Thursday, May 28, 2009

Hello from School...(shame on me)

It is 9:30 and I am on my prep. I had no idea I could access my blog from school. This is probably a good thing. Lord knows the time I could have wasted at school had I known this a few months ago.

Anyway, Luke has successfully (we hope) completed Step 1 of the Med School Board Exams. I know there is a more technical, special term for the test he took, but all I can call it is "boards" (or...test of hell...or...marriage strainer...or....well, you get the point). Regardless, it is OVER and I am so happy for him that he can sleep peacefully and waste time with me blissfully without worrying so much. Countless dinners were consumed while he had one eye on the clock, allowing himself only a few minutes of non-study time. Many, many nights, I went to bed a good 3 hours earlier than he did while he had our clip on bed lamp BLAZING bright light onto my eyelids as was studying things I could only HOPE to pronounce and never understand. Friday and Saturday nights have not been exciting as he had to devote countless, and I mean countless hours to studying...meanwhile, the rest of the population of young twenty-something newlyweds were out seeing and being seen.

These are sacrifices, and I am just so proud of my beautiful husband for being so committed to not only what he has chosen as his profession, but also to making me believe that we will get through this and that our marriage and our family will always be his number one priority. I have been able to give up the luxuries of having Luke joined to my hip because, despite it all, he has still treated me as the wife he adores. This is truly all that matters.

I would like to thank myself for catapulting Luke into board test-taking greatness. I bought him a hearty stash of junk food...complete with Slim Jims, Rice Krispie Treats, crackers, ALL kinds of candy, Gatorade, and granola help fuel his down-to-the-wire studying and cramming. I am sure that extra dose of sugar and processed foods was just what he needed to get himself over the hump and finish out strong. Way to go, Ashley! :-)

We celebrated the death of the boards by going to Buca Di Beppo last night. Yum. Even better was the lunch sized portion of the Shrimp Diavolo came out actually the full size, but the kind waitress said she only charged for the lunch ($9.99 instead of $17.99)...and we should just enjoy it anyway. I now have enough of that dish to take to lunch today and could still probably get two more meals out of it. Joy!

Luke invited some med school friends over tonight for a cookout. I hope the rain holds off. I was proud of Luke's social attempt, so I most certainly would like to see it come to fruition.

Little CeCe graduates high school on Saturday, so we will be getting our things ready for a Muncie weekend. After that, my focus will be packing for the big Kiawah vacation (complete with my first plane ride by myself...) and getting my mind right for the summer. I am so excited and blissful just thinking about it.

Well, I should get something done. I whipped this out in record time, so I still have some time to grade and grade and grade and grade and maybe I will see the top of my desk by the end of the day. We all can dream...sigh.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Summer To-Do List Extravaganza...

I am currently taking a break from putting away loads of clothes that have been sitting on our floor for about 3 weeks....and I definitely have cleaning on the I thought I would really take advantage of this mentality and get all of my Summer "to-dos" out and in the open.

It is my goal to be productive this summer so as to avoid shopping every 10 seconds and eating cupcakes. I have divided my list into categories, and I plan to just cross a few things off each day until they are all done.

1. Steam clean carpets and hard floors
2. Wipe down all baseboards and doors
3. Clean windows from inside and outside
4. Dust every surface, including ceiling fans
5. Apply furniture polish/wood conditioner 
6. Clean kitchen cabinets
7. Deep clean both showers/tubs
8. Knock down any cobwebs in all corners of all rooms
9. Remove any marks/spots on walls
10. Deep clean fridge/freezer

1. Touch up chipped paint on walls in each room
2. Touch up white on baseboards, ceilings, and doors
3. Paint exposed wood on back patio door
4. Re-spray house numbers in metal spray paint
5. Touch up black paint on our dresser and bed

