Friday, December 30, 2016

scenes of Christmas

this year we don't live in the same town as our families, so we had to pack up all of our pets and travel to our hometown where we stayed for 11 days. it is a lot of work to transport rabbits, but it was fun to have them with us! we didn't really decorate for Christmas at our apartment because we knew we wouldn't be here for Christmas. but we did have adorable Christmas outfits for our pets so i took a few shots of those before we left. :)

we spent most of our break packing up & traveling every few days, but it was fun to be able to do a lot since i'm out on school break. we stayed at my parents house for a few days while i had to go to a dentist appointment. nothing says Christmas break like a trip to the dentist. ;) then we headed to Gatlinburg with Thomas's family for their annual Christmas trip. after Gatlinburg, we came back to my parents house and went from one family gathering to the next over Christmas Eve and Christmas. now we are finally back at our home for this season & i compiled these snapshots of our Christmas travels. it's fun to travel, but there's nothing like coming back home. :)

Monday, December 19, 2016

October 26th | Part 7

This story is written like fiction, but it is very true. It happened in October of 2012, so some of the details may be a little hazy to me but the story is as accurate as I recall. I wanted to have an account of the craziest thing that happened to me in my life thus far & thought it would be fun to write it in story form. This story is written in parts, so it will make more sense if you read from the beginning!

disclaimer: part six was written over a year ago! somehow i forgot about ever finishing this, so i'm finally posting part seven to this saga & ending it. it was amazing to see how awesome my school and work accommodated me for my month long recovery! also, this one is not written in story form, but like a recap.


i was so afraid of missing the semester and having to do it all over again in the spring right before our wedding. thankfully since i was only a month away from the end of the semester, my school worked it out so that i could finish my classes at home and graduate on time! i was only taking 2 actual classes, because my other 3 class slots were my internship that i had completed over the summer. so this was very good timing as well! had i been in 5 actual classes i probably wouldn't have been able to finish on time! i was also thankful that i had done my internship over the summer, because i would've missed too many hours during the semester to complete it. 

one of my classes was a computer class, so i was able to finish all of it online. the other class was concepts of chemistry, so that was a little more tricky. i had to finish a presentation, a test, a final exam, and 2 labs for that class. this is where it gets awesome, because my Chemistry teacher drove an hour to my house 3 different times to meet with me and let me present to her, take the test, review for the exam, and finish my labs! she had to bring all of the lab materials with her and we did them in my kitchen! talk about commitment to being a teacher! 

so with all of that i was able to finish my classes on time, and i was well enough to walk by the time my December graduation came along! my graduation was 6 weeks after the surgery, and thankfully i could walk with no pain across the stage! my chemistry teacher also found me after graduation and said congrats! it is funny because i hadn't spoken to her much before all of this happened, and that just goes to show how much teachers care about their students at that school. had i been at a large university, i'm not sure what would have happened.


at this time, i was working part-time for the company i got my first job after college at. since i was only working part time, i was able to be out for a month and come back without having to deal with short term disability or payroll headaches. my boss was very easy going and worked things out while i was gone, so i'm very thankful for that. since i was only working 2 days a week, i didn't have a full workload, so it was doable to have someone cover my work while i was out. then, he ended up hiring me on full time a few months after i got back! my department even sent me an edible arrangement while i was in the hospital which was super nice! 


i had looked into doing a semester abroad in either China or Uganda the semester that this all happened, but the finances didn't work out. i'm so glad they didn't because i couldn't imagine finding or going through all of this in another country away from all of my friends and family. it is also likely that i wouldn't have gone to a doctor in another country. so we probably wouldn't have found it and it may have burst since it was so large. talk about a scary experience!

additionally, my dad was in line for a trip to Germany with his department at work. he was one of the most senior engineers in the department, so he should have been chosen to go on the trip. but at the last minute another engineer was chosen to go. my dad was a little upset that he was not chosen. but looking back on it, he would've been gone during this entire ordeal leaving my mom to deal with everything. so, in retrospect it was actually a good thing that he was here while all of this happened!

last but not least, i got engaged a month before this monstrosity was found. so, had i been in China or Uganda i wouldn't have been getting engaged obviously. it really stinks that this thing happened right after getting engaged, but thankfully a very good chunk of the wedding plans were already done by the time i found out about the surgery, so we could stand to lose a month in the planning process. this is why it can be good to plan ahead & have a type A personality! ;)

right before graduation, the pathology report came back and it wasn't cancer! hallelujah! so it was just some weird alien baby growing inside me, but cancer free!

