Monday, November 26, 2012

It's Christmas Time in the City

The good news is that we only had one accident... and really, I was expecting many more with the three year old that was beyond excited to be helping us decorate the tree. 

Yep, that three year old: 

And, let's be completely honest... the Cagles were pretty excited to have our first real tree in, well, ever. Don't get me wrong, we've had trees (in Augusta). But, they were teeny, tiny trees because we were "livin' on love" and had to go to the short stack at the back of the lot. I placed the tree on a very large box and covered the box in burlap. It worked. 

And, let's be even more frank- this is the first Christmas since Cagle Christmas began that Husband will not have to work. He has either been on call or post call every single Christmas since we have been married- caring for those babies that could not go home. That's quite a few Christmases. Husband moved hell and high water to not have to work this Christmas. And, by the way, did you know that we will have a newborn? Being a Doctor's Wife is more than just manicures and hair appointments. Like I said- he had to move hell and high water to get the day off.

But he got it. And that's all I care about.

So, we decided to go big and grand. We bought a real tree. No rosemary bush for us. No vase full of twinkle branches. We are going obnoxious and decorating as if we had money to spend. After dropping  my parents off at the airport on Friday morning, we were the very first sale of the very first Christmas tree at Eastern Market. The eight foot fir was strapped to the top of the Tahoe and away we went.

 I did save a good bit of money on ornaments. Sterling forks, spoons, butter knives, and bon bon spoons are tied to hooks with brightly colored grosgrain ribbon. All from around the house. No money spent. Sweet.

Last year, when the Christmas decor was on sale after the holiday and they were getting ready for summer, I bought a bunch of sequin and sparkly sticks to stick in the tree (or whatever concoction I would come up with in 11 months) to make for a bold statement. Husband was not excited. They were $.10 each- I was elated.

The 40 ornament box of glass ornaments were on sale two weeks ago and we snapped up a box of those puppies before heading over the light department and picked up 750 white twinkle lights. They were the most expensive thing on the tree at a $15. Back in Augusta, we'd go to the scary Family Dollar store and pick up Christmas Lights in the shady part of downtown for $1. There's a new definition of shady after moving to DC... and that definition does not involve packing into the family sleigh to save $13.

The tree was assembled and LMC put on ornament after ornament- being so very careful to not break any(more). The three of us hung ornaments and sparkly sticks, and silver. It's a very... colorful tree.

It's a very ...youthful... tree. And it is our tree. Our eight foot wonderful Cagle Christmas tree complete with presents underneath.

Lots and lots of presents. LMC and I have been wrapping presents in craft paper and grosgrain ribbon since October that have been accumulating at the top of my closet since June. LMC has been a huge help holding ribbon, unwrapping ribbon, running ribbon down the hall and back again. pushing presents around the room, and otherwise just directing traffic.

Such a help.

I cleaned out the kitchen hutch and made it our mantle with greenery behind the little white houses. We hung our stockings on knobs and handles.

And took last year's twinkly lights and placed them throughout the greenery on the top, next to a vase full of plastic ornaments from last year. We used plastic ornaments last year to fill the same vase that was the base of our Christmas tree. It was tacky. And I loved it. Husband had other ideas.

Next year, we will have a traditional red and green Christmas tree with no sequins, no funky colors, and probably no silver hanging on the tree. But, this year-- our last year in the city-- we are trying to make the best with the budget we have.

It has been so wonderful to make this place home. And even more wonderful to have our Christmas up and out on the day after Thanksgiving for us to love, admire, and enjoy for a long time.

It really is the prettiest tree I have ever seen.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

A Well Set Table

I've said it before and I will say it again:

 I love a well set table.  

It's just one of those things in life that I enjoy making, seeing, and sitting at. I use a ruler and coordinate plates with clothes with crystal and the things that make a table pretty. My husband thinks I am crazy, however, he fully accepts my craziness and let's me spend time with my ruler to measure the place settings and polish the silver again. 

I couldn't do it this year and was very, very fearful that Husband would get called in and have to work, so my gracious parents packed up and came for a Thanksgiving visit. 

So, allow me to show my handiwork as my mom continues to cook our turkey and fixin's:

Even Eileen has her own place setting of silver with toddler sized goblet.

Friday, November 16, 2012

As a Doctor's Wife

I have hesitated to update this blog as my last post has received thousands of hits over the past 9 days.


On this side of it, I first emailed the last blog to Beth to make sure I did not sound like a crazy loon. She said it was safe to post, so I did. And I am really glad that I did- putting words to paper (fingers to keys, keys to words, words to the screen) helps me think and clears my head, as it does for many people.

