Friday, August 31, 2012


I found out yesterday afternoon that I am getting a new position at work. One that comes with a higher title and a higher pay grade. I also get to keep my schedule with my Wednesdays off, get to keep working on my Masters for free and get to keep all the great benefits that were the reason I came to work here in the first place. I will be leaving the soil testing lab and will now be working in a seed germination lab, growing all kinds of different plants that are sold to make sure they germinate correctly.  Be still my nerdy biology loving heart.

When I decided to leave my lab in the private industry and come to the University it was an extremely difficult decision. There were lots of reasons it was a good idea, like the reduced hours, the great location the free classes, the incredible amount of paid time off, the free insurance and the 401K(they match 200%.  I KNOW). But there were negatives too.  It's hard to get in at the University, so I had to take a position that was in a lot of ways a step down from the responsibilities I had at my old job.  With the reduced responsibility came reduced pay, which was not easy on our household budget.  So when they offered me the job a little over two years ago I thought about it, crunched numbers, thought about it, prayed about it, crunched the numbers again, and finally said 'lets take the chance'. Take the chance that within a few years I would get the promotion to the level I should be at.  Take the chance that I will be able to complete a Masters and add supplemental value to my lower salary.  Take a chance that I would be happier here than I was there.

And Yesterday the final piece fell into place.  I am getting my masters for free, I am happier here than I was there, and now I am making more money than the place that I left.  Not more money if you factor in the 401K or the fact that I work less hours, which was how I justified the other pay drop, but just more take home per check, period.  And I will be doing something I am more suited to do, something more in line with the work I did for five years in the private field. Work that I cannot wait to start.  Plus I will be in the same building with people I have come to know and love over the last two and a half years. I could not be happier. 

Today is a really, really good day.  And as Nick said, CHRISTMAS IS SAVED! I start in my new position on September 10th.  I can't wait!


Thursday, August 30, 2012

Once Again, Blogging Takes the Place of a Baby Book

So we took Henry for his three year check yesterday.

Yes... I know. His birthday was in May. I have no really good excuse. I mean, they don't even charge us a copay. I just never called to make the appointment, and the next think I knew it was NEARLY SEPTEMBER. (worthless mama).  But anyway, we FINALLY made it in to see our wonderful doctor.  Want to know my boy's stats?  I know you are dying to see them.  Have been waiting MONTHS for these numbers to come in.  So here goes:

Height: 38 3/4" - 75%
Weight: 30lbs (even)  - 25%
BMI: 13.4 - <5>

(these are adjusted to be 3 year, 3 month stats)

So.... still holding on to that tall skinny style he has.  We are fans of tall and skinny around here, so we are good with it.  If you as ME, he is pretty perfect.

The doctor asked a lot of questions that Henry and I could easily answer.  He is right on track.  She was fine with him not starting preschool until next year (something I have fretted over) because he has lots of social interaction, he knows all his letters, numbers, colors, shapes and is even starting to write.  She said one year of preschool is perfect. 

So the diagnosis was that he is all good.  Right on track.  Perfectly three.  It's a good feeling.

South Carolina 2012
My three year old baby. (pre hair cut).   Three years (and three months) sure has gone by fast.


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Video Archives

I am having a little blogging guilt. I can't quite put my finger on why. Maybe it's that I am talking a little more about me and a little less about Henry these days. Or that it isn't feeling as much like a mommy blog or an infertility blog, and I am just worried you all aren't that interested in a "this is our life" blog. Maybe it's that I haven't written a nice funny post in a bit... I am not against them, but a funny thing has to happen for me to be able to write about it. I will keep my eyes open for some light hearted blogging material that I will bring to you soon!

Alas, this is not that light hearted blogging material.  This is a  boring old post that will almost be like a rerun of previous posts.  Aren't you excited?  BUT WAIT! Please don't unfollow me!  It's a rerun WITH VIDEOS!  And who doesn't like videos?  I loaded Henry's birthday videos to You Tube.  They have been on vimeo, but those can't be viewed on mobile devices, so I made the jump.  Turn out, You Tube is awesome.  And I know a lot of you read my blog on your phones or tablets or whatever fancy thing you have, so I wanted to share the new links to the videos with you so in case you missed them, you can see my child as he grows over the years. And (maybe a little more of the REAL reason) is that I wanted to put them all together for my mom so she can easily show my grandparents on her iphone. So I am kinda using you all to make my mom and grandparents happy. 

