Christmas in Florida

posted on: Monday, December 30, 2013


it was a beautiful Christmas. time spent with the people that mean the most to me in all the world. watching movies. playing with puppies. going to the beach in both 80- and 50-degree weather. cooking and eating more than 8 humans should be physically able to consume. laughing. crying. telling stories. asking ourselves what Dad would be doing if he were there. remembering him. missing him. 

one of my very best friends recently shared a quote with me that talks about the difference between happiness and joy. to paraphrase, happiness is a shallow emotion, and cannot exist where sorrow enters. joy, however, is deep and sustaining, arising from sorrow and able to withstand all grief. this is how i felt this Christmas. the grief was ever-present, and there were moments when it overwhelmed me. but the joy was constant as well. it was deep, genuine, and overwhelming in its own right. 

i am so thankful to have spent this holiday with these people. my people. 

i haven't shared this video anywhere before now. it was played at the celebration we had in honor of my dad's life (some might call it a funeral, but we respectfully disagree). i share it with you now to give you a glimpse of who we were missing, and to grant you a taste of our joy. it's real. and it sustains me. 



posted on: Saturday, December 21, 2013

last week--after a five month hiatus, where i was doing rotations elsewhere--i returned to the ER. before my first shift back, i was really nervous. i felt like i had completely forgotten Emergency Medicine at large. i worried that i would suck. being a senior resident in the ER means responsibility. not just for your patients, but you're also expected to manage the entire department, run traumas and take those trauma patients as your own if they don't go to the OR immediately, and staff the interns and medical students who are seeing patients on their own. it requires an incredible ability to multitask, and you have to be able to stay on task despite constant interruptions occurring every 18 seconds. and make sure--above all--that no one dies. 

so i was nervous. as you might imagine.

turns out that, for me anyway, practicing Emergency Medicine is kind of like riding a bike. i was a little wobbly my first shift back, but i hit my stride somewhere in my second shift, and was cruising by my third. it was affirming. like i'm meant to be doing this, or something. and no one died. high five. 

aside from practicing Emergency Medicine, i've been gearing up for Christmas. i finally got my Christmas cards out. i've eaten gingerbread macaroons. drank apple cider and Russian tea. i've gotten to help my mom out by playing elf to her Santa and doing some of the shopping for my siblings--which has been both impossible and exhilarating all at once. let's just say that the kind of shoe shopping these kiddos require is not one that i'm familiar with. but me and are now very well acquainted. 

today, Nick and I are heading to Florida to spend a balmy, tropical Christmas with my family. we're all hoping that there will be laughter and tears in something resembling equal amounts. 

speaking of tears, if you're in the mood for an ugly cry, here's a few links:

US military service members surprising their families on Christmas. need i say more? ok i will. as a service member, as the sister of a service member who was gone for the holidays, and as a daughter who is going through the first Christmas after losing her Dad, these videos killed me dead.

everything Kate writes is pure gold. add in a photo montage and some music and i'm a goner.

if you need to laugh instead...:

jennifer lawrence. forever and always. a tale about butt plugs. on Conan.

also, see American Hustle. it's funnier than i had originally envisioned. largely due to Jennifer Lawrence. 

a few more milestones, and this will--unfortunately--be me. i apologize for my obnoxiousness.

and if the above link made you want to shoot yourself in the head, this girl can sympathize.

and finally, here's some of what's been up...
because it just isn't Christmas until you've taken a photo by a lit tree with your dear friend and her dog.

someone instagrammed us instagramming. how mortifyingly violating. 

an instagram repeat, yes. but it was our only Christmas party, and it deserved documenting. and that is my new favorite dress. 

enjoy your last weekend before Christmas! hope this finds you doing something festive.
like battling foot traffic and TSA workers at an airport.

great expectation

posted on: Thursday, December 12, 2013

last weekend, i attended a church service at Duke Chapel in Durham, North Carolina. it was the second week of advent. having grown up in a denomination where the liturgical calendar was not a central theme, it was the first time i had truly characterized the advent season as a period of expectation.

if i'm honest, i've always thought of this season as one of anticipation. looking forward to Christmas, and the start of a new year, followed shortly by my birthday--the start of a new year for me personally as well. i get very contemplative in December, reflecting on the places from which i've come, and anticipating what the future will hold.

this week i was dealt with another heavy blow. i'm not ready to talk about it in detail, but it was almost equivalent with the "heavy blow" i was dealt in May of this year. no one is ever truly prepared to receive bad news, but i had lulled myself into a false sense of security. believed that i had been through enough this year, and was safe from further torment. but i was wrong. apparently there are no limits to what a person can reasonably be expected to stand.

i've spent much of this week hating on 2013 for having done me so dirty. and as i've waited for answers, i've also been anxiously awaiting the promise of a new year. this year, the advent season has so poignantly mirrored my life, as i've been caught in my own period of expectation. i've been reminded too, that there is joy in the waiting, if you look for it and allow yourself to experience it. this season has been overwhelmingly challenging thus far. and i've called bullshit on the whole thing more than a few times. but it has also been punctuated with moments of great joy. i will always remember 2013 as the year that taught me to look for those moments in the midst of my despair. and the year that i couldn't wait to be over.

