Friday, January 30, 2015

Hello There

Oh look, it's already Friday.

Time these days...

I was going to write a long and extremely interesting (boring) post about this article I read on NPR about how scientist have extremely different opinions on things such as climate change, GM foods, vaccines, and evolution.  It was going to be thrilling and I was positive it was going to go viral.  Then I realized I do not have time for that, so... you know, if you are interested go read the article.  The general sum of my long winded thought would have been "Spend time reading about things you believe.  Look for the real research being done, not just the sound bites.  Read both sides of the story.  Be informed about the world around you and do not let politics and propaganda drive what you believe." It is something I am teaching my students right now, and I think it is one of those quality life lessons everyone should hear from time to time.

Aren't you sad I didn't write the entire post??

In other news, life is a little crazy right now.  All in a really good way, but just crazy.  I am continuing to love the teaching part of my job, which is a bonus.  I feel like I am not home enough, which is a minus.  I am trying to pick Henry up from school early (as soon as school gets out, not like, pulling him out of school... obviously) at least one day a week and just be around him while I work from home.  I am amazed at what a cool person he is becoming, and I just want to soak him in.  We are eating out constantly and my house is a disaster.  Is this how normal people live??  I have no idea. We signed Henry up for spring tball (I know it's January, but sign up started in like, NOVEMBER) and he had his 100th day of kindergarten.  We all got hair cuts last night and ate dinner at the Cheesecake Factory. 

All is well. 

Monday, January 26, 2015

A Very Henry Weekend

This weekend Henry had not one but TWO birthday parties to attend, plus there were snowman requirements since we had our first substantial snowfall of the year. I am going to go ahead and assume you want to see pictures.

First, I give you
Mr.  Sprout.  As you can maybe guess by the lack of snow around Mr. Sprout, we didn't exactly run right outside as soon as the snow fell.  This resulted in my having to pick leaves and dirt out of the snow in order to cobble together a half decent snowman.  Still, he came out pretty good...
As you can see, we opted to use brussel sprouts for decorations, going with the "Use what you got!" method of snowman building.  We also had oreos, but as I pointed out on facebook yesterday, who in the heck wastes oreos when there is a brussel sprout option?  I personally think the green makes him look healthy. 

Nick was working so our snowman adventure was just the two of us.
And someone took snowball making to the next level.

In addition to snowman building Henry had his very first trip to Chuck E Cheese for his best friend from Preschool's birthday party. (happy birthday Grayson!)
I feel pretty confident we will be going back
I mean... they have a horse.
On Sunday he had the second birthday, this time at Kids Place.... where he had also never been. 

Parenting FAIL.  But in our defense, we really like sitting on our couch and NOT going places. 

Apparently I didn't take many (any) pictures of the kids actually PLAYING on the epic playland of Kids Place, but Henry had a blast.  Happy birthday to Juliette and thanks for inviting us!

Friday, January 23, 2015


This has been a crazy week.  My regular job is crazy busy, my class is crazy busy, and we were out of town for four days.  My house is a disaster, I need to do laundry, I need to go to the grocery, I need to sleep.  So, for now, I will just post some pictures Matt took this weekend.  Although we were together in grief, I look at these pictures and I smile.


Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Remembering Mawmaw

We are home from South Carolina, and even though there were hard moments, it was very nice to be together as a family as we celebrated the life of an amazing woman.  We laughed and we cried, and it felt exactly like it should. I wanted to take a moment to share with you the words Candice said during the service.  I think her and Matt both did an amazing job talking about our sweet and fiery Mawmaw and the impact she had on all of our lives.
Mawmaw with Baby Henry

 "There are thousands of memories I'd like to share but it is difficult to narrow everything down. 

Since the age of 16, I've been driving to Mawmaw's house, the place were I regained a sense of who I am and what matters most. Spring breaks and long weekends were NOT made for fancy vacations, they were filled with cards, Yahtzee, tellin' tales, delicious salmon patties and chocolate cake. Feel free to exchange salmon patties with lasagna, broccoli and cheese, pecan pies, fried apple pies, cinnamon rolls, delicious pie crust sprinkled with sugar, roast, all the things so good they'd "make you fight your granny".  Any of the favorites Mawmaw would provide to make each of us feel special. 