That's okay, right? You don't mind? Watching Henry's videos sounds awesome??  That's EXACTLY how you wanted to spend your afternoon?  That's what I thought!  So, I give you the last three years of Henry. Now you can watch him grown while on the go...  You are welcome.

Henry's 1st Year:

Henry's 2nd Year:

Henry's 3rd Year


Monday, August 27, 2012

Start of Term

Today is my first day of class, so the semester is officially rolling. I love the start of a new semester. Before anything is actually due, before I have a million deadlines, when my notebooks are empty and my bag is clean and organized. When I swear to myself that I will do everything early, I will use my planner and stick to a schedule, I will BE ON TOP OF THINGS!

 I have been better about actually kinda doing some of these things since I started my masters. my undergrad... well... that's just a different story. But you can't turn a type B personality into a type A, so in the end, I will eventually resort to scurrying around, trying to finish up ALL THE STUFF. Writing papers at midnight, trying to keep my eyes open to finish reading one more chapter, having stacks of paperwork and research on the computer desk driving Nick insane. It's just life as a Type B personality student. I should just embrace it.
At least my program seems to expect this behavior. As a welcome present they gave us these mugs, which hold approximately three times the volume of coffee of a normal mug. Well played, MPH program.

This start of term is different from other starts of term for a few reasons.  I have been working on this Masters for two years now, but this is the first semester I have taken more than three credit hours.  I am actually taking six, working on my practicum and taking an actual in the classroom class.  So... things will be busy around here.  I would say I don't know how the blog will be effected, but turns out not much gets in the way of me blogging.  I just love you all too much... (I can't be made to stop talking).

In addition to that, Nick is actually TEACHING this semester.  That's right.  He works here at the University too, and they told him one of his new responsibilities is to teach a lab.  Not as a TA, but as the actual instructor.  He has two TA's under him, five sections and around 100 students.  It's huge.  And terrifying.  But I have full faith that he will do great, because I have seriously never known a better teacher than Nick.  He is so patient and can explain things so well... he will do awesome.

So... the start of term.  It's actually a big deal in the Bio Girl house.  The biggest deal it's been since we were both students at this school.  So wish us luck!  And maybe send caffeine...

Friday, August 24, 2012

My Big Baby Boy

My sweet boy.

What would you call him now?  He is always my baby, but is he still an actual baby, or is he now officially a kid?  Not a BIG kid, but when does he make the switch from baby to little kid?  Is he still in the realm of toddler, because he had this walking thing down pat.  He talks, he sings, he dances, he tells jokes then laughs and says "That's FUNNY!"

 He is now officially 100% potty trained, we have packed up all diapers, onesies, baby toys, and clothes with months written on the tags.  The stroller hasn't been out in a year, he buckles himself in to his own carseat, he can work the peddles on his tricycle and go flying down the sidewalk under the exact same trees I rode my bike with training wheels on as a kid.

He can carry on conversations. He has opinions. When we are apart, I can talk to him on the phone and we really talk. The other day we were at the grocery and I asked for a kiss.  He said "No Mama, just a hug.  Kisses for at home."  And my heart broke just a little.   He has started telling me he is "really really big!  I all grown up."  And I have to disagree.  He is still little, he is still my baby, but the land of baby and toddler, little kid and big kid, apparently they don't have distinct lines.  He is living in the grey between baby and little kid. 

Or maybe I just want to believe he is, because I refuse to let go of that last little bit of him that's a baby.  We still have a changing table in his room, and the other night he curled up and fell asleep in my arms.  He likes me to carry him, sometimes saying "No Mama, carry me like a BABY!". He likes me to rub his back as he falls asleep in his room that is still a nursery. I cut up his food and he drinks from cups with lids.  He is still a baby, at least for a little while longer.  Or maybe for forever, for me.


Me and my baby

Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Joy of Unexpected Expenses...

I was going to write a post about Henry today. I really was. Not that I have anything big to say about him, just that he is awesome and what not, and I feel like I haven't given you a good Henry posts in a bit, and I figured you all missed him.  But that will have to wait until tomorrow so I can vent a little about the joy of unexpected expenses...

So Tuesday night I walked out of work, got into my car and tried to put it in reverse.  Not really blog post worthy news, except for the fact that the drive shaft handle thing came flying back at me, but the car stayed in park.  I tried again another twenty times, stared at it with an annoyed look for a few minutes.  Turned off the car, turned it back on, jiggled the drive shaft thingy, tried again and it still stayed in park.  My car fixing expertise was complete.  I had to make some calls.  Nick and my dad both had the same opinion.  Sounds like a car shop problem.

