Monday, December 17, 2012


Last Friday...I have no words. I cried. I held my baby and cried. I didn't tell him "no" once that weekend. I cried so may times this past weekend. My heart broke for so many families who had something so precious taken from them.

My husband turned my alarm off on Saturday morning, and I woke up late...very late for what I had planned. But I woke up to my beautiful little boy's face, and I was so grateful that I, unlike 20 other sets of parents, saw my baby's face on a new morning.

I'm heartbroken for those families.

This morning, something happened to me that hasn't happened before. Like many other mothers that I know, I hesitated when I dropped my son off at preschool. I hugged him extra tight and gave him more kisses than he wanted causing him to say "Mommy...I want to go play!" I let him go and sat in my car and cried.

I cried because now I had an irrational fear that my baby was in danger.

I cried because that monster took something from every single mother and father in this country. He took  the feeling of safety that I had knowing that my son was safe at his school. I have never been afraid to drop my son off anywhere, fearing that he wasn't safe.

I know that he is safe. I believe he is at safe at his school. But I am sure those parents also believed that  very same thing.

I cried because last night, my husband and I had to talk to my not even 4 year old about what he should do in an emergency.

"If someone is trying to hurt you, you run and hide. You hide and don't come out until someone you know comes to get you. If you get scared, you hide. Promise me you will hide"

"If your teachers tell you that something is an emergency, you do what she says. You stay quiet and you do what she tells you."

I'm mad. I'm beyond mad.

As mothers, parents...we have enough to worry about in regards to our children's safety. Sending them to school shouldn't be one of them. Ever.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012


Yesterday, on the way back into the lab after crayfishing, we saw a police car in front of one of the dorms. Naturally, we assume it is a pot smoker or something small.

A student had killed himself in his dorm. This weekend. They had just found him.

We received an email from the president of the University with the vague details that were just enough to piece it together. Your heart breaks for the family, the friends.

All of a sudden, I was taken back to 2001. When it was me. It was me who had to deal with the aftermath of suicide.

All you ever want is answers, answers that you will never get. I remember being the one that people looked to for those answers. I was the one who was closest to him. I should know the answers.

I had none.

That made me angry. And that made me feel guilty. Here were all these people, hurting, grieving, grasping for peace and solace. I had nothing to give them.

So not only did I feel guilty for the fact that someone had taken their life and I didn't see it coming, not only did I feel guilty that they said it was basically because of me....I had nothing to comfort these people. Family. Friends. Everyone.

Now, there is a fresh wave of people who have to get through the same thing.

I wish I had answers for them, but I don't.

The hurt, the guilt, the never goes away. Somewhere along the line, you stop looking for answers, you stop trying to fix what is broken, and you just learn to live in it. You learn to cope and this horrible terrible time becomes a part of who you are. You walk with it every day, carrying it. Sometimes it's heavy. Sometimes it's not. There are good days. The good days start to outweigh the bad, and it just becomes....there. It's just there.

And then there are those days, when you hear about it happening to someone else and your heart breaks all over again. You know. You know that there are people out there that are thrown into this private hell that has no map to get out. You just have to start walking and grasping.

You get no answers. You get no absolution. Suicide is different than other deaths. It's different in that you know that person was obviously hurting and unhappy. No one should die like that. It's different than losing someone to disease or to an accident. Those situations are demons of their own, but those people, you can see the happiness. For suicides, your last impression of this person is that pain. That anger. That hurt.

You get nothing to erase it. Everything becomes tainted.

Right after suicide wrecked my life for the second time, I became paranoid. I didn't want to make new friends. I didn't want the old ones, but I needed them. All I saw was this darkness and everyone had the potential to hurt me.

Now, as a mother, I am terrified. What if it becomes my son that is unhappy? It's extremely paranoid, I know. It's insane. It's something to be dealt with. But how can I be sure I raise a son that won't do that? That won't put that kind of pain on someone else? On me? On his loved ones?

You can't. You can't ever know. You never get answers.

Sunday, October 14, 2012


Recently on Facebook, I saw a post about Amanda Todd, the teenage girl who committed suicide, provoked by bullying. Most of the comments were sympathetic and supportive. However, there were a few that lashed out, not at the bullies, but at the teen's parents, asking where they were through all this, while their daughter was hurting The story in itself is heartbreaking. But to attack parents in their time of grief and heartache, in my opinion makes them a monster of a special kind. MONSTERS.

I remember being a teenager. It was hard. And let's be honest, it sucked. You are going through a major growing phase of your life, physically, emotionally, and mentally. If that's not hard enough, you are crammed into a school with others going through the same changes. Throw in a small town and it's worse. I remember that everyone knew everything about everyone in my school. Rumors flew left and right. Throw social media into the mix, and there goes your escape at home.

You know what else I remember being about a teenager? Your parents are the enemy. You think they don't understand. I was a happy teenager, and I still holed myself up in my room to avoid parental contact. My parents probably still don't know half the stuff I did.

So how were the parents of this poor girl to prevent this from happening? Did they do a lesser job of parenting, then oh...say, the parents of the bullies?

I'm teaching this upcoming generation, what is it now, Z? This generation relies too heavily on this sense of entitlement and lack of accountability. "You didn't email me to remind me that the paper was due". No, but it was on the printed syllabus you took in your hand.

They hide behind this shield of false anonymity that comes with email, facebook, and twitter. They are growing up in a world that basically discourages face to face communication and makes them think they are invincible. If I spoke to teachers or other adults the way some of these kids do, my mom would have smacked me silly. And if Isaac spoke that way, I would do the same. You know who else hides behind that anonymity? Trolls on the internet who say parents should know when their children are hurting. What do you think the parents of those trolls would think of that? Would they be proud? Doubtful.

I don't condone suicide. I don't ever believe it is the answer. Ultimately, it is the decision of one person only and that person is the responsible one. No one else is to blame for that. Do I believe that other people can influence that decision? Yes, because I have been that person. I have been the person that hurts someone. Did I know that I was hurting them? Yes Did I know that they were suicidal? No. No I didn't. And to this day, I still don't see the signs that everyone says you should see.

Suicide has hit my life too hard, twice. I don't wish it upon anyone to deal with it. Death, especially of a child, is hard enough to deal with. Death of your child knowing that they were in such unimaginable pain that they saw no other escape...I can't even fathom. I love my son so much it literally hurts sometimes. I hate it when he falls down and hurts himself. I hate it when he cries. How could I deal with knowing he was in that kind of pain? I couldn't. When suicide hit my life, all I needed was compassion. If anyone thought that the person killed themself because of me, they kept it to themselves. You're looking for a reason, but you don't want it to be you. You want answers, but ultimately you don't get one better than the person was unhappy and in pain.

Monsters. They are monsters. No matter how it happens, death needs to be grieved. Those parents are in a kind of hell that no one should ever have to be in. Those parents need compassion, support, and love. No matter how their child died, they need compassion. It's not normal or right for a parent to bury a child. It  goes against  nature and sequence.

They probably also want to smash things. I suggest the fingers of those saying they should have known what was happening.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Double Dose of Goodness: Crock Pot Chicken Sandwiches and Homemade Chewy Granola Bars

Last week flew by, and before I knew it, I owed D two new recipes. So here they are.


What you need:

4-5 Boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut up into chunks.
1 can cream of chicken soup (I use the heart healthy version from Campbells)
Garlic powder
Onion powder
bread crumbs
Burger buns (I use whole wheat)

Optional: Lettuce, cheese, tomato...any sandwich toppings.

What you do:

Put chicken breast into crock pot. Add cream soup, and season to taste with garlic and onion powders and pepper. Cook on high for 2 hours, until chicken is cooked through. Shred chicken using two forks or whatever method works best for you. Add bread crumbs to thicken mixture, usually about 1/2 to 1 cup depending on preference. Then all you do is build the sandwich!

The next recipe I made for lab meeting this week. It's super easy and versatile.


