Saturday, March 31, 2012

Magical and Special

SO!  Ryan was away for three days.  The kids and I survived, BARELY.  But now that he is back, we have yet to have a single conversation uninterrupted by screaming, bickering, or the sharp click of a closing door that means Wes is out of his bed for the hundred millionth time since lights out.  Many, MANY times today Ryan and I looked at each other completely baffled by the wild Super Nanny "before" children we were living with.

Wes lost stories tonight for defiantly rubbing all the bright blue toothpaste off his toothbrush onto the carpet when I dared to ask him to please brush his teeth and stop trying to hide in my closet!  Charlie had a thirty-minute meltdown about his goggles not fitting correctly!  James had the most adorable tantrum (complete with "The Worm"!  He did The Worm on my patio tonight) because I told him in a kind tone "Cheerios are for our tummies, no throwing!"  And those are just the highlights!

There really are no words to adequately describe the tone of belligerence we've been living with since Thursday--the day it took us more than an hour to get from the church nursery to our house despite Ryan being at our house eagerly anticipating our arrival because Wes REFUSED to get up off the Fellowship Hall floor and STOP SCREAMING FTLOG.  A friend had to carry James to my car while I carried Wes with one hand and held her three-year-old's hand and Charlie held her other three-year-old's hand as we crossed the parking lot.  I was happy to return the favor after we buckled all of mine in and one of hers was wandering around not listening, but at least he was happy and not screaming.  I felt kind of bad for Ryan when we got home but mostly was just glad that he was there because I wasn't sure I was going to survive one more second.

And tonight, right before dinner, Charlie fell off the top of the trash can and injured his foot. Couldn't possibly have seen THAT ONE COMING!

Talking to the neighbors

But the funny part was (the funny part?) that when he came into the house, limping and screaming, Ryan and I simultaneously looked at the clock, then at each other, like "Is urgent care still open or will we have to go to the emergency room?"  We gave him a bag of frozen green beans to ice it down and he was fine after dinner.

We put them to bed early because of the bad behavior and also because, ENOUGH, you know?  But they kept coming out for stupid reasons.  Charlie's in my room!  Wes is in my room!  There's poop on the bathroom floor!  I have to go potty!  I heard a weird noise!  Ryan finally put up the baby gate by Wes's door and the sound that came from within was like the end of the Wizard of Oz when Dorothy throws water on the Wicked Witch of the West, I kid you not.  He's asleep now, I think, and it's the earliest night for him all week.  Last night we think he conked out around ten thirty.  Which explains a lot.

And now the air conditioner does not seem to be working.  I calmly pointed out that the A/C, which I finally had to turn on because it was NINETY today, did not seem to be blowing cold air.  Ryan went downstairs for twenty minutes then came back up and is now looking at a "1/4 H.P. 208 V 1 Speed Universal Condenser Motor" on his computer.  I may not use my mechanical engineering degree very much anymore, but I do know that the condenser is the thing that makes things cold.  And ours seems to be broken.  Which is why I am sitting on my bed sweating profusely in shorts and a tank top in FREAKING MARCH I HATE YOU SO MUCH CARBON DIOXIDE.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Page 1

The day before my youngest child said "Mama" for the first time I was sweating on the sidelines of my middle son's t-ball practice, holding a screaming baby, a miserable preschooler wrapped around my legs when I noticed that my oldest was not on the playground where he was supposed to be.  After a short search, an exasperated "MOM, I'm going POTTY!" from behind a locked stall door, I returned to the regular business of attempting to drum up some enthusiasm for t-ball in my three year old.

And then I went home, put them all to bed, cleaned up the kitchen, and started planning my Earth Science lecture for the next day.

It was an exhausting day, made more exhausting by the fact that my husband was out of town for work.  Normally, you see, we are equal partners.  He puts the kids down, I clean the kitchen.  He does t-ball, I do baby bedtime.  I plan my class, he runs to the store.  Things don't work right when one of us is gone.

I taught that lecture (atmospheric pressure and wind) the next morning.  I felt like I wasn't getting through, so I ended five minutes early with a promise to go over the material in more detail during that afternoon's lab.  Next was a brief meeting with a professor in the education department to discuss an NSF proposal I am working on.  She was warm and encouraging and loved my idea and promised to get back to me long before the deadline I proposed.

