Tuesday, December 18, 2012

November: The Month of Travels (Part 1)

It's been a little while since I've updated because Aaron and I have been out of town so much and there's still yet more traveling to come, believe it or not!

Aaron's had some extra vacation days so we decided to do a little road-tripping! My former roommate Emily afforded us just the occasion when she got married in Jackson, MS to Max Jordon, a fellow PT of mine from USC. While in Jackson, we ate local at what is claimed to be Mississippi's best BBQ.

This wedding was so special to me and our other roommates as we got to see it bloom from the very beginning. Max got Em's digits at the annual Thanksgiving party at our old house on Belleview Street. (I miss that house somethin fierce). The two dated, both moved to Jackson following Em's job as a genetic counselor, got engaged and now are married! It had to be one of the most beautiful weddings I have ever had the pleasure of attending! Pics below :) p.s. Em was a competitive ballroom dancer in college so you know their first dance was nothing short of amazing!

Belleview roomies (of different years)+Max

After the wedding, Aaron and I ventured a short 3 hours to the Big Easy--New Orleans!

We got in Saturday night and ventured out Sunday morning to see the French Quarter and Jackson Square.
We stopped by Cafe Du Monde to have some beignets (a-maz-ing) and then walked down Bourbon street (caught the end of the Saints/Falcons game and a little PG taste of the craziness of Bourbon street). 

That afternoon/evening, we took a trolley through town to Audubon Park across from Loyola College and Tulane University. It was a beautiful green space with a 1.8 mi loop around a pond that Aaron convinced me to walk (I was so worn out from all the walking that morning!) It was a great relaxing (and free!) tourist attraction.

They had these "exercise stations" all around the loop, some of which were a little silly and/or unsafe! But props to Nola for encouraging exercise!

The next day we did some Christmas shopping in the French Quarter and stopped into the "market" (at least that's what I'm calling it bc it reminds me of the Charleston Market) to listen to a New Orleans jazz band complete with Lindy hoppers! It made our Nola experience truly complete! (sorry it's so wobbly, but enjoy the music!)

From New Orleans, we drove to Birmingham, AL and stayed with our friends, the Hardgroves. They moved to Birmingham around March or April because Denson was relocated with his job at State Farm. Jackie, his wife, is a PT, and both are incredible people! They are about our parents age and have been a part of our life since we were dating. Aaron and I both knew at least one of their 4 kids (1 married in) before meeting them so it's been neat to see them as parents, and as a married couple. Simply put, we love the Hardgroves and it was so great to see them!

The next morning, before heading back to Cola, we decided to visit the Civil Rights Institute in downtown Birmingham, the city where much of the Civil Rights Movement took place in the 60s. I had heard my mom and Gramma describe what it was like when schools in the south were integrated, but I don't think I realized just how unbelievably atrocious the segregation laws were prior to that. I knew that laws had to be passed to demand equal treatment of black and white folks, but I never knew that segregation was written into law prior to that. Call me ignorant, but I just never knew! I can't imagine people being okay with this: our weekly lifegroup meeting would have been illegal. Aaron's Wednesday basketball game would have been illegal. That is crazy! Praise God that He opened much of America's eyes to the fact that segregation is sin. That's what one of the statues on the Freedom Walk says on it, and it's true. 

"If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself,' you are doing well.  But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors."--James 2:8-9

The Freedom Walk is a trail through Ingram Park outside the Institute, the site of many riots during the movement. There are these statues/monuments (?) to depict what life was like.

Attacks by police dogs

You can't see it very well, but this is a depiction of 2 students ducking in cover from high-powered water hoses.

"Segregation is a sin" written upside down on the jail cell.

16th Street Baptist Church across the street from the Civil Rights Institute. This church along with many others were bombed during the movement. When this one was bombed, four little girls died, and the movement got some real national attention. I had watched a documentary on this when I was a kid so it was one site I definitely wanted to see in Birmingham.
We weren't allowed to take pictures inside, but suffice it to say that it is a very educational and eye-opening experience for those who were not alive at the time of the Civil Rights Movement. I highly recommend it! 

More pictures of the Freedom Walk  and the rest of our road trip can be found on my facebook here.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Weddings, Anniversary, and A Marriage You'd Actually Want

So we went to a wedding this weekend in Greenville and got to see some good friends from college who told us that when they thought about it..."you guys really make the wedding rounds!" I knew we'd been to a lot, especially after we got married, but when I wrote it down, it's crazy ridiculous how many we've been to since we started "officially" dating in Feb. 2010.
Aaron and I have been to 20 weddings together (not counting our own) from July 2010-October 2012! (and I may have forgotten some..?)

