Sunday, September 9, 2012

July + August

So I've gone two months without blogging- failing at my once-a-month goal. It gets to the point where I have stuff to say and the longer I wait to share it, the more stuff there is, and then I become overwhelmed by the idea of updating the blog. So forget that- I am just going to make a little list of everything going on.

-I got a job! I am working part time at a rural hospital, about 25 minutes away. I am doing group therapy with the severely and chronically mentally ill. This is definitely not the job I had in mind when I graduated, but I am seriously so grateful for it. I am learning a ton, the clients are so nice, and the experience is invaluable. And I like it a lot more than I thought I would.

-Jon did a killer job on the MCAT, I am so proud of him! All of his hard work and dedication really paid off.  He is continuing with all of his applications and had chosen 29 schools to apply to. Here we go for round 2!

-Our friends are really wonderful. Recently we have enjoyed a fun trip home over Labor Day weekend, we went apple picking up in Oak Glenn yesterday, and tonight we are making apple crisp and playing games.

-Larue, our puppy, provides us with a lot of entertainment. She has mastered the doggy door and potty training which makes going to work easier. She is weighing in at nearly 9 pounds, three times her weight when we got her! She is missing all of the love and attention she got at home with our families.

-Jon got a new calling at church, he is a ward missionary. This seems like it will be a good fit for him and we are excited to see how he gets to be involved!

That is all I can remember for the time being. I am sure there are more things to update, but that is all the "big stuff" for now. We are looking forward to this heat to go away and into the cooler weather of the fall.

Saturday, June 30, 2012


I graduated.

That is really all I can think about when going through this month. It has been such a huge transition in my life and I have had a wide range of emotions, all of which have been worn on my sleeve.

First, can I just say, getting my masters degree was and is such a surreal and intentional experience in my life. It is like a small miracle to me. As someone who likes learning but wasn't particularly "academic," this has changed my life because it has changed my perspective and expectations of myself. It has also taught me so much more about myself. It is like I can't turn off my own "therapy self," and I am always therapiz-ing (yup, don't know how to spell that fake word) myself. This basically means that I am constantly investigating, pushing, and challenging myself. Sometimes it is tiring but then I go right into reflecting on that idea and what it means. I guess what I am trying to say is that I somehow gained this inner voice in the last 2 years. This voice that is more me, it is braver, stronger, less judgmental, and more curious. This voice is a friend, not an enemy, and it has been guiding me in my life. It really is a gift.

So with that, I am so sad and so happy to be done. Saying goodbye to some of the wonderful friends that I made was heart breaking- some of these people know some of the most intimate details of my life. Others have changed me by sharing their stories. Saying goodbye to my professors, supervisors and teachers was equally difficult. Being done and achieving my goal, being released of all homework and stress- that felt amazing. Not carrying around the stresses of my clients, I find myself worrying less and just being more. I am using this time between graduating and getting a job to just remember me and remember the things I enjoy, and do for fun. It is nice to be in my own head again. To read, cook, and be a present wife for my husband.

Here are some pictures from the big weekend:

Me, Michelle and Linds. Best gal pals. These girls are some of the most God-fearing, loving people I have ever met.

Sassy. I just had to include it.

Me, Jami and Kari. I love these girls, we had a groups class together that was life-changing. They are my emotional pals- we have each cried together on more occasions than I would like to admit.

There are so many other friends I wish I could include pictures of, and talk about each one. They are all special to me.

Can I just give a shout out to my amazing family?

First, Jon seriously deserves a diploma of his own. For husband of the year (two years in a row!). He has been my cheerleader, my reality-check, my personal therapist, my example, and my person through all of this. He has dealt with the ups and downs of my emotional state and my confidence. He has listened to play-by-plays of sessions gone well and sessions gone poorly. He has let me discover my dream, make it a reality, and has quietly cheered me on the entire way. Could you ask any more of a person? I don't think so. I love him so.

Also my sweet immediate family. They have supported me, encouraged me, and let me pull apart and over-analyze every aspect of our family. I can't imagine what it is like to have your child choose to be a family therapist... but my parents and siblings have handled it with grace and a sense of humor. I've heard that there is nothing more dangerous than a half-educated psychologist and I am sure that I risked stepping on toes if not sounding outright self-righteous at times. But they have never dissuaded me or made me feel like our family wasn't safe enough to take a close look at. I started out in this field because I thought my family was perfect. I might not hold that opinion any more, but I do know that they have been perfect for me. Even when they were imperfect. I love them.

 Oh and the Van Wickle's, my other family. They also let me explore the inner corners of their family, which is probably even worse from an in-law, but never did I receive resentment or sarcasm. They came to graduation and cheered me on, which meant so much to me. And they gave me the greatest gift in the world, their son, who has been my everything. So basically they can do no wrong in my book. I love them.

Basically I am overwhelmed with emotions. Even three weeks later. 