What you need:

1 stick of butter, melted
1 cup of old fashioned oats
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
12 oz of fruit jam or jelly (I like raspberry)

What you do:

Combine flour, baking soda, and butter in a large bowl until coarse crumbs form. Mix in oats. Grease an 8x8 pan (I've also used a round cake pan). Press mixture onto bottom of pan, reserving about 1 1/ cups. Spread jelly over oat mixture. Top with remaining oat mixture, pressing down slightly. Bake at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes until top is golden brown.

I have combined the jelly with melted chocolate chips. Someone in my lab is trying it with white chocolate chips and strawberry jelly. Another labmate is using nutella (SWOON) and raspberry jam. You can create your own flavors. :)

Monday, October 1, 2012


You always hear those stories about campers or hikers or whoever that get mauled by bears because they were touching or near a cub. And then you hear how the bear that mauled this not too bright person was hunted and destroyed.

I'm here to speak for the bear.

As a mother, if I saw someone, anyone harassing my child or scaring him, the situation would not end well. I probably would NOT maul them, but that truly depends on the gravity of the situation.

It's instinct.

Like when the nurse was holding down my newborn baby's legs and shooting him full of vaccines with scary needles, my first instinct was to pummel her. I knew fully well she was not actually hurting him, but something in his scared cries triggered a strong reaction in me.

If I had been a bear, the situation would not have ended well.

As a mother, you have that divine instinct to protect your babies at all cost. It doesn't matter the situation, or even who is right or wrong. That scared cry, the cry of awakens the mama bear in you. You become the angry 8 foot bear with huge claws and before you know it, you hear yourself roar.

And that my friends, is not a reason to shoot a bear.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Couch to 5K

If you have read my blog before, or know anything about me, you read that title and thought I was losing my mind because SARA DOESN'T RUN. kind of do.

My labmate and bestie Miss S and I somehow decided that we wanted to run a 5K sometime. We have chosen to run it in the spring, giving us plenty of training time. Oh wait, it gets better. After we run a 5k in the spring of 2013, we want to run the Disney Princess Half Marathon in 2014. I know it's a ways off, but trust me...I need it.

We've been at the training program, which is a variation of the Couch to 5K regimen, for about 5 weeks now.

My knees are killing me, my shins are screaming profanities, my ankles are all pissed off, and my lungs are trying to flee my body...but you know what? IT FEELS AMAZING. I am RUNNING!!!

My little brother (who is a super runner...seriously, he's like 7th in the nation for college running or something absolutely ridiculous like that) has been giving me tidbits of help along the way, explaining what muscles are changing and such. For example, I said to him "Hey, Little C, I started running and my legs are absolutely killing me. Why is that?" His response: "Um, haven't run since like, 1999. It's gonna hurt." He is so wise.

Regardless of the pain, and the fact that the increasing muscle mass is altering the numbers on the scale in such a way that makes me want to vomit, I am really proud of myself and Miss S. After 2 weeks, I treated myself to a boatload of new music on iTunes. I owe myself another prize I feel, for completely another 2 weeks. Putting prize milestones, keeps me on track and keeps me going.

That, and my husband bet me $1000 that I would not run the half marathon.

I hope he is saving his change from lunch and such.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Monday, September 24, 2012

Snake Bite Pasta

We here in the Lahman family love spicy. We love pasta. Therefore, we love spicy pasta. In a massive haste of a hectic evening, I threw a bunch of things that sounded good into my slow cooker, set the timer, and walked away. A little over an hour later, I came back to what turned into Snake Bite Pasta.

What you need:
1 tub Kraft Santa Fe cooking creme
1/2 jar of Pace Picante sauce (we use hot, but use whatever your taste buds can handle)
1/2 tub of sour cream (I use low fat, but use whatever)
1 small yellow onion chopped
1 can of petite diced tomatoes with jalapenos
1 green bell pepper
4 chicken breasts
1 can whole kernel corn (I use no salt added)
1 box pasta (I use whole wheat rotini...something with texture holds the sauce better)
black pepper
Green onions

What you do:
Put the cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces. Put into the cooker with the cooking cream, onions, tomatoes, and pepper. Season to taste with cumin and pepper. Cook on high for about an hour, until chicken is cooked through. Mix in sour cream, corn, and Picante sauce. And cook additional 10-15 minutes. Cook pasta according to package directions. Mix sauce and pasta in large bowl, garnish with green onions (I usually just cut them up with kitchen shears).

What I love about this is that you can make it as hot as you like. You could also use beans instead of chicken  for a vegetarian option. I have also garnished with a sharp cheddar or pepper jack cheese, if I have it handy.


PS. One day I will figure out how to take decent food pictures with my camera.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

The PhD bracelet

In my lab, we have a tradition. Whenever a member achieves something noteworthy, my adviser purchases a bottle of champagne. The person with the accomplishment paints the cork a certain color, depending on what they have done, and fires it at the ceiling. Then, they sign the tile next to the cork mark, and the lab drinks happily in celebration. Our ceiling is amazing.


I can't take the ceiling with me when I graduate.

I wanted something to mark each milestone, each accomplishment, of my own.

I give you: The Pandora PhD bracelet!

It started with 2 charms, one for acceptance into the PhD program and one for getting an assistantship that covers my tuition and gives me a stipend. The third charm is for presenting at the Animal Behavior Conference in Bloomington, Indiana this past spring. Whenever I publish, pass a milestone (prelims, proposal defense, etc.), receive an award or grant, or present research, I will get a new charm. When I graduate, if all goes as planned, I will have one amazing bracelet to remind me of all the hard work I put in over 4 years and what I have achieved.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Good Eats for D

One of my best friends, D, from California is quite possibly busier than I am. She has three boys, two of whom are twins. She has a dog. A husband. A house and a mortgage. And she is an awesome family person. Oh, and she runs marathons. FOR FUN.

So yeah, she's super busy and I have crazy amounts of respect for her. We have never really lived in close enough proximity so I can help her as much as I want to. She taught me so much about being a first time mother, giving me all kinds of tricks and tips, without being pushy. I in turn, taught her some cooking tips, like how to make gravy from scratch and how to barbeque chicken. I just got to talk to her for the first time in a long time the other day, other than random texts and facebook snippets here and there. It was wonderful. Hearing about her life and her boys made me feel like I was back in California. It was like a breath of fresh air.

I know that she likes to feed her boys good, homemade food whenever possible. I promised her that I would send her some recipes, and I thought that I would share them with the blogosphere. Therefore :)...I am starting a new section to blog, called Good Eats for D. All the recipes that I will put here will be simple and easy to prepare, as well as easily affordable. I get my recipes from all over, and if by chance you stumble upon one that I don't credit you for, please please PLEASE let me know. I will be more than happy to correct myself. goes the first one! Sausage Crescent Pie (as made for me by Miss Sarah Jane). Note: I use low fat and reduced fat whenever possible. It's not necessary to do so, but I like to :)

What you will need:

2 tubes of crescent rolls
2 bars of cream cheese, softened
1 lb of turkey sausage (or any sausage you like)

What you need to do:

Preheat the oven to crescent roll specifications (most likely it's 375).
Brown the sausage in a pan over medium heat, drain.
Unroll one package of crescent rolls and press them flat so they cover the bottom of a 9x13 casserole pan.
Spread one package of cream cheese on top of the rolls.

Now comes the fun and creative part. Add the sausage. Then you can add pretty much whatever you want. I  have added mushroom pieces, spinach, onions...sometimes asparagus or tomatoes. Or you can just leave it as the sausage cause it's uber delicious that way.

Spread the last package of cream cheese over the sausage layer.
Unroll the last package of rolls over the top.
Bake according to crescent roll package directions (usually about 20 works)

Saturday, September 15, 2012

As the leaves begin to change color

"Can you set the DVR to record the Ohio State games?" my husband asks of me.

"What are you talking about? They don't start for a while yet." I reply.

"Um, they start on Saturday..."

