Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Olympic Memories

I don't really have any memories of the Olympics when I was little. I am not sure if we didn't watch them, or if just nothing stood out in my mind until 1996 in Atlanta. I was 16 when the Olympics were there, which is just a few hours south of where I live.  But as life would have it, we were on the other side of the country during the games.  All the way in Hawaii for a family vacation of a lifetime.  Our internal clocks were a mess, so we found ourselves up insane hours according to Hawaii, but very logical hours for Atlanta.  So we watched.  And watch and watched and watched. 

I mostly remember the gymnastics.  The vault of all vaults on the broken foot.  And I remember the love of the games growing, sitting there with my family in the middle of the Hawaiian night.  It's one of my favorite Olympic memories, not the vault, but the time together as a family. 

Last night as I got Henry dressed for bed he asked if he could watch the Olympics in Mama and Papa's bed.  It felt like a great idea to me. Bedtimes are flexible, if my boy wants to watch the games with his Mama every four years I am 100% okay with ignoring the clock. 

We get into bed and are watching some swimming races.  At first he is laying down and I think he might fall right to sleep, but then he sits up and starts to watch a little closer.  It's the Michael Phelps semifinals for the 200 butterfly.  Not even a medal race.  But he is watching as they dive in, watching as they make their first turn, then the second.

"Mama... are they swimming fast?"

"Yes baby!  They are swimming very fast!"


"That's right Henry!  Are they like Nemo?"

"No Mama.  They Fast like MCQUEEN! "

a few seconds later I cheer as Phelps touches the wall first, making it to the finals tomorrow night.  Henry shouts "HE WON!! HE WON MAMA!! DID HE WIN?  HE WON!!!!!!!!"  He grabs my arm, all smiles, "DID HE WIN, MAMA?  HE WON!!"

It might not be his first Olympic memory, twenty years from now he will say he was too little to remember the London games.  But from now until forever it will be one of my favorites.  Watching my boy cheer for an American swimming legend, in a small, uneventful semifinal swim.  Watching him just starting to love the games. Sharing a moment with him, sharing something with him I love. 

It was a great Olympic Memory.  Right up there with the one in Hawaii sixteen years ago.   Not the swim, but the memory of me and him, laying there watching it together.


Monday, July 30, 2012

Cici is TWO!

So this was a big weekend around here. A very special girl turned TWO!
Cici's 2nd Birthday
Can't you tell how excited she is about it?

The party was amazing, as was our big birthday girl.  It truly could not have gone better.  We had amazing weather, a ton of family and friends, and an all around great time.  Do you want to see some pictures?  I gotta tell you, there are a lot of them.  And at the bottom of the post I will also put up her birthday slideshow of all the great pictures of our girl from this year.  It's Cici overload! 

(I can't think of captions for all these pictures, so at some point you start to get one word statements of fact.  I am an excellent blogger.  I know)

Cici's 2nd Birthday
Our girl is in love with Barney, and let me tell you, there is not a lot of Barney stuff out there these days! Still, we did a lot of purple and green and it all came together so great
! Cici's 2nd Birthday
Cici with her mama and daddy. Boo and Chris decided to rent a shelter at our local park rather than do it in the back yard and it was so perfect! Around 40 people were there and we had a blast
Cici's 2nd Birthday
Sisters with the birthday girl
 Cici's 2nd Birthday
The birthday sign. That cricket always comes in handy
Cici's 2nd Birthday
Relaxing to the max
Cici's 2nd Birthday
A family picture I really wish I was in!
Cici's 2nd Birthday
Aunt Jan and Uncle

Cici's 2nd Birthday
Cici's 2nd Birthday
Cici's 2nd Birthday
More Friends!
Cici's 2nd Birthday
Cici's 2nd Birthday
Four Generations
Cici's 2nd Birthday
Hanging Out
Cici's 2nd Birthday
There was singing (this one makes me laugh so hard)
Cici's 2nd Birthday
and Cake!
Cici's 2nd Birthday
Out of town family!
Cici's 2nd Birthday
More Games!
 Cici's 2nd Birthday
More friends!
Cici's 2nd Birthday
And family!
 Cici's 2nd Birthday
and friends!
Cici's 2nd Birthday
and family!
Cici's 2nd Birthday
It was a perfect day for our perfect girl. We are so lucky that she is ours.

