Thursday, September 11, 2014

September Things

Michael and I are in Durham, North Carolina for the month because he is doing an away rotation at Duke. From here we go to Nashville for most of October for another rotation before returning home to DC. It's a mini adventure!


I had no idea that I'd feel this way, but it's been surprisingly nice being out of the city. Well, I mean, Durham is a city, but honestly it feels like a small town compared to DC. Simple everyday things continually amaze me -- like how you can get anywhere in 7 minutes. Even places that are 10 miles away, no sweat. Just pop in the car and you'll be there in 7 minutes. There is literally no traffic. It's weird. And there is always parking anywhere you go. MIND BLOWN. We've been in DC too long. (This is not a diss on DC, just a discussion about city-life making me tired.)

There is also a Chick-Fil-A about four blocks away. This is cause for celebration, wouldn't you say? Hey? Ok? Par-tay? Soufflé?

Bottom line: the pace of life is slower here, and I really like it. It's balm for a weary soul even when I didn't know my soul was that weary. For Michael, he spends most of his waking hours at the hospital so you'd think he'd be exhausted but man oh man, he is ON FIRE when he comes home at night. His long days energize him instead of draining him because he LOVES what he is doing. For me, it's the best thing in the world to see. ("On fire" is perhaps a tad of an exaggeration. He is on fire for about one hour before we both fall asleep. I swear, we're 90 years old.)

I have a few favorite things lately that I wanted to share. Take 'em or leave 'em!

1) New song to love: Spencer Combs and Holly Maher - You Are Mine. It's a little breathy kind of like Joshua Radin, but I meannnnn it's so romantic. I actually found it because it's the song that goes along with this ad for a baby bassinet, but whatever. The song's about love and it makes you want to love your man better. Or watch a romantic movie...

2) Which I just did! I just watched About Time and it is so charming and sweet. I think I am behind the times on this one because I remember hearing about it when it came out last year. Well, I finally saw it. This is the best pick-me-up movie if you are ever feeling blue. You can't help but feel good about life after watching it, not matter what age and stage you are in.

3) I also have another movie rec: The Hundred-Foot Journey. I read the book six months ago and wanted to basically eat the pages, and the movie is the same way. Except I felt like the movie is less about the food and more about the characters -- all of whom are charming and dear. Annnnd I think that now's a good time to move to France.

4) I have a new favorite person to follow on Instagram: Reese Witherspoon. She is totally the girl next door with a few glamour shots thrown in for good measure.  She posts about china patterns and her chocolate lab and the movies she's working on. She is kind of goofy and of course she's Southern and she likes to read. I want to be her friendy.

5) Being pregnant is nuts. The one thing I want so badly, I can't have: a spicy tuna roll with lots of soy sauce and wasabi. Be still my heart. Oh and a margarita. Not in the same meal, but I'd love a frozen margarita. I recently learned about a wine region that I didn't know about before and since I'm not drinking, you should! It's the Douro wine region in northern Portugal. It's far better known for its port wine production, but it also makes magnificent red table wine. And it's one of the most beautiful wine regions in the world. Here is an article about what to do if you go there, and here is an article from the New York Times with suggestions on what to buy.

OK, I'm over and out. Time to go exploring.

ps. THANK YOU for your excitement with us over the baby news! We are beyond grateful for the community of family and friends that this babe will be a part of.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Baby Cat

I'll get right to it.

September comes with some baby news. Michael and I are having a baby! Bambino Catalino is coming in early March! We are completely humbled, amazed, thrilled, and I can't believe there is a little life growing inside me. It feels like such a waiting game -- I'm not showing yet (although I think I am, but let's be honest, I'm pretty sure it's because I'm eating a lot more these days...) and I can't feel the baby kicking yet, so I often wonder "is this real???" Oh me of little faith. I've already learned so much about waiting. Waiting and waiting. I have a lot of thoughts that I've already written down about conceiving and fears and waiting and trust, but that will come soon in a future post. For now, we are just rejoicing and are so thankful for this little life and are happy to share this good news.


