Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Oh happy days!

I'll let Ellie's facial expressions do the speaking for this blog post.

A walk with Mrs. Claus. Before...

and after.

Our washer broke down, our microwave exploded, and our kitchen drainpipes got plugged up. Bad things come in threes (I hope).

Teething... a short burst of discomfort among the smiles.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Snowy cacti and talking chairs

In our last couple days in New Mexico, JooYeon and I said goodbye to the lovely cacti... they reminded us of our hikes in Arizona with Heather when JooYeon first came to the United States 5 years ago.

We also bid our farewells to the Sleeping Lady of Alamogordo who rests just outside of Heather and Bob's back porch.

Ellie was getting the hang of travelling and even started expanding her social circles.

Heather, despite being ready to deliver at any point, showered Ellie with lots of love, as did Ellie's grandma.

Ellie, enjoying her morning spa and massage treatment...

On our final day in New Mexico, we had the treat of seeing something I had never seen before: snow on a cactus.

It was a refreshing break, the calm before "the storm" of my final semester of doctoral coursework. I've been particularly anxious about this one. Not so much because of the coursework - on the contrary, most of this semester (both as a student and the classes I teach) will be related to applied statistics, which I'm quite excited about. It's more the anxiety in the wake of committing to a dissertation topic. I guess I deserve it though - for some reason, I never doubted, second-guessed, or had cold feet about getting married to JooYeon, so I'd be missing out on a major life experience if I didn't have cold feet about my dissertation. Thankfully, I have a topic that I'm starting to feel pretty decent about and a chair who takes the time to truly listen, discuss, and offer feedback on all of my ideas (a dissertation chair, that is. I have to clarify these things because JooYeon has this persistent fear that all "math people" go crazy).  

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

White Sands and snow: same same, but different

For those of you unfamiliar with the White Sands of New Mexico, the pictures in the post have no snow in them... only sand. They may look similar, but I can assure you that the difference can be felt when one crashes a sled. Ironically, a couple days after we took these pictures, this area really was covered in snow.

Not too much else to say about the White Sands, so I'll use the rest of this post to describe three highlights of the trip.

1. Seeing my mom and dad interact so lovingly with Ellie. It has been such a treasure to have Ellie come into our lives this year, but it also invigorating to hand her over temporarily to someone we trust, especially when we can see how much Ellie enjoys it also (she had numerous fits of uncontrollable laughter throughout the trip).

2. Having time with JooYeon. Although JooYeon and I have maintained much of our pre-Ellie lifestyle (going to coffee shops, taking walks, etc.), we have much less opportunity to really connect. This is, of course, in part because of my doctoral program and related projects. I made the decision to put all of that on hold for our week in New Mexico (a tough decision when there is a ticking "To Do List Clock" engraved in my head).

3. And then of course, Heather and Bob. It was a treat to have them in Ohio for a year, and it's hard to have them so far away now. So it was a relief to see how well they were doing, that they had found an incredible house, and that they had already started exploring the community and planting roots. Plus, as an added bonus, we got to feel Baby Harris swimming around with mere weeks (days?) to go! They went out of their way to host us... preparing Ellie-size diapers, making lots of delicious food, and even extending our stay by an extra day and a half when our flight home got cancelled due to snow.

Friday, January 4, 2013

The Land of Enchantment

This trip to New Mexico was the second for JooYeon and I, although the first had merely been camping out in a (scorpion-infested) field near the four corners as we made our way East in Joo's initial arrival to the U.S. five years ago.

Heather and Bob had the house all decorated and ready for a week of family fun.

Even Ellie got in the partying spirit...

For short bursts of time, anyway. It's amazing how well she's done though; she's been on four separate trips to seven different states just in the last couple months.

Heather is in her 37th week of pregnancy so playing with Ellie was kind of an "advance payment" for all the hard work she's put in so far.

One day, we went up to Cloudcroft, a 10-minute drive into the mountains from where Heather and Bob live. We ate at a restaurant named after a ghost, and decorated with a large bear.

I enjoyed the drastic contrast in climate; the pictures above and below were taken only a day apart, and only a 10-minute drive away from each other.