  1. justin and kai gibbons
  2. mandy and jared rypkema
  3. megan and moose saville
  4. chris and english cousins
  5. peg and josh timm
  6. keven and april frederick
  7. felicia and tommy preston-pic3
  8. chris and stephanie ramaglia-pic 2
  9. amber and patrick martin-pic1
  10. lauren and mikey mcfadden
  11. meredyth and jon merkling
  12. aaron and christina cole
  13. callie and jeff hsiang
  14. josh and brittany cox
  15. galen and jill mcaneney
  16. kate and josh deese
  17. steven and jess metts
  18. matt and bekah nevala
  19. katie and david gilson
  20. mike and stephanie norris
Coming up...
  1. emily and max (jordon)-Nov. 10
  2. madeline and kevin (kimbrough)-Jan. 19
  3. lauren and bailey (bailey)-TBA?
 So since I was M.I.A. for 3.5 months from the blog due to my cilnical, I never posted on our anniversary. Aaaand since we're on the topic...
Wedding day-August 13, 2011
  • It was awesome! We went to Savannah, GA Friday night through Sunday (Aug. 10-12) and stayed at the President's Quarters Inn (thanks to Living Social) and we even got the room we wanted! 
  • It rained most of the time but we went out Saturday morning to get massages (thank you again living social), and it let up Saturday night so we didn't get soaked when we visited The Lady and Sons, Paula Deen's Savannah restaurant. Neither Aaron, nor I were particularly impressed with the food, but perhaps we ordered the wrong thing. The place was booming with business and everyone else seemed to love the food, so we're not blacklisting it yet :)
  • After dinner we walked by the riverfront and found a little bar that my clinical instructor told me had excellent margaritas, and she was indeed correct; they were yummy.
  • Sunday morning we took another short walk through town visiting the square where Forrest Gump was filmed (of course, it's my favorite movie!) and to Forsyth Park to admire the fountain and greenery.
  • Monday (our actual anniversary-August 13) we followed with tradition and ate the cake topper from our wedding. Aaron thought it tasted great, but I thought it smelled funny and therefore decided before it hit my tongue that it was gross...and I was right.   
  • Since our wedding, Aaron and I have learned a few things:
    • I've seen Aaron's love towards me, especially when I don't deserve it, and it points me to Christ and His love for me.
    • We've learned to repent faster and actually mean it. We're both quick to say "sorry" for something, whether we've actually repented of it or not, just because it's uncomfortable not to, but God has been growing us in taking time apart to think about the Gospel and how we've been forgiven and let that fuel our reconciliation.
    • He's learned that I have a lot of hair and it sheds everywhere and I've learned that he is far more "musically gaseous" than I could have ever imagined! 
    • Communication is key: We have had a "Marriage Night" somewhat faithfully usually once a week since the second or third month in (at the recommendation of some friends), and have gone through different material and talked about how things are going in our marriage, how we can serve each other better, how we can pray for each other, etc. We've been going through the workbook paired with the sermon series below lately.
A Marriage You'd Actually Want

Following our first anniversary, our church started a sermon series/campaign called "A Marriage You'd Actually Want." A campaign is a sermon series where all lifegroups have material that pairs up with the sermons and discussion questions to follow. This series has been a wonderful tool that God is using to work in marriages in our church and in our city. You can check out the sermons from either the Devine street or Main street locations here. I recommend it whether you are single, married, widowed, or divorced. Check out a spoken word video about the series below:

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Been a minute...

Hey friends!

It's been a hot minute since I've blogged (told ya that would happen). But now that I'm done with my last clinical (!!!!!!!!) I have more free time again! 

That's right, I finished my LAST clinical of PT school! bahhh!! A little bit about the clinical: 
  • I was with Gentiva Home Health here in Columbia with an excellent clinical instructor (CI), Jill for 12 weeks. I had a lot of really sweet patients and a few that required a little extra dose of love and patience to treat, but overall it was a great experience. 
  • I saw a good bit of neuro (people with strokes, Parkinson's disease, etc.) which was a major blessing because I didn't get much true neuro on my neuro/rehab clinical. 
  • This rotation was so unique because we went into patients homes to evaluate and treat them. I really loved this aspect of it because we treated the patient more holistically than in other settings--we get the whole picture and are responsible for more than just their PT needs. 
  • We were finished with all of our patients usually by 2:30 or so which was awesome; the only bummer was the PAPERWORK! Home Health has the most paperwork by far of any setting; it was kinda like going to school and then bringing home your homework. woo! It was rough, but the up side is, I learned how to document things in the best way and I am familiar with all the home health paperwork should I ever choose to practice in this setting.