1. Hang green frames in office
2. Begin merging office/spare bedroom into office
3. Clean out office closet and organize
4. Reorganize spare bedroom closet
5. Get current with photos with printing/putting in albums
6. Reorganize kitchen cabinets/closets
7. Hang chandelier in spare bedroom
8. Go through books; sell unwanted
9. Sell other items not wanted
10. Refinish/paint mini-dresser for spare bedroom

I will refer back to this list and cross things off as they get accomplished! I of course have lots of plans to have fun and relax, too. This is going to be one helluva summer!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Solomon's Baptism

I have never been a part of anyone's baptism other than my own, and to say that I was "a part" of that event is definitely an exaggeration. I was 6 or 7 years old, and I remember that I hated every minute of it because 1) everyone was staring at me, and 2) I had to take my pretty white hat off so some man I didn't know could put water on my head. I saw a baptism in church once where the person got completely submerged in the holy water, and I had nightmares about my own baptism until I actually experienced it myself. Thankfully, my parents opted for the "just sprinkle some on her head" version. 

I was baptized because it was the right thing to do. I didn't truly come to understand what the baptism meant until much later in life. In fact, I am still learning each day what it is to be a Christian and truly live that life style. 

I never thought that I would be able to be someone's God mother. I always thought that right was reserved for the devout Catholics and perfect humans of the world. Imagine my surprise when Seth and Liz asked both Luke and myself to be Solomon's God parents a few weeks ago when they were at our home for Luke's birthday. It isn't uncommon for a Catholic family to choose the husband from one couple and the wife from another to be God parents. You can "mix and match" if you wish. It was such a high honor to be asked, and I was beaming with joy from a place so deep I have yet to find the origin.

Today was the big day...the day where we walked in behind Seth and Liz and stood up at the altar, bearing witness to our beautiful nephew being welcomed into not only the Catholic church but the Christian faith. He was so happy and sweet and adorable...we were so proud and honored and awe-struck to even be a part of it.

Solomon -- we sincerely hope we lead you to the best of our abilities...that we are your support system and your safe haven and your sounding board...we love you so much and cannot wait to watch you grow and learn and explore and of course deepen your relationship with God. We will walk this journey together, as we are still growing, learning, and exploring, too.

I love our family...both to bottom....more and more everyday.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

4 down, 12 to go...

I am ashamed to say that I pooped out last night before I could do the Jillian Michaels hell video...I am disappointed in myself because I was on a streak. Maybe I will do it twice today? Or maybe I won't live to tell about tomorrow if I do that...

Level 2 is HARD. I have worked muscles I didn't know I had. However, I do see/feel results, and my weight has stayed at a level sub 16 lbs. I like this. I am trying to get to -20 by my vacation. I have about 10 days. Go me!

Luke is studying for the boards like a mad-man. He is feeling the pressure as the test is on Wednesday of this week and we will be kind of in and out all weekend with the baptism of Solomon, our Godson, on Sunday. I am soooooooooooo excited for this! I can't wait to post pictures.

I have my crockpot ribs going as we is going to be a great day!

On a random note (I guess this whole thing is random), I watched a special last night on 20/20 about kids with Tourette Syndrome. I have a student with the disease/disorder/syndrome/etc. He doesn't have it as severe as these children, but he still has the tics. I felt so horrible for these kids last night....and I also felt guilty because I haven't always approached my student with the most sympathy. It is hard to understand how this disease is uncontrollable, and it is easy to want to say, "Stop it!" But they can't help it. I really need to work on my sympathy skills for next year.

Alright, gotta run. It is a beautiful day and I am excited to be outside! Happy Saturday!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

2 Down, 14 to go!

Last night was RIDICULOUS in the Jillian Michaels world. I thought both Luke and I were going to cry in pain. I can't even describe the movements we were doing, but all I can say is who would have ever thought that a 20 minute workout would hurt so bad!?