Xmas Card Season

posted on: Friday, December 6, 2013

i'm making a list and checking it twice. on it are dozens of addresses. they are the places where the people we love, live. 

sometimes i feel silly and narcissistic about sending Christmas cards. it always seems presumptuous to me to bombard our friends and families with pictures of us, stories of our year, updates. as if their desire to know were a foregone conclusion.

it's like blogging, really. 

the same fear of coming across as overly egotistical. the same opening up of oneself to judgment. and the same catharsis. 

since Nick and I started our little family in 2010, the Christmas season hasn't felt complete until i've cozied up in a coffee shop with my stack of cards. choosing festive stamps from the Post Office. listening to festive music. feeling festive as i address each envelope, thinking for a moment about each recipient. hoping their day is brightened by a bit of mail. and hoping it finds them well. 

another reason i send cards is because i love so much to receive them. already our mailbox has been full of season's greetings, and opening each one has made my day. 

i don't know if you, too, get all Kathleen-Kelly-bouquets-of-freshly-sharpened-pencils about Christmas cards. and maybe you're a purist about your calligraphy. but another thing that has made my card-sending extra special is my return address stamp. it was made by my dear friend, Rachel, whose calligraphy is absolutely stunning. 

happy Xmas Card Season, everyone. 

p.s. click the pic for a link to the Etsy listing.

talking turkey

posted on: Tuesday, December 3, 2013

it's entirely too late to be attempting a Thanksgiving recap, but here i am. doing it anyway.
we're already three days in to this month of December, and it just feels like it's flying by already. so call this an attempt to slow down time with a bit of reflection. 

my family gathered here in Texas for the big meal. it had been about six months since i'd seen any of my family. i think we were all bracing ourselves for it to be really hard. we were too prepared. so, to me anyway, the Big Hole wasn't quite as glaring as i'd anticipated it to be. but it was there. the stark awareness that someone was missing would creep in when things got quiet. even though the food was delicious, and the company was wonderful, there was still someone missing. 

i didn't cry much then. i never seem to cry when i'm supposed to. it hits me later. in the car, in the shower. anywhere i can be truly alone. i think i try to hide my crying more now than i used to. even though people say for you to take all the time you need, you can tell that they're expecting you to be a little more over it than you currently are. so i hide it. sunglasses and fake colds work well. it's december. everyone has the sniffles. 

once Nick and i got home from Austin, we went to work decorating the house for Christmas. it was the best kind of work. i put on my Christmas Dream Team spotify playlist and let Sufjan, Mariah, Charlie Brown and Sinatra inspire me to don my most gay apparel as i decked those halls. the halls are still not completely decked, but i'm hoping to finish this week. if you want to feel better about how you've decorated YOUR house, just ask me to post some photos when i'm done...

this week, i wanted to continue in my merry-making, but i have to admit, the man is definitely getting me down. i'm way over this EMS rotation with all the vomit and blood and crouching and ambulance-induced motion sickness. i'm especially over the long hours, leaving no time for festive errand running or back-to-back Netflix episodes of Scandal. i want nothing more than to get cozy in a coffee shop with a hot beverage and stacks of Christmas cards that need addressing. or to find a replacement Christmas tree skirt (since ours has apparently gone missing?). or to finish start Christmas shopping and all the wrapping that goes with it. 

but here i am. headed off to give a presentation on EMS Considerations in HazMat Operations. a topic on which i am an expert. (??) wish me luck and send some extra Christmas spirit my way. i could use it! till it arrives (Amazon PrimeAir, anyone?), here's some memories to tide me over...

now THIS should have been our xmas card photo. darn.

the oldest, the youngest, and Mom.

he looks so proud. (:

this is the first time i've gotten to help pick the tree! had to be documented.

meeeerrrry christmas!

kicking off the holiday season

posted on: Tuesday, November 5, 2013

i've gone and broken the seal.
Christmas music season has officially begun in the Fleming household.
usually, i try to respect the sanctity of the Thanksgiving holiday, and hold off on going full-blown Christmas until after Black Friday. but then it just goes by way too fast, in my opinion. so this year, first week of November. it's go time.

it's also time to pick out Christmas cards. we've been faithful Minted fans since we Flemings became a thing.
let's take a walk down memory lane, shall we?

our Christmas card from 2011. which--oops--says 2012. it pays to proofread.

last year. i avoided the proofreading issue by including NO DATE. #winning

this year's top contenders are--you guessed it--also from Minted.

this year, Minted has added a couple of new features. the card directly above is from their Foil Pressed you can see, it's fancy. and the card above it is actually a postcard! perfect for when you're low on cash and indecisive about which backer to choose. (:

i was always raised to say "merry christmas" and not "happy holidays". the reasons for that are not germane to this discussion, but every year, i find myself in a bit of a conundrum about exactly which greeting to choose. which one is the most "us"? well this year it's going to be all about joy and merriment. because there just isn't a card that encompasses all that i've been through, so i've just decided to be joyful this year is coming to an end. besides, there's reason to believe that maybe this [next] year will be better than the last.

i don't know if all of you go through such existential crises when choosing a Christmas card. but if you do, you're not alone! and if you don't, then God bless you. and God bless us. everyone.

