Monday, December 31, 2012

A snowy end to 2012



This is the view from our loft today, lots of snow to go around and finish off 2012. This year has not been short on adventure for us - we sold a house, bought a house, and moved into a loft downtown while we renovate. Charlie turned 3, Izzy turned 1, and Ryan and I had an amazing 10 day trip to Spain. Life is good. I'm getting so excited for 2013 - our new home is calling!


Nothing like a beautiful winter wedding to finish off the year. Julie put together an elegant, personal and glam wedding that I was so honored to be a part of. They are ending the year as newlyweds and our family is loaded up with sweet memories and images of a most perfect winter night.


I got teary seeing all the cousins lined up ready to walk down the aisle. With Julie being the last sibling to get married, we won't have another family wedding like this. They were all so incredibly cute and each one did their job like they strut in front of 300 people every day! Julie and Dwayne had an amazing photographer so I can't wait to see the pictures. Maybe she will let me post a few here...


Here's to 2012 and going out in style, and with a big smile. Bring on 2013!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Before & during...

With the holidays, we aren't having an official walk through of the house this week.So instead, I've posted some side by side comparisons from before construction and after 2 full weeks of demo and framing.





Wednesday, December 26, 2012

A super holiday

It was super hero madness at our house this Christmas. And Santa did not disappoint.
 

Captain America/Spiderman was one of the costumes in rotation on Christmas Day. Izzy got some new items for her play kitchen, including this chef's hat and apron. That is a lot of pink on one little person!


We made the best of Christmas morning in our loft, although it really didn't feel all that Christmasy to me. We had a few handmade ornaments (and stockings!) on our tree, but it felt temporary, which of course it is. If you notice in this picture, Charlie is wearning his Spiderman coat and his Batman backpack. He had to be talked into taking both items off before bed on Christmas Eve.

 
Aunt Kara came through for our super heroes. Not only did Charlie get a Spiderman mask and web thingy for his hand, both kids received handmade capes with their initals on back. The perfect gift! (And thanks to Gram for the cute Christmas t-shirts).
 
We have so much to be thankful for this Christmas - family, health and lots of love! And next year, we will add in our new home...can't wait!
 

HO HO HO!



Thursday, December 20, 2012

Remodel tour - week 2

Week 2 of our house remodel, after almost a year of dreaming and planning. I can hardly contain my excitement and want to camp out at the house all day and just watch the progress.


Who needs windows? We showed up for our weekly walk-through to find every window in our house gone. It was quite the sight.

Monday, December 17, 2012

End of the year reading list

I haven't read all of these articles, but when I have a few minutes of down time here and there before the end of the year, I am going to tackle as many as I can.

Best Articles 2012: The 25 pieces that should be required reading for women.

Anne-Marie Slaughter's piece and the one about moms staying in the picture both made a big impact on me this year. I enjoyed the piece on Hillary Clinton and look forward to some more good reads. As much as I love to read books, I know better than to think that's going to happen during the holidays!


Would love to know which ones you've read and which ones have made an impact on you...

Weekend Update


We did it! We saw Santa! Izzy would have nothing to do with the man in the red suit, of course. But 1 out of 2 ain't bad.



We saw Santa at Union Station as part of the Holiday Express train exhibit. The train was only there for 3 days and the lines were long! We got there early Saturday morning and made it through in good time, but by the time we finished, the line ran out the door of Union Station.


The inside of the Holiday Express train was decked out like Santa's workshop. Trains all around, because you just can't have too many trains.

On Sunday we had a brunch at our loft for my lab and their families. Check out this group - I'm so proud!



And they gave me a great Christmas gift - a KU t-shirt signed by all of them. I love it.

This past weekend was a tough one for many families and I can't imagine the loss of the families in Connecticut. I haven't listened much to the news or the stories. I know burying my head in the sand is not going to make it go away, but when I let myself think about the tragedy, I can only imagine the scenario with my own kids and it's just too much. I can't go there. It has definitely made me pause and realize how lucky I am and how precious every day is with my beautiful little ones. I am going to focus on the moments, big and small, perfect and imperfect, and count my blessings. 

 

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Remodel tour - week 1

It has taken a long time to get to this point, but here we are. Our home remodel is in progress, finally. After timing the sale of our old house and the purchase of this new one, moving into our loft downtown, designing with the architects, dealing with one bank and then another, redesigning and budget engineering the plans, here we are. The demo has been going on for about a week and, it turns out, things come down pretty fast.



Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Lacing up the skates


Charlie has been talking about going 'skiing' since he saw the ice rink open at Crown Center several weeks ago. We promised we would go this past weekend with all of his cousins and he asked me if it was our 'skiing' day every day for a week.



Of course, with all the warm weather we've been having, our luck turned at just the wrong time and it was really cold and windy Sunday for ice skating. We didn't dress warm enough (and we made the mistake of walking over from our loft with the kids in the stroller. They were nice and cold before we even arrived at the ice rink). On top of that, the kids don't have gloves. Epic Mom fail.


Somebody was cold and grumpy. Next year, she can lace up a pair of skates, too.


Charlie wanted to skate on his own, like his cousins.




But after three trips around the ice, he was ready to pack it in. Then we attempted a family Christmas photo in the freezing cold, which I hope was not a total fail. The weather has been so mild that we just weren't geared up for this cold snap.


We can check this hoilday tradition off the list. And now that it's been a few days and we've all thawed out, I'm going to label it a success. We celebrated our December birthdays with some good pizza after the skating, and the service was pretty decent considering our party of 17 (!). And did you know that someone in my family is getting married in just 18 days?