[the end]

Friday, December 16, 2016

this city

this is something i wrote back in July when we moved from my most favorite city. and yes i'm just now getting around to finishing it & posting because that is grad student life for ya ;)

this is the place where my life changed in the most profound ways.

there were really hard times & really really good times. and of course plenty of times in between.

this is where my heart first tasted of love. where my heart learned how much it is capable of loving. and also where my heart experienced deep sorrow. but also where it mended and grew stronger.

this is where my childhood ended & where my adult life began to blossom. this is where i learned to stay a kid, but this is also where i learned to grow up.

this is where i learned about friendship and what it took to be a good friend. this is where i began to realize that not all people stay with you - that some are only in your life for a short time. but even so that some will always stay with you no matter what, that some transcend time and distance.

this is where i began to learn that not everything is black and white. in this world there is plenty of gray. and even though God is absolute, there is plenty in this world that isn't. this is where i learned how important it is to have a discerning mind.

i learned a lot in this city, i grew a lot in this city. i learned that you can't always trust people or depend on them, but that you can always choose to love them and extend grace. there are plenty of times i chose wrong, and i learned it's okay to have regrets. being able to admit when you're wrong is a strength to have.

this is where i realized that i feel super deeply and that i must be extra careful with my heart. feeling deeply is both a blessing and a curse, the highest highs and the lowest lows. this is where my heart got bruised and calloused, but also where it was allowed to heal and soften.

this is the place where my life changed in the most profound ways.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

a day in Stars Hollow

"once Luke Danes is in your life, he's in your life forever"

last week my friend from school came over & we had a Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life watch party! i was sick the first time we planned the watch party, so we had to postpone it. but since i was sick i went ahead and watched it before she came over, cause i'm not a patient person! i was a little shocked the first time i watched it through, so i was glad to be able to process before we watched it together. 

i enjoyed it much more the second time through, because i knew what to expect. i feel like the first time you watch it you're waiting to see all of your favorite characters that you don't really appreciate everything that it is. the second time you pick up on more & you already know the ending so you can appreciate the journey to the ending. for instance, i hated the musical the first time through, but now it is one of my favorite parts! i have those songs stuck in my head all the time!

i've basically been living in Stars Hollow each night the last few months as me & Thomas worked our way through the entire series leading up to the revival. we would watch a few episodes each night before going to bed so i could wind down from all of the heavy reading for school. we worked our way through all semester just in time for A Year in the Life! 

Thomas & i haven't had cable throughout our marriage, so we just watch through the few tv shows we have on DVD and Gilmore Girls is one of our favorites. (other favorites include Heroes, 24, and The Big Bang Theory) we've actually watched through all 7 seasons of Gilmore Girls about 4 times in our almost 4 years of marriage & we just love it. 

A Year in the Life is in a lot of ways old, in a lot of ways new, and in all ways magical. after all, "what's there not to love about the town of Stars Hollow"? ;)

are you a Gilmore Girls fan? 
have you watched the revival yet? what was your reaction?

Monday, December 12, 2016

a bunny named Luna Lovegood

sadly in November, our sweet Finn passed away suddenly. he was only a year old so we were not prepared for this in the slightest. it happened right before the end of the semester so my stress levels were already pretty high and it hit really hard. 

we weren't planning on getting another bunny so soon, but we saw this bunny on a rescue's facebook page stating that she needed a forever home. we went to meet her and she was super sweet so we decided to adopt her since we had the room. she is a mini-lop and around the same age as Finn was, so we thought she would bond well with Albie since she had just started bonding with Finn

we kept up our Harry Potter naming tradition and named this little lady Luna Lovegood. we think the name fits her perfectly because she's got a bit of a spunky personality. she is very gentle and easy going, but has a personality of her own as well. she will jump on and off the couch by herself and run around the living room with our basset hound. her and the basset will run around each other and play, it's so adorable.

we were wondering how it would go adopting an older bunny, since we got Finn and Albie at such a young age, but Luna has done really well. she picked up on the litter box super fast and is getting comfortable around us and her new house. she has even met Albie once and they did really well. bonding rabbits is a process but they are showing promising signs so far. and we really love how chill Luna is, she's the perfect house bunny. we can let her hop around the living room freely while we are in there and she just flops around everywhere adorably. :) bunnies are seriously such fun pets!

