But first… the biggest highlight of our week was getting our maternity shoot pictures!! Sharing some of our favorites below:
Jake Advanced to Candidacy (ATC)!! Prior to this, Jake was just a PhD student. Now, he is a PhD candidate! Wooo! Go Jake! It was a very stressful and busy week for him, as he prepared for his proposal presentation to his committee. It got to the point where even Cindy was getting worried and stressed! Jake has this amazing data set, but was struggling to find a research question to be answered with the data he has. He was coming to Cindy with a different research idea almost every day for the past couple of weeks to see if, as a plebe, she found the idea interesting or not lol. In the world of economics research, it’s all about what data you have access to and then finding questions that can be asked or answered with that data. In Jake’s ideal world, he would just be given access to the data he needs in order to answer the questions he already has.
At this presentation, Jake had to present his ideas for his dissertation and job market paper. This is the time to really wow the professors on his committee. His committee is made up of four professors, all of whom Jake has personally selected. And they guide and provide feedback as Jake presents ideas and papers to them. This was the first time all four professors were in the same “room” with Jake. It was a pretty big deal!
We’ve been joking that the baby is welcome to come any time after Jake ATC’s but NOT any time before that. We’re hoping she gives us a couple more weeks though– to enjoy, relax, and prepare. (we’ve got about 3 weeks left until her due date!)
Cindy’s Maternity Leave
As for Cindy, this was the first full week of her maternity leave! And she packed it full of social time. The nursery is basically ready so rather than waiting around for the baby to arrive, she wanted to use this time to catch up and hang out with friends and family. She hung out with her parents twice this week (3x including Mother’s Day)! She really enjoyed spending time with her parents and realizes this will be one of the last few times where it’ll just be her and her parents (baby-free). She’s really trying to cherish these moments.
On one of the days, they ate a light lunch at Clark Street Bakery (this place has THE BEST croissants in Los Angeles), walked down La Mesa Drive (in Santa Monica) and took in the view of the giant fig trees & million dollar houses, wandered around 3rd Street Promenade, and capped the night off with dinner at Din Tai Feng (where Jake and Cindy’s sister joined). The next day, they walked around Kenneth Hahn State Park and got lunch at Shake Shack! Her parents must be so tired from driving up to Los Angeles two days in a row, but Cindy is super happy and grateful for the time spent together.
She’s “scheduled” to hang out with her parents almost once a week until baby decides to arrive!
We had a great time celebrating each of our moms this past weekend– Jake’s mom on Friday & Cindy’s mom on Sunday.
For Jake’s mom, we celebrated with some pickleball (our first time playing!), board games (Bananagrams & Dixit), sushi for dinner, and some pie! As always, it was such an amazing time spent together.
For Cindy’s mom, we celebrated with board games (Sushi Go), dinner, post-dinner walk around the neighborhood, and some Sprinkles cupcakes! It was also an amazing time spent together.
We say this every year, but as we get older, we’re both growing more and more grateful for our parents and the time we have with them. This time next year, Cindy will get to celebrate her first Mother’s Day! Jake is lucky and will get to have his first Father’s Day this year!