 It was during these visits and the years before that I fell in love with Mawmaw's independence and straightforward personality. Although at times it was difficult to swallow, these characteristics changed who I am, who we all have become. If you can't "tell it like it is" or hear it for that matter, you'd adjust quickly. Hearing stories about her life on the army base or in West-by God-Virginia, were the highlight of the trip. Even though we had heard them a million times, every now and then she'd share an extra piece we'd never heard before. It was like a hidden treasure had been uncovered. Yes, she should have written that book(s). The art of telling a good story became the legacy to our family. 

There is a rare honesty and vulnerability that exists around that kitchen table that is unmatched. A place where stories were shared, babies were raised, victorious games were won, and love was felt. A place where a cup of tea, hot or cold, could heal any alignment-either of body or spirit. This place where we learned to never take crap from anyone and stand on our own two feet because no one will do it for you. Where we made Christmas cookies, learned to play cards, and shared the newest gossip around the neighborhood. Most importantly where she taught us critical life lessons. For example, when she taught our cousin Catee how to sew, she told her (just like in life) "no matter how hard you work, sometimes you have to rip out the seam and start all over again. " 

This special lady and these moments developed who I am today. I'm thankful for the visits, the continuous love and support, and the special relationship we have. You will always be my rock. Yours was a life well lived. Give yourself a big old hug from me. "
Before we left we took a quick picture standing in front of Mawmaw's house.  So much love was felt within these walls.  What a lasting legacy she has left in her children and grandchildren she loved so much.  I feel blessed to have loved her and to have been loved by her.


Thursday, January 15, 2015

Now It's Official

So we are trying to get everything ready to head to South Carolina and celebrate Mawmaw's amazing life and legacy, but I wanted to quickly swing by here and mention that, as of today at 12:30pm, I am OFFICIALLY teaching at a University. 

I mean, it's been pretty official for a long time now, but still.  STILL.  This was different.  Today I walked into this classroom:

 And stood all the way down there in the very front of 147(!!!!) people and took control of my very own class.
My view prior to having students sitting there.  I felt it might be frowned upon to take a picture of the students for my blog. 

All in all it went really well.  I felt... smart?  comfortable?  Like I can do this and at least NOT pass out or have a panic attack??  (That's the one.) 

In an odd way I enjoyed it, and that was both a relief and a little bit of a surprise.  I look forward to standing here twice a week for the rest of the semester, and that's a big step.  The students seemed to like it as well, so that's something, right? I did work in a Harry Potter image:

I want to believe that helped win them over, but it was on the last slide.  STILL, now they know I am a nerd awesome. 


Wednesday, January 14, 2015


This morning our beloved Mawmaw passed away.
 We are all so deeply sad.

The last couple of years had been difficult as her memory and body began to fail her- this wonderful, stubborn, leader of our family.  And in many ways I am happy to think of her free from those burdens.  But the selfish me wishes we could go back and spend just a little more time at her table, laughing and talking, telling ghost stories or playing Yahtzee, hearing her say once more "and if they don't like they can just kiss my ass!".  I want to see her picking green beans from the garden or making the roast, the lasagna, the fried apple pies, the broccoli and cheese, that her grand-children loved so much.  I want to sit with her on the back swing and talk about the lack of rain or the latest neighborhood drama.  I want to wake up and walk quickly down her hallway and find her in the kitchen making bacon, eggs and toast on homemade sough dough bread.  I want to play rummy or solitaire at her table and just soak her in. Just a little bit more.

I am blessed to have married into a family that has taken me in so completely.  While by blood Mawmaw may be Nick's grandmother, she was also 100%  mine.  After fifteen years I can hardly grasp the idea of her not being my family.  Every time she would see me she would hug me and say "You know, you are one of my grandkids too!  Don't you ever forget it!"

I won't. 


Monday, January 12, 2015

Adventures in Otterville

Otterville is a real place. I bet you read this title and thought you were getting some sort of made up story about an otter, right?


Welcome to the best kept secret of... I don't know, Kentucky?  Is it even a secret? Did everyone know about Otterville besides myself?

Also, I am not really sure it's a "best kept secret".  I mean, we loved it.  LOVED IT! And it cost $7 for Henry to get in and was FREE for adults, which seems logical but if you go to many children's places you will find that is not always the case. (I AM LOOKING AT YOU EXPLORIUM).  But it was also sorta random.  Like, we walked in and there was a faded Rugrats banner.  That's right.