Friday, December 09, 2016

writing | more to give

they said the sky's the limit
you can be who you want to be
but then they go and judge you
when they don't like what they see

so she learned to lock up her opinion
just stay quiet and coast by
for the other people always had
the final say of what and why

she took her spunk and sillyness
and locked them deep down inside
she learned how to completely be
another person on the outside

then one day it hit her
that she had forgotten who she was
she hadn't smiled in years
she never laughed, just because

slowly but surely she began to unfold
the box she buried deep within
carefully she unwrapped it
and out came the person she'd always been

it didn't take long for her to realize
that her past was no way to live
she had listened too much to other people
when she had so much more to give

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

grad school by the numbers | volume 1

so my first semester of graduate school has come & gone. and what kind of blogger would i be if i didn't do a recap? well, probably the kind of blogger who only blogs once a month. oh wait... ;)

grad school by the numbers | volume 1

semesters completed: 1 of 5

articles read: 64

chapters read: 63

total pages read: i'm sure i hit somewhere over 3,000 (see above)

episodes of gilmore girls watched: 153
(at nights we worked our way through every season in anticipation for A Year in the Life!)

papers written: 27

total pages written: 153

cups of coffee consumed: 134 (see above)

lunch dates with friends: 20

free lunches obtained: 4

classes taken: 5

length of classes in hours: 3

hours of internship: 174

walks around campus: 15

days where i did nothing school related: 3

things i learned: 562,654 (but for real!)

semesters remaining: 4

Monday, November 07, 2016

project 12 | 2016 | part four

i love having my years captured month by month and plan to keep up with project 12 this year in a few different chunks. you can read about January-March here, April-May here, and June-August here.


the biggest highlight this month was a surprise trip to the mountains that Thomas planned for a late birthday getaway! it was nice to get out of dodge and have some relaxing time just the two of us. since grad school started i have been swamped with work & that is basically all i have time to do on the weekends. so i worked like crazy to get my work done friday & saturday of labor day weekend. then we escaped to the mountains on sunday & monday for some relaxation! if relaxation means spending the entire time outside either hiking or at the apple festival! (which for me right now it does, because my life consists of sitting in class, or sitting at my desk at home reading and writing)

my field internship started this month, and man did things go into overdrive! the internship is 2 full days each week, so those 16 hours on top of my 5 classes is sooooo much! but somehow i am still able to find time to get all of my coursework done which is the biggest thing i was worried about once i started my internship. i am getting less sleep now, but it's been more bearable than i was anticipating!

September 4-5 - we had a quick overnight trip to the mountains for some hiking & the apple festival!
September 10 - i went yard sale adventuring with a friend from school
September 13 - we started the bonding process with our 2 bunnies - yay for bunny friends!
September 21 - i started my 2 day/week internship, so life got pretty hectic!
September 22 - but we made time for our first date tradition! 5 years!


the weather finally cooled off most days, so we have been getting outside anytime i need to take a quick break from school work! we have been trying out different parks around town and basically just loving the nice weather! i take more breaks from my schoolwork than i probably should because i just want to have an excuse to be outside in the fall weather!

this month i had a lot of papers due for school, so unfortunately most of my weekends are spent doing that. however, thomas & i try to go out to eat on a weeknight and consider that our fun time. it is crazy how much time it takes to do all of this coursework for school, but it is only for 2 years so i keep reminding myself that. plus, i will have a few weeks off in December before the next semester starts, so that is something we are looking forward to!

October 1 - we took a morning stroll at a nearby park & found some ducks to photograph! 
October 5 - we had dinner downtown & a stop by Luke's (which was sadly closed)!
October 9 - we spent the afternoon exploring downtown & found a new favorite sandwich shop!
October 14 - i had the day off from school so we hung out downtown & saw Sully
October 22 - my parents visited for the afternoon - we had lunch & explored the canal park

what has your fall consisted of so far?