This was a conversation that took place between my husband and I just a few weeks ago. Now here I sit, three weeks into college football season, knee deep in the semester, as the weather cools down and I try to figure where summer...or the whole year for that matter, has flown off to. It seems like only yesterday that I was packing to head up to Michigan for field research. It has been so busy, I have barely had time to take a shower, let alone blog about everything I want to. So here's a quick recap so I can shirk the guilt and move on.

I finished my first dissertation research data set. It's as beautiful as data can be, and holds a mountain of possibilities. Now comes the analysis and writing. I'm presenting it at the SICB conference in San Francisco! I'm so excited. :) I am starting trials for my second project, just hammering out kinks in protocol. My formal courses are completed, so this year is filled with reading and studying for my prelims, seminar hours, and writing my proposal. I taught the second summer session of Gen Bio lab, and all of a sudden, 6 weeks had raced by. It was a lot of fun, and I loved the material more than the other courses I have taught. However; I'm not teaching this semester. I landed the prep TA spot and I'm holding onto it as long as possible.

Isaac started preschool! He is adjusting really well, although he claims it is too hard. Oh buddy, it will only get harder. Ben started a new job, working as a service adviser for a local VW dealer. He loves it. He's home more, and the money is better. The new house is finally unpacked. Just looking for a few things to make it home. This proves quite a challenge as we have no extra cash. This summer drained us.

Isaac met Thomas, met Dora, and went to the zoo countless times. He visited museums, went to fairs and festivals, and rode an elephant. I can't even count how many times he went swimming and fishing.  We've hosted cookouts and parties.

Even though the summer went so fast, I'm super excited to what this fall holds for us. Apple butter, pumpkin picking, football games, trick or treating, more holidays and birthdays with our family.

And before you know it, I will be sitting in this same chair, looking out my window at snow, wondering where the fall went.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Letting Go

This past weekend, we took a big step and bought Isaac a twin bed. I say we, but it was really just a big step for me. Although I could see that he was becoming increasingly uncomfortable in his toddler bed, since he's a TALL little boy, I was dragging my feet in purchasing him a big boy bed. Why? Because it was the last element that made him a baby.

He's potty trained, so no diapers.

He drinks out of a regular cup and eats with regular silverware, so no more sippy cups or plastic dinnerware.

His umbrella stroller is too small, the same stroller that he couldn't use for the first 6 months because he was too small. For that matter, we are almost completely passed the stroller phase and he really needs a wagon.

He wears a 4T. 4. And he dresses himself.

He is starting preschool next week. And he brought home a permission slip for field trips and a list of school supplies he needs. I'm not sending blankets and diapers to daycare in a diaper bag anymore. I am sending crayons and pencils in a backpack.

Isaac is the light of my world. And like most mothers will say about their children, this little boy will always be my baby. But he's not my baby anymore and that becomes glaringly more obvious every passing day. I am so very proud of him, but my heart aches as it swells. Maybe it is because so many of my friends are pregnant or have just had a baby. Maybe because I have no idea when I will have another baby, if I ever do. If another child is not in the cards for us, Isaac will have given us enough love and joy as he has grown up.

I'm just having a hard time letting go of him being a baby. It is so very bittersweet.

With that said, anyone want to buy a toddler bed? Or trade for a wagon?

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The War of the Pets: How My Cat Tried to Kill My Dog

Guiliani, our black cat, was my first pet. My first real pet that I had living on my own, that is. He was my baby for 2 years, until we got Layla, our little Siamese. Their personalities are opposite, but after Isaac was born, they finally began to tolerate each other to the point of kitty friendship. Layla is very skittish, very afraid of strangers, but very very sweet. Guiliani is fearless, very friendly, and has a load of attitude. When we moved across the country, Layla claimed the basement and was barely coming upstairs. Guiliani was fine.

And then we got Luna Lu.

The cats hate her. She tries in vain to play with them with no avail. They HATE her. Layla refuses to even look at her, and when Luna manages to get close to isn't pretty. Layla arches her backs or hunkers down and hisses. Growls. Guiliani is more tolerant, until Luna tries to play. Sometimes he indulges her, but most times he acts pissed. And swats. And hisses. At the old house we used to have a baby gate up in our bedroom door so Luna couldn't get in. The cats would sleep up there. Layla ran from the basement to the bedroom, never really figuring out there was a whole front half to the house. Guiliani went where he wanted. When we moved, we opted not to put up the baby gate. Partly because it was broken and I didn't want to buy a new one. And partly because it seemed like it was a good time to let Luna into the bedroom. She sleeps on the floor next to the bed.

Guiliani doesn't approve. He likes to sleep on the bed, preferably on my head. Having Luna in the bedroom, even on the floor, cramps his style (Layla is once again a basement kitty and we hope to see her upstairs sometime in the next year). He sits atop the bedside dresser, watching and scowling as Luna sleeps.

Every night before we go to sleep my husband sets out his prescription painkillers for the next morning. Three of them. This morning he woke me up. There was only one on the edge of the dresser, balancing precariously.

I'm pretty sure Guiliani knocked them onto the floor and Luna ate them. Because LUNA EATS EVERYTHING.

What do signs of narcotic overdose look like in a 75lb Siberian Husky?

We aren't sure when said acts happened. Isaac came into my room about 4am and I got up to take him back to bed. At that time Guiliani jumped off the bed and Luna chased him out of the room. Nine times out of ten, I don't put my glasses on to stumble the 10 feet to Isaac's bedroom from my own. So I don't know if the pills were on the dresser then. However, Luna came back up to the bedroom after a quick jaunt into the yard and wolfing down some food (munchies?!). Guiliani did not. Why return to the seen of the crime?

Luna seems fine. I called the vet, and they assured me that a dog of her size could handle a few pills. I watched for any signs of strange behavior, but for Luna that would mean behaving and being calm. None such behavior was seen today.

And I am pretty sure that upon seeing Luna reenter the house this morning, Guiliani gave her a look that cleary said "What are you still doing here?!"

Tonight the pills will not be on the dresser. Just in case Guiliani takes another stab at offing Luna. .

Friday, July 27, 2012

Hoop Jumping

When I finished my Masters Degree from USF, one of the reasons I chose not to go into a PhD program right away was the administrative bull crap that comes along with any degree. It was not the work, it wasn't the research. It was the hoop jumping that was required.

I'm pretty organized. I learn my degree requirements and make sure I understand the program, what's expected, and when it is due to the proper officials. I can handle that. What starts to drive me batty is when requirements for the College and for the Department don't line up and NO ONE CAN EXPLAIN WHY OR HOW TO FIX IT.

Being a PhD student, I belong to a bunch of different people (to simplify things, I'm calling them people). I belong to the Graduate College, who have fairly generalized requirements and don't understand  a lick of what goes into scientific research but seem to like forms and paper. I belong to the College of Arts and Sciences, who start to understand science and somewhat know the requirements of the Grad College. Finally, I belong to the Department of Biological Sciences. I am not really sure what they understand, to be perfectly honest.

I don't pay to come to school here. I have an assistantship that covers my tuition and gives me a teaching stipend. It's awesome and I am very grateful for this. It was smooth sailing for the first year. I applied for in state residency to save the Department money on out of state fees. I do my registration on time. I get my forms in early. I have an awesome adviser who rocks at science and research and getting his students out on time. We sat down at the beginning of last fall, made a time line and check in to make sure we are there every so often. Well, not all the grad students are like me or have adviser who even know what the degree requirements are. Degree programs are being stretched to their limit, and the Department only has so much money to give. That means they have to cut and set limits.

Recently, the Department decided they are only going to pay for 6 credit hours per fall and spring semester per grad student and 1 hour in the summer, unless there are unique circumstances. Students can still get out on time (I can't really say this with a straight face because apparently this is a problem in our Department). HOWEVER, the Grad College stipulates full time graduate student enrollment is 8 credit hours during the fall and spring, 4 during the summer. Here come all the hoops.