We felt compelled to go on a little bike ride throughout the neighborhood to cool down. We spoke to our new neighbor, Gary (the grandson of the older man, Gary, who was tragically killed in December). He is nice..looks to be about our age, and his girlfriend is getting ready to move in. Maybe we can be friends! :-) 

Well, Idol finale on tonight! And in other random news, we have been thinking of baby names! Definitely not hinting toward anything...except that we are thiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiinking. :-) 

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

1 Down, 15 to Go

I completed my first day of the shred last night. I am getting ready to do my 2nd one tonight. Luke did it with me and was quite winded, so I guess that is a good indicator of the difficulty of the shred. I woke up this morning at a new weight loss high (is it high...or low...?)...16 lbs! I just have to keep moving in the right direction.

Wish me luck!

Monday, May 18, 2009

30 Day...I mean...16 Day Shred

For the next 16 days, I am going to dedicate myself to the 30 Day Shred program from Biggest Loser trainer, Jillian Michaels. I have probably completed the 20 min. workout about 5-6 times, but not consecutively. Supposedly, according to the box, you can lose up to 20 lbs. in 30 days. If I could lose half of that in half the time, I would feel fan-freaking-tastic going to Kiawah Island with Luke's oh-so-skinny sisters in their cute bikinis. :-)

So, I am going to still do my beloved Zumba on Monday/Wednesdays, run occasionally (probably going to take a little break from that), and then do the workouts for the next 16 days. I am pretty sure I can handle that, and I am going to document the progress. 

Time to put my money where my mouth is. Let's get Day 1 over and done with.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Feeling Crafty

With Luke's massive amount of studying, I have had to really dig deep to occupy myself so as not to bother him every 5 minutes. Today, I completed two projects.

My first one was to spray paint a series of old, gross frames from my mom and dad. I am wanting to do a picture frame wall in the office, and instead of buying new frames and spending boat loads of money, I just took the frames off my parents' hands and primed and painted them. I used a pretty moss green color, and then finished them with a clear matte top coat. They turned out really well, and I am excited to decide which pictures will be displayed. I am thinking black and white pictures so they stand out of the green frames.
Before: UGLY


After: Green!!!

My second project was creating a piece of art for our guest bathroom wall. We have had a blank wall in there since we re-did the room in January. I wanted a modern look, again, without spending a lot of money. While at Michael's today getting more spray paint, I found a set of 16x20 stretched canvases (2) for $5.99! What a steal! I then bought yellow satin and one grosgrain. I also got a pretty green decorative ribbon with white flowers. I wove the two different textures of ribbons together and stapled them to the back of the canvas. I then put the green ribbon around the top just to add some interest and tie in the colors of the bathroom. I am really excited to hang it up and see how it looks!

Another 5K Completed!

I successfully completed my 2nd 5K race on Saturday. I participated in the Geist Half Marathon/5K, which was the same race Luke and Abel ran last year (of course it was the half marathon version, though). It was a pretty course...but hilly. We ran through a couple mansion neighborhoods around the reservoir and then finished by crossing a bridge over the water. I had some difficulties finding my rhythm, which was a painful reminder that I shouldn't rely so much on running on the treadmill....I really need to get outside and train myself to breathe/run in all kinds of weather. 

I know a 5K isn't a big deal...I know it's only a little over 3 miles, and that my time of 32:45 wasn't that great...I am not trying to be an olympian....I just want to keep improving myself and shooting for a new goal. My first 5K was about 37 minutes, so I beat my time by about 5 minutes. I am proud of that!

A year ago, when Elizabeth, Clare, and I watched Abel & Luke finish that half marathon, we all three shared a desire to try for something like that. In the back of my mind, however, I knew that there was not a chance in Hell that I would be running for enjoyment....EVER. But here I am...and 3 miles is just a start to a lifetime of goals, ambitions, and dreams. 