So, my mom picked me up and we left my poor car there to be dealt with at a later time.  Side note, if you do this, you really should leave a note for your coworkers if the next day is your day off.  Turns out that they will come in and see your car, then see you aren't there, and then they will possibly think you were kidnapped and killed on your way out of the building the night before.  Then they will try to tell you that you need a pocket taser to protect yourself. It's like a snow ball effect after finding your car empty.  It always leads to a taser discussion.

Anyway, the car was broken, which is never a fun expense.  But when dad called the tow truck driver he said he thought Trailblazers had a recall on this issue.  WHAT!  How AWESOME would that be?? I mean, sure it could have gone out and like flipped the car and killed me or something, so we REALLY should have checked those recalls, but the point is they might fix it for FREE!  So I look up the recall and YES our year make and model was included.  But then I contacted the dealership and turns out the previous owner already had it fixed... just not fixed WELL.  So, turns out the recall thing was a no go and we had to pay.  Which.. I guess I could have left the recall information off of this post all together, except it still annoys me and I want you to be annoyed with me.

So since I was stuck at home yesterday and we were out several hundred dollars in car repairs I decided to make myself and excel spreadsheet of our loan balances, so that every three months or so I can update it and see how the amounts are going down and feel super proud of us!  (assuming the total goes down.  If they go up, I will feel depressed).  As I call around everything seems to be what I expect until I get to the car loan.  And it is ALARMINGLY small.  Like, how in the hell did that happen, small.  But I do not question it, I just get excited.  Because we have that much in our savings account!  We can just PAY IT OFF!!  And then we have ONE LESS BILL!  And it's like I just became Dave Ramsey because I am all like, "IT CAN HAPPEN! YOU TOO CAN BE DEBT FREE LIKE ME!" (only one little slice of our debt... not exactly debt free.  but ON OUR WAY!)

So when Nick gets home I tell him my plan.  I want to use the Christmas savings** to pay off the car because the amount that goes in savings plus the car payment saved each month will be PLENTY for Christmas and we are down a bill and will HAVE THE CAR PAID OFF! (I am the new Dave Ramsey! Do not question my logic!) And he gets this look.  This 'that doesn't seem right' look.  And asks our monthly payment, and asks how many months we have left on the loan, then he does some mental math and points out that we would be paying twice as much as we owe over the next 16 months. 

I blow him off.  Tell him something about a watched pot and boiling and how money is just like that!  We just hadn't watched this balance and LOOK WHAT HAPPENED!  IT'S MAGIC!  He said something about money not working that way and being nothing like  a watched pot.  He says I should check into it again. 

So I call and the amount on the loan is the same.  I was RIGHT.  But then I check the Christmas savings account, which is the only other account we have at that bank (we use three banks... because we are insane).  And it has $75 in it.  And it should have around $1200. I just looked at it, willing it to change. Turns out, due to a bank error NOT in our favor, they had been applying the money that was suppose to go into our savings every month onto our car loan.  Which is why the balance is so low.

But I figure this is still okay!  I mean, we must be SO FAR ahead on payments, that we can just take off the next four months and pick back up in January. This allowing us to HAVE MONEY FOR CHRISTMAS.  But I called the bank, and turns out, we aren't ahead on our payments at all.  Because all that extra money was applied to the principle.  'So... opps!  Sorry about that!  Thanks for the money!' says the bank.

After talking with the guy for a bit, he realizes that I am a touch annoyed (he got it right around the time he said I would have to fax a letter to ask them to stop making the payment I never asked them to make which drained my Christmas account WITHOUT MY PERMISSION) and they offered to give us the money back and return our loan to the bigger amount, including readding teh interest.  And then we would be right where we thought we were before yesterday.  But... I mean... now we see how low the car loan is!  And it will be paid off in just a few months!  So we talked about it and made a plan.  We are leaving the unauthorized payments in place and just starting to save for Christmas now.  It might be smaller than normal, but we will just send a picture of us in the Trailblazer with our Christmas cards that say "paid in full". 

So I guess that's it. Money... it's nothing but annoying.  End Rant.

** I know, right?  How am I even complaining about my Christmas account being empty?  Who even HAS one of those??  Well... we do.  But more because we live on an insanely tight budget and have a LOT of family that we love to celebrate the holidays with and less because we have so much money we just made different savings accounts for fun. So... you know... Don't judge.