I have spent more time on the phone and sending emails this summer than I care to spend. I am enrolled for 2 credit hours this summer. Two does not equal four. So I am not full time. This bumped my student discounts on insurance. One of my student loans from undergrad threatened to fall out of deferment. Isaac's and my health insurance was dropped since I am under the university policy and they can only cover FULL TIME STUDENTS. The State retirement fund (I technically work for the State of Ohio) takes 10% of your paycheck automatically if you aren't a full time student. That makes no sense at all to me, and my summer stipend was already lower than a minimum wage job at McDonalds. It was literally one thing after another.

This morning, I took care of what I hope to be the final issue for this year. When I filled out my financial aid forms in the early spring semester, I put that I was enrolled full time. This was before the Department changed what they would pay for. That means, I was awarded the maximum amount of federal aid allowable to a full time student. Until, I wasn't a full time student anymore. All of sudden my award disbursement was suspended and I had no idea why. I took care of everything as it was popping up. I need that money. Isaac needs that money. WE NEED THAT MONEY. I finally figured out this morning, after a length call to the financial office, that my award status does not meet my enrollment status. I had to change it to match, or my aid would be severely delayed, if not cancelled for the Fall semester.

This is not a hoop. This is a flaming hoop like the ones the circus wants animals to jump through. It's a pain in the rear, to put it delicately.

I have enough going on in my life without the hassle of dealing with these types of things that arise since other students can't get their act together to graduate on time. I understand extenuating circumstances. But when the average length of the programs is getting longer and longer because people fail to get their  requirements done on time and I am being stifled because of it? That I don't understand.

Fingers crossed there are no more issues. I have a dissertation to complete.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The R Word

Coming back into Ohio, as well as into the academic setting after so long in the workplace and in California was a huge adjustment that I have talked about many times (and probably more to come). I have learned a great deal about myself, my husband, in addition to valuable lessons on trust, integrity, and commitment. One of the most important lessons, however; has been running through my mind frequently over the past two summer months. This is one on a word we all know: RESPECT.

Everyone wants it. Everyone thinks they deserve it. But a very small handful seem to understand that they have to earn it.

I attended this university as an undergrad, and took courses from many of the professors who are still here today. Some are in the same positions, others are not. Perhaps it is the time I spent away from academia, or this university, or this State in general. Perhaps it's that I am older and been in different environments. Or perhaps it's always been this way, and I did not see it.

I can't respect people who throw out racist comments that visibly make others uncomfortable. I just can't. Especially when this comes from someone who should know better. There are a million excuses, but the bottom line is this: with great power comes great responsibility. And that responsibility involves being aware of comments you make in reference to race. Period. I know that I can't respect that.

But what if that person is in a position that deserves respect?

I can respect your position and your authority, as long as I am in a position below you. But I can't respect you as a person. And as one continues down this path, it becomes increasingly difficult to respect you in your position. Know your place. And adapt your behavior to it appropriately. Then I will respect you.

In addition to being a student, I am a teacher. I have taught a diverse group of students over the past 2 semesters and summer session. I have had amazing students in all my labs, both majors and non majors. And not so amazing ones.

Let's set the record straight. I respect your position as a student. I realize that entering the world of higher learning as a freshman is difficult and everyone comes from different cultural, social, and academic backgrounds. I understand that my class is not your only class, but please don't expect me to hand out pity because you "can't get out of bed on time".

I was an undergrad once. I know it's hard. I know it's overwhelming. I know you are dealing with a mountain of changes in your life. I respect that. I also know how hard it is to have a family and be a student. I respect your position in being a parent first. I understand the importance of that role. What I do not respect is all your excuses for not coming to class. You know what? I respect honesty. You know what I don't respect? A sense of entitlement. You could be a genius. You could go on to make brilliant scientific discoveries like curing cancer. Until then, please remember, you are a student, my student. And I am going to give you all due respect. And I do mean all DUE respect. Truth be told, I am pretty lenient and laid back. I let you make work up if you attempt to show you have respect for me, my time, and the course. If you acknowledge you are in the wrong and try to modify your behavior. I'm clear on my expectations from the start. 

Early in the last semester a student was mouthy with a professor of the class I sit in on The professor called him out on it, and rightly so. Later that afternoon, I got a call from the Department Chair wanting to know what had happened and what I thought of the situation. A student had complained. I told the truth. The student was out of line, big time and deserved to be called out. I didn't think the fully tenured, experienced professor who had taught me many years ago was wrong. This professor was clear on his personality and methods and expectations from the beginning. I came to find out that the student that complained about the professor being offensive was not even the student called out in class. That particular actually apologized for his behavior after class. And all of a sudden the Chair starts showing up in class to monitor the professor, not telling him of his intentions. W.T.F. 

The lack of respect in that situation made me sick to my stomach.

These situations got me thinking about how my son will behave in class. How he will learn respect. I can tell you this much. If my son spoke to a professor in that manner, I would be appalled and angry. And embarrassed because that is a reflection on me. If my son made racist comments in a public setting and wasn't an elderly man from the deep South  (not that that makes racism ok, but makes it understandable that he thought that type of remark was ok. The person that made this comment was not those things), I would feel the same.

The bottom line is this. No matter what position you are in, respect needs to be earned. And respect needs to be given to those positions above you. You may not respect the person, but respect authority. And then set the example to change the behavior.

Thursday, July 19, 2012


This summer has been so incredibly busy. I like busy. I thrive on busy. However...I'm tired. And the busy won't be letting up anytime soon. I knew that going into a doctoral program would make my free time and me time vanish instantly. It has, and don't get me wrong. I love my program. I love what I am doing. But...I'm tired. PhD programs are busy. Being a mother is a busy job. I'm pretty sure the only people who do both at once are crazy type A people, like myself, who obviously are masochistic and thrive under pressure (Sidenote: what a wonderful way to describe myself! If anyone else said that to me I would rage on them with a stapler)

I don't know where May and June went. Or July for that matter. I remember the spring semester ending. Then I was making electrodes and pollution sources. I was reading articles and learning to use power tools. I was looking at new rental houses. Then I was in California for a the only vacation I will get during my 4 years (unless someone else gets married out of state. That always gets me a long weekend at least). I was home for 3 days and packing to go up to UMBS for my field work. Another 9 days passed. Next was packing and prepping to move.  And teaching 3 labs and one recitation a week. We moved. Now, I had to unpack and decorate because apparently garbage bags, laundry baskets, and rubbermaid tubs are unsightly decor. Now here, I sit in the last part of July, as my summer session of teaching is drawing to a close, the house has finally started to look like it's lived in, and trying to remember the last time I slept. 

My schedule since teaching started has been steady and consistent. Wake up, get ready, guzzle coffee, get Isaac up and out the door to be at school by 8:30 to set up lab. Teach for 3 hours. Take care of the crayfish system (which is leaking and has to be drained so it can be repaired.) and print outs. Answer emails. Head home around 1 to eat and let the dog out. Do laundry and dishes. Run errands. Grade papers to hand back the next day. Write the next day's lecture and go over the lab. Pick up Isaac. Make dinner. Give Isaac a bath. Work on dissertation proposal and data from the summer. Suddenly it's 11 pm. Weekends are spent unpacking and with family parties (seriously, did everyone have to be born in the summer?) and are gone before they start. 

I'm exhausted. And burnt out. 

To recharge, I have decided that every Wednesday, I am allowed to eat fast food for lunch and then take a nap. I ignore everything else until after I pick Isaac up from daycare. Wednesday nights aren't that much fun, but I need these mini-breaks or I would GO INSANE. 

I know what I signed up for. I also know my limits. I have to have this one afternoon as my vacation, as meager as it may be. 

Monday, July 16, 2012

Snakes and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails

So you know that poem that tells you that little girls are made of sugar and spice and everything nice? And then it goes on to say that boys are made of snakes (snips, whatever) and snails and puppy dog tails, which I was always kind irked by, especially when I found out I was carrying a boy. Who wants to write that on a shower invitation?! Well, then I realized that it's true. BOYS ARE GROSS.

