Mid-Block Update…and Hello Spring!

Spring is finally here and it’s been a fantastic weekend enjoying the outdoors and spending time with the family. This afternoon, the kids and I spent about 2 hours outside attempting to tidy up the lawn now that most of the snow has melted. The miracle of Spring never fails to amaze me as I witness new bright green buds bursting their way through the ground with utmost determination. It is so refreshing! I also love hearing the sound of the Canadian Geese making their much welcomed return back home.

I am about half-way through the next block of medical school. This block is aptly titled “Defense” as we are learning all about the Immune system. I have to say that this has been one of the most enjoyable blocks of medical school so far. It is complex but simultaneously fascinating. There has also been a significant emphasis on differential diagnosis in this block where we act as medical detectives trying to decipher what could be the diagnosis of a patient’s symptoms. I’ll be wrapping up my Longitudinal Family Medicine Experience next week and I can’t believe I have had the opportunity to see over 100 patients over the past few months of medical school. I have learned so much and benefited greatly from a positive learning environment.

As the weather continues to warm up and we move into a new season, I am so thankful for my family, the people around me, the strength that God gives me daily and the wonderful opportunity to be studying medicine.

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This was the last big snowfall of the season (view from my daughter’s bedroom)
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The kids are super excited that Spring is finally here! We can finally go on the deck!

 

Glorious Sunset

One of the things I love most about where we live is getting to experience beautiful sunsets, particularly after fresh snow has fallen and the pink-purple rays of the sun cast a magnificent contrast to the gleaming white flakes of snow. I took these pictures from our dining room last night as my family and I settled down to eat supper, thankful that we live in a safe and beautiful neighborhood where my children are thriving.

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Fall Fun…A Visit to the Pumpkin Patch

One of the things I love about the Fall season? Pumpkins!

There’s so much you can do with pumpkins, from carving funny faces in them, to making pumpkin pie to baking the seeds for a crunchy snack. Today, we visited a pumpkin patch at a nearby farm and there was plenty of fun for kids and adults alike. We went on a tractor ride, frolicked through row upon row of pumpkins, played hide-and-seek in a cornstalk maze, visited farm animals and devoured delicious freshly baked pumpkin muffins! The weather was warmer than usual for October, the perfect temperature for an afternoon outing!

 

Month 2 of Medical School…and the Beauty of Fall

I am now well into my second month of medical school. I am happy to have passed my first exam and am about half-way through the second block which covers the topic of respiration. I have really enjoyed my anatomy and histology labs and find that this ties in nicely to the lecture material which explains the physiology and disease processes affecting the respiratory system. Although there is a mountain of information to learn, I am enjoying medical school and I am so grateful to have been given this opportunity!

This past weekend was a beautiful relaxed one as my family and I spent many hours in nature enjoying the splendor of the Fall colors. The children loved exploring the woods not far from our house, picking up different types of leaves and pine needles, and observing different kinds of mushrooms.  After long, busy days at school, I feel so blessed for the time I get to spend with my husband and children. It is so precious!

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Beautiful Fall colors against the backdrop of a crystal clear blue sky
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Brother-sister love!
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Little Miss Sunshine
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Our cutie-pies sitting on a tree-stump that they discovered in the woods
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Daddy and the munchkins!
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I love the lighting in this photo!
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Taking a break from our walk
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I love being by the waterside!
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Beautiful turkey tail mushrooms flanked by a striking red maple leaf

 

 

Sharing my Summer Garden with You

One of the things I love about Summer is the variety of beautiful blooms that we get to enjoy in various parts of our garden. I would like to share with you some of the flowers I captured on camera. I am not sure of all their names but hope to one day learn. There’s something so uplifting about looking at, smelling and touching these magnificent creations. Enjoy!

 

 

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Fresh scented lilacs

Fall Leaves, Sandy Parks and the Love of Children

Despite runny noses and some difficult nights with sick kids this week, it was a wonderful week! I had the chance to spend a day with each of the kids alone and it was just so lovely to spend time with each child. Our time together was simple. Long walks to the park or in the woods. While my son was frolicking in the sand at the park, I exercised on the grass, my son laughing at some of my funny poses. As he giggled and played, I couldn’t help joining him on the slides and monkey bars. We even managed to see-saw as I figured out how to balance my weight against his. I felt like a kid again and it was so refreshing!

Beautiful Fall colors in Saint Lazare, Québec. Image courtesy of potentialdoctor.com
Beautiful Fall colors in Saint Lazare, Québec. Image courtesy of potentialdoctor.com

My walk in the woods with my daughter was met with the most magnificent array of autumn colors. The tall trees that had been so lush and green just a few weeks ago were now shedding their fiery red, orange leaves, creating a crunchy multi-colored path under our feet. The colossal clear blue sky provided a beautiful contrast to the autumn leaves and it was so nice to just clear my thoughts and pray. As my daughter turned around in her stroller every so often to face me with a beaming smile, I thought to myself, “This is my little girl, MY little girl. I don’t feel like I deserve you but yet here you are, a precious part of our family“.

As we climbed the stairs back up to the house, our little chatterbox Naomi turned to me and said “Mummy, I love ooo“. It just melted my heart. My son Caleb further encouraged my soul when he spontaneously said to me, “Mummy, I want you to be my doctor because when I’m sick, I just want you.

My kids make me feel so loved and cherished. It’s moments like these that erase all the strife of teething, tantrums, time-outs, leaky diapers or melt-downs. It’s all a part of parenthood and those special moments with the kids make it all worth it!

Our big boy Caleb having fun at the park
Our big boy Caleb having fun at the park
Our precious angels, Caleb and Naomi
Our precious angels, Caleb and Naomi

Climbing Up A Misty Mountain

When I was growing up in Kenya, I had the opportunity to climb Mount Longonot, a shapely, dormant volcano sitting quietly on the bottom of the breathtaking Rift Valley escarpment. The mountain was not all that difficult to climb and no special equipment was required. It was more like a hike if you compare it to an intimidating mountain like Mount Everest. But what I remember most about it was the mist that swirled around us as the guides stealthily led us up the mountain.

Every so often, we would hear the crack of pebbles rolling down the steeper areas of the mountain which had been eroded over time. It was hard to get our bearings. The guides instructed us to stay close together and if we ever lost sight of the person in front of us due to the mist, we were to speak loudly enough to regain contact with the group and ensure we had not become lost.

After what seemed like an eternity, we finally emerged at the top, the mist evaporating. I will never forget the view of the interior of the volcano. What had seemed to be a very dry, drab mountain from the exterior had a lush, thriving interior filled with trees. It was like a hidden paradise waiting to be discovered by those willing to push through the mist. As I turned around to take in the view surrounding the mountain, it was simply spectacular. The Rift Valley rolled away from us on every side. The ground under our feet flashed in the sparkling sun due to the rich, glassy obsidian rocks scattered all about. As  we rested and ate, I was in no hurry to climb back down the mountain. I simply wanted to take it all in and enjoy the beauty of nature.

Mount Longonot in the Great Rift Valley of Kenya. Image courtesy of kenyahotelsltd.com
Mount Longonot in the Great Rift Valley of Kenya. Image courtesy of kenyahotelsltd.com

Interesting facts about Mount Longonot:

  • Its name is derived from the Maasai word oloonong’ot, meaning “mountains of many spurs” or “steep ridges”.
  • It is thought to have last erupted in the 1860s.
  • The mountain is home to various species of wildlife, notably zebra, giraffe, buffaloes, and hartebeest.