The day in July after we found out I was pregnant, I flew home to Dallas for a dear friend's wedding, and stayed in Dallas for 10 days. I couldn't keep the news from my mom and immediately told her, but because of the busy wedding weekend, I didn't have a moment with both my mom and dad until four days later. Over dinner, I told dad I had a belated father's day gift for him, and he unwrapped a box containing a polo shirt baby onesie. It looked just like the shirt my dad is wearing in the picture above, but just in miniature dimensions. Dad was SO CONFUSED. Oh man, I'm laughing just thinking about his face. He just stared at the onesie and didn't say a thing. I was giggling and my mom finally prompted him by asking:

"What is it, honey?"

To which dad replied, "It's a little shirt!"

To which I fully burst out laughing. (I had my phone leaning against my water glass and Michael was watching the whole thing on FaceTime, so he bursts out laughing too.)

And mom then prompted him again by asking:

"And what goes in that little shirt, honey?"

And dad just stared at her.

Then stared at me.

Then looked at the little shirt.

Then looked back at me.

Comprehension finally dawned in his eyes, and he looked at me and exclaimed:

"No! ARE YOU WITH CHILD????"

Oh Lord, help me. I've never laughed so hard. What a pastor thing to say. (My dad's been in ministry for most of his life.)

Yes, just call me the virgin Mary, dad.

So there you have it. The big reveal to my dad is one I will never forget. Classic dad. My parents and Michael's parents are of course so excited about becoming grandparents, but boy did it take dad a few to register what was up.


Michael and I can barely contain ourselves these days. He often comes home and sees me and shouts "you're pregnant!" like he just found out that minute. Gosh, what joy. Thanks for celebrating this baby news with us!


Monday, August 18, 2014

Word in your Heart

I have a re-occurring thought that pops into my head every now and then, and it's this:  If I was to be thrown in prison, would I know enough of God's word to sustain me through the duration of my stay?

Ok let's back up. I know what you're thinking. WHY would I be thinking that I'm going to be thrown into prison?? Well, I don't plan on it happening ever. Actually though, I did recently have a dream that I stole a breakfast sandwich from a food vendor at a Les Miserables show and got in trouble with the law. A BREAKFAST SANDWICH??!?? Yes, a breakfast sandwich. To be fair, in the dream, it took them 30 long minutes to make the dang breakfast sandwich and I was exercising my right to complain about bad service by refusing to pay. So I ran off with the sandwich and left the local law enforcement trailing in hot pursuit.

Anyway, aside from some possible stolen sandwiches, I really don't think I'll be going to prison any time soon. Buuuuut the point is, I often wonder if I know and have studied enough of the Bible to last me through hard times (and if God forbid I was stuck somewhere without being able to read the Bible.... again, not likely.)

The Bible talks a lot about knowing God's word, and having it in your heart. So reading it isn't just about reading it, but deeply knowing it -- having the words written on your heart and mind so that you can bring those words to mind when you need it, or when a friend needs it. There have been several times in my life when I was struggling or suffering or sorrowful or anxious or depressed, and God met me in those moments with his presence manifested through his words. Verses that sometimes I knew, and verses that sometimes I didn't even know I knew would pop into my head at just the right time. And these words are always balm to my soul.

Here are a few verses on knowing God's word:

Romans 10:8 - The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart.
Deuteronomy 6:6 - And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart.
Psalm 119:11 - I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.
Colossians 3:16 - Let the word of Christ dwell in your richly.
John 14:26 - But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.
John 15:27 - If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.

Michael knows how much I cherish and love to memorize verses (and poems, and quotes, and anything that moves me.... typically on the subject of love or friendship.) So for our third anniversary, he had our friend Jenn write down one of my favorite passages from Psalm 73. Jenn took a calligraphy class and in general has perfect handwriting, so I know it was going to be good, but I was still blown away by her writing when I saw it. Auuuuuhhhh maaaaaaaayyy zzzzzinng.