Floating on that bit of validation, I walked into the campus dining hall to get my lunch.  As I stood at the register, I spotted my baby across the room in the arms of his babysitter. I considered hiding, because I was getting my lunch to-go and didn't want to upset him, but before I could decide, he spotted me.

His whole face lit up and he waved at me, so excited.  And that's when it happened.  He said "Mama!"  Mama!  Not "muh-muh" which means "more milk".  I risked the confused tears and scooped him up for a quick snuggle before going back to my office to take care of my sixteen twenty-year-olds.  When I left he was sitting among the group of on-campus friends he has lunch with three days a week, basking in their attention and eating all the diced peaches he wanted.

*****

Have you ever thought about how you would begin your memoir?  Write your Page 1 and leave a comment and I'll link them all up here on Monday!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Yes, Tuesday was rough.

So it's 10:30 and I've just finished forcing my brain to figure out when to give the seniors their final since their grades have to be in before the scheduled final exam date. It doesn't sound that complicated but it required several different academic calenders, my syllabus, many personal requests, and a careful weighing of what material I felt like skipping in order to accommodate their needs. That last one was the fun part, because who doesn't love a university sanctioned reason to phone in the last week of the semester?

Today went as well as I expected it to. We got Charlie signed up for camp successfully, but after going the wrong way through the parking lot and parking semi-illegally in the street, I lugged everyone into the elementary school only to realize that I'd only brought two of the three missing documents from Charlie's kindergarten registration. Sigh. Birth certificate, you haunt me for another day!

We also had very loud public fights in:
  • The grocery store
  • The YMCA parking lot
  • The t-ball field
  • The basketball gym at the Community Center, and
  • Sonic
 So that was fun.  James had a terrible day and refused to eat almost anything besides the two bananas he had for breakfast.  Also, he is too good for sippy cups now and prefers that you pour a centimeter of milk in a normal cup sixty-five times during dinner so that he can drink it like a big boy without drowning himself.  He has a raging diaper rash which, honestly, would make me extremely cranky too.  Between what must be incredible hunger and a very sore bottom, he sounds and looks really pitiful.  But the moodiness was exhausting.

Also exhausting was the fifty-yard dash I completed today during t-ball when I couldn't find Charlie on the playground during Wes's team's practice (Wes was not participating because "My feeeeelings are tiiiiiireeedddd."  See loud public fight, above) (Both kids' practices are on Tuesday nights, which meant I had to occupy Screamy McRasherson at the ballfield for two hours this evening. My friend's seven-year-old daughter took care of him for the first hour and I am thinking of adopting her).  I carried screamy-James and pissed off-Wes (sixty pounds total!!) the whole way to the boys' bathroom to see if he was in there (he was! So responsible, and also, TELL ME WHEN YOU ARE LEAVING THE PLAYGROUND) then carried them both part of the way back to the field to wave off the search party that had formed spontaneously.  Made those twenty-five leisurely minutes I spent on the elliptical this morning seem like a walk in the park, which it kind of was actually.  Got some good CNN watching done.

I've got four different people helping me with the kids tomorrow, my lecture, an exam review, a meeting about my NSF proposal, and a night out at the movies with friends.   And then I am home free.  Come on Thursday!!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Business Trip

Ryan's going out of town for work tomorrow morning so of course I went to the grocery store tonight and stocked up as if I was preparing for a natural disaster instead of three days of solo parenting in my comfortable suburban neighborhood. And solo parenting isn't entirely accurate considering Wednesday the kids will be in preschool/with babysitters for much of the day while I'm at work and in the evening thanks to my monthly girls' night (going to the movies! The one with beer!) and then we have my church's MOM time Thursday morning (Childcare!) and Ryan should be rolling into the driveway just about the same time we get back from that. But Tuesday, man. Tuesday is going to be ROUGH. Except for the ninety-ish minutes I plan on "working out" in the morning at the community center. And the forty-five minutes I can kill by taking a long, leisurely drive to Starbucks afterward.

As I left for the store tonight I asked Ryan what he wanted for dinner. I told him I'd make whatever he wanted, so he could have a nice, healthy meal before eating at Outback Steakhouse twice a day for the next two days; I am a kind and caring wife and also I had absolutely no clue what to make. He thought about it for a moment then replied "Can you get one of those awesome frozen pizzas with the little disks of goat cheese? And maybe some cookies?"

And that is just one of the many ways he is awesome.

