pockets of resistance in the pants of peace.

About a year ago, I think I remember commenting about our upcoming nuptuals, "I've never anticipated anything so much in my life! I've never wished more that the days would fly by up until our big day..."
Well, with no disrespect to my other half, the time in between the stated sentiment and the actual event was filled with excitement and planning and eager anticipation... whereas now, I can most definitely conclude that I've never wished more that these next 5 weeks would fly by...and there isn't quite the same joy-filled waiting period. I feel like I'm on the edge of my seat, just moments away from this crazy escape from my life as an indentured student. The taste of 'big-kid' world is just at the tip of my tongue. I have so many plans, so many things I plan to do...some so miniscule ...just to be able to relax in the evenings, to sit on our patio and enjoy a drink and read a book. hey, remember hobbies? ...remember relationships? actually having time to call and talk with my family & friends for more than just my commute home from the medical center.

It's been a rough 2 years. It's not all 'schools' fault. In fact, it would have been quite manageable without the handful of personal challenges. but life doesn't sit back and wait just because you're in grad school. ...from moving away from the comfort of my college town and starting up in a new city (albeit with my best friend...but little else) to the separation of my parents after 25 years of marriage. And countless other delicate issues spiraling off just that...and for the respect of those involved, I'll probably have to skip the intimate details of the family matters for now.

It hasn't been an ideal first 10 months of marriage for Aaron and I, but our paths didn't fall as neatly as some others may have...and 'higher education' became a big priority for reaching our more long-term goals. I think we've grown so much closer, so much stronger. I just beam with pride when I see how hard he's working, and I just smile at the purpose he still makes for 'quality time' and showing me every day how much I am loved. I believe we have really mastered the "leaving and cleaving" of marriage... Some suggest that the first year of marriage really shapes the 'pattern' for how you deal, communicate, and grow as challenges arise for the rest of your life. I think we've had more than enough practice jumping in together on 'team chaloner' and facing whatever it is... sounds rather ambiguous, but I just look back fondly that we've been given this perspective - and can truly appreciate all the amazing blessings God has brought us through this time and through our family and friends.

I didn't really sit down planning to write anything like this... I hope this doesn't sound 'sad'. That's not my feelings right now at all, It's insightfully reflective and oh-so-anxious for the upcoming graduation. I think it's been an unbelievably busy, stressful week. and my classmate, Melissa, and I decided this is just how it's going to be from here on out. I carried a pager on my hip, and I was 'on-call' for our clinic this week. Weeks of such unpredictability throw this type-a-control-freak very out of sorts. I know you may wonder - what is a 'genetic counseling emergency' ? Well, we are often called on consults to the NICU for newborns with congenital anomalies, possible syndromes, failure to thrive, dysmorphic features...gosh, really anything. I mean, hey, we're genetics. & sometimes our team works diagnostic magic, and sometime we don't always have an answer.
I feel like I always have intersting stories to share from my time with patients... but I think HIPAA would get me if I really divulged any information. [...you know, it's that page you sign, but probably don't read everytime you go to the doctor's office.] Needless to say, we work with some amazing families and of course some odd characters. But, just from my short stint as a student - I can say that this is going to be an ever-changing, interesting, challenging, and rewarding career. As for now, I'll have to be on consults one more time. I have to finish my thesis and complete all of my edits/suggestions given my my committee members. I have to complete my advanced rotation requirements seeing cancer patients and counseling in specialty clinics. I have to present an article in Journal Club, one last time [our weekly meeting with everyone in the genetics section - doctors, genetic counselors, researchers, lab techs]. I have to complete my comprehensive 8-hour final exam and my clinical rotation final. I have to give my oral thesis defense. ...and without further adieu, I must graduate with my masters in genetic counseling.
I think if I had to give a speech at this graduation ceremony, it would be entirely much more cynical and honest than my cheery high-school salutatorian speech - don't you think?


be enthusiastic(s).

I knew better than to start a blog when we're so busy. and busy doesn't really translate into 'interesting'. For instance, besides contributing most of our time to studying this weekend - we just rented a couple movies on RedBox, unwound and relaxed at Chili's after work, worked at the breast cancer booth at the Health Fair, and got Aaron a haircut so he doesn't start to look like Javier Bardem. or Dora the Explorer, or that guy from Metalocalypse. See what I mean? super action packed. [But really, if you haven't seen this movie...we recommend it]

A few days late, but we wanted to wish everyone a Happy Easter! We spent it here in Oklahoma with the Chaloners this year. The easter bunny even found Aaron & I here at our apartment. :) I don't think I've been home for Easter in about four years? I don't think I realized that, hopefully we can plan on heading back to Tennessee next Spring for the occasion. It's always such a big tradition at my great grandmother's house. & at home, I'm never too old to join in on the egg hunt. even if the contents are the same cadbury eggs from 3 years before. But, we had a lovely lunch with Aaron's family, a quick photo-shoot, and they all came back to our quarters for some good ol' fashioned easter egg dying. Aaron was the shopper for the easter egg kit, as I'm sure you can imagine. see below. He even kept the C3PO mask... you know, "just in case". I think the most fun was smashing them all in the parking lot from our third floor balcony. shhh.


dog days.