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Connection Corner

So, once again I am adding things to my blog that I have seen on other blogs that make me jealous. I mean, not CRAZY jealous, since it takes me about three years to break down and GET these things, but jealous none the less. 

What am I talking about?  I* have finally set up social media connection icons on my sidebar!  And not just any icons, but little adorable flask icons!  Because I am BIO GIRL, and I work in a lab, and I feel that flasks are kinda my THING.  Don't disagree with me here.  I own them.

Anyway, I would tell you to come on over to the blog and see the connection corner (top right, if you are here), which you should really do, but since I know some of you won't and I want you to see the flasks, AND I want you to click on the links, I am also putting them in this post! Want to know where to find me, follow me, chat with me, look at my pictures, watch my videos, or see what I think is adorable?  Here are the links to where I am online!

Bio Girl's Facebook page:

This is another one of those things I have been wanting to do for ages, but for some reason never actually got around to doing.  Then I did it, and it was so insanely easy! Why didn't I do this YEARS ago??  If you are on Facebook (I know you ALL are!) please take a second to click on the FB beaker and click like on the Bio Girl page!  When I post new content on the page it will show up in your timeline, which will be fun for all of us, right??  ( I promise to not overwhelm you with posts.  One per post, so 3-4 per week!)
Are you on twitter?  Me too!  I mean... not as much as I used to be, but I still manage to jump on most days. I would love it if you followed along!

All my pictures.  Nothing more, nothing less.  If you are on Flickr, you can come be my friend.  If you aren't on flickr, you can still click over and see the millions of pictures I take.

You Tube:
This one doesn't have much going on just yet, but I am going to upload all of our videos to my YouTube account instead of Vimeo.  Want to watch Henry's birthday montages or our family vacation videos?  They can be seen here!  (What? Nobody wants to do that but my mom and Nick's mom?  That's fair.  This  link is for them.)

Coming Soon!

RSS Feed.  This beaker is coming, but you can click now and go ahead and follow along in any Reader you like.

Not Available in Beaker Form, but might get added anyway:

I am occasionally on Pinterest, but alas, there was no breaker made for it.  Still, feel free to follow me there if you want! 

Oh, and Good Reads!  No beaker for it either, but I am pretty good at keeping my book list current, so if you are a reader, follow me there too!

Okay, I think that's it.  Lots of places to find me online.  Maybe too many... it's kinda embarassing.  But it is what it is!  So lets connect!

*By I I mean the amazing and tallented Suzy, who made these for me.  She's the best!


Monday, August 20, 2012

Sunday Dinner

Yesterday Nick and I were cleaning the house and moving some stuff around when he mentions the China... it's a discussion we have had before.  He doesn't really see the point in our beautiful china dishes.

So he says:  "We really should just sell this.  I mean, it's been nearly SIX YEARS and you have never even used it!"

Which... just isn't even the point of China.  It's point is to BE BEAUTIFUL.  But he had a point.  We never really had EATEN on it.  So....
I set the table! (isn't it beautiful?)

Then I made a nice fancy dinner of Chicken Fricassee, which FINE, was already on the menu for dinner, but it was just so much FANCIER on the china!  And I made a salad so we got to use all FOUR plates (salad, dinner, desert and the coffee cup saucer).  And I used the fancy cups... and I WORE A DRESS!  Because the China deserves a dress.

I was about to be like, "I SHOWED HIM!  Don't you DARE threaten to sell my China!"  but then I realized he got a hell of a meal out of that threat... and a wife in a dress. 

Well played, Nick.  Well played.


Friday, August 17, 2012

The Battle Continues

So I finally thought I had this entire vaccine thing worked out. I got a call from my current doctor, and after searching the bat cave they declared that they do not possess my vaccination records, which... for the record, I feel like is a problem. But whatever. It doesn't matter! Because I heard back from my pediatrician the same day and, low and behold, they FOUND THEM! They emailed me a copy and I was good to go.

Now, when I called the student clinic to start this entire mess they told me once I had my forms I could just fax them over and they would send me my official "all clear" paperwork so I could start my field practicum hours. So I call once I have it all together and the woman was rather snippy with me.

"I don't know WHO you talked to, but you can't just FAX it! You have to come in!"

"But I don't need anything but some paperwork... I need to come in and watch you fill out paperwork?"



