About Jenni, BSN, RN
My Info:
Jennifer Lin
10/27/02 Greetings from Rochester, Minnesota!  Well, guys, I've finally moved North & it definitely has been a change of pace for me.  The past few months were full of challenges with many ups & downs.  From the HESI to graduation to the NCLEX to starting my career here at the Mayo Clinic, I've had many stories to tell!  I really think I've worked my a** off & I'm so thankful for my new career.  I LOVE working at the Children's Hospital!

1/21/03 Wow, it's been a long time since I've updated this.  Just celebrated my 25th birthday.  As much as I was dreading it, I had a great weekend & thank my friends for keeping me company.  I got to go home to visit family & friends from Dec 27-Jan 1.  I get a week off in March, so I'm hoping to take a nice long vacation.  Please come me if any of you get a chance.  I know it's cold up here in Minnesota, but I promise there is stuff to do!

2/28/03 Off to Hawaii in 9 days!!

7/22/03 So many changes in the past few months.  I finally got a chance to go back down to Arkansas for a few days.  It was wonderful to see my parents & be back in the South.  I loved seeing all the trees & even though it was so humid, it was wonderful to get away from the drier Minnesota weather.  Of course, today in Rochester we're sitting in the 70s when Little Rock has a heat index in the 110s.  There never is enough time to stay for a visit though & to try to see everyone.  No idea when I'll be back in Arkansas.  Mom & Dad are headed up to meet me in Chicago over Labor Day weekend.  Lawrence's parents will be driving down from Canada.  It's going to be a BIG weekend!  We're both a little nervous about it, but the relationship is going so well & it's definitely about time we meet the parents & the parents meet each other.  Lawrence was just here this past weekend.  Even though I had to work, we hadn't seen each other in 4 weeks & we enjoyed the quality time together.  The 358 miles (5 hour drive) between my front door to his front door isn't easy sometimes, but we make it work.  Lawrence definitely has been putting more miles on his car.  For a while we were able to see each other almost every weekend. During the 4 week stretch apart, we discovered the Solitaire competition on MSN Messenger.  It's fun that we can play games on the computer together even though we can't see each other.  And thank goodness for unlimited nights & weekends on our phones.  I'll be in Chicago for this upcoming weekend.  We both took Friday off.  It's so much fun finding new things to do in Chicago.  Jack arrives in Chicago on Monday & is interning at George's dental clinic for a month.  We have tickets for Cirque du Soleil in August & I'll be spending a long weekend then too.  So lots of things planned for the next month or so.  August 5th is my one year anniversary here at the Mayo Clinic.  Soon I'll be looking to move to Chicago!

9/10/03 Labor Day weekend in Chicago was jam-packed!  It was wonderful to finally meet Lawrence's parents. Juliet & Scott brought the 3 kids up from Peoria.  Juliet's new title is "The Love Doctor."  We all had a blast!  Mom & Dad finally got a chance to get away from Arkansas.  We ate so much over the weekend.  Hopefully I can post pictures soon!  I have pictures up now from the Minnesota State Fair, which was so much fun!  I'm glad Lawrence was able to come up to Rochester that weekend.  It was a last minute plan & everybody that went had a great time!  I'm actually quite impressed with Minnesota's state fair!  Check out the front page of the Rochester Post-Bulletin 9/3/03!  It's me!!
              Amy Wallace & Eric Cowen - Married 8/31/03 in Little Rock, Arkansas.
              Dennis Liang & Kali - Engaged this summer in Moracco, presently reside in San          
               Francisco, California.
              Gina Caruso & Kevin Davis - To be married 9/27/03 in Sacramento, California.
              Claudia Clinton & Mikael - To be married 7/4/04 in Oklahoma, presently reside in        
             Coming soon!
              Lawrence & I head to
Toronto in October!!

10/7/03  Lawrence & I go to Michigan & Toronto in 2 days!  Anybody want to come over to help me pack while I'm working these evening shifts?  New pictures are being posted as I can get to them - thanks to my new printer/scanner/copier.  I may even get around to posting Hawaii pitures from last Spring!  Most will be found in Yahoo Photos or Webshots.  Let me know if you're interested in seeing Amy's wedding pictures.  They have posted them on Ofoto

               Dave Walters & Charlene Phinn - To be married 5/30/04 on the island of Tobago (near

10/14/03 First & foremost.....
               Rachel Bozysnki & Paul Richey - Engaged on 10/11/03 in Birmingham, Alabama.
                To be married 5/22/04 @ Pulaski Heights United Methodist Church in Little
                Rock, Arkansas.

              Lawrence & I are back from our vacation.  I'm still in Chicago this a.m. but heading       back to Rochester in the next hour or two.  Lawrence went back to work today.  We had a great time in Toronto with Dr. & Mrs. Chan.  Friday we went up the
CN Tower & overlooked the entire city & harbor.  Then we checked into our room at the Westin Harbour Castle Hotel which was right next door to Lawrence's Uncle's condo.  So no matter where we were, we had an awesome view of the water & of the city.  The hotel room was amazing.  We had two connecting rooms, which meant two Heavenly beds.  So comfy!  Later that evening, we had dinner at a restaurant called Filet of Sole & then turned the corner to catch Mamma Mia! If you haven't seen the show, go see it!  It's so funny!  Especially if you love ABBA songs!  Saturday morning we went swimming on the top floor of the condo.  Then we went out to the suburbs to have dim sum at the huge Pacific Mall!  I've never seen anything like it.  Such fresh chinese vegetables!  Later we went to the Eaton Centre & walked back towards the harbor via the underground mall.  That night we had sushi & received two complimentary dishes from the chef.  The best mackeral I've never eaten!  Then Lawrence & I headed uptown to visit his old high school friend Elizabeth.  We stayed that night at the condo.  Sunday morning Lawrence & I went jogging along the harborfront.  We took a boat tour that took us across to the islands so that we could see the Toronto skyline.  Had lunch at the condo & headed back to Michigan where we stayed with June & Hank.  Lawrence's nephews & niece are so adorable.  We headed back to Chicago yesterday morning & then I'm headed back to Rochester today.  Hope to have pictures up soon.  GO CUBS!

10/17/2003 Toronto & Michigan pictures are up.  Check out the Webshots photo album

Lawrence is here for the weekend.  After all my overtime & all the hours he's put in at the clinic this week, we're ready to just hibernate until it's time to go back to work.  Lawrence's dad took some pictures from Labor Day weekend.  They are up on the photo album.

We received our first snow flurry about a week ago.  I didn't think too much to it, but when I woke up at 6 am this morning & heard the ice pelting against my window....well, I knew it meant trouble.  Two hours later I woke up again & found Rochester completely covered in snow!  This is a sign of a bad winter.  I'm not looking forward to this....

11/19/03 Got back yesterday from a long weekend in Chicago.  Saturday night was jam-packed when Lawrence & I headed downtown.  We had dinner in Chinatown with his friend Peter from Toronto.  We walked all over downtown & got to see his hotel room at the Palmer Hilton.  Later that evening, Lawrence & I went to Eugene's birthday party.  We met some neat people & also go to see Eugene's brother Edward.  After the party, Lawrence & I were trying to walk back to the car.  We walked for such a long time - IN THE WRONG DIRECTION!  My aching, blistered feet!  You bet I got a foot rub after that!  We took a cab back to the House of Blues where we met with Amy Cowan, her husband, & her friends from Indiana.  By that time, it was so late we were all just exhausted.  Lawrence & I headed home & crashed! 

