Thursday, July 25, 2013


On July 12, Darby successfully defended his dissertation. It was the culmination of 5 years of very hard work, and I am so, so proud of him. It's hard to believe that this stage of our lives is over (but in a good way!). The other day, Darby joked about going back to school for a second Ph.D.; then he said, "or I could join the Marines, I guess." I told him, "Honestly, at this point, I'd much rather you join the Marines. I mean, it would be hard, but you would be away from me for the hard parts. I don't think I could handle living with the stressed-out you for another five years." Of course, I was (mostly) joking, but I really can't tell you how relieved I am that this process is over. Darby did a great job of making our relationship a higher priority than school, and I am so grateful for that, but it was still so hard to see him under so much stress. It's been great to spend the last couple of weeks relaxing, celebrating, and looking forward to the next stage!

Darby and his adviser right after the defense. He was fortunate to have a wonderful adviser who truly cares about his students and understands that they have lives outside of grad. school. We heard so many horror stories about slave-driver advisers, and that wasn't his experience at all.
On the Sunday after his defense, we drove up to Chicago to meet Erin and Brendan, who were in town for a vacation. We had a great time eating brunch, walking around Taste of Chicago, and seeing a hip-hop version of Othello at the Shakespeare Theater. I'm so glad Erin and Brendan let us crash their vacation.  It was also nice to make one last trip to Chicago, one of my favorite cities.
As a surprise for Darby, I booked us a night at a little cabin in southern Illinois. The owner was so nice and provided us a delicious homemade dinner and breakfast. It was so nice to get away from packing and just relax. We spent most of our time on this couch enjoying the satellite television. We're easy to please!
The smiles of 2 people who are done with school forever!
Tonight, Darby threw the traditional Papa Del's pizza party for his lab in celebration of his defense. These are some of his lab mates.
And here are some more. I remember going to these parties for others when Darby first started. So happy that it was finally our turn!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

The waiting is the hardest part

I am one of those people who has known I wanted kids from a very young age. To me, it was never a question of whether I'd be a mom---just when. And for the past 4 years or so, I've been dreaming about the day that we would start our family. I always imagined loving pregnancy and thought I would walk through each day filled with happiness as I enjoyed my ever-expanding belly.

And, don't get me wrong, I am very happy to be pregnant and am fortunate that, so far, I've had a pretty easy pregnancy. So, I've been surprised that this is not a particularly blissful time in in my life. And most of that has to do with my lack of patience. Somehow, it never crossed my mind that pregnancy is basically 9 months of waiting. And waiting is one of my least favorite things! When I found out I was pregnant, I couldn't wait until we could tell people. When we told our parents, I couldn't wait to tell Hannah and Matt. When we told Hannah and Matt, I couldn't wait for the ultrasound and to tell everyone. When we had the ultrasound, I couldn't wait to start showing. Now that I'm showing, I can't wait to feel the baby kick and to find out the sex. And on and on and on. I've realized it's never-ending.

I feel like this is a good experience for me because it puts in sharp relief a problem that I've known about for a long time. I do not live in the moment well. I'm always looking forward to the next thing. And while I think that is sometimes a good thing because it keeps me motivated, it can also get in the way of my day-to-day happiness. So, I'm trying (and mainly failing, but trying) to take things one day at a time and enjoy the current stage I'm in. After all, I'm sure there will come a day when I'll regret wishing that my belly was bigger so everyone would know I was pregnant, not just pudgy. There will be plenty of time for the world to see that I'm pregnant, I'm sure. :)

Sunday, July 07, 2013

Very welcome visitors

We were lucky to have two sets of good friends come to visit us in the past two weeks.

First, Laura and Dan and baby Gabriel swung by for a couple of days on their Midwest road trip. Laura and I met when I worked in Student Life at ACU and bonded almost instantly over shared loves of food, reading, and long conversations. We've only lived in the same town for a year of our friendship, but we've kept up via e-mail and phone calls and occasional in-person visits. She and Dan got married about two years ago and welcomed adorable Gabriel in December. I hadn't seen Gabriel since he was a couple of months old, so he had changed a lot. He's precious and very good-natured. It was a nice glimpse into what our lives might look like exactly a year from now. I enjoyed showing Dan and Laura around campus (and finally making a point to visit the two museums I'd never gone to!), and we all enjoyed great conversations over dinner. Both Dan and Laura are excellent conversationalists and come up with the best questions. One of the most exciting things about moving back to Abilene for me is that we will get to spend more time with them and that our kids will grow up together.

Laura and Me

Dan, Laura, and Darby

Baby Gabriel. I meant to get a picture of me holding him, but he fell asleep before I could. So, this was first thing in the morning right before I left for work. What a sweet face to wake up to!

This past week, Mica and Harrison stayed with us, as part of their Wedding Victory Tour road trip. As usual, I was horrible at taking pictures and just relied on Mica to document our time together. As usual, she did an excellent job. So, check out her post for more details and pictures. They were here to help us celebrate both Darby's birthday and the 4th of July. In between, we were able to squeeze in a coffee date, a lot of Dr. Mario, and some general lazing around with all of us on our individual electronic devices (that is true friendship!). We hosted a little cookout for the 4th. It was wonderful to have someone to cook with. We made a patriotic trifle with a crazy delicious pound cake, and Mica was so sweet to make her famous mac and cheese after I got a pregnancy craving for it. Yummmmm!

I have seriously missed HarriMica since they left Champaign in May, so it was great to have them back for a few days. They are "grad school friends" who will definitely be lifelong friends. We're already planning a trip to the UK together in the future. I can't wait!

(Pictures from Mica, of course!)

Me and Mica and our trifle

Fun at the fireworks!