic in the prior journal entry) and he just flipped on over. I was upstairs with him and felt like something big was about to happen so I yelled for Rob but he didn't make it quite in time. He hasn't done it again, but we're on the lookout to get good photos to post.

Then last night, he laughed! He actually laughed! I was playing this cheesy buzzing bee game with him and he was was smiling really big and then out came this precious giggle! We've been trying to get him to laugh again with no luck so far. But we'll keep trying!

He also put his foot in his hand and held it for a bit. He was with Rob when he did that, so I didn't get to see it, but I can't wait for him to do it again!

We're getting closer to buying a house and I can hardly contain myself! We really love 2 houses and are taking second looks at both of them. Hopefully we'll be making an offer on one of them soon!

We belong to a couple of Bible study groups and we met with one last night. We went for the sole purpose of asking our care group to pray for our real estate ventures. Little did I know that God had bigger things in store for me. Two of our friends, David and Joanna Euans, are missionaries and are currently raising support to do church planting in Brussels. Their story is so amazing and it is so clear that they have truly put THEIR plans aside to follow God's plan for them. I have been thinking about that a lot and I really have a long way to go to die to self and truly trust God in all areas of my life. He's been working on me for a long time and there's so much left to do. What an amazing God we serve that will continue his work to make me into the person he desires me to be. I sure put up a lot of road blocks and make a lot of excuses, but he won't give up on me. God is good.

A big week! Photo
A big week!
Wow...there's a lot on the Snow plate right now! This weekend was Lady's 9th birthday and we celebrated by taking her to PetSmart. We had a picnic in the dog park planned, but nasty weather kept us from it. She loves visiting pet stores and shrieking at all the little mice and guinea pigs--see the video page for a demonstration! It really is a little obnoxious, but she's been such a good companion for 9 whole years and she deserves to let her hair down every once in a while! However, Rowen slept through her little celebration, so the excitement was lost on him.

My ophthalmology rotation is going great...very laid back, but I'm learning a lot, too. We feel very comfortable with Rowen being at Shawntea's. I think I may be spoiling him rotten, though, because I hold him all the time! I just miss seeing him during the day so I make sure we really have quality time when I am home.

We are coming down to the wire in our house hunt. We looked at 2 houses on Monday that we LOVE, so now its a matter of deciding between the two. They're so very different, so its hard to compare them. We're just praying that God will make his plans evident to us, at least in terms of where we should live. Hopefully we'll be posting pictures of a new house soon! If having a baby wasn't enough, we really feel like grown ups now!

Rob's birthday is Friday, April 11th and we're having a date night! We've set up a babysitting swap with our neighbors, so they're keeping Rowen Friday night and we'll keep their boys another night. Its really a great arrangement! Next weekend we'll be visiting friends in Charlottesville and going to a wedding at a beautiful winery in Crozet, Virginia. I'm so excited! I'm getting my dancing shoes warmed up!

Our family experienced sad times this week, too. My Great Aunt Gus passed away Sunday night. She was such a sweet soul. My Granny and Mama were able to be there (in North Carolina) in her last hours, so that was very special. I know she will be welcomed into the kingdom of Heaven and there's infinite peace in knowing that.

Well, say a prayer for our real estate needs! We'll be making an offer on one of the houses by the end of the week, hopefully!

Our 2 month well check-up Photo
Our 2 month well check-up

We can't believe Rowen is almost 11 weeks old! He's a growing boy and he got a great report card today from his pediatrician. He now weighs 12 pounds, 2 ounces! He's in the 50th percentile for weight and the 75th percentile for height. The dreaded part of our visit was the 5 immunizations he received. Thankfully, Rotavirus was oral, but the rest were shots. He got poked for DTaP, Pneumococus, inactivated Polio and H. influenza. Poor little guy...I felt like a traitor again because they give the shots while I'm nursing. He did scream but it was over in a jack-flash and he was back to chowing down. I'm quite sure he took it better than I did. I was able to take the day off so I could spoil him for the rest of the day. We had a long walk with our neighbor, Nicole, and her new baby, Caleb and I got some work done on my research paper while Rowen napped. This weekend we are taking Lady for a dog park date to celebrate her 9th birthday (!!) and babysitting for our neighbors'4 and 2 year old little boys!

Our housing search is in full swing. We have looked at lots of houses and finally found one we like a lot on Tuesday. We have several more to see next week, but I'm excited that we're finally getting somewhere in this real estate search. It's scary to buy now since we're not sure where the Navy will send us after Rob's internship, but we're ready to be homeowners!

As for being away from Rowen during the days, we've been really happy with his sitter, Shawntea. He seems to really have fun, based on the pictures she sends home. While I was busy worrying about leaving him, God was busy pouring blessings down on us. He is good, all of the time!

We survived! Photo
We survived!
Today was my first day back at work and Rowen and I both made it through just fine! Thank you so much to everyone who left me sweet messages today and prayed for us! Since Rob and I are both at the Naval hospital this month, we rode in to work together. We dropped Rowen off at his sitter, Shawntea's house at 6:30 a.m. I had prepared all kinds of crazy, neurotic notes for her and she was very gracious to accept them and vow to take great care of Rowen. He was asleep when we dropped him off and was utterly unconcerned about spending the day away from Mommy. I called to check in an hour later and he was awake and having a good belly laugh while his 9 month old buddy talked to him. We are so fortunate to have found a private sitter but also like the idea that Rowen will have the benefits of socializing with his big boy buddy a couple of days a week. Rowen took his naps easily and was very pleasant all day according to Shawntea. I was so proud!
And I did ok, too! I thought about Rowen all day long, but I guess that's something I'll do for the rest of my life. It was so neat to be back at the hospital because, as many of you recall, I was doing an Infectious Disease rotation at the Naval hospital when I had Rowen! Everyone's reaction was really cute...they're not used to seeing me without a belly! And I can't remember how many times I whipped out my cell phone to show complete strangers pictures of my little man! I'm sure that's really obnoxious. I guess I've become one of "those" moms. Oh well...

