Saturday, March 31, 2012

White Coat Ceremony

Watch out world... my husband is now official! Kind of! He received his "White Coat" yesterday in a lovely ceremony with his classmates, and they are now approved and ready to work with patients in the clinical setting. They still have a lot to learn, but having the hugely heavy academic load mostly behind them (still lots of classes in the next 3 years, but now more clinic will be involved too), they are allowed to work in clinic. This is a huge milestone and we're so proud of Zach! 

Getting his White Coat! 

Shakin' hand with important people

Future Dentists of America, reciting a pledge, promising not to suck, or something like that :)

Zach and his School Husband, Andrew, looking sharp in white! 

the kids had to sit still for a loooong ceremony, so immediately starting acting like wild animals let out of their cage

woohoo! proud family! 
We went out to Elmo's (cute diner in CH) to celebrate, just the 5 of us... we rewarded ourselves for lots of hard work and sacrifice over the past year. I love my little family! Way to go Zach!

Thursday, March 29, 2012


Is anyone else choking back pollen every time they walk outside? It's spring in the South, ya'll. I swear I had to remove a chunk of pollen from my eyeball. Also, it's soccer season! we moved leagues and Pete is now in a league closer to Chapel Hill. I never knew I'd love it so much... Zach is officially assistant coach, which is much better than us coaching, with all our school and jobs and yada yada. This is a better balance, and Pete loves it!

Aaaanyway. Big news around these parts... we got our canoe! We have a big pond and live near lots of rivers, so it was the perfect time to bring it from it's "babysitter's" land to our house. The kids and Zach have had a blast... I've been the photographer for all the boat trips so far, so I haven't paddled yet, but I'm excited to soon, especially on a river (being in microbiology has me a little freaked about pond water... i'll get over it). The kids adore it and I'm glad to be a "cool mom" and raise my kids with all kinds of skillz!

Pretty (blurry) Pollen Producer. GAAAAAH! 
We have a fun event tomorrow that I'll blog about soon... other than that I'll be sticking my face in a microbio book for the next few days (big test soon). Love learning this stuff but I'll be glad when it's over! Kids will be home next week for spring break... woot woot! peace out friends...

Monday, March 26, 2012

where have I been?

That part about "traveling" in this blog title... I take that seriously when I can!! Getting out of town and exploring new places is my absolute favorite thing to do. So this past week has been good for my soul... running down in Wilmington and then taking off on Thursday for a few days of hiking and restaurant-hopping in beautiful Asheville, NC!

It's not often that we can drop our kids off with the grandparents and have a weekend to ourselves, but Zach and I have an occasion to celebrate- 10 years of marriage. Our actual anniversary isn't until May, but we have that academic schedule to work around, so March was a better time to skip town. And on a budget, we couldn't go out west like we love to do... We DID go west... but just a little west :). The mountains of NC are gorgeous... not as huge and majestic as the Rockies, but the Blue Ridge Mountains are really stunning in their own way. LOTS of amazing hikes in the area, and SO much good food! We hadn't extensively explored Asheville before, so this was the perfect time.

We hiked about 4 miles up near Montreat, even though the forecast was for lots of rain. Who lets a little rain stop them? 

It was raining here... but then it started pouring, and we still had 2.5 miles to go... yay for rain coats! 

Done with the hike and drying off... we went to "Lake Susan" in Montreat, an old favorite of ours! We used to come here with our youth group kids when we worked with middle and high school students at our church in college.

view of the Blue Ridge Mountains from our hotel room at the Biltmore

This is the French Broad River

We drove up the Blue Ridge Parkway to get to some "Bald" mountains- this is a rare thing in the Southeast, to have several peaks with no trees. It's incredible to hike for miles with no trees and views for miles! We hiked about 6 miles and it was WINDY... but gorgeous! 

NC Mountains CAN be pretty big! 


flooded trails

we were a little over 6000 feet... not bad for the east coast

breathtaking views

after lots of hiking and eating and going to breweries, we spent our last morning at the Biltmore Estate... it's tulip season! 

huge "house" 

everyone should see this house in person at some point in your life... incredible! I used to sing here at Christmas in my high school ensemble... beautiful memories. 
After our adventure, we packed up and headed home. There's nothing like getting through hard times and celebrating the gift of a good relationship. I'm so grateful for Zach and our marriage and friendship. I'd never want to lead you to believe that we're perfect- far from it- but we're supportive and honest and humorous and real, and flexible with life's joys and curve balls. We don't take things too seriously and take each day as it comes... I think that's what counts! And lots of coffee and wine help, too ;-).

