Monday, August 29, 2011

The Finish Line

My parents were runners. They took us to road races when we were kids. I distinctly remember standing along the side of the road, waiting excitedly to see my Mom or Dad run past. They took turns, as Ryan and I do now, with one running and the other being responsible for the kids and cheering at the finish.

Ryan's Fan Club

Friday, August 26, 2011


I am torn. Torn between work and home, career and kids, the age-old argument without new solutions. Torn between wanting to have something to call my own and wanting to be the best mom I can be. Can I be good at both my career and being a mom?  Are the two mutually exclusive? This idea was recently discussed on a blog I love, Motherlode (there is a link to the NYTimes blog on my sidebar). You can check out the book Torn: True Stories of Kids, Career & the Conflict of Modern Motherhood and one of several blog posts on the book here.

As a college student I always said I was going to wait to get married until my 30s (check), I would marry a man totally supportive of my having a career (check, check) and he would be an excellent chef and do all the cooking (check, check and check!). I also said I wouldn’t get married until I made my FIRST million. Well, three out of four ain’t bad.  Back when I made those checklists, they were simply ideas in my head of how I thought my life would go. I was raised in a Gen X, post-Title IX world and grew up believing I could do anything and be anything. I always knew I wanted kids and never gave any thought to choosing one path or the other. I could have it all.

Fast forward to today, and I do have it all - a successful career that is both challenging and rewarding and a beautiful, healthy family that makes me crazy happy. And yet, I’m torn. I love my job and my research. Teaching future scientists and doctors is rewarding. I want to set a positive example for the young female graduate students I mentor - something I did not have as a graduate student – and show them that women in science can have success and a family too. But there are days when I want to take Charlie to story hour at the library and walk Izzy over to the coffee shop and let her take a nap in the park.  Sometime over the past couple months while I was teaching grad students physiology, Charlie learned his ABCs from someone other than me. Some days I just want to be the Mom, to be their Mom, and just be there.   

My research lab, Summer 2011

Charlie, me and Izzy (in utero), California 2011

But maybe this is how it is supposed to work. Missing my kids and wanting to get home to them makes me more productive and efficient during the time I am at work. An exasperating day at home full of tantrums and lacking adult conversation makes me crave the order and quiet of my office. On days when I fail to inspire and students fall asleep in the back of my class, I know I will have a rapt audience waiting for bedtime stories when I get home.

So perhaps I’ll always be torn, and maybe that’s not such a bad thing. It’s like going on a fabulous vacation you don’t want to end and then suddenly looking forward to coming home. It’s like choosing between a post-work run or a cold beer on the porch – both are relaxing and rewarding in different ways and I wouldn’t want to give one up exclusively for the other. Maybe being torn is the new balance, that ugly word hated by so many working and stay at home moms. (Because let's face it, there is no balance. Only skilled juggling on any given day). So the next time I’m torn between two things I love, I will try to pause and remember how lucky I am to have a choice.  How lucky I am to be torn.  

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Say Cheese!

It took some major effort to take this self-timed photo. The out-takes would take an entire post. C & H need a family picture for their rooms at school so we had to give it a shot. Not bad for a Tuesday evening, post-work, post-school, pre-dinner, 95 degrees, with a very skeptical husband, 2 squirmy kids and a dog. I'll take the glare from the sun and call it good. 

Monday, August 22, 2011

More pictures

MVI_2857.AVI a video by Pager13 on Flickr.
Don't forget to check out pictures on my new tumblr site and you can find a permanent link in the page bar above, My Tumblr. Here is a short clip from our rainy day picnic last week.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Gobble, oink, moo!

We took Charlie to the Leavenworth County Fair and he had a blast.

The baby goats were one of Charlie's favorites.

 These pigs were much bigger than he was. He touched one of their ears.

 Izzy wasn't sure what to think about all the birds and chickens in the hen house. It was loud in there!

By the time we left, Charlie had a fireman's hat and a balloon and he was happy and tired. So were Mom and Dad.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Lake Summer 2011

We made our annual trek to the Lake of the Ozarks with my family a couple weeks ago. I didn't take many pictures this year but you can tell from the few I took that Charlie really had a great time. He liked the boat, even tried out the innertube. He is fearless in the swimming pool and kept up with his cousins a little more this year. It was incredibly hot, as it has been most of this summer, so Izzy stayed inside and kept cool much of the weekend. Next year she will be trying to keep up, too.

Monday, August 8, 2011

An Elmo Birthday

We celebrated Haley's second birthday this past weekend in Elmo style. It was a great party, thanks Haley!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Switching it up

I've been having a hard time keeping up with current pictures on the blog since baby #2 and I don't see this getting any better. So I'm trying a new approach. I'm posting iphone pics of random daily events here. You can also find the link in the My Tumblr page at the top of this blog. I will continue to make longer posts here but add pictures more often on Tumblr. Posting from my phone on Tumblr is super easy and makes it something I can do on the fly or with a kid (or two) hanging on my arm. So check it out.

We're also looking to add more content. There is a new section titled From Ryan's Kitchen where we will post recipes and meal ideas. Ryan is such a great cook and we eat like kings pretty much every night. Thought we would share some of his recipes and see if it inspires someone else to cook healthy food at home.

So if there is anyone out there following along here (Hi Mike & Sharon and Julie!) let us know what you like and give us some feedback. And check back often for more new stuff.

Having a rare, quiet moment to myself right now in the house and am not sure what to do with it. Its Saturday afternoon, both kids are asleep, Ryan is out for a run (I already finished my run today, yea me!) and the house is eerily silent. So this is peace & quiet. Hmmm. I think I like it. Sigh.

Off to read a bit of a good book before anyone wakes up!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Pizza Night

Once a week is pizza night. With a busy schedule, pizza is easy, quick, no mess, and generally a nice break in cooking in the middle of the week. Given the fact pizza is on the menu each week, I do what I can to mix it up. Pizza is so great by virtue of the fact it is like a blank canvas; add what you want, what you have on hand, what is in season.

The secret to pizza is simplicity. Yet, if you're only going to use several ingredients, they each better be good. Tonight's recipe:

1 large pre-baked pizza crust (I recommend 365 Whole Foods brand whole wheat pizza crust)
3 tablespoons pizza sauce
3 cloves minced garlic
12 oz. hand pulled mozzarella
5 thin slices prosciutto
Black pepper to taste
Dried red pepper to taste
Fresh basil

Last week our oven stopped working. The top range works, the broiler works, the oven...not so much. Time to improvise. Typically, I place the pizza on a pizza stone in an oven (about 425 degrees for 12 minutes). Tonight, I placed the pizza stone directly on the grill (about medium heat) for 15 minutes.

I then finished it off under the broiler (remember, the broiler still works) for 2 minutes to brown the top.

Top with fresh basil, slice and eat.