I need to get back to work...Rowen is getting hungry and I have more research to do!

What a day! Photo
What a day!

Today has been interesting! Rob and I are both home intending to finish our 4th year research papers and get things done around the house. The morning started off in a typical enough way. Rowen awoke around 8 a.m. for a feeding and after he was full, we went about our usual routine of making the bed, getting dressed and going downstairs to feed Lady. We can ALWAYS bank on Rowen taking at least a 2 hour morning nap, but this morning that familiar nap never came, despite following our usual routine of swaddling and laying him down awake but sleepy. I nursed him every couple of hours hoping he would drift off with a full belly, but I think that just served to throw him off his eat-activity-sleep schedule even more. It’s now 2 p.m. and the poor little guy is just wired! Thankfully, he isn’t fussy. Just fidgety and restless. And I feel so bad for him. I’m not sure what this means for the coming night’s sleep, but time will certainly tell.

I’ve been comparing Rowen’s night sleeping habits to other babies his age and I’ve started to question why he isn’t sleeping longer than 4 or 5 hours at the time. Don't get me wrong...I'm NOT complaining! I don't mind getting up to feed him…that’s a very special quiet time that we share together…but it will be nice when that special quiet time is closer to the daylight hours J And I've finally decided...Rowen will sleep through the night when Rowen is ready!

One thing we’ve really strived for is to avoid parenting strategies that are extreme in any way. Most of Rowen’s “schedule” is based on the Baby Whisperer’s techniques, but the philosophy I most align with is Jill Stamm’s Bright from the Start about nurturing the developing mind of infants. She’s a neuroscientist and talks about development in clinical terms, so maybe that’s why I like her ideas so much. In any event, remembering that Rowen is a unique individual, and not a prototype of the babies in the parenting books, is the most important lesson of all.

Rowen is doing some really cute new things this week. He lifts his head and shoulders up like he's doing a sit-up. I think he's reaching for his paci when he looses it. He's also putting his hands in his mouth a lot, mostly the right hand. I'm an advocate of children "finding" their fingers because it allows them to self-soothe. He's also talking alot. Some of his words are "umphhhh", "ohhhhha", "arrggghhh", and "goooooah", among others. We have a ball listening to him! He has learned how to blow bubbles, too!

Well, he’s stirring again…more later!

In pursuit of perfect peace Photo
In pursuit of perfect peace

As you all know, I’m returning to rotations next week. And I completely dread it. I mean, medicine is my calling and I recognize that its a large part of God’s plan for my life. BUT, it is so hard to imagine not spending my days home with sweet Rowen! I know I’ll enjoy being back into the swing of academics and medicine, but that first week will be grueling.

Not only is going back to work hard for me emotionally, I’m finding it hard spiritually. I just have this anxious feeling about leaving my baby and I’m desperate to achieve the perfect peace God desires for me. As I was sharing my uneasiness last night with our bible study group, a wonderful new friend suggested I consider Psalms 121:1 which says “Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over a city, the watchmen stand guard in vain.” This really spoke to me because I’ve been worrying myself silly, but the Bible says that worry is in vain apart from God. I have to trust that God will watch over Rowen and find solace in the fact that he’s a better watchman than I’ll ever be. After all, its God that created every precious inch of Rowen and loaned him to Rob and me. So, I can’t say I’m not worried anymore, but I am striving to be at peace with this upcoming challenge.

We had a beautiful Easter weekend. We mostly enjoyed Rowen’s wonderful company and worked on our research, but did take a good bit of social time, too. We had a couple of friends over Friday night and Rob and I actually went to a movie Saturday night! That’s a blast from the past because we haven’t been in so long! We saw Juno, which is a total TEN! I highly recommend the movie to anyone…movies that make you laugh AND cry rarely find a critic in me. We had very good intentions of attending the sunrise service Sunday morning, but it was just too chilly to have Rowen outside, even on the beach. We had wonderful worship with our church family, then an Easter party with our CARE group. What a fabulous day!

Many of you have asked if Rowen is sleeping through the night...well, no. He's a good sleeper, though. We've been on a eat-activity-sleep schedule since he was about 2 weeks old and its been great. He has a long morning nap and a couple of short afternoon/early evening naps. Then, we put him in his crib when we go to bed and he sleeps for about 4 hours. I feed him once at night usually, and then again around 5 or 6 a.m. We usually stay up after that feeding and then he has his long morning nap. It's a really nice system...and it almost always works. Of course, there are times when we really need him to be on schedule, like when we sit down for dinner, but he has other plans. As fortunate as we've been though, we can't complain about those little bumps. Rob is eager for him to sleep through the night, meaning sleep about 8 hours straight. And while I think that would be quite nice, I'm in no hurry. I'm kind of a zombie at night anyway and I go through the motions of feeding and changing him and he goes back to sleep pretty easily...most nights :)

We have a few road trips coming up. After the rush of getting our research completed, we’ll be going to Charlottesville for a wedding, then my mom is visiting at the end of April. We have a few more weddings in May and June, then we graduate on June 7—wooo hooo!

Rob is spending time with Rowen right now and I think I hear him telling Rowen he’ll be attending the University of Virginia when he grows up…let me go…I have to make my case for Troy!

