Woot Woot! It's Friday. You know how I love my Fridays :)

For us, that means that Kyle and I are escaping to spend a weekend with just each other. Our house has been full for the past two weeks, combined with two busy work schedules, scheduling house work and contractors, and trying to keep things straight- it's easy to miss one another in the chaos. This weekend is our time to take a deep break of relief and gratitude together, and I.SO.EXCITED! EEE!
We've also deemed this the official "last hoorah" before 2nd year begins. Hold onto your horses people, it's gonna get wild in the next twelve months.

Anyway, I've found myself completely distracted today and thus the number of articles I've been reading has been greatly increasing this morning. I thought it would only be fair to distract you, my sweet reader, just as much :) Don't worry, you'll only be distracted for five minutes. In unusual fashion, I only choose two:

Photos of Children From Around the World
I can't stop scrolling through these images, they evokes such emotion, concern and curiosity. Fair warning: A tissue may be necessary.

Ann Arbor Floods Summarized in 10 Short Videos:
Our little town had some major rain yesterday, and although I watched it pile up on our back patio and checked the basement several times just in case, I must say I'm thankful I was still able to safely drive home. I am bummed, however, that I missed the tubing adventures. Next time, next time...

Sweet Weekending friends!

Lord have mercy, is landscaping a lot of work. I'm popping up for a quick second to say hello and admit that I will be behind in updating you. 'Tis the life.
I have many fun things to catch you up on, but my fingers are a bit swollen and sore from yesterday evenings planting adventures. If you follow me on instagram, you may have seen some of the progress. Either way, stay tuned.
I can honestly say that I'm in love with our home now, it FINALLY feels like ours! Funny how a few trees can liven the place up, eh?!

In an effort to save my hand strength for some mulching this evening, I'm catching up on some the my latest photography shoots (which was my excuse for delaying the exterior update yesterday too!) I can't get enough of his little 6 week old- his expressions are ridiculously cute!
Meet Peter Andrew:

We are taking a break from house updates today to discuss something much more fun :)!
Two adorable people who tied the knot earlier this month are gracing the photography blog this afternoon.
Ja and Hkaw Ying's Wedding was full of joy! Multiple family and friends came from all over the midwest to celebrate the union. Although many of their closest family members were countries away, the photos will forever tell a story of one family beginning a new life together.

Ah, I adore these two.

I left off yesterday with a sneak peak of the exterior painting on our home. Well, considering it was just a HUGE project, I'm going to draw this post out so you can get the full picture. If you are SUPER curious of the final result, just scroll down to the bottom then scroll back up to get the details. If you're like me, you've already done this and now you're reading this paragraph. I get it, I like the end of movies first too :) By the way, I use "Final" loosely, we still have a few ends to tie up before we can mark this project completely accomplished, but more on that tomorrow.

So, let's get to the good stuff.

As for the color:
We chose "Slate Tile" for the body, "Kilim Beige" for the trim color, and "Hopsack" as the accent color (all Sherwin-Williams colors),

If you read the post yesterday, you may be thinking that Kyle won on the color decision. Well, sort of. I wanted a blue color too, but the sample color of "Slate Tile" felt too blue and I was excepting more slate/grey tones. After a few days and in all different times of day, I started to fall in love with this color too (this was partially an issue of using a cheap sample paint) We pulled the trigger and decided to go for it three days before it was due to be painted! Of course, I heard an "I told you so!" I remise.

That poop brown is now a distance memory...I'm trying hard to miss it.

Once we replaced some boards, it was time to spruce this puppy up. Here are a few shots I grabbed throughout the week:

When we were house hunting (you can read all about those adventures here, here and here), we both were immediately drawn to darker blue, slate colored homes. We're pretty predictable with loving that color (it's why we chose the fireplace stacked stone that had slate blue in it:)! Our bedroom is also a calming, darker blue. What can I say.

Remember when I said it felt too blue? This is the time of day when I thought that  (just as in the picture below) - a half hour increment when the sun was just over the trees ready to sink down. This picture makes it look SUPER blue, in real life it looks warmer and reflects more of the paint colors name. (OHMYGOSH do I love the back of our home now!)

And I promise, we don't typically have our furniture scattered throughout our lawn like hooligans.

Tomorrow I'll get into the nitty gritty details behind our trim details, painting the front peak, what we did with the brick on the front porch, why we painted the foundation, what we're doing with the garage doors, what we did right, what we did wrong, etc etc...

But until then, here's our humble adobe:

Crazy to think to that we went from this:

To this:

I will admit, it still doesn't look finished to me. The back = AMAZING. The front = errrr. There is something clearly missing from the front = PLANTS! TREES! LIVELIHOOD! Thankfully, those are coming bright and early in the morning. We're giving life to this lil' drawing!