I'm not sure when it will go away, or at least dissipate, but I do know that I never want to forget the things I've felt. The things I have felt, learned, experienced, discovered, and loved in the last two years. These things have been new and they have defined me.

So on with my life with my wonderful husband and family. On to work toward the dreams of Jon and our family. Hopefully a job for me will be in the picture soon. But for now I love watching Jon work toward his goals, and I love being his constant cheerleader as he prepares to take the MCAT again next month.

Thank you for the support and love of each and every one of you. I love you all.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

May Blessings

In my last post I mentioned that we had been through a few trials. Well, this month has brought some blessings.

First, we celebrated our four year anniversary. Hard to believe, right? We had a pretty low key evening but it was so nice to take the time to remember each other and why we have chosen this life together. Living with and loving Jon is easy.

 We even got some updated pictures, which was a lot of fun.

Second, we got a replacement car. I don't have a picture on here- but it is a nice four door, 1997 Honda. I cannot even tell you what a blessing this has been for us. With our car getting stolen last month we were in a state of limbo. We looked at every possible option; our families were helping consult with us but nothing was feeling right. The car we got is Jon's dad's old car and it is perfect for us. We can now go back to appreciating the daily routines of our life.

Our third blessing is getting this little love bug:

She is as cute as she looks. Larue (Dr. Larue, as named after the character in Horton Hears a Who) is my graduation present from Jon. We picked her out together, but it was primarily my project since I have wanted a dog for a long time now. Since school and work at the clinic is wrapping up this is the perfect time for me to put in the energy to train her.

She is currently 3.5 lbs and wont get bigger than 8-9lbs. She is very sweet, energetic, and teething! But she is definitely trainable and while she has kept my hands full, she has been a joy to have in our little home.

It is refreshing to consider all of the blessings in our life right now. And as far as we see it, there are only more blessings to come. I graduate next weekend (June 10th) and family is coming, we are very excited. This summer has some exciting things planned- family reunions, weddings and mini-vacations. We welcome June with open arms.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

March & April

Hi Blogging Friends.

I realize that I haven't written in the past two months. I know no one was in tears over this, but if I go long enough without writing I know my dedicated readership of Grandma Joan and my mother would be sorely disappointed. So this post is for you, ladies.

I've decided that since my friends are so incredibly wonderful, and are regular bloggers.. I would rely on them to tell you some of the things we've been up to in the last couple of months.

Natalie would like to tell you all about their trip to California to visit with us here.

Brenda would really like to show you some wonderful pictures of us making Easter cookies right here.

And both Erika and Brenda would like to tell you about our March madness winners dinner and epic game night here and here.

Thanks to my seriously amazing friends- they really do account for all of the fun and interesting things we do. We are thankful for each of you. And we also had fun doing each thing they wrote about!

A lot has been happening these past couple of months. I wasn't feeling very motivated to blog and I realized its because we have had some disappointments and stressors recently. So I've decided the only way to really break it down is by the good, the bad, and the ugly.

1. The Good

-I have passed my final oral presentation for graduate school. I had been nervous about it for weeks, months even! It included what turned out to be an 85 page paper (well two papers, combined into one), as well as an hour and a half long presentation where I discussed theory, my experience as a therapist and showed video of me doing therapy to try to prove that I've learned something. And then it ended with reading a vignette and having 7 minutes to create a treatment plan, diagnose, come up with referrals and some other things. I am seriously so relieved that it is over. It is like I am living on a different planet where you get to read books for pleasure and you don't think about the papers you should be working on over the weekend.

-Jon is working super hard in the lab and is enjoying it. He is working toward some publications (hopefully). While he is sad that his co-workers are all leaving it likely means that he will be the #1 guy in the lab. And his supervisor seriously likes him.

2. The Bad

-Jon did not get into Loma Linda medical school. This was majorly disappointing and not expected. Based on a lot of various circumstances we were both feeling really confident that he would get in. Unfortunately this was not the case. We have mourned over it the last couple of weeks but we are feeling now like it was meant to be. Which turns back into the good...

[sub heading: the good]

-Jon has signed up for an MCAT class! He is going to retake the MCAT sometime in July. He is a studying fiend. He comes home from work and gets settled by about 6 and then studies until 10 or 11 at night. I wish I could say I was kidding, because I really miss hanging out with him. But I am also incredibly proud- he is doing amazing.

3. The Ugly

-Our car, Willy, has been stolen. Yup. Stolen. Right out of our parking spot in the middle of the night. We live in a pretty safe area of Redlands, in a gated community. No, our insurance does not cover it, we do not have comprehensive insurance. Yes, we are totally bummed.

It was stolen on the morning of my big graduation presentation no less.

Right now we have the Tate's sweet van. I was embarrassed by it in high school and now, six years later, I am showing it off to my friends. It is seriously a wonder that it is still alive.