Gainful employment Photo
Gainful employment
Well, it's official...I'm going to be an employed resident physician! Today is Match Day for medical students across the country and it was confirmed that I'll be doing my 3 year residency with Riverside Family Medicine! Because Rob is on Navy scholarship, he matched in December. Now we're both set :)

I'm super excited and know that I'll have a stellar experience, but its bittersweet because I would love to stay home with Rowen. We've had so much fun these past 8 weeks! Next week is my last week home with him and I'm about to cry just typing those words. As you can see from his smiles in all the pictures, he truly is a fun little boy. And I'll miss him so much during the days. At least I start back to ophthalmology, which shouldn't be too intense. Then I have ICU, which will probably be short days, too. After we graduate, though, the 12 hour days will start. Thankfully, we have a caretaker we really trust and I know she'll be a positive influence for Rowen.

Ok, gotta get back to my little monkey. Have a wonderful day, and thanks for all your prayers!

Happy St. Patty's! Photo
Happy St. Patty's!

We're back! We arrived home from Georgia last night and we're getting settled back in. Rowen was a champ on both flights and he was the star of the show down in south Georgia. We all had so much fun with him. I think he probably gained a couple of pounds over the weekend because every time he even whimpered Gramma Bonnie just knew it was because the poor thing was starving... :)

My Granny hosted a family party on Friday night for our extended family to meet Rowen. It's such a treat to see everyone and our get-togethers are just too few and far between. There was Aunt Margaret who was sure Rowen preferred to be held by her over anyone else; Gina, who couldn't believe little Meryl B. has a baby; and Aunt Catherine, who was my babysitter when I was little, among others. We are blessed to have so many children in our family and it was wonderful to watch them run around and play. Rowen can't wait to be part of their fun!

We spent Saturday with Daddy and Wanda and really enjoyed my cousin Kristen's wedding. Lauren was especially proud of her new dress. She was precious! Rowen was very well-behaved and enjoyed being held by most of the wedding guests during the reception. He's quite a popular little guy.

As always, our visit was too short, but we wouldn't trade the time with family for anything. Our graduation from medical school is right around the corner and we'll get to see much of our family then, so that's definitely something to look forward to!

Rowen will be 8 weeks old tomorrow. He is still changing and becoming more wonderful every day! He wishes you all a very happy St. Patrick's day! Hope you're wearing green! ;)

Homeward Bound! Photo
Homeward Bound!

Our trip home to Georgia is finally here! We're leaving tonight at 8 p.m. for a quick flight to Atlanta. My mom is meeting us there and we'll travel down to South Georgia, where my heart is. We're really excited to see everyone this weekend, and especially thrilled for my cousin Kristen. She's getting married this weekend!

I'm a little apprehensive about the flight, but all the moms I've talked to say thier babies have done well nursing during take-off and landing. I'm still not ready for the whole nursing in public thing, but we'll make sure Rowen is appropriately occupied so his little ears won't pop!

I haven't written since Rowen's party in was fabulous! Katie and Adam (and everyone involved) really outdid themselves! I have made such wonderful lasting friends in's amazing how I ever got along with out them before medical school. You can check out pics from the weekend under Photos. We had a blast!

And speaking of lasting friends, two of my best friends visited this past weekend! Stephanie and Dori were scheduled to fly into Richmond Friday night but snow in Memphis caused them to be re-routed to DC on Saturday morning. Once we finally got together, we had such a great time. Dori and Steph can make me laugh over nothing at all and the three of us can play "what if" for hours. Rowen got plenty of loving, too. He was the center of attention, as usual! We played with Rowen, waited for their "lost" luggage to arrive, shopped, and watched movies. It was so wonderful and I miss them so much, along with Jess and Hayley. I'm so blessed to have such amazing friends!

Ok, I MUST start working on my research...right after Rowen and I play just a little more ; )

We're all smiles! Photo
We're all smiles!
This is just a quick post to show off pictures of Rowen smiling! He's smiling a lot but I haven't been able to catch it on camera...until today! It was my mission and I captured several that are on display under photos.

His is the most wonderful smile in the world! It's a full on, open-mouth, wide grin! And sometimes he even cackles! He's such a sweetheart!

By the way, we've kind of gone bonkers with our photography. Rowen has been photographed by our camera 108 times so far in February. This is in addition to the 150 photos we took on his birthday and the hundred or so taken in his first week...and he has a professional photo shoot tomorrow. We just can't get enough of this handsome little guy!


Our nine pounder... Photo
Our nine pounder...

My days with Rowen are passing so quickly! It's a real delight to see him change and grow every day, but so sad to think my time at home with him will soon come to an end. My four weeks of maternity leave are almost over and I'll start my research next week. If Rowen will allow it, I can write from home and I'll be home with him until March 31. I start back to Ophthalmology at the Naval Hospital in April and my days should be no longer than 8 hours, so I'll still have fun time with our little bundle on the weekday evenings. And, thankfully, we have free weekends until we start our residencies in June.

Rowen had his one month well check on Monday and he is gaining weight like nobody's business! Two weeks prior to Monday, he weighed 8 lbs, 6 ozs. Normal weight gain for a newborn is one half to one ounce per day. Rowen gained 21 ounces in about 17 days! That's 1.2 ounces gained every day...WOW! His weight on Monday was a whopping 9 lbs, 11 ozs! We've already had to start a box for clothes he's outgrown. My little baby is simply growing too fast! Besides a weight check, he also received his second Hep B vaccine. Our pediatrician recommends having him nurse while the shot is being given and I felt like such a traitor! He was so enjoying a tasty meal and was definitely caught off guard by the pinch of the needle. It was definitely harder on me than him, because after he got over the initial shock, he continued to nurse and was a happy little piglet.

Rowen and I continue to have tons of fun during the days. We miss Rob while he's away at work, but we occasionally get to have lunch with him and that's a real treat. Rowen is smiling so much now and his head and neck are so strong. He's tracking past midline with his eyes...its so much fun to watch him take in this great, big world. He's still pretty bald and it's so precious. He has a perfectly round head and it's just splendid to rub and kiss.

