Savannah’s First Christmas Season

Let’s be honest… Christmas is more of a season then one particular day! We started off this Christmas season with a visit to my parents, where we got to see Savannah’s uncle and aunts and great grandparents and great uncle and aunt. 

  
Then she came along to a couple Christmas parties. At my bowling party for my work, she got passed around while Chris and I bowled. Chris’s white elephant exchange resident Christmas party, she got glitter everywhere!

  
Daddy had to work on Christmas Eve, but we visited him and brought Chinese food to the hospital! On Christmas Day, we flew out for Virginia. Traveling with an infant is not as difficult as many would have you believe… as long as you don’t forget your stroller!

We got to spend time with Chris’s parents, grandparents, and high school buddies, as well as many other dear friends…

   
 

  
  
As you can see we had a magnificent time seeing all these lovely friends and family members. 

Of course we also had to catch up with our favorite restaurants, Chick-fil-A, Chili’s, Bojangles, Riptides… plus get our barbecue fix! We won’t wait so long until the next time we head back to Virginia! 

We made it back safe and sound. Thankfully some dear friends had shoveled the foot and a half of snow that had accumulated inour driveway! It was great to get back to real life and work rested, refreshed, and full of hope for 2016.

Thankful!

Thanksgiving was amazing. It was Savannah’s first Thanksgiving and our first time hosting. There is so much to be thankful for. God has blessed us so much this year.
I am thankful for my amazing husband and precious daughter.
I am thankful for my sweet parents and awesome sister, who came out to visit even though my sister had just had SURGERY, and were willing to watch Savannah even though I forgot to teach them how to use the car seat and stroller (NOT intuitive!)
I am thankful for my loving doggies.
I am thankful for a job I enjoy, a kind and caring boss, and sweet coworkers.
I am thankful for my husband’s mad cooking skills. He cooked a DELICIOUS turkey and fixins. And this on one of maybe 4 days off in a month.
I am thankful for the ladies in my Bible Study…
And our great Rochester family at our church.
I am thankful to live where we live… When we live… And have the freedom to make decisions (like where we should live!)
Most of all I am thankful for God’s grace. He sent his own son to be a vulnerable baby, to grow up and die for us. And even though He is far greater than our universe, He is with us through everything both good and bad – every baby giggle and every sleepless night, every joy and every sorrow. Praise be to Him!

More Decisions

It seems like just yesterday I was posting about making our decision about residency and preparing for the Match. And here we are with more decisions to make!

A lot has changed in 3 years – house, two dogs, jobs, BABY. Having Savannah in our lives is definitely the craziest change. It is amazing how quickly time flies when watching her, cuddling her, and taking care of her. I certainly do enjoy having her around. She is the best gift we have ever received.

Our next big decision is where to go for life (or at least for Chris’s first real job) and we will be making that decision in the next month. Craziness!!! We crave your prayers as we decide, not just for us, but for our KID. Part of it, of course, is what type of job Chris will be doing. Is it straight clinic or are there other things mixed in? Then there’s the benefits – the pay/vacation ratio. Then, of course, proximity to family and friends.

And there’s all those other things – what kind of job will I be able to get? What are the schools like in the area? And of course, how are the winters?

The great thing is that we do have choices and none of them are bad. And I am sure that God will make it clear in the next few weeks where he is calling us to go (or stay). Please keep us in your prayers as we listen for His voice!

 

Fun Things We Did in the Past 3 Months

After our Babymoon, which was A-MAZ-ING, we settled in to stay and home and be bored during the long slow grind of the third trimester. Yeah right.

  1. Memorial Day in Minocqua!

I drove up to visit my grandmother in northern Wisconsin and got my first taste of “lake cabin vacation.” We had a great time checking out the local shops, hiking on the nearby trail (lots of Braxton Hicks for me!) and making ourselves tasty food.

 

2. Visit with Becky

My mother-in-law came out for a visit so we could spend some time with her WITHOUT a baby. We had a great time – we took a nice trip through Minnesota and Wisconsin, and she and Chris tried some local brews and wines. We did get a flat tire but the local shop, Elmer’s in Fountain City WI,  took care of it in no time.

3. Black River Falls Again

We spent a long weekend in Black River Falls and had a fantastic time, as we always do. My mom and sister came up for a short time as my sister prepared to head back to French camp. We got to go boating, paddle-boarding, kayaking, horseback riding, rope-swinging… well, I didn’t do all those things, but I did what I could!