Good bye Willy... here is the only picture I could find of him (with us getting into our car on our wedding day):

Well that sums it up for now. Even though we have suffered some losses in the last couple of months it feels like we are becoming especially resilient. There is a lot to look forward to so we are still hopeful and optimistic. God is good and has blessed and comforted us through these trials. I also feel like I have experienced an outpouring of blessings recently, which helps even the score... and there is something about going through trials that makes you grateful for the things that are going right in your life. Our trials have been so small compared to what is out there. We have our families, our friends and each other. All is well.

Sunday, March 4, 2012


Well February managed to sneak by... I blame the fact that it is only 29 days. Even with the extra day this year, it seemed to go by too fast.

Here is what we have been up to this month:

Jon reports that he was "up to no good" this month. But I'm not sure what hes talking about. He goes to work everyday, works out and is getting super buff, and he even cooked dinner tonight. In my book he's been nothing but a dreamy husband. He also has an interview tomorrow at Loma Linda for medical school. We're crossing our fingers and our toes; we're really hoping for this one. But really, we are just praying God will send him to the right place at the right time.

I have been keeping plenty busy with school. I seriously am counting down the days until this quarter is over (12 to be exact). I cannot believe I will be registering for the LAST time this week, and that I will only have two classes next quarter. I was afraid I would feel run down and out of steam by the end of this quarter- but I think I've got a few more months of hard work left in me.

We did take a little weekend trip with some friends up to Lake Arrowhead one weekend... and I even managed to take pictures (a miracle, I haven't used my camera in so long).

The whole crew..

Game night! The cabin was available to us thanks to Jeff's dental professor who rents it out to students.

Miss Brenda and I. Love that lake view.

We even managed to find Grandma and Grandpa Tate's old house! It was very nostalgic being up there, I loved it.

Well those have been our latest adventures. Now we are just looking forward to spring break! Visits from some of our favorite people, a week off of school for me, and a wedding and family time in Santa Barbara! And someones birthday is coming up this month... things are looking good for us. Hope it is the same for you.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

January 2012

Hi blogging friends.

This month has definitely thrown us into 2012, sometimes it seems like all we know around here is "busy!"

First of all, Mr. Jon and I have received new callings at church. We are no longer teaching our beloved 6-7 year-olds. Jon is now helping with the 14 and 15 year old boys in the ward, including spending his Wednesday evenings doing scouting activities. So far Jon is liking it, there are some other cool guys in there with him. I was surprised to find out that I am not leaving primary at all, but instead I am the second counselor in the primary presidency. I get to teach all the little kiddos about Noah's Ark next week, wish me luck! I am also involved in helping out with the scouting program, but I am with the cub scouts.

Jon is doing swimmingly at his job; it was fun to get his W2 and look at what a difference it makes to have a full-paying job that he LOVES. It really makes you appreciate having a good job (no matter what you get paid). Things are moving forward with medical school, and as we like to tell people now, "we will let you know when we have good news." I am sure I won't be able to contain myself once we have good news ;)

I am having a tough quarter with very different and demanding classes. As well as a big final project that is weighing on my mind. I am lucky to have my friends in my program, they make me feel sane. It feels like with the new year and the new quarter there is just a lot of new things- new clients, new mentoring experience, new final project to finish up, new classes and information. Not to mention new callings at church, etc. But I know I can survive for another month and a half.

Even when life is crazy and busy, and I feel like I am wasting any time where I'm not working, I still like my life. I love my husband. I have a lot to be thankful for.

I am looking forward to a month spent with friends, midterms, my favorite holiday, some family birthdays, and making new memories. Let's do this February...

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year

Happy new year blogging friends.

December was a whirlwind of a month for Mr. Jon and I.

I finished out the quarter strong, spent a week realizing how bored I get without school or Jon around... and then we packed up our bags and went home for a well-deserved vacation.

We had a fantastic dinner with Grandma Joan and the rest of the Van Wickle crew- it is always a delight to see them each year.

Christmas eve was lovely, with church, palazzios, and games.

Christmas day was spent at the Van Wickle's, who have the best stocking stuffers in town. Despite a major power outage in the neighborhood, we had power throughout the day. Jon and the boys tried out his new slack-line at the beach and we all gawked at how incredibly beautiful it is in Goleta.

The rest of the week included surfing for Jon and his dad, spending time with the brothers and the J's, watching a lot of movies, and eating way too much good food.

The Tate's got together Friday night, we finally felt complete when Joe arrived. We had Christmas on new year's eve- we started with a yummy brunch and then moved quickly to opening presents. The rest of the day consisted of eating at the favorite local hot spots (hamburger habit and rusty's pizza- despite the parent's offer to go to a "nice" dinner), playing games and ringing in the new year together. The day was practically perfect.

It was hard to beat the vacation we had, so Jon and I figured we better pack up and get out of town while everything still felt so sweet. Happy memories were made, relationships were strengthened, our car was packed with far more loot than we came with, and our hearts were full.

Though there may have been about 5% sadness when we left, we figured that was the correct amount to feel; after all, you should miss a vacation as good as this one.