              Angela Paneck & Kevin Dahman - Engaged on 11/14/03 in Des Moines, Iowa. 
               To be married 8/7/2004 in Des Moines.
              Lana Davis & John Mayer- Engaged on 11/15/03 in Dallas, Texas.  To be married
               in 7/17/2004 @ St. James United Methodist Church in Little Rock, Arkansas.
            Coming soon!!
             Going home to Arkansas in one week!!

11/20/03 I'm now certified in Pediatric Advanced Life Support!

1/4/04 Happy New Year!  Hope everybody had a nice holiday.  Hard to believe that I've been here in Rochester for a year & a half.  Over the holidays, Lawrence & I were reminiscing how last December we met again & the communication began with that first email I sent him on Christmas Eve.  The day after Thanksgiving, I had the opportunity to go home to visit my parents for a few days.  Jack & I were able to be in Little Rock the same time for one night.  So it was just like old times when the four of us were sitting around the dinner table catching up on the latest.  I was able to drive down to Chicago to spend Christmas with Uncle Steve & Aunt Amy.  (Pictures are up already!)  Jack has been in Chicago these past couple of weeks interning at George's dental practice again.  I think it's been a good experience for him & we're very grateful to our relatives in Chicago who always open their homes & hearts to us.  Lawrence was also able to join us for Christmas before heading to Michigan to spend the weekend with his family.  So I was surounded by many loved-ones, though I missed sharing Christmas with the two most important people in my life - my parents.  I've been very fortunate this past year for my wonderful career here at Mayo.  It's been a wonderful experience as a new nurse & I've had many opportunities to meet fascinating kids and to challenge skills in various ways.  With that said, I'm officially announcing my move to Chicago.  My last day on Francis 3C will be January 15th.  I've accepted a position at Children's Memorial Hospital in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit.  I will begin on January 26th.  My hope is to move to Chicago by my birthday.  It was a hard decision to make, but I miss being near family & the drive between Rochester & Chicago has been harder for Lawrence & I with winter being so unpredictable.  I found a little studio apartment in Lincoln Park, only 3 blocks from the hospital.  Thanks to Lawrence & all those weekend trips I've been making to Chicago lately, I was able to find a place that is a bit bigger than normal studio & I'm paying less than I'm paying here in Rochester.  Lawrence has been so wonderful in bearing with my emotional stresses during this time.  I've even gotten myself sick this past week & he drove up after work on Friday to come take care of me & to head back the next day before the snow storm in Chicago hit.  I only have a few more days of work at Mayo.  Between now & then, I will be working on packing & I open my new apartment on January 8th.  See you in Chicago!

               Laura Skelton & Thomas Buford - To be married 6/5/04 @ at the Arts Center in Little
                Rock, Arkansas.
               Katie Wooley & John Dempster- Engaged on 12/25/03 in Little Rock, Arkansas.  To be
                married 5/22/04 in Lake Tahoe.

1/5/04 This poem was sent to me by Jeri Sehl, my mentor, after our last diversity meeting.

           The Buddha's Words on Kindness (Metta Sutta)

             This is what should be done
             By one who is skilled in goodness,
             And who knows the path of peace:
             Let them be able and upright,
             Straightforward and gentle in speech.
             Humble and not conceited,
             Contented and easily satisified.
             Unburdened with duties and frugal in their ways.
             Peaceful and calm, and wise and skillful,
             Not proud and demanding in nature.
             Let them not do the slightest thing
             That the wise would later reprove.
             Wishing:  In gladness and in safety,
             May all beings be at ease.
             Whatever living beings there may be;
             Whether they are weak or strong, omitting none,
             The great or the mighty, medium, short or small,
             The seen or the unseen,
             Those living near and far away,
             Those born and to-be-born,
             May all beings be at ease!

1/24/04 Well the move is coming along - I left Minnesota a day earlier than I had planned.  Surprisingly, it went better than my first move from Arkansas to Minnesota.  I had a small last minute problem with the movers, but I got my stuff on time & I'm settling into my new apartment & into Lawrence's.  It's very hard right now because I'm moving from a large one-bedroom to a medium studio apartment.  I never realized who much stuff I have - and 1/3 of it is at Lawrence's house!  Moving is such a hassle & I dread the fact that I'm only in this apartment for 9 months because it means I have to move all over again.  At the same time, I'm really looking forward to finding something more permanent in Chicago.  Otherwise everything has been fine.  I start orientation on Monday.  I'm only 3 blocks from the hospital, a very quick walk.  It's weird that I'm now living in Chicago because I was always here every other weekend or so - I'd come for the weekend & have to drive back before the weekend ended.  That last drive down here didn't phase me too much even though I knew I didn't have to make that drive back to Minnesota again.  It's a big adjustment though.  New city.  Big city.  I celebrated my 26th birthday here in Chicago.  Lawrence made it a "good" day for me.  We had lunch at Maggiano's Little Italy at the Oakbrook Center with Auntie & Uncle.  Tonight we are going to their house to celebrate the Chinese New Year with family.

3/14/04 I've been working at Children's Memorial now for 8 weeks.  How time flies by & how much can happen in that amount.  I've learned so much & experienced so much in just this short amount of time.  Just a couple of weeks ago, I lost my first patient.  It was a very difficult thing to experience.  I have missed working with kids that are able to talk & play with you.  The kids I see everyday are very sick kids & these parents are going through so much at the time.  I can't imagine what it is like to wake up everyday & to have to come to the hospital to be with your child.  I work long 12 hours shifts, but for these parents, it is a 24 hour, 7 days a week thing - on top of their own careers & paying bills!  These patients have been very challenging & every day we talk into the unit without any idea how the day will turn out.  Marilyn, my preceptor, says that I've been doing a great job.  She's been very supportive & given me many opportunities to take care of different types of patients.  I'm working a lot more independently now.  It was hard to have to start over again & to go through orientation again.  Now after 8 weeks, Marilyn thinks I'm ready to be on my own.  But I have been very fortunate in that Marilyn has been working for 30 years as a nurse & she has a lot of senority on our unit.  So she only works day shifts & no weekends.  So I've been able to follow her schedule.  Next week I'm going to nights for a week or so & then I'll be off orientation.  How scary!!  Lawrence & I have adjusted to these day shifts.  It's nice working 3 days a week.  When I have a day off, I either drive out to Lawrence's, or Lawrence will come pick me up from the city - depending on what day it is & how we expect parking will be.  We continue to do well & enjoy being much closer to each other.  A 40 minute drive beats a 5 hour drive.  We'll be celebrating our one year anniversary next week (the 22nd).  He's been so supportive during my move out here.  A couple of weekends ago, we went to Michigan & spent some time with his family.  We have our tickets purchased to go back to Arkansas in May.  Can you guys back home please send us some southern weather?  I'm craving some good warm weather for a chance!  I'll be glad to give you some of our snow!