So I decided I would run by after my new student orientation today. Which, let me tell you, was IMPRESSIVE.  I mean... mainly just the food, the rest was nice and informative, but the LUNCH, now it was impressive. You all, I ate at this same place at my New Employee Orientation a couple years ago, and today it became clear that the students get the good stuff. Like, this was a top quality meal that easily could have been served at a nice wedding.  Not that I am complaining. The students are paying the bills around here and everything, might as well make it nice for them. (I mean... the other students are paying the bills. I am going for free since I work here. So... I can just think of my excellent lunch as a work bonus.)

ANYWAY, after orientation I had to walk to the student center to get a student ID because the lovely nurse on the phone also informed me that "You can't be a student without a student ID", then I walked all the way to the clinic and signed in, only to wait half an hour for my appointment to watch them fill out paperwork. Finally, FINALLY I am called back and I hand her my forms and she starts to fill them in, only to ask "Where is your 2nd TB test?" To which I look at her with a confused and sorta broken hearted expression.

  "I need two?? I just had it last week"

"Oh yeah, you gotta have two. Want me to give it to you?"

"Can I still get the form today?"

"HAHAHAHAHA..... Oh no, you will have to come back for that sweetie. This has to be read on Monday. But we are REALLY busy on Monday. Be prepared to wait."


So... I have my records but lacked a TB skin test, even though I HAD ONE LAST WEEK.  So I got it AGAIN and will go back AGAIN and then, THEN I will finally be ready to start my practicum. This all seems like a lot of hoops to jump through, but now I can save you if your heart stops, I have proof that I am fully vaccinated, I had DOUBLY sure I don't have TB, and I had an excellent lunch. There are some benefits to the program....


Thursday, August 16, 2012

Random Pictures

Thanks so much for all the great advice on the vaccines! I got comments, emails and phone calls with suggestions. I did call my OB, but they do not check for the titers. I have called the school system, but couldn't get ahold of anybody who knows. After being transferred three times I hung up and called my pediatrician back to check on progress. They said they were going on the 15th, so for me to call on the 16th (TODAY!) and they should be able to email them to me. Fingers crossed!

 Beyond that update, I don't have a lot to tell you. But it's been three entire days since my last post, so I figured you all were DYING to hear from me. Yes? No?? Whatever.

 Anyway, here are some random pictures from my phone that in no way string together a story. Enjoy!
This weekend we went down to UK's campus to let the kids run around. Have I told you we have started doing this? On the weekends the middle of campus is empty and there are no cars or roads, and lots of cool stuff to climb on. It's fun for them and fun for us. Plus I really like the idea of them growing up really knowing campus.

 I just have a thing with doors...
We are counting down the days to NFL kickoff! GO BENGALS!
Piano playing with Cici and Carter... nothing annoying about that sound coming out of that.  No sir.
I posted this one on Facebook yesterday. It was the first day of school around here, but luckily my sweet boy is still too little for that to mean anything. We spent our Wednesday sleeping in. It was great.
 After sleeping in, we eventually got up and moving and went to get someone a hair cut! I know I act like his hair cuts are BIG NEWS, but when I thought about it, it was the first one he has had in like five months. That is nearly a bi-annual event. So... IT IS BIG NEWS! Anyway, they cut off two inches and he looks great.

Okay, That's it. Not much of a post. But really, don't you mostly come here to see pictures anyway? I mean, look at how adorable he is!  I can't even blame you.

Monday, August 13, 2012

The Vaccine Hunt

So for my masters program I have to do this 200 hour practicum (which I talked about here) which I am starting this semester.  I have spent a fair bit of time worrying about exactly how to get my hours in, but I kind of forgot to worry about the things I needed to do before I could even START logging time.  Turns out, I have to be CPR certified and have proof of a ton of vaccines before I can get started.  Well, I recently got a tetanus shot (due to a run in with a rusty nail... so cliche) that had the whooping cough included, so that one wasn't a big deal, but the Hep B and the MMR...let me ask you how you go about proving you had your MMR and Hep B vaccines when you were a child?

"Call my doctor" you say.  Yes, that seems logical.  And is exactly where I started.  But turns out my current doctor has a check mark in the box that says 'Was vaccinated as a child' or whatever, but doesn't actually have a copy of the real record.  Everything is electronic now and... well... they just aren't sure.  There MIGHT be a copy off site someplace.  Someone might be going there this week... they can look.  ( I don't think this women will ever call me again)  So I call my pediatrician.  Which... just feels strange.  Henry goes there now, and my mom worked there forever, but to call as a 32 year old adult asking for my medical records from when I was a child... I felt bad for the girl taking the call. 
'Yes... I haven't been a patient there in 14 years and I got these shots in the 80's and 90's but I REALLY need proof.  SOON.  Can you help me?"

