Made it Monday #6

This little lamb was a long time in the making! I started this back in August when I went up to Ludington, MI for a mini-vacation, but it wasn’t completed until Christmas Eve. (Another reason why I needed that art print from the last post that said “Done is better than perfect.”)

Back in college, I was super into crocheting stuffed animals. I would share a link to an album from college winter break 2010 that contains a bunch of photos of things I made, but the rest of the non-crafting photos are just too embarrassing, so I’ll refrain from doing so…

It’s been a while since I crocheted a full stuffed animal, so when I saw some of lalylaland’s patterns, I couldn’t resist trying something new.

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Like all of my adventures in crafting, it’s rare that everything goes exactly as planned. Somehow the head of this little lamb ended up ginormous - definitely bigger than it was supposed to be - which I’m not sure how it happened - but per usual, I made adjustments and just winged it in order to finish.

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Overall, I was really impressed by the intricacies of the pattern (not just mindless circle crocheting like most Amigurumi patterns) and even though this didn’t come out exactly as intended, I think it’s still pretty cute :)

Our Annual Christmas Card

2018 in Review!

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Olivia finished her intern year and moved on to become a second-year family medicine resident. She is now at the halfway point of her three-year residency, which is still quite busy, but much still more enjoyable than intern year! She loves being a family medicine physician and the opportunity to experience everything from delivering babies to inpatient medicine and outpatient clinic. As you might have known, over the summer she had a lot of health problems but is now doing a lot better. She still takes a lot of medications and checks in with her specialists frequently, but overall everything continues to head in the right direction and she thankful to be healthy and functional. She hasn’t done as many projects this year, but a major quilt was finished! She also hosted a residency crafternoon and recently also held a Christmas crafternoon. Her dream job if not medicine would be owning a bubble tea shop with regular crafternoon sessions.

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Kyle started the year by ending his stint as a consultant and beginning a new (non-traveling) job in Detroit! His new company has been a good fit and a nice change of pace, especially with work/life balance. He does not miss 6am flights and being away from home for a good portion of the week (and neither does Olivia!). One of the perks of living in Southeast Michigan is being close to a lot of sports teams, and he definitely has taken advantage of that, attending Tigers, Lions, Pistons, Red Wings, Michigan Football, Michigan Basketball, and Michigan Hockey games this year. When he’s not at a game, he is still finding time to write as a sports blogger throughout the week. Take a peek at his posts if you’re ever bored!

We moved from Ann Arbor to Livonia over the summer to help with Kyle’s commute to downtown Detroit. Our new place is quite spacious and is great for hosting! Come visit us :) We also became season ticket holders for Michigan Football this year and went to every home game! While the end of season was a little disappointing, we never saw a loss at The Big House. We continue to serve and connect with our church in Ann Arbor and have been making a lot of friends along the way.

Kyle’s family is just a couple hours away in Grand Rapids and we have made a handful of trips up there and to the cottage this year. We also spent Thanksgiving in Atlanta with Olivia’s family and try to make the most of any breaks in our schedules. Most of our travel was based around weddings this year (at least one of us stood up in three weddings this summer!) and it was great to connect with so many friends and families across the country, but we did have some other fun adventures such as Olivia’s trip to Charleston and Kyle’s weekend in Colorado. We are looking forward to visiting some new places next year!

Saying Goodbye to Summer 2018

Travel & Friends

At the start of August, we traveled to another wedding, this time in New York! It was the third wedding this summer where at least one of us was a member of the bridal party, and Kyle enjoyed hanging out with some college buddies again to celebrate with his good friend Will.

Olivia flew out a couple days after Kyle, which unfortunately coincided with bad weather in the New York/New Jersey area. After multiple delays, a canceled flight, an arrival in a different airport, and a two hour drive from Philadelphia to the venue, she made it to the wedding less than an hour before it started!

Thankfully, it all worked out and she was able make it just in time. We had a blast catching up with tons of friends from Cornell, some that we have not seen since graduation. Now that we live in the Midwest, weddings are the best time to spend time with friends that are spread out across the country.