(and it's only November 5th. you may want to quit reading now. it could be a long December.)

*as you may have guessed, this is indeed a sponsored post. but those cards with our faces on them are the actual cards we sent out last year and the year before it. so needless to say, all opinions expressed are 100% my very own.

Merry Christmas from the Flemings

posted on: Monday, December 24, 2012

i can't wait to get back home to see this guy

hope you find yourselves surrounded by family and friends
with love in your hearts
and something delicious in your belly

the long nights are over

posted on: Friday, December 7, 2012

i don't know that i will ever fully be able to describe to you my experiences in the Trauma ICU
i'd have to use words like, "terrifying" "stressful" "dizzying"
every time i turned around i was putting out a fire
trying to stop someone from dying
i wasn't always successful...some injuries are just too devastating.
and sometimes, even when you literally break every single bone on the left side of your body, you manage to stay alive.

i got an incredible and humbling reminder of why i do what i do...WHERE i do it.
a CCATT (critical care air transport team) team dropped off a medevac in our ICU
the guy had lost his leg in an IED blast in Afghanistan 6 days ago.
he was the nicest patient i had the honor of taking care of
and just in case you forgot that our country is at war...i know i do sometimes
here's a reminder.

now i'm sitting here with my coffee and my pup, bundled up on my couch,
enjoying the Christmas decorations in our little house,
reminiscing about last night's date with my husband
we put a moratorium on iPhones, so i don't have any pictures
but it was perfect.
reunited after 5 days of opposite schedules and not seeing each other.

now that i've survived TICU nights, i feel like a huge weight has been lifted
and i can finally start to get my holiday on
today and tomorrow are all about Christmas...
cards, gifts, shopping
and i can't think of anything better to do with my days off

and i'll leave you with another
not-making-the-xmas-card-because-his-hand-is-on-my-ass shot

ladies, frost yourselves

posted on: Wednesday, November 28, 2012

here's a little snippet of our family Xmas card photo shoot

you're welcome.

oh you guys. it's been a hell of a week already.
to top it all off, i discovered today that this job,
which already sucks my time and my energy away,
has now laid claim to my youth and beauty as well.
i found. a gray. hair.
at first i thought it was just the light
but upon closer inspection, no such luck.

i'm doomed.
just bury me now.

i have so many emails to return to you guys.
you always give me props for being so honest.
this is not a trait of mine that has always been appreciated.
so thank you. (:

and i would LOVE to have you all over to my house tonight
because i'm throwing a party (!)
to help bolster my spirits about my craptastic holiday schedule.
it's a Stella & Dot jewelry party
with wine. and probably hot pink sequins. i won't lie.
and all of YOU can participate in spirit.
here's a link to my very own trunk show.
so go on...frost yourselves.
oooo gimme

a few

posted on: Thursday, January 5, 2012

i was bad about taking photos this holiday season.
go ahead, slap my hand.

here's a few of my faves.

the broheim and his lady.

i wuz there.

present for my mama. she likes red.

hungry beast.

a face i grew up with most of my life.

pretty sissy.

an old cuban. did the job nicely. 
 those first images were from my trip home to FL.
i feel bad that i left out half my family in these pics.
but in my defense, i was recovering from food poisoning.

now, we go back to Tejas.
mistletoe is a necessity.

christmas cards. LOVE getting them. (hint hint)

you need Cowboy boot stockings in Texas.

but you must also remember your roots. with a flamingo. unofficial FL state bird.

welcome to our house!

be proud of me. i hung wedding pictures.

more more places.


find the pickle...

ella's stocking.

it's a charlie brown-ish christmas in this house.

my Xmas eve view: hubby, kitty, a fire, and It's a Wonderful Life. and it is.
i don't know if i made this clear,
but Nick's out of town.
this is his vacay week. which is clearly different from my vacay week.
and that, my friends, is unfortunate.
(it's also a long story)

i was thinking about it though...
Nick and I have been together for 5 holiday seasons now.
and we've only spent one New Year's Eve together.
and we've NEVER spent an NYE together since we got married.
next year....
next year.

it flat-out sucked not having him here for my birthday.
yesterday i was suffering from post-bday blues.
i missed my huz.
i felt old (no thanks to my sibbies, who daily remind me that i'm ancient).
i felt lonely coming home to an empty house.
and frankly, i missed the attention.
i said it.

today was much better.
mostly because i bought new jeans.
and because i began my day to this jam:

what have we learned from this video?
VS models can't dance.

that sh*t cray.
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