Here is her birthday slideshow.  A year of Cici.  We love her so.

song: What Makes You Beautiful by One Direction

Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Care and Handling of Roses with Thorns: A BlogHer Book Club Review

**This is a paid review for BlogHer Book Club, but as always, my thoughts and opinions are my own**

The Care and Handling of Roses with Thorns by Margaret Dilloway gives you a lead character, Gal Garner, who in an odd way manages to be both unlikeable and endearing at the same time. I spent the entire book deciding if I did or didn't like her.  Gal, a biology teacher at a private school in California, suffers from kidney disease and has been on dialysis for the last eight years.  Before that, she has undergone two kidney transplants and is fighting to get back on the list for a third.  She is a hard nosed woman, who never questions if she is right or wrong, she is simply always right.   She lives alone, gardens all the time in an attempt to produce an award winning new species of rose, and seems relatively oblivious to her own cantankerous nature. 

But then her fifteen year old niece shows up on her door step and slowly begins to change Gal.  The change is gradual, and not at all perfect, but it feels real.  The characters of this story are so well written, even when you don't agree with them, you always seems to understand them.  The book reminds you that people and roses are really very alike, they are actually more beautiful because of their thorns.  You just have to know how to handle them correctly, and eventually just accept them for who they are.

We will be discussing The Care and Handling of Roses with Thorns over at the BlogHer Book Club this month.  Come join the conversation!

Tickle Bug

So Henry kinda has an imaginary friend.  I mean, he isn't exactly imaginary in the classic sense of imaginary friends because he isn't invisible.  He lives in your hand, which is totally reasonable, right?  His name is Tickle Bug, and you guys, Henry loves him beyond words.

This is all really Nick's doing.  You see, Nick is the best person at playing pretend you have ever met.  Seriously.  You think you know somebody who is awesome at it?  You have no idea.  Nick can turn a crouton into hours of entertainment as he brings it to life.  TO LIFE people.  I swear sometimes I watch him and I am sucked in and as entertained as Henry.  It is a gift.

Anyway, at some point Nick brought Tickle Bug to life, not just as a tickle game, but as an actual little creature.  He walks around, jumps, trips falls... he loves to be petted and he takes naps, he gets his feelings hurt if you are mean to him and he will do tricks if you ask nicely.  He is kinda sorta a member of the family. 

And the real magic is in the fact that Henry understands that every single person has the ability to make TWO tickle bugs.  He will declare he wants "TOO MANY TICKLE BUGS!!" which means he wants us all to make tickle bugs out of our hands and have them stack into a tower, which then falls down.  It's a real crowd pleaser.  He tells us he wants "Funny Tickle Bug" which is when tickle bug runs across his bedroom wall to turn off the light, makes a jump for the door and misses, falling to the ground (or sometimes the door handle, if I am lazy).  He plays sometimes I will just look over at him and he has his hand in the Tickle Bug  position, sitting in his other palm. He will just say "Tickle Bug Wants to see too!". 

Tickle bug comes in handy in lots of other ways too.  You know all those pictures of Henry smiling?  It isn't just because he loves his Mama, it's because Tickle Bug jumped on top of the camera.
And Tickle Bug makes Henry brave.  When he was afraid to go down the slide at the swimming pool, he decided him and tickle bug would do it together.  Sometimes having a friend with him, even if he is imaginary friend, makes it feel a little easier to do new things.  And sometimes new things are hard for Henry, so this is an amazing gift Tickle Bug has given us.

So we love Tickle Bug at our house.  I even thought about writing a children's book about him*.  I mean, Tickle bug Is really pretty awesome.  And what is better than a beloved children's tale where the main character lives in your hand and is always with you?  The could make Tickle Bug toys and games, it could be HUGE!  Then one day Nick decided to make a Tickle Bug out of play-doh.
And... well... he looked sorta creepy.