Monday, October 17, 2016

the easy life vs. the best life

i've been thinking a lot about "the easy road" lately. i put it in quotations because what is easy, really? in thinking of my own situation, sometimes school is easier than work, but in many ways work is a lot easier than school. 

a lot of times people tend to view going back to school as taking the easy road. while other people are still working a full time job, i'm living it up and partying in college, right? i've even heard someone say they wish they could go back to school & have time to nap. i have to chuckle at the fact that anyone could think "grad school" and "naps" go together at all! in reality, grad school is way more time consuming than the full time job that i left, even when i was working ridiculous amounts of overtime.

the easy road for me would have been to stay in my full time job where i knew what to expect, i had a routine down, i made enough money to live on, and i could clock out on nights and weekends.

the easy road would have been for me and Thomas to have stayed in the house we already owned and in a town where we already had connections.

the easy road would have been to not pay a crazy amount of money for grad school right after paying off a crazy amount of student loans from undergrad.

instead, we sold our house, moved our lives, left our families, left a good paying job, and are paying a lot of money for grad school. grad school is like having a full time job, homework on nights and weekends, a part time job in the internship, and i have a small part time job on the side. somehow i still have to find time to be a wife, take care of three pets, and practice self-care for myself. it's not an easy road, but it's been the best decision, the best road.

i would be lying if i said i didn't ever think about just staying in that easy life, because it was so comfortable. yes i would love to have a year or two where we could just be. where we didn't have to think about loans, or debt, and just live "the good life." but the problem is, that isn't "the good life" for me. finances are important, and money should be managed well, but money is not where i find my joy. it is not what motivates me, and ultimately it is not what i want out of life.

i have felt and seen a change in myself in these past few months. yes, it would have been easy to stay in the known. in the job where i made good money and knew what to expect, but i would have been miserable. to be honest, i was really miserable the past year and these last few months have been incredible. it would have been easy to stay in the house we knew and in the town where we had friends, but we wouldn't have grown as we have in this big step of faith. it would have been easy to finally take that trip to Harry Potter World that we haven't been able to afford. it would have been easy to buy a nice house that we would be comfortable in. it would've been easy, but it wasn't what is best for us. 

basically i have come to realize this: i don't want the easy life, i want the best life.

Friday, September 23, 2016

the first date | year six

every september 22, Thomas and i kinda re-live our first date. lucky for us we just went out for coffee, so it is casual and low key. which is perfect because we are casual and low key people! ;) we spent the time reminiscing, dreaming of the future, and laughing along the way. somehow it's always one of our most relaxed and fun dates, which is why i love the tradition!

it's so crazy to have been with someone for five years! (maybe some of you reading this have been married or dating for way longer and think five years is nothing - but remember back to the first time you hit the five year mark with someone!) the passage of time and anniversaries just amaze me everytime. this is by far the longest relationship i've ever been in, once we passed two years, every new milestone is the first time we've been here. everything is now a first for us and it's always amazing to think about, definitely not something we take for granted. 

so five years ago a brown eyed boy and a blue eyed girl sat at a table drinking fancy coffee drinks, with no idea that things would end up here - #fourthyearofmarriage (did i do it right, Julie?!). i also just realized that september 22 is the official start of Fall, so that is really cool. because it is my favorite season, so i love that our relationship ushered it in! my favorite relationship in my favorite season, somethings are just meant to be. #helloimcheesy

it is kindof crazy that so much has happened in 5 years. on our first date, i was a junior in college working towards my degree in accounting, and Thomas was an old working man at an insurance company. now, i'm pursuing my masters degree in social work, and Thomas is still an old working man (haha!) at a law firm, ironically working in the accounting department. well, he can have accounting! ;)

if you would have told me 5 years ago that i would be in grad school i would have laughed at you. i also would have laughed if you told me i would be living in the armpit of South Carolina too, another thing i had no desire to do. and while i don't exactly love the armpit, it is not as bad as i anticipated. oh, and grad school is not so bad either. i mean, it is a LOT of work, but it helps that it is something interesting like social work and not business related. so, here we are 5 years older and on 2 new paths that we never would have imagined. can't wait to see where we are in life in another 5 years! hint hint: hopefully living somewhere without 1000% humidity (aka why i call it the armpit)!

what are some traditions you & your significant other have?!

