Monday, August 29, 2016

Welcome to Coach Pitch!

So Henry has started another season of baseball.  Notice how this time I called it BASEBALL and not TBALL. That's because he is in the big leagues now...
That's right! They are actually throwing balls at my sweet baby.  (Also known as coach pitch)

It has been an experience. We know how our baseball park works. They are all in.  But still, we were not quite prepared for the experience that has been this last week of baseball.  He literally had two hour practices every single day for a week leading up to his first game.  Everyday!  That's 14 hours of baseball! The logistics of school, work, food, baths, and baseball was insane. But we made it. And while I was grumbling the entire way, I must say that weeks worth of practice really did have an impact. He got up to bat in his very first game yesterday and well... there is a video. But before you hit play, I am going to need to request that you ignore his insane mother yelling. Also, the more I watch it, the more I laugh at myself. Mainly because 1. I think he can hear me apparently, and 2. Before this moment I would have said I don't really have an accent...

This epic first hit (A TRIPLE! For those that didn't watch) was a direct result of some awesome coaches that have given significantly more than I have to these kids this week. Henry in particular has received so much one on one attention to help him make the jump from tball to coach pitch, and I am really happy we are on this team.  They have worked hard every single night and man, it was fun to watch them come out and play.

So, go Green Hornets! Thanks for playing so well that the coaches gave you (us) the night off....

Friday, August 19, 2016

New Job

So, I think it's time I take a minute to tell you all about my new job.  Did you know I got a new job?  Well, SURPRISE!

Actually, to an outside observer, it may not seem as if I got a new job. In fact, it's always sort of awkward when Nick and I announce we got new jobs only to be like, but we still work in the same place, with sorta the same people, doing kinda the same thing...

So a promotion. We have received promotions.  The thing is, at the university they don't really give promotions. If you do a really good job, and the job above you opens up, you still must apply along with the rest of the free world (seriously... our university gets SO MANY APPLICATIONS) and be selected via a competitive process into the new position.  It's just how it works.

Anyway, I am once again announcing on here that I have received a new job.  Based on my count, it's the fifth time in the nearly ten years I have been running this blog that I have posted something similar, and four of those announcements have involved me moving positions within the university.  That seems... excessive.  Which is probably why I haven't mentioned this NEW new job.  But as the semester is about to start, it occurs to me that this "new job" is sort of a big deal, and not really "just a promotion", so it seems worth posting about.

As of July 1st I have become the Director of Undergraduate Studies for our college (not the University as a whole, just for our individual degree program). While I am continuing working with Corrine on our research, that role will now take up much less of my time (25%) and the majority of my effort is moving towards teaching and program direction.  It is truly the best of all worlds, and I am thrilled to have been given this opportunity. I mean, I am really THRILLED.  I am not sure I can clearly say on here without sounding like I am bragging that this is a huge deal and validates all of the hard work I have done over the past several years.  I am really excited about the move, and I am really excited about helping this program grow into what I know it can be. It is going to be hard work, and it is going to take a lot of time and energy and heart, but in the end, I am going to make a lasting impact on this program and these student's lives. And that is really really exciting.

So, with that, I have a new job.  Again. 


Saturday, August 13, 2016

The 1st Day of School: The Second Grade Edition

So here we are again, with another first day of school in the books.
 Second grade already... how does time move so fast?

This year he has his Aunt Boo as his teacher and he gets to sit beside Luke (at least for the first week...) so seriously, what could possibly be any better than that?

I asked if he wanted a new backpack or lunch box, but he said no. I asked if he wanted a new outfit, but he said he likes the clothes he has so he will wear some of those. He let us walk him in to school, but I think that was for us as much as him.  This boy.  He sure does fill my heart.  Second grade, here we come!

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Olympics (and other ramblings..)

So did you know I am an insane fan of the summer Olympics?  Like, borderline obsessed. You may recall (or more likely not..) that I blogged about this love in 2012 AND in 2008.  Because I have been blogging for a lifetime, apparently.

