I may not be the next Olivia Pope…

…but I did enjoy a nice trip to Washington, DC.

Two weeks ago I had the opportunity to go to NASP’s annual conference.  This year it was in Washington, DC, which afforded us a plethora of tourist-y activities for the week.

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First, we hit the monuments, from Washington and Lincoln to the various war memorials.  We also visited fun museums like the Natural History Museum and the Air & Space Museum, which are some of the coolest museums I’ve been to!  One of my favorites was visiting the Ford Theater to see the place where Lincoln was shot and died.

As far as the conference goes, I would say that the experience will be much more valuable in the next couple of years as I begin to work in the field.  While there were sessions geared towards grad students, I didn’t find them to be as helpful as one would expect.  Even those seem more applicable in your second year, as a practicum student. So, I’m looking forward to heading back to conferences over the years to continue to build upon the foundation I’m working on in grad school.

On Friday I took a detour and headed back to Georgia to see my family.  After a short weekend there, I returned to good ole Waco, Texas. Now there is only one week before I travel back to Georgia during spring break.  Then wedding planning will kick into high gear!

As graduate school has been taking up the bulk of my time, planning has been paused.  I am excited to get back to that because it really has been enjoyable. It’s funny though–I keep waiting on everyone to get tired of hearing about the wedding, but truth be told, I’ve found that I’m usually the one saying, “Let’s talk about that later.”  Don’t get me wrong, I do like when people ask about plans, but when I’m overwhelmed with other things, wedding planning takes a back seat.
I’ve just found that I’m a thousand times more concerned with preparing for my marriage than planning for my wedding.

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all i want for Christmas

bemerryLast night I had a series of strange dreams.  First, I dreamed that my family was celebrating Christmas in Arizona.  While we were waiting for the food to finish cooking, Mom and I decided to walk outside with my dog, Georgia.  Mom and Georgia went first, and I followed behind.  So as I’m walking out these sliding glass doors, I see a killer whale jump out of the pool in the back yard and onto the cement surrounding the pool.  It reminded me of how the whales slide on the ice to try to catch the seals, and in that moment my dog looked, to me, like a little baby seal.  All of this happened in slow-motion in my dream, and what followed was mass chaos.  I began yelling at my mom to catch the dog, both of whom were running around the pool like mad men.  Finally, I had to run to catch the dog and yell at the whale to ‘GET BACK IN THE POOL!’  Why he listened, I’m not sure, but he did.  So that was the first dream scenario that tried to ruin my Christmas.

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Then I dreamed that I was driving my car around town when every maintenance light began to light up the dash like our Christmas tree.  I’m certain that all of the lights were fake, but that’s beside the point I suppose.  I think my dream was trying to ruin my Christmas wish and prevent me from traveling home for Christmas.  However, jokes on you, nightmare, because we’re not taking my car home for Christmas; we’re taking Cason’s car, and it works fine.   (Mine does too, for the record.)  Alternatively, the dream could be about how much I dread the 13.5 hour drive home, which would be accurate.  If the cars break down, we HAVE to fly, right?  That would be nice.  Haha.  All I want for Thanksgiving and Christmas next year are plane tickets home.

merryandbrightNeedless to say, all I want this Christmas is to arrive home, safe and sound, and enjoy a nice break with my family.  I want to eat Nana’s creamed corn, have brunch with my friends and go dress shopping, open presents with my family, and make sure my teacup poodle doesn’t get attacked by a killer whale.  That’s not too much to ask for, is it?  Cason and I have so much to do in the next few days just to prepare for the long trek home, but we are excited, nonetheless.  We’ve prepared most of the presents for our families, purchased new Christmas outfits, mailed out Christmas cards, and done all of the laundry.  All that’s left is to clean out the cars, tidy up the house, pack all of our things, and make the journey home.  In just a few days we will be homeward bound!  Until then…

*The images in this blog come from various artists on Etsy.  Click on the images to redirect to the respective Etsy shops.  I just wanted to share some of my favorite holiday prints, as I am personally thankful for some extra traffic in my Etsy shop this holiday season.  Enjoy!

wintertime in waco

Why is it freezing in Waco, Texas?  I have no idea, but I sure am glad that it’s starting to feel like winter.

I’ve had so many priceless experiences in Waco over the past few months, and I’m blessed and thankful for my time here.  I’d like to share a few experiences that I’ve had in the past week or two–since Waco became somewhat of a winter wonderland.