How long has Otterville been around??  I am not at all apposed to the Rugrats, I was just surprised to see them.   But decorations do not matter, what matters is the place, and we found the place extremely enjoyable!
They had a ball pit and large play land inside, which was extremely enjoyable for the kiddos.  They also had a BALL SANITIZER (which they smartly turned into a game so the kids sent the balls down the shoot to be cleaned... genius), which made me really happy and not so panicy about letting them play in the plague pit....
But beyond the play land and ball pit there was JUST SO MUCH TO DO.
 And honestly, I didn't do a great job capturing pictures of this, but there were water tables, dress up rooms, a play grocery store, face painting, a construction area with a conveyor belt and giant legos, a ballet studio, a mail room...
And once you had the mail every other room had mailboxes so you could deliver and pick up the mail...
They loved it.  And we were there for over four hours and they were NOT ready to leave.  All in all, a win for a random Saturday in January.  (They also have an entire outside area with a pond to fish in, a train to ride and an outside play land area. Of course, we were there when it was like ten degrees so we skipped that part)

So, I guess the point is, if you live anywhere near the Covington/Cincinnati area I suggest Totter's Otterville. When you first get there you will be concerned with why you let me talk  you into this, but then your kids will have a blast and you will tell me thank you.

In other random news, I decided to bring my new Go Pro camera with me instead of my real camera (hence the cell phone pictures stolen from Boo's facebook page).   I managed to take no real videos on my own but did send Henry into the playland with the camera, because why not.

I give you parenting with a Go Pro... If the camera had feelings (a la Toy Story) I feel like my Go Pro would give a deep sigh at the life he could have had.  Actually, I think my fitbit might feel the same way.

(Also, for the record, I had the camera in the waterproof case, which is why it sounds like it is in an air tight box.  It is. Lesson Learned. )

(Also again, look out Matt .... Henry may be putting in an application with the family business sometime soon)

Thursday, January 8, 2015

That's One Way To Get In A Building...

So over break Boo and I painted my office at work. I had been wanting to do it since I started, but time never really worked until I had two uninterrupted weeks of nothing (besides... you know, the holidays).  So after Christmas the two of us went to Home Depot to get a gallon of paint.  Originally I had planned to paint the entire office man, it's heavy.  And FOUR walls?  Just, why?  So before we went I had already down scaled my expectations into one little accent wall.  The entire event should have been no big deal, really.  Definitely not worthy of it's own blog post.   But then...

Let's start at the beginning.

So when we got to campus we parked at a meter because I was an idiot who forgot my parking pass.  Technically campus was closed so they might not have noticed or cared (likely) BUT tickets are $25 and that seems a silly thing to waste money on.  So we parked at a meter, put in some change, and carried our painting supplies up the two flights of stairs to my office.  We then got everything set up and ready; stuff moved, paint open and in trays, ... I guess that's it.  It doesn't take a lot of prep to paint one wall.  But at that point we realized we should go back and address the meter issue before we got rolling.  As we walked out of my office I thought, "Do I need anything?  Nah!  I can just leave the office unlocked!" and we left the building.  Meter attended to, we returned to the building to stare at the locked outside door and remembered my keys on my desk on the third floor.

So you can picture it, the front of my building looks like this.
(picture taken in summer when being locked outside would have been pleasant)

As we looked at the door it hit me that I didn't even have my phone, therefore I had no contact with the one other person I knew was in the building. Luckily Boo had hers so I borrowed it and went to work trying to work out how to get a hold of someone to let us in.  As soon as I took the phone Boo said "Hey, that window is cracked open..."

I looked at it and the one inch opening and was like "Um, that is like five feet off the ground! We can't get up there.  Let me see if I can get a hold of someone"

I looked down at her phone to work out what to do next and  FIVE SECONDS LATER I hear "Um... I am sorta in...."  and I look up to find this:

I realize I already showed this picture, but... I just... want to show it again.  Because WHO SCALES A WALL A SHIMMIES THROUGH A WINDOW FIVE FEET OFF THE GROUND?   With NO help at all!  I didn't give the girl a boost or anything.  She just spidermanned up the brick!  Next thing I know she had slid into the empty classroom, unlocked the door and let me in.

Boo... she is worth knowing.  And I am so glad I took this picture rather than like, BE HELPFUL because it will forever and always make me laugh.

As for my office, it is coming together rather nicely!  I still need to hang some stuff on the walls, but I am extremely pleased with my accent wall.

This is the other side of the room, including my desk area, if you are interested where I send my days. (Hi mom)