One special thing I witnessed during the race was two girls who looked to be about 11 years old running side by side. It was toward the was ass was dragging for sure...and I wanted to quit. I really told myself it was OK to quit...just stop running and give up. I convinced myself that I was short on oxygen and was going to of course it was OK to just stop running. However, these girls, who were just a small part of a large number of kids in this race who were representing area elementary schools, were finishing this race and encouraging each other along the way. One little girl wanted to quit, and her friend said, "Look...we are not walking. We are not quitting. There are people walking back there but we aren't going to do that...we are going to make it...we are almost can do it!" It was so moving and inspirational, and I thought...if these girls can do this, I can do this, too! And I did.
After finishing the race, I made an express trip to Target for a bridal shower gift for a friend, Megan. She is marrying our high school friend, Chris, in September. It is really fun to see some of my male friends experiencing marriage. This will be a fun year with all the weddings and babies.

Speaking of babies...our nephew/Godson's baptism is Sunday! I am really excited. When I think about being someone's Godparent...I am moved and honored and just really happy. This is really special for Luke and me.

Well, for anyone reading this (whoever you are), please be thinking of Luke as he spends the next 10 days or so studying until his eyes dry out (bad visual...sorry). He has worked so hard...has taken so many practice tests....has studied an unbelievable amount of hours....has been so dedicated and willing to lock himself in the office for HOURS on end...and it will pay off. I believe so much in his ability...but of course we would appreciate any special prayer or "good vibe" leading up to May 27th. He is an amazing man. He makes me so proud everyday. 

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

How do you know you're healed?

I have been thinking a lot about this lately...about how far I (we) have far I have yet to far this journey has taken far away from my former thoughts I feel. 

Of course I am talking about the baby.... :-)

I can't help it...but when I think about it now, somehow I feel calm. I almost feel happy for the time I spent in ignorant bliss...the excitement I felt for 10 weeks. I am thankful...because no matter what happens in this life, I know that for a short while I had my own slice of sweet Heaven...something a large percentage of women never get a chance to have.

I am excited for the future. As summer gets closer, I feel so renewed and ready for the freedom and careless days...I am ready to see what God has in store for us...

I keep thinking about what Elizabeth told me several weeks ago when I was feeling jealous of some women in my life who announced pregnancies....and she said, "The Lord will provide for you." Such a profound, simple statement to has been said many times before...but it provided me with such peace on the subject...and I really do feel it to be true.

If we all could just remember that....that all we need and want in this life will be given to us if we just follow the path that was made for us...if we listen to ourselves, to God, and to each other...and if we live our days with confidence. Why worry?

This sounds funny coming from me. I worry about robbers and snakes and worms and getting fired and getting in a car accident and the health of my parents and my friends' personal lives...these are all evidence of my many imperfections...and my many issues that still need work...but when it comes to my future with Luke and our futures as parents...I feel it in my bones that all will be well....we will be OK....we will be blessed beyond measure. We truly already are.

When I think of all we have...beautiful home, new-ish cars, nearly perfect health, loving family, outstanding friendships....when I think of all we have, college degrees, dream jobs, medical school....I nearly laugh at myself for being so ungrateful at times and so wishful for someone else's life. 

So how do you know you're healed? When you have a physical scabs over, it mends itself, the bruise turns a light greenish color, you can put weight on it again, you can remove the cast, you have a small scar...all are signs that the pain is over. When you have a wound to the do you know you're healed? Maybe it's when you no longer feel like someone has nearly squeeze the life out of you....maybe it's when you no longer cry when you think about the experience but merely thank God that you came out on the other side...maybe it's when you look to the future without being stuck in the past...maybe it's when you relinquish all control and say "It's out of my hands." Maybe it's when....

We may never know.

BUT...this feeling I have...feels good.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Shower and Bachelorette Party a Success!

Well, Saturday was a hugely full day, but it was also a huge success! We had a great turnout for the shower, a super time at dinner, and a hilariously adventurous bachelorette party. Allison was pleased, everyone had fun, and I am happy it turned out so well!

The one thing I learned from all of it is that I can not attempt to maintain a "college" lifestyle at my old age. I have been so tired ever since Saturday! Staying up until 3:00 a.m. is definitely not my thing anymore!