Hopefully I'll take a stretching break during landscaping tomorrow to write about all of the details and decisions that went into our exterior painting project. SO much excitement around here lately ;)

A HUGE THANK YOU to my brother and dad who pushed back other clients and projects and spent all of last week making our home beautiful! Seriously, sometimes it feels like we would be lost puppies without them (or at least things would get done in hummm...a year or two!)

I disappeared from blogging land last week, but for very good reason. A crazy work schedule coincided with our home getting a huge face lift, which also included making memories with some of my favorite people and hitting up some of the best Ann Arbor eateries.

In order to get the full picture, allow me to backtrack a bit. Over memorial weekend, we ventured (yet again) to the paint store to pick up samples. We had a good idea of what we wanted, but finding the 'right' color that we both had envisioned proved to be a bit more difficult than expected. We had to consider the roof color, making sure that the home color would be the right 'tone' and coordinate well with our roof shingles. Furthermore, there's personal taste and the color of other homes around us (we didn't want to be the exact same color as a neighbor, nor paint our home lime green and stick our like a sore thumb, in a bad way!).

Two weeks ago , I mentioned that our home looked like a hippie home. Here's why:
(Sorry, in advance, for the dark pictures. These were all taken at 9:30 pm!)

Our 9 samples were plastered across the side of our garage/back of house. Four trim colors and five body options. I leaned towards the green color called "Retreat" on the far, upper left hand side. Kyle loved the farthest, upper right side named "Slate Tile."

These sat for three weeks as we contemplated the color we had envisioned. Three weeks wasn't planned, but our state has been pounded by so much rain that we had to keep pushing back the date (thankfully, last week was the IDEAL weather for painting!!). Each day, we'd walk out back and see what certain colors looked like at different times of the day and at all angles...then repeat. We made a fun game of having anyone who came over give their opinion, so we received everything from "that's too blue," to "why would you want green, you're surrounded by green plants?!"

Choosing an exterior color is more pressure than I thought it would be. Blue's can go purple quickly, greens can look grey, and beige can render pink casts, so on and so forth. WHATIFOURHOUSEISPUPRLEANDPINK?!!

Just a note about samples: They give you the cheapest paint they have, so the color may not be 100% representative of the color it will be when you use higher quality paint. It may warrant or shift towards a certain shade, and the coverage may not be adequate with two coats.

But, before we started the painting, there was some prep work to be done. See those boards down there:

We had a handful of cedar planks that needed to be replaced. (And I only mention this second part due to the fact that my mother will laugh and show my step dad...) My step dad took Kyle's truck to the lumber store to get the wood. On the way home, he got lost for over an hour AND the wood flipped out of the back of the truck in downtown A2...only to arrive back to our home and realize THEY GAVE HIM THE WRONG ONES! Two hours later, we finally had the right planks sitting in our driveway. Thanks, Pat :(!

They say things get worse before they get better....

I came home from work to find plenty of old planks scattered throughout the lawn, all of our windows taped down and our trim almost finished.
We also got a glimpse of the color!! Here's a sneak peak until tomorrow..

I'll be back to share the "big reveal" of what used to be, as we fondly referred to it, the neighborhood's ugly duckling.

It's almost the weekend and I find myself wondering where on earth this week went. June is flying by faster than I can talk about- I really just have no idea where the months have gone this year!
Here's my rather quick attempt to catch up on life. Not assuming that you, my friends, necesarily need a play-by-play, but someday when I look back at this little journal I'll remember I didn't fall off of the face of the earth that summer of '13.

Kyle had the past two weekends off. It's been GLORIOUS! Last weekend was just about us, and much needed. We did a date night, slept in, got a ton of little projects finished around our home, had a big family cookout at my moms, had some friends over for a bonfire, got to go to church together (followed by brunch at our favorite sushi joint) and watched movies. I'm still gleaming because it was just so fun to hang out with my hubby. Even if it involved having my feet and ankles eaten alive at the bonfire.

In between photo shoots, cookouts and everyday life, we've been making some fun (and BIG) decisions concerning our exterior.
Our dates are set for the landscaping to come, and guess what is getting painted NEXT WEEK?!
Lots to share with you! Let's just say at this point, all of the sample colors have made the back of our home closely resemble half of the homes on the west side of Ann Arbor - the word psychedelic comes to mind. I'm looking forward to showing you all of the details - I'm so excited I can't stand it! There has been a lot of dancing on my tiptoes and clapping. Lots of clapping.

Because my father and brother are professional painters, and they are painting our exterior...guess who I get to see next week?! My niece. I'm so excited. We already chatted all about playing in the sprinkler, reading books and painting nails together.

On another note, our close friends have been back in Charlottesville for the week planning their wedding (I can't wait for our reunion in Oct!). We received multiple texts of our favorite restaurants and people...including a special note on the downtown chalkboard :) I'm not sure why but lately I've been incredibly sentimental about that town.

