02 November 2009

Well here we are in November and we are still requiring the use of AC! Yikes! It was a beautiful sunny afternoon and we have a bright pink-flowered tree to look out our window. The streets are lined with palm trees and I am in a skirt and flip flops. Sound like autumn? Although we miss the crisp weather, the crunchy leaves, and the red, orange and yellow colors that seem to coat the streets of Seattle, we are glad to be here, in Loma Linda and again striving to enjoy the now. Casey is busy preparing for test week #2. This consists of 4 days of cumulative tests... no subject specific exams at this university as of this year. The goal is to prepare the students for the national board exams, as they are cumulative of course, and more importantly, prepare them to be better physicians as their whole career will require them to pull all knowledge together to critically think through situations and appropriately diagnose patients. Casey's spirits are high and attitude is positive, as usual :) He has been loving his bottled Starbucks frappuccinos (thanks again, Steph!) and has come to rely on a little caffeine to keep him awake through the studying, for better or for worse. I've been addicted for years, so I figure it's time we were on the same page there!

He has joined three intramural teams... soccer, football (flag), and volleyball. There were no co-ed teams for us to join this round, so we will hit that up next time! I love watching him play sports... not only is he a very athletically-inclined individual, but he is an awesome encourager on the field. Just like his coaching days at RJH, he knows how to pump up a team and lead the way.

I, on the other hand, have the encouraging part down, but not the athletic ability. I signed up as a "free agent" to be picked up by either a softball team or a soccer team. The captains of all teams get together, and whoever is short players can choose players from the pile of "free agent" forms. I knew the draft was on a Wednesday night and I couldn't believe that I was actually nervous. I knew I had to be honest on the application form, and so I had circled the "beginners" group for softball, and the "intermediate" group for soccer, although that was probably a stretch. As it turned out, I didn't get chosen for soccer at all, and the pharmacy team picked me up for soft ball! Off I went to Target to buy a blue softball glove and ball, and Casey and I were able to play catch in our front "yard." What a joke... I really can't throw worth anything, and I still suffer from PTSD after my accident last year when I was hit in the eye with a soft ball. (My glove may have been placed a tad too low, and I may not have been paying full attention...) So Casey being the great coach that he is gave me pointers on how to throw, catch, and to not laugh when I throw terribly or miss a catch. He said that the other players probably wouldn't think it was as funny. Hmmm... We had to forfeit our first two games, and finally I was able to play at the third game. The team captain asked me what position I play, and I sheepishly explained that I did not "have a position" but that I was willing to play wherever she needed me (praying inside that that would not be catcher, or any baseman for that matter). She said I could play right field as "there aren't that many balls hit there." Phew. But then it came time to run to our positions. Crap. Which way is right? Is it right looking out from home plate? Or was it right when looking towards home plate? Minor panic occurred inside. Stay calm, cj. So I decided to play it cool and yell out, "Who's got left field?" Another player answered "Kendall. Why, you want it?" (and he pointed to Kendall as he said this). "No, just wondering!" Perfect. Kendall ran one way, and I ran the other. Phew. And there I was, standing in right field, praying that no ball would be hit towards me. Wow, what an asset I am to this team. Fast forward a bit, and it's my turn to bat. Crap. How do you hold a bat again? Casey and I hadn't practiced this part at all... And where do I stand at the plate? Turns out the umpire was very helpful in answering these questions, and the pitcher didn't seem to mind waiting for my quick tutorial to end. I actually hit all three times I was up to bat, and got on base twice. I ran home once and got out once. Not too shabby for a novice of sorts! All that to be said, I'm having fun meeting new people and experiencing the joys of intramural sports again.

And now onto some photos...
Casey has had a few study sessions at our home and has fallen back into his comfortable position of 'teacher' at the white board, pen in hand. As he says, 'you know you know the information well when you can teach it', and he is correct. He is an excellent student, and an excellent teacher. Here are some of my favorite white board contents of the evening (the boys took photos of their work so they could all have copies for pseudo flash cards.) When I asked about the 'fatty ass syndrome', Casey responded by saying, "we may have digressed a tad." That's ok honey... gotta keep it spicy so you can endure the 10 daily hours of studying you are putting in! I loved their creativity as they attempted to come up with ways to remember incredible volumes of information.
Is that a camel?

I had the privilege of flying north for my dear friend Shauna's baby shower. Shauna is adopting her baby girl, Maeve, from Ethiopia and will be able to fly over to pick her up in about 4 weeks. Oh how excited I am for the two of you to finally be together! She is not only a phenomenal friend, but is already a fantastic mother as she carefully prepares for her sweet little one. This photo was taken right as I was leaving her shower to catch my flight. I do not do so well with goodbyes. I miss my friends so very much.
Out to dinner at The Matador in Ballard

Amber... you are a woman after my own heart.

The weekend could not have been more perfect. We had slumber party after slumber party, delicious dinners, I was able to play and snuggle with the two sweet babes in my life, Avery and Bennett (and I was able to feed Bennett and put him down for a nap... a highlight!) Avery is now one year old and Bennett will be there before I know it! They are growing so fast...

After leaving the shower, I cried the whole way to my dad's office. I hadn't predicted the departure to be so difficult. My dad was just what I needed right then. He took me to the airport and stayed with me until we started to board. Thank you for being so comforting daddy, and for letting me just be sad.
The great thing was that I was returning to my awesome husband. That's one of the wonderful things about marriage, and being the ol' married lady that I am, I have a few years of experience in this area. For me, my home has become less and less of a place, where I'm from per se, and all about where Casey is. He is certainly my home. My home is where he is. So yes, I did not enjoy leaving my dear friends and parents, but returning 'home' to Casey was perfect.
My parents were recently down in San Diego for a PLNU event and it was perfect timing as this was a chance to get some momma time before she took off for a month in Uganda. Lunch out, shopping, walking along the cliffs and hanging out in the hotel room added up to a delightful day with my mom.

Zola boys reunited!

One of the places Casey called home in his college years was a house on Zola street. The boys above are some of his posse from that house, lovingly referred to as the "Zola boys." Oh how excited we are to be near them again! Matty never left, being loyal to his original stomping grounds of Carlsbad. Evan and his lovely wife Liz just returned to San Diego after a few years at Berkley where Liz obtained her BSN and MSN, and Evan completed his PhD! Can you say power team?! Evan is starting his post-doc work at UCSD, hence the move down south. Robby is down from San Fransisco and Sean is back too! The boys just pick up where they left off... awesome friendships here.

Casey partook in a soccer tournament where each med school class formed a team and competed against one another. The first year team did very well... lost in the end, but did very well nonetheless!

Katie, being the awesome soccer stud that she is, joined in on the fun and was a huge asset to the team! I, on the other hand, cheered from the side lines...

And then there was Halloween.... this is my sweet friend Meg, the Christmas tree. She is a dear, and we have become running buddies.
Michael Phelps and his mother Debbie made an appearance that evening... (Alright, I know the paper wig is a stretch, but these costumes were home made and free! That was our only requirement when we were deciding what to dress up as this year... :) )

And the adventures continue... Casey is in the back room with Wayne as I type this... it is amazing listening to him rattle off so many medical terms as if they were always known by him. He is a quick learner, and his retention ability is so very high. Praise the Lord! He is loving learning, and we are mindful that this educational opportunity is an incredible gift.

So goodnight to you all, wherever you are in this moment. Goodnight momma in Uganda, daddy in Issaquah, Lukey in Denver, Steph and Pops in Ione, Matt in Santa Barbara, Lindsey in Uganda... and to all of our dear ones in our lives... sweet dreams, and sleep tight.