Now I find the Play-Doh Tickle Bug around the house and I do not love this tickle bug nearly as much.  The other day he was on top of the head of one of my Willow Trees. It was startling.

  Anyway, maybe tickle bug isn't for the masses, or maybe we just don't need tickle bug toys.  But in our house, for our boy, the Tickle Bug is a pretty amazing game  friend.  We all have grown pretty attached to him.

*Dibs on my tickle bug book idea.  I will know if you steal it, so don't do that.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

A Bio Girl Makeover!

Okay, first thing's first.  You are going to need to click out of your reader and come look at my blog. 
Go ahead.  I will wait for you.  CLICK. (that's just a link to my blog.  Nothing sneaky)

So are you here?  Everybody?


Bio Girl has had a make over!  (Courtesy of the Amazing Blog Sites by Suzy)

Did you really click over?  CLICK! 

Pretty nice makeover, right?

(from here on out I am going to go into great detail about said makeover.  If you don't really care about my thoughts and feeeeeeelings on the matter, it's okay to click away now.  But if you want to leave a comment first, that would be really fun for me.)

Okay, you are still here?  And you are okay with me rambling about this makeover for a little bit?  GREAT!

So, what do you think?  Better?  Cleaner? A nice remodel of a rather long running blog?  I know it's pretty different, but... wait, do you remember what my blog looked like yesterday?  How long has it been since you were actually here?  Okay, here is a screen shot.
Bio Girl ScreenShot2

Remember? I mean, it has looked pretty much exactly like this for five years.  I have been wanting to update it for awhile.  My template was so old it was designed before most people had wide screen monitors**.  That meant the space I typed was relatively narrow, which sometimes made my posts look like they went on F-O-R-E-V-E-R.  Add that in with the fact that every picture I posted I had to edit because the default flickr size was too wide for my skinny little writing space, AND include the fact that my sidebars were a pack rats dream after five years of neglect, and it was time.  I wanted tabs! (see the tabs at the top with the 'about bio girl', 'the best of bio girl', ect. ?  Those are new and awesome. Look for a couple more to pop up over the next week or so), I wanted different colors, I wanted it to look new, but also look familiar so people who have been reading for a long time still know it's me.  I wanted to keep my awesome header (thanks again Liz!) but rethink pretty much everything else.

So my sweet friend (and talented site designer) Suzy put this together for me.  She was awesome and wonderful and so very good at dealing with my neurotic self and all my questions... You guys, I drove myself a little crazy with the emails about things I see on all those other random blogs out there.  I went back and forth on colors (translation: poor Suzy had to change the color scheme about ten times), but when she found the graph paper I knew we had it.  (Did you notice it looks like graph paper?  Because I am Bio Girl... with the science...and the paper...cute, right?)  Anyway, I may be the only person who remotely cares about  this Overhaul, but it makes me extremely happy.  I hope you all like it too.

If you need a blog redesign, please ask Suzy.  She is great, she is super reasonably priced, and she lets you have as much input in the process as you want.  Plus, all the money she makes goes to her adoption, so you get a new site and they get a little closer to their family being complete!  Everybody wins!

Now just for fun, I will once again show you the reason  you should NOT ask me to design your site. Here is the original Bio Girl, which I PROUDLY designed myself.

Pretty nice, right??

**Do you still not have a flat screen monitor and now the page is a little too big for your screen?  I can tell you how to fix that!  Not just for my blog, but for websites in general that have gotten wider.  All you do is hold down the CTRL button and scroll with the mouse.  Is it changing size?  Pretty nice, right?  I may or may not know this because SOMEONE (Henry) zoomed in our computer screen and I was reading what must have been legally blind sized large font for a couple days before I googled how in the heck do you shrink your screen.  You are welcome.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The Chaperone: A BlogHer Book Club Review

**This is a paid review by BlogHer, but as always, my thoughts and opinions are my own**

The Chaperone by Laura Moriarty is one of my favorite books of 2012.  I absolutely loved it and you should all read it because it is awesome. The End.

