Monday, December 15, 2008

Family Group Christmas Party

Dave and I hosted the annual FG Christmas Party at our house this year. It's always good food, good times, and good friends. The most exciting part about the party is our White Elephant game. Now, this is not your typical White Elephant, this is bring the most random crap that you can find at your house and wrap it beautifully White Elephant. It is quite humorous, I must say. This year Dave and I wrapped a recorder (from 6th grade) and an "Are you Smarter than a 5th Grader" lunch box & game set. Other gifts you might enjoy were old people perfume, red hot chili peppers (yes, actual peppers, not the CD), a Santa toilet seat cover, and the best gift of all - herpes! You might be thinking, What?!? Herpes?!? Yes, herpes, a stuffed animal version of the herpes virus. You might be able to spot it in the picture above, it's the yellow stuffed toy. Dustyn decided it would be a great dog toy! Haha! I just don't know what kind of company produces stuffed toy versions of STD's. What is this world coming to?

Thanks for coming guys. We had a great time! Love to you all and Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Yard Sale

Stuff, stuff and more stuff! Last week Dave and I decided that we had too much unnecessary junk - I seriously don't know where it all came from! So, we spent all week cleaning out every room in our house and created a huge pile of clothes, random bags, tons of VHS tapes, nick-knacks, picture frames, books, scrapbook items, towels, sheets, an old vacuum cleaner, a book shelf, and one of those circular chairs I just had to have when we got married. We priced everything and put it all outside our house on Saturday morning. Let me tell you, these yard sale people are crazy! The sun doesn't even come up until 7:00 am but people were there - before I was even done setting up. We had a great flow of people which I thought was really impressive since we live in the VERY back of our neighborhood; it's like a maze just to find our house. At the end of the day, we made $220 and sold a lot of stuff. Dave says the best sale was the random guy who came and bought 20 VHS tapes - the movies were priced at 50 cents each and he paid us 15 dollars! The clothes we didn't sell made great care packages for the homeless and the random things went to Goodwill. Oh, what a successful Saturday! :)

It is pretty invigorating to think that you can grab a bunch of junk out of your house, put it on your front lawn and make some extra cash - pretty much for doing nothing. I'm thinking we have some more stuff laying around this house we could sell. As Dave Ramsey says, "Sell so much stuff, the kids think they're next!" Or in our case, the dog thinks he's next. :) Hope you all had a great weekend!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving at the Russell's
Every year David and I travel to our home town of Tampa to celebrate Thanksgiving with family. Our families live 5 minutes from each other, which makes it easy to spend time with everyone. We always go to my family's Thanksgiving dinner in the afternoon and David's family dinner in the evening. By the end of it, we are stuffed! Here are some pictures from the Russell Family Thanksgiving...

My brother Jason, my sister Amber, Dave, and I all pose for a picture. My brother is definitely the goofy one out of the siblings as you can see in the picture to the right. :)

Here is the Russell/Carty/Welch Family picture. We take one every year to see how much everyone changes. It really is the only time of the year all of us get together, except for my Uncle Craig's wild and crazy Christmas parties every year! But then, people just dance on tables and fall into Christmas trees! :) That's another story!

Thanksgiving at the Smith's

After a complete meal, with desert and all, we hop in the car and travel over to our next set of festivities at the Smith Family Lake house. It's always a wild adventure over there and there sure is more scrumptious food to eat. Here are some pictures from the Smith Family Thanksgiving...

Here is Pop's preparing the turkey for the evening... mmm, looks delicious! And here is Jamie making a funny face at the turkey. This is just another normal day in the Smith Family Kitchen!

Me, Missy, and Jamie - the only girls at Thanksgiving this year. Sadly, we could not take our traditional Smith Family Portrait because we were missing quite a few members of the Smith family. Ryan was out doing his fire fighting duties and Casey & Rebecca recently moved to Minnesota and were unable to make it down for Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving in the Smith house just wasn't the same. But then, a surprise!

Welcome Home Casey & Rebecca!
Much to our surprise, on Saturday morning we came down the stairs to find Casey and Rebecca! They had flown in from Minnesota early that morning to surprise us all for Thanksgiving. It was so much fun to see them! In the end, we did get to take our Smith Kids Family Picture!