3/29/04 Guess where I am right now.  In Arkansas!!!  Surprise!!  Last weekend I mentioned to Lawrence how nice it would be to be home.  So he said "why not?"  We looked into buying a ticket to Little Rock for the following weekend because I would have 5 days off.  So here I am, in Little Rock for 4 days.  My parents were completely surprised when I showed up.  First it was mom & she was just shocked when I walked in.  Then later dad shows up & turns around to find me standing there.  They both seem very happy.  Mom has gone all out & stocked the house with good food.  Yesterday was Rachel's kitchen shower in Little Rock.  So I got to surprise her too!  I walk in the door & she looks at me & realizes that it's me.  Her mom was shocked too, first saying hi to me & then realizing that it was me.  It was funny.  The shower was fun.  I got to perform my Maid of Honor duties by sitting next to Rachel & writing down the names of every person who got her a gift.  It took us an hour & a half to open presents.  I was so jealous of all the kitche stuff she got.....Lawrence knows how much I love kitchen stuff.  But it was a really nice time.  Pictures are already up online. I'm heading back to Chicago tomorrow night.

4/29/04 Well it's 3:30 am & I'm wide awake.  That's pretty normal in my life now.  Nights has really been a dramatic change in my life.  I really do enjoy working nights much better.  The pace is easier to work with & I've met some nice people around my age.  I definitely feel more independent at work.  Some nights are definitely better than others, but the whole aspect of never knowing day by day (or in my case night by night) what you're going to find as soon as you walk through that day, hasn't changed at all.  When I have a stretch of days off, I try really hard to switch my sleep schedule around so that I'm with the rest of the waking world.  But eventually I have to switch myself back to zombie mode for work.  Over the weekend, Lawrence & I went to Indianapolis.  He's taking another sports medicine class to complete his certification & will be making one night trips out there almost once a month until fall.  I tried hard to stay awake in the daytime so I could enjoy the city while he was in class & then I could sleep at night.  It was my first time out there with him.  I did pretty good, but as soon as we got in the car to go home, which was about noon on Sunday, I fell asleep until we got home & unloaded the car.  After that, I went back to bed & slept until about 10:30 pm when Lawrence went to bed.  I stayed up for about 10 minutes & went back to sleep until 3:45 am, watched TV for about 45 minutes & slept again until 6:30 am.  Then I was wide awake until about 3:30 pm when I got back to the city to take a nap before I had to get up at 5:30 pm to get ready to go to work.  Boy did I not want to get up.  Lawrence said he had never seen anybody sleep so much before.  I had a lot of sleep to catch up on though!

            Tony Lin (my cousin) & Lisa Miklas - To be married 9/4/04 in Chicago, Illinois.
            Katy Widder & Matt Henriksen- Engaged in Fayetteville, Arkansas on her birthday
             4/6/04. To be married 6/5/04 at her parents' home before they move to NYC.
            April Twaddle & Mike Wolcott - Married on 4/24/04 at her parents' home in North  
             Little Rock, Arkansas.

          Coming Soon!
            May 14-16 - Mom & I go to California for Jack's graduation.
            May 20-24 - Lawrence & I go to Arkansas for Rachel's wedding.
            May 24 - Jack moves to Chicago.

5/18/04 Just got back from California last night.  Some of the pictures are already up!  Mom & I met in Sacramento & drove out to Stockton on Friday.  We spent most of Friday helping Jack get all his stuff together to move out of his apartment.  It was a long day with the flying, the driving, and the packing.  Saturday morning was graduation, bright & early.  It was a beautiful day & luckily the COP graduation was early enough that we weren't siting in the sun.  By the time graduation was over, the sun was in full blast which made for good pictures.  After Jack checked out of his apartment, we were on the road with an SUV full of luggage, headed to San Francisco.  I didn't think we'd get to do or see much seeing as we didn't leave Stockton until 1 pm & it was a 2 hour drive.  We got to San Francisco & checked into the Renaissance Parc 55 Hotel, which was in the center of all downtown stuff.  I think we got a great spot, right next to where the trolley stops & they manually turn the trolley around on this round wooden thing.  We decided to walk to Chinatown since it was such a nice day & there were so many people around.  San Francisco was a very touristy area!  I was a little disappointed with Chinatown just because they were full of these little shops that sold cheap trinkets.  I didn't find a lot of authenticity to the place.  Barely even any restaurants & I couldn't find any really good bubble tea!  But my friend Dennis says that it is very touristy on Grant & that I needed to walk down to another street to find the reall chinese stuff.  But anyway we walked along Grant from one end to another.  When we were done, we realized that we were already half way to Fisherman's Wharf.  So we decided to just keep walking.  We made it to Fisherman's Wharf & had a great time there.  I loved all the vendors & street performers around.  It continued to be very touristy though, but we got nice views of Alcatraz Island & the Golden Gate Bridge.  We spent most of our time down in Fisherman's Wharf just walking around & then we sat down at a little table on the sidewalk & had dinner.  Mom bought us a yummy crab for $20 which was perfect for the 3 of us!  We ate & ate as we watched people walking all around us.  We decided to take the trolley back to our hotel since one end was Fisherman's Wharf & the other was where our hotel was.  So we rode the trolley the entire length & stood in the back with the conductor so we could partake in the view.  We got wquite lost driving Jack out to Oakland so that he could catch his midnight flight to Arkansas.  We eventually found our way & made it back to San Francisco safely.  The next morning we headed back to Sacramento & caught our flights.  I'm looking forward to being home this weekend for Rachel's wedding & Lawrence will also be joining us on his 30th birthday.  It'll be good to have everyone home at one time, plus Lawrence.  I think it will be a good weekend, though the beginning of the week is a little crazy for us right now with work & getting ready to leave again.  Jack will be coming back with us on Monday.  He's going to be living with me in my tiny studio apartment as he takes classes & works at George's clinic again.  It should be interesting, but I'm looking forward to it! 