 So what now?
  • A#1 priority is preparing for defending my research on Nov. 2--in editing process with my research adviser now--this is my last item to complete the DPT program!
  • Job hunting: we have a job fair with lots of different companies next Monday. Two of my top picks will be there, so I'm hoping to make an impression! My CI used to work with one of them and said she'd put in a good word for me :-D 
  • Graduation is December 17th.
  • January 30 is the National Physical Therapy Exam or the BOARDS. I have to take this to get my license before I can start practicing. 
  • Aaron and I are traveling to a friends wedding in Jackson, MS the weekend of Nov. 10. After the wedding, we're heading to Nawlin's! I'm so stoked...I've never been and I've always wanted to! On the way back, we're stopping to stay the night in Birmingham, AL with two friends from Cola who moved not too long ago! Can't wait!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

California: A whirlwind week!

I'll post more on each day individually with stories, etc. but I wanted to give a little preview of our trip out west! We went the week of the 4th and were southern California, mostly San Diego and LA areas. We took over 600 pictures and 10 videos, visited 3 zoos, 2 theme parks, met up with 6 relatives (in 3 cities), and ate wayyy too much :)

A run down of the week:

Saturday: Leave Cola 10ish, fly out of ATL around 4pm EST,stop in Denver for a bite to eat and pictures of the unfortunate wildfires from the air (right) and (after marveling at the all the desert landscape between) arrive in San Diego around 6pm Pacific Time. Got our very RED Ford Focus rental care and make our way to Valley Center (~ 1 hr) where Aaron's Aunt Anne & Uncle Pete live atop their very own mountain.

Sunday: Wake up to clouds in the valley below the family's mountain...so beautiful! Head to church, and then to Oceanside beach to see the Pacific Ocean (a first for me)! We met up with Aaron's dad who was able to find a military hop to the West Coast and ate fish & chips on the boardwalk at a place that Aaron's cousin Joshua used to work. Uncle Pete, Aaron, & I went exploring out on the jettis and saw over a dozen starfish clinging to the sides in between crashing waves! We made it back from the beach just in time to see the sun set over the mountains...hands down, the most breathtaking sunset I've ever seen!

Monday: Aaron, his dad, and I tackle the San Diego Wild Safari Park (think African savanna) and saw all kinds of cool animals some of which we were familiar with and many of which we were not! My favorite part of that day was getting to take a tour (on a tram) of the open green hills with the animals scattered about--I felt like I was in Africa--it was so cool.

Tuesday: Needing some time to ourselves, Aaron & I drove up to Los Angeles (well, Hollywood) to see all the uber-touristy stuff there. Our (super-cheap-deal) hotel was on Sunset Blvd. so we walked a block or 2 to In-and-Out burger for lunch (a California must, I hear), and then another block or two up to Hollywood Blvd. We looked at the Hollywood Walk of Fame for a bit, trying to be "selective" with our pictures of stars (there are so many I wanted to photograph--including Billy Graham--who knew?), and then went over to Grauman's Chinese Theater, where the stars (beginning as early as the 1930s) have left their feet and hand prints in the sidewalk. By the way, Judy Garland had really tiny feet!
Wanting to hit all the major tourist attractions in 1 night, we hopped a tour of Beverly Hills and stars homes. It went pretty fast, and it has been hard to remember who they said lived where, haha, but we did get lots of pictures of pretty and famous homes. The best part, of course, was getting a shot of the Hollywood sign. After the tour, we had dinner at a cool Sushi bar and marched our weary feet back to the Budget Inn for some shut-eye.