Okay, enough blogging... gotta run. visit Asheville someday if you can! It's a great little city, and Hunger Games is filmed in these good ol' NC mountains :). Have a great week... happy Spring!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


Heeeeey everyone!
I did it! I ran 13.1 miles, and did it in 2 hours, 3 minutes, and 51 seconds. I was something like 398 out of almost 2000 runners and 78th in my age group (ages 30-34, and there were 239 in that group). I'm serious (maybe nuts) when I say, honestly, I LOVED it. Every single second of it. It was so perfect for my first ever race! To train, to push your body to do something you thought you couldn't do, and then to accomplish your goal? There is really nothing like it. I feel strong and healthy and thankful that my body IS capable of more than I thought it was. I've always loved to exercise but running was never my "thing" and now it is definitely my thing!!! Thanks to Zach for helping me accomplish this, and of course my AMAZING running friends for pushing me and encouraging me to work HARD!!!

my roommies for the weekend! These ladies run FAST! 

we were at the expo picking up our race packets

at the beach for our italian dinner! 

the whole group from Taryn's neighborhood! hot runnin' mamas... post carb-loading!

5:30am. Wet. not really raining though... just misting, like we were inside a cloud. We got out, got on one of a thousand buses, and went to the start of the race. Crowded with thousand of runners and FUN! The adrenaline started pumping! It was cold but felt great, actually. Nice to not run in the hot sun! 

Post-race- we went across the finish, cheered, and went to the car for some colder water than the race offered... then back to cheer on the rest of the runners! Can you tell we were HAPPY?! Such an incredible feeling! 

Love these ladies. We all have kids and jobs and busy lives, but we DID it!!! 
I think I'm most happy to start this journey now, and to make this something we do as a family. I'm all for balance and don't want to be crazy about it, but I'm already trying to make exercise (like hiking and soccer) a normal and regular part of my kids' lives... and as they get older, I would LOVE to do some of these fun races together! Zach is excited to train with me for another 1/2 marathon next year if he can fit it in. I'm excited about staying healthy with these new race goals, but more importantly, the friendships and discipline that occur are priceless! I also truly believe that empowering yourself leads to respecting and caring for others on a deeper level... this kind of thing leads to healthier people (inside and out) who can go on to make a difference in their communities and throughout the world. THANKS for all the support you all have given me! I had the time of my life!

Another incredible thing happened too... my Zach had a birthday! I got home in time to celebrate with him and make birthday cookies (he didn't want cake :). So the kids and I got to shower him with a little love this weekend too, once I got home. I hope he felt loved!

Birthday cookies with a 6 candle. This is the candle the kids wanted :). He is 6 x 5.33333

Sam was around the corner having a pity party about something, but he came around after a minute :). 
I took a couple of days off from exercising, and I'm just hanging out and resting my legs a bit (as much as I can with 3 kids and having to do stuff like clean the house. It's pretty gross people. Had to happen. But tomorrow I'll hit the gym and keep up this momentum. More soon... off to get the kids and force some homework time! Hope you all are well!

Friday, March 16, 2012


This week kicked my arse but HELLO! It's Friday! I'm so incredibly satisfied right now. Zach is HOME and the kids are doing great. The weather is gorgeous (and if NC decided to skip winter anyway, we might as well move along to warm weather!). I have 100 in my microbiology class half-way through the semester. I know, that's an annoying braggy sentence. But you know what? I'm SO HAPPY that I took this class and this step toward something new. I LOVE the information and my professor and being back in class. I know I'm only taking one class at a time right now, but I'm giving myself credit for doing this while busy with 3 kids and two part-time jobs. I want to give myself a high-five. I'm not so great in the self-confidence department, so I'm allowing myself to be excited about this achievement! I'm hoping I can keep it up for the next few labs and tests.

Also... it is upon us... the marathon weekend! Remember that I'm only half-crazy so I'm only running half the marathon (13.1 miles) but training for this and feeling that sense of empowerment has been amazing. YES I can do this, YES my body can handle it, YES I actually enjoy it! I'm nervous and jittery right now, but this is for myself and my friends running with me- we are not doing this to win, we are doing this to finish and feel STRONG! And throughout our training we've proven over and over again that we have it in us. WOOHOOO! So, wish me luck this Sunday morning when I'm waking up at 5:00am to catch a shuttle to start the race at 6:30am. We will rock this!

Can't end a post without showing off my hilarious kids. Right now they're learning tumbling/gymnastics in PE at school, so every day after school they pull their area rugs out of their rooms and make "mats" and proceed to do 500 cartwheels, handstands, somersaults, on and on and on, for long periods of time. It's been funny to watch, for sure... lots of entertainment around these parts!

(this is really all Sam can do. He just flops over and wiggles around and declares that he's done a back hand-spring and we all crack up!)

Hope you all have a fantastic weekend. I'll share 1/2 Marathon pics and stories next week!

Monday, March 12, 2012


really, the weeks are flying by. And, I have no time to blog, apparently.
Here are snapshots from the past few days:

*got a little sick of feeling like a lonely mommy, so headed home to my parents' house for a sleepover with the kids. Super quick trip, and very fun to just hang out and have a little help with the kids for a little while. They had a blast with my parents, I got to run, they played in the hot tub for hours. Zach studied for 48 hours straight and it still wasn't enough... I feel bad for these dental students right now! ROUGH semester. But anyway, we got bagels and my favorite, KRANKIES coffee, best stuff in the world.

*Headed back here to see Zach (the kids really missed him!), had pizza, went to bed early to make up for that missing hour :).

