Gibbs Gardens & 20 Million Daffodils

There are no words! Gibbs Gardens is located 1 hour north of Atlanta and about 3 hours from Evans. The drive was well worth it, a hundred times over! Gibbs Gardens boasts 20 million (yes, million) daffodil blooms each year. The grounds were nothing like I have ever seen. Get this on your bucket list now! Below are my favorite snaps from the garden:

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Equipment: Canon 5d Mark III, 50MM prime lens, tri-pod, and shutter release.

Christmas Questionnaire

screen-shot-2016-12-23-at-9-29-13-pmWhat’s your favorite Christmas movie? I love Elf, Home Alone, and White Christmas!

Have you ever had a white Christmas? Yes, growing up in New England we had more snow than we knew what to do with. This is my first southern Christmas, but I am not missing the frigid temps or snow!

Where do you usually spend your holiday? There is no “usually” for me. This year my husband and I will celebrate here in Georgia. Last year we celebrated in Maine, which was lovely. Who knows where we will be next December!

What is your favorite Christmas song? I love Silent Night, or any songs with a biblical reference. I love listening to music which truly embodies the meaning of the season: the birth of Jesus.

Do you open any presents on Christmas Eve? Yes, I don’t like waiting… I also usually end up giving gifts early because I get so excited to give them.

Which holiday traditions are you looking forward to this year? Making sugar cookies, playing scrabble, going out for Chinese food on Christmas Eve, watching Elf with my husband, and secret santa with the Carpenter crew. I also send out photo cards each year, which is a great tradition and an excuse to have our photo taken!

Is your Christmas tree real or fake? We decided on a fake tree this year due to the clean up factor and pets.

What is your all time favorite holiday treat/food/sweet? I love hot cocoa with whipped cream. Sugar cookies are also up there on the list!
img_4155Be honest, do you like giving or receiving gifts better? Both! I love love love giving. I get too excited to give a gift and always end up giving it early or telling the person. I love seeing the joy in a recipient’s face when they really love their gift.

What is a favorite childhood Christmas memory? One year, my Mom took us to the Trinity Church in Boston for Christmas Eve. We got dressed up and attended the service, it was so beautiful and moving.

What would be your dream place to visit for the holiday season? Colorado or Banff, Alberta.

Are you a pro present wrapper or do you fail miserably? I am somewhere in between. I watched a YouTube video for tips, but they still never look as neat as I would like!

Most memorable Christmas moment? My husband and I shared our first Christmas together last year in Maine. I told him I had never had my own tree (as an adult). He decided to surprise me and found the biggest tree he could, which was over 10 feet tall, and strung it up with lights. It was the most wonderful moment to come home to that huge pine!

What makes the holidays special for you? Being with people I love and celebrating the birth of our Savior. I also enjoy some casual/low-stress time to unwind from a busy year.

I hope everyone has a Merry Christmas!

A life Update & Giving Thanks

We have officially been in Georgia for 5 months! In that time, Matt has completed his Family Medicine, Obstetrics/Gynecology, and Surgery rotations for MS3. The weeks have flown by. To be 100% honest, GA has been a hard transition for me. Matt and I joke about this state being on its own “island time.” For example, I submitted volunteer applications for two respective local hospitals over three months ago… yup, to work for free. I called and followed up with an email. No word. Not even a, “no thank you.” Hello?! I am offering to work for free! Sadly, this is typical practice here from what I have experienced. I have prayed a lot and continue to stay positive. Who knows, we could end up here for residency too.

Our Thanksgiving was lovely. One thing I do like about Georgia is the weather. November 24th boasted 78° temps and plenty of sun. Matt, nearing the end of his surgery rotation, was given time off to study for his NBME exam. This included getting the holiday and weekend off! I was expecting to be alone, but I was thrilled to have my hubby home. Since Matt is preparing for his shelf exam and I am finishing up my final four undergrad classes, our house is mouse-quiet (except for the occasional rogue dog bark). Thanksgiving Day started with a delicious breakfast, then studying for Matt and paper writing for me.
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Later in the afternoon, we decided to go for a walk at the local park with Miss Elle and Nero. The park near our home is quite lovely and well-kept. We go there almost every day and it is such a joy. I love the exercise, it is also a great chance for Matt and I to catch up on each other’s lives. I can’t get over how much Miss Elle loves Matt. These two are so adorable together and she would literally follow him to the ends of the earth. Ugh, it is so cute.
img_3828-2We were going to just do a regular/easy dinner, then I felt guilty. I ran to the store and bought some cranberry sauce and gravy, along with some rolls. We decided on chicken instead of turkey. I also stopped at Cracker Barrel and got an apple streusel pie. Pie tastes so much better when someone else makes it! We had a candlelit dinner; then I challenged Matt to a game of Scrabble. We played a lot when we were dating and I thought it would be a cute tradition for us. I won, of course.IMG_8516.JPG
I have to say, I am one very thankful human being. I am very fortunate to have married the man of my dreams, work at a job I love, and receive education in the beautiful USA. I am also very thankful for our families and their support. We are surrounded (electronically for now) by great friends too, which is so important. I hope everyone can take a moment to be thankful and enjoy their time with loved ones.

