Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Arkansas/White Coat Ceremony/Halloween

As the title to this post suggests, we've had a lot going on lately, and I've been really slow about getting anything up about it.

Two weeks ago we went to Arkansas to visit Ben's grandparents.  It was a welcome break after "Blacktober", the first couple of weeks in October during which the first year medical students have a ton of tests.  I had no idea Arkansas was so beautiful!  It is covered with rolling hills and dense woods.  I was particularly pleased to see the autumn leaves coming out.  The drive was about 6 1/2 hours.  Whitney handled it pretty well.  It was great to spend some time with Grandma and Grandpa Buckner.  They kept us entertained with their stories.  They have both had such interesting lives!  They also drove us out to a beautiful man-made lake near their home.  Whitney had a blast crawling around after their dog and watching their domesticated flying squirrel.  

Ben's white coat ceremony was two Saturdays ago.  The ceremony is kind of an induction into the medical field even though he doesn't really know anything yet and has no authority to do anything.  At least now he kind of looks legit.  The ceremony consisted of four faculty speakers and then each student was presented with their white coat.  I posted some pictures below and a video of Ben getting his coat at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1JZSTUOO784.  The second picture is Ben and his mentor Dr. Nesbitt by a  banner for his college.  The student body is divided into 6 colleges.  Each college has a group of doctors who are assigned to mentor six students in each year.

On a semi-related note, if you love the "I'm on a boat" skit on SNL, you will probably like this video:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UfoR96w41wk.  It's called "I wear a coat" and it was done by some of the medical students at Ben's school.  It is hilarious.

The night of the ceremony we went to our ward's "Trunk or Treat."  I'm embarrassed to say I had never heard of a "Trunk or Treat" before we moved to Texas.  I've always lived in neighborhoods where there was no question whether kids were safe going to complete strangers homes late at night.  I suppose in Dallas it is a different story.  For those who, like myself, had never heard of it before, it is essentially trick or treating in a parking lot out of people's trunks (if that wasn't obvious enough).  Several of the trunks were decked out with halloween decor.  Our trunk was pretty bare except for the jack o' lanterns we had carved earlier that day. The highlight of the night was watching Whitney and her friend Maggie crawl around in their butterfly costumes.  I also posted a picture of her with Hudson, one of her other little friends.  It was taken at a Halloween party we had a couple of weeks ago with some of the married MS1 students and their wives.  

Not much else is new.  Oh yeah, I passed the Texas Bar Exam!  Woohoo! We miss you all!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Whitney's First Birthday!!!

Whitney's birthday was not the magical experience I was hoping it would be, but I did my best.  Part of the problem was that she had gotten over a bad fever only the day before and wouldn't take a nap that afternoon.  I had foolishly scheduled her 12-month wellness appointment for that morning.  Usually we would be out of a wellness appointment in 45 minutes.  However, we have a new pediatrician who seems to have overcommitted herself in terms of the amount of patients she serves.  We waited for two hours before we even saw the doctor.  Whitney was suffering the whole wait.  Because of the lateness of the doctor's appointment, Whitney's nap schedule was wrecked for the rest of the day.  By the time we got to her birthday party that evening she was very tired and sensitive.

I probably shouldn't have had my expectations so high, but I can't help it, I'm a new mom.  I have dreamed for years about throwing AMAZING birthday parties for my kids.  These parties would be Disney themed and be decked to the hilt with balloon animals, homemade birthday tiaras, and cakes in the shape of the Taj Mahal.  Maybe the problem lies in the fact that I keep comparing myself to my mom, who always seemed to throw incredible birthday parties.  Well, hopefully I'll get better with practice.  I also need to prioritize.  The first order of business is making sure the birthday girl is happy.

Here are links to a couple of videos we took of opening presents and having birthday cake:



Earlier in the day, we went swimming (one of Whitney's favorite activities) and had pizza, strawberries, and grapes (Whitney's favorite foods).  She seemed to get happier as the party worn on.


Saturday, October 2, 2010

Third video

For some reason my third video for the below post didn't load.  Here it is.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Videos of Whitney, Texas State Fair, Oktoberfest

Some of the grandparents requested videos of Whitney.  I posted three below.  They capture simple things Whitney does during the day.  A lot of this stuff gives me mommy-pride, but I realize it is stuff every infant does, so sorry if you're bored to tears, but I love it!  

Ben is passing all his classes so far.  The school makes this first semester pass/fail so that the students can get used to the rigorous study schedule without putting a dent into their GPAs.  (I REALLY wish they would have done that for law school.)