I've had a little bo-buddy this week. Bo is Aaron's family's shihtzu...they left him with Aaron while I was away & while they were in Colorado this week. Having a dog (...mind you, the most friendly and well behaved dog even) has made me realize two things:

1) how much Aaron wants a dog as well
2) how much I don't want an inside dog right now

Two rather conflicting realizations.
And, my goodness has he tried to change my mind. So far, my promises to get an 'outside'-dog when we have a yard were holding up just fine. But, now it seems that's not going be strong enough to hold back the doggie desire. Having him around this week definitely makes me appreciate the time and work in taking care of one, and gosh even the cleanest little dogs make me want to vacuum once a day! I think about having little ones in the house soon-ish too, and wonder if I want a pup rolling around on the floor near the baby blanket is good planning... Aaron says our kids will need to acquire their 'immunities' anyway. :) your thoughts?
I think we just need to revisit this in about SIX weeks... and, my mindset and "jam-packed planner with no room for spontaneity " will have changed dramatically. I do, however, really enjoy having a little adorable sidekick and love how much Aaron loves to play and just can't get enough of him. I know what you're thinking - geez woman, how are you going to handle a messy little baby? It'll probably end up being a valuable lesson to my uptight self...in looseing up & adapting a little bit. Hey just for starters, I even let him snuggle up on the bed... for those who know me well, that's huge.

Well, we're going to run out & grab some dinner with Aaron's family - back to pick up Mr. Jangles. & then it's over to congratulate new parents-on-deck Corey & Kara...I have a special delivery for baby-to-be. Between them, Aaron's cousin, and our new niece on the way, I can't stay out of baby Gap.


out west.

Home again, home again after a whirlwind little escape. If Aaron didn't post while he was wife-less for 5 days, then I have doubts that he ever will. First things first, the presentation went really well! It was actually quite exciting. Of course, you all reminded me that the worry was just all in the anticipation. Several people were very interested in my research and so helpful...and of course, there were others that it seemed maybe just wanted me to know how much 'they knew'. But, I did get lots of great feedback and ideas that will be so valuable for my oral defense coming up at the end of April. The conference overall was really good experience.

I was in Phoenix by 7 a.m. their time on Thursday & had the whole day before my dad arrived that night. I sat in on some seminars, grabbed lunch with one of my professors, and toured around downtown phoenix (...trying to fight off the jet lag). That night was the genetics "swag" party... It's a reception sponsored by all the scientific vendors complete with lots of free stuff -- some just for fun, some actually useful in clinic...and a chocolate fountain, hors d'oerves, butcher's block, and open bar. I actually ran into a familiar face, Ali - a former Baylor-ite, now employed by a biotech company in CA. I asked him to tell me about the product he was marketing - & we both just cracked-up, feeling like impostors in this adult-world. After a day of solo-traveling, lugging around all of my stuff - I decided to catch a cab back to the hotel & hit the hot tub while waiting for my dad to get in.

The next day, we went back to the conference to hear one of my professor's talks. My presentation was over by noon & Dad and I decided to see all that Arizona had to offer. We had lunch in Glendale, and decided to take the 'scenic route' to the famous breathtaking city of Sedona. We stopped off at Montezuma's Castle - ancient Aztec dwellings constructed into the side of a limestone cliff.
The ride into Sedona was beautiful... All grand canyon glory aside, it's one of the most famous Arizona landmarks. Around every curve of the road was another spectacular site with the sun reflecting off of the large red rocks. Dad & I walked around the shops of sedona - even the little town was so uniquely framed by these picturesque landforms.
The next day our flight was to leave at 3, so we woke up with enough time to go on a hike. There were trails just across the street from our hotel. We looked like amateurs carrying our caffeine and wearing flip flops... but we managed. It was a fun little outing, and I'd been looking for the chance to take the obligatory cactus photo. Oh and word-of-warning...be wary of the grass in the desert...it may look harmless, but it breaks off very easily and becomes quite the enemy - i described it as a thousand little paper cuts on the bottom of my feet...

