Hi Everyone! A belated MERRY CHRISTMAS and now HAPPY NEW YEAR!

I took an unofficial hiatus from blogging for the past few weeks, and I'm happy to say it was much needed and wisely used. Less time on computer = more time with hubby. I think we can all agree that is a great trade. I also noticed that my writers block was bigger than ever, I just needed to take a step back and see where it took me. Well, I'm back :) What can I say, I missed you!

I'm finally sitting down, for what seems like the first time in weeks, and let me tell you - it's amazing. I miss just writing and sharing and reading other people's blogs. I didn't realize this as much as when I wasn't doing it. There's so much to share and catch up on, so I'll start with the most obvious: Christmas!

I am just quickly popping in to share some of the holiday parties from the past few weeks. The holidays are such a mix of excitement and exhaustion, don't you think? I thought this would stop once we moved back to Michigan, since we would "have more time." Yeah, that hasn't happened. Almost the opposite actually. As wonderful as the holiday season is, I need a few days to just be at our home, sleep in our own bed and sink back into everyday life. If are you are currently picturing me in slippers, sipping tea, you have an accurate representation of my "recovery" time :)

I attend a women's bible study every Monday, so Shirley, our leader, hosted a wonderful holiday party for us...where we all just played with baby Alex :) He's the only male welcome.

A few days later, I hosted the "2nd Annual Christmas and Cookies" party. Pretty much an excuse for some girlfriends to get together, exchange gifts and taste test way too many cookies. Last year I made some mint chocolate truffles, and this year I stole this recipe. Would highly recommend!

We also had my work party that week...and of all people, Kyle ended up wining the bowling tournament. We spent a few days up at the cabin mixed in there somewhere, but I'll share more on that this week.. let's skip forward to more Christmas' and gatherings.

Annual dinner with Kyle's hometown crew:
We made a special trip to the west side and it was well worth the big hugs and time to just catch up.

We had Christmas at my mom's, at our home, at my in-law's, then with my dad's family. Christmas really did last an entire week :)

Hannah was enough entertainment for everyone. My goodness, she's so so big and so smart. We just watched her open gifts and use her imagination for hours.

Hannah loved making a gingerbread house. Aka, sneaking as much gumdrops as possible into her mouth, and happily smearing frosting on her hands only to lick it off. I think it's her new favorite Christmas tradition! Caught red handed:

Somehow we managed the whole week with no pictures of just Kyle and I. Maybe one on New Year's Day will suffice.

Hope each of you had a very merry Christmas!

It took three years and a lot of convincing, but guess what? We finally have a REAL tree standing in our home! (well, at least I hope it's still standing!).

When we lived in Virginia, we had a fake tree because we would travel for two weeks over the holidays, making it nearly impossible to keep a poor tree alive. Last year, I succumbed to using our fake tree again, since Kyle didn't have any time off on the weekends for us to cut one down together. Well, times are a changing!
On our fourth Christmas as husband and wife, this wife finally got her wish! We ventured out on Sunday afternoon to find the perfect tree. There is a great tree farm right around the corner from our home, so within one minute we were at the farm waiting for a wagon and handsaw. A huge smile plastered clear across my face.

Maizy took the lead to look for our families tree. We realized we are way more picky than necessary when it came to picking a tree. I wanted a spruce because I grew up with them, and love the smell! Kyle just wanted some dimension.

One hour and numb fingers later, we were still wandering around the farm. Finally, we found our tree! The heavens opened and I swear I heard music. (Although that music was me belting out Mariah Carey Christmas carols.)

I have this problem with perception that my contacts have not been able to completely fix. I get nervous passing semi trucks on the highway because they appear much closer to my right side than they actually are. We picked this tree and I was POSITIVE it was going to be short, since our living room has cathedral ceilings.

Not only is it scratching the ceiling (the ceiling is slanted to a peak, so we just need to move the tree a little into the living room and it wouldn't be kissing the ceiling anymore), but this thing is huge compared to what it looked like at the farm. Kyle's perception isn't off, so he was quite positive it would be a big tree for the space.
Doesn't matter, it's perfect!

It was also a wee too large for the tree stand we purchased. But, we were both too tired and lazy to go return it and buy another one. Nothing that fishing line and a nail can't fix.

Oh, and (almost) most importantly, the kind! We just liked the tree, cut it down and never thought about the kind until we checked out. We were too excited that we had finally found one! The owner told us it was a Concolor Spruce...aka my new favorite tree of all time.
It's so, so soft and smells like oranges. Seriously, my hands have smelled like oranges since Sunday. I kind of love it. The only downside is it's so soft that it is difficult to hang any heavy ornaments on the outside limbs.

It's wonderful. It's marvelous. It's ours.
Can you tell I'm just leaping with joy for our first real tree?

Does your family do real or fake trees?! Although the sweeping up of the tree has been a tad annoying, I *think* I've sold Kyle on going real from here on out - that is, if it stays standing until the New Year.

Do you have "fun days?"
I'm a very big fan.
In college, it was Sunday Fun Day - best day of the week! That carried into our life after the laid back college days, right into Kyle's medical school and my career. Each Sunday we had fun day traditions, and they were wonderful.
Two years ago, Kyle and I implemented "VK Family Fun Day" with his family. Result? Success. We did a movie, bowling, dinner and ended the night with a card tournament. It's a holiday tradition now.