Not that we're counting...

Monday, December 3, 2012

Deep in the heart of Texas

Greetings from Austin -  the land of live music, excellent Mexican food, and every tequila known to man. I'm here for a professional development conference (all women, I'm in estrogen overload right now) and Ryan came along for some R&R. It was a nice, albeit brief, respite from our busy and stressful days this fall worrying about our house renovation. The conference is in a convention center right on the University of Texas campus and we've had a great time walking the campus and the city. Things in Texas really are bigger (the football stadium is massive!) and a bit flashier (you should see the city Christmas tree set to music and a dizzying light show. There was also a strange holiday parade of centipedes and various insects all lit up and on wheels that I would like to know the story behind). Sometimes a couple days in a mid-size city that is walkable - we got in over 20,000 steps yesterday -and free from the hustle bustle is just the right getaway. Thanks Austin.










We stumbled into some pretty good eats while in Austin. I highly recommend Papi Tino's, Contigo, and perhaps our favorite, La Condesa. We ran through campus and also hit the trail along Lady Bird Lake that runs along the downtown area. Just today, I discovered the LBJ Presidential Library and Museum - and unfortunately didn't have my camera because I was on a run. We'll just have to come back!  

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Just wait, Marissa Mayer, and believe the hype.

 
Marissa Mayer is in the news again. In her first interview as Yahoo CEO she claimed "The baby's been easy!" 
 
From the beginning, I have been confused by this woman. She becomes the CEO of Yahoo at 6 months pregnant, a huge triumph for working mothers everywhere. Then, she takes a 2 week maternity leave which doesn't help anyone, including herself. But that is her prerogative, and to be fair, she didn't ask to be the poster child for working moms. Now she says everyone made the whole baby thing out to be much harder than it really is. Cue the teeth grinding...  
 
My response - just wait, Marissa. In the beginning, babies sleep all the time and you can take them anywhere and everywhere. I spent many a day at work in my babies' first 6 months with them napping in the stroller quietly while I did some work, held a small meeting,etc. It's definitely doable. But then the sick days start kicking in and all hell breaks lose. And you can't take a 2 year-old to work with you and tell them to play quietly under your desk. So just wait, Marissa, your baby and the challenges of motherhood will live up to the hype.
 
Izzy at 3 months, helping me prepare a presentation at work.

Don't get me wrong - I don't wish any ill will or tough times on Marissa. I don't wish that for any new mom. And while I know she didn't ask for the role, I do wish she would champion working moms, and all working parents, in a way that acknowledges the challenges rather than just plowing right over them. Is that too much to ask?

On a positive note, since it is the positive side that keeps me going in all this, I liked Mayer's response when asked how she manages everything on her plate: "Ruthlessly prioritize." Maybe she can be the working mom's champion after all.
 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Holiday Rush

How is it possible that we are already at the end of November? I had such good intentions this year of having my Christmas lists done early, decorations up, holiday plans in place. And yet once again, here I sit behind the eight ball. No lists, no decorations, no plans.
 
But it's not December yet - I can still make a come back. If I only knew where to start. I'm not sure how to approach the holidays this year since we're displaced from our home. With 5 years in our old house, we had established some traditions as to where to put the tree, how to hang the stockings, and have just the right amount of decorations to feel festive but not cluttered (Ryan would disagree on this last point). But our stockings are in storage along with our Christmas tree skirt and all our other holiday gear. So I'll have to get creative and see what I can do with some twinkle lights and a paper chain or two. I like a good challenge.
 
Since we don't have a yard right now and there aern't many trees downtown, I feel like we missed out on some of my favorite parts of fall this year. It was unseasonably warm the day before Thanksgiving and we spent a leisurely, unstructured hour plus at Loose Park with the kids. I think Charlie missed romping in the leaves this fall without a yard. And for Izzy, it was a totally new experience to see the fallen leaves, hear them crunch, and taste them...
 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Top 10 reasons I am thankful to be a working mom


I spend a lot of time thinking out loud on this blog about being a working mom. Usually this takes the form of questioning my career and family choices, and voicing my fears in an effort to gain perspective on what feels like an emotional roller coaster most days (read here, here and here). Not today. In the spirit of the season, I am putting together my TOP 10 Reasons I am Thankful to be a Working Mom.

10. I like taking my kids to my lab and showing them what mom does all day. With any luck, maybe they will think science is cool.



9. I like contributing to the family budget (read, shoe shopping without guilt!).

8. I need a place to go on Monday morning. No further explanation needed.

7. I enjoy the challenge of research, teaching and mentoring students. Some days my students actually listen to me and hear what I'm telling them. That rarely never happens at home.

6. I have new stuff to talk to my husband about at the end of the day that doesn't revolve around nap schedules and diapers. 

5. I like the occasional short work trip with a nice hotel, room service and watching tv in bed. All by myself.

4.  I'm teaching my children that there is more to me than just being their mom.

3. I like being asked "So, what do you do?"

2. Playing stay at home mom on occasion (when no one is sick and I can choose the day) is fun and rewarding.

1. As a working mom, all my eggs are not in one basket. A bad day at work can be cancelled by hugs and kisses at home. A stretch of sick days and toddler tantrums can be quickly forgotten by a new success at work.  

All in all, I'm very lucky and fortunate to have the blessings and complaints I have on a daily basis.  


Happy Thanksgiving!