Wednesday: A friend in Santa Barbara recommended a Hollywood breakfast restaurant for us, so in hopes of seeing a few stars, we set out to The Griddle Cafe, just 13 blocks from our hotel on Sunset. There were probably 10 parties waiting to be seated when we got there, but we decided to stick it out, and we even got an outdoor seat! I got graham-cracker pancakes & French-pressed coffee--so cool (right) and Aaron had something like Nutella pancakes. We weren't able to finish them (and no desire to be diabetic by the end of the meal) so we took a doggie bag (which we then accidentally left in the car overnight). After leaving Hollywood, we did a quick drive through downtown LA which was completely deserted because it was the 4th. Aaron got to see the Staples Center where the LA Lakers play and we both pointed out the US Bank Tower, the tallest building in LA and the building that was blown up in Independence Day.

We then headed about an hour and a half south to Hemet, CA where Aaron's grandparents live in an awesome retirement community (having a little run-in with CHiPs-CA Hwy Patrol-along the way..he let us off with a warning!). We again met up with Aaron's dad also, and all of us enjoyed each other's company for the night, playing banagrams and talking about family history.  I found this gem of Aaron's great-grandparents (his dad's dad's parents)...now, I'm sure that Grammie was a lovely woman, but she looks like Aaron wearing a wig and a dress in this photo below! What a resemblance!

Thursday: Thursday was quite the day. We left  Hemet and drove for ~3 hours south back to San Diego to see their world-famous Zoo! After more realy cool animals and an epic polar bear fight, we headed out to La Jolla Cove to eat dinner at a restaurant that Aaron read about once with a great view. This seemed like a pretty high-end place and we arrived just in time to get a good seat at the edge of the balcony. The view of the cove was beyond stunning (below, left).
 On the right is a pic of the right side of the cove...I had to make both of these small, but click and check them out because this view was fantastic. I highly recommend going there.

After the drive, the Zoo, and the Cove, we hit Seaworld to catch a glimpse of Shamu doin' his thing and maybe a dolphin or two. We saw this dolphin "shaking hands" with a few of the trainers and patrons :) After the Artic animals, we called it a day and went back to Valley Center to rest up.

Friday: 5:30am-leave for Disneyland in Anaheim (~1.5 hrs away); 8-11:30ish, do Disneyland rides and stuff with Aunt Anne and Uncle Pete...Space Mountain was pretty scary but so fun!

Noon-3 sleep outside at the pool until check-in at the hotel

3-5:30ish: nap in the hotel room; we were tired!!

6:30-7:00?-Disney parade complete with every princess there ever was and some that I didn't recognize!

8:00-8:30?-Spectacular lights show on water with almost every Disney character you could imagine!

Then bed.

Saturday: California Adventure Park!!!! This is a separate park in Disneyland that Aaron's cousin Cheri was able to get us tickets and fast passes for since she is a Disney employee. It was a very fun but exhausting day. Aaron and I actually took a 2 hour nap/rest break at a lunch table while Anne, Pete, and Cheri shopped. Cars Land is BRAND spankin' new and is modeled after Radiator Springs the town from the movie Cars. It was a ton of fun and you should definitely go if you get the chance.

In the evening we hit a phenomenal show of Aladdin (a 1 hr version of the movie--my favorite Disney movie) and then the "Mad Hatter's Tea Party" a rock type show loosely based on the Mad Hatter from Alice in Wonderland. The grand finale to our trip was a show called "A World of Color", another lights show on water at Paradise Pier, a boardwalk-type area of CA Adventure. Words can't describe how beautiful it was...or how glad we were to be able to go home. It was a packed-full-of-fun trip, but we were completely wiped after going hard for 3 days in a row.

Sunday: Saturday night we drove back to Valley Center and were able to sleep in Sunday morning til 10ish. We did a quickie drive through downtown San Diego on our way to the airport and then hopped on a plane around 3pm California time. Because of a light connecting flight and bad weather, we didn't get into Atlanta til after 1, got our bags and got to our car around 2 and got home around 5 because we stopped for dinner and then got turned around on the interstates. Needless to say, we slept most of Monday and are adjusting back to life on the east coast. :)

