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Annalisa

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MOM BOSS

TGIF! Time to see the family!

Family Photo

This picture is a pretty good depiction of our life right now. We squeeze in any chance we can to see each other and when we do, it’s a little wild and crazy.

I am so thankful for Annalisa who does it ALL Monday - Friday while I am gone (off at Medical rotations out of state). There are good days and there are hard days. Some days the kids are great, but sometimes Annalisa is up every hour with the baby and then chasing Bryer all the next day. She is an amazing mother and one of the most active moms I know.

When the weekend comes I catch the first flight I can out of Seattle to meet Annalisa. I stay as long as possible and catch the last flight coming back, usually getting back to my place around 1-2 AM. Then I start work the next day around 5:30 AM with shifts that go 12-16 hours each day.

But that is nothing compared to what Annalisa does! 16 hour days are long but 24 hour days are longer. As a mom of two boys, and one of them a newborn, it is a nonstop continuous shift of feeding, cleaning, chasing, disciplining, entertaining, changing diapers, and holding/rocking the baby, all on very little, interrupted sleep.

I know she loves being a mom, but just like any challenging job, it can be exhausting and stressful. I point these things out to say I have so much respect for this woman!

So then when I come home for 36 hours and I hold my baby for a bit, I find it hilarious when people say “Wow what an amazing Dad!”

Wait really? I hold my baby for an hour and I start receiving accolades. Not that I don’t appreciate it, I just don’t know if I deserve it when such a double standard exists. I get praised for working hard at my job that I clock in and out of, and get praised at home for doing 1% of what my wife does 24/7. I just know that Annalisa, and most moms in general, do not receive the same praise.

Moms need more respect, love, admiration, and praise, not just on Mother’s day, but as often as possible for their unceasing hard work and dedication.

But I especially want to highlight Annalisa who during this phase of our life has to do it alone (without me) 5 days a week. She is amazing!

JoyRock Family
Father son swimming

Annalisa really is a Proverbs 31 woman!

Proverbs 31: 10-30

10 A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies.

11 Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value.

12 She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.

13 She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands.

14 She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar.

15 She gets up while it is still night; she provides food for her family and portions for her female servants.

16 She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.

17 She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks.

18 She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night.

19 In her hand she holds the distaff and grasps the spindle with her fingers.

20 She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy.

21 When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet.

22 She makes coverings for her bed; she is clothed in fine linen and purple.

23 Her husband is respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.

24 She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies the merchants with sashes.

25 She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.

26 She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue.

27 She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.

28 Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her:

29 “Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.”

30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.

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The Art of Equilibrium

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The Art of Equilibrium

As I sit here just days away from having my second child during medical school, I think about how simultaneously crazy and wonderful it has been. I was asked last year to write about how I balance medical school with family life so I thought I would share it here as well...

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  They say medicine is an art; well so is making it through the schooling. It takes intentionality, finesse, and even creativity to balance the rigors of medical school and home life. Medical school is extremely difficult no matter what your home life is like, but it can seem nearly impossible at times with a spouse and kids at home.
    

My first son was born midway through first year, during the thick of immunology didactics. Initially, I was struggling to stay afloat. I was grappling with my newly acquired ropes of fatherhood and trying to be an attentive husband, all while maintaining my intense study schedule. I had to adapt quickly or some area of my life was going to plummet.


    Everyone’s situation is different. For me personally, I found it very difficult to study once I arrived home. So, I spent more time on campus to study after classes. I utilized my lunches and breaks in between to review and ask questions. I relied heavily upon classmates to hold me accountable and met up often to review the relentless onslaught of new material. I used my drive to and from campus productively, re-listening to previous lectures or calling family members to stay in touch.
    It is imperative that you take breaks from the constant stress and studies, otherwise you will not make it through medical school. Since I was able to maximize my time outside of the house, this allowed me to devote precious time to my wife and new born baby. No matter how busy I was, I always tried to take the first hour I got home to give undivided attention to my family. I got to ask about their day, help out around the house, and play with my baby. When I made it home early enough I could help out with dinner, or at least enjoy dinner with the family.  Then it was time to clean up, give the baby his bath, do the bedtime routine: dressing, bottle, brushing teeth, bedtime book, and rocking to sleep. By the time I shut the door to the nursery, it was already late at night. I still think it is important to have quality time with your wife, because it is not the same while watching a baby. Sometimes we would chat some more or play a game for thirty minutes or so, but then it was time for me to get back to studying. I could usually squeeze in an hour or two of more study hours before I fell asleep on my notes or stumbled back to the bedroom.