One of my highlights of the day was giving Jenn a star that we had named after her mom who passed away one year ago from cancer. It was a really touching moment as we all wanted to do something to show our support. 

I am getting worn out just typing (WHAT is wrong with me!), so I will upload the pictures later. They are super funny!

Update: Pictures!

AOIIs at the shower

WD girls at the shower!


Crammed in the back of Jess's car....not legal or safe!

Having fun at Have a Nice Day Cafe

We had some really creepy encounters...and this guy was one of them. He was rude and insisted that he knew me...even though he didn't...and then he insulted Ball State and flipped me off!

This guy tried to take a drink out of our straws!

I was getting annoyed and scared!

Guy over my shoulder is relentless and won't take a hint! YOU, sir, are married...and so are we!

Me with the bachelorette!

Relentless married guy backing up into me

Headbanger guy = scary

The faces really, really say it all!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Scale Not Budging

Well, since Sunday, I have worked out twice a day, between running and Jillian (30 Day Shred), Zumba and running, I have really exerted myself to a level that I have never really attained before. I am trying my hardest, but the scale isn't budging! In fact, it is kiiiiiiiiiiinda creeping up the other way, and I am none too happy about it. Luke is trying to convince me that it is my muscle mass, and that the weight will start falling off...but I am a little nervous about it. I don't know if I should take today off or keep pushing through. Decisions, decisions.

In other, way more awesome and less-shallow news, my friend Jenna called to say that she is having a baby girl! This will be the first little girl in my friends and has been all boys for so long! Congrats, Jenna & Ken! I can't wait to hear names!

Everything is almost ready for the shower and bachelorette party! It's going to be so great! 

Monday, May 4, 2009

That which does not kill me...

Well, I am on Day 2 of two-a-day workouts. Yesterday, I did a 2 mile run and the 30 Day Shred DVD. Today I did a 1.5 mile run and an hour Zumba class. I am on a MISSION to lose 15 lbs by the end of May. Luke owes me a shopping spree that promised sometime in November, and I am ready to cash in on it. On that note, I am contemplating throwing on the 30 Day Shred for good measure. Three workouts in one day? Why not? After watching The Biggest Loser religiously, I no longer believe what magazines say about working out for only 30 minutes, 3 times a week, on non-consecutive days. If you want to make big changes in big ways, you HAVE to make dramatic changes and really, really push yourself. 

I am so excited for summer! Only around 20 school days left! I can't believe how quickly this year has gone!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

It's May!

Finally, a month I thought would never arrive...MAY! May means the last full month of school. May means sunny days and breezy nights. May means flowers blooming. May means it is DAYLIGHT when I both LEAVE in the morning and GET HOME at night. Oh, the joy that is MAY!

Our May has started off quite nicely. Friday night, I enjoyed drinks with colleagues at B-Dubs. Haven't been there is forever! Saturday, I had lunch with some friends at Olive Garden (gosh I love that salad), went to Target, then came home to find that Luke had made plans for us (SHOCK!) with friends for the night. We went to Scotty's with Chris & Megan and Megan's roommate and her fiancee. Did you know Scotty's on 96th street has personalized TVs at all of their booths? Pretty sweet! We drank some beer and ate too much (I feel guilty), then headed back to our house to watch the NBA game and some Saturday Night Live. 

It was a great night...and it reminded us that we are still young AND are capable of staying awake until 12:30 a.m. Woohoo! (However, we didn't  get out of bed until 10 this morning....shameful!)

Yesterday, I also managed to get a lot done for Allison's upcoming bridal shower and bachelorette party next Saturday. Lots to do! It is going to be very pretty, and I am excited to see all my friends. There should be some great pictures to share when it is all said and done ;-)

Today marks my endeavor to lose the last 15 pounds in May. It is very ambitious, yes, but I think I can do it. I have already made all my lunches for this week, and Luke and I went on a 2 mile jog this morning. I plan to do some strength training later. We will see how this goes!