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