In case you thought I was exaggerating...

Just in case you thought I was exaggerating about the number of presents that I wrapped...

I have no idea why it's such a poor quality photo, but you can almost see the decorations out there on our balcony! 
So there's the presents for the hubby (but those aren't even in this picture; they're under the tree).  Our parents (who total 4 people).  Our grandparents (4).  Our siblings (5).  Our nieces and nephews (4).  My close friends - plus a son for one (5).  That makes 23 people.  Plus the stocking (my husband's favorite part of Christmas is his stocking.  His parents have left my HUGE stocking shoes to fill, and I fear it will never live up to his expectations).  Plus the gift exchange game (adds in 8 gifts...that's what those ugly gifts are on the far right - purely out of scraps of paper, because hey, the ugly presents are always the ones that get fought over!).  

That's.  A.  Lot.  Of. Presents.  Like, potentially a disgusting amount.  We don't even have our own children yet!   

Though we did stay within in my estimated budget.  Chalk another one up to coupons and Swagbucks!...Definitely saved $15 on Amazon purchases through them :)   

[Want to know what the most ridiculous part of me buying Christmas gifts for the hubby is?  If I only got the husband PENS for Christmas, he'd be happy.  He has become a bit of a pen snob.  For example, he requires them to write smoothly, dry quickly, have black ink, and be of a "clicky" nature.  Everyone who asked what types of gifts he would like for Christmas received the same answer: PENS.  (Yes, I did get him some.  I hope he gets so many pens that he doesn't know what to do with them!).  I can't tell if this is a "any male who writes all day" thing, or a "doctor" thing...but, seriously.  He's all about the pens!]


Final Exam Week Means...

  • Final exam week means grading the hubby's practice exams.  A E E C D B C E
  • Final exam week means near silence when the husband is home to encourage good studying.  No radio.  No TV (not that I watch TV).  No vacuuming (darn!).
  •  Final exam week means wrapping all of the Christmas gifts by myself (that's gifts for 23 people.  Plus a stocking.  Plus a Christmas gift exchange which added in 8 more gifts).
  • (Which, if you add the previous two points up, it means that while wrapping said gifts, I had to do it without Christmas music.  Have you ever wrapped gifts sans Christmas music?  Let me tell you, it is really boring to sit and wrap gifts in silence).
  • Final exam week means giving frequent neck rubs to ease the tension of the hubby looking down at his notes/computer/books for 12 hours straight.
  • Final exam week means me fixing a stool which had gone wobbly, instead of having the hubby do it.  Which also means it to me forever to find the allen wrenches, because my husband has a lack of organization with his tools.  And seriously, furniture manufacturers?  Just use a phillips screw.  I know where that tool is!
  • Final exam week means listening to our church's sermon online instead of actually going to church, because it's a 25 minute drive each way, and that's an extra 50 minutes of studying!
  • Final exam week means prefacing every sentence with, "Hey babe?  Sorry to bother you..."  And then waiting for several minutes for him to finish his train of thought/practice problem, by which time I've long forgotten what incredibly important thing I was going to say.  
  • (Which means I write him notes a lot, ["can you take the garbage out in the morning?"] and let him read them when he gets around to it).
  • Final exam week means each night after I create a normal everyday dinner culinary masterpiece, my husbands scarfs it in 60 seconds or less and immediately returns to his desk, while I finish eating alone, chewing and swallowing every bite like a non-medical student.
  • Final exam week means falling asleep every night in the chair/on the couch because I don't like to go to bed before the hubby, and he studies way past my bedtime. 
  • Final exam week means telling our friends that we can't go out to dinner with them, simply because, "It's finals week."
  • Final exam week means being conscious of when the hubby is losing focus (aka flipping through pages randomly, picking something up, putting it down and picking it up again a second later) and making him stop studying to do some pushups or throw a medicine ball back and forth.  Something to get his blood flowing to the rest of his body, NOT just his brain!

Final exam week is officially over on Thursday for us.  Can you wait?  I can't wait!


