Wednesday, January 18, 2017

The biggest secret I've ever kept!

There's another reason why I've been quiet on the blog lately...
I mean how could I blog about anything else without mentioning the biggest thing going on in our lives??!
Our sweet baby is due to arrive August 2017!
I am over the moon excited for our growing family.  More updates coming soon!

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

3 months in Spokane Washington

Hey there old friend. I took an unintentional leave of absence from the blogging world (both writing and reading) these past few months and now that we're well into the New Year I'm ready to return to this little slice of the internet that I've quite missed.  So where exactly have I been? What have I been up to?

You see I wasn't just absent from the blog, but from our actual physical home.  The husband had a three month away rotation at a hospital in Spokane, Washington and I tagged along. The program put us up in an apartment, I gave my job notice and we drove the five hours over the mountains to eastern Washington for all of October, November and December.

I always feel uncomfortable sharing with the internet when we're going to be out of town, especially when our house is going to be sitting empty for so long. Plus the apartment had little to no internet service so even getting on to my blog was a nightmare (I wont tell you what sort of data overage charges we ran up these past three months....).

So what did I do in Spokane for those three months? That's the question I got a lot because we had no friends or family there and I wasn't working. I admit that I always felt that question was tinged with just a teeny bit of judgment because some days I didn't have a good answer other than "enjoying that stay at home wife life!"

I spent A LOT of one on one time with the dog- seriously he's now officially scared of other humans because he's only interacted with me and T.J. this whole time. We joined the YMCA and I actually found myself enjoying going to the gym (something I'd never ever thought I'd say). I'd mostly just walk on the elliptical while watching Gilmore Girls and Parenthood on my cell phone (the gym had free wifi which was only a large part of my motivation for going) and it was a nice way to get out of the house and feel productive. I read a ton of books. I did a lot of cooking and tried a bunch of new recipes, I also joined a women's bible study at a local church. The eastern part of Washington is so different from where we live and T.J. and I really enjoyed exploring Spokane and finding new favorite restaurants. Oh, and we also got enough snow to last me 5 winters!

Most importantly, though, and the number one reason why I tagged along, I got to see my husband every single day! Before we came out to Spokane he was doing a different away rotation from July-September up in Seattle. While he was able to come home for maybe one day a week, for the rest of the time he was sleeping and staying up in the city. That gets real old after three months. His job in Spokane on the other hand had incredible hours where he was home for dinner every night and on his call days he only had to physically go in to the hospital once or twice so we had most every weekend free. I haven't had this much time with my husband ever! Not even when we were dating.

So maybe there were some days when I was really quite bored, days when I didn't speak to another human until T.J. got home in the evenings, or days when the only "big thing" I'd do was take the dog for a walk and fix dinner.  This time together just the two of us was so precious and wonderful, like a little sabbatical of sorts and it was worth all the data charges in the world.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

two years.

Sometimes I can't believe it's been two years since we said our vows. So much has happened in these past two years that it's hard to remember what life was like before him. But at the same time I can still remember how I felt when I woke up that morning two years ago. The excitement, anticipation, the butterflies as I got ready to walk down the aisle and commit my life, two years and forever with T.J. 
As I went through my pictures and tried to pick out just twelve to capture this past year of marriage, I couldn't help but feel incredibly lucky. I know it's been trendy to hate on 2016, but for me, and I think T.J. would agree, it was another year full of love and growing closer to each other. And looking at some of my favorite photos and memories of the two of us from this past, wonderful, year I am just so thankful for this life we created together. He is still the best decision I ever made!
"Oh magnify the Lord with me and let us exalt his name together!"
Psalm 34:3

Monday, November 7, 2016

Let the Good Times Roll

T.J. and I took a little jaunt to the Big Easy last month.  He was presenting research at a conference there and since the Army was covering his travel expenses it only made sense for me to book a flight and join him. I had never been to New Orleans before and was excited to visit a new place. We arrived Wednesday afternoon and were immediately reminded that Fall doesn't come down south until much later. We checked into our hotel in the French Quarter and took off some layers before setting out to do a little exploring.

First stop, Bourbon Street. I had some preconceived notions about this infamous street, I'd been to Beal Street before in Memphis and expected something a little bit like that.... but oh boy... it's a whole 'nother crazier beast. Even at 2pm on a Wednesday afternoon it was wild and I can only imagine what this place looks like at Mardi Gras. The entire street is just bars, bars, and more bars, with the occasional fancy restaurant thrown in. You are immediately hit by a certain familiar scent of booze (and vomit), and out of no where someone pops a string of beads around you neck and then asks you for a tip. Um, okay?
 
We had dinner reservations so we didn't hang out too long before heading back to our hotel to get fancied up. T.J. had always wanted to go to Galatoire's so once our flights were booked the next thing we did was make reservations as far in advance as they allow. Galatoire's is an institution and totally classic New Orleans cuisine. We indulged on Crabmeat Masion (basically just a heaping helping of delicious fresh lump-meat crab with hollandaise) and then I had Etouffe for my main course because you have to!

The next day after T.J. wrapped up his presentation we hopped on the street car and headed to the Garden District.  We made our way first to the World War Two museum  where we spent a good chunk of time, it's really well done. We took the cable car deeper into the garden district and hopped off at the historic Lafayette Cemetery No.1. New Orleans sits below sea level so their cemeteries are huge labyrinths of above ground tombs. It's a bit eerie to wonder up and down the rows and pick out names and dates and quirky epitaphs.  
Leaving the cemetery we set off on foot down the cracked wonky stone sidewalks (beware in heels, or flats, really just beware) passing wrought iron fences protecting drop dead gorgeous homes. 
(This was T.J.'s favorite house, home of Archie Manning. Doesn't that look like the perfect front yard for throwing the football with Peyton and Eli?) 
We took the long way back to the French quarter and walked along the Mississippi river until we reached the green awning of Cafe du Monde. 
 

We grabbed an open table and a server appeared to take our order. The menu is simple (and cash only so come prepared) so we quickly ordered two plates of beignets and small chicory coffees. This place is a popular tourist spot but it is one hundred percent worth the hype. The beignets are hot and fresh (careful not to breathe in when taking a bite unless you want to inhale powdered sugar) and the coffee is perfect and I don't even really like coffee. 
 
 
Later that night we met up with one of the graduated residents from T.J.'s program. He's station back in the southeast so it was fun to reconnect and hear about life outside of residency (we can see the light!). We went to a local sports bar near Tulane and had oysters on the half shell and fried catfish and pulled pork. Then we headed back to the hotel bar to wait for another couple to arrive from the airport. This sweet friend, the wife of another graduated resident, is sorely missed back in Washington, and I was so excited to reconnect with her. I love that even though we only had a few short years together in Washington, the Army and medicine will hopefully keep bringing us excuses to see each other throughout the years.
On Friday we slept in for a bit and then T.J. and I picked up a rental car and hit the road. We realized we would only be a few hours away from his grandma and aunt in Mississippi and who knows when we'll be that close again so we took this opportunity to drop in on them for an early supper. It was an easy drive and sweet reunion.  
When we got back to New Orleans that evening we made our way through the crowds, stepping carefully around suspicious puddles until we ended up at Pat O'Briens. We grabbed a couple infamous hurricanes and took them to go so we could enjoy all the good people watching on the street.
The night wouldn't have been complete without a late night trip to Cafe du Monde, conveniently open 24 hours. Nothing like beignets at 2 am with your friends to cap off a perfectly fun/ feels like we're back in college kind of night. And the next day we made our way back to the west coast with fond memories and good intentions to come back in the future.