As I loaded Pirate's Booty into the cart like I would be using it to build a raft I could float out of my attic on instead of eating it by the handful every time I passed the pantry, I was thinking about how great of a team we are. He totally takes over when he gets home from work. He spent all of Saturday alone with the kids so I could work in my office at school. He truly enjoys being with them and pretends to enjoy loading the dirty diapers into the washer for me and killing bugs for me too. Things make a lot more sense when we are all under one roof, is what I'm saying.

But the trip should be pretty cool--he promised the boys he'd take lots of pictures of the RIVER BARGE he's going on. And then there's the little matter of getting to eat red meat willy nilly without regard to our grocery budget or cholesterol levels. And he'll get a break my semi-daily conniption fits about the volume of laundry we produce, which will be nice.

All the same, I'll be so glad on Thursday when he is back with us.

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Thursday, March 22, 2012

Motor Man

James doesn't walk yet, but I am not concerned about his motor skills. For example, today when we were at the giant sandbox park, and the big boys ran across the giant sandbox, scrambled up a retaining wall, and into the rock climbing section of the park, I thought he would stay in the sandbox like a normal baby. But no.

He was up...

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up...

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up...

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and away!

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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

My Brush with Fabulous

Mere hours before I was singing Kumbaya with a hundred of my closest friends and sharing a bathroom with seven people, I was eating lunch with the fabulous Amy of Snarky Mommy at a fancy VIP lounge that was part of a large music and technology festival that my town has every year.

After all my fashion angst and related shopping, Ryan helped me make the final decision. I came downstairs in a funky skirt I had bought and a black tank top. "You look nice!" Ryan said. Then I threw on some khaki short shorts and a flowy charcoal top that showed a lot of collarbone. When I got downstairs in that Ryan dropped the toy tool box he had been carrying and sputtered "You look HOT!" The decision was made, in other words. All I needed was the perfect pair of platinum gladiator sandals that I could see in my mind's eye but for some reason could not find at the store.

In the morning after I left the kids with the sitter, ran to the store for their lunch, ran back to my house to drop it off (planning ahead FAIL) and pick up my camera, I stopped at Target, where they HAD MY PERFECT SHOES. I bought them and a pack of diapers without a moment's hesitation. Then I went to Panera, not so much because I was hungry but mostly because I wouldn't have to share, and then I went to the train station where parking was surprisingly not a hassle and there were plenty of seats to choose from on the waiting train.

The train ride was filled with festival people and when they announced that we were approaching the Downtown Station several people cheered. The station was only a block from the restaurant where I met Amy and it wasn't long before I was drinking Mimosas at 11:30 on a weekday.

Becca and Amy SXSW

Mimosas were free, by the way, because Amy got me THIS:

VIP
(Taken in the privacy of my dining room afterward where I no longer had to pretend to be cool)

In addition to the alcohol, I also had some fondue, a grilled cheese with pesto and jalepenos, and some bread pudding. A healthy balanced meal. If you are Paula Deen. But I digress.

Every once in a while a man stood behind my chair and taped some kind of VH1 interlude while talking very, very slowly. It was unnerving at first, but after the second mimosa I thought it might be kind of cool if someone saw the back of my head on VH1. Especially because I was never allowed to watch it until I went to college, which is why I am so cool today that I look forward to the pipe organ show on NPR Sunday afternoons.

Amy's event-promoter friend stopped by the table briefly to ask Amy and her husband Josh which bands they wanted to see. Eminem was discussed. There was talk of the previous night's Snoop show. I was in awe. And also jealous. Though I was very much looking forward to camp at the same time. Amy is so smart and fun and the setting was so perfect, three hours flew by in an instant and soon it was time to tear myself away to catch the train home. Where I was nearly knocked to the ground by an older woman muttering something about "not enough seats on the train" (there were).

An hour later I was driving a fully-loaded minivan three hours out into the country. And no, the kids did not treat me like a VIP, even after I explained what the badge meant. Whatever.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

FAMILY CAMP!

We loaded up the family and went to our church's All Church Retreat this weekend, in a beautiful canyon out in the Texas Hill Country.

