Monday, March 17, 2014


(and a half...ish)

Believe it or not, I think about this blog a lot. I just don't have much to post (or time to post it). While I have a new home, I find I get a lot more home improvement done when I'm not pausing to take photos of it. I feel uneasy about posting too many photos or info about my daughter (almost 10 months old!) on a public space. My work/research life has been tame and uninteresting as of late. In browsing this blog looking for a link to help a friend, I realized that I forgot to blog on our anniversary. I'm only about 6 months late though, so why not now?

Year 4. We...
  • ... took one trip together (to the San Juan islands in November 2012), and
  • ... logged some time apart, as I visited Montreal (for a conference in October '12) and Idaho (in July 2013, with our then 7-week old, to visit family).
  • ... traded in my Honda sedan for an Acura SUV.
  • ... decided the answer to starting a family this year was "yes," then navigated a difficult pregnancy, even worse birth, painful recovery, and rocky newborn-hood.
  • ... became comfortable and happy as a family of three.
  • ... enjoyed a visit from out-of-state family. (We have the grandchild. They have to visit!)
  • ... gained (more)/lost (not enough)/gained (more) weight (always).
We're already half way through year five, and it has been a wild ride.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

move it move it

There are a few of you who have followed this blog through several renames, redesigns, new addresses, new handles. You've been with me since I started blogging 10, nearly 11 years ago. I lived in Oregon at the time, and I blogged with my real name attached. About 2 years into my blogging experience, I announced a crazy thing: I'd be moving to North Dakota to complete a master's degree. This would take 18 months and then I'd [by all odds] be moving back to the Pacific Northwest.

I mean, who would stay in North Dakota longer than they have to, right?

Well, plans change, don't they? A degree. A marriage. Another degree. A baby. A career shift (for husband). Prospects and decisions ahead (for me). Much reflection, assessment, and evaluation have my husband and I looking at our situation and overall lives and realizing, hey, "life is pretty good." We can complain about the weather and whatever as much as we want, but in reality, ND has been good to us.

We're thus selling our wonderful little old Craftsman first home -- the one many of you followed along as I rejuvenated. Because we've purchased another, larger home here in North Dakota, for the long haul. After over 8 years of wondering where home would be when we finally moved and settled, it turns out, we already are home. Or we will be at the end of November, when we move in to our new [late 80s] home with the jetted tub and the 3-car, attached garage and the walk-in closet.

What you really need to know is this: that jetted tub is pink.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

post-doctoral career standstill and the serious baby

"So, are you teaching now?"
"What have you published recently?"

As the fall semester starts, I've been asked these or similar questions a few times by professors I've encountered. My answers seem to disappoint them, just a bit, before they try to cover up their concern that my current job is not what I'm supposed to be doing after finishing a PhD. Yes, I had a baby. But a baby (for me, at least), is not a career.

The transition to motherhood has been harder for me than expected. Babies are hard work without much reward. Our baby went from unbelievably fussy (colic/stomach problems) to now better, but very serious. You have to really earn a smile from her. Even her favorite toys provoke concentrated stares and scowls far more often than giggles or grins. She has little patience for lying around or being an observer, which is basically all babies are capable of doing for their first several months of life. So, taking care of her during maternity leave was mentally, physically, and emotionally exhausting for me.

Going back to work, even during our busiest time of year, has been like a vacation. When I think of all of the plans I had for maternity leave (publish articles, redesign CV, explore possible career paths, etc), all I can do is roll my eyes. It was an accomplishment if I got a load of laundry done or the dishwasher unloaded. And having been dreadfully sick throughout most of my pregnancy, I simply haven't done much in the way of advancement since finishing my degree. I'm OK with it. School and achieving my doctorate was my number one priority for a very long time. I do consider my work life to be a high priority, but something had to give, temporarily. So I let it slide, and I'm doing the same job I have been doing for years, since before I even finished my master's degree. It's comfortable and satisfying to go somewhere familiar and do something I'm good at in a time when it feels like everything else in my life has been turned upside down.

Speaking of priorities, my little girl is now 3 months old (as of today). She's learning to grab for things and put them in her mouth, and her eyes follow you around the room. She has discovered the TV and her favorite thing to watch is the opening credits of The Big Bang Theory. She is rolling front to back consistently, and has rolled back to front a couple of times too. She tries to sit up frequently, but of course cannot do it and cries to express the disgust of such an unfair lot in life. She is in her own room and sleeps through the night more often than not, which has been pleasant for us.

As I mentioned earlier, she's much more versed in expressing dissent than approval. It was even suggested by a friend that I start a Tumblr showing her scowling, screaming, or giving The Stink Eye to various "fun" activities, toys, and gear that "babies love." (I'm not going to do it, though I love the idea. Last thing I need is another blog to neglect.)

I went with my child on her first airplane trip and road trip at 2 months old, to meet her great grandparents on my side of the family. It was interesting, eventful, exhausting, wonderful, and terrible. She did not sleep on the plane as everyone assured me she would, even though I booked the flights during her nap times and attempted to giver her a bottle during takeoff. And the only thing I brought with me and did not use was the baby sling, which would surely make frequent appearances on that Tumblr blog that I'm not going to start. (I didn't bother to bring the stroller, as it retains the spot as Most Hated Device, thus far.) Still, it was a good trip, and timely since I knew once my maternity leave ended, I wouldn't have any time off for the rest of the year, basically.

I am looking forward to this fall, because it seems that she is developing much faster these days and almost every week brings something new that she couldn't do before. And maybe I'll find the time between work and baby-raising to start prioritizing career development again... but I've learned not to make plans too far in advance, since babies certainly don't. They live for the moment.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

and then there were 3

I'm just popping in to announce the arrival of our sweet baby girl. She was born May 28, which means she's now 2 weeks old. (Her official due date was June 8.)

These photos below are 1 day old and 13 days old.

May 28, 2013, 6:28 PM
8 lbs, 10 oz, 22" tall

She's a sweetheart. To put it briefly and vaguely, her entrance to the world was dramatic (or traumatic)? 21 hours of labor, a 104 degree fever for me, and a whole host of other issues landed her in the NICU (neonatal intensive care) for a week (and I couldn't see her 'til the next day). She needed a little bit of help breathing, had to have a lumbar puncture (*shudder*), and had antibiotics for a week. Had an IV in her head at one point (not something I enjoyed seeing).

She came home June 4. Unfortunately the trouble didn't end there, as our household has been plagued with various illnesses requiring middle of the night ER visits and doctor appointments and prescription pain killers (oh my). Yet even with her parents falling apart, she's thriving. We're finally getting our feet under us around here and adjusting to life as a family of three.

I've been putting more photos on Instagram periodically.