Thursday, December 1, 2011

Pre-finals slump

Okay, so I'm not going to lie.  Being many hours and miles away from friends and family while attempting to pursue professional school is slowly draining me.  I've been on such an emotional roller coaster this week, that it's making me more and more ready for Christmas break by the second.  Monday was our first day back from break and I had a practical in my pediatric optometry lab.  It went well, so that was good, but was a nerve-wrecking way to come back from the Thanksgiving break.  I also haven't been sleeping well at all this week.  I don't really know why, I think there's just a TON of things on my mind between FCO fundraisers, finals, and Christmas preparations; I'm just a little overwhelmed.

Yesterday (Wednesday) was a long day, but my Wednesdays always are.  I don't get out of class until 5:20, and then I wanted to get home to run some errands - especially the grocery store!  We were running low on some staple food items and I had to pick up prescriptions, so I felt like I was just running all over the place and didn't get home until late.  Tyler also has class on Wednesday nights and doesn't get home until 10pm.  So Wednesdays are just rough.  I figured it would be great when he started classes because I could have more time to study; however, with the days being so short, I just want to veg out when it gets dark.  The last thing I want to do when the sun goes down is study, and now the sun goes down by 4:30.  I can't stand winter.  The only thing I like about it is that Christmas happens during the winter season.

Finally, my biggest downer was my practical today.  I just had a really rough day.  It's hard the way they have to grade things, and I didn't feel as prepared as I wanted to going into it.  I'm not worried about failing, but I know I can do better.  Performing poorly on a practical is more defeating because, in my opinion, those are the "tests" that really determine how well you will perform as a doctor.  I just need lots of encouragement, and the practicals are so cut throat.  I think I'm struggling because there have been so many new skills to learn this semester that practically all require one's eyes to be dilated in order to practice.  I don't really mind being dilated, and as a class we're all willing to help each other out, but what I can stand is driving home dilated in the dark!  All the head lights have halos in a star-burst pattern that blur into each other.

However, there was plenty of good events to happen throughout the week, so we can end on a good note.  My best friend since 3rd grade (yup!) got engaged on Tuesday night!  I'm so, so happy for her and her new fiance.  I've known this girl since we jumped over our backpacks waiting for the school bus in elementary school.  She's been such an encouraging friend who has challenged my walk with the Lord and held me accountable whenever necessary.  She knows my secrets and I love her to death.  While this news was certainly the most exciting (so I had to tell it first), I'm equally excited, and honored, to have been asked by her tonight to be her Matron of Honor!  She will also have a maid of honor, so I cannot wait to share in the planning with her sisters and friends!  The exciting news is definitely making it difficult to be so far away, but I pray that the Lord grants me the time and the finances to be able to be very actively involved in this celebratory time as the one who will be standing right next to my very best friend on the most exciting day of her life.

Another happy thought: we're definitely going to Arequipa, Peru for our mission trip this coming May with FCO (Fellowship of Christian Optometrists)!!  I'm super pumped because I studied abroad in Peru, but did not get the chance to see the city of Arequipa while I was there.  The Lord was certainly calling me to go on a missions trip this year, so I'm very excited to see how everything unfolds.  He is already starting by providing us with very rewarding fundraising events!  A little while ago we had a 2-day bake sale and earned a little over $200.  This morning we had a Chick-Fil-A breakfast sale and raised $350!!  Next week, we are having a 2-day silent auction where mission team members will be making craft items for auction.  I have made 2 sets of 6 handmade Christmas cards, and some Christmas-themed coasters (still working on the final touches on these things).  This weekend, I'm going to try to make a couple more ideas I found from pinterest.  Here are the pictures... I hope they turn out pretty!  (Prayers on this note are totally accepted!)
Painted cookie sheet (cheap one from dollar tree) decorated with some scrapbook paper.  Instant magnetic board for holding recipes or notes!

This is my absolute favorite!  Puff paint on a clear ball ornament with googly eyes in the middle of the puff paint!!!  I so have to try it!  I think it would certainly sell well amongst the eye nerds of SCO!

Anyway - sorry this post was mega long.  I'm just having a hard time describing how I feel.  There are so many things going on and my mind really is in a million different places.  Thank you to everyone back home for your prayers - I really do appreciate it.  And I'm thankful for everyone who takes time to read this blog.  If you take time to know what's going on in my life, you really do care for me.  :)

Friday, November 25, 2011

It's begining to look a lot like Christmas!!!

