Friday, April 25, 2014


The biggest news at the Tell House lately is that we finally closed on our SC house.

This is a huge answer to prayer, obviously, since paying both the mortgage on our house and our rent here in CA is no fun, and has made for some added stress.

And yet, I found myself a little sad. I loved that house. Our first house - the house where we brought home our babies, and lived through 6 years of the joys and sorrows of residency and married life. I think, too, that part of me had this thought that if things didn't work out here, we had this safety net of a home to go back to.

And now that's gone. And even though I know God has called us here, the thought of not really having something to fall back on is a little terrifying.

Goodbye, Oak Ridge Drive. We'll miss you.
I guess now I really need to make a new blog title.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

When I nearly cried on rounds.

I have been working as a doctor for almost 7 years now. I have been present during lots of beautiful moments and lots of tough ones. I have delivered babies, pronounced death, and given lots and lots of difficult news. I'm not sure I ever was closer to crying while seeing a patient than during rounds on Friday.

I have spent most of my time since graduation practicing as a hospital physician. I rarely feel like I have a lot in common with my patients since most hospitalized patients are fairly old. In some of them, I might see my grandparents, or my parents, or even what I might be like in another 30 years, but I cannot always see my present self. But she was different.

My patient was a beautiful woman, almost my same age, with an adorable 10-month old daughter. I knew her daughter was beautiful because she proudly showed me pictures on her phone as we were discussing how she felt and when she might get to go home. She asked that I speak with her husband, who clearly adored her. Then she asked me if I had pictures of my kids - and so I had to run back to the desk where I was working and get my phone so I could show her. I feel like if we had met under different circumstances our kids would have been playing together. And yet - here she was laying on the bed next to me with her hair pulled back into a ponytail. Her legs were atrophied from the genetic disease that will eventually take her life. She can no longer eat or even breathe for herself; underneath our conversation was the rhythmic hum of the ventilator.

As I was standing there, looking at pictures of her daughter, I had this sudden, terrible thought: would her daughter even remember her? I thought about Naomi, and how much I love her, and how if she lost me now, she would have absolutely no recollection of the snuggles, late-night rocking, or lullabies that we share. And I almost lost it.

I don't know how long my patient has. She wasn't hospitalized with anything serious. And I don't really even know the typical course for her disease. Of course, I don't know how long I have either. Being in that hospital room made me thankful for my kids and my health, but also left me in awe of the beautiful woman who so excitedly shared a little piece of her life with me.

Monday, April 07, 2014

Free LA: Santa Susanna Train Museum

I decided I'm going to do a little ongoing series about fun and free LA activities. LA is an expensive place to live but there are some great things to do that don't cost anything. I've already mentioned a few of them. (Mostly I'm looking at you, Science Center.) I'm not sure how frequently I'll do these, but we'll see how it goes.

One of our recent free finds is the Santa Susanna Train Museum and adjacent park. It's not technically in LA, I guess, but right next door in Simi Valley. Since we live about 3 freeway exits away, it's definitely close enough for us. It's an old railroad station that was moved and turned into a small train museum and model train display. The museum only has a couple of rooms but you can blow a train whistle, play with a telegraph and teletype machine and see old train-related paraphernalia. And get a sticker, which is a big hit with the 4 year old crowd.

The highlight for us is definitely the very large model railroad exhibit which has a very active group of railroad enthusiasts (very enthused enthusiasts!) who take the model railroad extremely seriously. Apparently they occasionally have get togethers where they run the trains on a schedule and move freight around. The railroad is fashioned after the California coast, which is also kind of neat.
The museum is located right next to a fairly active railroad line, so in addition to seeing model trains, you can also see the real thing.

Last time we were there they even had free popcorn.
After checking out the model trains and museum, you can walk over to the park. It's not a huge park but is probably my favorite in LA. There is lots of shade, a good playground, lots of picnic tables and grassy areas. Plus bathrooms and waterfountains. The highlights for me, though, are these huge boulders you can climb on and around.  The playground is also right next to the train track, so you may get to see even more trains going by. I wish I had more photos of the cool boulders, but this was basically all I could find.There are also live oak trees in the park, which I love because they remind me of living in Charleston. It's beautiful.

On the drive home, there are several curvy canyon roads you can drive down for some other nice views of the city. If you're lucky, your kids will be so worn out from the trains and climbing that they'll fall asleep.

Saturday, April 05, 2014


Judah just had his fourth birthday. It's hard to believe that just four years ago, after one of the longest and toughest days we welcomed that little guy into our family.

He's not nearly so little now, full of thoughts and ideas and questions (and questions!) and funny and smart and sweet. He challenges me and most days I feel like I'm failing him. Thankfully I serve a God who doesn't. Motherhood is teaching me to pray.

The birthday boy requested oatmeal for his birthday breakfast. No lie. I did serve him the tastiest baked oatmeal and put sprinkles on top so it wouldn't be boring.
 After I picked him up from school we had a fun trip to the playground in his new four year old t-shirt. With Rockets. (You can see his one year shirt here, his two year shirt here, and I can't find a good link to his three year shirt.But it had a "3" on it in Thomas fabric.)
 (She's getting cute. I know this is a post about my 4-year-old, but I couldn't resist.)

We just had a little family celebration here on his birthday and are planning a bigger party with a few friends next weekend. I made his (and my) favorite chocolate cake, topped with three types of sprinkles (the boy loves sprinkles) and M&Ms.

We got him a new set that goes with the marble run he got at Christmas, a set which he would ask for almost every time we played with his marble run. You can see how excited he was to open it. We've been playing some non-stop marble run since we opened it.

Four is a fun and exhausting age. I'm thankful for the gift our son is to us and am looking forward to see him grow up!

Friday, April 04, 2014


I finally broke through the post-Christmas sewing burnout in time to make Naomi a little backpack. We have a friend babysit the kids on thursday morning while I'm at work, and now Naomi has a cute little bag we can pack with a few diapers and a water bottle for the trip. I again used the Toddler backpack pattern from Made by Rae.

I love everything about how this turned out and especially the fact that everything used was already in my stash. I only had an invisible zipper that was long enough, so that's what I used. I still have some leftover white fabric - maybe enough to make a little skirt. I think it's the piping that really makes this backpack look so nice. It's not hard to add but can turn a sort of ho-hum project into one that looks really sharp.

Is that weird to have a skirt that matches your backpack? Either way it would be adorable. The lining came out very cute, too. I love how girly this backpack is without being pink. Not that there is anything wrong with pink. Anyway....this was a great project to get the sewing juices flowing again. I've already mostly finished some Easter outfits for the kids, so you can look for those soon.