Scrubbing In…

Thank goodness there is only one doctor in the family! I did get pretend for one night. These scrubs are like pajamas, so very comfy… I am still wearing them actually. Well, it was our first Halloween here in Georgia, the day was a warm 86 degrees and it finally got dark around 6:45pm. My husband and I were excited for the Halloween fun to begin!
img_3802Matt dressed up as the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, complete with an inflatable belly. I was a surgeon…but mostly the kids couldn’t stop gawking at Stay Puft – he got fist bumps, high fives, blown kisses and one “I love you.” Matt really knows how to work an audience.
img_3807I had a classic monster mash soundtrack playing for the kids, we greeted each and every little trick-or-treater with big smiles and an overflowing bowl of candy. We did get one Ghostbuster who was adamant on destroying Stay Puft – my husband played it up, running away from the child’s light up toy Proton Pack.

By 8pm the street was quiet. All in all, it was quite the fun evening and I look forward to dressing up again next year. I hope everyone had a safe Halloween night!

A Trip to the Western Carolina State Fair

My husband heard about a local fair in Aiken, SC happening this weekend and he asked if I wanted to go. We had both been studying non-stop and decided a day out of the house was just what the doctor ordered (pun intended).

The drive to Aiken was about forty minutes, we hopped in the car and headed east on the I-20. My husband grew up near the Topsfield Fair in Massachusetts, so this GA operation would likely pale in comparison. I knew we would have fun anyway and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on some yummy food!

In the north, our fair treat of choice is fried dough. Matt said his co-workers at the hospital had never heard of this and we were both disappointed. I quickly realized in the south they have an equivalent called funnel cake, which is almost the same idea. Either way, I was getting something sweet!

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iPhone shot edited in Lightroom

Once inside the grounds, we decided to do a few rounds and select which rides we should go on. I opted for the ferris wheel (aka “Dutch Wheel”) and Matt decided on a ride called “The Tornado.” The name itself should have been a red flag. The Tornado was very similar to a tilt-a-whirl, however the platform actually rises at a 90 degree angle while the carts are spinning at 360 degrees. Oh boy.

We got in line for “The Tornado” and soon it was our turn. As we got buckled in, I quickly realized this was not a good idea but I decided to carpe the diem and just have fun. The ride started to ramp up and the carts began to twirl. I felt my stomach get butterflies as we spun around in circles, the ride moving even faster and rising to its full height. Visions of the cart popping off the hinges and flying across the fairgrounds was the only thing that preoccupied my mind. Get me off this thing!

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iPhone shot edited in Lightroom

My spindly 6’4″ husband was wedged in next to me, I crashed into him with each and every spin. The girl beside me was freaking out and clinging to her boyfriend for dear life, I could see her knuckles turning white. Matt then said, “oh no, that girl is going to puke.” My heart stopped. We watched a young girl in another cart toss her cookies mid-ride. Ugh, poor thing!

Once the ride was over, we both felt queasy. Sadly, my longing for fair food had somehow diminished. My stomach was still in knots from the ride. We left shortly after. My advice: skip “The Tornado” at all costs and just get some funnel cake!

Sunday is My Favorite Day Again…

Okay, it was never NOT my favorite day, but I had to pay homage to Silver Linings Playbook. I love the re-charge I get from a nice relaxing end to the week. Sunday is a day to sleep in, make a big breakfast, run errands, be lazy, and get ready for Monday.

Today I did just that. My husband and I slept in (he is on call for ER surgery but the phone never rang). After some snuggle time with Miss Elle, we got up and I made some eggs. It was nice to just sit and talk about things, my hubby is such a hoot and always makes me laugh.

Class starts on Tuesday of next week, but since I am taking four at once to finish my degree, I decided to get an early start on some of the assignments. After writing 3 discussion posts, 1 blog entry for school, and read from my course e-book, I decided I could now start my day.

I got ready and ran to Target for some things, even decided to grab stuff to make chocolate chip cookies – yum! Once home, I said goodbye to my husband who was leaving to go scuba diving with some guys he met here in GA. My husband was a dive instructor and loves the water. I am happy he got to go today (even while still on call).

Now of course I am blogging, and I got to read some great posts thanks to my WordPress Reader. My favorite from today was definitely Dear Instagram, I’m Calling Bull**** by Louise Brady. I am hoping the trend of being one’s genuine true self will catch on. I will keep writing (and sharing) ’til it does!

I am now heading to the couch to read more of the amazing book No Higher Honor. I am about 200 pages in and I cannot seem to put it down. I never thought foreign policy would interest me as much as it does, Rice makes it palpable and easy to understand. I will likely do a full post when I finish. The book is very interesting read and gives a first hand account of what actually goes on in the White House during a foreign crisis.

Definitely going to start making and baking those cookies today, too. I hope everyone is having a relaxing Sunday and gets to spend time with something they love and do something they enjoy.