Friday, January 29, 2016

Christmas 2015 and Charlottesville

I'm so far behind in posting and I don't even care anymore. I'm working full time and essentially going to school full time, so if I get a chance to post, it's a lucky day.

We had such an amazing Christmas. After our trip to Cambodia fell through we decided to stay in the DC area instead of spending a million dollars to go home for the holidays. And honestly, it was such a great decision.
On Christmas Eve we had dinner and a little program with 3 other couples who also stayed home. Everyone brought traditions from their families and we played games and laughed and ate so much food. It was such a great night.

On Christmas we relaxed at home and opened presents. We were so lucky that we had such kind family who shipped us presents so we could still share the day with them. After sitting on our butts all morning we headed out to my family's tradition of seeing a movie on Christmas. I've done this my whole life and it's surprising how many people have joined in in the last few years.
Hal's work gave him a last minute gift and we decided to use it and go somewhere fun for a few days. We left Christmas afternoon and headed down to Charlottesville, VA. We took a little inspiration from A Christmas Story and tried to find a Chinese restaurant open for dinner. It took a lot of calling, but we finally found one open and had a delicious Christmas Chinese feast in our hotel room.

We started out our trip by heading up to Monticello. Unfortunately it was raining and super foggy the entire time we were there, but luckily it made for really cool photos. We both thoroughly enjoyed Monticello. It was really cool to see how Jefferson was impacted by his time in Europe and how he drastically altered his designs based on the inspiration he saw all over Europe. My favorite parts were the really cool clock in the first room of the tour, seeing his actual boots in his bedroom, and seeing his pulley door in the main sitting room.
That same day we headed down to see the Great Caverns. I realized I had never been in a cavern before, so I was pretty darn impressed. This is the longest continually operated show cave in America. On the same day Union troops and Confederate troops were given tours of the cave, within hours of each other. You can even see their signatures from their tours still intact. The other really cool thing about this cave is that instead of things growing horizontally they grow vertically, so the have some shapes that are rather unique to this particular cave. They also have a lot of shield shapes which apparently are very uncommon.
Our last day we decided to partake of the famous food in Charlottesville we've heard so much about. Duck Donuts, which we've had before surely did not disappoint again. We did finally get to try the famous Bodo Bagel and man oh man, we're both still dreaming of how delicious those bagels were. Plus it was an amazing 65 degrees that day, so we drove to a park and enjoyed our meal outside while being baffled by the December weather.
I'd highly recommend Charlottesville for a perfect little getaway. Just 2 hours from DC, it's very close to Shenandoah, and has delicious food; which is always the real motivator for us. 

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

2015 year in review

Facebook just told me that it's been 8 years since Hal became my facebook friend. Since we were talking in the hallway at church and told him what facebook was, and that he had to add me, and that I was the most important person to add; so he put a star next to my name and history was set forever.

Well it's got me feeling nostalgic and it being the end of the year, so I thought I'd finally get around to posting a little year in review.

1 move & 1 offer on a house
We moved once this year which brings us up to something like 11 moves in the last 7 years. We moved in order to help the second number 1 on this list. We put 1 offer in on a house. While we got our hopes up with a verbal yes to our offer, we're both glad in the end it fell through. This was a big step for us, and the house hunt continues in 2016

2 best friends
2015 really was the year that these two became best friends. Their personalities compliment each other so well and they're hilarious together. I can't imagine not having both of them around.

3rd year in DC
We started our 3rd year in DC. We have really grown to love living in DC and love the neighborhood where we live. DC is so centrally located and is filled with endless things to do, most of them free. It's also nice living in a destination city because then we get to see friends and family as they travel through.

4 weddings

We were so lucky this year to celebrate the weddings of four couples that we love dearly. Each one was in a different state, spread out across the country and we are so thankful that we could spend their special days with them, and be a part of their celebrations.

5 beach trips

Hal and I were kind of beach obsessed this year. Every chance we got, even with Hal studying throughout the summer we went to soak up the sun. We've never lived this close to the beach, so we try to take advantage of it at every opportunity.

6 years out of school
This May was 6 years since I finished school. Well that's all about to change in 2016. I'm headed back to school. I got into Georgetown's paralegal program and will start there next month. I'm really nervous to go back to school since it's been so long, but hopefully it's like riding a bike.

7 years of marriage
Hal and I hit 7 years of marriage in September. There's no 7 year itching going on, so I guess we can count ourselves pretty darn lucky.

8 years together
Look at what youngins we were! We were pretty much inseparable from the night that we met 8 years ago,

9 hikes
This year we went on 9 fun hikes. We love being out in nature and taking in the beauty of the earth. It can be so hard to escape civilization out here, so going on hikes has become a respite from busy life. We were pretty lucky to have some windows of good health where we could go on such long and intense hikes. Hopefully next year we'll be able to go on even more hikes!

10 trips
This year really was the year of short spontaneous trips. We went to so much fun places, New York, Savannah, San Francisco, Charleston, The Grand Canyon...just to name a few. We love exploring new places and love trying wonderful restaurants in new cities.

1-1 Certifications
I couldn't think of an 11, so I split them into two ones, because we had some really big things happen this year. We had 1-Hal became a fully licensed CPA. WOOHOO! After a year of studying his butt off he passed all of his tests with flying colors and became licensed. and 1- I became a fully certified doula!

12 months of Lyme
This whole year has been filled with Lyme. I've officially been on antibiotics for year. Sometimes it's hard to believe it's been that long, and other times it's hard to remember what life was like before I was sick. It's been filled with so many sick days, so many pills, and so many disappointments. But I try really had not to let Lyme define who I am and what I can do. It's so endlessly frustrating to feel limited because of Lyme, but I know that it won't be that way forever, so I keep pushing myself not to give in to symptoms.