We're gearing up for Casino Row-ale this weekend in Blacksburg and can't wait to see our friends and introduce them to our little man! The following weekend, we'll be welcoming 2 of my best friends, Stephanie and Dori, into town for a long weekend and I can't wait! Then, the weekend after that, we'll be hopping a plane to Georgia for a family visit and my cousin Kristen's wedding. I'm so excited to see my dear family, but more than a little nervous about Rowen being on a plane for the first time :) Please say a prayer for travel mercies for our family in the coming weeks!

Bald is so beautiful! Photo
Bald is so beautiful!

As you can see from this photo, Rowen is already a heartbreaker! Godmama Katie sent him this darling Valentine's Day outfit and he was so pumped to show it off! He already has several lovely ladies lined up to be his main squeeze, but for now, he only has eyes for his mama!

Our precious baby is losing his hair! And he remains the most beautiful little thing I've ever seen. Our pediatrician warned us that he would lose his hair as part of a natural process that most babies go through, but I do have a sneaking suspicion that I may have kissed or rubbed it off...

Rowen has also developed a mild case of "cradle cap," which is basically baby dandruff. To help with the flakes (which are subtle), we rub lotion on his little scalp several times a day, something that he seems genuinely annoyed by. To top it all off, he has a little touch of baby acne, too. That's probably mama's fault: he still has my hormones circulating through his little body. This, too, will pass with just a little time, so we're not alarmed. We have a fun time learning all about newborns and being completely made over ours!

Grandpa Chris and Grandma Cindi have been with us for the long weekend. Aunties Shannon and Sam visited on Saturday, too. It has been a real treat to have them here! Because I'm pumping, everyone has been able to take part in feeding Rowen. And, by the way, nursing gets better every day! The first 2 weeks were hard, but we are now well adjusted and I really cherish that alone time with Rowen.

Grandpa Snow has sang every song he knows to Rowen over the past several days. I can tell the two are destined to be big buddies! Chris and Cindi even took Rowen along on an outing to the beach today while I had some time to rest and play with Lady girl. I missed him every second he was away, but I know it means a lot to all of us for Rowen to have a close relationship with all of his wonderful doting grandparents.

Chris also purchased a webcam for us so he and Cindi can watch Rowen grow from Minnesota! Rowen has already made his webcam debut when we called Uncle Brent this evening. He already changes every single day, and I know that will become even more pronounced with each passing day. Because of our tummy time, he's now holding his head up very well for several seconds at the time. He's such a strong boy!

Rob and I are preparing for our clinical skills board exam in Philadelphia this week. Wish us luck! We'll come back through Stafford, where we'll spend time with Sheila, Kent and Sam. We'll be back in Norfolk for a quiet weekend and then get ready to head over to the New River Valley for "Casino Row-ale" hosted by Rowen's Godparents, Adam and Katie Collins. This party is Katie's very elaborate way of welcoming Rowen and we are sooo excited! While there will be a bonafide poker game, I feel quite sure the language of the evening will be baby. Not only will Rowen be in attendance, but also the very handsome Kellan Kerger (I hope!) and big boy Sheldon Haney!

Sheldon is the precious son of 2 high school friends, Candy and Anthony Haney. They moved to Roanoke right as we were moving to Norfolk, but we've stayed in touch and I'm thrilled that they are able to join us for the party!

I should get back to studying...say a little prayer for us on Thursday! Be well everyone!

22 days old! Photo
22 days old!
2. 13. 2008

Hey there everybody! Rowen turned 3 weeks old yesterday! I can hardly believe it!

We're doing great and still learning new things about parenthood everyday. Rowen stays busy with his grueling schedule by day (eating, sleeping, playing) and is sweet to his mommy and daddy at night as he sleeps 3 to 4 hour stretches at the time. He is the perfect companion for errands and even went with me to the dentist's office this week. All the ladies in the office were in awe of how handsome and sweet he was. He mostly slept through their compliments, but appreciates them nonetheless.

I took some time for an indulgence this week by scheduling a haircut. It's been a whole year since I've had a trim! Yikes! My hair was looking really thrown away, so our dear friend Katie Campbell offered to watch Rowen and I took her up on it! All in all, I was only away from him for about an hour and a half, but I was SO ready to get back to him by the time I got home! It was nice to be pampered for a short time, but I was ready to be back to my main men!

We are looking forward to welcoming Grandpa Chris Snow and Cindi, as well as Auntie Shan this weekend! They have even offered to babysit while Rob and I enjoy an evening out, so we are going to postpone our Valentine's Day celebration until this weekend and take advantage of our eager babysitters!

Next week (Feb. 20-21), Rob and I have the daunting task of traveling to Philadelphia for the clinical skills portion of our board exam. Despite not having much time to prepare for the exam, I feel fairly confident about it. The part I'm nervous about is leaving my baby overnight! Of course, Rowen will be in the most capable of hands with Rob's mom, Sheila, but I think it's impossible for a new mom to leave her baby for any amount of time without worrying a little. Please pray that Rob and I make it to Philly and back safely and that I'm not too neurotic about leaving Rowen!

Rowen will celebrate his first Valentine's Day tomorrow! The three of us will be celebrating quietly at home and Rowen will be donning his new V-day get up! His Godmama Katie sent him the cutest outfit and I'll be sure to post pictures! My mom, Rowen's Gramma, sent Valentine's goodies, too! She always sends the most thoughtful gifts and never forgets a special occasion!

And before I close, I must comment that I'm so proud John McCain took Virginia! While I respect the other candidates and, in fact, like Huckabee quite a bit, I'm thankful for the drastic turnaround of my candidate's campaign. This summer things weren't looking so great for Team McCain! BUT, at this point in the primary, it's mathematically impossible for any other candidate to take the Republican nomination, so McCain's the man! WOOHOO!