CARDS!!!  I've been making Christmas cards, tags, decor, etc. and I'm really getting in the Christmas spirit!!  I adore this time of year and simply cannot wait to be home with friends and family!!!

So obviously, the only way to show how much I have gotten into the spirit would be to share pictures!  :)

Merry Christmas ornaments

Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer!!  

He's just so cute... this is with the flash on

Santa Clause is coming to town!!!

My Christmas wreath!!!  It's a lot more sparkly than the picture gives credit!

Thank you Chrissy Lux for sending me this wonderful stamped image! 

Such a cute snowman! :)
So yes - I'm loving that it's Christmas time right now.  We're about to decorate the apartment, so I'll have to post more pictures when that's done! 


It's thanksgiving, so I figured I would take the opportunity to write a blog about the things I'm thankful for in life.

I am very thankful for my husband.  He has supported me through so much, especially as an optometry student who's trying hard to be a good wife and friend all at the same time.  He also encourages me through my creative endeavors, which help relieve the stress of day to day optometry school!

Next, I am thankful for my health.  It's so nice to know that I can chase my dreams without limitations from cancer, serious injuries, or mental disorders.  I have the capacity to perform skills and work hard, which I can't thank the Lord for enough! 

Of course, I am VERY, VERY thankful for my family!  Without them I would not be the woman I am today, and no matter who comes and goes in your life, your family will ALWAYS be there to support you, encourage you, help you out, and tell you when you're being ridiculous :).  My family has shown me so much care over the years, and I'm glad I'm old enough now to truly realize and appreciate everything they've done and still do for me.  Every year, the love for my family grows, and I can't wait to be able to once again call North Carolina home, so I can be with them more often!

Next, I am thankful for my God who has given me all of these things for which I'm greatly thankful!  He's also blessed me with the beauty of the changing seasons, and eternal life through His son!

I'm thankful for creativity and inspiration! I've begun to mature the creative side of my brain through decorating, making cards, and crafting.  It's wonderful to feel like I have talent in more places than just school!

Finally, I am thankful for Friends!  Without them, I really don't know what kind of person I would be today.  I would probably be very narrow-minded because I have learned so much about the world through interacting with friends.  I'm very thankful for the ones who have made an effort to stay close with me even when many miles separate us.  We learn who our true friends are as we get older, which is a bittersweet blessing that I'm still thankful for!!

So this Thanksgiving, we did not drive home, but went with our neighbor's family to share in their Thanksgiving festivities.  Here are just a few pictures from our redneck Thanksgiving complete with a wedding (that's right - a nice lil' country "I do," and "I do, too") and 2 complete meals! :)

Tyler shooting with Ashely's pink gun!

Chris's dad's backyard view!  Awesome!

Gotta love that pink gun!
So all in all, it was a thanksgiving to remember, and I'm ready for Christmas.  Too bad I have to get through finals first! 

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween 2011

It's that time of year again.  The time where creativity flies as people enjoy dressing up how they never can during the rest of the year.  :)  This year, we went to the annual Omega Delta (SCO's social fraternity) Halloween Bash.  It was at the Vine on Madison Ave, Saturday October 29.  So many students were there dressed up in creative outfits.

We also carved pumpkins on Friday night.  Not as cool as our block-S pumpkin from last year, but hey - that one was pretty tough to beat :) 

So obviously, with all this talk of creativity - I think pictures are required.  Enjoy!

Donkey Kong Country is brought to life with Dixie, Diddy, Donkey, and Funky Kong!

Donkey Kong complete with DK coin, DK barrel, and banana :).  Then we have Little Bo Peep and her sheep and a glaucoma suspect (gotta love the optometry plug)

A witch and Osama Bin Laden

Paper dolls.  Oh the memories hehe

Salt and Pepper hanging out with the glaucoma suspect.

Christmas Tree!!!

cute Indian and Dr. Jones

One of the funniest costumes of the night.  She's a remote and he's a TV because she "turns him on"

Quail Man from Doug - 90's cartoons were the best

Toy Story aliens.