I hope you all had an eventful Thanksgiving. Happy Turkey Day from our crazy family to yours. Much Love to you all - Dani and Dave :)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Pediatric Interviews - Rounds 2 & 3

David had his second and third interviews this week for peds residency. He interviewed at UF on Monday and just got back from his Orlando interview today. I had the privilege to go with him on Sunday night to the UF peds dinner to meet some of the residents and hear a little bit about the program. We both left the dinner highly impressed with what UF has to offer, despite the lack of a free standing children's hospital. We actually did come to find that UF does have a free standing children's floor in Shands with it's own administration separate from "Big Shands," as it is called. This means that UF is on their way to having a separate children's hospital a few years down the road. Anyway, David thoroughly enjoyed his day at Shands, had a great round of interviews, and found the people to be engaging and down to earth. Aside from the fact that UF doesn't have the a lolly pop launch pad, arcade games, ball pits, and brightly painted halls, it's an incredible program and will offer a lot more teaching opportunities for David. It comes down to one question, do you want to become a great doctor or do you want to become great at arcade games? (David is on the fence) After 4 years of med-school and a LOT of money in school loans, I'll pick the great doctor. :)

Then comes Orlando, which like Wolfson, has an INCREDIBLE free standing children's hospital. There are actually 2 children's hospitals in Orlando, directly across the street from each other - Arnold Palmer Children's and Winnie Palmer Women & Babies Center. David said the Women & Babies Center is like a resort. He showed me the website when he got home and it was absolutely beautiful. It's literally like having a baby in an upscale resort. Tiger Woods actually rented out an entire floor when his wife gave birth. If you get some time, check it out. But, the actual children's hospital is a lot like Shands. Once again, David was impressed by the facilities, but the teaching just isn't up to par with UF. And, the residents said they work up to 90 hours per week, sometimes more. WHAT?!?! Not my husband! :)

So, after this week, our residency views are leaning a lot more towards staying at UF. Out of the three programs we are considering so far, UF beats them all. And, the perks of great friends, a great church, and my great job help a little as well. We will continue to keep you posted! Until then, much love to you! :)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Family Group Thanksgiving

David and I have the wonderful privilege to attend The Family Church here in Gainesville where we have an amazing support group of friends who we love dearly. Every year we have an annual Thanksgiving Feast with lots of food, fun, and CHARADES! Unfortunately, I had to attend solo this year because David was at his peds interview in Orlando, but a few other Family Group members traveled solo as well so we just pretended to be each others dates. :)Here is a picture of the group, minus David of course, and a few others. Sorry Zach, Beckett, Lauren, and Lance. My camera window just isn't big enough. :)

Me and my darling friend Kristy who is absolutely AMAZING! I just have to tell you how much I value our friendship dear. We are so alike which helps validate our insanity to one another, although our poor husbands hate it!

Here, Kristy and her sweet little girl, Evie Kate, are saddened by how extremely COLD it is going to be walking to the car. Evie was also a bit tired and I know she was so sad to say goodbye to me. :)

We are so blessed to have such a loving family of friends here in Gainesville. As we approach the time of med-school graduation and the start of pediatric residency, the thought of moving is difficult. We know that where ever the road may take us, there are more people for us to meet and more friends along the way. But, God has done so much in our lives these past 2 years and each of these individuals has played a significant role. We love you guys!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Old School Visit

How many of you have seen the movie Old School? It's a classic! A bunch of college graduate, professional level, old friends, decide that despite their age, they are going to get together and pretend to be in college again. Well, this past weekend 4 of our great college friends came into town for a visit - hence the title of this blog - Old School Visit. :) Now, don't worry, no debauchery took place, but what a fun time it was to hang with friends from college and reminisce about old memories. I know we are not that old and college really was only 4 years ago for us, but time flies by faster than you can imagine. Dave and I have been married almost 3 years, Beth and Andrew have been married for a year & a half, and Dan and Sara will be getting married this April. See, maybe we are OLD! :)

Saturday the Gators played USC and once again, it was another Gator victory! The weather was not the greatest, but as true Gator fans, we stood in the cold rain and supported our team. Before the game we went to the Med-School tail gate for free food and fun. It was just like old times.