Actually, when searching the archives for posts about the Olympics I found this one from  2012 too, which accidentally made me cry AND reminded me of something important.  I wasn't planning on talking about this at all right now, but clearly my real blog posting has slowly dropped in frequency until it is nearly nonexistent.  I haven't decided what to do about that, but I think about it fairly regularly. And as I weigh the pros and cons of continuing to write in this space, I am at a loss.  I had actually been leaning towards the thought that I am probably close to wrapping up Bio Girl. 

But then days like today happen, and I accidentally stumble upon a post which so perfectly captures a moment in time for our family, that without this site I would have forgotten.  In the post I talk about what I expected to become my favorite Olympic memory. It felt that way at the time.  Absolutely unforgettable.  And yet... I had forgotten it. I knew four years ago Henry watched some of the games with me. I remember watching Phelps.  I remember cheering and crying and just all around loving the summer games.  But that exact memory, that joy, it had blurred into the past. Mixing in with a million other "unforgettable" moments of the last seven years. And this is one of the reasons it is so hard for me to think of letting go of this place. To stop recording the ins and outs of our life.  Because while I don't write about Henry or our family stories as much as I used to, a piece of our history continues to be captured in this place.  And while each moment feels unforgettable, it turns out they aren't. And that thought alone makes me want to keep writing here until the end of time.  Because if these little memories are so valuable to me after four years, what will the be worth in 20?

Anyway, the summer Olympics are on.  I didn't have anything to say about them really, I just wanted to write a post, and it seemed like as good a topic as any.  It's almost 8pm, so I think I am going to go watch the games with my boys and make some memories.  Maybe I will even remember to write them down.


Monday, August 1, 2016

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child: A Midnight Release Party and a Very Important Book Review

I promise this post is tagged before Spoilers begin. Feel free knowing you are safe and will be warned!

So I am sure you all will not be surprised to learn where we spent our Saturday night...

As Henry's love for Harry Potter has started to grow, actually no, scratch that, since the moment Henry was born, no wait... scratch that too.  Since the moment I read the final Harry Potter book I realized that I just a little bit heartbroken that the days of midnight release parties were over. That my child, or future child, would never know the excitement of standing in line with hundreds of other die hard fans waiting for the clock to strike midnight and we rush through to pick up our beloved copy of the next Harry Potter book.
Stick to your ticket, Harry!

And then I heard that our local bookstore was having an old school midnight release party for the release of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.  And well... I just couldn't help myself. Even though Henry has only read book one (We worked on a spoiler alert alarm he would sound in the event that anyone tried to talk to him about future books!) and wouldn't be able to read the new book, I wanted him to experience the fun.
And man, it was awesome.  There were SO MANY PEOPLE.  I am terrible at estimating numbers of people... was it hundreds? Thousands?  I DON'T KNOW, but the bookstore posted a video of the line at midnight, and it's pretty impressive. They had wand making and house sorting, tons of people were in costume and you could meet these awesome individuals!

Henry was not at all into meeting them (AT ALL) but, you know, I totally was...
He was, however totally into getting the new book!  So we walked around and took it all in, played the the bouncy house, caught a TON of Pokemon (Worlds colide!), and got in line.  Right at midnight the crowd sang Happy Birthday to Harry, and I would say it was super cheesey, excpet, well, I was too busy trying to not like, cry or something.

So, we got our book. Which he is dying to read.  Once we got home I decided that no child should go to a midnight release party and not get to read at least the first few pages of a book they have been waiting to read. So, we broke out my old copy of Chamber of Secrets and read the first few pages.  The joy and smile and giggles were absolutely magical.