Where in the world are Carmen San Diego and Waldo??  Oh wait, I found them! :)

Nintendo is always the best!  Classic....

Battling insurances - Flo and Mayhem :)

Our pumpkin is on the right. 

Pan-Am girls with Dixie Kong

I wanted to get a picture of all of the taco bell sauce packets together, but that was difficult.  Such a cute idea though! 

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Fall has begun and GECKOS have arrived!!

It is officially fall.  What a wonderful time of the year.  Except that in Memphis, the pretty leaves of fall last for about a grand total of a week and then go away - oh yeah and this "week" hasn't started yet.  Haha.  I recently decided that I want to make wreaths to decorate for the seasons.  It's an easy way to make your apartment more welcoming and not have to have lots of nick nacs around the inside.  Our space is rather small to begin with, so I like the idea.  I had never made a wreath before, but a girl in my class made one for her undergrad's football season, and did it a very easy, introductory way!  She told me to go to Hobby Lobby (only my favorite store), and buy a pre-made wreath ($5) and then purchase the accessories and put it together.  I did this and man was it affordable and EASY!  I just choose the accessories for the wreath that I liked the best and stuck them through the spaces in the twigs :) 

There it is!  Hanging on a nail outside our door :) 
I bought a second premade wreath (from the floral section, by the way), and got christmas decor to stick inside it.  Then I can have a running two wreaths that I just go to hobby lobby to buy decorative pieces for it and switch them out :)  Fun, easy, and great for me the beginner who has not much time or money!! 

The second big update... we got GECKOS!  The type of gecko we got is a crested gecko, also known as an eyelash gecko.  They get the name from literally having eye lashes, however, not the hair-like ones that humans have, but still!  I named mine Luka ("Loo-kah"), after a peruvian fruit called lucama.  It has a yellowish color and was my favorite ice cream flavor when I studied abroad, so I decided it was a good and unique name.  I have no idea the gender of our geckos yet because they're difficult to sex when they are young.  So if mine turns out to be a boy, Luka will just have to be a manly name as well ;)

Tyler has not decided what to name his.  There is a pattern on his back that kinda looks like an "S," so he's thinking of having the name start with an S; however, he hasn't decided anything final.  One of my fellow classmates suggested a name like Latisse - hahaha.  Only a fellow eye nerd would think of that ;) 

 We know that they're 8-10 weeks old, so we decided that they're August babies and gave them the birthday of August 14th :)  We ordered them from a website called Pangea (  We knew that the shipping would make them a little more expensive, but totally worth it because (1) we got a little more say in what patterns we liked (2) cooler patterns were available (all the pet stores around here just had plain ones) and (3) we could buy them young.  A lot of the crested geckos in the pet stores were already older, and if I'm paying $50 for a pet, I kinda want it's entire 10-15 year lifespan! 

Here are some pictures we've taken.

Luka... (s)he loves climbing on the glass!

Luka again :)

Tyler's gecko to name peaking out from the leaves

Picture taken at 1:00 am while studying for my Pediatric Optometry test.  They're more active at night because they are nocturnal, though fairly active during the day, too. So cute to watch them scurrying around.  And they're getting to know each other --> They'll be friends! :)  [Luka on left]

Just can't express how adorable these baby geckos are!!! 

Tyler's gecko likes hanging on this plant.  They're seriously like gymnasts :)

And Luka loves this side of the glass haha.  These guys are such characters - so fun to watch :)
I will try to keep more pictures of the geckos coming!!

School is school - lots more work and new skills this semester, so not good.  And classes are in the afternoon, which tremendously shortens my day!  I'm still making it though :-D  And speaking of learning about eyes... the eyelash geckos have THE COOLEST eyes.  My goal is to get a good close-up picture that really captures this. 

Until next time - we'll be sitting by the gecko tank haha

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Back to the grind - that means stress!

Well, the fall semester has started full force!  This year, labs are in the morning and classes are in the afternoon, which makes for very long days!  We are in school until 5:00pm practically every day, and most students stay late to practice lab skills.  We are learning a new technique called binocular indirect ophthalmoscopy (BIO).  With this skill we can scan out into the far periphery of the retina to see more area where problems could be.  It's an interesting and challenging skill.  Unfortunately, we have to be dilated to practice, so I feel like I've spent more days dilated than not.

