So, I took a little glance at the blog to see when my last post was. 20 days ago. Hmm. So then I took a little glance through my planner to see what I could post on. Nothing. Hmmm. Okay. Well then, here's the deal: I have 17 days left in the semester. In the two weeks following Easter I will have 7 exams (clearly the program is not familiar with my friend, Jesus, who died for our sins and deserves a day dedicated to him instead of studying). One of my exams entails walking into a room with 9 cadavers with 50 "items" (i.e., tendons, ligaments, muscles, arteries, or nerves) flagged, and we are to write down the item (spelled correctly, from memory, mind you). Nice. Anyway, homework and finals preparation will consume the next 17 days, then 3 days of fieldwork, then... (drum roll, please)... Ceej and I are going to Jamaica! Oh I am excited! It is what is keeping me trucking through this ish. I have 2 weeks off between-semesters (apparently grad students don't need a spring break...? News. to. me.) then back at it through the summer for more classes, research, fieldwork, and volunteering. BUT come 18 days, I'm halfway through the academic part of this program (there are 6 months of fieldwork next spring). This last point makes me quite happy.
In Australia it's common to use the terminology "fortnight" for a period of 2 weeks, hence the name of this entry summarizing the past 2 weeks. The above and below pictures are from "Casino Night" last weekend. It was a lovely Saturday afternoon and the boys were trying to plan an activity for the evening. Some wanted to go to the actual casino, but then the idea to create our very own was brought up. Brilliant! They split up buying the table, card distributor, & 5 decks of cards. One person brought over the chips. Ceej made guacamole & I made brownies & meatballs. We pushed aside the coffee table and brought our kitchen table into the living room to play. It was a great night!! Some came out ahead, some behind. What a fun & random event! The below picture is of my mom & I at Younkers for "Woman of the Year" through WWIB (a Christian radio station here in Eau Claire). I had nominated her and she was one of the 20 contestants. The Woman of the Year was actually just drawn out of a hat from the the 20 & won a $750 gift certificate to Younkers (a bonus for me because we can share clothes). Well, she didn't actually win, but we had a really nice morning. It started out with a long walk around Altoona, getting to the event at 10 and realizing that the drawing was at 11:45, so we drove to the Cap & Cork (wine store) to vote for her bottle label (she makes wine & labels for a hobby), and then to Aldi's for some groceries. I hadn't been to Aldi's for a while, so I forgot how CHEAP it is. I was quite excited and got a card full of great stuff. Some of you quality over quantity seekers may be shaking your head in disgust, but Aldi's suits us beautifully. Below is a shot from yesterday. Ceej and I spent the day in Menomonie volunteering at a basketball tournament with Special Olympics. It was a ton of fun & a great experience! I can't wait to volunteer at more events (yes, I've already started looking into them), and Ceej enjoyed it, too! I was the announcer (can you imagine? it was great) and he kept score for one of the teams, so we were able to be together. I was amazed at how many people were there! There were 4 games going on at all times, and the parking lot was FULL of cars. The day was filled with magical moments; I would look around and just get tears in my eyes at the pure joy around me. Most of the teams had a few players who made most of the baskets. On one team, however, every single person had a made a basket with the exception of one boy. He was working hard and shooting, but all of them were slightly off. Finally, with 24.7 seconds left in the game he shot and made a 3 point basket! He threw his arms in the air and cheered. They won the game. It was amazing! We received the shirts we're wearing in the picture at the event... and it suits me perfectly because I'm known for my value of "person-first language". It is something that is very important to me after my education about and work with individuals who have disabilities. We were at the basketball tournament from 1-6 PM and decided to make a night of our time in Menomonie. We went to a Mexican restaurant and then met Jesse & Quinn at a bar for an improv comedy show. It was lots of fun, but the last comic was very disrespectful and we ended up leaving (the comics had been on for 4 hours, so it was getting old). It was fun to get out and enjoy some quality time with friends and one another!
As noted before, I stopped by my sister's on the way home from school to see the new little ladies. I was also able to make it to see my dad, but 2 stops after 12 hours of sleep over the course of 3 days was all I could do, so unfortunately couldn't make it to visit Jen & Elliana this time. It was a ROUGH two weeks, and the time in Rochester and the Twin Cities were brutal with two intense exams. Thursday in particular was horrible. Here is how my day went: I went to bed at 11:30 and woke up at 3:30. Gross. Then I studied, took an exam at 9, most likely failed it, sat in class until 5pm, drove through rush hour, stopped in Stillwater, and then drove back to Eau Clare, getting home around 11pm. That night, Ceej actually thought I was drunk (and said he would have bet money had I not just drove an hour and a half). Looking back I can see why: I was so exhausted that I was stumbling around, had my eyes halfway open, and had a drowsy, slow response time. I slept over 11 hours that night, and it was glorious. Anyway, big brother Rylan was so proud to show auntie Em his new sisters (big brother Mickeegan was at Boy Scouts). Evelyn is a little smaller, looks like Mickeegan, has lighter colored and thinner hair. Clara is slightly bigger, looks like Rylan, has darker and thicker hair. AKA Evelyn has Tyler's face and Jamie's teeny body, and Clara has Jamie's face and Tyler's long body. Either way, they are gorgeous and OH so sweet!
After being crazy in love for a decade, we officially became a family on May 23, 2009. We are thrilled to be married and enjoying this exciting time in our lives! Ceej worked as a Journeyman plumber and is now bidding jobs for a local plumbing company, and Em graduated from UW-Madison in December of 2008 and is in the Masters of Occupational Therapy program at the University of Minnesota to be completed in the Fall of 2011. Our sweet baby Hazel Leann arrived April 1, 2011 (no foolin'!) and is the biggest joy and blessing we didn't know we needed. Life isn't perfect, but it sure is wonderful - We're truly enjoying every new second of God's awesome plan for our lives!
Pictures credit to Forever Photography (family/baby) and McManigal Photography (wedding).