Saturday, December 19, 2009

Pictures from Oct - Dec

Walking around the lake near the Clark's house. Beautiful weather! (End of October)

This is what people without kids do! Haha! This is at the Clark's house. The jewelry is Thelma's (Derek's Grandma who had the stroke and was moved to Indiana). We had to clean out her condo and go through all the things that were left behind. There was lots and lots of jewelry as you can see. (End of November)

At the Silver Strand in Coronado with my parents, Wollitz Grandparents, and my Grandma Maxine. We had a great time! Thanks Grandma and Grandpa Wollitz for letting us use the mini motorhome! (Middle of November)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Mayo in Scottsdale

Quick Update:

Derek's interview at Mayo in Scottsdale went GREAT! He LOVED the program. We were so shocked because we didn't think he'd like it very well because we thought it would be too small of a program. But it wasn't and he loved it. So crazy. Not that this means too much until he's finished interviewing everywhere but it is nice to have another program that he is very interested in. As of right now Pittsburgh and Mayo in Scottsdale are his two favorites with Cleveland Clinic a close third.

P.S. UCSD interview is on Friday

Monday, December 14, 2009


On Thursday afternoon we headed out to Arizona in our "home" also know as our car. Derek had an interview at the University of Arizona in Tuscon on Friday. Needless to say he didn't like the program and neither of us liked the area. So we pretty much scratched that off our list of favorites and traveled up to Scottsdale where we got to spend the entire weekend.

We LOVED Scottsdale. The town is so cute and has a small town feel but has tons of stuff to do. We had lunch our first day there at a super cute restaurant called Olive and Ivy. This is the view from our table. The other picture is the canal that runs through downtown that we walked over on a cute bridge to where we had lunch! I was in love!

We split a pizza (that gave our favorite pizza from Soho's in Charleston a run for it's money!) and a breakfast burrito that was delicious! I also had a grapefruit mimosa which was surprisingly WAY better than an OJ mimosa!
We walked around the town and found they have a huge mall (including a Nordstroms, Neiman Marcus, Barneys - which I had never been in before!, and TONS more).

We also went to a winery called Su Vino, that was also a wine bar and met some very friendly locals. They told us all about the town and places to live. We also found out that we can drive to snow in less than 2 hours! The place was super cute and had surprisingly great wine. The streets were so cute at night as well with lots of twinkle lights.

We stayed at a Courtyard Marriott that was right next to the Mayo Clinic and the views were amazing. The mountains and sunset were beautiful. We really enjoyed our time here and talked about someday retiring here or at least wanting to visit here again if we don't end up living here. We absolutely loved Scottsdale!

I wish I could have captured the scenery better but of course forgot my camera! The colors were amazing. All these pictures are taken from my phone (which I guess isn't so bad considering it was a free phone)!

P.S. Derek is at his interview right now at the Mayo Clinic at Scottsdale so I will update how that went later. As for now, we loved the city but don't know much about the program...which obviously is a big factor!! I will update about that soon!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Still on the road...

It has become harder and harder to remember to take time and write here because I feel as though I blink and a week or two has already passed!

We got back to Orange County a little over a week ago and Derek finished his Opthomology rotation there. It was awesome - they only said he had to come in the first week (so he hasn't had to go in at all this week)! Which was perfect considering he would have had to miss a lot of the second for interviews anyways. Sunday we flew to Cleveland, Ohio for Derek's interview at Cleveland Clinic (and just got back home yesterday). The hotel they put us up in was AMAZING! Absolutely beautiful and they were the most hospitable and helpful hotel staff I've ever experienced. It was wonderful. The room was beautiful...the bathroom was huge....and even had a great tub which I took a lovely bubble bath in!!

Derek really liked the hospital and they treat their employees amazingly. It is the top 4 hospital in America and everything they have is top notch. They completely take care of all their employees and their families as well. There is even a group (made up of the residents wives) that meets every other week for coffee. Other than the location being a bit farther than we would like from California, Derek loved it. It currently is tied with Pittsburgh for his favorite program so far (of the places he's interviewed at so far - Colorado, Ohio State, and WVU are below them).

Right now I am sitting in our Rav4, which is packed to the brim (literally you cannot see out the back it is packed to the ceiling) with all of our belongings, with the dogs, outside of Starbucks in Dana Point using their WiFi & drinking a Mocha, while Derek is having a dental appointment down the street. When he's finished we are continuing down the freeway to San Diego to drop the dogs off with my parents and spend one night at their house before we drive to Arizona tomorrow. He has an interview at The University of Arizona on Friday in Tuscon, and an interview at The Mayo Clinic at Arizona in Scottsdale on Monday. Then we will drive back to San Diego!