This little framed piece is my new favorite possession. I see it on my bookshelf every day, and therefore read it and am reminded of these verses every day. It's a win-win: Pretty words on pretty paper in a pretty frame, annnnd re-reading these words every day makes them more and more impressed on my heart and mind and ready to call into action when necessary. 

Bottom line: if you ever hear that I've been thrown in prison, please send me a Bible. But know that I'll be alright without one, too. These words are written on my mind and heart. 


(ps. Happy birthday to my favorite brother in the whole world!!)

Monday, July 28, 2014

When I Met You in the Summer

Well. I haven't written a post in quite a while. There are so many reasons for that, but none of them are that valid because let's be real -- it's not that hard to sit down and bang out some thoughts.

Au contraire mon cheri. I actually feel like it is hard at times. Like there's everything to say and nothing to say. That's often how I feel in conversations when I'm tired. Like I want to give everything and nothing.

Summer is rolling by and I'm not sure if I like it moving so fast. Michael said the other night how he's excited for fall and the crisp air. (Actually, he said "crispy" air, but who says that??) I was shocked when I actually found myself agreeing with him. Me longing for the fall??!? Me? The lover of sun and the beach and lazy Saturdays at the pool?!? Sigh. I don't even know myself anymore. 


But summer's not over and summer has been good to us. We had a visit from Michael's parents and my sissy-in-law, Lo! She is a peach. 



Then in late June, I made my annual pilgrimage to Texas to be with my DC girls. Meaning we all used to live in DC together (literally together, in one house) and now everyone has since left DC (why!?!!!) except for two of us. It is so good to be with these women. I can't even explain. These are sister-friends who can laugh together and cry together and everything in between. These are my people! 



This year it was a little different because we had three babies on board: two were present; one is in the womb set to make its debut in September. Talk about growing up. Most of us survived Snowmageddon in 2010 by drinking calimochos and not much else, and now some of us have babies. WHUT. 


Michael went to Colorado the same weekend to visit his Duke besties and old roommates. They climbed a fourteener and did man stuff. 



From there, we went to the beach in Ocean Grove, New Jersey. We did nothing except read and watch World Cup games and lounge with my padres. It was wonderful. 



Michael and I also celebrated our 3-year anniversary on July 2nd while at the beach. I am convinced more and more each day that I married a dream man. He is the most loving and emotionally tuned-in man I have ever met. I don't even know what emotionally tuned-in means. Let's see if I can explain. He wants to know about my heart. He wants to know about my joys and sorrows and desires and ambition. He wants to know about my thoughts and what I'm reading. I often describe whole plots of the books I'm reading to him just so he'll feel connected to me. He likes the music I like (he doesn't really know anything but the music I like, truthfully.) And, he will rub my feet and make me pasta for dinner after working a 24-hour shift at the hospital. If that's not love, I don't know what is. Dream man. 



After the beach, Michael started his 4th year (4th year?!??!) of med school -- wait, let's pause and shout a word of praise for that statement: Thank you, Jesus!!!!! -- and I went home to Dallas for 10 days of weddings, seeing friends, taking naps with my mom, and basically pretending that I lived in D-town. My dear friend Allie got married in what was the most beautiful and God-honoring wedding ceremony ever. I have never stood so close to a full choir as they were singing, and man, it was something else. Just unbelievable. 



Now I'm back in DC where life is moving fast! Too fast. We have weird fall coming up where we won't actually be in DC for two months. I'm trying to soak up these peaceful DC nights and move slowly and intentionally. More on all of this laterrrrrr. For now, here is a new favorite tune. It's from the movie Begin Again which I saw recently with some friendies. It's a cute film - worth seeing. And because of it, I have a new appreciation for Adam Levine. Enjoy! Over and out. 