5/27/04 It has been so busy these past couple of weeks.  As soon as I got back from California, I worked my 3 nights & the next morning went straight to the airport to head home to Arkansas for Rachel's wedding.  We had a great weekend, minus the mosquito bites I came back with, and it was just so wonderful to be all together under the same room again.  I got in Thursday & spent the day getting things here & there ready for Rachel's wedding weekend.  I also treated myself to a manicure & pedicure, though it was tough not to want to fall asleep as the lady was scrubbing my feet. Lawrence went on standby for an earlier flight & got to Little Rock before the bridesmaid's luncheon in Maumelle.  The luncheon was so much fun.  I sat with Rachel, her mom, her aunt, both grandmother's, her cousin, & Jamie (from high school) and I think our table was laughing the loudest!  We were all telling stories & it was just a lovely lunch.  Lawrence came with me to the rehearsal & the rehearsal dinner.  The coordinator went through everything so quickly & everyone kept telling me I had the most to remember during the wedding.  My big responsibility was the flower girls & to hold Rachel's bouquet.  I just had to remember to look at Paul's dad to make sure I didn't take off down the aisle without my escort.  The rehearsal dinner was at Whole Hog Cafe.  Afterwards, we celebrated Rachel's last night as a single woman with a good game of "granny-style" bowling.  Look for the pictures coming soon!  Can't forget that it was Lawrence's 30th birthday & Tyler Bozynski was also celebrating his birthday.  Saturday morning we headed to the church & it was amazing how time flew by.  It was great to see some familiar faces & to catch up with old friends.  I just wished there was more time!  After the wedding, Lawrence asked Mom if we could stop at a particular store.  I don't want to jinx it, but if you ask me I'll tell you a little more about the shopping escursion.  The family went to celebrate Lawrence's birthday with sushi at Benihana's.  He got a birthday song, his picture taken in a big red chef's hat, & Dad paid $5 for the guy behind the keyboard to sing another birthday song to him!  Later that night we celebrated at home with cake.  Before heading to bed, we met up with Jamie Goss & Richard Lum for a quick drink.  Sunday morning Lawrence & I hiked up Pinnacle Mountain - all weekend Lawrence complained that there were too many trees & hills in Arkansas.  Being that Lawrence is afraid of heights, I thought it appropriate to take him up Pinnacle.  We had a really nice hike & it got our stomaches ready for some yummy dim-sum.  Later that afternoon I got to see Jonathan Nettles & Mom made a big cookout dinner for us & we ended the evening by watching a movie together in the living room which closed out with my snoring on the couch.  We headed back to Chicago on Monday & since then Jack has been settling into my apartment here in Lincoln Park.  I definitely feel the mother in me coming out when I worry so much about my brother.  Lawrence tells me I have to let him take care of himself, but I have to be the overbearing sister that I am.  We'll see how it goes before we start having our sibling fights.  I'll just remind him who is paying the rent!

So congratulations to Rachel (Bozynski) & Paul Richey, Katie (Wooley) & John Dempster, & Amy's little brother on their marriages this past weekend!

Check out pictures from California & Arkansas on the Yahoo photo album!!

6/1/04 Congratulations!!!
             Eric Aguirre and Jessica Friese - Engaged in Rochester, Minnesota on 6/1/04.  To be
              married on 6/5/05.

6/8/04 What a neat & sports-packed weekend!  Last Saturday morning I got off work & slept for a couple of hours before having to get up & ready to head south to Soldier's Field for the Chicago Fire vs. DC United soccer game.  We purchased the tickets a while back when Jack heard that DC United would be in Chicago.  Jack really wanted to see that 14 year old Freddy Adu.  As much as I don't like watching sports, I actually enjoyed the game.  It wasn't a spectacular game, but we had fun & it was a good sport to watch.  As we're walking out of the game, Lawrence's boss calls us & asks if we want to go to a Cubs game the next day.  They had 4 tickets available.   I definitely wanted to go.  You can't live in Chicago & never have gone to Wrigley!!  Afterwards, Sherry picked us up & we all had dinner in Chinatown.  Unfortunately the restaurant found a way to sneak shrimp into almost every dish we ordered.  So there wasn't much for Sherry to eat & it was her treat.  On the way back to the suburbs, we picked up the tickets from Dr. Dana's house & then met up with Sherry at the Oakbrook Centre.  It was a very late night for Lawrence & I & we had to get up early.  The next morning we picked up my cousin Tony who was able to come to the game with us.  Nice thing was that he used to live just a couple of blocks from Wrigley so he had parking passes & knew the area well.  So we picked  my brother up from my apartment downtown & headed to the ballgame.  We got there really early so we had breakfast & beers before we headed in.  We had seats up in the bleachers, but they were  great view.  We didn't get to catch any balls from where we were, but it was just such a beautiful day.  Overall it was a great weekend though it doesn't give me any desire to watch ESPN.  But we had a lot of fun - beautiful weather, good hotdogs, tasty nachos, & a chance to enjoy Chicago!  Chicago Fire 3 - DC United 0.  Chicago Cubs 4 - Pittsburgh Pirates 1.  GO CHICAGO!!

6/25/04 Last weekend Lawrence & I went up to Fox Lake, Illinois where my Aunt & Uncle own a lakehouse that I went to many many years ago.  I thought it was a great opportunity to get away from the city for a while & to enjoy a relaxing weekend.  We had a great time!  Friday night Lawrence & I had dinner at Big Bowl in Schaumburg & got up to the lake house very late.  Saturday morning we woke up to a beautiful lake & the sound of water.  We went into the town to buy groceries & came back to make breakfast.  The only bad thing about the weekend was the well water that smelled like rotten eggs.  We had Lawrence's laptop, so we had rented several movies to watch.  We drove around town & went to the nearby state park.  Sunday morning we made breakfast together & then we went fishing!  It'd been a long time since I'd been fishing.  I'm not even sure I've ever caught a ish.  We met the neighbors who helped us with our fishing poles.  We even went to the bait shop & bought really yucky worms!!  Lawrence got bored of fishing pretty quick & I kept my patience.  I think we started fishing about 10:30 & by 1:30 I caught my first fish!!  It was a nice sized bass!  I was so excited, even the neighbors came out to see what the commotion was about.  Lawrence says he enjoyed seeing the look on my face when I caught the fish.  We debated for half an hour on whether or not to keep the fish, but we ended up throwing it back in the lake.  Lawrence decided to fish with me & very quickly he caught a catfish.  It was all so exciting!  We finished up around 2:30, had lunch, & watched more movies.  It was a very simple weekend.  Lawrence got lots of opportunities to take naps, which I think he enjoyed the most.  We got back to the suburbs by Sunday dinnertime.  It was a very good weekend.  Can I say it any more?  This weekend we're headed back to Indianapolis for Lawrence's sports medicine class. 

7/30/04 Almost a month since my last entry.  Can't say all that much has happened though.  Everything is going well & about the same.  A few friends have gotten married.  Lawrence & I are heading to Des Moines, Iowa next weekend for Angela & Kevin's wedding.  We're also making plans for our parents to be in town over the Labor Day weekend for Tony & Lisa's wedding.  They had their bridal shower last weekend & I was very happy to be able to see Juliet's kids during that week. 
Of course that was a tough week in that I sprained my ankle pretty bad while jogging one Sunday night with Lawrence.  I have no idea how I fell, but Lawrence says he turned around & saw my left knee bounce on the concrete.  My cries were not for my knee though, rather it was the terrible pain coming from my right ankle.  Lawrence carried me home & took care of me.  We went to the clinic to take xrays & do some muscle stimulation to help reduce the swelling.  We were gone for 3 hours!  We didn't get home until after midnight.  I had to take a couple of days off work & because I work 12 hour shifts, I pretty much got a whole week off.  I had to be on crutches briefly & the swelling came on the 2nd day.  Now it's just my knee that is trying to heal.  It's a pretty nasty abrasion that is making it hard for me to bend my knee.  I still have pain in the ankle, especially when I hyperflex or hyperextend or if I wear high heels.  I've been back to work though & just keeping my knee & ankle ace wrapped when I'm going to be on my feet for a long time. 
I have some friends that recently moved to Chicago.  I met them while I was living in Minnesota.  They were college friends of my friend Carlye.  Kim is pregnant & due in December.  Micah is working for a small engineering company downtown.  We've had them over dinner.  It's very nice to have friends in the suburbs. 
Lawrence has been working really hard at the clinic.  Lots of drama happening there.  I know he loves his job & works very hard at it.  But it sometimes means an early start & a late end to his day.  He tries to spend as much time as he can with me at home when he knows I'm in the suburbs, but it's a very stressful job when you manage a clinic. 
In a few weeks, Thaddeus & Jonathan are coming to Chicago for a visit.  I'm excited to have some old friends come visit!!  Hoepfully there will still be good weather & lots to do in the city.  It's right before Tony & Lisa's wedding, so it'll be a busy end of the month for us.

