Playing Catch-up: May/June, Weddings and Camping!

Early on a Saturday late in May, Michael and I left the pup with the ‘rents, and drove from Cleveland to Madison (a drive we would mimic a little over a week later, but with a moving truck instead). Our friends Erin and Annie were getting married that day.

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It was a beautiful ceremony on a ridiculously hot day, but the heat didn’t keep us from dancing the night away. The next morning, we were able to say goodbye to Erin and Annie as well as our friends Neima and Jackie, all headed to Boston; and our friend Jordan, who’s doing his surgical residency in Philadelphia.

Because we had all moved out of the Shaker house early, our housemates the Hedges invited us to go on a camping trip with them– one that would take us from the wedding in Madison to our next destination: Molly’s wedding in Traverse City, Michigan the following weekend.

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Our campsite the first night in northern Wisconsin

The tent on the left was one we inherited from Mom and Dad H. It had a very short life with us; it poured that evening and the tent flooded before we even got a chance to sleep in it.

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The next day, we drove into Michigan via the Upper Peninsula, where we hiked for a few hours along the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore before finding our next campsite.

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It was so, so green.

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It also happened to be our anniversary that day, so we counted this as an extra little celebration.

We loved our campsite that night so much, we ended up staying there for the remainder of our trip. If you ever go to the UP, look for Twelvemile Beach Campground.

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During the days, we took little trips out– one was an ill-fated kayaking excursion on Lake Superior during which most of us got seasick. BUT we also went to a part of the shore that’s lined with steep sand dunes– this specific one is locally famous; called the log slide.

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We slid down to the bottom, of course.

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… But then had to climb back up. That little black speck in the middle is Michael, taking a break about halfway back up the dunes.

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More hiking on our last full day, with my trusty Montrails.

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Then we trekked on down to the big house we were renting in Traverse City, big enough to hold five medwives and their husbands. After five days of camping, a shower has never felt so good.

Our time at the house in Traverse City and during Molly and Josh’s wedding was exactly what we’d hoped– my dearest friends all running around, borrowing each other’s curling irons and jewelry, cooking together, playing games and talking late into the night. Not to mention the main event:

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Our first time at a wedding with “Dr.” and “Mrs.” on the name cards. 🙂

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And when the last song played, and the lights came up, the evening found us like this:

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Except despite our smiles, we were all actually crying. In fact, I’ve never sobbed so much in my life. Saying goodbye to good friends is hard enough, but this was different. I might not have survived medical school without these girls to lean on, and we left each other that night knowing exactly what we were facing: several years of residency, the most difficult time in a medical family’s life, without our friends by our side. It was the loveliest last hurrah, but the saddest farewell.

To NOT end on that note, though, I also remember this: later, driving back to Cleveland with Michael, and thinking that even though this new step is scary, at least I get to do it with him.

Next up: Our move across the country to Seattle!

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Playing Catch-up: April

The last two months have probably been the most intense, action-filled, and stressful of my whole life. They’ve also been filled with a LOT of once-in-a-lifetime experiences, big and small. Because I haven’t been posting, I can’t give every event its own due diligence, but I’m going to try to include it all!

So, starting at the end of April, we had:

  1. My dear friend and fellow medwife Molly’s bachelorette party. She was the last of us to get married, and we went all out with matching tank tops. We walked around Ohio City all night with people squinting at our shirts, asking “midwives?” Nope. We just like to be confusing like that.IMG_0651

Bonus: Some hilarious outtakes…

There is probably more collective laughter in our friendship than over some lifetimes. ❤

2. One of Michael’s best friends from undergrad, Lesley, got married the next day. It was a beautiful ceremony and a great time for Michael to connect with a lot of Akron friends he hadn’t seen in a while– including Ethan, who flew in from Seattle for the occasion.

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Photo: Lesley Booher Buga

3. The week that followed was my last working at the library, with my final day being the 29th. It was bittersweet. After three and a half years working for the library, I was (and am) ready for a change and some new challenges. But I had such an amazing group of coworkers in my fellow “Noblettes,” and leaving that work family was sad and difficult. I’ll forever be grateful for having the chance to work in that tough– but extremely supportive– environment during some formative years of my career. I’ll always love CHUH and I’m proud of my little legacy there.

