Sunday, February 26, 2012

sorority life

How do I know my husband loves me? He was willing to spend the night at the Theta house in College Park with me last night. Post-call. The Maryland Thetas have a wonderful "house mom," but when she is out of town, a local volunteer has to stay at the house for liability purposes. There is a lovely guest room in the house, but it is right by the stairs, which means we heard all of the Saturday night goings and comings of the college women (who were extremely gracious and welcoming). It's been a decade since I lived in Greek housing, so being back in the midst of it was quite a experience! Richard and I certainly left feeling a bit older and thankful for our quiet home.

Though I loved living on the Theta hall in Barnett at Clemson, I'm not sure you could pay me enough to go back to the twin bed, hall bathrooms and the never-ending search for a parking spot on the horseshoe. I do miss having a ton of friends just steps away and all the excitement that abounded before football games and date functions. What a year that was!

our lodging for the night

big night in College Park- Hard Times chili and Yogiberry fro-yo

Sunday, February 19, 2012

absence makes the heart grow fonder

Or at least that's what I'm telling myself. This week we learned that our dear friends, Vin and Min, would be moving to Washington state at the end of the year, possibly sooner. They are actually both in the Army, and Takoma is where the Army has told them they have to go. They have been our neighbors for the past several months, and we will sure miss them, and their sweet little girl Gia!

We had dinner with Min and Vin and Gia Friday night and certainly plan to make the most of the remaining months they are here.

love this girl- how sweet is she?!

smart Gia borrowed my camera and snapped this picture of Richard and Vin

because of our similar coloring, Min and I have been mistaken as family- such a compliment to me!

Part our mission Friday night was to return Joseph, who has been hanging out at our house, and in my car, since we gave Gia the Little People Nativity set for Christmas. Can't leave baby Jesus fatherless!

Joseph at dinner

Gia loves some dessert

precious baby girl

And speaking of absences- my whole family was in Charleston this weekend without me and Richard. My brother Will brought his girlfriend down from New York to experience the South Carolina lowcountry, and Mom, Dad and Jeff joined them there yesterday. Today, they went to see both sets of aunts and uncles that live on St. Helena Island. I sadly haven't seen that extended family since our wedding, so I really hated not being there. I miss my family! But at least it looks like they missed me too.

Jeff and Will on Uncle Bobby and Aunt Cynthia's dock

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

rocking chair conversations

At the end of my senior year at Clemson, Richard invited me to the wedding of one of his good friends from Wofford. We were just good friends at the time, but we had gone to the Carolina Cup together that previous Spring and were going out on pseudo dates even if we weren't technically "together." That wedding was absolutely beautiful, and the reception was at the Country Club of Asheville. Before going out on the dance floor, we went out on the back terrace, where there were rocking chairs and a gorgeous mountain view. We watched the sunset, and he told me all about his plans to go to medical school on a military scholarship. I had no clue he had signed up to join the Army, so it was very interesting to hear his ten-year plan neatly laid out. I still remember the details of our conversation and knew even at the time that the information being shared was pivotal. We eventually made our way back inside and had a wonderful time with friends, but in my mind, our future had been somewhat shaped by our rocking chair conversation.

Last night Richard and I celebrated our seventh Valentine's Day together (though many of those were not shared in person on the actual day while we dated long-distance). We had dinner at Food and Wine Co. in Bethesda and just enjoyed being able to dress up and have a week night out together. And over dinner, we had another rocking chair conversation. We talked about his plans for doing a fellowship (or possibly not doing a fellowship), how that may affect my career, where the Army might send us and our hopes for the future. Having not seen much of him as of late, it was just nice to chat and know what's been on his mind. That conversation was the perfect accompaniment to delicious hushpuppies, fried artichokes, his mussels, my pork blade steak and a s'mores dessert.

To top it off, I found my missing pair of sunglasses, the Clemson basketball team beat a top-25 Virginia team, and we received enough chocolate to last until April. A perfect Valentine's Day for sure.

my man with his steaming mussels in his Valentine's Day bowtie

happy valentine's!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

we heart visitors

One of the best parts about living in the DC area is the fact that it's a fairly popular destination for friends from South Carolina. We love seeing familiar faces from the Palmetto State on a fairly regular basis!

This past week, Mary Madison, her husband Drew, and their little girl Lilly were in town to visit Drew's family, who live in the area. His Dad played for the Washington Capitals, the NHL team here, and we got to do dinner at Matchbox in Chinatown before the Caps game Thursday night. As someone who knows very little about hockey, it was fascinating to see how many Caps fans come out for games at the Verizon Center, all wearing their Caps jerseys. The Caps are the best pro sports team the city has got, and it was fun to see how excited people are about the team. Richard and I hope to make it to a game before we leave DC.

Mary Madison was one of my best friends in law school, so it was great to see her and sweet Lilly. Hard to believe she will be in two in July!
Mary Madison, me and Lilly

Richard has been working a ton on the rotation he's currently on, and Saturday was the first day he had off in a couple weeks. We were thrilled to have a normal Saturday- gym, errands, and a fun lunch at Hill Country BBQ with the reigning Miss Easley! Lauren is dating one of Richard's good friends from Spartanburg, and she was in town for CPAC, the Conservative Political Action Conference. We are so proud of her and her accomplishments and hope to be able to cheer her on in the Miss South Carolina pageant this summer. She would be a wonderful ambassador for the Palmetto State!