Simple and Sophisticated Cranberry Centerpiece

I saw this and immediately fell in love.  This would be the perfect centerpiece to grace any table this holiday season!  Maybe several in a cluster, or one along the fireplace's mantle?

Photo from Weight Watchers Magazine
How beautiful!  Simple, yet sophisticated.  Just place fresh flowers and cranberries in a vase and fill halfway with water.  Viola!  Plus, I just picked up bagged fresh cranberries from Aldi for $0.25!  So if you find a bouquet for a decent price, you can add "inexpensive" to the description, too :) 

Two other gorgeous variations for your viewing pleasure.  Wouldn't it look nice to have something like the above photo flanked with several of these on each side?

Photo from thisnext.com
A bit more elaborate...so lovely!
Photo from eHow.com

I'm feeling like this is a must do....what about you??


To the Show!

(So lately this has turned into a Holiday Blog, rather than a blog about the adventures of a medical student and his wife.  But really, all the med student has been doing, non-stop, for the past week, is studying for finals.  I think it would probably bore both you and I if all I told you about was the endless notes and quizzing and practice exams.  So I'm picking to tell you about the more fun, festive things that I do while the hubby is otherwise busy.  Because yes, life does still happen despite finals!).  

Yesterday, I did something I've never done before - I went to see the Nutcracker!  After a great lunch out with one of my best girlfriends Shannon, her mom and her sister-in-law, we went to watch the show.  It was great! It's been a very, very long time since I've been to a ballet.  Shannon took dance classes from age three to age eighteen, so she was super jazzed to see it.  (And the hubby was super jazzed that he DIDN'T have to go see it!  He normally happily obliges and accompanies me on such adventures, but with finals looming, he gladly opted out of this one). 

The dancers amazed me with their agility, grace and flexibility.  There is no way in the world my body could do the things that theirs did!  The set was beautiful, the costumes stunning and the music dramatic.  It was such an awesome time!  Thanks for coming with me, ladies :) 

The people that danced these roles at our show were married in real life!  So cute!


The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

You know what one of my absolute favorite things is about this time of year?  More than the decorations and the cookies - most of which I can't eat anyway - and the music and the snow (because that's my least favorite thing)?  Seeing friends that we haven't seen in a while.  Because, really, the hubby and I seem to be the only people who stuck around here.   Basically all of our good friends from undergrad and post-undergrad have moved to far away states.  This is because our great state may-or-may-not have the highest unemployment rate in the country.  Everyone is leaving to find a job! 

But, very soon, we will be seeing friends coming in from the following areas (off the top of my head, and apologies if I forgot you): Florida, Indiana, Nebraska, Colorado, Virginia, New Jersey & New York....I'm heading to the airport this afternoon to pick up one of our dearest and truest buddies, Kyle, who is flying in from Florida.  If the hubby and I had a joint BFF, it'd be him.  He and the hubby went to high school together, shared a bachelor pad in college, and he stood up in our wedding.  Currently, Kyle's in law school in Jacksonville.  He pretends like he loves the warm, sunny weather, but we all know that he's super excited to come to our snow!  (Side note - Today is supposed to be the warmest day we've had thus far in December - 34 degrees!  Wahoo, right?).  

We are super pumped to see Kyle.  He and I going to go do some Christmas shopping this afternoon (because he didn't exactly have time to shop with law school finals!), then go pick up the hubby for some yummy brick-fired pizza at a place that has dairy-free cheese (after the hubby gets done with his anatomy final exam), and then go check out the A Capella concert that some people from med school are putting on.  (How and when they had time to practice is beyond me!  They also named their group something clever to do with the name of something in the ear, but I don't remember).  (Also - why anyone would care about the details of our day today is beyond me.  Sorry!).

In conclusion :)  I love that the holidays bring people together.  I love that our friends come home, and we actually see the ones that live around us still.  And I love that the hubby gets three weeks off to enjoy with family and friends.  

Basically - this is the most wonderful time of the year!

Kyle and me... he's actually behaving in this picture!  He'd kill me if he knew I did a whole blog post essentially about him AND put a picture of him on it.  That'll be our little secret.