 

4. Fun Time with Mom

My wonderful mother sacrificed time and energy to come out the day before my due date, just in case Baby decided to be on time, which of course she didn’t. But we did get to spend a fun week together. My mom singlehandedly installed a new mailbox for us and weeded our jungle,I mean, back flower beds. We also had fun trying to get labor going, e.g. eating sushi, taking lots of walks, eating eggplant parmesan…

It may have been the ambitious walk with our church group at Quarry Hill that got things started as I went into labor the next day! I was picturing an easy stroll on the paved path, but we ended up doing some serious back-woods scrambling… what a blast!!!

 

5. Becoming Parents

Definitely the best thing I have done this summer – or ever!!! We welcomed our daughter Savannah on July 28th at 3:13 pm, and she has transformed our lives. Not to sound trite, but I never did know how much you can love someone who can’t really reciprocate (at this stage at least)…. or how natural the transition could be… or how much fun having a little person can be. I’m pretty sure most if not all of my future posts will revolve around her.

 

Babymoon!

It has now been two months since our Babymoon, but I have to post some pictures of one of the funnest trips I have ever taken with my hubby. We knew this was the last trip for awhile that we would be taking without having a kiddo to worry about (whether you take ’em along or not, you worry about them!) We wanted to go someplace warm but someplace not too far away since I would be in my second trimester. Florida was the natural choice. Since I am a big CSI Miami fan, that was top of my list.

We got our choice of cars in Miami and of course we had to pick a red one. What we didn’t realize is that Miami is actually a network of toll roads… good tip for next time!

My top 5 from our trip…

1. Vizcaya

Talk about tropical ruin! I love beautiful old houses and this one is right on the water. In fact there is a beautiful tea house right by Biscayne Bay….

  
And gardens! They are a bit overgrown… or lost to follow-up… but glorious nonetheless. Inside the house, there are tons of guest rooms with esoteric themes and beautiful decorations purloined from Europe. There was also a very nice cafe where we had a tasty lunch and admired the local wildlife, er, feral cats.

2. The Everglades Tram Tour

I heard a lot of hype about this, but it was truly fascinating. Sure, you can bike the loop if you want to do all that work, but it was a lot more fun to ride on the bus and have the helpful tour guide find the baby alligators for us. Plus they let us get pretty close to the local fauna…

   I have never seen so many alligators or so many cool tropical birds. Nor had I ever realized how “dry” the Everglades really are. It’s not the swamp I had imagined and is very, very cool.

3.  Tasty Treats in Key West

We only had a day in Key West but it was pretty sweet… literally! The Chelsea House upgraded our reservation so I wouldn’t have to hike my belly up the stairs. We had a nice dinner at a local spot and an amazing dessert at another local place that specializes in dessert. If you google it, I’m sure you’ll figure out why it shall here remain nameless. But here is a picture of my stunning dessert:
4. Water Sports in the Keys

We went a little crazy on vacation, I won’t deny it. Chris did some scuba, I snorkeled, we paddle-boarded and Chris went parasailing while I rode on the boat. The captain seemed apprehensive that riding on a boat would jumpstart labor but to everyone’s relief that did not happen. The underwater camera we got lent everything a cool filtered feel.

Here are a couple pictures of us rockin’ the water sports!!

(From late third trimester, I have to say I can’t believe my baby bump was that small!)

5. Maternity Photos

One of my favorite parts of our babymoon was getting some professional pictures taken by Margeaux Boles (look her up, she’s amazing!) She took us to her favorite beach for some GORGEOUS shots. Getting pictures taken of yourself can be exceedingly awkward but she was so fun to work with that we forgot about that and really enjoyed ourselves.

Definitely the best part of the week was spending time just with Chris. It’s been awhile since we’ve been by ourselves, no friends no family no distractions, for a week, and it was glorious. I am so thankful for him and treasure every minute, whether in exotic Miami or beloved Rochester… or wherever we end up next!

Exciting News, V-day and Random Parties

Back in January we told the rest of the world that we are expecting Baby Boswell in July 2015. We could not be more excited!!! This baby is such a blessing. Also I have been very blessed in a relatively smooth pregnancy – B6 and Unisom took care of my nausea, except for the time when I had a nasty stomach bug.

In February we had a fantastic V-day weekend. Chris had a rare 3-day weekend and we spent Friday evening at the Quarry Hill Candlelight Ski. Our first ski was under a cloudy sky that reflected the lights back and we could see perfectly. We came back for chocolate cake, champagne for Chris, and fun conversations with interesting people in the nature center lobby. Then things got crazy…

A friendly fox snake made the rounds. It was SO COOL.