We cleaned up & headed to a quick lunch at a yummy Cuban restaurant. We had just been 'complementing' ourselves on a trip well done, when our perfect trip encountered a big snag...we dropped off our rental car, and got to the airport about an hour early - only to see no less than 1,000 people waiting in line at the southwest counter. Long long story and struggle aside, we ended up missing our flight and not being able to leave until the next morning. We grabbed a room at the Embassy Suites and decided to make the most of our extra day. A fancy town car driven by what we assumed to be a Russian-mobster type came to pick us up and take us to Scottsdale...the 'beverly hills' of Az. We walked around the shops and had a fabulous dinner sitting outside a this hip little restaurant, Olive & Ivy. Luckily, we flew out the next morning rather uneventfully. I posted all our pictures here. There's so much more to our nice long weekend, but hopefully the highlights will do it justice. I had such a good time hanging out and really getting a chance to talk with my Dad. I really appreciated that time together... & I imagine that opportunities like that are few and far between nowadays.

To wrap up the rest of my break, Dad & I flew back to Tennessee. I'm not going to be able to be there for the birth of my first little niece, Emma. [Due May 3rd!] So, I'd planned on surprising Trae & Coi and coming out for their baby shower. Unfortunately, because our plane was delayed a day - I didn't get a chance to actually see my brother, because he had to work the next day. :( But, I did roll in to Camden just as the shower was starting on Sunday afternoon. Little Emma got so many cute things, and mommy Coi looked beautiful. Jill stepped in and helped her open all her gifts...and decided she wanted all of those gifts in her size too. I just can't believe there will be a new little Dedmon in this world in just under two months!
As if that wasn't enough, My uncle Greg & aunt Teresa were in town from Wyoming. I'm never able to time my visits home well, and seem to always miss them. So, I was so thrilled to be able to see them and hang out... if even just for an evening. Logan and I even managed to head out for a game of bowling [he's a leaguer] and a good talk. Mom and I got a chance to catch up a little too and spend the day together in Nashville, shopping and dining, before my flight back to Nashville. Unfortunately, I only managed about 28 hours in the state of Tennessee - but, I had to get back to Oklahoma to catch up and use my break wisely on the 'downhill climb' to graduation day...working on my thesis, upcoming presentations, and preparing for patients. It's going to be a crazy 1 month and 21 days...


the grand canyon state.
pretty original nickname, az.

My bags are packed. My poster is printed. ...and the nervousness is building. I'll leaving for sunny Phoenix tomorrow at 5 am. One of my thesis advisor's wanted me to submit an abstract to ACMG of my 'work in progress' last December...So, I did. not thinking too much of it. And, what do you know? It was accepted. So, my department is flying me out to Arizona this week to present my research. I'm definitely a newbie to this professional world...and this is definitely my first time to be involved in anything like this. So, needless to say, I have no idea what to expect & I'm quite nervous!
My parents both wanted to be there for me, and my dad is flying out to join me in Phoenix. The nearby conference rooms downtown were tres cher, so believe it or not we're staying here the Hilton Pointe Tapatio just outside the city for much cheaper...

Did you known Arizona doesn't observe daylight savings time? I didn't realize that was an option.

I know we are attached at the hip & spend all our time together...but, I hate having to leave Aaron...even just for a few days. With my family living far away, it seems like I am always the one leaving for a quick trip. I know I would not like it if the situation were reversed... I've even grown to dread Tuesday nights when Aaron's away at class until 9 pm for a mere 3 hours! I'll miss you, my dear, and I'll be on the hunt for a great souvenir!


sounds like apartment-fever.

This weekend contained quite the 'right-of-passage'. Aaron and I met with a realtor and toured our first home. Well, not our first home. We are in no way financially prepared to 'make a move' just yet. In an act of procrastination under the name 'getting educated about the market', I've slowly began researching homes in our area. and even slower - learning about equity, interest rates, FHA loans, etc. I say we aren't prepared just yet, but I feel that homeownership is actually a lot closer than I had previously thought. I just wanted to really get started with the whole process... and I ended up finding a property that we really liked. It's very spacious and in our opinion, much more than we thought we could get at our price range. I found the listing here - there's a whole slideshow.

I really liked the uniqueness, that it wasn't in one of the pre-planned cookie-cutter neighborhoods. Not to say we won't end up in something like that, but if we had our pick - we'd go for a restored 1920s bungalow-style anyday. Well after talking with Aaron's family, we thought it couldn't hurt to go take a look. I was hoping to find something wrong with it to tell you the truth. We didn't make an offer of course... But, this first step is very exciting. Aaron's already making his list of house needs: 1) grill 2) tool bench 3) dog(s)...