Oh - a few health updates. About 3 weeks ago I had a massive growth pop out on my face. It basically was about the size of a half dollar, was discolored with shades of red, blue, and purple, and was extremely painful. The Clark's neighbor is an oral surgeon and he gave me two antibiotics to take (which I am still on), and drained it for us about a week ago (and yes I fainted during the procedure). It got better for a day but then puffed back up. Then last Friday we went to a dermatologist who injected it with an antibiotic/steriod and it has since gone way down. It is still pretty discolored but is much smaller. Prayers that it would go away completely would be much appreciated!!

Also health related - Derek got very sick in Cleveland so that was a very fun trip back on the plane. Especially since we had two lay overs! We think he had the flu but started taking some of my antibiotics as soon as he felt badly and is doing much better now. He could barely even talk during his interview! Needless to say we are both hopped up on antibiotics and both feeling better now. Sure will be nice once he can prescribe it himself!!

Saturday, November 21, 2009


This past month at UC Irvine has been an absolute whirlwind. We technically were stationed at Derek's parents in Orange County but during the first week we drove up to LA for a test Derek had to take (where I got to spend the day with my sister and nephew at the beach, which was a blast!), and then the first weekend we spent at my parents house in San Diego...the second I spent at my parents while Derek was at a mens retreat with our old church from Oceanside...the third we flew to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania for an interview....and the fourth (which we just got back from) was spent in Denver, Colorado for yet another interview.

Also during that month I drove up to San Fransisco to see Janelle and her new baby (as well as Belle!), Kelli (who did my hair beautifully!), my sister, and my grandma. I had a blast with all of them and was so thankful my mom decided to drive up with me! We had a great time in the car and actually never even got annoyed at each other! (Neither of us do well on long car rides!)

We got home last night and are leaving tomorrow to stay at the Silver Strand with my parents and grandparents. It's funny that I have adapted to moving around so much I have pretty much stopped unpacking my toiletry bag now and have come to the conclusion that one to two outfits is suitable for two to three days. I feel like I am learning the art of patience and adjustment like never before and probably like I never will again (hopefully!). With how much time I have been spending in airports I have really been forced to rely on God more with trusting him in the OCD about germs and sickness area. I have learned that I have over the years (pretty much since Derek started medical school and has shared all the gruesome stories with me) become kinda OCD about antibacterial wipes and feeling like everything public is contaminated. With all our traveling and not having a home to call my own, I have truly had to rely on God and trust in Him for not going crazy over being in airplanes, airports, hotels, and thinking who was here before me.

This has been a big growing experience for me and one that I am very thankful for (not that it has been easy in the slightest). I am growing more each day and am sure there is much more to come. Not having a home to truly call my own and lounge around in without other people in has been more of a challenge than I could have ever imagined. I love my family more than I can express but the value of having a home to be alone in is something I never realized how much I have taken for granted. Simple things like walking out to the kitchen to make coffee in my underwear is not an option. Not that that is the biggest deal in the world but it's come up more often than I would have ever thought possible!

Derek has one more week off before he starts his opthomology rotation at UC Irvine for 2 weeks. I am very much enjoying having him around so much! We are so thankful for this time together because we know that once residency starts this time will be much fewer and farther between!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

UC Irvine

Our transition out to California has been pretty eventful.

It began with our flight into San Diego being redirected to LAX about 40 minutes from landing because the San Diego Airport got shut down due to fog. We landed in Los Angeles at about 8pm and decided to rent a car with the guy sitting next to us on the plane who seemed like a friendly guy. Minutes later the guy across the aisle jumped on our idea and the four of us staked out a plan to grab our baggage and get a rental car together as quickly as possible. While waiting for our bags I saw our long time family friend, Jim Kermott, who we invited aboard. About an hour later, Derek, myself, Jim, and the two guys we had met on the plane were on our way down the 5 South in a rental minivan. The guy sitting next to us turned out to be a furniture salesman from Pacific Beach and the other guy was a professional snowboarder who has worked for Burton Snowboards for 10 years. By the time Derek and I had dropped off all our fellow riders we arrived at my parents house a little after midnight.

The following day we picked up my parents from the airport at 3:30pm (with both our car and theirs), went to dinner with them, and then went on our way up to Orange County to Derek's parents house. We got there about 7pm and Derek started his first day at UC Irvine the following morning at 7am. I picked up the dogs that afternoon from the kennel only to find that they had contracted some kind of doggie flu that made Bear cough and have explosive diarrhea. After a night of being up every couple hours from Bear coughing or having to take him outside to go potty, I found it slightly hard to remember what it was that I had missed so terribly about them!