Isaac is three and a half and all boy. I love him to death, but he's gross. There is no way around it. He's a gross little boy that likes to be gross.

He picks his nose and wipes it on me. He also chases me with boogers and eye boogers, laughing hysterically.

He farts and laughs about it. ALL THE TIME.

He peed on Luna. Yep, you read that right. He pulled down his pants and peed on our dog. I am blaming  this one on my husband who taught Isaac to go pee outside when there are no bathrooms available. Typical boy thing.

He explained to me that there are two types of poop. There is firework poop and there is snake poop. Nuff said.

He tells me that he wants to tell me a secret, pulls my ear toward him and then blows a raspberry on my cheek. Or licks it.

He spits on the table or some surface and then drives his toy cars through it.

I know that these things are typical of most little boys. And probably most kids for that matter (except the peeing on the dog. GROSS). I just don't know many little girls that are Isaac's age that do such. He does have wonderful manners (most times) and is super polite. When he is not around me, that is. Mommy gets the gross. I'm pretty sure that is in the job description.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

He's fearless...and gives me heart attacks on a daily basis. :)

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


Yesterday, while eating dinner on my patio for the first time in so long, I was thinking about the past year and all that has changed. I wasn't thinking about how it has changed for me or for my husband. I was looking at my beautiful little boy, and thinking about how life has changed for him. Ben and I are both happy. But is Isaac?

Isaac was pushing 2 and 1/2 this time last year, when I pack up our lives and uprooted him to Ohio. I took him away from his daycare and his friends. I took him from his Aunties. I took him from his familiar surroundings, the only home he had ever known, even if it was such a short time. I put him in a car and drove away from our lives in California, where we had been happy.

When we got to Ohio, we were in a new house, that was unfamiliar. His crib was the only thing to break in the cross-country move. The $30 Walmart bookcase made it, but the $400 crib didn't. He was put into an unfamiliar bed in a new room. He started a new daycare with new people. He got a new puppy.

His surroundings were not the only thing to change. His daily routine was severely impacted. He went from having mommy time from the moment I picked him up after work, to having playtime by himself. My life was so different in terms of work and schedule, and he took the brunt of it. I thrive on being busy and pressure, but Isaac thrived on me. Isaac saw a new persona in me. Additionally, he had daddy around more. In California, it was me and Isaac. Ben worked so much, that Isaac believed his daddy lived in the computer for 5 days since he only saw him on Skype. He was suddenly surrounded by people he had only seen a few times before in his life.

Then we started potty trained. He lost the comfort of diapers. His friends started moving up to the next daycare class and he would tell me that he missed them. For the first time, I took him somewhere with me where he wasn't with me, but watched by someone else. And then we moved again, to a new house. At the end of this month, he will move in preschool, where his daily routine will be changed again, and he will have new expectations.

Life has changed so radically in the past year for him. Good changes, in my opinion. But he is so young, and I have to wonder how it has impacted him and what he thinks of it. Are any of these changes responsible for the way he acts? You always hear that children and resilient and that they bounce back quickly from things. But how resilient is he? Is there a tipping point? I also hear that children need stability and routine. They need consistency. Has he had enough of that?

We made these changes to give Isaac a better life in the long run. Our lives individually are so much better, that it makes us a happier family. I just wonder if Isaac is happy. Is his life better than what it was in California? Did we move him too soon? Too late? Change too much, too fast? How is he coping? Does he know what has changed? Does he expect more change? Does he even remember what his life was like?

I love my little boy more than anything else in this world. I would give up everything and anything to ensure his happiness and stability. I want his life to be wonderful and full. I don't want him to feel insecure or unstable. For the past year, I have fought with emotions that make me want to change his life back to a time when I knew he was happy. I am not saying I don't know if he's happy. He is happy.

We moved because we knew we would be happier. Ben and I are. But is Isaac happier?

Friday, July 6, 2012

Home Is Where the Heart Is...As Long As There Is Carpet There, Too

This time last year, I was surrounded by boxes, trash bags, and laundry baskets piled high with crap as we moved from California to Ohio. And here I sit again, amid piles of stuff, wondering why the hell we  moved AGAIN even it it was just 4 blocks from where we landed last year.

Then I look at the back yard that has Luna and Isaac running around and splashing through his pool.

We finally moved HOME. It feels like we are home.

I really liked the house we moved into last year. It was adorable. But we rented it unseen, and it just wasn't home.

It got me thinking about all the different places we have lived in the past 10ish years. Only one other place really felt like home. Funnily enough, Ben and I were talking about this the other night, and we both felt the same. The only other place that felt like home was our apartment in Sonoma.

I don't know what it is about this house and that apartment that made them have a different feeling. Isaac was never in Sonoma with us, and the house we all lived in together in California was lovely (kind of Dr Seuss-y, but still lovely). The only thing these two place really have in common is carpet. They were both fully carpeted. Well, and they had laundry rooms in the actual living space so I didn't have to  venture outside or down into a creepy basement to have clean clothes.

What is it about the carpet that makes us feel home? Neither of us grew up in carpeted homes. I can't tell you why this house gives me this feeling, but it does. WE ARE HOME. And we couldn't be happier.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Heart and Soul

It’s been almost a year since Ben, Isaac and I packed up our lives in California and headed back to Ohio. As I have said time and time again, we didn’t choose to leave because we were unhappy with our life, our house, our jobs. We chose to make this move because we knew that there was a life waiting that would make us happier. And after almost 12 months, it rings true that this was ultimately the best decision, because we truly are happier.

Earlier this month, I went back to California to watch one of my best friends, G, get married. The weeks leading up to the trip were so busy as I was prepping for the first part of my dissertation research, and searching for a new rental house for us. I barely had time to try on my bridesmaid dress before I was in the DTW terminal boarding my it’s- too- early -and -the -sun -isn’t -even -up -how -can -the -pilot -see -to -fly -the -plane flight. After plowing through the first book of the Fifty Shades series, I lifted my eyes to see my beautiful City by the Bay rapidly approaching as the plane got ready to land. My heart jumped in a million directions.

I was nervous. I was scared, not of being back in California, but of leaving this place, this time in my life, yet again. Everything was the same as I had left it, but everything was different. The lives of all the beloved people I had left behind had continued and moved past the 8 years that I spent in them. My friends were still my friends, but I hadn’t seen them in almost a year. It broke my heart at the thought of leaving them again, not knowing when I would be back to see them or at what stage of our lives we would be in. The bottom line was and always would be that I wouldn’t ever know anything except that everything would have changed without me. Every time I left, I would come back to something different in the same place. This was the same as it was when we would visit Ohio during our California chapter: HEARTBREAKING.

The wedding was beautiful. The time I spent celebrating this amazing time in G’s life was more than I ever could have asked to be blessed with. Tuesday morning came too fast, and before the trip had even seemed to begin, it was over. I didn’t get to see everyone I wanted to see, do everything I wanted to do, eat everywhere I wanted to eat. There just wasn’t enough time. It reminded me, again, of all the Ohio trips, when we thought about “missing” our plane back.

I love my life in Ohio. I love my family. I love being close to them. I love my friends, old and new, that live so close to me. I love my program, and being in science again, the science that I thrive on. I love what my husband and I have become living here. My heart lives in Ohio. I know that deep down, as much as I loved California, that it is no longer my home and only a place that I will visit. But it’s where my soul lives. There are days that I can’t believe that I can’t be at the ocean, standing on the beach with little Boo running through waves.

My heart and soul live in different places. And they have for 9 years.  

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Book Club

Throughout my life and travels, I have been extremely fortunate in making friends. I tend to be outgoing and talkative, so I have never had a problem meeting people. No matter where I have lived, I made amazing friends who have changed and impacted my life in so many ways. When I left California, I left wonderful friends and it broke my heart. The 8 years that I was living there allowed me to establish bonds with a handful of people that are forever in my heart. I miss them every single day, and the good times we spent together. My friends were also a huge part of Isaac's life and it broke my heart to take him away from them as well.