8/3/04 Congratulations!!!
             Kim Koch & Ben Sulllivan - Engaged in Rochester, Minnesota on 8/2/04.  To be
              married next fall.

8/10/04 Congratulations to Angela & Kevin who got married last Saturday in Des Moines.  Lawrence & I got to go to Iowa for their beautiful wedding.  It was held at a country club with an awesome view.  Angela & Kevin are here in Chicago this week for their honeymoon.  The drive to Iowa was fine, though I wasn't the one who drove.  I slept most of the way.  Lawrence didn't really find much in Des Moines, but he liked Iowa City quite a bit.  Enough to want to stop there twice at least.  On the way back to Chicago, we spent a couple of hours out there having lunch & looking at rings.  We passed the time on the road quizzing him on the state capitals (remember, Lawrence is Canadian).

8/18/04 After some talking & thinking, I've decided to move to the suburbs at the end of September when my lease with Cagan ends for my apt in Lincoln Park.  Lawrence & I weighed the pros/cons of my living in the city vs the suburbs.  We all know that I'm usually always in the suburbs anyway when I don't have to work & with my brother living with me this summer, the studio apartment got really cramped that I rarely spend any time there now.  Nobody has any idea what Jack's plans are for the rest of the year, but I had to make my decision based on my own happiness rather than what was going to work out whether or not Jack lives with me for the rest of the year.  So even though it means that I will have to commute AT LEAST 40 minutes every night I have to work, I think I will be happier in the suburbs where I don't have to worry about parking or traffic, I can have more room, get around easier...and the apartment that I found is in Willowbrook which is less than 10 minutes from Lawrence's, less than 10 in the other direction from Uncle & Auntie's, less than 5 from my cousin Tony's, & my friend Kim & her husband live close by too.  I'm right across the street from the Willowbrook clinic of Advanced Physicians Group, the main clinic of the company that Lawrence works for.  I got a one bedroom on the 2nd (top) floor.  It has a patio & the grounds have 2 pools, a 24 hour fitness center, & a tennis court.  We haven't seen the actual apartment, but the model we saw was the exact same as the one I'd get.  As soon as I told Jack, the next day he comes out to Lawrence's with a whole car load of my stuff.  I really don't live there anymore....funny that I'm still paying rent & the utilities there.  What a brother!  

8/27/04 It's been a busy week.  I worked a stretch of 4 nights so that I could have almost a week off.  I got some very difficult patients during that time & didn't think I'd make it through the week.  Thaddeus & Jonathan got in Wednesday night.  What a week to pick though - hot, humid, & rainy.  They had just missed almost a month of great cool weather.  They both got in late due to the rain storm passing over Illinois.  Thaddeus got in 2 hours late & I picked him up & we had dinner in Chinatown.  It was quite late & rainy.  We were greeted by a homeless guy who wanted to wash my windshield in the rain.  And then he kept following us into Chinatown.  Anyway we had dinner at Joy Yee's Noodle Shop & I got a big glass of mango bubble drink.  Jonathan was 4 hours late & so we had go back to Midway to get him, take them both to their hotel in Grant Park, & then I headed back to the suburbs.  I think I got to bed around 1 am & then Lawrence & I were awoken by the thunder & lightning around 4:30 am.  Not surprisingly, Lawrence considered just going in to work.  Things have been very busy at this clinic.  He's training 2 new chiros & a medical doctor.  He's had some very early starts & very late nights at the clinic.  It was nice though when Dr. Dana & Dr. Val surprised him with a big bonus in his last paycheck.  Lawrence has been working hard & accomodating to the constant rearranging of chiros & medical doctors from clinic to clinic.  Luckily he's the only one not having to move around.  Sounds like Lawrence is going to break Dr. Dana's record of 700 patients in one month.  Yesterday they were just one patient shy of 50 for the day.  This weekend is a triathlon in downtown Chicago & Lawrence has to go for marketing out there tomorrow.  We're hoping to meet up with some friends afterwards for dinner & maybe some clubbing.  Sherry really wants to take me to the Soundbar.  Yesterday I woke up late (due to the rude awakening in the middle of the night) & headed out to the city to have lunch with Sherry.  I got to see her clinic & do some shopping around North Avenue.  Later I met up with Jonathan & Thaddeus for some Chicago style pizza at Pizzeria Uno.  I haven't had Chicago style pizza since almost 2 years ago when I was visiting Chicago for job interviews & had dinner with my friends Cassie & Andy.  Tonight is Tony & Lisa's wedding rehearsal & dinner.   I guess Uncle & Auntie have designated me as the photographer.  I would assume that Tony & Lisa would hire a professional, but Auntie said she wanted family to take pictures too.  Can't wait until next week when Mom & Dad are here in Chicago for the wedding.  It's going to be quite a busy weekend!

           Teresa Belew & Jon Sproles (Community Bakery guy)- Married in Portland, Maine on 8/13/04.

8/30/04 Pictures are up from Angela & Kevin's wedding, Tony & Lisa's shower & rehearsal, and Jonathan & Thaddeus' visit to Chicago.  Email me for the Ofoto invite or you can check them out on the Yahoo album.  Here are some links to the professional pictures from Angela & Kevin's wedding:

Getting ready:  http://share.shutterfly.com/osi.jsp?i=EeAOGLZi3Zt2zow
Pre-ceremony:  http://share.shutterfly.com/osi.jsp?i=EeAOGLZi3Zt2zq4
Ceremony:  http://share.shutterfly.com/osi.jsp?i=EeAOGLZi3Zt2zsg
Reception, 1st half:  http://share.shutterfly.com/osi.jsp?i=EeAOGLZi3Zt2zuo
Reception, 2nd half:  http://share.shutterfly.com/osi.jsp?i=EeAOGLZi3Zt2zxQ

We've had a very busy weekend.  Lawrence had to work at the Chicago Triathlon on Saturday & later we met up with Sherry to have lunch in Vietnamese Town, then went to see her office in Lincoln Park.  We later met up with Jonathan, Thaddeus, James, & Julie up by Wrigley Field to have dinner at Bar Louie after they got back from the Cubs Game.  Such a yucky weather day though.  Lawrence & I called it a night after the long day.  Yesterday we met up with Lawrence's friend Rita & had lunch in Chinatown & then spent the rest of the napping & cleaning the house in preparation for the upcoming busy week!

9/10/04 What a crazy weekend!  Congratulations to my cousin Tony & my new cousin Lisa who got married this past weekend.  We had a blast celebrating their special day!  Pictures are up!  I'm so tired & got sick.  So no long entry today.

            Gina & Kevin Davis - To be EXPECTING a BABY GIRL to their family at the end of

9/19/04 Yesterday we went to look at cars.  After almost 8 hours, I came back home with a brand new 2005 red Toyota Camry!!  Ayeeeee!!!!!