This week is going to be very stressful.  We have 2 tests and our first actual practical in BIO.    I've also been very busy recently keeping up with leadership with FCO (Fellowship of Christian Optometrists).  I redid the bulletin board, helped organize a church tour, and have done my best to attend as many FCO events as possible, so that leadership is visible at events. 

I have tried to make time for myself in the midst of all the craziness.  We have been hanging out with our neighbors in the apartment complex, which is great because now we don't have to drive downtown to hang out with friends!!  They're also newlyweds around the same age, and the husband is in dental school, so we have a few things in common.  His wife is a nurse at St. Jude's hospital, so we all have drives from our apartment complex, but love the Cordova area.  We've been fortunate enough to enjoy cookouts with them a couple of times, and got to watch the movie Bridesmaids with their Blue-ray player.  I'm hoping we'll be able to hang out with them and get to know them more as the year progresses. 

On the to-do list is shopping.  I need better closed-toe shoes and dress clothes for the many times we have to help/observe in clinic and go on school screenings.  I didn't build up my wardrobe over the summer when it would've been convenient because I didn't realize I would have to be dressing up so much during 2nd year.  Oh well.  I can make due for the time being, but eventually I really need to get shopping!! I'm thinking that this weekend will present a good opportunity for me to shop!  :)

I also want to make some more crafts.  A girl in my class made this super cute wreath for football season!  She is from Arkansas and it says Go HOGS and is in their colors - red and white!  I want to make one in red and white that says GO PACK... too bad this season isn't going so well.  I also want to make some more wreaths for fall and Christmas!  We'll see.  I also want to make more cards - I haven't had time for any of that!  :(  All I've had time for is studying, practicing skills, working out and eating...

Looking forward to seeing Tyler's Dad, Kim, and Kait in the middle of October!  Should be some fun family time!  Having something to look forward to makes the week a little more tolerable. 

Until next time, I've got over 140 drugs to memorize!!!  EEK... studying for pharm! 

Saturday, August 6, 2011

I love saving money!!!

Kroger has certainly earned my business for a long time coming!  Tyler and I have been able to save a ton of money just buy shopping for our groceries there.  Every month or so, they send us personalized coupon packages filled with coupons for things we usually buy.  Some of the coupons are even good for something for free (i.e. free eggs, free bag of Lays potato chips, etc.).  We use those coupons whenever they come in and I also clip coupons we get from our mailbox.  Then every now and again, we'll get a good coupon printed with our receipt at the store.  The other day, I got a 20% off any purchase at PayLess coupon! 

This weekend, I've used a lot of the coupons and taken advantage of the tax free weekend to land some really good deals!  Yesterday I went to the grocery store to pick up some snacks and things, and took a $36 bill down to $19.  Then today, I got two pairs of shoes at PayLess for $30.  They were doing the buy one get one half off [like usual] along with the 20% coupon and one of the pairs of shoes was on sale - SCORE! 

Anyway- so the secret to great savings is Kroger :)  We also save 0.10/gallon on gas when we get a certain number of points shopping... granted, 10 cents isn't a HUGE discount, but over time, it really adds up!  YEAH!

Sorry for a boring post, but I was just really excited about saving money!  hehe

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Family Trip to Florida to celebrate 90 Wonderful Years!

That's right.  My dad's mom is turning 90 soon, and we went down to Florida this past weekend to celebrate her milestone birthday!  It was almost a complete family reunion with people I hadn't seen in years!  It was so exciting to get everyone together and to do something really nice for my wonderful grandmother.  Below are some pictures from the vacation to enjoy!

Out to dinner at Red Lobster the night we all got into town!

We got grandma a lift chair and here are the granddaughters' husbands trying it out

Grandma trying out her present
Birthday cake

One good looking family

Toasting to 90 wonderful years


Sun set on the gulf

Playing at the pool our last day in Florida 

We had a really great time!  It's almost time for Tyler to start his new job and for me to start back to school.  I cannot believe how quickly this summer vacation is flying by.  Sometimes I wish I were going to be a teacher so I could have summer vacations for the rest of my life.  I'm going to miss all this time off.  Haha.  However, I'm about to go into the full swing of my second year at SCO, which will be a busy one for sure!  I know I shouldn't wish my life away, but I've never wanted more than to have my degree and the knowledge to go ahead and have a practice with a steady life back in North Carolina.  One day :) 

Monday, July 18, 2011

Our 1 Year Anniversary!