Since I grew up in Ohio, I have close friends that have remained in the area. I knew I had friends, but I was a little worried about starting grad school again, being older and "non-traidtional" and all. I was afraid I would be worlds apart from everyone else and not be able to relate to anyone. I was only slightly less than terrified to be back in BG period. I was scared to face what I ran away from. And I was afraid I would be doing alone.

I was so wrong.

S and J have been the best friends I could have hoped to make in BG. They love my little Boo Bear and he loves them. They have kept me sane and made the transition into this new life so much smoother. One of the biggest parts of this has been our Tuesday nights. It's book club night. Except with wine. And without books.

Almost every Tuesday night we have managed to get together, whether it be for grading papers, people watching, studying for ambiguous quizzes, or just to hang out and enjoy wine and Jeni's ice cream. Recently it has been dancing games. Regardless of what we do, its a few hours each week that I have looked forward to and gotten me out of my life of being a mother and wife, and just being a grad student hanging out with her friends. My husband respects this. And so does my grandma. She got me this for my birthday:

She told me that it was for book club. And that it was plastic so I wouldn't break it when I read too much. Yep.

It makes my heart smile. And so do my gals. :)

Monday, April 30, 2012

And So It Begins...

I'm talking about the fundraising era.

When I picked Boo up from daycare on Friday, there was a big white envelope in his cubby. This white envelope contained none other than a Otis Spunkmeyer cookie pamphlet and an order sheet for the $16 cookie dough tubs. Also included was a letter about prizes and such


My competitive nature says GAME FACE ON. And I'm totally for the fundraising thing. In fact, I'm quite good at it.

Here's the thing.

Is this technically my fundraiser? Or Isaac's? Because let's face it, he's three and unable to ask people to buy the overpriced cookie dough (sorry Spunkmeyer, but you know it's true). It's basically me asking people to buy them. Which, meh. I'm just not seeing the point.

I pay his tuition. I provide food for parties. I buy school pictures. Why do we need a fundraiser for daycare, anyway?

15 more years of this...that's alot of cookie dough and wrapping paper.

Sunday, April 22, 2012


I try really hard to leave school at school so that when I am at home, I can be AT HOME. It doesn't work. Somehow, I end up bringing something home. Especially now, this close to the end of the semester. I understand it, and so does Ben. The person that doesn't is Isaac Boo.

About this time last semester, Isaac wanted to watch Cars. I put in on for him, and then he told me that he wanted to watch  "Mater and the Ghostlight" which is a 7 minute Pixar short that is included on the disc. I was tired and had a bunch of work to do. I told him no because I didn't want to have to wait for it to finish so I could start the actual movie. He cried and asked again. I told him no again.

And then Ben came in and asked what the problem was. I told him and he said he would lay with him while he watched it and start the movie after. I went downstairs to start the dishes.

And to start crying.

I had just flipped out and told my son that I didn't have time to watch a 7 minute movie with him. 7 minutes. What kind of mother doesn't have 7 minutes for her son?

When we lived in California, it was Isaac and me a lot of the time. I took him to the park to feed the ducks all the time. I took him to swing. I took him to see the big trucks. We played ball-in-tree. I miss those times. We got used to it, both of us.

We made big sacrifices moving back here, that we were fully aware of. We knew what we would be giving up and what we stood to gain. The person that was not aware of those sacrifices was Isaac Boo. We were prepared but he wasn't.

There comes a time that enough becomes enough, that sacrifices become to great. What was more important to me, a clean sink or 7 minutes with my son? A letter grade or a walk to the park? I had to start drawing lines and rebalancing. Something wasn't working.

This degree, my studies, my research are all so very very important to me. But not more so than my beautiful baby boo.

I decided that no matter what my schedule, no matter was due, no matter what the day or how late we got home, Isaac was going to get one hour of solid, undistracted, mommy time.

It works for both of us.

We do puzzles. We read books. We color. We take Luna to the park. We make blanket forts and watch Bambi.

It's perfect. And although I might have to give up some sleep or some cleanliness. I don't care if my house is clean. I don't care if I have dark circles under my eyes. I don't care if I get a B instead of an A (ok, I kinda do because I am total type A, but I can deal, or at least I am learning to). My baby is only my baby once. He's only 3 once. And while I won't remember what I got on the GIS test in a decade or so, I will however, remember this time with Isaac when he sings the Bumblebee song to me.

This commitment to him is the easiest one I have ever had to make. It's a commitment that is hard to keep sometimes, but is the easiest to try for.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

A Three Year-Old Is the Best Birth Control EVER

At least mine is.


However, he's driving me insane. His second year, the "terrible two's" were relatively uneventful. We skated through that year. There were occasional fits and tantrums. And then he turned three. Still not a big fuss.

Last month someone flipped a switch and replaced my little boy with a POSSESSED CHILD.

It's hard. And trying. There's alot of crying by him and me.. He's pushing buttons and limits. He's throwing fits. It's like walking on eggshells. Sometimes when I do give him exactly what he wants, I don't give it to him HOW he wants it. Like milk with one ice cube in the orange cup with no lid. God help me if I don't get a portion of the request correct. Sometimes it's just easier to give him what he wants. Others I fight him on. I mean, that what parenting is, right? Making your kids hate you and feeling guilty about it?

The other night I asked Isaac what he wanted for dinner. He said he wanted a hot dog. "Two ones" to be exact. I said that he could eat one and then have another if he finished it all. He came back a few seconds later to ask for the second one. I asked where the hot dog went. "I gave it to Luna." Sigh.

This proceeded to happen with the subsequent grilled cheese. And green beans.

Finally, he seemed really excited to eat taquitos. I let him put them on the tray and put them in the oven. He watched them heat up through the oven door.

And then he bit into one, decided it was too hot, inedible and gave it to Luna. (Note: at this point Luna has had a lovely dinner of hot dogs, grilled cheese, green beans, and a taquito. Isaac has eaten NOTHING.) I told him if he didn't eat the taquitos he would get a time out. He fed Luna another one. To the time out chair we went. He started crying. And saying he wanted his taquitos. So I brought him one, which he proceeded to throw at me. Score another one for Luna. I knelt down to give him a stern lecture, and HE KICKED ME IN THE FACE. He got spanked. Put in the bathtub, into pjs, and sent to bed with no dinner.

By the time he got sent to bed, he was no longer upset. He called out to me about 20 minutes after I had tucked him in. "Mama! I'm hungry!"

This is where my heart started to break. I was torn between my motherly instinct to feed my hungry, crying baby and sticking to my guns to prove a point. A point that I wasn't even sure he was old enough to understand. He came downstairs, crying and I held strong. He went back up to his room and I could hear him crying and saying he was hungry. By the time Ben got home, he was quiet and I was the one crying.

What was I supposed to do? Ben talked to him. Told him what he did was bad and he couldn't behave that way. We eventually caved and gave him goldfish pretzels and cheese.

This scenario, along with others and the overall attitude of my child these days, has made me understand why people either space their children out by more than 3 years or have more before the first hits 3. It's mentally, emotionally, and physically EXHAUSTING. I am so drained, I have absolutely no desire to even think about having another child until Isaac is well past this age.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Trade Off

When we lived in California, I never worried about money. My husband pulled a 6 figure salary, and I had a steady job. Yes, our rent was more than what we pay in three months out here, and a gallon of milk often cost as much as a kidney, but we were fine. Although I bitched about frivolous spending, we didn't worry about it as much. We paid our bills on time, more than the minimums, we saved, and we lived our lives.

Except we didn't have lives.

Correction, my husband didn't have a life outside work.

While he loved the amounts of his paychecks, he was working 24/7. When he wasn't physically at work, he was on the computer or on the phone. Let's face it, that kind of salary is never attached to a 40 hour work week. Since he was working so much in San Francisco, he often stayed in the office apartment above the store. It was an hour drive each way, and when you aren't leaving until 9 and have to be back by 7, there's not a lot of sense in coming home to sleep for a few hours. There were days when Isaac didn't see his dad, until we figured out how to Skype. Ben would go on business trips, meetings, trainings out of state, and we couldn't even do that much. We had to reschedule our Disneyland trip 3 times. 3 TIMES!