I've been waking up earlier in the morning to get in a workout before work. I wish I would have started this so long ago! It helps being in the summer, it's so light out early on- making it ten times easier to get out of bed. The best part? Feeling so accomplished and awake is the best way to begin the day. (and I love leaving work and having the entire evening to play!)

We have to put in for Kyle's vacation time for the next year. How is one suppose to plan an entire 12 months in advance? I took the opportunity to research a good location for our next trip. I'm rooting for South America or (if we get REALLY lucky and  he gets two weeks back to back), going back to South Africa or Uganda will be a given. I've also been sentimental about those two countries lately too. This  seems to be a pattern each time Kyle is on an intense rotation and I have too much time with just Maizy and I. Next thing you know, hubby comes home and I hand him our itinerary!

Err...what else? Home, reminiscing, vacation dreaming... pretty much sums it up.
I love these semi-calm moments in life. They don't happen very often, so I'm soaking in these last few days before the next round of renovations hit.


I realize that I switch gears a lot on this blog. It's a accurate reflection of what goes on in my mind on a daily by minute basis. Sorry if that throws anyone off. I appreciate you hanging with me :)

That explains why I just switched gears from residency-moving-talk to workout clothes. This is a normal transition in my brain. Really.
So now that that we are officially entering summer, it means that working out outside can be difficult. Early mornings and late nights can be a solution in order to still enjoy the workout rather than die from heat exhaustion and dehydration. But clothes have a big part of that too. No one wants to clunk around in a thick cotton T-shirt in 90 degree weather. I've done it, it's miserable.

Having worked out in just about any weather (oh my gosh I don't miss those southern summers or crazy northern winters!), I've by default tested out some gear. Some brands don't fit right around the thighs so you have limited movement, some waists run large and fall down, some tops are too right around the er. girls, some are too loose and give no support, some things are clingy and other's too flowy..and so the story goes. I've been able to narrow down what I'm most comfortable in, as well as what brands fit the needs of someone who hates swimming in her own sweat. Add to that the different seasons and you throw in another curve ball of finding the most comfortable and effective clothing.

In the summer months, I lean towards items that are:
1) breathable
2) looser around abdomen and legs
3) light fabrics (I've never tried the spandex shorts, but I do hear they are comfy)
4) wick fabric (usually polyester blends)

Here are some of my favorite brands and items:

Some tips on finding the best workout clothes for warm-weather (certified by trial and error :) :

- Look for key words in item descriptions such as "breathable," "mesh," "wicks," "super-thin," "chafe-free," "sunblock technology," "sweat absorbing," or "dry-fit."

- Don't assume that tank tops are made for warm weather. (Although that should be the assumption) Many are quite thick and not conducive to exercising in heat.

- Read reviews of products. I enjoy online shopping, but I never purchase anything without reading reviews. Mostly because the material matters so much when choosing workout gear, it's impossible to 'feel' the product via the internet. For example, many "wick" fabrics can have a rough, scratchy feeling.

- Stay away from cotton (as comfy as it can be, it quickly becomes uncomfortable when it's full of sweat and weighing you down)

- Choose clothes that allow you to move freely

- Look for tops or shorts that have hidden pockets or slots for an ID card and/or cell phone. Exercising in the heat can be dangerous, but running or biking with while carrying things can be annoying. Brands have become brilliant about building in pockets that don't get in your way.

Now, go have fun shopping!
For some reason, getting new workout clothes always makes me want to work out more- it's a good (and expensive!) mind trick :)

We've done a lot of adjusting in our three years of marriage, and many times prior to being married as well. Living internationally, a long-distance relationship, choosing a graduate school, moving to a new city, adjusting to medical school, new jobs, job relocation, transitioning to residency, moving to another city, so on and so forth. Sort of seems like the name of the game at this point. In no time at all, we'll already be looking into fellowship programs and re-starting this entire process. That's how quickly this first year has flown by!
I won't tell you it's been easy. It hasn't. The most difficult for me was moving back to Ann Arbor. Not because I don't love this city, it's because I also loved Charlottesville. We had such a wonderful life there, and starting over is never easy to do. New friends, jobs, home, church, grocery store, etc etc. Things change. If you have been around here a while, you know that zero percent of this is new information. I started this blog when we moved, so there have been plenty of posts about our home search, settling, (...and the list continues). That's only natural since this blog reflects life. Our life.

This particular post is for those of you who are packing up your lives and starting an entire new adventure. Just last year we were doing the same thing, and it was overwhelming. Exciting, but overwhelming. I want to reassure you that everything you're feeling right now is all very normal.