I hope everyone has a wonderful week and a very happy Valentine's day!

Rowen's meeting with John McCain Photo
Rowen's meeting with John McCain
It seems like we blinked and our baby boy is almost 3 weeks old! Its exciting to watch him grow, but sad that time is already passing so quickly. He changes every day...I can tell that his little cheeks are getting more chubby every day. I should know, I kiss them enough! I spend my days looking at him, talking to him, laughing at him, and giving him lots of sugar. Rob is completely made over him, too. It's been hard for him to go back to work, but he loves spending time with Rowen in the evenings.
As for our schedule, we keep things flexible. Rowen eats every 3 to 4 hours (feedings are more spaced out now because he's gaining so fast!). We have an activity after he eats, like reading, telling stories, tummy time, or bathing. Then he naps for an hour or two. When he wakes up, we do it all over again!
Three days ago, Rowen's umbilical cord stump fell off. We were really excited because we were able to give him his first tub bath! He's still not sure how he feels about being partially immersed in water, but I know it will grow on him :)
Today, Rowen and I had the opportunity to attend a national security roundtable discussion and press conference for John McCain. I don't have to tell you how much I admire and support Senator McCain, so its a given that I jumped at the chance to go! Rowen and I couldn't actually see the senator for all the reporters and cameras, but we could hear him (check out the photo)! Too bad Rowen slept through the whole thing! We weren't able to stay for the entire conference and I was a little bummed we didn't get to greet the future president. However, I watched the newscast this evening and the lady who sat RIGHT NEXT to me did get to greet him! I know John McCain would have totally fallen in love with Rowen and probably even featured him in an ad. Oh well!
We are learning 100 new things about Rowen every day. Being his parents is the greatest honor we've ever known. That's not to say there aren't frustrating moments, too. Nursing is harder than I ever imagined, but so worth it. And, he does the thing all normal babies do from time to time...cry for no apparent reason! All in all, we remain blessed beyond measure. Thank you for checking in on us...we'll try to keep you all updated on our little prince!

Rowen's birth day! Photo
Rowen's birth day!
Our baby boy has finally arrived! Here's the scoop...

At our last appointment, I was 3 centimeters dilated. Our OB felt things were moving along so well that she suggested we induce on January 22nd. I had been increasingly uncomfortable and felt Rowen wouldn't be waiting much longer anyway, so we prayed about it and decided to go for it. We arrived at the hospital at 6:30 a.m. and I was in active labor by 10:00 a.m. I felt no contractions until I was about 5 or 6 centimeters dilated, so early active labor was really just a celebration for us! My mom and Granny, as well as Rob's mom (GG) and Katie C. were all in on the fun. Poor Rob amongst all these women! :)
Things progressed quickly throughout the afternoon, and because of the pain relief I received from the epidural once the real pain started, I was able to continue to enjoy our company. I also enjoyed lots of popsicles and ice chips! Finally, just before 5 p.m. I was fully dilated and Rowen was ready to make his arrival. While our families waited anxiously in the waiting area, Rob and I experienced one of the most amazing miracles in this world. I'm crying just remembering it now. With Rob and my wonderful and trusted obstetrician as my coaches, we welcomed Rowen at 6:09 p.m. As I pushed for the final count of 10, I felt an emptiness in my belly, only to be replaced by a beautiful masterpiece being placed on my chest. A living, breathing piece of heaven that God chose us to love.
I've always known that Rob is my soul mate and there was no day like Rowen's birth day for me to see what a strong team we are. I've never been more proud to have Rob by my side.
Rowen was healthy from the start with APGARs of 9 and 9. He cried almost immediately and was soon soothed by our voices. It was so wonderful to watch him soak everyone in. It was also quite a beautiful experience to watch our moms fall in love at first site with their little angel. There wasn't a dry eye in the room. It was the best birth experience I could have imagined. We're so humbled by it and thankful for it all.
We came home on Thursday to a home cooked meal by my Granny. All week we were treated to wonderful food and great company from Mama and Granny. They catered to us and to Rowen, and even Lady! Our neighbors and friends have stopped by with well wishes, good food and gifts for Rowen. He's gotten plenty of oooh's and ahhh's! They are well deserved in our opinion ;)
It's been a treat to watch Lady react to Rowen, too. She has been interested in this little bundle from the start. She's become very protective and likes to know who is holding her baby at all times. She's also very in tune to any noise he may make and walks over to make sure he's ok. She's a great big sister!
Rowen is loved by so very many people and we are blessed to have him in our lives. We know he is a loan from God and our prayer is that we will be good stewards of this precious gift.
Thank you all for keeping up with Rowen so far. We'll keep the photos updated and try to keep posting journal entries. I know there will be so much to share! We love you all! ~Meryl, Rob, Rowen, and Lady

Rowen is here!
Yes, he has arrived! I've posted pictures under the photo album, so enjoy those! I'll update more about our big day later this weekend. Thanks so much for everyone's prayers and well wishes...we had the most amazing experience and are beside ourselves with happiness. Rowen is truly a gift and we're humbled by the entire experience. We love you all! More updates soon...

Oh boy...38 weeks, 5 days! Photo
Oh boy...38 weeks, 5 days!

We're moving right along! Our OB appointment went great yesterday. Rowen is a happy little babe and he's doing a great job at preparing my body for labor. I've been more uncomfortable for the past two days and, oddly, I welcomed it because I had been wondering when it would come! Weird, I know. Nothing has been unbearable or caused me to miss work, but there have been little twinges that just grab me for a moment and then resolve. And they were worth it because I'm now 2 centimeters dilated! Woohoo! Rowen is still vertex (head down) and engaged... excellent signs that he's getting ready to make his big entrance!