Monday, September 19, 2016

project 12 | 2016 | part three

i love having my years captured month by month and plan to keep up with project 12 this year in a few different chunks. you can read about January-March here, and April-May here

lol at the baby/daddy photobomb team!

man oh man, this was the last month at my accounting job, and boy was it ROUGH. i spoke a little bit about it in this post. however, i did learn some things throughout the month. so it is always a plus when you can learn something during the hard times! 

we lived with my in-laws during the entire month of June, since we sold our house in May. it was nice to have a break from owning a house for a month, it really helped lower our stress levels. and trust me, there was plenty of other things to stress about like getting set up for grad school, ending a job, getting ready for a move, and saying lots of goodbyes.

June 10 - registration for grad school!
June 11 - trip to Columbia with my parents
June 18 - my nephew's birthday party at the zoo!
June 19-23 - house sitting for my parents while they were on vacation
June 23 - my last day as an accountant!
June 24 - hung out with my family, went to the pool, and to see Finding Dory!
June 25 - trip to Columbia to sign the lease on our apartment
June 27 - lunch with a friend & orientation for my new part time gig (doing the books for a church)
June 28-29 - packed up everything at the in laws for the big move
June 30 - had lunch with my coworkers again before moving


i pretty much spent all month unpacking the apartment in stages, putting together Ikea furniture, organizing the apartment, and resting a little bit too. it was a month off of "work" but there was definitely a ton of work to do so i kept busy!

we did get to take a trip up to Indiana to visit some friends at the end of the month. we have been trying to hang out with them for the last 3 years but something always happens. like when we were supposed to be driving up to their wedding & Thomas totaled our car. so we finally made it happen & it was such a fun trip! we made a few extra stops in Knoxville and Louisville on the way too! 

other than that, we just kinda hung out and enjoyed a relaxing month. we did plenty of exploring around our new town, and claimed some spots as our favorites. like the used bookstore in an old mill, that we went to every weekend to browse! 

July 1 - finished packing for the move
July 2 - move in day! & my in-laws & cousin-in-law stayed the night
July 3 - donation/storage trip with the uhaul
July 4-5 - unpacking/cleaning the apartment
July 6-10 - beach trip with Thomas's family
July 16 - trip to Ikea to get me a desk, so i can be a legit student ;)
July 23 - another trip to Ikea to get a few extra things ;)
July 28-31 - trip to see friends in Indianapolis (with stops in Knoxville & Louisville)


August went by in a blur. somehow the 2 weeks before school started went by way too fast & once grad school started it has been crazy! basically after orientation it was hit the ground running because we had homework to do for classes that hadn't even started yet! but i am enjoying everything so much, definitely learning a lot just learning it super fast.

having a birthday right when school starts really stinks. i had so much to do to get ready for grad school that i really didn't even hardly think about my birthday this year. it just kinda happened & now it's over! that may be a good thing though - i can get away with pretending i'm still 27 for a little while longer! ;) ha!

i was lucky enough to make some awesome friends right off the bat, and we have a majority of our classes together so that is nice. we also all bring our lunch so we have our lunch break together. even though my inclination is to study during lunch because not having enough time is a real thing... it is nice to just have that downtime with friends inbetween 3 hour classes. the classes haven't been bad though, they actually go by pretty quickly because we do a lot of things in groups and the classes are mostly discussion instead of lecture. i thought i would die in 3 hour classes, but we do get a break halfway through so it is nice to break it up some.

August 1 - got & started reading The Cursed Child!
August 6 - some friends stopped by for lunch on their way home from the beach!
August 13 - my family came down to celebrate my birthday & see our new place
August 15-16 - alllllll day long orientation sessions for school! they were intense
August 18 - both of our bunnies got spayed/neutered so they can be friends now!
August 21 - we hung curtains in the apartment! (it made the apartment SO cozy!)
August 22 - classes officially started, no turning back now!
August 23 - i turned 28. man, i'm getting on up there!
August 27 - Thomas's parents came down to see our new place & hang out!

what are some notable events from your summer?