    It is crucial to find your support system. For me it was my wife. She not only encouraged me throughout the whole process, but was extremely helpful. On nights when I needed extra time to study, she took on everything— and I mean everything! She took care of our baby all day long, cooked, cleaned, and helped me with any errands I was struggling to finish. On top of all that, she works full-time over 50 hours a week owning and operating a photography business! I do not know how she does it all, but I am so blessed to have her in my life. She balances being the best wife, mother, and business owner. Maybe that’s what inspires me to balance my roles of father, husband, and student.
    All the loved ones in your life can be seen as burdens or blessings. When you correctly calibrate your perspective you realize what an advantage it is to have these people in your life. Yes, it takes time to maintain these relationships. For me personally, it at times added hours of chores, increased my stress, and decreased my sleep. However, the benefits were unsurpassable. After an overwhelming day of treading water in the lecture hall, nothing feels as uplifting as a welcome home hug from that special someone. In my case, it was my wife. Everyday she boosted my morale with her joyous smile. When she made me laugh, I momentarily forgot about the stresses that loomed within next Friday’s exam. Then, I got to hold my child. You can only understand the joys this brings once you have a child of your own. This was the most fulfilling study break and I was so fortunate to have him in my life during these stressful times.
    Instead of looking at the chores in your life as time-consuming burdens, use them as physical reminders to count your blessings. When taking out the trash, be thankful you have arms and legs to do so. When changing your baby’s diaper, consider it foul-smelling proof that your child’s gastrointestinal system is working properly. I was thankful for the lecture recordings, because I was able to utilize this resource to re-watch dozens of lectures while feeding or rocking our baby. On the days when there is no time for exercising at the gym, at least you can do push ups wherever you are (which is what I resorted to often while playing with my son). I learned first-hand how perspective brings contentment— and having babies makes you efficient.
    Families are dynamic and ever-changing. Everyone is busy and has stressful home life events happening throughout their schooling careers. It is how we adapt to these situations that allows us to persevere; and this perseverance builds unshakable character that will define us for the duration of our medical endeavors.

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Pound for Pound

Since today is the day Annalisa and I celebrate 125 months of love, I am going to take a moment to brag about how amazing she has been through this whole pregnancy.

First of all I just want to praise God for his abundant blessings. You can prepare/prep and do everything right and still have EVERYTHING go wrong. Thankfully, Annalisa has had a VERY healthy pregnancy and as far as we know our son Bryer has been healthy at every check up.

The human body is incredible and every day at school while studying the different organ systems we have been relating it back to embryonic development and pregnancy. It hits even closer to home for someone like me since I go home to my wife and watch her grow and change on a daily basis. Some of our favorite times is laying on the bed and watch her stomach move as Bryer practices firing his muscle and nerve fibers in a process called “quickening”.

But back to ANNALISA. This woman amazes me every day! I have always admired mothers for their “mom-strength”. I’ve always appreciated Annalisa’s drive and perseverance but its crazy to see how much stronger she gets each day. I’m just impressed with how much she can do and even when I know she is in pain, doesn’t complain and stays positive.

For the first 7 months of pregnancy she powered through weddings, photoshoots, and events no matter how tired, achy, and sore she was. There has been times on the ways to a shoot I have had to drive her because she was feeling so sick. We had to pull off the road so she could barf on the side. I would insist that she needed to cancel and reschedule the shoot, but NOOOO, she was going to power through. Besides she was booked solid and would feel bad for her clients if she canceled on an engagement shoot and then was not able to offer them photos because she had no free days. She was literally booked solid! And on top of that, some of the sessions she was doing for free for either family members, contest winners, and for monthly givebacks.

So, since there was no arguing with her, I kept driving her to her shoot… until she would whisper “pull-over” so she could jump out and vomit some more. But she made it. And at the shoots, the adrenaline kicked in. When I was able to go to her shoots I would watch from a far as she creatively captured her couples. I bet none of them even knew that she was sick because Annalisa was directing with I like to call “A-game”. She has a gift of being able to make people smile.  Annalisa makes people feel natural which a rare quality for photographers. Not only is she an amazing technical shooter, she also has the social gift to radiate joy and amiability into each shoot (which in my opinion is even more important). She also wasn’t afraid to get down in all the various positions to get that perfect angle. She climbed mountains and waded in water to capture some incredible photos.