  • Georgia
    Georgia in front of the Christmas tree.

    I spent…uh…Brown Thursday? shopping for a Christmas tree.  Cason and I decorated ornaments to put on the tree, which I hope will become an annual tradition.  I also got stockings for Cason, Georgia, and myself and hung them on the mantle.  I love decorating for Christmas each year, and I have so many fun memories.  Most years, I decorate  the family tree with my mom, hanging thumbprint ornaments from my childhood.  Then throughout undergrad I would decorate the common rooms with my roommates–Kristin, Alli, and Katlyn during my sophomore year and my ADPi sisters in the house during junior year.  This year is different, but I like the new traditions and new stockings!

  • My guilty pleasure: when the holidays roll around, I love to watch those cheesy Christmas movies on Hulu/Netflix.  They are so predictable, but honestly that’s what makes them great.  This season I’ve already watched a movie about an adorable little Jewish boy who just wants to celebrate Christmas and another movie about a girl who falls in love with her boss’s fiancé.  Cason makes fun of them the whole time, so he’s not allowed to watch them with me anymore…seriously.  I’ve been watching them while I complete my take-home finals…and while Cason is at work. (Since I started writing this post a week ago, I’ve watched at least 3 more cheesy Christmas movies, and I made Cason watch one.)
  • I also have been giving assessments to children for one of my classes.  (This semester we administered the WJ-III and the WISC-IV.)  It’s hard to believe that after just a semester of grad school I now have the basic know-how necessary to give some of the more widely used IQ tests in our field.  Also, since I’m not from here I had a harder time finding students to assess.  So, I reached out and was blessed with an amazing connection.  I now hopefully have at least a few parents I can call on who are willing to let me assess their kids throughout my time here at Baylor.  I’ve had great experiences with the families and the students all while gaining experience.
    Last week I met a sweet family with four boys, and the youngest fell in love with my teacup poodle, Georgia.  His mom told me later that he decided that Georgia needed her own play room with dog treats and legos, in case the boys came back to play.  I honestly think that Georgia would LOVE that.
  • February_2012_0114
    February_2012_0114 (Photo credit: cmiked)

    On Saturday, Cason and I went Christmas shopping for our family for the first time.  We got some amazing local items from the Waco Downtown Farmer’s Market, and we are excited to share them with our family.  We also made a cute ornament to put on the tree!  Going to the market is always a great experience.

  • I’ve sold a few prints from my Etsy shop, which has been both an encouragement and a blessing.  It’s nice to know that people enjoy my work.  It’s an added bonus that I have a little extra cash in my pocket for the holiday season.

Overall, it has been a sweet holiday season in Waco, but I think it’s safe to say that Cason and I can’t wait to be home for a week.  I’m thankful that the semester has winded down and I have a little bit of time before we make the long trip home.  I know it’s gonna be quite the ride, but it will definitely be worth it.  Several of my family members have countdowns until the day I arrive.  I have tons of wedding planning to do.  I will get to see several friends, whom I haven’t seen in who knows how long.  Plus I will get to see several relatively new additions to the family, including my nephew and first cousins, once removed (yes, this is the correct terminology for my cousin’s children–no, they are not my second cousins).  Regardless of terminology, I am excited to see my family!

an exciting engagement month

Wow! I can’t believe that I’ve been engaged for a month already…and that it’s been almost that long since my last blog post.  Needless to say, this has been one amazing, crazy, busy month.

Graduate school completely overwhelmed me from about two weeks ago through last Wednesday.  I have no idea why I get so stressed, especially since I’m doing well in my classes.  I have to constantly remind myself that things are going well, and there’s no need to stress.  Then when I wasn’t feeling overwhelmed with grad school, I was feeling homesick.  I just wanted to be back in Georgia for Mercer’s homecoming and family Thanksgiving/Christmas decorating.  But it’s all good since Cason kept reminding me that we will be home oh so soon for Christmas break and lots of wedding planning.

Overall, though, things are great. Here are some of the highlights from November:

I got engaged, which you already knew!

My cohort hosted an engagement party for Cason and I, which you may not have known.

engagementparty

I went to a Mercer basketball game in Austin, which was amazing even though my guys didn’t take home a win that night.  I met a Mercer ADPi alum, and it was really neat to connect over that!