Have I ever told you that I am a doctor's wife? I should say that Husband is a Doctor, but it is much more fun to have the catty title of Doctor's Wife. Especially when we get paid so little and pay so much in rent. Something about champagne tastes and a beer budget comes to mind. We are currently in his last year of training. This has been a journey of fourteen years. Four years of college, four years of medical school, three years of residency, and finally- three years of fellowship. At the end of this, Dr. Cagle will take his second set of boards and, upon passing, will be double board certified as a Pediatric ICU doctor.

He will care for the sickest of the sick, as he does now. You will never want your child to meet Dr. Cagle, but should the unfortunate opportunity happen that your child needs to be in an ICU, you will want no one but Dr. Cagle by your side.

My husband is amazing. He is humble, he is smart, he thinks well on his feet, and I really think he hung the moon.

He recently has had a very hard case. For the past 72 hours, he has rarely left the hospital. While there, he has barely left one family's side. I know very little as HIPAA is a law that he takes very seriously, but he came home three days ago with a little more weight on his shoulders and held LMC a little longer. After he tucked her in, taking a few extra minutes in the dark and stillness of her room, he climbed into bed next to me. All he said was, "It's hard when you look at families and know that they could be your friends. Or, you find something in them that reminds you of a friend. But, when they can be you... it compounds the pain you know that they are feeling. This hurts."

Their infant baby died today, surrounded by parents, grandparents, and absolute love. Their doctor, my husband, felt he needed to be with them until the end. He has been traveling, he has been working, he has been on call, and sleeping, and in general -- not here, not home -- and it is one of those things about being a Doctor's Wife that no one understands. No one "gets." As a Doctor's Wife, many nights are spent alone and trust is placed in the abyss that he is doing what is best. Calls cannot necessarily be returned. Words of "good night" have to be passed between hearts rather than ears. The family probably did not give a second thought about his presence, but they would have missed it if he had left after his thirty hour shift. He stayed by their side and held their hands and told them when it was time.

That's who my husband is. He spent an extra day doing no more than being with them. Sometimes, I miss him. I miss him so much it hurts. Especially being pregnant and uncomfortable and these damn hormones rearing their ugly head as I break into another hot flash. I call my mom and I cry that I miss him. That's only happened once or twice.

I know where he wants to be.
I know where he needs to be.

Sometimes, those two places do not necessarily overlap. And sometimes, I have to be both parents and remind our daughter that what he does is valuable, that he is doing it for us, and that he is doing it for people like us- families that love each other. He is certainly not putting the hospital in first place, rather he sees what he would want as a father in his child's doctor and tries to emulate that man in the white coat caring for both the child and the family. As a PICU doctor, he understands there is more in the room than just the child in the bed.

That's my husband. And I love him for who he is- and so much more.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

To our children

Dear Children,

Right now, you are young. You are innocent and you are sheltered from the ways of the world. Right now, we are working to instill small life lessons in you that will grow with you as you grow.

God is good.
Credit is bad.
Life is about choices.
The most important part about falling is getting back up.
Things break. It happens. But they can never be put back together in the exact same way.

You come from a family that believes in fewer taxes, a smaller government, and being successful is something you should strive for and be proud of. We are too proud to ask for handouts, as we will always find a way to make it happen on our own- or not happen at all. You also come from a family that is generation stacked upon generation of small business owners and who send almost half their money back to our government in taxes. Both in life and in death.

You come from a family that whole-heartedly supports our military. We thank them for their hard work as we see them. Just like we thank the police officers for keeping us safe. We recognize that the money we pay in taxes goes to support them and their families.

We mourn when a life is lost in the line of duty.
We pray for them.
We pray for their families.
We acknowledge their service to us.

You come from a family that is fairly conservative. Not so much so that we stomp on others that believe differently, rather, we accept that they are different from us and have value in this world.

We all have value in this world and everyone has worth in the room. It is rude to ignore people and unacceptable in this household.

We give to charities we believe in. We do not give to United Way for the same reason we believe in fewer taxes. We believe that unions once had their place, but that place is gone now that laws are in place to protect workers. Unions are now part of the machine that adds to the problem of making things happen.

Your family votes.
Your family is patriotic.
Your family prays for health and well-being of others. Your family prays for you to be an asset to society.

It is with these things in mind that I want to tell you what happened last night. Our country spoke and elected a man to be President for four more years that acts, thinks, and believes differently than we do. His new laws will impact the financial aspect of your parents careers. They will impact your future- though, to what degree, we will not know until the future is upon us.

Some of our friends are happy for their children's future.
Some of our friends mourn the debt that their children will have to carry in their future.
Some of our friends are elated, while others are devastated.

Everyone has worth in the room and to be surrounded by people with identical opinions leads to tyranny.