(For some reason I just want to end my review here for emphasis, like "BAM*!  That's all you get!  Go check it out!"  but alas, I don't think BlogHer would like it.  So we shall continue on with me telling you WHY it was so enjoyable)

The book is the fictional story of the Cora Carlisle, the chaperone who accompanied a fifteen year old Louise Brooks, a real life famous 1920's silent film actress and flapper, to New  York from Wichita Kansasa in the summer of 1922.  It is a unique angle for the author to have taken. Everything, aside from personal conversations, written about Louise Brooks is true.  But Cora Carlisle, her life and her family, are completely fictional.  Louise's actual chaperone was a woman named Alice Mills and Louise's memoirs barely mentions her.  And even though Louise Brooks is famous and...well... REAL, this is not her story.  She is a sideline character and the key to a turning point in the life of Cora Carlisle.  The book is Cora's story.

And this story of Cora, oh it is something. She begins the book with her twin sons away for the summer before college.  She is a house wife to a wealthy lawyer in Wichita, and for reasons initially unexplained, she signs on to be Louise's chaperone for this six weeks in New York.  As the book unfolds you learn many of Cora's secrets. The twists and turns that you discover will explain how she came to Wichita, and then to New York with this soon to be famous, uncontrollable adolescent. In New York Cora's life is changed, both by Louise and by what she finds in the city. The timeline for the book spans the majority of the 20th century, and takes on the subjects of adoption trains, prohibition, equal rights for minorities, birth control and the women's movement. You follow along as Cora lives through World War 2, the Dust Bowl and many other life and nation altering events.

The Chaperone is such an interesting look the 20th century.  It weaves together a story that keeps you entertained, while also teaching you things about our own history. It wasn't necessarily a late night page turner because I JUST HAD TO KNOW THE END.  It was just a great story, from start to finish.  And when I was done, I had absolutely nothing to complain.  I just loved it from start to finish.  It is definitely worth reading.

We will be discussing The Chaperone with the BlogHer Book Club for the next several weeks.  Come join the conversation!

*I don't actually ever shout BAM at people.  Just so you know.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Emily and Josh Get Married!

So Nick and I had a big wedding this weekend! Does it seem like we go to a lot of weddings?  I seem to blog about our regular wedding attendance more than the average mommy blogger.  But maybe that's because you all attend your weddings and don't feel the need to take exactly one billion pictures.  To each their own, I guess.

Emily and Josh's Wedding
My cousin Emily got married this weekend, and it was wonderful! How adorable are they?
 Emily and Josh's Wedding
So we got to the ceremony, and I went to turn on my camera, and nothing happened. I hit the "on" button exactly 12,325,674 times and still... I got nothing. It was dead. So all these pictures were taken with my cell phone, because the idea of NOT taking pictures was completely out of the question. Look at these two, I needed to photograph them!
Emily and Josh's Wedding
Everything about this wedding was so beautiful. The church, the reception, the bride. Really, it was all awesome.
Emily and Josh's Wedding
The cake. Also beautiful. And all the food was A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. Emily and Josh's Wedding
The Grooms cake was from Dr. Who, which according to a guy from my work who likes that show, is awesome.
Emily and Josh's Wedding
Me and Nick were thre. We looked pretty sharp.
Emily and Josh's Wedding
 As did my adorable parents
Emily and Josh's Wedding
And other members of my (also adorable) family
Emily and Josh's Wedding
I don't know if you remember, but a couple of years ago I told you about my cousin who passed away in a terrible accident. That was Daniel, Emily's brother. And he was very present in the moment of his big sisters amazing day.
Emily and Josh's Wedding
Seeing the family this happy, it was good for my heart.
 Emily and Josh's Wedding
The bride and groom with on their first dance
 Emily and Josh's Wedding
My Uncle Danny and his baby girl
Emily and Josh's Wedding
The retreiving of the garter. How cute is she?
 Emily and Josh's Wedding
Congratulations Emily and Josh! It was a beautiful day and we were so happy to be a part of it.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Big Decisions

I am rolling right along with my masters program.  Were you curious about how that was going?  Well, it's going great!  I am actually taking a class this summer and it is so interesting and motivating and makes me want to GET OUT THERE RIGHT NOW AND MAKE A DIFFERENCE!  It's a good feeling.