I became the Membership Education Advisor for the Zeta Chi chapter of ADPi here at Baylor.  I got to meet the new officers on the Membership Education team as well as the other advisors.  I’m super excited to be involved with Alpha Delta Pi as an alum/Pi member!

OKC

Cason and I went to see John Mayer in Oklahoma City, which was amazing beyond words!  Phillip Phillips opened for John, and he was also awesome.  Even though John didn’t play “Why Georgia,” he played “Gravity,” “Slow Dancing in a Burning Room,” “No Such Thing,” and several songs from his newer albums.  I love how he mixes a lot of the older stuff in with his new music.  I much prefer that over going to a concert and basically listening to the artist’s newest album.  Funny story:  John started to play a cover of a song, and this guy sitting next to Cason started yelling, “That’s gravity! That’s gravity!”  Then John Mayer looked right over at the guy and was like, “No dude, it’s not gravity,” and basically told the guy that it was a good try though.  It was interesting though because John Mayer also told the guy that he (John) would have totally done something like that in a concert–like yell out during a quiet song, I guess.  It’s just really cool to see an artist roll with the punches and interact with the audience.  At one point a group of people counted to three together and yelled, “We love you, John,” and he made a comment about how he’d never seen a group count to three before.  He said he always hears, “We love you,” but he thought it was cool to actually see the group of people counting before they yelled together.  When I saw John in Atlanta years ago, he also took time to read practically every poster within sight and responded to each one in the middle of the concert.  I know everyone has their fair share of reasons to dislike John Mayer, but he puts on a heck of a concert and really interacts with the audience.  It was just generally an all-around fantastic weekend. (Oh, did I mention we were on the third row? Win.)

johnmayer

Not much else is going on besides preparing for finals, getting ready to go home, and wedding planning, but I’ll hopefully have more updates soon!

the happiest place on earth

On Friday Cason and I were blessed with the opportunity to go to Disney World in Orlando, Florida.  Cason had never visited, and I was about 6 or 7 the last time I went, so it was an exciting adventure for both of us.  It was Cason’s wish to at least visit the Animal Kingdom, while I was eager to see the fireworks behind Cinderella’s castle in the Magic Kingdom.  As a result, we got park hopper tickets, spent almost the whole day in the Animal Kingdom and then saw 3 different shows at the Magic Kingdom.  Honestly, that was the smart move because the Animal Kingdom was significantly less crowded that day and it seemed like there was so much more to do.  We loved seeing all the animals and going on the safari.  We even got to ride the Everest ride and a water ride!

Below are plenty of photos for your viewing pleasure.  If the mosaic isn’t your style, you can click on any photo to enlarge it and scroll through the rest that way.  Enjoy!

state pride

Over the past couple weeks I have been busy starting my new job, but I have also been working on some fabulous prints to go in my bathroom when I move to Waco. I’ve had so much fun making these prints in Photoshop that I’ve decided to list them on Etsy for anyone who may want their own custom prints. Click here for the shop and check out mine below!

columbusgaprint

USAtravelMap

wacotexasprint

my visit to Baylor

Y’all, let me just say that I am thrilled about my pick for grad school.  I flew out to Waco, Texas to visit Baylor this past weekend, and it was fabulous!  I’m gonna post some pictures and let them pretty much speak for themselves! (Okay, okay, you know I’m gonna add some captions in there!)

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I still think Mercer’s bear statue has this one beat, but at least this lil bear has a name! The beautiful building in the background is the 9-yr-old Baylor Sciences Building.
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Had to take a photo under a Baylor sign in my Baylor t-shirt. The fam all wore Baylor shirts on the way home. Matching, how cute!
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How excited do I look to be going to Baylor? I am HUGE on school spirit, and I couldn’t be more thrilled to be attending Baylor in the fall.
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Yet another photo under the BU sign. Can’t have too many, in my opinion!
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In front of the house I will be living in with two second-year students! It’s absolutely gorgeous inside and out!
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Fabulous Mexican restaurant in downtown Waco!
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On the Burleson Quad in front of Burleson Hall, which currently houses the BARC, short for Baylor Autism Resources Center.
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Last, but certainly not least is the best photo I got of one of the two REAL LIVE BAYLOR BEARS! Not sure if this is Joy or Lady, but she is absolutely stunning. Wouldn’t you agree?