Just to brainstorm - On the one hand, we're very much tossing away money in rent every month. And most importantly, our stay in Oklahoma is somewhat temporary, and from a housing standpoint - we would need to get into something fairly quickly for it to be 'worth it'- even if that means some lower expectations and making quite a few sacrifices. But on the other hand, we're trying not to be naive about the process as well - there are so many extra hidden fees - closing costs, taxes, insurance... There will be so many added expenses - kitchen appliances, higher utilities, lawnmower...and heaven forbid if something should go wrong - your savings account now must operate as your convenient apartment landlord. We'd definitely soak up any advice from those with experience out there.

All in all, we had a more eventful weekend compared to most. (sequestered like hermits with our laptops.) Our sister-in-law, Sarah, turned over into her 26th-year & we got together at a Japanese hibachi grill to celebrate with the whole family. mmm, it's the only way to eat shrimp, i'll say. Aaron's grandparents came back for a 'grand tour' of our place, and then we spent the evening hanging out with all the 'kids'.
over the weekend, we managed to squeeze in some homework, cleaning, movies on Tivo, complaning about losing an hour of sleep...
After touring the house on Saturday, Aaron's parents took us out for pizza at Hideaway (Oklahoma-famous, I'll take you if you come for a visit)...and then I wanted to go to Cafe 501 & share with them 'the-best-cupcakes-in-the-world'...I don't think Aaron agreed with my superlatives, but they really have a delicious and creative selection of desserts.


getting re-acquainted.

In the previous blog I attempted, my last post was December 2005 on 'our engagement'. Needless to say, I suppose I got pretty busy after that? I'll bring us up to speed. Well, on May 27th, 2007 we married for love. :) ...and that's exactly what we've been livin' on for the last 9 months. It's been quite the challenge with both the mr. & and the mrs. in school. Even so, 'the married life', as everyone always asks, is going so well. It's a wonderful feeling to be 'starting-out' with your best friend. Sure, there'll always be bumps along the way, but I've never felt so loved and respected, so hopeful about the future, and so committed to this wonderful man. I'm still so pleasantly surprised by how well we complement each other, and how easy it is. how natural things can be with us... but, perhaps I shouldn't be...from the very beginning, God was shaping us into these two individuals who would complete each other on so many different levels, and this is what he had in mind all along.

alright, that's enough of that. I'll pace myself on the mushy-stuff.

you know what? I even like living with a boy. ;) We're squatting here on the north side of Oklahoma City in a cozy litte 2 bedroom apartment. We have the spare room set up with our own desks, and spend many nights back to back buried in the books.... even back at Baylor, we always had each other as a good study buddy. I'm wrapping up my second-year as a genetic counseling grad student at OUHSC. I've just thrown myself into seeing patients on my clinical rotations and working on my thesis. When I can, I work as a research assistant for a breast cancer clinic. & Aaron just began his work toward his doctorate in Neuroscience. He's doing amazingly well, he even won an award for his 'proposed'-research last semester at the Oklahoma Center for Neuroscience Symposium. I'll have him post about his 'goings on'...my description of his research wouldn't do it justice. Let's just say one angle of his study involves 'aging'. . . & that just makes me realize how long we are actually going to BE in oklahoma.
If that's sounds a bit negative, it's because it is. I've never given Oklahoma a fair shot. I think we had a rocky start, Oklahoma and I. A lot of new changes and new challenges were thrown my way about the time I settled in here. In the coming months, I'm prepared to throw out the first impressions, and get to know what will inevitably be my hometown for quite some time... but don't worry, mom, I'll get the grandchildren back to Tennessee before they're toddling.


start me up.

So, here we are at the beginning. I've been a blogger in the past, but never kept up the habit. No promises this time. I've noticed a trend among newlyweds, and especially newly-moms, to start a 'family blog'...So, I thought I'd jump in on it & start one for aaron and I. Both of our names are at the top of this page, but let's face it - It'll most likely be me at the helm. I'm not sure what this little space will entail...nothing too incredibly interesting. I'm not really predicting much of an audience. Most importantly - I have an absolutely horrific memory, and just the mere act of journaling really will help me tremendously. I like the idea of having this as a way to share whats going on in our little world and connect with family and friends, and I'll encourage you explore a site for yourself. If I can keep up this thing, I'd love to get a 'blog'-book. yes, they make them @ blurb.com. It'd be a fun little thing to look back on years from now as a memory of just 'just starting out'...so, with that said, I guess we'll be writing to 'ourselves' overall...all random, silly, and every-day stuff. ...like about our spontaneous water-gun fight here in the apartment yesterday. well, it's not really a fair fight when one man is unarmed.
...oh, and some pictures too. but, you probably knew that.