Of course, there is a cost to taking classes while working full time and being a mom.  It's exhausting.  And that's okay, it's only for a short time, but I want to make sure all this effort and time is worth it.  I want to come out the other end of this with a focus and more importantly, with the potential for a new career.  I have loved the work I have done in the environmental field for the last seven years, but I know I am ready for a change. I see the area of public health as a way I can make a difference, and I am so excited to have that opportunity on the horizon.

I met yesterday with an advisor about where I want to spend my time in the field.  This degree requires 200 hours of field work, and where I choose to spend my time will have a lot to do with where I get a job after graduation.  So she asked me," what do I want to do?"

I have no idea.  Or not really  NO idea, but I have so many ideas.  So many wonderful sounding ideas that I cannot seem to make myself choose one.  There are big decisions like do I want to stay at the University and work in research or do I want to do more on the ground work and be stationed in a health department?  And then more specific questions.  Do I want to work in women's health, in cancer research or treatment, in equality within our city?  Do I want to focus on bring vaccines to the masses?  Do I want to help fight obesity and diabetes? Do I want to do broad stroke research on why violence against women occurs and how to stop it? 

Everything.  I want to do everything.  And that is a good problem to have.  I can't decide how I want to make a difference, because it all sounds worth my time and energy.  So I have some thinking to do over the next couple weeks.  Where to place my focus.  I think I have already decided to divide my time evenly between research and the health department, but as of a specific area of focus, I am just not sure.  But what I do know already, is that this will be a life changing experience.  And I cannot wait.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Dove VisibleCare Body Wash-A BlogHer Review and $500 Spa Giveaway!

I loved to take baths. I was that kid who took such long baths that I turned completely pruned and would have to drain half the tub of lukewarm water and refill it with hot two or three times because I just wasn't quite ready to move on from the joy of bath time just yet. It's kinda funny because the other day Henry was taking a bath and for the first time he asked for more hot water. It's strange the way kids are like their parents in the oddest way. Is there a place on our DNA that says 'you are generically predisposed to love laying around in hot baths all day long' ? Apparently the answer is yes.
Anyway, as I got a little older and entered my middle and high school years my love of baths turned in to a love of body wash. I was going to the mall every few weeks to spend an insane amount of money on body wash, lotion and body spray. I doused myself in it, and to be honest I assume my scent was possibly a little over powering. Actually I don't assume that, my husband has told me that it's true. I smelled good, but STRONG.

Eventually infertility and motherhood took it's toll and one of the things to get cut from our budget was the expensive bath gels and lotions from the mall. I started just buying whatever I found on the shelf for cheap at the grocery store and did a quick scrub down in the quickest shower known to man. Or known to woman, or mother. I guess that's the way of life. Extra minutes like lazy bath and shower time are eventually cut from the time budget of life once things get busy and life gets full. It's one of the answers to every mother's age old question 'what did I used to do with all my extra time?' but deep down I knew that I missed that 'me time'.  So when Dove and BlogHer asked if was willing to review the new Dove VisibleCare Creme Body Wash I was all for it. Especially when they pointed out that they really wanted me to take some time for myself, to relax and really enjoy the product.

I mean... I will do what it takes to please the client and give you all an honest review.

I have been using the body washfor several weeks, and I can tell you I am absolutely in love. I didn't realize how much I was depriving myself with my randomly selected off-brand bath wash, but now I remember. I had the Softening Creme Body wash, and my skin is so soft that I actually skipped using lotion for several days. (Full disclaimer, this is only because I ran out of lotion and hadn't been to the store to get more, but STILL... skin was soft and lovely even without lotion in 100 degree heat)  (Second disclaimer.  yes, it was 100 degrees outside, but to be honest, I was inside.  So soft and smooth in 73 degree AC). The Body Wash smells wonderful and my skin looks so healthy.  Plus you can get Dove products pretty much anywhere and it costs less than $7 a bottle. So, no extra trips to the mall, no insane price, and it makes you feel pretty and your skin feel amazing. Oh, and it reminded me that I really do like to pamper myself a little with my me time in the bath every once and awhile. Something everybody needs to take the time to remember.