And now on to my very important review because, well, OBVIOUSLY I read the entire thing in one day.  First my spoiler free overall thoughts:

 Overall, I really really loved it.  I need to probably read it again, because it took me awhile to get into it completely, but once I relaxed and let myself enjoy it, I was once again pulled into the magic. I think it gets stronger as it moves forward, and man, at some points it touched my heart. Like, crying actual tears, touched my heart. I had avoided all spoilers and reviews, so I had no idea what was coming, and I am glad for that.

I will say that it is a play, and so does not have the same depth as a classic JK Rowling book. And people will complain about that. At times it reads like fanfiction, which in a way it almost is, I guess.   It has some issues I could pick apart and obsess over, I could let them take away from the story or even ruin the book, but I won't do that.  For what this was, it was truly wonderful. It is a play expanding the world that I love, and I would love to see it on stage.  But for now, I have to make due with the book, and it really was great to be back in the world.



Guys, this story.  THIS STORY.  Let's get right into it.

  • First and foremost, I love Scorpius Malfoy to the ends of the earth.  I absolutely love that this story gave heart to a beloved Slytherin (or two) and I loved that even Draco was given the character development I wished he had been given in the original series.  I am not a die hard Slytherin fan, but this story definitely helps to show that there are good people in all houses, and I loved that. 
  • I do wish we had characters in other houses, but again, I think this comes down to this being a play.  The character and world development cannot be there on stage like it can in a book.  And I can accept that. 
  • I also really liked Albus, in all of his flawed nature.  I know people have complained about how Harry struggles with parenting Albus, and how it seems out of character, but I honestly disagree.  Sure, maybe some of the things are pushed farther than they would in a novel to make the points clear on stage, but I think we were given seven books with Harry as a flawed but wonderful character, and I think that continues throughout this book.  Parenting is hard, knowing what to say is hard. And we have seen time and again where Harry has struggled to let the people closest to him know they are important, to make them feel special, to not try to take everything on his own shoulders. I do not think it is a far stretch of the imagination to see that these are struggles that could continue into parenting.
  •  I loved that Hermione and Ron were in love in all the timelines. I loved that when they weren't together, they were both worse off because of it. I felt it was a wonderful counter attack to all of those who dislike that they end of together. I was always in camp Ron/Hermione and I am really happy this story didn't undo that.
  • Actually, I am really glad this story didn't undo anything.  I felt that it added context, but it stayed true to the original text, and that is possibly why I can easily forgive it's other faults.  It only added, it never took away.
  • I am not sure how many times I thought "This is like a Harry Potter/Back to the Future mash up!" The use of the Timeturner is one of those things I had to let go of and just enjoy.
  • I cannot get behind the idea that Cedric would ever (EVER) have been a death eater. I don't think it matched his character.
  • I wish they had allowed Scorpius and Albus to be a couple. Not just to provide LGBT representation, but because they read like a couple. And maybe that's my love of Carry On talking, but man, I was all in for some gay wizards falling in love. I didn't KNOW I was in for that, but once the story started to develop I really hoped it was going to go that way. When it didn't, I felt an opportunity was missed to include much needed representation in the Wizarding World.  
  • I can't decide how I feel about Voldemort having a daughter with Beletrix.  Like, I really can't decide.  I am okay with it in the context of this story, but it is the one piece I struggle with in how it fits into the originals.
  • I loved how Snape and Dumbledore were worked into the story.I thought it was the perfect amount for both.  
  • The part in the horrible future (Voldemort Day... ) where Ron and Hermione embrace their fate of the Dementors Kiss and choose to stay together to give Scorpius time to escape, ACTUAL FREAKING TEARS. I thought that entire section of the story, including Snape's fall, was probably the strongest of the entire book.
  • As I read, I would take the magic and transformations for granted, because they were in my head, but again and again it would occur to me  that this is written for a stage. And SERIOUSLY, I want to see that. 
And I guess that's it (for now).  The more I think about it, the more I am happy with it.  Does it have flaws, sure.  Does it gloss over some things, yep.  Does it feel like Harry Potter? YES IT TOTALLY DOES. Now I just need to know when the play is going to be available in the United States.