We will remain where we always remain- patriotic and holding a belief in this country. We will take it one day at a time with the knowledge that we will continue to raise you with these simple life lessons in the hopes that you will develop your own opinions about the world and maybe try and change things that you see are wrong.

We do not hold a crystal ball and cannot predict the future.

But, it is like we tell you every day: Things break. It happens. But they can never be put back together in the exact same way.

Maybe for the better. Maybe for the worse. 

All of our dearest friends have differing opinions than your family about many things- we will embrace their beliefs as everyone has a right to believe. That is why we continue to live in the greatest country in the world.  

We will continue to pray for our troops, our police officers, our country, and our friends and family. 

We will hope for a future that involves healthy and happy children growing up to become assets to society and positive additions to new groups and your future families.

With all the love in the world,


Friday, November 2, 2012

Turning a house into a home

My friend convinced me I needed maternity pictures. She was right.

Strapping on her camera and giggling through the process, we set out. She has taken this house and made it look like a home-- because it is a home.

A home for our sweet second daughter who will be here in 49 days (not that I am counting) requires a lot of space, apparently.

Allow me to show off my ever expanding waistline in a better light, compliments of one of my most favorite people-- one of those people you know you are better off, because you know them. 

Prep Work

There are two pictures beside our bed. On my side, is a picture from our first anniversary- we made a trip to Napa Valley and had the very best time. On Husband's side, there is a picture of me and LMC from the hospital.

It's a horrible picture of me. My hair is not brushed, makeup is a thing of 36 hours prior, I had been out of surgery for either 10 minutes or 2 hours- not sure, can't remember. I actually don't even remember the picture being taken.

But, I remember the moment. It was the moment I stopped being the baby and became a mother.

After going through the fires of hell to bring LMC into this world- everything was on the surface. It was raw and my emotions were uncontrollable, much like the situation I was in. Mother laid eyes on Daughter and the anesthesiologist slipped me something and I was on a one way trip into the Land of Nod.

I was gone.

I woke up later in the recovery room. In the moment, I've talked about it before- Husband came through the door, the nurse escaped in a perfect moment giving me the privacy to ache and cry. Husband slipped away and returned with a confiscated baby, where babies were not allowed. But, at 4am with a husband who knew all those wonderful nurses, rules tend to bend.

I was afraid to hold her.
I was afraid to make it real.
I sobbed.

Husband carefully placed her in my abraded arms, unprepared for this moment. I kissed her, because I felt like that was the right thing to do. Then, I kissed her again, because I wanted to. Because she was ours. I held her close and took in that smell of love, faith, and trust. She yawned, cooed and nuzzled towards me. I was lost.

Lost in my soul, my love for my family, lost in the moment.

It might have been the morphine, but it might have been something so much bigger than me. Than us.

Husband took her back and the medicines kicked back in about the time the nurse returned, reattaching the blood pressure cuff that I had ripped off and thrown in my unconsciousness. In my haze, apparently, I reasoned with her that it was okay for it to come off.

All this leads me to today- actually yesterday. LMC has always taken an interest in the picture and always said, "Dat's Ma-mee. She's holding ME! Baby Eye-Yeen!" But, yesterday, she started asking questions about the picture.

What's that? Why those tubes there? Where are we?

I pulled her on the bed with me, wrapped my arm around her, and let her ask every question she wanted- sometimes prompting by pointing to things.

Those tubes give Mommy medicine, like when we give you Tylenol when you don't feel well.
That's a cotton ball. There used to be a tube there, but I stopped needing that medicine. The cotton ball stops the blood.
That red button calls the nurses and they come running. And those are rails- they keep me from falling out of the bed.
Remember when we went to see Uncle Brother in the hospital when he was so sick? That keeps track of my heart to make sure I don't get sick like Uncle Brother. Feel how your heart goes tap-tap-tap? Well, this monitors that so someone does not have to stand over me the whole time.
Mommy had to go into surgery to bring you here. You know how MB is in my tummy? Well, I'm going to have to go back to the hospital- like where Daddy works- and the doctor will have to perform a surgery to bring her to us.

More questions, a finger pointing to more things, and even more questions answered to the best of my ability.

Husband came home that evening and LMC ran into our room and grabbed the picture. She brought it to him and said, "Dat's when Ma-Mee was in da hoss-P-tull. She have to go back for Baby MB."

"Dat's a cotton ball. It stops da blood. Dat's a tube. It give medicine to make her feel all better."

And then she started asking Husband different questions, and Husband answered them with an even better ability. I closed my eyes, laid on the couch and listened to him, soothing to both LMC and me.

LMC replaced the picture on Husband's side of the bed and went about her evening, until bedtime.

"I love you so much Ma-Mee. Tell me if you need a cotton ball."