In the last few weeks we have been to two local events: Oktoberfest in Addison and the Texas State Fair in downtown Dallas.  Oktoberfest was more family-oriented than you might expect, though there was plenty of beer to be had.  We watched some German folk dancers, checked out a bunch of vendors, and entered to win a Mercedes Benz (The call is coming any day now. I know it!).  The Texas State Fair was fun, though to have A LOT of fun there you have to have a lot of money.  Nevertheless, we saw an auto show; had some Southern carnival food (a little more carnival than Southern, unfortunately--though they did have fried beer which would have tasted very Southern); watched an electric parade (akin to the Disney electric parade but not nearly as cool); and saw a light show with fireworks, flames, and an illuminated stage.  We didn't go on any of the carnival rides since most of them cost $5 per person--ouch.

Not much else is new.  We'd love to hear what is going on with all of you!   

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The many adventures of Whitney Buckner

For those of you who are wondering what Whitney (and I) are up to these days, I snapped a few candid shots and decided to create a photo montage for the blog.

As you can see, we stay busy, but we are always having fun!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Irving Apartment

So, I finally was able to post the video I made of our apartment. See it at

I also uploaded a video of the area just outside of our apartment. It is at

Friday, September 10, 2010

1 month down 95 to go

Its been a month since Ben started medical school. While the month has gone by quickly, it has still reinforced in my mind how long this whole thing is going to be...long. Nevertheless, we are happy, I still get to see Ben every once in awhile, and we are able to survive ok on the loan money the school has given us. I can do this for 8 years, I think.

Its also been a month since I told everyone I would send out blog updates regularly. So, this is a little later than planned, but I think I've finally figured out the whole blog thing besides how to upload video (our connection is horrible, so I'll have to find a better connection or figure out some way to do it where the upload won't get interrupted after a few hours) and how to get our little family picture (above) to upload in the appropriate size. I've figured out how to do posts, anyhow, and that is what matters most.

In a nutshell, Ben's school has been harder than he expected, finding friends has been easier than either of us expected, being at home with Whitney has been more fun than I expected, and Texas has been just as hot and humid as we both expected.

While Ben has done well so far in school, he has been a little bit surprised at how difficult it has been. The classes are very fast. He said that he learns in one day what it took him a week or more to learn during his undergrad. The classes are also extremely comprehensive. For example, Ben took two anatomy classes in his undergrad and aced them both. This one, even after only a few weeks, has been a lot more detailed and complicated than either of the classes he took before. This anatomy class focuses a lot more heavily, not only on the names and locations of everything, but what everything interacts with and how it interacts (e.g. nerves to muscles, muscles to bones, etc.). Thankfully, this first semester is pass/fail. Two weeks ago he passed his first biochemistry test, though not with the score he would have desired. Shockingly, a third of the class DIDN'T pass that test. I told Ben to count his blessings. Essentially, though things have been harder than he thought, he feels like he is keeping up.

Ben goes to school with 6 other LDS boys (men?), and has gotten to know them all very well. The church has many benefits, one of them is automatic friendships. Ben and I have been able to do several things with these students and their wives already--among them is BYU football, of course. Its been very nice to have someone to hang out with! Ben has also made friends with some other students. He doesn't like the idea of having an exclusive "Mormon clique". He has made good friends with all of his "tank mates" (3 students who share a cadaver with him ) as well as another student and his wife who are coming over to dinner this weekend.

I've really enjoyed this month of being at home with Whitney. While it gets a bit boring being at home all of the time, it has been fulfilling to build our relationship and work on her development. She started crawling maybe a week and a half after we got here, and yesterday she stood up by herself for the first time. Though I enjoy watching these developments, it has also made more work for me. She likes exploring the house and recently discovered the fridge and the cupboard with the cleaning supplies.

We like Texas a lot. BUT we still don't understand why there is so much Texas pride. Its not just a stereotype. People down here are REALLY proud of their state. If you EVER see an American flag, there will be a Texas flag (of equal if not greater height) right next too it. On advertisements Texas is used to boost people's products. For example, "Texas-style (this)" or "the size of Texas", or "best in Texas". While the people here are very friendly, and there are a lot of fun things to do, we still don't buy into the whole "Texas is best" mentality. Utah is totally better.

Anyway, this post is running a little long. Quickly, here are some fun things we've done this month: going to a Ranger's game, seeing the HUGE train set at the Children's Medical Center, going to the Irving acquatics center, hiking in the local nature preserve, Ben's birthday (we played wuffle ball, and it was a blast). I'll be better about updating next time so you won't get a TON of information all at once with very little detail about any one thing. I also plan to post pictures and video, but as I said above, I tried to upload pictures and some video I took, but our connection couldn't handle it. After we upgrade, I'll try again.