Monday, December 8, 2014

A Step Up

My dear Grandpa reminded me that he still checks this occasionally.  Not only that, but my lovely domain hosting site also reminded that it was time to renew. So, Grandpa, Mom, Dad, and Ange, I'll keep the site.  You know, for Baby Cressman's sake.

Originally, this was to track Scott's medical travels in Rwanda. Then, it changed to our wedding site, then to inform everyone what medical school was like.  As I type this, I'm 37 weeks pregnant and teary eyed.  Oh gosh, the hormones...  Rather than reminiscing (digging up the photo below did enough), I'll update you on the latest and the future.

Shortly before we were engaged. 
Today, Scott finished day 1 of his Step 3 exam.  Remember those long, grueling tests (the ones where you get to spend all day in a computer lab and worry about pacing, remembering things from 4 years ago, making sure you're bodily functions are working properly, wearing the same thing as the last two for comfort/nostalgic/habitual purposes, etc.)? Step 3 is a two-day test (I think those should be outlawed).  Not only do you have to study your butt off to get through the 7 hour test, but you get to go back and do it again the next day... all while spending the evening studying more and worrying about any mistakes you remember from earlier in the day.  These tests are just awful.  First, when do residents have time to study?  But, we survived through it and made it to testing day. Keep in mind, I'm very pregnant. So, the added stress of the exhausted, stressed husband has this future mamma repeatedly telling the little goober in the belly to stay in one more day.  Not only that, but they make you keep your phone in the car all day. So, I was a ball of nerves that I would need an urgent phone call to the hubs.  One more day, little guy. One more day.

Anyway, Scott is pushing through. Baby Cressman has quite the smart Daddy.  They threw a few curve-balls in there this year.  Because of the little baby, Scott had to take the "new" test to make sure we could get it in before he wanted to spend his evenings with the babe. So, he wasn't exactly sure what to expect.  To make matters worse, he won't get his scores back to April. Which should be illegal, in my "expert" opinion. But, come April, he'll get to write his own scripts and be that much closer to the real job. I should mention, for his sake, step 3 is the last step, but then you're knocked back down and studying for Radiology specific exams.

While he's completing his last Step exam, I can't help but think how many steps we've climbed and what's next for us.  After tomorrow, Scott and I can stop worrying about this test and officially start nesting.  I didn't really understand that term until a few days ago. But, I've scoured, organized, and am ready to "enjoy" (yes, that needs quotes) the last couple weeks of pregnancy.   My preggo brain is full of half-completed lists of things to do, things to buy, and making sure I'm enjoying every moment of these last few days of non-mommy life.  I can't decide if the teary eyes are because I'm sad to see my care-free lifestyle with Scott going away or because I'm just so anxious to meet the little booger.

As for pregnancy,
  • I could do without: swollen feet, the lack of a lap (my phone drops every hour), and the need to pre-think bending over for a simple object.
  • I'm going to miss: the little flutters inside my tummy, having an excuse for everything (ha!), and the idea that I'm growing a human. 
  • I'm not ready for: leaky boobs, losing my hair, pushing a baby out of a vagina, losing sleep, a whole new world, and the constant worries.
  • I'm ready for: the snuggles, meeting my little human, experiencing parenthood, and my whole new world. Oh yeah, and getting a break from work! (Don't worry, moms, I know you're all laughing me and the illusion that it's a break). 
So, family and friends, feel free to comment below with your best mommy advice. I'll leave you with the first picture I took after putting the nursery together.  Unfortunately, I haven't taken a nice picture of the wall hangings created by my sisters, or all of his wonderful goodies.  But, here you have the crib and rocking chair without a cat or baby.  That's a rare occurrence (at least the cat part) in the Cressman household. 


Saturday, October 11, 2014

Life & Pregnancy

I suppose I should finally blog about pregnancy for the family members that only keep up with us through this site.  First, my apologies to my Facebook friends...  Apparently, since I didn't share my husband's announcement photo (below), half of you didn't see it.

Around the 16 week mark, we decided to announce our new little bundle of joy.  Since we had just moved, we started with mailing announcement cards. I still enjoy the traditional cards/letters in the mail, so I insisted on doing some type of moving update (I removed the address for this post).