We're planning on a relaxing and productive weekend. And if the weather cooperates, we'll finally go to the marina for our maternity pictures, which were cancelled again last weekend due to rain. If we don't get them this weekend, it may be too late! We both work until after dark, so weekends are our only time for outdoor photos. Cross your fingers...

My mama and granny and best friend Katie C. are coming into town when I go into labor. I can't wait to visit with my favorite ladies. The only thing is...I'm not sure if the 3 of them will let Rowen emerge from their sight! I may not see my baby for the 1st week of his life ;) All joking aside, I can't wait to share this amazing time with these special women.

It's going to be equally exciting to see our dads spend time with Rowen. Men are generally hilarious with little made over them but so cautious! I'll post pictures, don't worry.

I can't end this journal entry without commenting on my favorite former naval aviator and Vietnam POW turned public servant, who now just happens to be running for president...I am SO proud of the voters in New Hampshire for choosing the best candidate in McCain. I'm especially proud that so many independents supported him, as I'm an independent voter myself and believe he is one of few candidates speaking to this large and influential group of young people. My hopes are high for the South Carolina primary tomorrow!

We'll try to keep you all updated on our progress here on the site and via e-mail. Rowen is a blessed child to have so many of you waiting anxiously to love him! Thank you for your prayers of support. We love you all!

37 weeks and 4 days Photo
37 weeks and 4 days
As we say in the south, we're short timing now! Only 17 days until Rowen's due date! My OB seems to think we'll go into labor before that, but for now I'm still relatively functional. I have been more uncomfortable for the past 2 days than before, but I'm still working and forcing myself to take the stairs at the hospital for as long as I can :) We'll see how much longer that lasts!

As you can see from the picture, Rob is raring to go with his chocolate cigars! I can only imagine he'll be giving them to everyone he sees...!

I'm still dilated to 1 centimeter and Rowen is fully engaged deep into my pelvis. These are really good signs for this stage in the pregnancy. His size and heart rate are right on target and we couldn't ask to be more blessed!

Another thing we're looking forward to is seeing our families soon! My mom and Granny, Rob's mom and my best friend Katie are all coming into town when I go into labor. Then, our dads are coming to visit in early February, along with various other friends from all around. And my best friends from Alabama are coming to see us in March! I know the next few months will be a whirlwind and I can't wait!

We're in the market for a caretaker/nanny, as we have been for the last several months. We've had the good fortune to meet some very nice people in our search and I'm sure we'll come to a decision within the next few days. I can't imagine what it will be like to leave my little baby boy with someone else while I go to work, but I know I've been called to this profession and its God's will for me to follow through. Just pray that we are able to choose a loving and nurturing person to care for him while we're away!

We'll post photos soon...we're FINALLY getting around to having maternity photos taken this weekend. We have almost waited too late :) Have a wonderful week!

1 down, 9 to go! Photo
1 down, 9 to go!
Happy new year!

I'm 36 and 1/2 weeks along and we had our weekly OB check today. The most exciting news of the day was that I'm 1 whole centimeter dilated! That may not sound terribly exiciting to some of you, but its a great sign that things are moving in the right direction! Latent labor is the phase we're in now, and can last for weeks. Active labor starts when the cervix is about 4 centimeters dilated. We've still got a ways to go, which is good, since we're hoping Rowen will stay put until the end of the month. In any event, his lungs are mature at this point and in 4 days he'll be a full term baby!

We spent new year's eve in Richmond with the Ohlschlager's and the Garner's. Good friends + hibachi = good times. And Lily O. is the cutest little thing ever! Unfortunately, though, we were on the road when the clock struck midnight. But we had our own countdown in the car... 2008 promises to be another great year!

We started new rotations this week. Rob is in Ophthalmology and I'm in the Infectious Disease Clinic (not as gross as it sounds), which we're both enjoying. We're both scheduled to work until 2 days before Rowen's due date and then I have 4 weeks of maternity leave in February. In March, I'll be completing a research project on the use of DHA during pregnancy and its effects on cognitive development of the infant. I've already started the research, so I'll have a good bit of March at home with Rowen, too. Then, Rob will be a full time Daddy in May. I can only imagine what the 2 boys will be up to!

In addition to working and getting ready for our big boy, I'm closely following Election '08. Most of you don't even have to ask to know how passionate I am about John McCain being our next president. Rob and I had the honor of being born during a term of the greatest president of our generation (so far)--Ronald Reagan. It would be amazing if Rowen is born in the year that McCain, the most honorable man in government today, is elected. I'm crossing my fingers for good news in New Hampshire!

This entry's photo is a tribute to our new ottoman! It's been on my wish list for some time and Rob surprised me with it after Christmas. He's so good to me.

We're both so very blessed, and thank God for each of you. It brings such warm feelings to know that you're keeping up with Rowen. Thanks for letting us know you care!

35.5 weeks...Only 31 days to go! Photo
35.5 weeks...Only 31 days to go!
I hope everyone enjoyed a wonderful Christmas with family and friends...we sure did! After returning from our dear friends' wedding in upstate New York, we spent Christmas with Rob's mom's family in Northern Virginia. Kent and Sheila were fabulous as host and hostess and we also had time to spend with Sam, Shannon, and Brent! It was delightful to have so many of our family members together!
Of course, it goes without saying that I missed my sweet family in Georgia, but I've been blessed to be welcomed into the Snow and Galvin families with such warm and open arms!
Now that the NY wedding has come and gone, we're so close to meeting little Rowen! That was a major hurdle to surpass and thankfully, the 10 hour trip went off without a hitch! The wedding decorations were beautiful and the bride and groom were just tickled with the results! We've posted photos from the wedding at our webshots site, so feel free to visit!

