Saturday, February 26, 2011

Catching up...

I'm trying to catch on this blog. I would just skip it and move on, but I seem unable to go from point A to point C without B in between. So bear with me as I finish up the events of 2010.

"I'll be home for Christmas...."

Getting home for Christmas this year was a bit trickier than in the past, but seeing as last year I didn't go home, I was bound and determined to make it back to Spokane and have Christmas in my own house with Mom and Dad. I alerted the family early on and encouraged all who were able to converge in Spokane. I did pretty well. For Christmas we had The Harris Family and a few days later, Jaime and Ava showed up. Kurt and Christina were unable to make it, but 3/5 kids isn't too bad.

Flying across the country is time consuming, costly, and stressful. After I booked my flight, I realized that I had 3 stops and two of them in the snowiest places in the USA: Chicago and Denver. I had everyone on prayer alert that snowstorms would be averted and I could make it home without delays or cancellations. With fingers crossed, prayers said, and a lot of movies to keep me busy, I arrived in Spokane at 9:30 PM and got to my house a little after 10 PM to be welcomed by Kyle, my 6 year old nephew trying so hard to stay awake for Christmas eve festivities. The other two little ones couldn't make the late night, but I was warmly greeted Christmas morning.

Christmas was absolutely wonderful. We ate lots of yummy food, watched movies, played with new toys, and even made some snowmen and had a snowball fight. The kids all got along and the sisters (minus Christina--sorry Tina!) were able to bond. Sadly, we couldn't extend our trips, but it was so perfect while we were there.

 Sarah and Ava--bonding in their matching outfits

SNOW TIME! Spokane never fails in providing a white Christmas
There is nothing like being home for Christmas.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

New Job

I got a new job!!! Ok, I got the job 3 months ago, but it's still pretty new. Being a workin' woman is tough--tight schedules, 8 hour days, sitting at desk, paychecks coming's rough.  Anyway, after months of sending in cover letters, online applications, informational interviews, and hundreds of emails, I finally got offered a job!

I am a Program Assistant at the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in the office of Health, Infectious Diseases, and Nutrition. The title is a little fuzzy, but it's actually pretty cool and exactly where I wanted to be. When I started the MPH program, I had the goal of working for USAID. It is one of the premier development agencies in the world. My role is to help manage grants for the World Health Organization (WHO) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). I don't have any real decision making responsibilities, but I get to read all the proposals that come in for various activities (TB work, HIV/AIDS programs, water and sanitation, childhood vaccines, malaria programs, and other health activities). It's pretty interesting.

In addition to my main responsibility I'm also on the country team for Nicaragua and am on the gender team for the bureau. I don't really know exactly what my role on that team will be, but gender is a significant issue and I'll be meeting with representatives from the other offices and bureaus (education, health, democracy, humanitarian assistance, agriculture, etc).

The job is starting slow and I have plenty of time on gchat, but I'm thrilled to have a job and be starting my career as a public health professional.

Saturday, February 5, 2011


The race of my life was actually 84 days ago. Since then I've received many complaints that my blog has become stagnant, so here's the update. And even though the race was months ago and I have limited pictures, I'm posting anyway...for friends and family...and because marathons are a  

So without further ado...

On Saturday November 13, 2010 I completed the SunTrust Richmond Marathon. How was it you ask--AMAZING! I have never had a better time running; it was fun, hard, beautiful, perfect weather, long, totally insane, and incredible. Now maybe because it's 84 days later, I don't remember how hard it actually was, but I'm telling you it was awesome.

The race went much better than expected. All the hours and Saturday mornings spent running paid off and I had a great race. My time was not the fastest, but I finished in my goal range, I didn't walk, and only came out with mild soreness and one minor injury. The first 10 miles flew by and I felt really good. The weather was in the 40's to start and by the end it was in the 60's. So perfect. I ran next to rivers, across bridges, up some hills, through city, down in some valleys, and back on the streets of Richmond, VA. I ran the race with my running buddy, Traci and we kept each other going for all 26.2 miles. She had a pace keeping watch, so we knew how fast we were running the entire time. Miles 8-13 were probably the fastest pace and 24-26 weren't too shabby either. People warned me that as I got closer to finishing I might get emotional. Emotional?! From what I asked. Emotional from the training, hard work, realization of an accomplished goal, and the pure breaking down of the body. While some of those thoughts did cross as I passed the mile 25 marker and realized I was really going to finish this tears or uprising of emotions flowed. Instead, I just kicked it into gear and ran my fastest mile of the whole race. I guess it's still true that I'm just not an emotional girl. I don't think you have to cry to realize the enormity of finishing a marathon.

Saturday, November 13 was an awesome day.

Will I do it again???? I'm not saying yes, but I'm not saying no either.

Practicing crossing the finish line the night before the race. And if you're wondering what Traci and I are doing with our hands...we're just flashing our symbol. 2A

My cheering squad

I'll try to get more pictures. For now, you can check out a few pics online.