Family Time

A couple weeks later, we went up to Kyle's family cottage in northern Michigan to spend a long weekend on the lake. Olivia's parents and both of her sisters joined us and Kyle's parents, and we enjoyed perfect weather all weekend!

We spent most of our time on the beach, in Lake Michigan, going kayaking, picking blueberries, playing golf, going on walks, and playing card games at night. It was a relaxing trip that we both needed and a fun time with both of our families, which doesn't happen too often given how spread out we all are.

Looking Back but Looking Ahead

We are so so thankful for all of the prayers and support that you all have offered us over the past month and a half. The initial shock of Olivia's re-emergence of lupus was scary, but thankfully she is healing well and able to be back in the swing of residency. She is still on a hefty amount of medications and is getting frequent labs done, but all of the results show that her flare-up is subsiding. It's a new normal for the both of us, and it's been humbling to take it a day/week/month at a time and to slow down in some ways, but we are reassured that God is in control and His plans and pathways are better than our own. 

This fall, our small group from church that we have been a part of over the last year is multiplying into two groups due to having 20+ people for many weeks last spring. We will be helping to lead our new group and are excited to be a part of our church that continues to grow! Though we are not quite ready for summer to end, we are looking forward to another fun fall in Michigan! (#goblue!)

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Life with Lupus (again)

Well, Kyle did say we needed to post more - and it just so happened that within the last 3 weeks, everything has completely changed in our lives! As we celebrated our fourth anniversary, the phrase "in sickness" has definitely been a new theme. 

We have shared with some of you already that my lupus reactivated drastically so for the first time in really ~12-13 years. (See this post if you want to read some thoughts from me about lupus at age 14 or thoughts on finishing medical school and being a doctor.)  I thought I was sick with a viral illness for 3+weeks, which was true, but it turned out to be the perfect storm of finishing intern year, working nights for the first half of July and being sick altogether. Little symptoms were missed (read: rationalized, yes I'm a bad patient) while I was working and when I went to the rheumatologist hoping for some reassurance and a routine check up, it ended up being the worst and finding out that my lupus not only out of control but affecting my kidneys again. 

It's definitely been an unexpected hiccup and definitely unsettling in the sense that I've always wondered when this could happen again, but God's sovereignty, timing, and the thankfulness we have for how this has panned out thus far has left me feeling overwhelmingly grateful and thankful despite the new struggles ahead. I am so thankful for our new community here in Ann Arbor through work and church, and the friends/family that extend across the country, that are back in Upstate New York, and friends that were there when I was even first diagnosed in high school and how they once again have encouraged me and prayed for me. 

I ended up having a kidney biopsy one week after my birthday and was hospitalized (definitely another dose of empathy for what it's like to be a patient...), Kyle got to experience the hospital life (yes, there are random people yelling "ow!" or "help!" at all hours of the night and it might not mean anything serious) - and we watched a lot of golf and HGTV and wheel of fortune. My doctors have been so great and I couldn't ask for a better team of people to help me get better. 

I still continue to process what life will be like now with a more active chronic disease than it has been over the last years and I know there will be ups and downs along the way. There are a lot of new medicines to take, I haven't slept well in 2+ weeks due to one of them, my face is going to be as round as it was freshman year of high-school. At some point I worry I might go crazy with lack of sleep and juggling work and health,  but I am reminded of one of my favorite lines of a hymn that says "Because He lives, I can face tomorrow, Because He lives, all fear is gone, Because I know He holds the future, and life is worth the living, just because He lives".  There is so much more to hope for and rest in eternally and this is just an earthly body. 

And now for some fun pictures, because it wouldn't be a blog post without them:

Photos range from thinking that it was going to be an outpatient procedure, getting hospitalized and waiting for a bed, Kyle experiencing the joys of my residency $$$ in the cafeteria/Jamba Juice, Kyle's bed/vacation in the hospital, waiting for my procedure, one of my many visitors (so many resident friends came to visit that I did not subject to a photo!!! thank you friends!!!), the blanket Jonathan got me from Child Life (the children's hospital) and flowers from other friends, busting out of the hospital, and an outpatient infusion when it was all said and done. 

Thank you for reading! If you ever have any questions about lupus or want to talk more, send me a message, I'm always open for conversation. 

- Olivia