All papers are in and I have one final exam left to take before I will have officially survived the first semester of the PhD program. I almost can’t believe it.

I’ve been pretty stressed this semester – more than I think I’ve really realized. I noticed on Monday (during hour 4 or 5 of studying for a comprehensive statistics final) that I was biting my fingernails, which is super uncommon. I haven’t bitten my nails in YEARS. Like, 10+. I just steadily ripped every one off, though.

I’ve been hyper-focused since we returned from Thanksgiving. I feel like I woke up this morning, though, and looked around and am ready to get my shit together. The house is a mess, bills haven’t been paid, I haven’t seen or talked to friends in ages, I haven’t made time for exercise, I’m having to wear the stretchiest pants I own, etc. I’m ready for a mental break. I want my life back for a little bit so I can regroup.

The first semester is supposedly the hardest. That’s the story, anyway. It’s been a pretty significant transition and it’s almost been like learning a completely new language (how to be a researcher). I love it, though. Really, really love it. It’s absolutely what I’m supposed to be doing. All of my prior training has been clinical (master’s program focus was interpersonal practice/mental health) and I’m SO glad I took a few years off to practice under a fantastic clinical supervisor vs. plowing straight through programs like some people choose to do. I just feel … grounded … or focused or something. Like this is the right time and place.

Anyway. The point: I’m almost done for the semester. I’m ready for a break. I love it and feel like I’ve made some really good career choices.

I’ve really pretty much had my head down for the past week, but Jon or his child #3 have been feeding me.

One night she made a stuffed eggplant thing. I don’t love eggplant, but it was good:

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We were supposed to have a baby shower last night (Thursday), but the couple unexpectedly had the baby on Monday – so we’ve slightly postponed it. We had a bunch of stuff to make chili for the party (it’s not really going to be an overly traditional shower, I don’t guess), so we made it one night, anyway.

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(This little guy is getting a high chair for Christmas. The days of sitting in his seat at the table with us are just about over. He wants OUT.)

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We went out to dinner to celebrate the night I passed the stats final and had our typical Mexican and margarita night. This is the only picture I have, though. I was brain dead and exhausted. The test was hard – took 2 solid hours of thinking to walk out feeling just ok.

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Nothing else has really been going on.

I did our tree and all of the Christmas decorating before Thanksgiving because I knew the week after we returned would be bad with the papers due and the finals.

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Oh! MC is 5 months old now.

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He is such sweet boy. Super active lately. Wants to stand and move and DO something nearly constantly. He also “talks” a lot, which is the most adorable thing ever.

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He LOVES both dogs, but is especially fond of Molly. He just lights up when he sees her.

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He’s also gotten really good at reaching and grabbing.

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Jon has joked since well before he was born that he wants him to be a “paleo baby” experiment (i.e., grow up completely paleo to see what happens health-wise). He’s not overly serious, of course, but we joke about it a lot and there are definitely ongoing super casual discussions about nutrition. I saw this posted the other day when I was at school and realized that maybe our joking has paid off a little:

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Jon’s child #3 is doing (what I consider to be) a fantastic job with MC. She has breastfed for the past 5 months and has no plans to stop anytime soon, has been making and freezing food lately for him and has been very receptive to things we suggest (ie, baby food making sites). I swear we’ve done nothing but casually joke, try our best to lead a healthy lifestyle and supply her with healthy food. No pressure, no judgment.

I just don’t know that I would have been on board with all of this at 21.

I’m not sure how easy it would have been to keep my mouth shut if she’d chosen to do things like put kool aid in bottles – so I’m SUPER glad to not have to cross that bridge.

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So – anyway – I’m starting to free up some brain space and am excited about the upcoming weeks. I SWEAR I’m going to start running again. For real.

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