Thanks for coming to visit! We enjoyed having you and hope we can do it again soon! Much Love to you! :)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Coon Hunting

After reading my sister in-law's blog about deer hunting, I was inspired to share with you a hunting story of our own. Last Saturday Dave and I went out to Williston (where I work) to watch the Gator game with a few friends. After a Gator victory and a lot of excitement, the Williston boys decided they wanted to show Dave what it was like to grow up in the country. So, we bundled up in our coats (b/c it was 38 degrees outside!), got in the pick-up truck, and drove out to 2,400 acres of open land to go COON HUNTING! Yes, raccoons, those little animals that you find rummaging through your trash at night. Adam drove while William used a spotlight to search the trees for coon eyes. Dave, Stephanie, and I sat in the back. After only 5 minutes of driving, a coon was spotted. "Stop the car, stop the car!" William shouted. Adam slammed on the brakes and all the boys hopped out of the car, gun in hand and ran to the HUGE oak tree. The first shot was fired - miss. The second shot was fired - a coon fell from the tree and began convulsing on the ground. It was the saddest sight to see. I literally teared up for the little creature. They may tear apart your garbage, but do they deserve to be shot and killed? However, it was a victory for the boys. After a few minutes of what seemed like a coon seizure, the coon finally settled down and they threw him in the back of the truck. We hunted a little longer, but only 1 coons life was taken. After getting back to the house, the boys wanted a picture with their prized coon capture and the dogs were very interested as well. We'll chalk it up to another day in the life of a country boy.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Pediatric Residency Interviews - Round 1

Hey everyone! We have finally entered into the final stages of medical school. I can't believe 4 years of medical school is coming to a close. Time sure does fly by. As this season ends a new season begins and for us, that is Pediatric Residency. The way residency acceptance works is a lot like sorority rush for you Greeks out there. The med students apply at various residency programs around the country. Then, they go on on interviews at the programs that liked their applications. After all the interviews are complete, each applicant ranks their programs in order from greatest interest to least interest, and the programs do the same to the candidates. All this wonderful information gets entered into a computer system and on March 19th (Match Day) the students find out which program they were accepted into. Sounds like a crazy mess, doesn't it!? We are just putting it in God's hands.

David had his first residency interview last Thursday. He interviewed at Wolfson Children's Hospital in Jacksonville and absolutely LOVED it. The program is a lot like the program at UF, with all the wonderful insurance perks that we are looking forward to, but the one thing Jax offers that UF doesn't is a CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL! :) David said the hospital is built in the shape of a castle and is inviting to children of all ages. He said the walls are painted bright colors, ball pits and arcade games fill the halls, the helicopter launch pad is a lolly pop, and the people who work there are happy & truly have a desire to work with children. The program seems to be family friendly and doesn't work their residents into the ground, which is a huge plus for us, because family comes before anything else, yes, even work! :) Another great plus for Jacksonville is we already have some great friends who live there that would make the moving transition a little easier. Friend perks are nice too! All things aside, David still has a few more interviews to go on, so we aren't making any definite decisions yet. But as of now, Jacksonville is ranked number 1.
Please keep our little family of 2 (+ our dog) in your thoughts and prayers as we make these life changing decisions. David interviews at Arnold Palmer Children's in Orlando and UF next week. We will keep you posted. Thanks for all your love and support! Until next time ... much love to you :)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Happy Halloween!

This year, my Halloween started on Wednesday when my school had a Character Dress up day for the kids. It was so much fun to see all the kids in their costumes. They were so cute! We had a transformer, a few ferries, a zebra, a cow girl, and even Sherlock Holmes showed up. :) I dressed up as Where's Waldo, but my kids didn't even know who he was. Don't worry, I broke out the books and we had a search party! Sherlock Holmes was a big help. Check out the photo below of my precious children. Don't worry, it's okay to awe at how adorable they are.

On Friday, we had an exciting day of fun fall activities. The kids got to paint pumpkins, make monster stew, decorate bat cookies, count candy corn, and have a scarecrow relay race. First grade is so much fun! Check out our scarecrow relay race pictures below.

Later on that night, Dave's parents came to visit us and we spent Halloween night in loving company with family. These are the days!