Please note the baby shoes... 
If we learned anything, it's that our family and friends don't seem to enjoy subtlety. Most opened it and thought, "I didn't know people still did moving cards" and left it at that. After a few brief conversations discussing why we wouldn't be unpacked until December, the need for further clarification became clear. So, below I give you our Facebook announcement. In big, bold, capital letters.

Note: No cats flew away in the process. 

So, pregnancy.  First, to all you moms, kudos.  My first trimester was actually relatively easy. I know some women would kill me for saying that, and I know I'm lucky. Other than fatigue, life wasn't too different.  Likewise, the second trimester was nice.  There's something comforting about feeling the little kicks and flutters while watching your belly grow.  But, now I'm at the third trimester.  Wow.  No one tells you about this other than "You're almost there!"  There's a whole new level of exhaustion... and the added weight makes moving around and sleeping tough. Plus, let's not forget about pregnancy brain. Teaching with pregnancy brain is a whole different ball game.  I've used so many sticky notes to try remembering some basic things. But overall, it's true, we're getting close.  One part of me is so excited to become a mom.  Another part of me is scared to death.  First, the basics: Giving birth, breastfeeding, "Will my body ever go back?!", etc. Of course, then there's the life after.  What's our view on discipline? Should we visit all of our friends now since we're no longer going to have such flexibility? Can we survive on no sleep? Can we afford this? Can we, can we, can we...? These questions seem endless. But, I don't know, I wouldn't think we're ready if we didn't start to doubt all the big things in this huge change. That's life. And, I know (or hope) we'll get through it just like everyone else.

I realized last week that I haven't taken a single picture of this growing belly.  With our schedules, we rarely get home before dark... and we're just tired. With this beautiful weather and a relatively free Saturday, I dragged Scott outside with the camera (once again, taking advantage of the lovely fence behind our house). Here's the belly.


Thursday, July 24, 2014

Dusting off the Keys

I had contemplated stopping this.  I figured the "sorry it's been so long" was getting tiring. But, alas, here I am again.  Now that I'm not living close to my family, I might as well update again.

First, we've made our first big married move.  Yes, we've already been in two houses in our short time of marriage, but this one required job changes, so it feels a bit bigger.

Home Sweet Home. For now.  :) Sidenote: I have no idea who's cutting board that is or why it's near our house.  It's been since thrown away and my lovely in-laws have added some more flowers.  We also added a nice door decoration.

Now that we live on the other side of the state, here are the cons we've encountered.

  • Traffic: Yuck! x 2. There's certainly a reason for all the billboards to be covered by ambulance chasers and for car insurance to be twice as high.
  • Housing: Another yuck. While houses themselves are decently priced, rentals are quite high. I suppose we need to start saving up for our second big grown up purchase.
  • Job Search: Rough! Teachers on this site of the state are certainly saturating the market.  I don't know why... but I guess they're not willing to go to Rural schools.  Shout out to my old coworkers - I miss you dearly. 
  • Family and Friends: Too far. While I'm closer to my family than others, it's still weird not have them at fingertips' length. It was a very tough time for us to make a transition, but duty calls.  Luckily, telephones still work (though not cell phones in our house..haha) and our cars are perfectly capable of driving distances. And, we've already had some visitors and were able to provide some 3 starish accommodations.
On the plus side, transition to Residency has been okay. Long hours, a very, very tired husband, but the satisfaction of knowing that we are officially PGY-1ers (the medical speak for intern year). Finally, we're not paying the school.  Though, please don't misunderstand me and think that we have some nice doctor paycheck.  I already hate those looks.  I'm one month into this, and I'm already avoiding telling fresh faces that my husband's a "doctor." He certainly earned the title, but is a looooong way away from what most people perceive as a doctor. And, let's not talk about the debt that is still on top of those tiny paychecks.  Welcome to the life.

On the Selena side of things, I'm officially making the transition to middle school.  Yep, I'm a middle school math teacher.  I'm a bit nervous.  It's not a traditional public school (charter), so I still have yet to discover what all that means.  So far, the biggest difference is the lack of a union.  I'm not a die hard union advocate, but that has a weird feeling when you know that it's not even an option.  It must be working okay, though.  They have great ratings and good MEAP scores. The rest, I probably will find out eventually. They are sending me to a teacher conference next week back in my old stomping grounds, so maybe I'll learn more then. 