Monday, July 7, 2014

The Ocean

it's not the raging of the sea
it's not the tide that's pulling me
it's more the way the seabirds play
that i begin to see your face

[Pierce Pettis]





Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Summer Reading 2014


It's summer!!!!

Sunscreen?  check
Beach Towel? check
Long Island Ice Tea? check
Bocce Ball? check
Man with Evian Natural Mineral Water Spray? Well...
Book(s) to read? ummm...

OMG WHAT SHOULD I READ???!!

That's a terrible question to face. If you need an answer, here's a list of a few books I've read and definitely recommend, and several that I want to read this summer.


The Language of Flowers: Read about it here. This book started my love affair with flowers. Just read it.

Me Before You: A page-turning sweet romance and tear-jerker that really makes you think. I just found out that this is going to be made into a movie as well. Three cheers! I said this in a previous post, but I'll say it again -- my favorite scene from this book will probably be one of my favorite scenes ever from any book: Lou and Will dancing together at a wedding, all eyes on them, almost like normal lovers. Almost.

What Alice Forgot: it's a light and funny read, but actually deeply touches serious themes like infertility, estrangement, losing best friends, and re-building a family. Another page-turner, too.

Divergent: I know, I know. I am way late to the Divergent bandwagon, but I'm glad I finally read book #1 of the 3-part series. I already looked up the DVD release date for the movie adaptation (it's August 5th, if you care) and have planned a movie night with my fraands. I'm pretty much in love with Four and his love for Tris. Gosh. I really only like the book because of their romance. So that's that.

Disclaimer: I haven't read the following (yet).

The Vacationers - Basically, the "it" read of the summer. There are 74 holds on it at the DC public library, so I'll guess I'll read it never. It's about an American's family two-week vacation in Mallorca and how their stuff* hits the fan.  Who's up for a good family drama?

Longbourn - a re-telling of Pride and Prejudice from the servants perspective! Downton Abbey fans unite.

The Engagements - A Diamond is Forever and a story following 4 couples. I don't know much more than that except that everyone I know who has read it, liked it.

Eleanor and Park - Remember your first high school love? That's what this book is about -- first love and how to navigate it. And it's set in 1986. It's another young adult book that's going to be made into a movie.

If I Stay - I saw the preview for this when I went to see The Fault in Our Stars. I think I'll pass on the movie (yes, again another YA book-turned-movie.... I'm seeing a trend) but the book could be good. The main character is in a coma and has to decide to come out of it or not. And of course, there is a boy waiting for her if she does. Choices, choices.

Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail - another book being made into a movie. This time with Reese Witherspoon -- what's not to love? I get the feeling this is a book like Eat, Pray, Love which I think I liked. A lot of people have already read Wild, I know. I'm so behind.

The Interestings - everyone's reading it. I feel like I've seen this book in every coffee shop window I've passed. It's about talented kids who grow up -- some achieving their dreams and some not -- and the ties that bind.

Walking with God Through Pain and Suffering - The title pretty much sums it up. And I know this isn't exactly a "beach read," but it's from Tim Keller, so you know it's going to be awesome.

The Lowland - a sweeping family saga spanning from India to America. I could be wrong, but this book reminds me of Cutting for Stone, a book I really enjoyed.

The Supper of the Lamb: A Culinary Reflection - the foodie in me has always wanted to read this book from Robert Farrar Capon, who just so happens to be an Episcopal priest. Jesus + food = a winning combination.

The Little Way of Ruthie Leming: A Southern Girl, A Small Town, and the Secret of a Good Life - I've been told this book is very good. It's about a man and his family leaving the big city for the slower pace of small town life.

The Prince of Tides and The Great Santini - the two most cherished novels from Pat Conroy, my new favorite author. All of his writing is haunting, beautiful, a love song to the low country of South Carolina, and will stick with you always.