*Had a lovely Sunday filled with church and friends. Our dear friends, the Duncans, are the best culinary creators on the planet. On Sunday they decided to make Greek food... and I almost exploded my own stomach. We eat too much and also sit around talking about microbiology, diarrhea, and fecal transplants that are happening more often due to drug-resistant "C-dif"... a really narly bacteria. We've recently taken up discussing Eastern religions and philosophy. This is all while the kids run around the house/yard acting like wild animals. Yeah, we're really, really fun to be around. (snort snort).

*today the kids didn't have school, and the universe gave me the gift of good behavior. It's true. They all behaved as we went to the grocery store (trader joe's. this helps, because it's fun and they get little treats. but still. ALL THREE. good. in store. maybe my parenting IS working!!!???). Then we came home, had lunch, and went on a 3.5 mile hike (with our awesome friends) and they did SO well. worked hard, had fun, and we all just basked in the beautiful spring weather. This particular trail is nice and hilly, and along a gorgeous lake. I'm awesome and took NO pictures for you {sarcasm}. Next time that is definitely happening! When we got home the kids played and Pete fished in our pond. Such a fun day!

*I'm gearing up for a big week- back in class (after my spring break), working a lot this week, and Pete has his first spring soccer practice. Then... are you ready for this news... it's time for my HALF MARATHON WEEKEND!!! I can't believe it's here! I'm so so so excited to conquer this goal.

*and last but not least... Zach has spring break starting next Monday. That will be a fantastic week of co-parenting!!! wooohoooo!

And that concludes my "snapshots of our crazy life" blog post. I'm sure I left thousands of details out. Pictures.... I'll post whatever pics I can find soon. Also, my sis-in-law did a little blog-question thing that I need to answer... those are always entertaining so I'll work on that :). Hope you all have a great week!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

just do it!

So you know. I'm sitting here in America, which used to be full of hard workers and innovators, and sure, it still is, but those people seem to be drowned out by a bunch of ungrateful, whiney, lazy procrastinators. I seem to hear "I can't" aaaalll the time. But you know what? That's a lie. You can. Whatever it is you want in life, you CAN at least attempt to go for it. Just do it! Americans... we want the quick fix. We want our dreams to come true overnight, and that's just not the case 99.9% of the time. Reaching your goals takes years and years and years OF HARD WORK sometimes. So, just do it! Start already! And use this BEAUTIFUL film, shot in my favorite place, to inspire you. Because frankly, he's a dreamer, he's a doer, and we should all be more like him. Enjoy!
(found this amazing video on one of my favorite blogs, Pacing the Panic Room).

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Hello March.

Um, whoopsies!
Didn't even realize I haven't posted for days and days and days....
last weeks was extra jumbo sized nuts. Sick kid, two reports to write, a microbiology exam to take, a lab quiz, and 12 miles to run (all at once. Yep, just did that! what???!!!).

I survived the week! and noticed it turned into March! Miracles!

But a SERIOUS miracle really did occur... my niece, who I mentioned was having some health struggles, is doing better! The medication is working and she will (at least from the positive way she's responding to medicine) be able to avoid more invasive procedures to keep her healthy. THIS IS THE BEST NEWS EVER!

Life has been feeling like this: head down, pushing against the wind, taking it one step and one minute at a time, but feeling immense pride in getting it done and immense gratitude to all of those good people helping us along the way.

This is something cute we found buried under Pete's bed yesterday. Pete said he dictated the note last year, and Leah wrote it for him :). "Dear Tooth Fairy, I lost both of my botom front teeth! since these were my third and fourth two teeth please pay me extra. Love, Peter"

Excuse the flash... Mommy had to capture this hilarious moment quickly. I was passing by the bathroom and this is what I spied... Sam up on the counter to brush his teeth :).

This is what I'll be doing for the rest of the day. Got up at 6, went and ran 12 miles in under 2 hours, went to church, and now I sit. Half marathon in 2 weeks!!!
I hope you're enjoying this beautiful season of Lent, if you follow the church calendar. We go to a very traditional presbyterian church, with a formal choir and lots of liturgy. it's a switch from our "folky/hippie" church from back home, but Zach and I both grew up in very traditional churches and thought this would be a good time to teach our kids hymns liturgy that are hundreds of years old and were recited by our ancestors (**oh, and by "traditional" I do not mean "conservative." And I'm not condemning conservatives, either- we can all stand to learn a lot from each other, despite differences of opinion- I just don't consider myself super conservative in certain areas. I could write a whole novel on this subject but for the sake of avoiding controversy I will not. I will say, however, that I'm very thankful for the PC-USA's stance on many subjects- they are very compassionate and welcoming towards all people**). There's something very sacred and soothing about reciting the same words that generations before us spoke in worship. It's not "cool" or "hip" but it is certainly beautiful and reverent, and we feel worshipful and comforted there.

This is one of my ALL time favorite hymns. Just gorgeous. Our choir sang this at church this morning and I had to hold back the tears. So simple, so powerful.

It is a newer hymn, written in 1955, but it is from a Psalm.
Hope you all are well... have a superb week... tata for now!!!