Well, I feel like the hard work of getting "settled" is over.  Our house looks somewhat homey.  Though, I can't invite one of my closet friends yet... she'll yell at me that I still don't have a single picture hung.  Hanging pictures seems so permanent. I know it's necessary.... but I just feel like I might want to rearrange things still. :)

That's enough rambling for me for now. Call me out if you don't hear from me in a week. Accountability, people.


Friday, March 21, 2014


I can honestly say that this is a hard post to write.

First, some wonderful news.  We matched and we now know where we are going.  Even better, we matched in a combined program... so we'll only have to move once in the next five years.  That itself is a huge relief.

Sometime in June, we'll be hauling all of our stuff (minus the couches) and two little guys to the Detroit area. Scott's program is well-known in his field and was at the top of our list. So, we can honestly say that we are thrilled to have been matched there.  It's close to family and I already know the area.  Plus, I'll already have my college roommate close by.  Though, I'm sad to leave my other college roommate who is within driving distance.

However, with our celebrations, comes some tears and sadness. It's sinking in that I'll have to change jobs, go back on the job hunt, and leave a great place.  I have some of the most supportive coworkers, and they will be impossible to replace.  I love that I work at a public school and prayer/family support is a regular conversation.  I only hope to find that to be a regular conversation at my next school.

We're excited for a new start. Maybe I'll live within a half hour to my workplace, maybe we'll find a great new house (we feel like we got lucky in Kalamazoo), and maybe we'll love the new city.  It's a lot of unknown that we need to decide soon.  I have that anxious feeling that June is going to come all too fast (and the program is already asking for our vacation days!).

As a final note, my family and friends, you are amazing. Thank you for everything: thoughts, prayers, support, encouragement, etc.

Monday, March 17, 2014

We Matched!

1/3 of the countdown is complete (Match Day & Spring Break are the other two).
I teach (now on my lunch break), but planned my day out with my kids so that I could be sitting at my computer desk at 12pm when the email was due to hit our inbox. That's how important it was. :)  Scott and I celebrated via text and let out out a huge sigh of relief when this came through.
It's nice and vague, but just what we want to hear.  Now, we know that we'll get an answer for where we are placed for transitional year and for the other four years.

If you happen to know someone who did not receive a similar letter today, please be extremely kind.  Their stress level is extremely high as they frantically find a place through the SOAP process.  In another blog I read, it was recommended to order pizza and send it to their house.  What a nice gesture!  Many forget to take the time to eat, sleep, etc.  It's an exhausting time.  

Thanks for the thoughts and prayers!


Sunday, March 16, 2014

Almost There!

I keep debating whether to post or not.  Part of me is exhausted from constantly telling everyone that we have zero updates. But, at the same time, match week is now here. There's so much anxiety to this week, but I've made my schedule jam packed so that I can just get to Friday.  I think I have every dinner accounted for, and every evening taken up with activities.

I don't even want to tell you how many times I've opened this app on my phone lately.  Slowly waiting. On Friday, I finally can tell everyone if I'll be working the same job next year, Scott will finally be able to tell people his residency spot (we hope), and we can finally decide if and where we need to look for places to live for the next few years.   Once we find out, we have 3ish months to figure out jobs, houses, and other fun grown-up stuff. 

Tomorrow is an even bigger day for med students.  Around noon, they find out if they match.  From there, it's either a stressful week of making sure you make call after call to have a place to announce on Friday, or you continue to wait patiently to find out where on Friday.  

Keep watching the blog.  We'll try to keep all of our faithful friends and family as updated as we can.
Prayers are very much appreciated.  Here's what you can pray for:

  • Now-Monday: Pray that we match.  We certainly don't want to have that unnecessary stress. 
  • Monday-Friday: Pray that we are comfortable with where we are sent. Once it happens, we're done.  No second guessing, reconsidering, etc.  We have to be comfortable with keeping jobs, changing jobs, moving states, staying in the same state, going out of comfort zone, etc.
Much love,


Monday, January 27, 2014

Match Day...