That's about all I've got. Well, for now. That's the good thing about books -- there's always more to read. What have you been reading?? I'd love to know!


*A lady never curses.

(Here was the summer reading list from 2013, in case you are curious. I didn't really love MWF Seeking BFF and I couldn't get through The Paris Wife, although I think most everyone I know liked it.)

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Charleston

I went to Charleston two weekends ago for a friend's bachelorette party. Allie and I have been friends since first grade, and it's such a huge honor to be a part of her wedding in July. She was THE BEST bachelorette --- dancing with anyone who asked her to dance, running into the Charleston fire department and throwing on a helmet and jacket and jumping on a firetruck without thinking twice about it, going along with all our little games we planned for her, and not once being sad about the fact that it rained for two days of the trip. In fact, I think I was the only one who was sad about the rain. But I mean, I sort of have a sun addiction so it was probably for the best that the weather wasn't cooperating. Gotta protect the skin... I'm learning this slowly. Here are a few pictures:

The bride-to-be and me. We used to roll ourselves up in foam bed pads and secure them around our bodies with bungee cords, and then climb trees and stare at people. Glory days.


Some of my high school (and life) besties. #HighlandPark4ever



We had matching tanks, of course. 



Below, I'm wearing genie pants. My friend Courtney is a high school counselor and says that this style is all the rage for the 14-18 year-old crowd. Cool. I'm 10 years older. Same thing? 


This is all of us on the porch at Cru Cafe where we had dinner one night. I've been reading Pat Conroy novels in anticipation for this Charleston trip and if you've ever read a Pat Conroy novel, you know that food, and the preparation of it, is a central and defining element to his writing. In fact, my dad was here last weekend and we were discussing Pat Conroy. I just finished Beach Music and when I mentioned this to my dad, he said that he will never forget a scene from that book that describes in beautiful detail a meal shared in Rome near the Pantheon: the peeling of an orange, olive oil, and truffles. I knew exactly what scene he was thinking of. I'm tempted to post the text from it, but it's not really the point of this post so I will refrain. (Wow! I'm showing restraint!) In Conroy's South of Broad, which takes place in Charleston, he often mentions the cuisine of the south in mouth-watering detail, and it was with this in mind that I was crazy excited about my first low country meal in Charleston at Cru Cafe: local swordfish with wild mushroom Anson Mills grits, taso gravy, truffle arugula, and tobacco onions. I so wish I could describe the meal in typical Conroy fashion. I won't even try. But it's worth writing home about. It was perfect. 



Here, Leen and I are making carrot cake. This has been a tradition since our freshmen year of high school. We'd all gather at one of our houses to watch the Bachelor, and if we were at Leighton's house, her mom would always bake us her famous carrot cake. She'd hide a quarter in the batter, and if you received the slice that had the quarter, then you won a prize. Ever since then, we've nearly always made this cake when we all get together. It's one of my favorite traditions.


Allie and the fire truck. She's basically a model. 


Speaking of South of Broad, here it is. The white church in the background, St. Michael's Church, boasts the oldest bell tower clock in America. History is cool, man. 


After reading Conroy's novel about growing up in Charleston, I couldn't believe I was actually walking through the streets of this historic neighborhood south of Broad Street. I loved it. While the girls were shopping on King Street, I fast-walked down King to Tradd Street and over to Meeting then to East Battery, and then back up Legare Street. As I drooled over the homes, I realized (with glee) that Charleston feels pretty similar to Georgetown. Except Charleston has palm trees, and the waves from the Cooper River hitting the sea wall splashed my legs as I walked along East Battery. And at one point, I saw porpoises. Oh, and, for the first time in what feels like forever, I saw families dressed in their Sunday best leaving church together on Sunday morning. Be still my heart! It was then that I realized I've been away from the south for too long. Georgetown is charming, but it most certainly isn't the south.

Charleston rolled out the red carpet for us as we celebrated our dear friend. I can't wait to see her married in just a few more weeks!