So, now you know to pick up a bottle of Dove VisibleCare body wash next time you are at the store. And maybe you are also a little interested in your own quality me-time. Well that works out well! Dove and BlogHer are giving away two $500 Spa Gift Packages. All you have to do follow the links below and answer this question:

What is your favorite way to relax? 

Is it a bath, a good book, shopping?  Just leave your answer in the spreadsheet below and you will be entered to win!   Comments on this post are not entries. You gotta click the link.

Good Luck!

Visit Dove® VisibleCare® to get a coupon for $1 off!
Enter to win one of two $500 Spafinder gift certificates!
You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:
a) Follow this link, and provide your email address and your response to the Promotion prompt
b) Tweet (public message) about this promotion; including exactly the following unique term in your tweet message: "#SweepstakesEntry"; and then visit this link to provide your email address and the URL to that Tweet.
c) Blog about this promotion, including a disclosure that you are receiving a sweepstakes entry in exchange for writing the blog post, and then visit this link to provide your email address and the URL to that post.
This giveaway is open to US Residents age18 or older. Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. Winners will have 72 hours to claim the prize, or an alternative winner will be selected.
The Official Rules are available here.
This sweepstakes runs from 7/18/2012 - 8/22/2012
Be sure to visit the Dove® VisibleCare™ Crème Body Wash brand page on BlogHer.com where you can read other bloggers’ reviews and find more chances to win!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Moving Along with Randomness

The first blog post after vacation is always sorta tricky for me.  It's like I all of a sudden developed writers block and am like "BLOG?? HOW DO I BLOG??? I HAVE NO IDEA!".  I don't know what is wrong with me.  I have started this post ten times this morning, and every time I declare it to not be good enough and delete it.  I am an idiot.   Posts like this are the reason I shouldn't take blogging breaks. 

I was at my sister in laws 30th birthday party on Saturday night and her friend (Hi Kara!) told me that she always reads my blog at work (Thanks!) but that one day she came in and logged on and saw that my site had been flagged as porn so she couldn't read it anymore. 

Bio Girl.  Porn.  Good to know.

I laughed and laughed about it, but was completely confused.  She said it was right after a post where I talked a lot about sex.  And... for the life of me I couldn't think of a time I EVER talked a lot about sex on here.  That doesn't sound a thing like me...

But then it came to me.  It's most likely the Balls post.  That story is just the gift that keeps on giving.


Henry woke up at 5am this morning crying for his mama.  I went in there and tried to calm him down and get him to go back to sleep, but it was a no go.  I finally just brought him to bed with me where he proceeded to cling to my head for dear life.  It was sweet in that "Oh my god, kid, I am SO TIRED.  LET'S JUST SLEEP" kinda way.

At 6:15 when I needed to get up and get ready for work he told me that it was not wake up time yet.  It was still pretty black outside and that I needed to get back into bed.  I agreed with him, but got up anyway.  We were both sad about it.


How tired I am right now could have as much to do with why this post is sub par as the vacation blogging break.  Hard to know for sure.

On Sunday we celebrated Candice's birthday with Grandaddy and Val and when we got there I saw the cutest way to present a gift basket ever.
It's a gift tree. So cute, right? And it is just so much more adorable and substantial than I gift basket. And Val didn't even see it on pinterest or anything.  Which makes me think maybe I should pin it and then take credit for it's adorableness...  Is there pinterest plagiarism?

(sorry Val.  I am a known thief of creative, adorable ideas)

Speaking of Candice and her birthday, look at how cute she and Henry are!

Happy Birthday Aunt Candice!

I am just going to hit publish now and walk away.