10/5/04 It's been a busy weekend.  I've been taking care of a little infant with liver failure the past 3 nights.  I'm off for a few days, so I hope he & his family are doing okay.  They are on the list awaiting a liver.  Lawrence is currently in Canada.  He is up there for his green card interview!  We're very excited for this special time!  Tonight he is in Toronto with his parents & will get to go home to Morrisburg for the first time in over 5 years.  I've put a lot of miles on my car in just these few weeks.  The commute back & forth from the suburbs to the city can really add up.  I continue to love my new car though.  And we're very happy about the new apartment!!!  Last weekend we moved to Willowbook into the one bedroom apartment.  I think Jack misses downtown a little bit & is a little bored too, but he's working out a lot more now that we have a fitness center.  And it's just so easy to get to the video store or the grocery store.  I absolutely loved that I could take some of my stuff out of the boxes in Lawrence's basement.  There were so many things there I hadn't seen since I packed them away when I left Minnesota.  So there are little things I didn't realize I missed until I got to put them in their own little spot in the apartment.  There's just so much more room in the new place & it's a lot cozier.  And I love being so close to Lawrence's & my relatives.  Pictures of the new car & the apartment are up.  Also a couple of friends have updated their websites.  Dennis has added more of his photography on his website at http://www.fishavenue.net.  Angela put some of her wedding pictures together on her weddding website at http://kevinandangela.home.att.net. 

10/8/04 Congratulations to Lawrence on receiving his Green Card!  I love you!

10/8/04 I got home from work this morning & Lawrence proposed to me.  We're engaged!!

10/13/04 So I've finally come down a bit from the high of the engagement.  Now that we're starting to make plans, it's actually been quite busy & a bit stressful.  I'm trying very hard to catch up on my sleep but it's hard when you're trying to sleep during business hours & to be awake during the night when everybody else is asleep.  Lawrence seems to be doing the brunt of the phone calls during his free time between work & sleep.  We try to catch each other on the phone  for a few minutes while one of us is at work to update on wedding plans.  First on our list of things to do is to find a ceremony/reception site so we can finalize the date of our wedding.  We're shooting for Labor Day weekend. 
Saturday after I got off work I went home to get some sleep.  Lawrence had to attend a CPR class to get his certification before he takes his sports medicine exam next month.  After he got home, we spent some time catching up on some errands & then we spent a quiet evening at home making a list of things to do for the wedding.  I had been planning a surprise party for him the 6th when he got his green card.  Apparently my Aunt & Uncle (our matchmakers) had known about the proposal for over a week.  The week before Lawrence, Jack & I had gone to a potluck to celebrate the new Autumn Moon (Chinese holiday) with my Aunt & Uncle.  He had apparently asked them that night if he could go over for dinner with them the next night.  That is when the matchmakers were asked to inform my parents to expect a call from Lawrence.  Lawrence called my parents Thursday night.  He proposed to me Friday morning.  But while Lawrence was away in Canada, I had called my Aunt to discuss having a party to celebrate Lawrence's green card.  I found it quite odd that she wanted me to wait to see if he would even get the green card & she said that they had all these other plans.  But the reason was because she had known all along that he was going to propose to me. 
We did get to celebrate.  All weekend I tried to figure out a way to get Lawrence to go up to Schaumburg with me to have sushi at Todai.  Sunday morning I woke up & told Lawrence that we should go out to eat for lunch for our engagement & that I wanted to pick the restaurant.  At first he didn't want to go out to eat, but he eventually agreed to go.  So we went to Todai.  It wasn't until we got to the door & I said that we had reservations for 8 people that he realized that there were other people coming.
After brunch, Sherry & I went wedding gown shopping.  We shopped until dinnertime. It feels odd doing this without my Mom.  We took pictures, but that just isn't the same.  

10/17/04 It's been a very stressful week.  It seems like every free moment that we weren't sleeping or working is consumed with wedding planning.  We really wanted to have our reception site & wedding date finalized by the end of the week & I think we've actually done it.  But like I said, it's been very stressful & frustrating getting to this point.  Friday night we went over to Auntie & Uncle's house to just kind of talk out our ideas & share our top choices with them.  I think that helped us realize what we wanted & what was important to us.  After a week of visiting hotels & making tons of calls, we were just tired of it because we realized how expensive weddings can be & we can't have our dream wedding.  Or at least I can't.  As much as I want to have an authentic chinese wedding, it's just not possible here.  No one can cater to that unless you have lots of money or want to just do it at a restaurant. 
We pretty much decided that we wanted to keep the wedding in the suburbs.  Of course we were worried about things like transportation for our out of town guests, especially on the long weekend.  But then again if you think about getting married downtown, you have to worry about parking & traffic - two reasons why I left the city.  The other thing was that I had to realize that I couldn't have an authentic eastern theme to my wedding, so I had to just let that go.  So we're going to have an authentic chinese meal for the rehearsal dinner & then we'll have a western wedding.  So we've been trying to figure out the location.  Some places have the Labor Day weekend booked already & it wasn't until later in the week that we realized that we could only pick certain dates to marry because of chinese fortune that says that you have to marry on "good days."  So we were left with September 4th & the 17th.  Well that was easy for us since we knew we'd rather have Labor Day weekend.  It means we'll have to marry on a Sunday, but we also get cheaper rates that way.  So it was pretty much down to two places:  Doubletree Suites in Downers Grove & the Renaissance Hotel in Oakbrook.  The Doubletree is nice in that they have an atrium where we can have our ceremony & cocktail hour before everyone heads to the banquet room.  We stayed at the Doubletree for Tony & Lisa's wedding & it was nice.  They have suites.  Only thing is that Doubletree is on the other side of Butterfield Road, about 10 minutes from Oakbrook Mall where a lot of the shopping is at.  We didn't think it would be very convenient for our out of town guests who didn't have a car.  The Renaissance Hotel is right there at the Oakbrook Mall.  They have a 9th floor banquet room that has windows on 3 sides.  It'd have a really nice view & is in the heart of all the shopping that there would be tons of hotels for our guests to choose from if they didn't want to stay at the same hotel with us.  There are tons of stores & restaurants to choose from.  Last night Lawrence & I we went to check out a Phillipino wedding going on there.  We think it will be very nice though I'm a little worried about the camera light flashing off the windows.
Anyway I think we've decided to have the wedding at the Renaissance Hotel Oakbrook on September 4, 2005.  Whew!  Now we can plan the fun stuff!! 
This weekend we're just staying home & relaxing.  Saturday we slept most of the day away.  I think for the next year we're going to be trying to save every penny possible for this wedding. 