I don't talk intimately about Kyle and I's relationship, but I will tell you we got in the biggest fight of our marriage during this time. I still get chills thinking about it, because it rocked us both to the core. It wasn't pretty, a lot of screaming (we don't tend to raise our voices at one another) and many tears. I'm telling you that because didn't feel like tensions should be that high, but they were. There's simply a TON of pressure and so many unknowns. It quickly feels like your life is slipping through your fingers and you can't do anything about it. I used to think I was pretty good to adapting to change, but this one hit me much harder than I had anticipated. Then, days turned into weeks, weeks to months and we were full fledged riding the residency train. A "hold on tight" kinda feeling.

If you are reading this and thinking that all of this sounds eerily familiar, I hope you find comfort in knowing you're not alone. The reality is that this can be a really difficult time. But don't feel dismayed, it's also a time to grow individually and as a family. Here are some of the things that helped us through it:

1) Reach out - try your darnest to meet other people!

2) Be selfish with your time together. This has always been a tough one for us, but it's critical to maintaining a healthy relationship through residency (or any demanding career). There's a difficult balance when someone has limited free time, between spending time with friends/family and with your spouse. We both had to learn to say "no," to things that we'd never question attending before. BUT, we know that our time together is precious and needs to come first.

3) Communicate. When you're spouse gets home from their first shift and realizes 'this is going to be tough,' make sure you take the time to be the sounding board. It will help you serve one another better, as you'll be able to understand what your spouse is doing from day to day. It's easy to think, "oh, their working," without grasping what that entails. Just take the time to listen.

4) Pray. If you aren't a praying person, I suggest doing it. That's not some religious threat, I'm being honest. Pray for your spouse. Not only does it help connect you, you'll be able to be more understanding and compassionate towards them. Life is hard to do on your own strength, and residency seems to be a perfect platform for proving that. You'll quickly find yourself in reliance.

5) Allow yourself to vent. I went through a lot of guilt for wanting to complain but feeling like I couldn't since more than likely I wasn't the one putting in unsustainable work hours. Long hours effect everyone and it requires sacrifice on all levels. Find someone who you can trust, who will encourage you to simply talk about the experience.

6) Get busy! Find a gym, volunteer, attend events, pick up a new hobby, etc. The last thing you want is to sit around and wait..and wait...and wait... for your SO to arrive home. I remember those days last summer thinking, "but he said he'd be home by 6!" Ha. (Talk about not being in control of your schedule!) Use this as an opportunity to meet new people, or try something you've never done before! Go explore the new city!

7) Set realistic expectations. I'll be honest, this is something I really struggled with. Kyle is super energetic, ready to try new things and loves just being on the go. That changed a lot after beginning residency. It has a way of zapping a lot of energy from you! I needed to realign reality with what I wanted or expected of him, those two didn't match up in a way that fit my (unrealistic) desires. It's an adjustment that takes time for both people.

With one year down, I can say that it has gotten easier. Not the schedule, but the way we relate to it. It finally seems like we've found some ebb and flow to the demands, as well as the free time. Through the ever-present challenges, I can say we've learned to appreciate one another in an entirely new way. Life's a journey, and we're in it together.

“It is good to have an end to journey toward; 
but it is the journey that matters, in the end.”
Ernest Hemingway

For some more conversations on Residency, go here:
 The Residency Forum (there will be a new post coming soon)

I'm sure there are others who have advice too, if so, please chime in :)

If you've stopped by through Medical Mondays, welcome! I'm glad you're here. Ironically, I was  going to post a picture of a recent maternity session I had done, but it happened to tie in oh so nicely to this monthly link party that I figured I'd use it as an opportunity to talk medicine for a moment. What time is ever better than Medical Mondays?!

The adorable couple I photographed I had met last year at one of the doctor's welcome parties. They had recently bought a home, gotten married and moved to Ann Arbor. Sound familiar? I have a feeling that may be some of you too!
This was the same time that we had met a lot of the other woman whom I now call friends. This picture was taken almost a year ago, and we BARELY knew each other. At all.

But, we made an effort. We were all in the "we don't know anyone, but we're here to stay" boat.
It was a scary and confusing boat. One with a lot of unknowns. Sometimes it still feels like we are sitting in that same boat, just trying to find our way to solid ground.
The best advice I could give some of you who are packing up your bags and moving to another state is this: be open. Sometimes it can be REALLY difficult to step out of your comfort zone, but I promise there are so many others in your same life situation.  I've shared a bit about how important it has been for me to have this "support group" - it makes me sad to think that many SO's don't have that. There should be some resources that the hospitals provide for spouses or significant others- use them. If not, create them. Try hard to put yourself out there, host a get together with strangers - I promise they'll soon become your close friends.

That's what happened with this sweet couple! I'm honored to call them friends :)
Out of this little group of friends, three babies are due in the upcoming months! I'm honored to have been able to document the first this year: Mandy & Ian (and Vernor & Duncan!)

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