So they are sending someone to their off site location to track them down.  Which is most likely just a storage unit or something, but I prefer to think of it as a dark damp cave where the people searching must wear head lights and carry a large weapon to keep the bats away. 

They said they could test my blood to prove I had the vaccines, but my insurance wont pay for it because it's for school and not medically necessary and student health wont cover it because I am only a part time student.  Oh the joy of living in the loop holes.  So the point of all of this is I am sending the medical records people into the bat cave.  Wish them luck, I really need these records.

Anyway, while I wait for those I am getting CPR certified tonight.  My big program orientation is Friday so I am working long days this week to make up for the time off, which means I am putting in a ten and a half hour day BEFORE going to the CPR certification class that lasts three hours.  What a fun start to my week.  At least I will be able to save your life if your heart stops after tonight! 


Friday, August 10, 2012

The Fire House

Soo....I know I got a little distracted yesterday what with the 'OH GOD, HE IS ALONE AND KINDA SORTA GETTING CLOSE TO THE STREET' panic that was yesterdays post and I sorta forgot that I was in the middle of a three part series on pictures from South Carolina.  Sorry about that! But today we are back on track! Aren't you excited?  Or did you like the mild panic attack post better?  I never know what you all want to read.... panic with a heavy dose of Mommy guilt or nice adorable pictures of our boy? This week you get it ALL!

ANYWAY, while we were in South Carolina Nana and Grandpa mentioned that we might be able to take Henry and Nieem over to the small town fire station that is located on the same block as the engagement party.  I didn't think much of it until Grandpa came up to me at the party and said "I went to ask the firemen if we could bring the kids by.  They said they would bring the truck to the party, but I figured it was better to just walk down there..."

Could you imagine if the fire truck had rolled up at the party?  And they were like "No... it's not an emergency, Henry's Grandpa just thought he would like it!"  I mean, I am always one for focusing on my boy, but this time I agreed that it was best we just went there on our own and didn't like, take over the party with fire fighting fun.

South Carolina 2012

So we walk down to the station and I am expecting them to be like, "Yep... there's the fire truck" but man, they went all out!  They pulled the truck out they could really see it, got out all the parts, told them what each section was for, showed them the ladder tuck, dressed them up in the firemen outfits... IT. WAS. AWESOME.

South Carolina 2012
Henry, taking the wheel
South Carolina 2012
I really like the Nieem put on his seat belt.
South Carolina 2012
 Grandpa was pretty in to the tour as well... you never outgrow a fire truck
 South Carolina 2012
This picture of Nieem will make me laugh until the end of time. Doesn't he look like an Umpa Lumpa? I don't even know how he could stand with all of this on!
 South Carolina 2012
Henry trying on the hat and boats with a little help from Grandpa
South Carolina 2012
If you look close you can see Henry's driving and Nieem is riding shotgun.

When we said thanks and thanks and thanks again for an awesome tour they said it wasn't a big deal. That they would much rather give the kids a tour than just sit around watching TV. I am not sure all firemen would agree, but we are so grateful these guys took the time to make it a neat experience for our boys.


Thursday, August 9, 2012

The Hard Lessons (for both of us)

**I have already had the yellow flag of "overreaction" thrown at me by Whitney on this post, to which I said something about her daughter being six and Henry being three.... but then I reread it and... yeah... she might have a point.  So... you know... I see it.  Just in case you were curious.

Between my class, vacations and other random life events, I haven't actually had many normal work weeks this summer. It seemed that nearly every week I needed to go to work on Wednesdays to make sure I got all of my hours in. But yesterday, yesterday I was FINALLY back to my normal schedule with my beloved Wednesday off with my boy.  I had been looking forward to this return to normalcy and wanted to really enjoy our day. 

We both slept in and got up and had breakfast together. I asked if he wanted to meet some friends at the pool, since it's the last Wednesday this summer that it's possible. "YEAH!!" He told me, then declared he would wear his Lightning McQueen swing trunks.  We both got ready to go, then I told him to stay inside and play in the living room while I went out to put the extra carseat in the car.  We were picking up Cici on our way, so I needed both installed.