The next day we headed to Black River Falls with a stop over at our favorite donut shop in Winona, Blaedow’s. It was a little too cold for horse riding, at least that first day, but we did get to watch the dogs gambol in the snow. The next day we went for a snow hike. As usual, it was relaxing, refreshing, and completely fun.

We’re having a baby… one of the big questions is “will we find out what we’re having?” After hemming and hawing, I was like “of course!” Figuring out life with a baby will be enough of a surprise for me without mentally having some idea of what GENDER to expect. (But that’s just us… completely respect those who can do delayed gratification for 10 months!) So we had our ultrasound and everything looked good – the tech gave us one envelope for the bakery and one for us. So no, we didn’t know beforehand!

On the big day, we had a little party and facetimed in our families. We tried to keep to a pink and blue theme.And it’s not a party without a Daube’s cake!

We had some voting, but no gambling (that I know of). I was pretty sure it was a boy. Big placenta, everyone in my office is having a girl… all I’d been thinking of were boy names!

The big moment came. We got everyone on the technology (3 apple products and a computer) and we sliced into the cake…

IT’S A GIRL!!!! Can you tell we wanted a girl? 🙂 Of course would have loved a little boy too… but we are really happy that it’s a girl!

Well that’s a lot of news in one post!! We are excited about the next 18 weeks(ish) before we meet Baby Girl Boswell!

Christmas in Minnesnowta

Christmas! This year we were far from family during the Christmas-New Years stretch but had a wonderful time with our Rochester family. My workplace threw a Christmas party in early December and it was really fun to see everyone – doctors, nurses, desk staff, and secretaries –  mingling in holiday garb.

The next week our friend Nicole came all the way from San Fran and we had a great time with her (hanging out at the Chateau Barnes & Noble before it closed, eating gelato at Stam, and dragging her to the residency Christmas party). It got even MORE fun when our friend Abby came from the East Coast to hang out. We had a mini-Mayo med school reunion. Of course all the family med residents enjoyed discussing their programs.

Alas, Nicole did have to go back to work eventually, and we… had to go to more Christmas parties! My wonderful Bible study group had a great Christmas party where we played 5 favorite things. Everybody brings 5 of the same thing under $5 and then we all draw numbers and work it out so that everybody gets 5 different things. Gifts this year ranged from fuzzy socks to lip gloss.

Last but not least we had our choir and handbell Christmas party. Chris successfully guessed the number of lights on the Christmas tree and won a set of coasters, and we enjoyed all a manner of tasty treats and good company. Here is a picture of the choir – as you can tell, they have a good time!

On Christmas Eve the clinics closed at 3 so Chris and I got to go home early. But not to bed… we played at the 11:00 service and tolled the hour (really at 12:25!) The next morning we Facetimed while we opened presents with family far away. Here is a Facetime selfie (may actually be from New Year’s):

Then we went to our friends Meni and Mario’s for lunch. We had steaks, DELICIOUS quinoa salad, asparagus, and many other delicacies – and cheesecake and flan for dessert.

The next week we again got off on New Year’s Eve early but I’m afraid we didn’t stay up very late. I fell asleep on the couch before the ball dropped in New York, so there ya go.  But on New Year’s Day we got together with our friends, some of whom share a Scandinavian history and others who don’t, for a real Scandinavian feast. On the menu: lutefisk, lefse, lingonberries, corned beef hash, Swedish meatballs, mashed potatoes, fruit and cookies!

Mario and Meni, who are from Chile, wisely asked, “Why do you get a piece of slimy fish and sing a song to it and then not eat it?” (Yes, we sing to the fish; here are the lyrics, if you must have them – http://www.hymnsandcarolsofchristmas.com/Hymns_and_Carols/o_lutefisk_o_lutefisk.htm)

I didn’t have a good answer in the moment besides, “Traditioooon! Tradition!”. But if I had a chance to re-explain – I have to say that it is a chance to remember our history. Once our people had to eat nasty lye-treated codfish because they didn’t have enough salt or a refrigerator and they needed a way to preserve it so they would have something to eat when they were very, very hungry. And then they came to America, and now even people in Sweden don’t eat Lutefisk, because, thankfully, we live in an enlightened age when we can eat cod frozen right after it was caught and shipped to us (or better yet, fresh fish!)

We eat a spoonful of lutefisk to remember the starving times, because we are thankful for what we have – good, healthy food, warm houses, and loving families, both genetic and adopted.