I didn't worry about money, but I did worry about my marriage. It was just me and Isaac ALL THE TIME. Even when Ben was home, we were hard pressed to find a babysitter so we could go to dinner or to a movie.

When we knew we were moving across the country, we started saving and paying off more. I started planning how we were going to survive on one third of what we were making. It's been rough. I didn't plan as well as I thought I did. Ben messed up his back and has been to all kinds of doctors for tests. One of the cars has needed repairs. SNOW TIRES, ugh.

Anyway, now I worry about money all the time. Like, I wake up at night for Isaac and I can't fall back asleep because my mind won't turn off. But you know what I don't worry about? MY MARRIAGE. I see my husband everyday. EVERY SINGLE DAY. When we have a problem, we can talk about it, face to face.  We resolve things. Isaac sees his dad in real life, not over a computer screen. Most days, we eat dinner together. When Ben is home, he is HOME, not on the phone constantly or worrying about numbers or customer issues or whatnot. He's worried about, well, nothing. (Except maybe the fact that his wife is seriously inept at keeping up with laundry). We get to be a family. A broke family, but we are a family that sees each other.

This is a trade off I am willing to deal with. Somehow, dealing with money troubles seems immensely easier than dealing with marriage troubles. I'll take it.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Fort Knox for Hippos

Isaac has been having nightmares lately. He wakes up crying and calling for me. Most times he doesn't talk about them. I have no idea what's scaring him until it comes up in everyday life. Like an owl. Apparently there is a scary owl in his room.

The other night he woke up more upset than usual. He came to his door dragging his blue bunny buddy behind him crying as hard as he could. I scooped up my snot dripping baby and started to carry him back to his bed so we could cuddle and calm down. He started thrashing and screaming that he couldn't sleep in his bed because of the hippos.

HIPPOS. He loves hippos.

He wouldn't stay in his room, he wouldn't go into our room. So we sat in the landing and rocked back and forth. Apparently there were scary hippos trying to get him (NOTE: no more animal planet for Isaac before bedtime). I rocked and rocked and rocked him back and forth in the landing, quieting his sobs and drying his tears. He was on the brink of sleep when I put him back in his bed and turned on his movie to lull him the rest of the way.

Luck have it, his eyes fluttering right at the part with the DANCING HIPPOS. Let the screams commence.

Oh but wait! We were in luck! The tent Ben bought Isaac for Christmas is impenetrable to hippos! We were safe!

Oh yes, that meant that Isaac wanted to sleep in his tent. You know, so the hippos couldn't get us.

This also meant that I had to pile 20 million blankets and pillows INTO A CHILD SIZE TENT, along with a box of trains, Buzz Lightyear and Woody (who were to guard the entrance) and zip up the tent. ZIP UP THE TENT.

Let's talk about claustrophobia!

Isaac curled up next to me and fell asleep to me talking about all the reasons that the hippos couldn't get us. I became increasingly uncomfortable on the hard floor (despite the 20 bajillion blankets) and the rising temperature BECAUSE IT'S A ZIPPED UP CHILD SIZE TENT.

After he was well asleep I unzipped the door and nodded off eventually. Only to discover that my husband had turned off the alarm and I was late for LIFE (it was ok, my hair looks decent when I let it air dry).

Today we are off to the zoo to cure the hippo fear.

Fingers crossed. I can't spend another night in the tent.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Rachel in the Red Shirt

Every night during bathtime, Isaac and I have a little rundown convo about his day. We talk about school, what he learned, what he did, all the fun stuff. Sometimes he will sing songs to me or demonstrate new counting or spelling skills. He often talks about his friends, Conner Man, Nate Dog, Ronnie, and Diva (yes, I know. These names deserve an entire post of their own). Last night was a bit different. 

Isaac told me Rachel was playing with his trains. I commented how nice it was that he was sharing toys at school. He replied that Rachel was playing with his trains upstairs. Rachel in the red shirt. 

I had no reply. He told me all about Rachel who LIVES IN HIS PLAYROOM and plays trains with him. 

After he was done with the bath, I asked him to show me where Rachel was. He started up the stairs and then pointed to the top. "Rachel is right there!" 

I told him there was no one there, and then he responded that it was because she was in his room now. We continued into his room, where he immediately ran to the playroom door and asked me to turn on the light so he could see Rachel. He looked around the room and then walked in. 

"Rachel is in my tent!" 

I again explained to him there was no one there. 

"Where did she go, Mama?"

He proceeded to look for Rachel until I distracted him with fruit snacks and Curious George. 

And promptly text my husband that we needed to move. 

Saturday, February 4, 2012

The Baby Store

The following are actual conversations that took place in the Lahman household. As the mother of an impetuous, free-willed three year-old, you know I can't make this kind of stuff up.

Me: Ok, Isaac, Mama is going to brush her teeth and put on her shoes so we can go to the Dr.

Isaac: Right, go to dr. Then we have to go to the store to get the babies.

Me: The babies? We have to do what?

Isaac: The babies. At the baby store.

Me: ....the.....BABY store?

Isaac: Yep. We have to get our babies from the baby store.

Me. BabIES? Like, more than one? How many babies?

Isaac: Two. We have to get two babies from the baby store.

Me: We have TWO babies at the baby store?!

Isaac: (looking at me like I am crazy). Yes, Mama.

Me: Ok, well....let's have this conversation with your dad when he gets home....

So silly me, I am thinking that Isaac is going to completely forget this bizarre exchange. However, when Ben got home....

Isaac: Daddy! We have to get our babies from the baby store!

Ben: (Looks up at me) WHAT?

Isaac: Yep, two ones. Two babies. At the baby store.

Ben: what?!

Me: Yeah that is what I said.

Although I am sure Isaac was just being imaginative or talking about some toy or the babies at his school, a teeny part of me believes Isaac somehow knows that we will have 2 more children. How he would know this, I do not begin to fathom.

Kids say the darnedest things, don't they?

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Best Three Years EVER

Three years ago, my husband and I were blessed beyond belief with our beautiful little boy. Our lives changed forever. We became parents. We have watch him grow from a newborn into an infant into a toddler into this little boy. Isaac hit his third birthday last Thursday. It came out of no where. All of a sudden I had this little man in my house who spoke in complete sentences, sometimes better than my husband, and could walk up the stairs like a big boy. He could open the fridge and get his own juice, put on his own coat and shoes, and work the TV. At bathtime he would wash his own hair.

For three years we have been blessed to be able to watch this little person grow up, to be his parents. We may not always do it right, but we are all so very very very happy.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Words of Wisdom from an 80's Monster Ballad

"Can you take me high enough to fly me over yesterday? Can you take me high enough? It's never over. Yesterday's just a memory."

Eleven years ago, this week irreparably changed my life forever. Eleven years ago, I learned exactly what a broken heart feels like. Eleven years ago, I lost one of my best friends. Eleven years ago, I learned the ripple effect of suicide all over again. Eleven years ago, I changed.

Every year, I take inventory of how I feel, how my feelings have changed and where I am at. I'm still angry. I'm still hurt. I'm still confused. The pain, the anger, the anguish...they are still there. Some days I can't tell if they have dissipated or if they have just become easier to live with. Have I healed, or have I just adjusted.

Last semester was hard on me for many reasons. It was an introduction back into the academic community as a student. I had to relearn a balancing skill, this time factoring in my family. It isn't just me this time around. Last semester, memories and feelings that I had shelved and dealt with hit me like a sucker punch. Every inch of this campus is haunted. There isn't a safe zone. It's a constant battle.

Late last night, after leaving my friend's house and before going home, I drove to Carter Park. Carter Park where the water tower is located that can be seen for miles approaching Bowling Green. Carter Park where Patrick drove, alone, and took his own life. Carter Park that I have avoided for over a decade.