And I guess I should have known better, but he has always listened before. He has been able to open the front door for months.  He can unlock the real lock and the deadbolt, but he always listens and when we say stay, he stays.  Always.  Except... turns out not always.  Because sometimes we are doing really fun things, and he just can't help himself.

I was out in the driveway, pulling the last latch tight on Cici's seat when I saw it.  Saw him.  Right in the edge of my peripheral vision, walking down the sidewalk in his Lightning McQueen trunks.  Already past the car, heading for the main sidewalk... the one that runs right along the street.  And you all, I lost it.  Lost it in that way moms do when you have totally crossed the line of reasonable and moved into the "how COULD YOU think this is okay??" range. Or maybe I lost it in the way moms do when they picture all the ways this could have been SO MUCH WORSE.


and he froze, turning to me with a little smile.  He had no idea, NO IDEA that this was anything more than a game.  We had talked about it.  LOTS.  DO NOT go outside by yourself.  DO NOT open this door, DO NOT leave the porch.  SAFETY.  You gotta always be careful!

And he wasn't far, and I don't know... maybe I did overreact... or maybe I still am.  He was just in front of our house.  Not in the street, not out of sight.  But still, out without permission.  Out without me knowing.  And maybe he originally was just going to come be with me, but he was past me.  He had seen freedom and he was on his way down the road to see how far he could make it.

I ran to him, grabbed him by his little arm and his smile dropped.    "Never Henry.  NEVER EVER EVER do you open that door!  Do you hear me?  You ARE NOT allowed outside by yourself. WHAT WERE YOU THINKING?"

And the tears started, this heart broken cry.  But I couldn't let up, I couldn't hug him and say it was okay.  Because it was anything but okay.  The 'what ifs' and 'thank gods' were too fresh in my mind to not hammer home the point.

"You have to LISTEN to me.  I said stay inside. YOU HAVE TO LISTEN TO ME.  It is dangerous! Something could happen to you! You could get hurt, you could get lost!  You CANNOT come outside alone."

The tears continued.  Getting harder.  Getting more upset. 

And I thought of the smile.  The smile he had as he turned to see me in the car.  The one that said "look mama, I am a big boy now".  No clue, no CLUE that it was terrifying to me to see him out there without me knowing.  No clue that things like that lead to terrible terrible things that are on the news, things that have all parents sitting in their homes thinking 'Thank god it wasn't my baby."

And of course, we weren't anywhere close to that.  I was outside with him.   Technically. I was at least outside at the same time, not in the shower or cooking in the kitchen, completely unaware. He was coming to be with me, I was the thing that drew him out.  Because hadn't I just told him before I walked out that we were about to go out and have  fun?  Hadn't I told him we were going to the pool? Hadn't I just told him that something amazing was happening just as soon as we go through this door.  Then I left him inside looking at that door, with me and the pool, with Cici and FUN on the other side.  So as I was yelling at him, it was becoming more and more clear to me whose fault this really was.

I finally felt like I had made my point, made it CLEAR that this was not allowed.  I picked him up. I hugged him and told him how much I love him. That it is because I love him SO MUCH that he can't be outside without me knowing. He said okay.  He said he wouldn't do it again. When we got in the car he told me he had put on his own shoes.  He was proud again, he was happy again.  I looked down and saw his shoes were on the wrong feet.  My little boy, getting so big.  Getting so independent.  Big enough to want to do stuff by himself, but too little to understand that he might still be too little.

I remember being the child, a teenager, a young adult, on the other side of these kinds of things.  Getting yelled at for being unsafe, and when I said I got it, I saw, I understood, I was told again and again and again.  'Be safe, be careful, I love you TOO MUCH for you to not hear me on this.  I set these rules for a REASON.'  And I never got it.  Never understood the repeating.  The hammering home. I thought it was more guilt. Just making me feel worse when ' OKAY, OKAY, I GET IT. '

But I didn't.  But after yesterday I do a little more.  Because the key that the kids are missing when these big conversations happen, when the big hammer drops and there is yelling and telling and retelling again, is that what the parents are trying to protect you from is sometimes something they did wrong to start with.  How do I protect him from my mistakes?  My assumptions that he gets it.  That he is big enough, understands enough, when maybe he doesn't.  When I am yelling at him, I am actually just asking him to help me keep him safe.  I can't do it by myself.   And I tell him again and again because I really need him to hear me, and to help me. 