Next up: May, and our cruise! A big trip that deserves its own post. 🙂

 

Autumn, Etc.

We’re deep in the middle of interview season, and time is scarce. Between airport runs and work, taking care of the dog and trying to shower every… once in a while, it feels like time keeps slipping past too quickly. I know that’s not true. Time doesn’t really change. Each person has as much as the next. But it feels precious these days, and I’m grateful to say that amidst the crazy, we’ve made room for a few really good things.

At the beginning of October, I went on a weekend trip to Columbus with my friends here. It was a perfect intro to fall– cool weather, thrifting, and an all-women 10K (one of my favorite races I’ve done!).

Obligatory silly jumping picture.

Obligatory silly jumping picture.

On October 14th, Patrick and Lauren got engaged!

VERY excited for these two.

VERY excited for these two.

Woohoo! I have sisters, and I have brothers-in-law, but Lauren will be my first sister-in-law. I didn’t even think about the fact that I get to have more sisters until now. 🙂 They’re planning on marrying late next summer, and we are SO. EXCITED.

Mid-month, my friend Cait came all the way from LA to visit for just two days. You can tell she really loves me. 🙂 It was FREEZING while she was here– crazy weather in the 30s (as I write this, three weeks later, it’s a balmy 68). But it was nice for her to have some respite from the heat, anyway, even though she had to unearth her jacket from deep storage to come here. We did Cleveland-y stuff (the botanical gardens, Town Hall, metroparks) and also Cait-and-Dana stuff (sitting at Starbucks for two hours, reading our separate books).

This is exactly how I want my garden to look.

This is exactly how I want my garden to look.

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A very welcome and familiar sight. <3

A very welcome and familiar sight. ❤

The Cait-and-Dana stuff was the best part. I’m so grateful to have a friend who’s willing to cross three time zones just to hang out with me for a little bit. Love you, Cait!

Since September, I’ve been taking an online career coaching course– I’ve mentioned it before. It’s wrapping up now, and I can say that it’s definitely been worth it! The course I took had a ton of information packed in, and I still have a lot of processing to do. It would be nice if I had come out of the course with an exact job that I know is perfect for me, but we all know it doesn’t really work like that. The great coaching I received helped me to start thinking about my work and my goals in a more productive way, so that I can figure out the type of work I want to do– something a lot of different jobs will probably fulfill. But like I said, I’m still processing! And I loved my coaching experience. If you are trying to explore career options, or you know someone who needs some guidance, I’d highly recommend Clarity on Fire. I found them when I was searching for career quizzes (desperation will do that), and theirs is the best one I’ve ever taken. They offer different levels of coaching, but I subscribed to their free blog for several months before deciding to take the plunge, and their blog is extremely helpful and inspiring, too. They care so much about the work they do that they put a lot of their best advice out there for free.

On Halloween, our household (including our downstairs neighbors and friends) hosted a Harry Potter party for the Medwives. I feel pretty lucky to have found such nerdy friends who are willing to make fun stuff like this happen. I’m also thankful for the cheap rent in Cleveland, which allows us to have a big enough place to host parties. We’re doing our best to really soak up our time here, in this place, with these friends.

They're the best.

They’re the best.

Michael has had a crazy month of travel, and November might be even crazier. Within the last four weeks, he’s been in San Diego (for a research conference), Wisconsin, Connecticut, and Chicago (all for interviews). We’re hanging in there, but I can’t even imagine how exhausted we’ll both be in late January when this season is over! We’re just taking it one day and one trip at a time.

My mom also had some big news to share recently, which she can tell you about much better than I can. You can find her story on her blog. I’m anticipating January with nerves and excitement, along with the expectation of lots of adjustments to be made. We love you, Mama, and are so proud of your courage. And we’re praying for you at every step.

(Not) Back to School

Someday I will post pictures from our Wible family vacation to Montana. Today is not that day.

Today is for writing and updates and all that other (not as fun) bloggy stuff.