So, while sitting at work in our weekly meeting, the group was discussing options for celebrating the holidays. After many ideas were thrown around - annual holiday party, going to a bar, secret santa, etc, it came down to one thing we all agreed on: FUN DAY!

But, let's back up a moment.

We are all very competitive. A group of Type A personalities. Take, for example, Halloween. Each year, there is a "friendly" competition among departments for the best Halloween costumes. This year, one coworker coordinated our entire office and forced us to dress up as Wizard of Oz.
See below.

Pretty sweet, right?
We lost to minions (as if that was original or creative)  Let me just tell you, we all left before the group picture. Our walk back to the office involved everyone plotting on how to win next year. Take that experience, apply it to "Office Holiday Fun Day", and you may get a bit nervous.

Me too.

We have brackets.
We are drawing names.
There is a scoreboard.
We will be trading players.
I'm secretly hoping we get team shirts for the bowling finale.

Beginning this week, and culminating in an entire day of games closer to Christmas, it's on. Like donky kong. I'm just praying we all remember the "holiday spirit." If Halloween is any indication of what is to come, no one is going down without a fight.

Last past week, we had three different Thanksgiving celebrations. It's a holiday miracle that Kyle and I were able to attend all of them together! We ventured to Kyle's aunt's for an early Christmas/Thanksgiving party, we hosted our first Thanksgiving with both of our families, and two days later celebrated with my mom and her husband's family. Whew. It was a big whirlwind of turkey and cranberries... and pumpkin pie and prime rib and ham and tenderloin and potatoes and squash and...you get the point.

I'm ashamed to admit that while hosting, I never took out my camera. I was too busy organizing and socializing and coloring mermaids with the kids. Now, I'm rather bummed that I didn't document our first Thanksgiving adventure at the house (minus last year's sitting on moving boxes), but at least we have a few from the trusty iphone. Just picture a lot of running around, screams in the background for the Lions game, and more food than any human could possibility consume. We've finally made a good dent in the leftovers in our refrigerator. Good thing, because I think my body is beginning to retaliate...no.more.turkey.

The only people missing from our celebration were my sister-in-law, who had to work and my step-mom, who was soaking up the sun in Florida. But, my sister from NYC was in town, Kyle's sis from Colorado and everyone else made a safe drive across the state. We realized that this was the first time since our wedding that the majority of both sides of our families were together. Certainly a complete a holiday!

And the turkey?! Happy to report that that baby turned out marvelous - it's not nearly has difficult as I always assumed it would be. Actually, it's quite easy just looking over Kyle's shoulder, giving my opinion and taste testing throughout the day :)

Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Good Morning, friends!
and Happy, Happy {belated} Thanksgiving...and almost Merry Christmas!

Aah, nothing better than this time of year!
If you are stopping by from Medical Mondays, hello and welcome!

As the holidays are quickly approaching, I thought it'd be fun to talk about the medical profession + the holidays. What are some of your experiences?
Sometimes this can be more of a downer, since it can relate to holidays = spouse working = alone on Christmas. That sounds like every Hallmark movie ever made, except most of the time "I'll be home for Christmas," isn't playing in the background when your spouse comes home dragging their feet in from a 30 hour shift. Maybe I'll just sing it this year for the full effect.

For those of you currently enduring residency, have you ever noticed that whatever you are going through in life, residency has a way of bringing you back around? It's no doubt a tool that God has really used to humble us, and just keep bringing us back to Him. The same principal has proved true when it comes to the holiday schedule and recognizing a reality that I sometimes try to squeeze out of my line of vision. I'll explain...

When we moved for Kyle's residency, everyone told me to get ready to celebrate all of the holidays alone. How depressing, I thought. I'm a holiday girl to the core, I love everything about them, so thinking of not being able to spend it with my family was daunting, and frankly, just sad. What do you mean I can't kiss my hubby when the ball drops at 12 am?!!
We chatted about how we could make it work; maybe celebrate a few days later, get up really early, have turkey at the hospital or drive up to my parents to just be with family Christmas morning. Each holiday is so special to me, and I felt like I was giving up so much at just the thought of not being able to spend it with my spouse.

Then, I stepped back and thought about why doctors have to work on holidays in the first place. (That line of sight that is so easy to block out in the midst of residency...) There are people who are so sick, spending the holidays lying in a hospital bed, wondering if they will ever walk or speak again. There are young babies fighting for their lives and parents praying for one more holiday to spend with them. There are cancer patients receiving treatment on Christmas morning, fighting day by day.

If that isn't humbling, I'm not sure what is.

In light of the circumstances that many have to endure, missing a holiday or forming a few tradition of turkey in the cafeteria isn't so bad. In fact, it's quiet a blessing.

P.S. If you happen to find yourself in the hospital this season due to a cutting of a Christmas tree disaster, or burning of the ham, give your doctor and nurse an extra hug and a thank you. I think they deserve it.

P.S.S. There are plenty of people in the hospital who won't have loved ones around at Christmas time, if you aren't doing anything, maybe you could go make a new friend.

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