If you ask the kids, their favorite part was the bunk beds. It was hard to get them down. Until lights out, of course, then the novelty of sleeping in a playscape overcame their tired little brains. Wes got up to go to the bathroom forty seven times in ten minutes before I finally slid out of bed in my mummy sleeping bag and bunny-hopped over to him. It's hard for your kid to take you seriously when you are A) Participating in a one-man potato sack race, and B) Whispering so as not to wake the baby, so Ryan, who had the foresight to unzip the foot portion of his sleeping bag, stood up and took quick little sleeping bag steps over to Wes to back me up. We were the model of firm parental authority and it only took what felt like another forty-five minutes to corral Wes to his bed. Fortunately James managed to sleep through it all, which is amazing because have you ever heard someone trying to run in a sleeping bag?

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The next day was a blur. James took a couple of naps, we made paper airplanes, decorated cookies, ran relay races, played in the sandbox, and tried to go swimming in the freezing water. All five of us packed into a canoe for a noisy trip up the river with our very own personal, pissed-off-by-his-lifejacket foghorn standing in the front of the boat. He didn't want to be held, he didn't want to touch the water, he just wanted someone to take this FARKING THING OFF OF ME. People out for a peaceful walk by the river were in for a real treat.

James managed to take a nap after that experience, but see if you can guess from this picture who didn't nap on Saturday after staying up hours past his bedtime?

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Unsurprisingly, this happened not long after. We left him there while we finished eating dinner then put him to bed where he slept through the night and into the next morning.

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Speaking of dinner, James ate barbeque like a man and I had to steal my brisket from Charlie.

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With the little kids tucked into their beds, Charlie and I went to the sing-a-long (my favorite part, MY FAVORITE PART!) and then head to the campfire for some Smores making.

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After I took this picture Charlie said, with full mouth, "I LOVE CAMP!!"

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The activities were fun, but my favorite part of the weekend was the community. Everyone looked out for all of the kids on the retreat, which meant that if I needed a coffee refill all the way across the dining hall, I could go get it (if someone didn't jump up and take the cup out of my hand before I had the chance) without worrying about someone wandering off or doing something to annoy another table. When Ryan needed to run James back to the cabin for bed, Charlie stayed with a friend until I could get back to meet them. Friends played with my kids and helped Charlie get in the water when he wanted to swim and my hands were full. Our pastor and his daughter (and others) led the sing-a-long, which I spent sitting beside two dear friends, Charlie snuggled into my lap. I never stood outside the boys' bathroom for long without a dad asking me if I wanted him to go in there to get them for me. It was the embodiment of how community is supposed to be. They thought of every detail, from cabin placement (we had our own small cabin just big enough for our family so we wouldn't have half the family in the boys' cabin and half in the girls'), to the always-available lemonade, tea, hot chocolate, and coffee. It was such a gift to have my usual load lightened in that way.

James was asleep before we left the parking lot this morning and this happened not long after. The kids are already asking about when we can go back. I kind of feel the same way.

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Thursday, March 15, 2012

Dress Hunters

Tomorrow morning I will be going to a very hip music festival with my very hip friend Amy.  I will get there by riding a train filled with hipsters and also people dressed for work.  And I'm not going to lie, although I am very excited about the whole thing, I am a little intimidated by all that cool.

Last year, I wore a freaking maternity dress and sensible shoes and pulled my hair back.  I was expecting a sedate dinner at a nice restaurant, but we ended up at the W Hotel listening to bands afterward.  But since Amy told everyone I had a three month old at home, it didn't matter what I looked like, people were either impressed that I was there or terrified by my very presence.

Now, I'm hoping to look like I fit in.  No excuses.  This is HARD!  And so I've been doing a lot of angsty shopping.  Tonight while I was at my favorite little boutique, Marshalls, I noticed that I hear the narrator from "House Hunters" in my head while I am shopping.

The first dress had the lowest price of the three, but it clung in weird places and would require a bra upgrade.  The second dress was double the price range, but was very flattering and hid the belly pooch well.  It had the added benefit of working with shoes she already has.  Dress number three was priced right, and was a nice length, but would definitely require Spanx.  Becca is not sure she wants to wear Spanx to an all-day event.

And so on.

To make a long story short, I decided to not spend any money tonight and will be finding something to wear from my closet.  Now I only have to decide if I want to go with "Ironic Stay at Home Mom" or "Ironic Physics Professor".  Both will require sensible shoes, which I already own.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Spring Break Camp

I'll admit that I was not looking forward to Spring Break. One week with no plans, no babysitters, and no preschool? I was nervous to say the least. In response to my fear of being tied up and left on an anthill by my own children, I decided to plan the heck out of Spring Break. We were going to have FUN whether they wanted to or not. My high school buddy Helen invited us to come out and ride her horse on Monday, which was totally unexpected but also totally AWESOME. My sister took James, I found some ratty shoes for the kids, and we were off.