We were quite busy during that first week of our engagement.  After we finally decided where we really wanted to have our wedding & the date, we were able to start enjoying our engagement.  There were times Lawrence & I just had to take some time away from wedding planning.  But now we're back on trying to get some things checked off our list.  We really haven't checked off anything except that we signed the contract with Renassiance Hotel, so the date & location are secured.  The dress shopping is going slowly.  I did get to go shopping with Kim Langseth one afternoon & we tried on several dresses at one place.  I think I'm realizing a little more & more as I research & try things that I get more of a sense of my style.  I was never one of those girls who had their whole wedding planned out when they were little.  The thing is that every time I'd find a top I liked, I didn't like the train.  Or if I liked the train, then I didn't like the top.  So we're still looking.  Very sweet....Angela & Kevin came into Chicago last night so that Angela could spend a day with me dress shopping.  It means so much to me!!  She's been great about giving me advice on planning a wedding....especially on a budget.  Lawrence & I have had several talks about our budget & the wedding.  It's very stressful & frustrating.  But I'm looking forward to my day with Angela.  Of course, I'm at work today & will get off at 7:30 am, meaning that I won't get much sleep today before I spend a whole day dress shopping.  But it will be lots of fun & I can sleep in on Sunday while Lawrence studies for his exam.  (We're headed to St. Louis next weekend for his sports medicine exam.  He got us a hotel at Union Station.) 
I've also been interviewing florists.  On Thursday, I  woke up after only a couple of hours of sleep & went to Elmhurst to meet with Karen about the centerpiece flowers that come with our wedding package with the hotel.  Karen was really nice & had a lot of great ideas.  And I think she helped point out what my style is.  Later I drove out to Berwyn to meet with Tammy who also gave me some ideas.  Both places will supply our centerpiece flowers - I just have to choose one.  But we're also trying to find a good deal on the other flowers like the bridal & bridesmaids bouquets.  Next week I meet with some independent florists to see what they can offer.  I've been spending a lot of time on The Knot.  There is this message board that is broken into different topics.  There is one that is focused on local talk, so I'm reading a lot of advice, reviews, & recommendations from other newlyweds & soon to be wedded.  I've even posted a couple of things.  But it's so helpful hearing from other people planning their weddings.  You can look at people's bios and they post pictures of their ideas & people they're working with.  Girls already married show pictures from their wedding & talk about the vendors they went through.  It's very helpful!  Lawrence thinks it's funny how often I'm on it.  It's my newest addiction.  Anyway I didn't get much sleep Thursday after I got off work in the morning due to the florists.  Then later that night I drove down to Orland Park to have dinner at Hooters with the people he works with at the clinic.  I'd never been to a Hooters before.  But we had a nice time.  Lawrence & I stayed up late just talking in bed.  Nothing about the wedding.  Just stuff.  There were tears & laughter.  But most important, we were together & it's those little moments we have together that remind me how much I do him.  Does the though of marriage scare me?  Yes & no.  Lawrence is a good person & I know that we love each other.  We have our ups & downs, but no matter what I know that Lawrence will always be there for me, protect his family, and have a practical & realistic outlook on life.  I think about how it was our similarities that brought us together, but it's our differences & how we make them work together in our relationship that keeps us together.  Because no matter what, the values & beliefs that brought us together is always there. 

11/16/04 Congratulations!!!
                Carlye Johnson & Tim Tomyck engaged 11/13/04 in Minneapolis, MN.

12/7/04 We're still waiting to hear news about Kim & Micah's baby.  She was due two days ago & no phone call yet.  Carlye was able to come visit us last week though.  The four of us got together for dinner after Carlye & I spent a few hours bridesmaid & bridal gown shopping in the Chicago suburbs.  So great to see her! 
Thanksgiving was spent in Little Rock, but that wasn't without a difficult trip.  I work 4 straight nights & ended the last shift with a cold that almost ruined the entire trip.  Jack & I are still trying to get over this bug.  But the very long day at the airport didn't help, especially with the lack of sleep I'd had.  Lawrence took us to the airport at 9:30 am in the hopes of catching the earlier flight by going on standby.  We should have known better being that it was the busiest travel day & then Chicago gets hit with the first snow of the season...all 6 inches.  When we finally did end up on the plane, we sat there for an hour & a half as they de-iced the plane.  By that time the snow was quite heavy that we weren't sure we'd actually get out of the city.  But we did finally touch down into Little Rock at 5:30 pm.  And enjoyed the TLC that we got from Mom & Dad during our entire time home. 
Mom & I did get to do some bridal gown shopping.  Se even drove all the way out to Brinkley, Arkansas!  I think mom loved going shopping with me & I'm so happy that I got to do that with her.  We did end up finding a dress & it is being ordered.  Also got to see Thaddeus, Jonathan, & Nathan one of the nights I was back home.  In the midst of my feeling yucky, I also got a chance to attend the Amy's annual Christmas party.  It has been years since I'd been to one of those.  So nice to see some old friends.
Lawrence & I put up the Christmas tree a couple of days ago.  We're going to start getting into the Christmas spirit.  Hopefully the weather will be nice this weekend that we can do some shopping.  Not really sure where we're going to spend Christmas this year.  I'm supposed to work Christmas night & through the weekend. 
Okay I'm going upstairs now to wake Lawrence up so he can go to work.

Spoke too soon!  Congratulations to Kim & Micah Langseth....new mommy & daddy to Collin Reeves Langseth born at 8:41 a.m. at 7 lbs, 2 oz and 20 inches long at Hinsdale Hospital.

1/18/05 Well, another year!  I'm officially 56 minutes into my 27th birthday.  Oddly, it really hasn't even bothered me.  Do you guys remember how horrific my 25th birthday was?  Maybe all this wedding stuff has just been too stressful & consuming that I haven't had time to think about the fact that I'm getting some extra grey hairs on my head.  I didn't really think anybody looked at this website, but today my good friend Lana sent me an IM asking for the link.  With the wedding planning, I haven't really updated it much.  I've actually been working on a website for my attendants so that they could see each other's pictures & help me decide on bridesmaid dresses as I find time to go out & look for them.  I was actually really excited about the website because it turned out nicely.  A little cheesy, yes, but as Lawernce will tell you I'm a complete Knot addict & it'd be a Knottie thing to do.  You guys would laugh if you knew how many times a day I check the Chicago boards.
So let me think what has happened in the last month.  Well Christmas was nice.  The weekend before, Lawrence & I drove up to Northville, Michigan to be with his family.  We had a relaxing time, but the crazy part was when we drove back we were stuck in a lake effect snow storm.  I'd never seen anything like it.  We made it to the Indiana border & all of the sudden the sky was black.  It just all of the sudden started snowing & hard!  We didn't get very far when we were stuck in probably 2 feet of snow on I-90.  Traffic was stopped & people were getting out of their cars.  Luckily we had foot & water in the car.  It was a bit hard to make a cell phone call because everybody else around us were tying up the signals.  At one point we were one mile from the next exit, which happened to be a rest stop.  Lawrence & I debated whether one of us should walk it to get to the restroom, but we didn't want to get split up.  Other people go out & walked it though.  After a while we finally made it to the rest stop & it was complete chaos there.  I can't even begin to start describing it.  We kept hearing on the radio that the highways in NW Indiana were closed & that there were tons of cars in the ditch & the National Guard was being called out.  Our 3 1/2 hour drove turned in 7 hours!  And the odd thing is that as soon as you passed the lake effect snow, Illinois was completely clear!  I'd never seen so much snow in my life. 
Christmas Eve was spent with my Chicago relatives.  We had dinner at Cousin Tony & Lisa's house.  It was really nice this year because we didn't have to stress about gifts.  We all got to spend Christmas together as a family.  Unfortunately my parents couldn't make it up, especially since Arkansas got hit with a bad snow storm. 
As for wedding plans, we're moving along nicely.  Hopefully you received a Save The Date card with our holiday card this year.  We signed our contracts with the photographer, the DJ, & one of our florists.  Not only do I have my wedding gown, but I think I may have the Chinese qi-pao (traditional dress) that I got from Lawrence's mom.  I may still try to see if my relatives from Taiwan can get me a nicer one, but at least I have one option at this point.  I just couldn't find anything I liked here in Chinatown & the quality really wasn't that good.  Now we're working on finding the bridesmaid & flower girl dresses.  As you all know, Lawrence is quite a planner too, so he's has been pretty active in the wedding planning, unlike most guys I hear about.  We've been very stressed with our engagement party, which will include a tea ceremony in April.  We've been trying to work out our engagement gifts & finding someone to make our chinese engagement cakes which are given from the groom's family to all of the bride's relatives.  Can I just tell you how difficult it is to find Chinese resources here?  Lawrence has also been looking into his tuxes, but it's been difficult when two of his groomsmen live in Canada & they have different stores there compared to the United States.  We also purchased our plane tickets for the honeymoon.  We've decided to go to Maui for a week.  We were able to get non-stop flights from Chicago on American Airlines.  We used frequent flyer mile for one ticket & purchased the other one.  We're hoping to priceline for our hotel rooms so that we can avoid paying the "per person, per night" costs so that we can do some adventure stuff.  Maui is definitely very expensive!
We do have two websites available for you all to get wedding information:

The Knot & The Wedding Channel

In February, Lawrence & I are going on the Disney cruise with his family.  It'll be a lot of fun.  Lawrence & I are going a day early & we'll spend a night in Orlando.  Not really sure what we'll do there since we'll only be there for less than 24 hours.  May not be worth it to go to Disney World or Universal Studios.  But we'll see.  Then the cruise will be 4 nights & will head towards the Bahamas.  Great timing with winter hitting Chicago. 
Work is going well & we've been staying busy.  I've been taking care of pretty much the same patient for the past few weeks.  I've had a patient who received a liver transplant over a month ago.  The family is Chinese, so it's been nice to be able to put my Mandarin to test.  I think I've been doing well in communicating with this family.  Without revealing too much information, the patient is doing well though it is a slow progression.  Otherwise I don't really know what else is going on in the unit except that we're staying pretty busy.  We recently opened the last phase to the PICU expansion.  I have yet to really check out the next part of the ICU, but we're now functioning at our complete 42 bed unit. 
As for my birthday today?  Well Lawrence has to work all day, so I'll spend most of today just relaxing & working on wedding stuff.  I may try to head up to Schaumburg to do a little shopping.  Lawrence has promised me that he'll take me to Chinatown for dinner.  It's our favorite place to go out to eat & we even have a favorite restaurant.  Okay time for me to go to sleep.  Good night.

2/8/05 We're heading to the Bahamas!!  This Saturday Lawrence & I are heading to Florida to spend one night in Orlando.  Then we'll drive to Port Canaveral on Sunday & meet up with his family (his parents,  his sister, brother in law, & the 3 nephews & niece.  From there we'll be boarding the Disney cruise for 4 nights!  So exciting!  Tonight is my last night of work for 2 weeks & I'm going to enjoy it!  My plan is to switch myself to a normal schedule early this week so that I can be ready to wake up every day.  Of course it wouldn't be bad to sleep in, but I'd rather be sleeping while I'm laying out in the sun.  But who knows, maybe Lawrence will sleep in with me.  But with 3 kids, I doubt we'll be able to! 
                               Happy CHINESE New Year!!

3/15/05 We had a fabulous time on the Disney cruise!  I highly recommend it.  I think it was the first time Lawrence actually said that he felt like he was on vacation.  I think it made him realize how important it is to take some time off at least once a year to get away from work & to just relax.  We ate so much good food & just enjoyed the awesome weather.  It was definitely hard to come back home & to realize that we had to cook our own food & clean our own dishes, make our own beds, & bundle up in layers and layers before walking out the door.  It was so nice not worrying about work or wedding planning.  Pictures of the trip are up!
Work has been so busy!  I've recently begun precepting experience RNs who are new to our unit/hospital.  At the end of this month I'm going to begin training as relief charge nurse, which I'm really looking forward to.  We've had a lot of really sick kids come through lately & some very sad cases. 
I have a few congratulations to catch up on!
              Katherine & Chris Dalby - Expecting their baby girl Elisa Kate on July 5th.
              Gina & Kevin Davis - Welcome their new baby girl Natalie Paige born 2/11/05 at
               5:13 pm, 7 lbs 8 oz, 19 1/2 inches.
              Michelle Chang & Mark - Engaged on 3/13/05 in Dallas, TX
Our engagement party is coming up soon.  Both our parents & some relatives will be here in April to help celebrate our engagement on April 10th.  We're going to start the weekend by going to the Yo Yo Ma concert downtown.  Lawrence & I will also have our tasting at the reception site.  Lawrence & I will celebrate our 2 year dating anniversary on March 22nd.

4/5/05 Our engagement party is coming up this weekend.  Lawrence & I were hard at work this past weekend getting the last minute stuff together & we supercleaned his house.  We were so proud of ourselves when we looked around the house & realized how nice it looked.  Lawrence's mom will arrive this Wednesday.  My mother will arrive Friday morning.  The rest of both our families will arrive on Saturday.  Lawrence's closest uncle will also be joining us.  It will be my first time to meet him & his first time to see Lawrence's house.
So many of you have asked about our engagement party & what it will include.  Unfortunately I'm not really sure.  We have tweaked some traditions & it's really a time for both families to get together & acknowledge the engagement as official.  Lawrence's family will come to my Aunt & Uncle's home where we will host them.  During that time, Lawrence's family will present my family with traditional engagement cakes which were made in Toronto.  I know that Lawrence's family has also arranged to present all of my relatives in Taiwan with engagement cakes.  I wish I could try the cakes in Taiwan!  But they're not typical cakes that you & think about.  These are special chinese cakes for engagements.  Each family that I'm related to will receive one.  Traditionally the girl's family can ask the boy's family for any 12 items.  But we agreed to 6 items that will be given as gifts from both sides of the famlies at the party.  So my parents will present Lawrence with 6 gifts & vice versa.  Then I will serve tea to Lawrence's family & relatives but this will not be the traditional tea ceremony that is performed on the wedding day.  I will not be wearing the traditional chinese qi pao either.  This will take place in September.
As far as wedding plans go, we've hit the 5 month mark, which is very scary because we still have so much to do!  I did receive my wedding dress & veil, which I happily met the UPS guy at the door & proceeded to put on the dress & veil, then pranced around the apartment in delight!
More announcements!
            Happy Birthday to my brother Jack who turned 23 on Saturday!
            Angela & Kevin Dahman - Congratulations to Angela who got a new job with Walgreen Co.
             in the Corporate Communications Department in employee publications.  They were here
             over the weekend looking for a rental & a job transfer for Kevin.  They will be moving
             here mid-April.  We're looking forward to having them closer.
ICQ:  15969634
Yahoo:  JMarieL00
MSN:  LinJeiMei@hotmail.com
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