Monday, June 25, 2012

DPT Family

  • About two weeks ago was one heck of a week for our class of 18 PT students, but a very good one! We:
    • had our last class...ever.
    • took our last final exam...ever.
    • took our comprehensive exam (a recall of 3 years of info, basically) and 100% passed!
    • celebrated that twice in one day...lunch at Pawley's Front Porch (the most amazing burger you've ever had) and dinner at Mellow Mushroom and
    • took a Board Review class to get an idea of how to prepare for studying for boards
  • So all in all, we finished the academic portion of our 3.5 year program!!! We are all thrilled to have the rest of the summer off to relax and finish research until we begin our final clinical rotations July 30 in various places and settings. Some are doing a second/specialized orthopedic rotation, some are doing pediatrics, and 3 or 4 of us are doing home health. Clinical ends mid-October and we graduate December 13! The end is in sight!!! 
    • Here's a pic of our class (minus Aaron & Christina, Jess, and Forest) after comps at Pawley's :)
  • Honestly, I'm a little sad our time together is almost at an end! I've lived life next to these 17 other people for the last 3 years! We've seen the good, bad, and ugly of each other! We've 
    • celebrated 4 weddings (and 3 more to come)
    • mourned the loss of loved ones
    • studied God's Word & prayed together
    • welcomed a baby girl into the world
    • laughed at stupid YouTube videos
    • presented I don't even know how many case studies
    • and celebrated the end of nearly every semester like champs! Oh that reminds me! 
    • Two intramural sports championships (with some help from other classes)! 
    • And all 18 of us have made it through with no hold-ups!
  • It's been a real honor and privilege to work with these 17 people who I call DPT family! :)

Monday, June 18, 2012

Moving Forward into Summer!

Couple new things happening around the Hassell Castle as we move forward into summer:

  • Frisbee-We are playing ultimate frisbee in the Columbia Ultimate Disc Association Summer League! This is the third summer Aaron's played and he convinced me to sign up this year. Our 2nd game is tonight and I'm pumped. Typically when I'm playing with a new group of people, I am very self-conscious about my playing and get real focused on myself and how bad I suck. Bad move. I'm learning to focus more on just having fun and improving my game and not getting offended when someone gives me a tip. That kinda leads into the next thing...
  • Humility-We started a new series at Midtown last night on humility. The biggest and hardest thing I learned from the first sermon was that there are two kinds of pride. The first is what I normally think of as pride...the "I'm so excellent, I don't need God" kinda attitude. But the second is the polar opposite...having the constant mindset of "I am not excellent in any way" and staying focused on how "not excellent" we are. We may think we need special treatment because of how "not excellent" we are. I have a harder time explaining and recognizing this type of pride, but I know that it lives in my heart. The solution to killing pride isn't "just be more humble," but being humbled by the fact that Jesus humbled Himself and died for my pride. I genuinely desire to grow in humility and am looking forward to the rest of this series :) From the video below, Aaron will benefit from it too, lol. This is from an "interview" I did with him on a road trip about 2 years ago. Sorry it's sideways!
  • Reunion-I traveled down to Charleston last Friday to meet up for dinner with my best friends from college. April will be moving overseas soon, so we took advantage of the opportunity to meet up so we could send her off! Since we were all together, Mer's sister threw her a baby shower the same weekend; I was so thrilled so many of us were able to make it, but we missed 3 of our girls. So much is changing with all of us so quickly between jobs, grad school, family, marriage, babies, and overseas missions, it's hard to keep up, but we try to plan as far in advance as we can to make time to visit at least once a year. 
    • If you know me and are reading this blog, you probably know these girls, or  ARE one of them, but here's the roster: back (L-R): Peg, Madeline, Meredyth, Amber M. (doing a Slovak "2" bc she, hubby Patrick, and baby Samuel (exp. 7/14/12) will be moving to Bratislava soon!), front: me, Amber W., April, Jenna
    • April's moving to Asia so that's what the pose is about ;-P
More to come on PT school!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Harbison State Forest

Last Saturday Aaron and I ventured out to Harbison State Forest for a little hiking. We saw 2 deer, some cool plant life, and a little baby birdie with a lot to say. Enjoy the pics below!

 This one was much less skiddish and let us take a few pics.
 The one in the back heard or saw us and was hopping around trying to warn the other. Finally got a good shot of both of em. They were so close to us!!!

 so green!!

 cool hollowed out tree
 I heard this bird when we were on the trail and took a few minutes to find him; don't let him fool ya, even though he's so little, he is LOUD!!
 Camelbak to scale the size of the bird...he was soooo tiny!
It took a lot for Aaron to convince me the black ones were okay to eat, but they were good and we didn't get sick, thankfully :)

 Pretty yellow flowers that were scattered all along the way.

 Some baby pine trees we saw...they look so funny to me. I guess it's the alfalfa type bunch of needles on the top that's weird.

Whole trail took about 2 hours (3.5 miles) and was beautiful. We'll definitely be heading out there again soon!