Yesterday, July 17, 2011 was our very first anniversary!  1. I can't believe it's already been a year, 2. It was nice being able to celebrate a true anniversary - not a "month-iversary", and 3. I just love the idea of such a significant first!!

I want to start out with a trip back in time to remember our big day!  I got this idea from a good friend Anna who did this on her blog for her 3 year anniversary with her husband (Congrats again!!).  One year ago we said, "I do," and here is a little re-cap:

Getting my makeup done! 

Mothers will always love dressing up their daughters
Thanks for coming to see me :)
Getting ready!

Daddy walking me down the aisle!
Tyler's Reaction  :)

Lighting the unity candle.

Close up of the unity candle.  Special candles from a store in Blowing Rock.  There are these cute little shops close to "my second home" - so special for me :)
First kiss

First dance

Kiss for "Cinderella" after father-daughter dance to "Cinderella" by Steven Curtis Chapman
mother-son dance

centerpiece floral arrangement

toasting - Tyler held up my sister's speech because her hands wouldn't stop shaking.  So sweet and hilarious! 

Best Man speech.

Couldn't believe Tyler's dad remembered the day I stomped the boys playing a pinball game at his house.  Guess I left an impression ;)  What a wonderful speech from the father-of-the-groom

How many people can say they weren't the first to cut their wedding cake?  This woman's hands were shaking terribly while explaining how she'd never done this before - obviously!  Haha.  Flukes then make for funny memories later :)

Our turn!  The cake was dark chocolate with a raspberry filling... and it was actually VERY delicious after being frozen for a year!

Yes, this was the name of our sweetheart table.  Other tables were named after important places or things of our relationship (Example: Sanderson = our high school where we met, Aladdin = our favorite Disney movie, Wolfpack = obvious, etc.)
Mom will always take care of her daughter!

So - there were people on the driving range at the country club where we had the reception.  One nice golfer let us borrow his driver and shoot a few golf balls.  So much fun!

My favorite picture of the day

Wolfpack table guests showing their pride!  (Michelle and I are showing some spring break pride... haha)

Sigma Alpha Omega sisters at the wedding.  Those in black dresses with corsages were guestbook attendants :)
Bubbles for farewell!

I don't think I'd ever seen a down pour like that day in my life - I hope that's good luck and/or good fortune =)

One year later, we decided to celebrate by driving to Cincinnati, OH to go to King's Island theme park.  I hadn't been to a theme park in about 4 years, so it was definitely a ton of fun.  In addition, we hadn't been to an amusement park together - good time for another first!  Here are some pictures from the trip.
In front of the tower at the entrance to the park.  We didn't have time to go inside - too many rides to ride (and at a park we didn't know!)

Our favorite ride that we ended up riding twice was Diamondback.  It went up 230 ft and dropped 215 ft and had a speed of 80 mph!  Here's a picture from standing below the first big drop!  It was awesome and we ended up riding it twice.  We would've gotten a picture if I didn't look funny in the first one and the woman's hand in front of me didn't cover the second one - oh well.  
On Saturday night when we got to our hotel in Cincinnati, we went to a nice sushi restaurant down the street that we could walk to (Mr. Sushi).  Then we walked to some more places downtown and got some drinks.   We were at the park for 9 hours on Sunday.  I would like to go back some day because since we didn't know the park too well, we didn't go at it very efficiently.  In addition, one ride was down for a while due to some problems, and some of the rides were down throughout the day for various reasons.  So needless to say, we walked a TON and didn't even get to ride everything we wanted to!  When we got home from the park, we ordered room service for dinner and enjoyed our anniversary cake that had been frozen for a year.  Surprising enough, the cake was delicious!  We still have a lot more that we can enjoy throughout the week.

On the drive back to Memphis, we stopped in Nashville for a late lunch at Bojangles'.  Whenever we get a chance to stop there, we do.  For some odd reason, Memphis does not seem to enjoy Bojangles' as much as Popeye's and Church's chicken - so unfortunately, it's never Bo time.  I drove most of the way home because Tyler had class at 6.

Wow, one year down.  Cannot wait to see what the many years before us bring.  =)