One of my best friends from college lives in downtown Baltimore. I haven’t seen her in way too long, so I made the trek into the city to see her. We ate dinner and just caught up which was great. The restaurant we ate in was right around the corner from where she lived, and we were oddly the only ones in there. It is crazy to see how much has changed in the last year and how easy it is to fall back into where we left off. That is what best friends are for!
After dinner, we went to the Miracle of 34th Street light display. There is a block that decorates all-out for Christmas. It’s beautiful! I love seeing how creative people can get with Christmas lights and decorations and these guys do an amazing job. One family opened up their home to allow people to come inside and see some metalworks. I loved the Natty Boh Santa cans!
There was an Old Bay and crab tree! The crabs were made of bike cassettes and tools that I loved! It is something that my family would display all year in our house!
This was my favorite display! It is so simple, yet elegant, and totally Maryland!
There was a house with baked goods and hot chocolate. The took donations for whatever you were able to pay. The donations went to support Maryland animal shelters. They said they raise thousands of dollar each year which is incredible!! Plus the hot chocolate was delicious!
Being home for just one week is impossible. By the time I finally get everything unpacked, it is time to pack up again.
One of the best things about being home is having a yard. It is so great to just let the dogs outside off leash or play fetch with them in the front yard. They have having the space too! This year, my dad and sister put up a lighted tree in the backyard in place of decorating the big pine tree. The problem was that it took up a bunch of space and the dogs would run right through it. It got knocked down once which caused the rule that the dogs could not be unsupervised in the backyard. They were not so thrilled about that.
Biking was definitely a top priority this week even though it was freezing outside. It requires a lot of layers that can be packed into your pockets if need be. There are a lot of streams to cross as well. My dad and brother have waterproof shoes that are great because you can ride right through them. My sister and I have to get off and carry our bikes across using the rocks, which is always a litter dangerous in our bike shoes.
There is always way too much eating. It is so easy to run to the grocery store when I am at home, which I know seems silly. You can drive there and not worry about getting too much to carry home. Plus cooking and baking in my kitchen at home is wonderful and so spacious. We also always cook a meal for dinner. Sometimes at school I just eat a snack if I ate a big lunch or a late lunch, but at home you always eat because it’s there! Thank goodness we spent so much of our time biking. I also spent a lot of time making cookies because there were so many people to eat them!
On Christmas Eve, we went out to Ruth Chris Steakhouse with my brother’s fiance’s family (a bit of a mouthful). We get together every Christmas to celebrate, and this year was extra special celebrating Heath and Blaire’s engagement. There was so much alcohol, food, and laughter that made for a fantastic evening.
Christmas was filled with family time and we visited Mom’s side of the family in the afternoon for dinner. We spent a lot of the evening watching the Ravens’ football game which ended so tragically with a loss and taken out of the playoffs. It definitely put a cloud over the evening.
It was so hard to get up and pack to go back to school on Monday morning. I procrastinated with my sister and cousin by taking our dogs for a nice long walk around the park. Knowing that I have such a hard week in front of me really put lead weights on my feet. I waited until the last possible minute to drive back to Philly dreading traffic and unpacking once I got there. I got a new vacuum for Christmas that was fun to set-up and use! (I know that is such a weird thing to get excited for but we have so much dog hair in a such a tiny apartment!)
I really tested my luck and balance this week and went paddle boarding. I am known in my family for being somewhat of a klutz in my family. I was teetering over ice ice cold water. I took my shoes off to prevent the waves from splashing my shoes, and the water froze my toes.
The hardest part was honestly getting on and off the board without getting soaked and falling in. The dogs thought that I really needed help and tried to get on the board too. I would have loved to have gone more when I was home, but the weather was not going to let me! The river was iced over most mornings and there was too much rain!
If you have never tried paddle boarding, you must. It is an excellent workout that doesn’t feel like a workout. My abs were sore the next morning from trying to stay balanced. I really want to try yoga on a paddle board, but I do not think I am ready for that yet. I need to get way better at both before attempting that with some warmer water beneath me for when I fall.
Around the holidays, it is so much fun checking the mail. There is so much real mail that actually means something instead of a whole bunch of ads and bills! My parents save all of the cards for my sister to open because it is one of her favorite parts of Christmas. I love to see the pictures from friends and family we don’t get to see often to see how much kids have grown or what everyone is up to now.
In our house, Christmas cards are taken extremely seriously. My mom spends a long time perfecting the perfect letter that is full of jokes and stories to allow friends and family to catch up with our year. It is fun to read through the highlights and major events of the year!
A few years back, my mom compiled all of our letters over the years into a book for us to keep. Reading back through these letters was a great flash back that made us die of laughter. It is also fun to see how technology has evolved over the years from old school fonts to fancy cards with photos. This year our card was Instagram themed!