I love how pro-active Annalisa has been through this whole pregnancy. She has read books, blogs, and talked to moms for advice. She preps in so many ways and I think it has really helped pay off to have a happy/healthy pregnancy. She has really enjoyed the whole process. But like I said before, we have to give God the glory because you could do everything according to the books and still be sick, immobilized, or have a complication that is completely out of your control.

I appreciate Annalisa taking the time to look up pre-parenting classes, hospital tours, and labor and delivery prep classes. At first I would go into these classes thinking “okay isn’t most of this stuff common sense” and when it had to do with medical terminology or health safety I would think “Oh I’m sure I have learned this in my Med school classes”.  But I wanted to have a positive attitude and told myself that I was going to try to learn at least one new thing at every class— one good take away point. But EVERY single time now I have come out with over a page of notes. Definitely recommend these classes. They are very informative and it is a great bonding time as husband and wife during this amazing journey.

Annalisa is one of the most active pregnant people I know. She isn’t a gym rat but she finds other ways to move her body and burn calories. She takes out our Fur-children Posey and Pepper around the Paseo or on hikes. Actually, I think we have gone on more walks/hikes since she has been pregnant than our entire marriage before. My favorite exercise Annalisa does is when she dances. I think she is the most amazing dancer and I love any time there is music that gets her moving. I always am torn between sitting back and watching her move and jumping up to join her (usually the latter is what ends up happening).

I still can’t get over how rare it is to hear Annalisa complain. I know she has been achy and tired, especially these past few weeks as we approach the end, but she always keeps a smile on her face and powers through.

Annalisa never used “pregnancy” as an excuse. If anything, she used it to better herself. I have heard stories of people eating whatever they want (and however much they want) and blaming it on pregnancy cravings.  Yes, obviously Annalisa has eaten more since being pregnant but not in excess. Even though she LOVES brownies, she never ate a whole pan (even though she probably could have LOL). Instead she would fill up on something healthy prior to giving into a sweet tooth craving. She added things into her diet that before she was not too fond of. She now eats spinach on practically a daily basis (PS a great way to incorporate veggies into your diet is just throwing a handful or two of spinach/kale/leafy greens into your smoothie. You won’t even taste it, but your body will be happy). She rarely eats out and when she does it is typically something I would consider healthy any ways. Annalisa also stopped drinking soda and is making sure to drink lots of water throughout her day.

Annalisa has recently entered into the “nesting” stage. I don’t think she made a conscious change but I noticed. She has always been really good about keeping up with the house and cleaning but now I couldn’t find a dog hair if someone paid me (and that’s saying A LOT when you have two indoor dogs running around all day!). She has also completed the nursery and made she her hospital bag is packed and ready. If I’m ever home and not sure where Annalisa is, I head over to the nursery and sure enough I can find her in there working on something.

Aside from running her photography business, prepping the house, and exercising, she also takes care of me! She cooks me the most incredible meals and always makes sure I am well taken care of. She invests time into our relationship to make sure that we are still growing in our relationship even in this busy time of prep.

And then there is the glow!

Come on, how gorgeous is this lady! She just gets more and more beautiful every single day. I just stare at her all the time and think, “Wow, how did I get so lucky?”

So when Annalisa first got pregnant we made a pack to go “POUND-for-POUND” with each other. She didn’t want to look/feel large next to me (or be heavier than me), even though she knows it is a natural and womanly process. I think she exemplifies grace and beauty but I also understand how critical women are of themselves. So I was going to try to gain a pound for every pound that Annalisa gained throughout her pregnancy. We approximated that she would gain 25 pounds since that is the healthy average weight gain for a full term pregnancy.

She is now about 3 weeks from her due date and has gained about 22 pounds! WOW! I’m thinking she will gain about a pound per week during these weeks of pregnancy which would put us exactly 25.

For those that don’t know me, my genes don’t correspond with weight gain very easily. I have tried to gain weight in the past and the most I have ever got up to was about 165 pounds.

But somehow I have been able to do it!

During these past months I have been able to gain 25 pounds! I am the heaviest I have ever been! POUND-for-POUND mission accomplished.

Somehow even with gaining 20+ pounds, Annalisa looks sexy as ever. Just look at those legs and arms! Are you kidding me?

I could rave about her physical beauty incessantly but the inner beauty is even more magnificent. She is sweet, fun, and so up-lifting. She makes me laugh more than anyone and makes me feel so appreciated. She is inspiring and supportive throughout every stage of life. We are so excited for our new bundle of joy and I can’t wait to see Annalisa holding our baby. She is going to be the best mom in the world!

Annalisa, I love you so much!

Happy 125 Months of love!

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