This parenting stuff... sometimes it's hard.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012


South Carolina Post 2!:

Okay, so I don't know if any of you have ever been to Greenville, South Carolina, but it is seriously an adorable town. Or city. Nick tells me it's a city. But when you are in their downtown, it has this hometown, southern feel with it's tiny little shops and brick covered streets, and it's just awesome. I love it! Which works out well for me because we are there visiting family a couple times a year. And when we go, if we can work in the time, we like to go down and see their bridge at Falls Park.  It's pretty impressive.
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I think this is the first time we have been down there since Henry was a year old, so he really enjoyed running across it this time!
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It was Nicole and Nieems first big trip to SC, I think they were fans of downtown
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 I have been trying to get a good picture of the three of them together for their Mama for a very long time. All three looking good with their hometown in the background... mission accomplished!
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Candice and I were actually staying in different houses in South Carolina (I was with Mawmaw, she was with Matt and Blair) so when she walked in to head downtown it was a little awkward with the 'Oh.... we are sorta... yeah. Twins.' In hind sight, I clearly could have changed because MY suitcase was still on the premises, but it never occurred to me. Now I think we look pretty cute!
 South Carolina 2012
Sweet Nicole with a shot of the actual bridge in the background and not just pictures taken FROM the bridge. Next time (in another year or two) I will take a picture of the actual full bridge in all it's glory, because it is really nice.  Oh, well... HERE is a link! ( Crazy technology these days.  No need two wait two years for me to take the picture!)
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Candice. Just because it makes me laugh.
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An actual picture with no people in it. Rare for me.
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If I were to make a coffee table book, it would be called "Pictures of people walking away" because I seem to LOVE this shot. I take it every single place we go. This is Chris, Nicole and Nieem, but since our families look a lot alike, it was rather surprising for some people on facebook when they thought Henry was that tall...

So, there you go.  Pictures of our trip downtown.  We also walked around, got lunch at a little local place that was very good, and had an all around great day. But I took no pictures of that, so it just gets to be a footnote. 

footnote: Good Times were had.  The End.


Monday, August 6, 2012

Engagement Parties, aka: A Reason for me to Take More Pictures

Hi! We are back!

I forgot to tell you we were leaving town, didn't I? Sorry about that.

 Well we went to South Carolina this weekend, and I am happy to report that we are now home safe and sound. Although it rained so ridiculously hard on the way home that it was rather terrifying for little me, behind the wheel. At one point I was passing a huge semi and all of a sudden the car started to hydroplane, and the hydroplane light started flashing at me, which... really Toyota? You think you need a light? You don't think people KNOW when they are hydroplaning? Because trust me... I KNEW.

Anyway, back on target.  South Carolina! We went and it was great! So great that it looks like it will take three posts to cover it in full around these parts. I know, THREE PARTS.  But the pictures... they must be shared! Are you excited?  Bored already?  Whatever!  Let's get started!  Up first, the party:
So we actually made the trip  for Nick's cousin Kelsey's engagement party.  This is one of those events that makes you stop and think how times manages to move so fast.  When I met Kelsey she was little.  I mean, not a baby, but a young child for sure.  I want to say she was six or seven.  Small enough to where I could kinda carry her around or have her sit on my lap.  She was the baby cousin.  And now...

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Kelsey and Thomas. Adorable and somehow all grown up. 

As an added bonus for this wedding,  someone pretty special is going to be the ring bearer ...

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seriously, how cute will he be all dressed up? And when did he get so big?  Doesn't he look old here?
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So the engagement party was wonderful. Awesome food, adorable set up, games, music, laughing together... it was awesome. 
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Kelsey's brother Matt flew in from California to help celebrate. Here he is with his girlfriend Blair, who fits in so well with the family that it is no longer up to Matt if they stay together. The family decided.. she is a keeper.
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Uncle Chris and Mawmaw enjoying the patio at the party
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Nana and Grandpa were there of course, which is always very exciting for a little boy
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Bubbles with Aunt Candice. Good times
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Erika pointed out on Facebook how much he looks like me here. For real, he does, right?? He has some of his Mama in him!
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Me and Nick. That South Carolina humidity might have had an effect on my hair...
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the bride and her ring bearer, having fun after the sun went down.
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Mawmaw and her girls
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 Nana and Grandpa
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family time (me playing with my camera in the dark)
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Kelsey and her proud Mama and Daddy. Miss Kelsey, if this weekend was any indication, your wedding will be incredible. We can't wait! xo