The rest of our weekend consisted of dinner at Nando's Peri Peri chicken, where they have the fancy new coke machine that was quite a novelty to me, some early Spring cleaning, a dusting of snow and watching the Grammy's for the Whitney tribute. The anticipation of a full week at work has me already looking forward to the long President's Day weekend!

Friday, February 10, 2012

two months ago today...

a beautiful Miss Jessica Stokes became Mrs. Jessica Benson in a lovely lowcountry wedding in gorgeous DeBordieu, South Carolina. Some of my favorite law school memories were made "studying" around Jess's dining room table, and I was so happy to see her fall in love with the brother of one of Richard's closest friends from Wofford. I loved being a part of their wedding weekend and wish Jess and Robert many years of happiness!

bridesmaids luncheon with a beautiful beach view

getting pretty at the salon

the glowing bride

loved the monogrammed pashmina Jess gave us

some of my absolute favorites- Hannah, Candy, Rebecca and Jen- can't wait to be a part of Hannah's big day in July!

dancing the night away

off to the Bahamas- congrats, sweet friends!

Monday, February 6, 2012

super bowl, sisters and mexican

Richard and I were invited to a Super Bowl party at the home of two of his fellow Walter Reed residents, and I was a little nervous prior to the party, given that I only knew a handful of the people who would be there.

But thankfully, everyone was super sweet, the food was delicious, and I found two other Thetas! I was initiated into Kappa Alpha Theta at Clemson and am so grateful for my collegiate experience and also all that Theta has meant to me since I graduated, including a law school scholarship and the chance to volunteer as an alumna. So I was thrilled to find out my new friend Lindsey, was a Theta, as was our host Lauren. We had a ball talking about our respective chapters and the Spring formal we wanted to throw and proved that even ten years removed from college, it's fun to kite a sister!
me, Lindsey and Lauren

Richard and a few General Surgery guys- good to see friends we hadn't seen in a while

And because it's become a tradition to celebrate my birthday at some point with a Mexican dinner, we went out with Max and Ashley and little Anderson on Saturday night to Uncle Julio's. Can't beat guacamole, margaritas, and fajitas!

Friday, February 3, 2012

birthday celebration

I turned 31 yesterday. 31! That number is still sinking in, but honestly 31 is feels a little less pressure-filled than 30. 30 was such a big milestone, and 31 has been a number I've not been as fixated on. It is what it is, and I'm thankful that God has blessed me with another year!

I woke up in a hotel on my 30th birthday since our furnace was out and our house was freezing, so waking up in my own bed with working heat was a treat in itself. And then I walked in my office to find this:
my corner "office"

Such fun birthday decorations! It was a little birthday fort. I always wanted a canopy bed as a child and never got one, so I really enjoyed my streamer canopy. My sweet co-workers brought treats, and we all enjoyed dessert on a super busy day in the office.

Christopher, me, Mary Anna and Patrick- thanks, friends!

Since Richard is working long hours in Baltimore this month, he made a dinner reservation there at Woodberry Kitchen. We had both been wanting to try it, so it seemed like the perfect place for a birthday dinner. The plan was for me to take the train to Baltimore from DC's Union Station, then take a cab to our hotel for the night if Richard hadn't finished up in the hospital.

The only problem? There were no cabs at the Camden Yards train station. And it was kind of sketchy. After a few scary minutes alone in the waiting area with a mentally-ill homeless lady, I found another friend looking for a cab. She turned out to be a medical student in town for residency interviews, and I truly believe the good Lord put her in my path! We thankfully found a cab that we took together, but not before I tripped over a no parking sign that had falled over in the wind. A gashed knee and huge pantyhose run later, I made it to the hotel a bit worse for wear, with the thought that my evening could only improve from there!
Admiral Fell Inn in Fells Point

My knight in pink scrubs (Shock Trauma's signature color) finally arrived from the hospital, and our Woodberry Kitchen experience was wonderful. We started off with hand-crafted cocktails, deviled eggs and ham and skillet cornbread, and made our way through the most delicious oysters, a pulled pork flatbread, and finally roasted chicken and sweet potatoes. All absolutely phenomenal.
old-fashioned menu board

loved spending the evening with my hard-working husband

Richard, our oysters, and his Government Mule in a copper mug

chicken, biscuit, kale and sweet potatoes

Richard had bought a birthday cake, but when the Food Network came to Woodbury Kitchen, they featured the CMP- a concoction with chocolate, marshmallows and peanuts, sealed with a sugar lid. It was incredible- Richard said it ranked high up on the list of desserts that have changed his life. And the boy likes desserts!

the famous CMP

The waitress was sweet to bring me a birthday plate with basil ice cream and a shortbread cookie. The basil ice cream was unique, but I think I might have enjoyed it more in the summer time. And it's a little unfair the ice cream had to compete with the CMP.

After dinner, we went back to our little inn to have birthday cake (or look at the birthday cake in my case) and open presents.

strawberry birthday cake

6 am this morning came way too soon, and I headed back to DC after seeing a beautiful sunrise.

Fells Point

After a bit of a shaky start, it was a great Baltimore birthday!