I'm sorry for the radio silence.  I'm back to working on my master's, and I feel like I'm living out of my car most of the time. I'm gearing up for Snow day #5 since Christmas Break.  Sadly, my house is still not clean.  However, I have gone through my entire closet (clothes to be coming soon, family!) and finished our taxes. The house will be done tomorrow...

Anyway, I've had so many questions on this... so here's what has been on our minds the past few months.  After driving 6,000+ miles, it's sometimes exhausting hearing things like, "has he heard anything yet?"  I completely understand why you would ask, but I think it gets annoying because we don't know what to say about the whole process.  Here goes my elementary understanding of the process...

First, some definitions:
Residency:  A 5 year program that gives a small stipend.  For the first time, Scott will be referred to as Doctor, have a longer white coat, and we won't be paying the school for him to get some experience.
Transitional Year: His first year of 5 years.  Because he's going into a specialized field, they use the first year to acquaint you with a variety of jobs in different aspects of the medical field.
Combined Program or Categorical Program: A residency program that includes the transitional year in the same hospital.  In our specific field, this isn't common (meaning we have a good possibility of two moves very soon).

Now, for the algorithm (After all of my math courses, this algorithm makes complete sense, but gives me goosebumps every time).

Our side of the Algorithm:
Scott sent out a good chunk of applications to residency programs of our choosing.  We chose based on their record, their "name", and most importantly, their location (see last post). We heard back, and set out on the interviewing journey. Unfortunately, most programs are not combined, so we had both the transitional year interviews and the main residency interviews.  Now, we are currently assembling, disassembling, revising, and finalizing our residency rank list.  Here, Scott and I scrutinize each place based on their pros and cons to develop some type of ordered list of our favorite places.  If we really don't like a place, we can't put it on our list because there is a chance we could get sent there.  So, we only rank those places that we are comfortable living and working.  For me, most include a job change (or 2) ... so it's all rather baffling.  Then, for each place, we create a separate transitional year list.  So, if my rank looks like this: "Awesome, Good, Semi-Good,"  I then have a separate rank for Awesome's first year: "Awesome #2, Good #2, Semi-Good #2."  Once we are satisfied by our list, we can submit it to the website.  Then, as the game plays out, you call, pray, and send notes indicating that you think of them highly.  It's a game in every sense of the word, except that you have to wait months to figure out if you won and it's not much fun.

Their side of the Algorithm:
While we're fumbling away, they are doing the same.  They decide if they want to rank each applicant.  Many will rank 6-10 people for each 1 spot.. but you are at home praying that they choose to rank you high.

Once deadlines have passed, the computer starts the algorithm.  If Scott's #1 ranks him #1, then we're done. Or, the algorithm continues.  It goes to person #2, and if person #2 ranks #1 first, then they match.  It continues all of this until most people are matched.  Then, it repeats for the transitional year.

Dun...Dun...Dun... Match Week!On Monday,  March 17th, we are notified whether or not we matched.  Daunting, right?  You're given a note saying "Congratulations," or "Sorry." If you receive the "Sorry" letter, you go through the Supplemental Offer and Acceptance Program (SOAP).  In a way, this is like a mini-match, where applicants who didn't match try for places that didn't fill their open residency spots. It is unlikely that you interviewed at this program or had even thought of living there. Boy, I hope we are not in that position.

On Friday, March 21st, we have a fancy lunch.  Here, they tell you where your next 1 & 4 years will be.  There's no "accepting" or "denying" the invitation.  You are going there.  That's it.

The hardest part is the unknown.  I'm a planner... so it kills me that we have no idea what we're doing next year until March 21st.  Then, once we're at that date, it's all depicted for us.  There's no stage of "warming up to the idea." It's just important we are both on the same page and willing to go wherever we're sent and hope that it's one of our top choices.

So, there you have it.  If you'd like some explanations without my commentary, visit this site.  They offer some great, in-depth explanations of the whole process.  If you browse long enough, you find out that there's a good chance we will go through this again for fellowship.  If you ask us about this, sorry in advance for the vague answers.  We don't really know what to say.  It could go really well, but we don't want to spend time really hoping and praying that we get sent to our top choice.  What if we don't?  Who knows...