Showing posts from June, 2014

In the moment

Summer days are going by fast and I'm doing all I can to live in the moment. Because it is summer, I let her put on three more coats of face stick and wear her fuzzy slippers to swim lessons. Summer is not about the small stuff.

Summer is about late afternoons at the pool and eating dinner on the deck. It's about baseball with family and a first spin in a kayak. Summer is learning to play tennis and getting underdogs on the swings, and bedtimes that get later and later every night. The sun doesn't want to set and neither do we.

Summer is biking to dinner and drinking our morning coffee while the kids play in the yard. Our summer memories will include playing in the sprinkler, our first garage sale, and evening walks through the neighborhood. We'll remember blueberry and mint Popsicles and lemon bars that left us with sticky fingers.

Charlie went to his first summer camp at our church and had a blast. When I asked him what he liked best about camp he told me "no n…


One word pretty much sums up how I've been feeling lately. I'm reviewing grants right now for a meeting at NIH next week and this process always throws my world upside down. I drop everything for two weeks to get the grants read and reviewed (not to mention a three day trip to the east coast and back) and the rest of my life spirals on without me. I'm going to be reviewing grants three times a year for the next three years (!!) so I have to find a way to get through the process with my sanity intact, my family and my lab only slightly neglected, and with the wheels securely on the bus. 
I'm reading the book Overwhelmed: Work, Love and Play When No One Has the Time by Brigid Schulte to find some answers. The descriptions of her overwhelmed days are eerily just like mine. I'm hoping there are some nuggets of wisdom and inspiration in these pages. I'll report back and let you know.

Friday the 13th

I'm not especially superstitious. I've always liked when my birthday falls on a Friday. 13 is my lucky number, no matter the day.

Last year was a big birthday for me. But turning 41 is like turning 22. It doesn't register. It is unremarkable by comparison, by its unlucky order in the birthday queue. But it's fine by me. I like a mellow birthday.

Birthdays are strange once you become a parent. In parenting, everything is about the kids. Days and nights revolve around them. Even my thoughts, constantly invaded by worry or daily needs, are not truly my own any more.  Kids' birthdays are a big deal - and it is your job to make sure they are. It feels strange to shift the focus to your own boring adult birthday. You are a million years old (way older than 12 anyway) and you don't want toys, so what is the point?

I used to dread my birthdays because I didn't want to get older before I checked off my big life list regarding family and career. Now all the major box…

Celebration at the Station - 5

I still have a few more St. Louis pics to post, but I don't want to forget to post pictures from Memorial Day. This is a yearly tradition for us, and both kids have been going since they were just babies. We love it and the weather seems to cooperate while the crowds get bigger each year.

Temperatures were just right - not too hot, not too cool, and the threatening rain held off until after we were safely back home.

Many of our friends and family were out of town this year, but we had some friends of Charlie and Izzy's with us (and their parents, who are also our friends) for something new. There were 7 kids under 5 on our combined blankets. It was chaotic. And so we drank. A lot.

Ryan's parents were with us again and the kids are always glad to have a selection of laps to rotate through during the course of the picnic.

Here is a collection of pictures of the kids from each of their prior Memorial Day celebrations...

Year 1 at Celebration at the Station for Charlie, at abo…

Moms who coach

This article has me thinking. At this point, I don't know that Izzy will have any interest in sports. But I was a late bloomer myself, preferring dance and gymnastics to all sports prior to junior high. Maybe she just needs time and encouragement. I agree with this author's point that more women are needed on the sidelines -  at all levels. I guess I'd better be ready to coach when the time comes!

The Fault in Our Stars

When I started reading The Fault in Our Stars by John Green a few weeks ago, I immediately regretted the decision for two reasons. The first reason being that it is a book about teen cancer patients falling in love. I should know better. Why read something so assuredly sad? And the second reason being that I knew after a couple chapters that I was going to lose sleep over this book. I wouldn't be able to put it down. 
Throughout most of the book, I waited defensively for the sadness to kick in. But to my surprise, this book about two teens who meet at a cancer support group is not a classic sob story. The book is more teen angst and young love than courageous cancer battle.  The main characters are sarcastic and real, their moods up and down with the highs and lows of teenage strife. There are sad moments to be sure, but they didn't make me regret reading the story. 
"You have a choice in this world, I believe, about how to tell sad stories, and we made the funny choice.…

Travel with kids

Our goal for our trip to St. Louis was to have kid-centered fun. Ryan and I love to travel, but we haven't done much traveling with the kids. In fact, until this weekend we had never traveled together as a four-some. In the past we have traveled with each child alone when they were really small (C went to Seattle with us at 3 months old and Izzy went to New Orleans with us also at 3 months old). Other trips to California and Colorado all involved Grandparents - built in help!

To be honest, Ryan and I were a little nervous and afraid we would be worn out and impatient with the kids during the trip. But it went much better than we thought and everyone had a great time. Maybe because we didn't have our own 'adult agenda' of dining in great restaurants, fitting in an exploratory run, or sleeping late. We built our agenda around the kids (for the most part, see below) and it worked. Success!

Outdoor dining played a big part in the success of our trip. We stopped in Columbia…

The City Museum

The City Museum in St. Louis is like nothing else. I used to visit with friends when I lived in the city and Ryan and I had both explored the slides and numerous climbs together once before. The roof attractions were all new since I'd last been - slides, a Ferris wheel, a school bus teetering on the edge of a 10 story drop. Is it for kids or adults? I think it is decidedly both. Difficult to describe in words, pictures tell this story.

Charlie was nervous about this slide for exactly a half second. He went up and down this slide at least 20 times, until it started getting dark and we had to force him to stop.

Sitting on top of a 10-story building, this Ferris wheel felt really high!

Charlie and Ryan rode together, Iz rode with me. She was nervous for about the first two rotations - it goes pretty fast. She was smiling and chatting soon enough. Me? Not so much.

Charlie tried anything and everything he could - there were a few things he was too small for, like the 10-story slide th…