I hope Halloween treated you well this year!
Much Love to you, Dani & Dave

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Little Moments

Last Thursday Brad Paisely came to play at the O'Connell Center. Dave and I had tickets in the second section, straight out from the stage. Pretty exciting, huh? Well, little did we know that it was going to be even more exciting than that! :) As we approached Gate 1, there was an outside stage set up and a DJ asking for people to enter into a contest to win FRONT ROW tickets to the concert. All of the sudden, everyone Dave and I were with, including Dave, begin shouting my name and pointing hysterically at me. A few seconds later, I was entered into a singing contest with one other girl. We each had to choose a Brad Paisley song, get up on stage one at a time, and sing our best. The audience would vote to determine who would win. She chose to sing "Online" and I chose to sing "Little Moments." It was actually pretty fun and for a minute I wished I was a really talented musician/singer and could do this for a living, but God didn't bless me that way. :) However, he did bless me with the loudest applause and I won the FRONT ROW tickets. It was awesome. I have never been so close to the stage before. We could literally touch the stage and I even got to touch his hand. :) I never realized what a talented person he is. Not only is he the lead singer of his band, but he is the lead guitarist as well. Dave and I were definitely impressed. Even though you couldn't be there to enjoy the show with us, we hope you enjoy the pictures! :)

Brad with the red guitar!

Brad with the blue guitar!

Brad had many more guitars that he used as well. He is in to guitar fashion. :)

Check out the video below. This is one of my favorite songs!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Catching Up --- Woman's Retreat

So, I have come to the conclusion that blogging is a lot like scrap booking. Once you get behind, it feels impossible to catch up. Here is my attempt to catch up a little...

Last weekend I had the amazing opportunity to attend a Woman's Retreat put on through my church. It was such a wonderful time to get away from the day to day stresses of life and relax with a bunch of girls. So, last Friday, Kristy, Emily and I piled into Kristy's car and set out for Live Oak, which is where the retreat was. We have the directions in hand and get on I-75 headed North. We get off at the exit we think we are supposed to take and head west, just like the directions say. Twenty minutes later, we are in Fort White. Well, for those of you who are familiar with the surrounding area of Gainseville know that we were WAY off the track to Live Oak. After driving 40 minutes thinking we are headed towards Live Oak, we realize we are now an hour away from our destination. :) Here are some pictures from our driving adventure...

Emily and I posing at a free pregnancy testing center in Fort White. :)

We stopped here thinking we might ask for directions, ummm... maybe that's not such a good idea. :)

Yes, we have a GPS! No, it doesn't work! :(

We decide to make a "Pit Stop" and ask someone for directions.

Kristy and I posing at the "Pit Stop."

We finally got directions and arrived at the retreat an hour late. We didn't miss much and we had such an adventure getting there. God really wanted us to make some memories along the way. :) We can't argue with that. It was a great weekend and we had so much fun being together. We spent time with God and fellow shipped with others, we took nature walks, went canoeing (Emily has those pictures!), line danced, and drank some Starbucks coffee. What more could we ask for? I think the biggest thing I learned was that, yes, we all have trials and struggles going on in our day to day lives, but how often does God protect us from things we don't even know about? He will never give us more than we can handle and trusting in Him is the most important thing we can do.

Me, Kristy, and Emily saying goodbye to the beautiful nature of Camp Weed and our Woman's Retreat Adventure.
Until next time ... love to you all! :)

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Numero Uno

Our first blog post EVER! Enjoy... :)

Hello All! Well, it seems to me that blogging has become a great way to share our lives with each other these days, so I thought I'd give it a shot. I have enjoyed reading the blogs of a few of our friends, Kristy and Rebecca (who seems to have taken over Casey's blog :) and am excited to be hearing about your life. What a great way to stay connected, no matter how close or far we live from each other.

I thought I'd start by giving you a little background info on us...
Dave and I have been married for 2 and a half years, and together for a little over 6 years. We met the summer after our freshman year of college at the YMCA in Tampa where we are both originally from. It was a summer of love and little did we know, God had a life plan of love for us. We LOVE being married and wouldn't have it any other way. Dave is in his 4th year of medical school and recently submitted 10 residency applications to Pediatric programs around the country. Interviews start in November and Match Day is March 19th. We are excited to see what God has planned for us next. I am an elementary school teacher, currently teaching 1st grade, but have taught 3rd grade and Kindergarten previously. 1st grade is lots of fun and I am loving every minute of it. I had the opportunity of looping with my kids from Kindergarten last year to 1st grade this year. What an amazing experience it has been. I love my children! :) Dave and I have a black lab, named Maverick, who is pretending to be our child right now until the time is right for us to have some little ones of our own. My motherly instinct says we should have kids now, but Dave is the logical thinker and wants to wait until residency. I guess I can agree with that. :) For now, we are just enjoying the joys of being married, livin' on love, as the title of our blog states. We hope life is treating you well. Until next time... Love to you all! :)