marathon training, personal, veganism

I’m back from hiatus! Here’s a recap of my winter break :)

Hi blog!

About 5 weeks have come and gone, and I move back to college in 3 short days! I took a break from posting here as a sort of mental cleanse, and now I’m ready to update you on all of my life’s happenings. Here are some photos of my fun:

I feel like the best way for me to explain my break is to break it into one-or-two week chunks. I have labeled each chunk with the most important events that happened within it!

  • Alumni day and Christmas

Alumni Day at Northwest was on Dec 21 and I got to sit on the stage and give advice to baby juniors and seniors about college life. I got to dress nice and see lots of my high school friends (we bonded over the Death Wish that is college). Afterwards there was a lightly-attended pizza reception and I visited my favorite teachers and seniors. Later I met my friends at a local Italian place for a late lunch. It was funny because it was the group with which I eat dinner every night at school, except this time we were eating quality food at an actual eating establishment!

Christmas, as always, was an even mix of stress and fun. Every year I have a difficult time managing by uncontrollable excitement, stress, and extreme sadness at the holiday season coming to an end. On the morning of Christmas Eve (a Saturday) I ran 12 with my dad in the poouuurring rain and the whole way home my teeth chattered. The rest of the day went off without a hitch; church was fun and so was dinner and games at my grandparent’s new place at a retirement community (plus we were home before 10 because the retirement community is way closer than their old place in Damascus!)

I biked on Christmas morning and showered all before anyone woke up for presents. My dad suggested that I space out my presents to keep post-Christmas depression at bay; I was hesitant at first but agreed to try it. I opened a few presents with everyone else then resolved to open one present every hour of Christmas day. I ended up opening presents over the entire day, and even left two to open on the 26th! It was extremely helpful to my yearly blues. I got lots of fantastic presents like school supplies, dresses, calendars, Squishables, a Christmas Village piece, itty bittys, and a plush yeti I named Marshall. Marshall is my best friend and will absolutely be coming with me to college.

On Christmas evening we went to see La La Land, but it sold out (so magical!) so we saw Rogue One instead, which worked out fine because we all love Star Wars a lot (me and my dad and my brother enjoyed it the most, but I still prefer TFA!) Since we went to the movie earlier in the day than usual, we had time to watch the classic A Christmas Story when we got home while I ate falafel and potatoes and opened a present that turned out to be Marshall. Overall a good Christmas!

  • La La Land, shopping, and books!

Once Christmas was over, I forced my dad to take me to see La La Land, which I immediately fell completely in love with. It was breathtaking and life-altering. I would later force the rest of my family to go; no one enjoyed it quite as much as I did, but that’s okay. I bought a huge poster for my bedroom and it’s beautiful.

The next after-Christmas task was spending all my money. The months before Christmas, I worked on a comprehensive list of everything I needed to buy with my holiday money. I ended up buying flannels, new Camelbaks, a new phone case, school supplies, new brown riding boots AND new black riding boots, and an oversized denim jacket that I’m going to decorate with super adorable Disney patches!

With my other free time, I did a lot of reading. I read Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson, The Red Tent by Anita Diamant, All The Bright Places, Dark Matter by Blake Crouch, and I’m about to finish the wonderful The Time Traveler’s Wife. They were all 10/10, except maybe All The Bright Places, whose cliches make it more of an 8.5/10.


  • The death of Charlie and volunteer adventures

Charlie, my dog of 13 years, died on a Tuesday in early January. He was a sweet baby with a lot of health issues, and by the end was deaf and mostly blind and had lost control of his bowel movements. He was a good baby, and we were all with him when he was put to sleep. The next day I went to Michael’s and bought a bunch of scrapbook materials to memorialize him. It ended up very nice, with pages for all of his major events and activities, as well as a page for hand-written memories and a place for his collar and a snippet of his fur. It feels nice to have something solid to remember him by. Meanwhile, I have been surveying my other schnoodle, Maybe, for signs of canine depression, but other than being a little extra needy she seems to be okay. She is likely distracted by the very annoying and adorable guest dog in our home, Chewy, who follows her around and boops her on the nose to bug her.

Around this time I started to volunteer at my old middle school, where my mother conveniently works as a top-notch media specialist. She let me do stuff for her like scan the shelves and choose and wrap books for an upcoming Valentine’s day book event. I also helped other teachers with bulletin board displays and grading. It was fun and I was very grateful to feel useful and purposeful again!

  • The many doctor’s appointments and all the cleaning

Since June 2016, I have been steadily gaining weight, and I have also been experiencing a lot of tiredness, anxiety, coldness, and gastrointestinal issues. I decided to get some tests done while I was not in class! My OB/GYN ran a thyroid panel, which came back relatively normal except for a low free T3 level. She recommended I go see my primary care physician, which I did, and while she was unconcerned with the weight gain, she did give me blood work orders for a complete metabolic panel, vitamin D, and celiac disease. Yesterday morning I went in for a follow-up, but unfortunately the celiac panel isn’t back yet (she said she’d call in the next few days!). I found out I have a borderline deficient vitamin D level so she told me to take a special supplement. According to my online research, vitamin D deficiency could be the root of my coldness and tiredness! She also thinks I have IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), which would explain the acid reflux, GI distress, and constant bloating. While not officially diagnosed, I am supposed to try the low FODMAP diet and eliminate high FODMAP foods, like wheat gluten, apples, and certain vegetables and artifical sweeteners. I actually have been testing a 99% gluten free diet since last Friday, not only because I could have celiac disease, but also because my PCP mentioned that gluten is known to make IBS worse. I feel better already, but I won’t know the long-term effects of a gluten free diet until the two week mark. Unfortunately, it is going to be very difficult to stay low gluten and low FODMAP at the dining hall 🙁 when I get the call about my celiac I will make the final decision about what to do. Maybe I can keep some gluten free bread in my dorm and smuggle it into the dining hall for toasting purposes 🙂 plus I can always load up on rice and veggies and tofu! I will make do if I have to; feeling good GI-wise is more important to me than gluten right now.

In-between doctor’s appointments I have been doing a lot of spring cleaning and bingeing on New Girl and A Series of Unfortunate Events. Just this morning I gutted my bedroom desk and installed drawer organizers! My room is like OCD porn right now. So organized and clean and yum. I have also been reading a lot, like I said earlier. A few of my teachers have already posted syllabi so I have also been getting ahead on textbook outlines and Panopto lecture recordings; it never hurts to be a little ahead of everyone else!

I feel like this blog post is a good representation of my winter break; equal parts relaxing and busy. Before I forget, here are some other miscellaneous things I did:

  • baked brownies three times (two times with chunks, one time without)
  • baked peanut butter and chocolate chip cookies (vegan and gluten free!)
  • started tracking my food and exercise and symptoms on an app so I can get my IBS under control
  • went to the Clarksburg Premium Outlets in the rain with my dad and brother
  • colored many pictures in my Squishable coloring book
  • ate a lot of popcorn
  • gained 5 pounds
  • became a flannel girl!
  • burned a LOT of candles
  • crafts crafts crafts
  • watched a lot of movies! (Forrest Gump, Sausage Party, Defending Your Life, Idiocracy, The Invention of Lying, Hidden Figures (omg so good!!))

Anyway I am done with this post. Next Monday (not this Monday but next Monday) I will begin posting like a regular person again (once a week on Monday mornings). I move in on Monday and then classes begin on Wednesday. I am pretty nervous; please wish me luck on my second semester! Please pray that I will survive Orgo.


Emily G.

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