It didn't help that the following morning Bear had diarrhea all over my in laws white living room carpet. It was pretty traumatizing. It was at that moment that the severity of our entire schedule hit me pretty hard. I will say that my mother in law handled it quite well...especially when I started crying hysterically!

Things have settled down a bit now. Stanly Steamers came and the carpet is now cleaned. The dogs are on medicine and doing better (and the kennel paid for all their vet bills!). I have been able to catch up on some sleep. Derek is adjusting to work and will have his last medical test over with tomorrow. Things are good. Now we just have to cancel some of these residency interviews as he has received more than we can go to! A good problem to have!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

No more UCSF

We have known that our plans for this entire year have been tentative at best and we have been grateful for this time. It is proving to be a learning experience as well as a growing experience (both in a positive way). We are also grateful that we are able to travel and spend this time with each other. God has truly blessed us with this time and we are trying to take in every moment in every new area and with every new person and truly savor each one.

We had planned to be in Oakland next month at my grandma Maxine's again and have Derek commute to UCSF. (He would have had a commute of over 3 hours each day - all on Bart and trolleys. There is no parking at UCSF!) Last week, however, Derek got accepted to UC Irvine starting next week (Oct. 19th). So we will now be staying in Orange County with Derek's parents while he is at UC Irvine and he will no longer be doing a rotation at UCSF. While I am sad that I wont be able to see the friends and family I was planning to up north as much, I am still planning a trip up there for a week to see them. There are also many friends and family down south that I am excited to see. The commute will also be much easier (and shorter) for Derek since he will be able to drive and actually park at UC Irvine.

On a lower note - Derek's grandmother (his dad's mom) just had a stroke this past week and is having to be relocated out to Indiana where her daughter will care for her there. She now needs 24 hour care and the family has decided her home town will be the best place for her. In the midst of this hardship my mother in law pointed out a small silver lining in that they have kept her car for Derek and I to use while we are there. So we will each be able to have a car which we were not planning on. It is a small but good lesson in trying to find the good in any situation and being thankful for what God has provided always.

We are very much enjoying our last week here in Morgantown. The leaves have continued to change through shades of fire red, blazing orange, lemon yellow, and more in between. It truly looks like a sunset painted across the leaves. It is impossible to describe with words but I tried to take some pictures that would show what we are getting to experience out here!

The Mizener's had a get together last night to celebrate their fire pit being finished. It looks amazing and we had a wonderful time. It was filled with great food, conversations, and fun!!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Birthday Continued!

Two nights ago I got to celebrate my birthday again with two very special girls - Sarah Walsh and Katherine Ruffolo. (Both their husbands are in Derek's medical school class - so we are all experiencing the craziness of this year with away rotations and residency interviews!)

We went out to dinner at Dragonfly for sushi! It was delicious! We split quite a few different rolls among us, along with a bottle of amazing wine that Sarah picked out. (Las Rocas - granache) We had some great girl time filled with lots of laughs. Thank you girls for a wonderful birthday dinner!! I had a lovely evening!!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

My 28th birthday

Two days ago I turned 28. It was surprisingly my least difficult age to adjust to. I'm guessing this is because for some reason I have been thinking I was 28 for the past year already. I'm not sure why, but my brain decided to skip 27. I think 26 was a little traumatizing for me being that I was no longer "early" 20's and somehow felt so much older as a 26 year old, that I skipped right over 27! Needless to say it was an easy transition into the 28 year old world.

We are still here in Morgantown and I had an amazing birthday. It started off with a cute card from Derek...then two free mochas from Starbucks...and then a day of pampering at the Spa with Joanna. We had so much fun! We got there early and swam laps in the pool, then went in the steam room and sauna before having massages. Afterwards we went in the whirlpool, ate lunch, went back in the whirlpool, steam room, and sauna before taking showers and then got pedicures and manicures! We were PAMPERED!!

When we got home we had some celebratory champagne out on their balcony before heading out to dinner at Yesterdays. We had a delicious dinner (I had peppered seared yellowfin tuna that was amazing) and then headed back home for some Cold Stone ice cream cake!

It was a wonderful, wonderful birthday! Thanks to all of you for the sweet calls, text messages, and facebook messages! I felt very special!