Each year my time off keeps getting shorter and shorter. This year I only get one week off and I had to choose either Christmas or New Years. I know next year I will be in for a reality check when I only get the actual holiday off because I will be an adult with a real job. But for now, I am going to enjoy being home and seeing family and friends.
Whenever I go home, I end up packing way too much into my time. I set unrealistic goals for everything I want to accomplish. My list usually gets derailed as soon as everyone in my house wakes up and we get easily distracted talking.
Here are something I am hoping to get to do this holiday break!
Walk down 34th Street in Baltimore // One of my best friend from college lives in downtown Baltimore. We have plans to walk down 34th street where there are over the top decorations for the holidays. I have always wanted to go and see these lights!
Play boardgames with the family // My family loves to play games; however, we always get way way to competitive. Sometimes, someone ends up in tears, which is never the goal. This has led to certain games being banned. That being sad, its always fun to have my dad and brother join in on the fun and stop shopping for bikes!
Drive around looking at Christmas lights // Every Christmas Eve, my dad drives us through the neighborhood to look at everyone’s Christmas and holiday decorations. One of our favorites has big pillars in the front that are decorated with Nutcrackers! It also helps us to get ideas for our house for next year!
Go for a family bike ride // A family bike ride is a must around the holidays. Someone is bound to get a new bike part or clothing item for Christmas that needs to be tried out. It helps going all together because we push each other and gets us all to be active even in this cold weather.
Make gingerbread houses // Gingerbread houses can be a competitive sport in our house. We get a ton of supplies and candy to make anything our hearts desire. My mom even found gingerbread dogs last year. They are so much fun to make and there are a ton of great kits available!
Social media makes it really hard not to be jealous of everyone’s traveling. It has helped me create the longest list of places I want to visit, especially after having no weekends for the last year. My sister loves to travel and is always willing to try anything, so I know I have a travel partner for life. My sister, mom, and I made a pact to visit a new place each year by running a half marathon. This way we have an excuse to travel there. Plus, it helps to keep us in shape! This upcoming year I have some places to check off my list!
San Diego // My sister has always wanted to go to the San Diego Zoo, so we are going as a graduation present to ourselves as she gets her master’s degree and I get my veterinary degree. I want to take a detour over to Los Angeles and make the classic Hollywood sign hike! And as a major plus, two of my friends live in the area that I do not get to visit often!
Nashville // I love country music, so going to the Country Music Hall of Fame is a must on my list. I also want to stroll through Centennial Park and visit The Parthenon. Plus, there is a ton of great shopping! (sorry, Mom!)
Charleston // This spring, my mom and I are going to go to Charleston and run the Cooper River Bridge Run. It gives us an excuse to tour this amazing city and soak up some southern charm.
Boston // I have been to Boston twice, so it’s not a new place for me to check off. But each time I go, I cannot wait until I get to go back. I love how easy it is to get around and see so much in such a short amount of time! I really want to go to the Boston Public Library!
Now, I just need the time off to get there!
Exercising is extremely therapeutic for me. A good hard run after a stressful day helps me to get it out. If I am upset, I can yell in my head and push myself harder, getting me through what made me upset and I get a better workout. However, I am bad at motivating myself in the winter. When I go to school and come home from school in the dark in the dark, it makes my day feel so long. I get home and am so ready to eat dinner and relax, not always workout.
It can be so difficult to get dressed to run outside in the winter. It is cold so you bundle up, and then as soon as you get going, you begin to overheat. It is such a fine balance. Over the years I have accumulated many different options to help me, but I still get it wrong. Before a big race, I always call my dad to ask him what I should wear. He always gets it right.
My favorite place to run is along the Schuylkill River Trail where there are no stop signs or cars to get in your way. Plus there are beautiful views along the river. The trail is flat and it can get extremely crowded at certain times of the day. The hardest part of running here is that it always makes my runs an out and back. Sometimes I run shorter distances and cheat and sometimes I run way to long and get tired on the way back. I have no self control!
I am lucky because I have a bike trainer in my apartment here. I can put my road bike on the trainer, which is more comfortable than a stationary bike, and ride at any time of the day. My trainer also has the ability to control the resistance for you, making you work. You pick a course and it forces you to do it, which has pros and cons for sure. It just gives me the ability to always work out which is nice on such crazy schedules!
Biking in my basement is also really hard and lonely. The courses range from one hour to two hours of sitting on a bike with nothing changing. Watching TV can be helpful, but you quickly run out of entertaining shows and just watch the clock tick. Running and working out is the best because it helps ensure that I do work out. They also help to push me when I would not have pushed myself. It can be so hard to coordinate with our hectic and different schedules.
I also love to go to yoga classes or spin classes at my school gym, but with my schedule I can never plan on making it a certain class. I am super competitive with sports and I end up pushing myself so much harder when I got to workout classes! I am looking forward some less hectic clinical rotations in the new year to make more of these classes.