Our next OB appointment is on January 3rd and this will begin the weekly appointment schedule. Medically speaking, term infants are anywhere from 37 to 42 weeks and it seems like Rowen is content to stay put at least until then. I've had no swelling, contractions, or unusual back pain so far. I'm also scheduled to work at the Infectious Disease clinic until January 25th, so I'm hoping to deliver on or around our actual due date. Though at this point, we'll be elated to welcome Rowen whenever he decides to arrive!
Our good friends, Shawn and Amy Kerger, just welcomed their very beautiful and wonderful son, Kellan! Congratulations to the Kerger family!
We'll keep you updated in the coming weeks. Please pray for Rowen's continued health. We're already so very blessed :)

33.5 weeks and counting! Photo
33.5 weeks and counting!

We have excellent news to share! Rob was matched here at the Portsmouth Naval Medical Center for internship! There was a chance we could be moved to California or Maryland and we were up for the adventure, but its nice to know we'll be staying put for now and can concentrate on buying a house! I'll officially be matched to a residency program in March, but knowing we'll be here together is all we need for now!
Time is flying and Rowen will be here before we know it! He's getting to be a big boy, at least it feels like it! He's still very active and gets a kick out of hearing his own heart beat at OB appointments. He's usually a pretty chilled out baby with a heart rate in the 130's-140's but today he accelerated to the 150's just as Dr. Maddela found his heart beat on the doppler. I think he's pretty proud of himself! Everything went great at our appointment today. We couldn't ask for a better obstetrician...we're just praying that her schedule and Rowen's schedule mesh in January so she can deliver him!
This past weekend was our 1 year wedding anniversary and Rob planned a special trip to the GlenCoe Bed and Breakfast in Olde Towne Portsmouth! Everything was so perfect. Most of you know I'm into old home design and architecture and we went on a tour of 5 amazing homes in the olde towne district! In fact, the photo posted with this entry was taken in the beautiful garden of our B&B. Everything was so charming. It was perfect in every way. The best part was actually being able to take a nap and totally be bums! I'm so proud of Rob's planning skills, though I'm not at all surprised. He's a mighty good man :)
We're having a Christmas Party this weekend and I can't wait! The house is so pretty with all the decorations and filling it with people we love will make it even better! A few of our friends from out of town are coming, along with our dear neighbors. It will be so much fun! I'm sure I'll crash the minute everyone leaves, though!
Thursday, December 20th is the big day we start our journey to Syracuse, NY for Rebecca and Justin's wedding. We'll be spending the night with Rob's mom in northern Virginia to break the trip up a bit. We're driving so as not to get stuck in an airport with New York's brutal winter weather. And I have my OB records in hand just in case Rowen makes an early appearance. Say a little prayer for us, as well as Rebecca and Justin...I want all of their ceremony decor to be just perfect!
I'll try to update before Christmas but can't make any promises given our schedule for the next week or so. Just in case, have a very Merry Christmas!

Happy Holidays! Photo
Happy Holidays!
We had a FANTASTIC trip home to Georgia for Thanksgiving and getting to visit with my family was wonderful, as usual! We got into Atlanta on the 21st and my mom took us shopping at Lenox Square. Mama and I had tons of fun and Rob was just a really good sport :) Then we headed down to south Georgia, where my heart is, to be with the rest of our family. My Granny welcomed us with my favorite meal in the whole wide world, cubed steak and rice. I'm quite spoiled about my cubed steak...I can remember coming home while I was in college and even if I didn't get to her house until 9 or 10 at night, cubed steak was waiting. She's an amazing woman!
We spent Thanksgiving day at Granny and Papa's and my precious neice Lauren and adorable nephew Ryan got to spend a few days with us, too! They are so excited about meeting Baby Rowen! Lauren was disappointed when she first learned he was a boy may weeks ago because we don't have many other little girls in our family. But after some consideration, she's decided to be excited because she'll get to help take care of a real baby doll!
We also spent a good deal of time at my Daddy's, just cutting up with everyone and being amused by his insane Jack Russell terrier. I've just never seen such a hyperactive being, and he's so entertaining to watch! We visited with my aunts and uncles, too, and practiced our baby holding skills with my new cousin, Karson. He's 4 months old now and is a bundle of precious!
Along with visiting with my family, the highlight of my trip home was reconnecting with my best friend from middle school, Sara Cravey. It is such a gift to have a friend who never really leaves your heart and with whom you can pick right back up where you left off after years of distance. Sara and her husband, Richard, have their own little fireball, Cohen. She's given me a lot of insight on motherhood and the joys it brings. Sara and her family are a real blessing to me.
Many of you have been anxiously awaiting our OB appointment today because we had an ultrasound to rule out placenta previa. And the news is fabulous! The placenta has moved "up" like it should and there's no reason to worry! Rowen is still perfect in every way and he's still very much a boy! I'm still feeling great, too. I've gained 15 pounds so far and Rowen occupies 4 pounds and 5 ounces of that.
As far as school, we're about half-way through our 4th and final year- wooohooo! I've just started a hematology and oncology rotation and Rob is starting ENT surgery. A big burden will be lifted from us when we finally learn where Rob will be for his internship in 2 weeks. The choices are here in the tidewater (Portsmouth, Virginia); Bethesda, Maryland; or San Diego, California. We hope to stay in the tidewater region so I can start my residency here as well, but God is good and he'll put us where he wants us. Even if it is across the country.
I hope everyone is just splendid. Please keep in touch with us over the holidays and we'll try to do the same. Christmas is my absolute favorite time of the year and I just can't wait to share all of the wonder with Rowen next year!

Daddy at work! Photo
Daddy at work!
We were so excited to get our stroller and car seat in the mail this week! We did our research before making the purchase and finally decided on a Chicco Cortina system. Rob and I played around like little kids when we opened the box and had fun putting everything together!