Sunday, October 4, 2009


We are back in Morgantown! Thanks to the Mizener Family for graciously letting us stay at their house. It is very interesting to be back in the town we first moved to when Derek started medical school over three years ago. This is where we first experienced a real fall, winter, and spring! The leaves are just beginning to change and it is absolutely gorgeous. A big change from last week laying out at my parents house by the pool in El Cajon soaking in the 110 degree sun! It has barely made it to 70 degrees for the warmest day since I've been here. Most mornings when I have driven Derek to work at Ruby Hospital (part of WVU) it has been about 50 degrees. I didn't realize it was going to be so cold and only brought sandals and tank tops to wear! I brought 2 light jackets and nothing else! Thankfully Old Navy was having a huge sale and I got 2 warm jackets for only $20 and a few long sleeve shirts for only $10! I am now nice and cozy.

We had quite an eventful first two days of me being here. On the way to pick me up from the airport at 11 at night Derek came upon 3 deer in the middle of the road. He had time to stop and two of the deer ran away. One, however, stood in the middle of the road staring at him. A true "deer in headlights!" He kept inching closer to it but it wouldn't move. So finally he slowly inched all the way up to it and had to actually nudge it with the car! Then it finally ran away. It was pretty funny when he picked me up (with roses I might add!) and told me that he hit a deer...which was actually more of a nudge! Then the following morning on the way to drop Derek off at work (Derek was driving while I was trying to wake up being that I was still on West Coast time and it was 4am to me) it was raining. We'd been on the road about 2 minutes when we hydroplaned across the road, across the opposite lane, and ran smack into the opposite dirt bank. I was sure awake then! The car just slide right across out of control. We were fine and other than the front and side of the car being caked with mud, the car was fine too.

It has been exciting to be near a Starbucks again. In Charleston the only Starbucks was inside the mall where you had to pay for parking to get inside. It's been fun to see all my old well as be on the other side of the counter! I am also loving their new instant coffee - Via. If you haven't tried it, you should. It's delicious and SO convenient!

Last Thursday was the first WVU Mountaineer football game here in Morgantown. I forgot how crazy this town gets over their football. Schools, businesses, and even the hospital all close down early the day of a game. (Random sidenote: We also found out that besides football games and snowdays, schools are also shut down out here the entire week of Thanksgiving for the first week of hunting season!! Crazy!) There are motor homes parked all over town and the parking lot of the stadium becomes a sea of yellow and blue. It's complete insanity. Thankfully Derek got to leave early (since they shut down the hospital early - yes seriously) and we got to leave the area before it got too crazy. We instead watched it on the Mizener's HUGE projection screen with surround sound which made it feel like you were at the game minus the cold and traffic!

Derek has been getting lots of interviews for residency which has been exciting and stressful. We've had to juggle his schedule and reply to emails almost immediately to try and get his first pick for dates to interview. So far all has worked out. We are still waiting to hear from a few schools but feel very blessed that already he has over 10 interview invitations so far. He had his interview here at WVU last week. Next week is his first real interview (here at WVU they just tried to convince him to stay here and didn't even ask him any questions) at Ohio State. We are going to drive down to Columbus the day before and then leave our car in Charleston. Thanks to the McCallister's for offering to keep our car for us until we come back in March. Thanks also to Sarah Walsh for offering to drive us back up to Morgantown and to the airport afterwards. So many great and thoughtful friends we have out here.

More updates to come soon!!

Family & Friends

The last week at Stanford was very eventful! I got to spend lots of time with Janelle and Belle which was so much fun. We went to the amusement park at the zoo and rode rides. It was a great time. I still can't believe how big Belle has gotten!

We ended up leaving 2 days early so we could get down to San Diego and have a day to relax before Derek flew out to West Virginia. Patty and Don were at my parents house and we had a great time hanging out with them and playing the Wii. Derek flew out the following day and I stayed in San Diego for a week. Mary came over to play twice and we had a great time. I also got to see most of the family the evening Derek left for a BBQ. I got to see Grandma and Grandpa Wollitz, Bruce, Melinda, Austin, & Marshall. Then the end of that week I got to attend the cousin's brunch and got to see that half of the family again! It was a special time to be able to see cousins I hadn't seen in years as well as my close extended family. Howie made it down and that was fun to see him as well. Debra and the girls couldn't be there but I'm sure we'll see them soon. It was wonderful to sit and chat with my grandma Donna and grandpa Norman even if just for a little while. After not seeing them for 9 months it was so fun to be able to see them twice in just a week's time.

My parents kept the dogs for three days once I flew out to West Virginia. They really warmed up to them and it sounded like they really enjoyed having two little shadows following them around. My dad said Bear liked to lay right up against him when he'd do his sit ups in the garage. Right before they flew out to Minnesota, my dad drove the dogs up to a "Pet Resort" in Lake Forest. I'm sure they are being spoiled to pieces!