When I last saw a bunch of extended family in July, I was full-steam-ahead on my path to statistics. Last month, I was thinking about how weird it was that I’d be back in school next fall. And then I remembered that a lot of undergrad programs open their applications almost a year in advance, meaning I’d be applying… Soon. And when I imagined applying for statistics programs in a matter of weeks, my heart gave a little lurch. It wasn’t the kind of lurch that comes with the nerves that surround making big changes. It was the kind of lurch that said, maybe this is not quite right. So I took some time to reconsider, pause and pray. I thought about studying something broader. Accounting, maybe, or perhaps getting my MBA. I talked to a few close friends working in those fields. I got some great advice. And now my plan is to NOT go back to school. Not now, and not next fall. At least for now. To many, that might seem like the easy path… For me, “school” has always been my favorite job, and I was looking forward to being back in the classroom. But I didn’t have a clear vision for what I’d do with a given degree. Not one that really excited me, at least. I concluded it would be wiser to try to get whatever practical experience I can before I commit lots of time and resources into another degree I might not use.

So even though it’s going to be difficult, with almost a decade (for real!) of work in the non-profit and public service sectors, and with no educational background to recommend me otherwise, I’m going to try to break into business. Wish me luck. (And please, please send me your connections!)

On Michael’s end, he’s made some big moves, too. He’s enjoying his anesthesiology AI right now, but he’s planning on applying for internal medicine residencies, officially! We have a list of 24 programs (I will tell you if you’d really like to know, but I won’t post them here). These last few weeks have been full of corralling letters of recommendation, getting advice and wisdom from some uppers at UH and Case, and finalizing the personal statement. We are nearly ready, as we should be… The application goes out on Tuesday!

It still feels like summer here. I made a promise to myself last winter that I wouldn’t take the heat for granted, and to try not to complain about it. I’ve done a pretty good job. But when I really get the urge to start re-listening to the Harry Potter audiobooks, and start making comfort food, I feel like it should be a little cooler. In about a month, my friend Cait is coming to visit from LA and we will be able to do all those things and more– and by then it better be PSL weather! She’s counting on a dose of fall colors.

I got a sweet visit, too, last weekend from my friend Amanda. It was wonderful to bring her to Town Hall and Mitchells and share some good conversation. (Thanks for letting me steal you from your fam for an evening, ‘Manda!) She even got to meet some of the medwives, who gathered for a bonfire later that night (again… Wishing for fall. We were sweltering). And on Sunday we got to see good friends Luke and Nadyli get married in Pennsylvania. We took a little overnight trip and even brought Isis, who was very happy not to be left behind, but also very nervous about being left in a hotel room while we were at the wedding (she survived). The wedding was beautiful and moving, and we got to celebrate afterwards with Alex (a groomsman) and friends Garrett and Matt who also made the trek. What a great Labor Day weekend.

And now it’s officially September. And I can’t think of a pithy way to end this post, so.

The end.

The Medwives Do the Derby

Last Friday, on the eve of the Kentucky Derby, four of us dove into a car and headed south (south! The land of warmth and sunlight!), blasting one-hit-wonders from the 90s and 00s. Six hours later we were giggling in bed at my friend Lauren’s childhood home in Louisville (pronunciation: lou-vull. The more you slur, the better. I’m still working on it). Who knew girls-only sleepovers could be so fun in your mid-twenties? Well. I suspected. But anyway.

The next morning we were all dolled up and ready to channel our best southern belle. Lauren didn’t have to pretend, she’s a native Louisvillian (a definite plus for Derbying).

Perfect photo op under the dogwood in Lauren's front yard.

Perfect photo op under the dogwood in Lauren’s front yard.

After a big brunch, we parked and started walking toward Churchill Downs. The crowd kept getting bigger as we grew closer; in fact, we later found out that this Derby had the highest attendance of any Derby, ever. So. Lots of people, everywhere.

We had infield tickets, which means we had standing-room only, and no access to anyplace you could actually see the track. So we spent most of our time milling around the outer courtyard, people-watching and conversing. We also hit up all the Derby traditions.

1. Big hats. Obviously.

Individual portraits, because if there is a good time for these it's when the southern belle version of yourself is out in full force.