We had a pretty crazy 2015. We were able to fill it with fun adventurous things despite life getting in the way. I can't wait to see what adventures await 2016!

Friday, November 13, 2015


Halloween is by far my favorite holiday. What's not to love about getting to dress up in whatever you want, hang out with friends, and eat delicious candy? It's a holiday centered around being silly, how could you not love that?

Hal and I went all out this Halloween.  We had a wedding on Halloween so we decided to make the most of my church's trunk or treat.
Double cookie monsters. What's better than that? Hal was working in Seattle all week and flew home on a red eye Thursday night.  When I got home from work on Friday I set him to work on the car's cookie monster costume. We dumpster dived at our apartment's recycling dumpster for cardboard boxes. Hal free handed the designs while I cut the shapes out and we painted the night away while watching Hocus Pocus.

I hadn't ever decorated the car before for the trunk or treat, but I'm so glad we did. All of the kids loved it. Now we'll have to think of something amazing next year to top this.
We also decided to try out cat costumes because we're evil cat owners. Tuk Tuk tolerated her costume while Pepe did not. The first dragon costume didn't quite fit him since he's so long and he kept walking backwards to try to get it off.  The second costume was more successful, but equally hated.
And lastly, on actual Halloween we went to Hal's co-worker's wedding. I think Halloween is such a fun wedding day. They had the cutest touches of Halloween all over the reception hall. I think my favorite part was his shoes. They were normal dress shoes with a skeleton feet outline. 
We had a blast with all of their fun Halloween decorations and felt so lucky that they invited us to be a part of their special day. 

Thursday, October 22, 2015

A little Lymey Lyme update

I haven't updated on my Lyme since July, so I thought it was due. Even if it's just for me to look back on years from now when it's in remission to remind myself of everything I went through to put it there.

October marks a year since I had the potential diagnosis of Lyme; since I started tests to confirm the diagnosis. I can't believe it's been that long. I'm coming up on my year mark since I began treatment. 1 year on antibiotics.
Since July I've had a lot of ups and downs with my treatment. My Dr. has taken me off of Malarone, which is used to fight babasia, a common Lyme co-infection and started me on a tincture instead called Sida Acuta. Unfortunately for the first time in my life I'm having an allergic reaction to something. I get large red bumps that randomly pop up and itch endlessly. I'll have 10 or so for a week, and they'll finally fade away to just make room for another set of itchy bumps to pop up.
She also started me on a new antibiotic called Refampin. It supposedly targets the body differently than other antibiotics and every time I pick it up the pharmacist stressses using a backup method of birth control. Thanks for the psa, I think I get it.

In September I started having a relapse of herxheimer reactions, where you have too much die off and your body is filled with toxins, and you feel like you're gonna die. It had been months since I had a full blown herx, so it was kind of a surprise to have some when my medication hadn't changed in a while.
Unfortunately they continued for a while. I had days where I woke up so exhausted I literally couldn't get out of bed. It's a level of exhaustion that I can't really explain, but it's not your average level of tired.

I saw my Dr. recently and my medicine regime is starting to change yet again. She wants to start phasing me off of antibiotics now that it's been almost a year, and replacing them with herbal tinctures instead. I've just started the tinctures and have to build up to something like 30 drops of each twice a day. I've also started weaning myself off antibiotics, I'll be doing three weeks on, one week off. I was kind of surprised when she suggested this because I've been so sick.
I bought this heat bed from my Dr. It's this little bed like thing I lay in that goes up to 108 degrees over 40 minutes while you just sweat your brains out. It's actually been the best thing for helping my treatment. Sweating out all the toxins has led to no sick days for the first time in over a week.
So my treatment is changing yet again and I don't really know what to think. I trust my Dr, but it's hard to feel like I'm ready to go off antibiotics when I've been so sick lately. I've been so lucky to have Hal spend all his spare time to take care of me, and friends be so kind and bring me a care package. Sometimes treatment and symptoms can be so overwhelming, but it's really comforting to know I'm surrounded by people who care about me. 

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Cincinnatti Peace Corps Wedding Weekend

This month brought our second Peace Corps wedding of the summer. Two wonderful people, Stewart and Bret finally tied the knot in Cincinnati.
I love hanging out with RPCVs. I forget that we're all similar in the way that we're down for anything adventurous, so we started off the trip with walking from Cincinnati to Kentucky. Really, it's just over a bridge, but it was non stop raining with blowing wind and about 50 degrees outside.
Which also then took us to this really cool park along the water which was irresistible and led to going down a large metal slide which was basically a water slide in the freezing cold rain...twice.
Stewart's parents own the cutest little pink cottage I've ever seen in my entire life. I'm not joking. It was just as amazing inside as it was outside too. It was the perfect place to host a wedding, especially when like 30 former Peace Corps volunteers are all together.
 Unfortunately Hurriane Joaquin made for a cold gloomy day, but no one let that stop them from having a wonderful day and a beautiful wedding.
The food was amazing, her dress was beautiful, the people were wonderful, it seriously couldn't have been a better day. It was the perfect excuse to drive 8 hours and see so many people I haven't seen outside of Cambodia, especially since they got married 4 years to the day from when we all swore in as Peace Corps volunteers. Here's our K5 gang sign 4 years apart from each other.

Happy Wedding Stewart & Bret!! Thanks for letting all of us be a part of your wonderful day.
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