life update & blog makeover!

Hey guys! I'm soo excited to be back! I know it's been quite a few months since I've dropped a line but I want to thank you all so much for your patience as I got things in order over here ;)  I've been working really hard these past several months on a few  projects and now I can finally share them!

I'm just going to jump right in now that everything is official! I was accepted into a graduate program and I am heading back to school and finishing my Masters I started and going on for my PhD. If you've been following our journey for a while this may or may not come as a surprise?! But I'll try to fill you in, real quick. In August of last year, I was playing with the idea of finishing my degrees. Lucia was three months old and my emotions, hormones and current political climate were pulling me in all sorts of directions. Some of you may not know that I was in the process of obtaining my Masters in Public Policy & Leadership with the purpose of completing a dual-degree in Law before any of our babies were born. My goal with that program was to complete my research and practice law. My heart has always been to serve in a non-profit or a government agency. My past research was in health literacy with a focus on patient outcomes. With both my personal and educational background I knew that I could contribute so much in these areas. It turned out that the program wasn't the right fit for me. One main reason was the distance between Benjamin and me. I was living in Minneapolis while he lived here in Milwaukee and we were already married. It was so hard! Another reason was that I didn't see myself as an attorney. Although a Law degree would be useful in all branches of government, it was not my passion. At that point, I had more questions than answers and I made a decision. Plus, all of the Mega Bus trips and really tough first year of medical school took a toll on both of us! It was at that point that I decided to postpone my studies and move to Milwaukee.

Once I arrived to Milwaukee I landed a job in Pediatric Genetics managing clinical trials and working with the FDA and several major pharmaceutical companies. I loved that job and learned so much about rare genetic disorders while working directly with the patients that needed treatment. I was also able to use my medical background and bilingual skills in this position and that was such a priceless experience. However, once Gabriel was born I struggled with the idea of going back to work full-time. I wanted to stay home with him while he was still tiny. This was about the time my blog was also born. We were thankfully in the position where I could stay home with him while Benjamin was still in medical school. We were also very conscious of our flow of income in order to not rely solely on medical school loans for our expenses. I remember seeing our friends with or without children owning homes and traveling the world and at times it was frustrating to not be farther along in some areas. But you know what they say: Comparison is the thief of joy. We knew we had to stay the course and focus on our financial plan. We were (and are) very frugal well Benjamin is better at it than me lol but I'm getting there! Medical School was a unique beast! As a student Benjamin could not work outside of his classwork and even if the school allowed that it would be impossible. He was literally in classes, at the hospital or studying all day. They also don't have "summer breaks" like the average graduate program. Medical school students (and residents...) are really run through the ringer and Benjamin's program was tough! I am so glad that we stuck with our plan though because it worked out and came together for us. It takes time for all the pieces to fall into place and I have to keep reminding myself that I need to trust the timing of our lives. I am also so very proud of Benjamin's accomplishments during this time as he was inducted into two Honor societies and was awarded the Millman award, which is given to the most distinguished medical student of the class. At that point, Cristian was already born.

It's very hard for me to talk about my transition into my new graduate program without sharing this background. Because all of it is so deeply intertwined. I no longer make my decisions as a single woman but instead I have both my husband and children to think about. When I decided it was time to pursue my passion around August 2016 I was so nervous to share it with Benjamin. I don't know why because he's always been so supportive. But I didn't know how he would receive the news. Not only would this mean childcare for our three (we don't have family near by) but it also meant adding an additional chunk of student loans to our medical school loans. Although I have applied for a fellowship I would not hear back until after I was accepted into the program (I'm still waiting so please wish me luck!). Therefore, we would have to proceed as if  I wasn't receiving=funding. & The first thing he said was, "Okay, let's figure it out and we'll do it!" Of course, I cried haha! I knew this meant it was time to act and move forward with that call within me that never ceased to ring even after having children.  As a mother, I don't look at situations in the same way. Motherhood has unearthed a part within me that I didn't know was there. It has broken me in ways that can only be described as transformative. I could say the same about marriage. It takes grit, love and perseverance to make things work. It also takes faith.

I was so nervous about applying after I narrowed down the program that I felt would be a perfect fit for me. I felt so incredibly rusty writing lol! Academia is a very different world from changing diapers, teaching how to go potty and all of the very physical demands of having three under three!  I had to contact faculty that I hadn't spoken to since I graduated undergrad and hoped they remembered me haha. Luckily, all went really well and I was able to get everything in order and in on time. Waiting to hear back from my program was really the hardest part but once the program director emailed me that I was accepted I was ecstatic! I could finally breathe a little easier. My new program is in Urban Studies and it allows me to combine all of my research interests into one area of study. I am excited to continue my research and learn more about public policy, public health, social and race theory while understanding how cities work and how that affects different communities. All of my credits transferred which puts me at a great spot to finish my MS before Benjamin completes residency. He has only two years remaining. Although my PhD will also be in Urban Studies I need to successfully complete all of my masters requirements to move forward with the program. I truly could not be in this position if it weren't for the love, planning and support of Benjamin and our babies. We have been through so much throughout our relationship and it's all so incredibly worth it. I'm looking forward to sharing my educational journey as time goes on. This season we're in is full of constant challenges. We still have tiny babes all under the age of three and Benjamin is in the thick of residency. Life is busy and often crazy but I wouldn't change it for anything. It is all ours and I feel so incredibly blessed!

I also hope you all love the blog redesign as much as I do! It has been so great working with my designer of JVT designs to make it more navigable and user-friendly. We've been so busy getting it all done and we're in the process of ironing out a few wrinkles ;) So much goes into making blogs work and flow the way they do. If it wasn't for their help I wouldn't have known where to start. But they made it so incredibly easy and they are truly the sweetest! I hope you stay a while and click around. I love and appreciate you all!