I sat in my car cried. I couldn't bring myself to pull into that parking spot or to park at all. I stared at the trees that had been there 11 years ago. I took in the desolation and isolation of the area, hearing the quiet and seeing the lights of the freeway, of cars racing by unaware that there is even a park there. The park is larger now, and the surrounding area more developed. There's apartments and condos, and a disc golf course. More playground equipment and updated ball fields. But that parking area, by those's the same. The dumpsters are still there. The out buildings. The overwhelming and crushing feeling of sadness came over me again, since the last time I was there.

So many questions remain unanswered and will always be that way. Memories have flooded my heart and mind this week, and I just want to move past these dates, this week and ever this semester. One foot in front of the other, one breath in and one breath out.

Monday, January 16, 2012

What a Lazy Day Means

Today the University is closed for MLK day. That means I don't have daycare or classes  or teaching or anything academic related that is obligated. I stayed up late last night gabbing with friends over red wine and some delicious kind of chocolate-y cake magic from Kroger. That means Isaac was due to wake up at 6:30. My husband came in the room to get something, and I rolled over and muttered something unintelligible about it being too damn early to be up on a holiday and to take the baby gate down so Isaac could come get me when he was done with his movie (I use it as a buffer. He lays around and watches a movie until he is ready to get up. It buys me anywhere from 15 to 45 minutes.).

When Isaac finally appeared at my bed, I took one look at him and decided it was a lazy day, which I texted to my husband. A few seconds later, I received the response "Soooo...that mean's you aren't taking a shower or putting on a bra today?"

If I could give him the stink eye over text, I would have.

That, dear husband, is NOT what a lazy day means (but maybe what it implies.)

A lazy day in our house means that Isaac and I eat junk food for breakfast and curl up on the couch until at least 10:30 watching movies. Which we did. It means we are spending the majority of the day in our PJs, playing trains, doing puzzles, and catching up on Pinterest.

It means that we are reading stories, playing with Play Doh, and making cheesy eggs in a dish for brunch.

It means the dishwasher is running but it most likely will not be unloaded.

It means that I consider productivity to be checking the bank balance and emailing our insurance agent enough for the day.

It means instead of reading GIS and making flash cards, I am reading "The Hunger Games" and sipping on my 3rd cup of coffee.

It means that Isaac is using Luna as a pillow and is on his 4th Disney movie (he only watches about 30  minutes of each). It means we have scoured the internet for an appropriate potty prize and printed said prize out to post next to the potty.

It means that we are spending the day relaxing and pretending that tomorrow we don't have to get up early and blow dry our hair, put on make up and jeans and accessorize. It means that we are enjoying the hours we get to spend together before we have to go back to daycare and teaching and listening to people tell us what we should be learning and already know.

It means today, the only thing that matters to me is that Isaac is my baby Boo and we are celebrating our togetherness.

And that I am not taking a shower or putting on a bra.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Yet Another Valid Reason to Not Drink Bath Water

Isaac's new favorite pastime is to fill his mouth with a liquid (juice, milk, water...whatever) and spit it out like a fountain. Or just spit it out. Not the most wonderful thing for my son to be doing, but very boy like and one of the lesser abrasives. Still, I squashed it pretty quickly.

Or so I thought.

Monitoring his drinking worked well. Taking his drink away when he spit it out worked well. What I did not count on was his performance in the bathtub.

He started filling his rinsing cup with bath water and drinking it. I took the cup away. We are teaching him to wash his own hair, so as he is rinsing his hair, he opens his mouth. What am I supposed to take away there? The best is when he lays in the water and opens his mouth, taking a huge drink.

He was spitting the water out. Now he is not. He's swallowing the dirty, soapy bath water. Again, what do I take away? Bath time? He hates the shower, so sometimes if I am feeling really impatient and cranky, I will threaten to turn on the shower. But in retrospect I don't want to scar him of the shower and make him think that taking one is punishment.

I'm pretty sure Isaac solved the problem for me.

On Monday, my friends came over to watch the BCS national title game (Yep, I'm a football fan.). Isaac had his bath, drinking a fair amount of bubble bath-y dirty water. Sometime in the first quarter he began to complain of a headache. I asked if he wanted medicine and he said no, he just wanted to cuddle. FIRST WARNING SIGN. My son is turning three this month, and he NEVER wants to cuddle for more than 1 minute unless something is up.

And came the vomitting. While cuddled on my lap, Isaac said he was choking. And then proceeded to throw up on my lap. All over me, all over himself, all over the couch. Yuck. I put him on the floor, and wiped up the vomit from my leg so I could stand. As I was standing up, he threw up again. Took a step back, and did it again. 3 MORE TIMES.

I took him in the bathroom, changed him and brought him into the kitchen. While sitting on the bench waiting for his tylenol, since he was still complaining of a headache, he threw up 3 more times. This is the first time he had been sick like this, spitting up as a nursing infant does not count.

Once his tummy was surely empty and he had settled down, I wrapped him in a blanket wearing only his diaper and got to rock him to sleep. That never happens. In a groggy state, I got him into new pjs and into his bed. He slept soundly and woke up feeling fine the next day.

And now he doesn't drink the bath water anymore.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Come On, Get Happy!

When my cousin and I were young teenagers, we used to babysit our baby cousin on New Year's Eve. We used to watch MTV special and eat junk food util early morning. After midnight, we used to write our resolutions on toilet paper and then flush them down the toilet. I don't remember why we chose to flush them, but it was rather fitting since I can't think of one resolution that I have ever kept for more than a month, if even that. They all ended up in the toilet. I gave up making resolutions years and years ago. Instead of making resoutions I decided to make commitments to make my life happier, however or whatever that would be.

I am a firm believer that only you can change your life and make it what you want it. You choose how you respond to each challenge. I have made major changes in my life in order to create happiness in my life and my families.

When asked how I plan to create happiness for myself in 2012, I was unsure of how to answer. 2011 was a great year for me and my family. We flipped our lives upside down and inside out, moving cross country, back to our home state. Life has treated us well, even though we have had the downs as well. I was slightly sad to see the end of this year, because it was such a happy one, but I am greeting the new year with enthusiasm.

As the New Year is underway, a new semester is beginning tomorrow, and my son's 3rd birthday is looming on the horizon. It's going to be a busy one, without a doubt. There are new opportunities emerging and new challenges to tackle. So to answer the question about creating happiness in the new year, well...I'm going to greet each day with a smile, no matter what. I am going to commit to taking each day, one at a time, and live it to the fullest, setting aside time each day for myself to reflect and to decompress. I tend to stretch myself thin, so taking a step back each day to do something for myself, be it just 15 minutes.

What about you? What are you doing to create happiness in 2012 for yourself? Share your answer in a comment on the Life Well Lived post over at and enter the KINDLE FIRE sweepstakes as well (A new Kindle Fire sure would help me with the me time, maybe too much. I distract easily!).

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Type A

I have figured out what kind of blogger I am. It took about 3.5 years, but I think I have finally got it.

I am an After-the-Fact Blogger.

I wish I could say that I was a brilliant writer. A funny writer. An inspirational writer. An insightful writer. I would even settle for CONSISTENT writer. But really, I am none of those things.

I think of what I want to write about and then I write the post in my head, usually in the shower (all my brilliant thinking comes to me in the shower.) and won't end up with anything I like until weeks later. Sometimes months. More often than not, they don't ever see a page. Or I think of something great to say about an even that took place months ago. Or I get so busy that months pass and I still haven't hit the publish button. Like my Halloween post? Yeah, where is that? (Although, that could be a poor example since my mother hasn't sent me the pictures yet.)

Regardless, I have deemed myself an After-the-Fact blogger. I don't make resolutions, at least not publicly declared resolutions. But in this new new year, I want to commit to being more consistent. I have had plans for this space for quite some time that I would love to get into play.

Now is as good of a time as any to start, right?