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I don't think any of us was truly prepared for how enormous a horse is. Especially when he is standing next to my thirty-five pound child. The kids thought it was really awesome that he could eat a whole carrot in ten seconds.

Wes was the first to go for a ride. My job was to hang onto the back of his pants for dear life in case he lost his balance.

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While Wes rode Bullero, Charlie's job was to take pictures. He got some good ones of the riding, but there are many others. A representative sample:

There are three pictures of this bucket:

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Lots like this:

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And this:

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This one is kind of wistful:

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And my personal favorite:

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Charlie got to go next. He even learned how to do the reins and tell the horse where to go. Helen told him that he could do it because he was older and stronger than his brother. So that was a highlight of his life. He's been telling everyone that.

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The kids each got a nice long ride around the corral and then it was my turn.

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It is harder than it looks! I had a great time up there though and learned a lot (even if my execution left something to be desired).

The kids thought it was hilarious that I was riding.

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It was such a special treat for all three of us and my sore muscles tell me running through thick mud behind a horse while hanging onto a kid's belt was a good workout. Many, MANY thanks go to my friend Helen! It was wonderful.

Today's Spring Break outing was not as exciting as horseback riding, but we had a really wonderful time at the playground and having lunch out with friends. we also went to the pool this afternoon (which, can I just say how incredibly awesome it is to have TWO independent (in their vests) kids and only ONE who is constantly trying to drown himself? Easiest pool trip EVER. I can now see why people spend hours at the pool whereas before the very thought made me have to lie down and breathe into a paper bag). In between, James and Wes took naps, Charlie drew pictures of horses and stables and corral fences and boys riding horses, and I finished the last tweaks of the first draft of the proposal I'm working on then sent it to the Co-PIs only two (working) days after my self imposed deadline of "sometime before spring break".

Tomorrow's itinerary includes bowling and cupcakes with friends and Thursday we might just have to go berry picking. I don't know what the sitter has planned for them on Friday but *I* will be having a fancy lunch and listening to live bands downtown with the lovely Amy of SnarkyMommy. Then we go on a church retreat for the whole weekend. YAY SO MUCH FAMILY TOGETHERNESS!!

How is this suppposed to work?

Have you ever sent an email to someone, we'll call that someone Dr. Bob Smartypants and then Dr. Bob Smartypants says "Oh, you need to talk to Dr. Charlie Smartypants" and then copies Dr. Charlie Smartypants on the reply, which includes both the text of the original email as well as all the attachments of the original email. But for whatever reason Dr. Charlie Smartypants does not engage in the "conversation". So then you have to choose to either send another email to Dr. Charlie Smartypants with basically exactly the same information that was on your original email to Dr. Bob Smartypants THAT HE HAS ALREADY SEEN BECAUSE HE WAS CCed ON THE REPLY EMAIL or wait a few days and see if he replies to the CCed email he received. And then if he doesn't respond it gets kind of awkward because there's this big "I know you have that email about that thing why are you not responding" elephant in the virtual room, but you have to do SOMETHING, right?

What are you supposed to do? Any etiquette experts out there?

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Saturday

As is the case most Saturdays, it became obvious yesterday around lunchtime that The Children Were Bored and were about to turn on us if we didn't figure something out in a quick hurry. After some quick Googling we decided to head downtown for what was described as an outdoor demonstration of video games with a Lego Pit that was FREE. The only problem was that "outdoors" was forty-nine degrees and raining. Facing bad weather seemed less risky than facing three bored children in a confined space for the rest of the afternoon so we bundled up and got in the car.

When we got there, it appeared that the event organizers were not as hardy as our family. There was no Lego Pit to be found. Ryan and I were so disappointed. The kids were, surprisingly, unphased.

We quickly regrouped and headed to the next best thing for a carload of kids expecting to play with Legos outside, an art gallery!

They had a Dr. Seuss exhibit, which we thought the kids would love since they are big appreciators of Green Eggs and Ham and The Cat In the Hat (book AND TV show), but what they liked the most was they way their clompy clompy shoes sounded on the charming wooden floors of the gallery and the way the exhibit was laid out in a twisty turney way that was almost like a maze if you ran fast enough. And they did. And no matter how much Ryan and I tried to instill a little culture in the little monsters, we were done with the exhibit in twenty minutes flat.