Everything else is going pretty great for us...I just had my second residency interview and am very pleased with my choices. We'll find out where Rob matches in December and then my match results will be announced in February/March. We are thinking positive thoughts about both matching in the Tidewater area :)

We just can't wait for the 21st when we leave for Georgia! My sweet family is flying us home for Thanksgiving. Then we'll be spending Christmas Day with Rob's family, which will be awesome, too! His brother and sisters will be there, so we're really looking forward to seeing everyone! My mom is sure thankful to know that next Christmas will be spent in Georgia...Rowen's first!

Rowen is still an active little boy! We're now 29 weeks along and count every healthy day as a true blessing. God is GOOD...all of the time.

Our growing boy! Photo
Our growing boy!
Rowen continues to be a healthy, happy baby and I'm getting so ready for his birthday! In talking with my Daddy this weekend, we reminisced about how quickly time flies. He said he could remember when I was just a little girl and I seemed to grow up overnight. I'm sure our experience will be similar with Rowen! While I can't wait to see him, I sure can wait for him to grow up.
Speaking of growing, Rowen is about 14 inches long and he weighs almost 1 kilogram, which is 2.2 pounds. We had our OB appointment yesterday and everything is moving along splendidly. We're in the "honeymoon" phase now, and I'm told things will go downhill again around week 34...exciting.
We have a second ultrasound scheduled for week 30, mostly to confirm the location of the placenta, which was considered low-lying previously. The result could mean the difference between a regular delivery and a c-section, so say a little prayer that the placenta behaves like it should :) The awesome part is that we'll get 3-D pictures with the next ultrasound, which will show a bit more detail about Rowen's perfect little features! I can already tell he's a total knock-out, though!
We're headed to D.C. this weekend to catch up with friends. This will be our last road trip before the biggie in December...Syracuse, NY on December 22. My great friend Rebecca is getting married in a beautiful castle! Who knew New York had castles?
We hope everyone has a wonderful weekend...keep in touch with us!

5.5 months and counting! Photo
5.5 months and counting!

Monday marked week 22 for us! We're halfway there!
This is my last week of inpatient pediatrics. Pediatrics is an amazing field and its such a privilege to take care of sick children, but I've spent enough nights on the pediatrics ward this month! I'm moving on to family medicine in October. Rob has enjoyed anesthesia and is still planning to pursue that field. He moves on to Orthopaedic surgery in October. Residency interviews are starting up for us! Rob had his first interviews last week, and I know he knocked their socks off. My favorite part is that he told the interviewers (physicians) that his most proud accomplishment was marrying me. What a smart man!
For those of you counting, I've gained 13 lbs. I feel as big as a house, but I've always thought pregnant ladies are cute :) Right?
Rowen is perfecting a couple of signature moves and even learning some new ones. He's very good at side jabs and has started making a concerted effort at actual flips. It's still amazing to feel him move every single time.
Everything is still going great for us; fatigue is the only real annoyance, but everyone's tired these days it seems. I just can't give enough thanks for the fact that all signs indicate our baby is perfectly healthy.
We're in the process of updating our registries. Rob takes great pride in selecting only the best consumer rated products. He most likely has a spreadsheet and/or database to keep the products organized...this art takes time ;)
Hope everyone's starting to enjoy a nice fall breeze! Please pray for our continued health! Much love to you all...

This amazing journey, and our baby's name! Photo
This amazing journey, and our baby's name!
It's Friday...woohoo!! I'm sure ready for the weekend after 2 overnight calls this week! I hope I get to hang out with Rob, if I can pry him away from college football long enough ;) I know he can't wait to introduce our little boy to Cavalier football!
I have done some shopping this week and have so enjoyed browsing through baby clothes! As I'm looking, it suddenly dawns on me that I'm looking for MY BABY and it is nothing short of breathtaking.
I heard a wonderful thought at a friend's wedding last year. The father was giving his daughter away and said he was so thankful that God entrusted him and his wife with their daughter. That put a whole new perspective on parenting for me. Not only are we, as individuals, responsible for the safety, health and happiness of this child, we are bound by our Christian beliefs to be good parents because this child is a gift, a loan, from God. This will surely be a labor of love and testament to our faith. And we can't wait!
Since the beginning of the pregnancy, we have known what we would name a little boy and its a very special name, especially in Rob's family. His name will be Rowen Pacific Snow. Not only will he have Rob's initials (RPS), he'll share his middle name, Pacific. It's an honor to be able to share this gift with our child.
Finally, Rowen is on the move! Every single time I feel his little body move, I can't help but smile. At 2 a.m. when we're admitting a sick child to the hospital, he'll give me a nudge as if to say, "Hey, Mama, I'm up too!" He's already such a wonderful son.
Be well, everyone, and please keep in touch with us!

It's a boy! Photo
It's a boy!
Wow, what a day! We had our ultrasound today and the baby continues to look healthy and happy! And,
this baby is very clearly a boy :) We love you all!

Catching up! Photo
Catching up!

Well, we're 5 months into the pregnancy and its high time we started to update everyone! All of you already know that a baby's coming, and here you can find more details!
The pregnancy is progressing beautifully, except for the expected bumps along way, and our baby is healthy and happy! I'm feeling kicks and turns and somersaults and its really the most amazing feeling. Rob can feel them, too, and its such a neat thing for us to share.
The baby was active with a strong heartbeat at our 9 week ultrasound. Before I finished my OB rotation last month, we took a sneak peak and again the baby was active with all the right measurements, but he or she was a little modest. The baby wanted to keep us in suspense a little longer because we couldn't tell if we're having a boy or girl! Our "morphology scan" is later today and we should find out for sure then. We'll be thrilled either way!
We've been busy getting the baby's room all set up. We'll post photos of the little one's room once its all ready!
Please come visit us in Norfolk! We are expecting lots of babysitting offers, too ;) Be well and much love to you all! ~ Meryl & Rob

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