Individual portraits, because if there is a good time for these it’s when the southern belle version of yourself is out in full force.

2. The Mint Julep

A mint julep sounds fancy and delicious. I knew we were supposed to drink one, but had no idea what was in it. After my first sip, though, I could tell you: BOURBON. And not much else. (Actually, bourbon, simple syrup, muddled mint leaves, and ice.) It’s a good thing I like bourbon, but I won’t be ordering mint juleps on the regular.

Thanks for sacrificing the right side of your face for the sake of this selfie, Lauren.

3. Singing “My Old Kentucky Home.”

Lauren played this for us on the way down, but I was totally fudging the lyrics. Also I kind of felt like a traitor to Minnesota.

4. Betting. (Sorry, Mom)

Michael happens to be really good at picking winners, so I asked him for advice.

Proof.

Proof.

#18 was Michael’s pick (the first seed, BORING), and #2 was mine– Carpe Diem. Because I liked the name.

This is #18, American Pharoah. We got to see the horses before they went in to the track.

This is #18, American Pharoah. We got to see the horses before they went in to the track.

I was glad we got to see at least this much!

Well, you could easily look up who won so this isn’t exactly a spoiler, but as usual– MICHAEL WAS RIGHT.

Winning tickets and losing tickets.

It was fun. I wasn’t expecting to win, but having a couple specific horses to cheer did make the race more fun to watch.

There are actually races all day long, but the big one (the Derby) happens around dinnertime. So we were just hanging out for the majority of the day, soaking it all in and killing our feet with all the walking and standing. The walk back to the car felt approximately seven times farther than it had that morning.

The next day, we had another delicious brunch with Lauren’s family (thank you, Blakemores, for having us!) and then got to see some more of Louisville before heading home.

The Louisville Slugger. Throwback to my softball days!

The Louisville Slugger. Throwback to my softball days!

65 degrees in Louisville feels completely different from 65 degrees in Cleveland. We all felt it, but none of us could explain. It was a beautiful, warm weekend.

These ladies. I tell ya.

These ladies. I tell ya.

Having traveled together now, we know we can do it again! Here’s to more adventures, Medwives. Love you.

Updates

We’ve been running around over here (in my case, literally running) with no time for much– including blogging.

Michael started his OB/Gyn rotation, kicked off with a week in gyn/onc surgery. This translates to: hello, waking up at 4 am again. That was a few weeks ago; I can’t even remember what he did his second week, but he got to catch babies in the middle of the night on his labor and delivery night float stretch last week. This, strangely, has not deterred him from wanting kids (?!), something for which I suppose I should be grateful. So there’s that.

Last week was “peak week” for my half marathon training, and it’s been on my mind so much that I even started to draft a detailed blog post about my running playlist, complete with .gifs to accompany my song choices. Then Michael reminded me that this is The Hermelin Family Blog– not my tumblr. (Thanks, babe. BUT if you are interested in my running playlist, do let me know.)

In other news:

1. We are still on the fence about specialty options. Stay tuned.

2. I am going to the Kentucky Derby this weekend! My friend Lauren is from Louisville and we’re roadtripping down to do the Derby cheap (DIY hats, infield tickets, staying-with-her-parents cheap. Just my style)! I’ll definitely be documenting. When else will I get to wear a huge hat? All my dreams are coming true.

3. My mom, my two sisters, and my niece and nephew are coming to visit! In TWO WEEKS! I can’t wait.

4. Let’s see, I guess I also registered at our local community college here to get some credits started for when I eventually plan to go back to school (fall of 2016, wherever we might be). So that’s pretty big! I’ll be taking statistics online this summer. I feel silly going back for another bachelor’s degree, but better to do it now at 25 than even further down the road. Right?

5. I ran a training race with the medwives, it was the perfect boost to get me through the next few weeks.

6. This post is already all over the place, so to wrap it up, have some pictures of us at the orchestra last weekend! Highlight: Watching some world-renowned French cellist play a cello that was over 300 years old. (!)

Best neighbors ever. Can we just always share a house?

Best neighbors ever. Can we just always share a house?

Oh, and this is our dog.