I got this cute picture of them by suggesting we visit a nearby bookstore to read some Dr. Seuss books and then head to Whole Foods for a hot chocolate. Saturday was the day Ryan learned that I control the children by bribing them with hot chocolate.

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It was really, really wet outside. Perfect hot chocolate weather.

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After hot chocolate and books we were a little surprised to realize that all five of us were having a really good time and maybe we should keep doing fun things as long as we were out of the house.

Next stop was the dinosaur museum.

First they had to run up the Rocky steps. Hmm, Wes has not had a coat on in any of these pictures.

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When we got inside we were treated to an enormous teradon skeleton hanging from the ceiling. Its wingspan was forty feet! THIS was a museum the kids could get into.

I took this picture of Charlie looking up at the teradon, but doesn't it look like he's balancing that cone on his face?

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James got to touch a meteorite.

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Then this happened a few minutes later. I don't think its a coincidence. I think he's Superman.

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There were some cute, fuzzy animals.

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CAW! CAW! CAW!

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And then, oh dear.

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Guess which one was the kids' favorite? Guess.

There was an exhibit that encouraged us to compare our features with those of a chimpanzee. Uncanny, don't you think?

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Wes wants to know why he always has to be the less-evolved primate.

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And then we went home and this happened. At 5:00. On the one hand, YAY MISSION ACCOMPLISHED! On the other, NO NO NO NO NO THEY HAVE TO GO TO BED IN TWO HOURS! Spoiler alert: They did not go to bed in two hours. They ramped up so hard at 7:00 we drove BACK downtown to hear a band and have a glass of wine (me) and some cookies (them), came home at 9:00, and finally got them to sleep at 9:30. Predictably, we made it to 11:00 church by the skin of our teeth.

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Thursday, March 8, 2012

Contentment

Say what you will about working versus staying at home, issues of identity and issues of child development, women's rights, FMLA...

...it's pretty awesome when your kid says things like "Did you always want to be a mother and a teacher?" and tells his preschool science teacher "My mom is an expert at wind!" and asks, as I'm fitting my old hurricane research team windbreaker over his tiny frame so we can go clear potential flying debris out of the back yard before a thunderstorm "Was this yours when you were a storm chaser?"

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(Academomia does not endorse storm chasing by tricycle)

That is pretty cool.

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Now I think I'll get started on that literature search before Wild Kratts is over and the baby wakes up.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Morning

Another banner Monday morning at our house.  Some of the good points were that I managed to overcome the Monday morning "WTH are the kids going to eat for lunch" panic attack and pack them a good mix of PB&J, fresh fruit, string cheese, carrot sticks, and crackers while they bounced around me like crazy, needy little seagulls begging for crackers and completely ignoring the bananas I had already put on the table for them.

The other good point was that I finally got tired of looking at the wonderful but too long JCrew khakis that have been hanging in my closet with the tags on for the last eleven months and decided to do something about it.  I put them on, cuffed them, pinned the cuff, then took a couple of walks back and forth to see if it would be comfortable, then said "screw it", rethreaded the sewing machine with khaki thread, sat down (still not dressed), and hemmed those suckers right then and there.  I should have done it months ago, obviously, but I am wearing them now and couldn't be more pleased with myself.  I've been looking at coworkers and students thinking "Did you hem your pants today?  DIDN'T THINK SO."

And then I went downstairs just as James was throwing up on Ryan's last clean pair of pants and when I went in the laundry room hoping against hope that I was wrong and that there was a clean pair in our so enormous that it now has its own gravitational field laundry pile I discovered that someone had spilled an entire canister of instant oatmeal INTO THE LAUNDRY PILE then carefully put the empty canister back on the shelf so as to avoid detection.

The laundry, it will kill me one of these days.

And then during my class I learned that it was indeed a problem that I fell asleep midway through lecture prep last night and only had eight slides.  Twenty minutes in I was on my last slide and couldn't stretch out my Deepwater Horizon pictures any longer so I told them that they had the rest of the period to work on their projects that are due on Wednesday.  Fortunately that's the kind of screw up that actually makes you more popular among your class.

Now I have extra time to work on my NSF proposal.  Shirking teaching responsibilities so I can spend more time on research?  I'm a REAL professor now!!