The Story of a Lifetime

Every year at Christmas, my mom's side of the family always does a Secret Santa-esque gift exchange between the whole family (all of the brothers and sisters of their generation, their children, and their parents...and the esque comes into play because we all know who has the other people...so not very heavy on the whole secretive aspect!).  We all draw a name and have a dollar limit to spend, and then on Christmas Eve, we all get together at my grandparents place, eat lots of food, play games and open our presents.

The Hubby and I totally and completely 100% rigged happened to draw out my grandparents names.  I am so excited about this awesome Christmas gift that I've found for them.

Enter "The Story of a Lifetime!"  It's a mostly-blank novel that has 500-some questions with space to fill out answers.  The gift receiver is to answer all of these questions about their heritage, childhood, education, career, parents and family, hopes, dreams and accomplishments.  Basically, it's a guided "write your own autobiography."  

I just think it's such an awesome way to give all the wonderful details of your lifetime to future generations.  So really, we're giving them a gift to give to us!  

There is some mild concern from various family members that my grandparents won't do it.  Personally, I think they'll be jazzed about it (okay, at least my grandma.  She might have to force my grandpa to do it!).  If they aren't, I'm totally going to sell a tear jerker story about how we'll be the first grandchildren to give them great-grandchildren (most likely.  I mean, we are their only married grandchildren, so the chances are pretty high that it will be us!), and how we want them to know how awesome their great-grandparents are....and so on. :)   

Hopefully they like it.  If you also think it's an amazing gift idea, buy.com has the best price on it.  Trust me.  I've looked everywhere.  ;)


Christmas decorations

Want to see some of our Christmas decorations?  I thought so!  The hubby and I went crazy at the day-after Christmas sales last year.  We definitely ended up with waaaay more ornaments than we needed, but other than that, we did pretty great!   Tree skirt, stocking holders, lights, a tree topper, wrapping paper, the whole nine yards...all on clearance!  What more could a girl ask for??

 Our slightly crooked beautiful tree!  It's totally a Charlie Brown tree; super cheap that the hubby bought in college, as a temporary, bachelor-pad appropriate tree.  But it fits well in our space, and we decided it'd be much smarter to just use this one instead of getting a new one.  Eventually, we will definitely have real, fresh-cut, "went-to-a-farm-picked-it-out-and-cut-it-down-ourselves" trees.  But for now, this one is great.  It looks gorgeous at night with all the lights on.  And we got a pine tree scented candle, so we can pretend that it's a real tree!

See that adorable pipe cleaner garland at the bottom of the tree?  The hubby made that when he was about five years old.  And presents!  I may or may not have mandated the wrapping paper options to three choices to make the tree look more cohesive...is that allowed? 

 That white paper might be my absolute favorite ever!

Isn't he so cute?  My mom got us this little doctor snowman ornament :)  

(You can see how painfully fake-looking our tree is in this picture!  And the little red berries at the top?  My favorite way to add color to a tree!)

Our fireplace and mantle!  The first time I've ever been able to hang a stocking on a fireplace.  (please note that our poinsettia is already being a victim to my black thumb).

I adore that sign!  Picked it up at a craft show after Thanksgiving.  Note that it is hung with twine because the hubby refused to let me put yet another one measly nail hole in the wall.  

I wasn't kidding about the plethora of ornaments!  They were coming out our ears!  See that table runner?  We got an entire set of table linens, all hand-quilted, from a friend of the family for a wedding gift.  Talk about a labor of love!  They are perfect for the holidays, too! 

There are also some very lovely decorations in our "outdoor space" (aka balcony!).  The hubby put up garland and lights all around the railing and we even have a lighted star in the center!  However.  There are no pictures.  Because we have five inches of snow and I refuse to go outdoors unless absolutely necessary.  Or to get the mail.  Because Christmas cards are beginning to come!

Finals start next week.  Which means that we don't sleep in on Saturdays.  But hey - it's before 10:00 and I've already accomplished quite a few things off of my to-do list!  

(Don't mind the breakfast dishes sitting un-washed in the kitchen.  Priorities, people!)
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