Thursday, September 30, 2010


Bear has recently learned how to say "Mommy!"  When children learn how to say this lovely word, most mothers find it endearing.  Bear, however, screams it at the top of his lungs over, and over, and over, and over again.  He calls Archer "Mommy!"; he calls Wild Man "Mommy!"; he calls his teachers at daycare "Mommy!"  It was endearing and lovely the first 20+ times he did it.  Now it is bordering on downright annoying.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


That one word sums up my day today.  Well, to be accurate, it sums up my life right now.  I feel like I'm struggling to keep it together, to keep my wits about me, and to keep my head above water.  Lots of things are happening, some good, some bad.  I don't feel like I'm dealing with any of them particularly well, and there are also some unbloggable issues going on in my life right now.  For now I'm here.  I'm not sure how often I'll be blogging in the next few weeks, as I'm swamped by teaching, job letters, writing, grading, and trying to maintain some semblance of normalcy at home.  I'm feeling stretched to my limits, and I need to take care of me.  I'm not having a lot of success on that front.  I'm working on it.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Oh, no he didn't!

This afternoon Wild Man looked at me and said, "Mommy, girls don't play with trucks.  Only boys do."  Yesterday he said to Archer, "Nah, nah, nah, boo-boo, you can't catch me." 

I must say I'm really pleased with all the great things he's learned after just three weeks in JK.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Archer, happiness, and changing my mindset

Yesterday, while sitting in the doctor's office, I read an article about changing how we think in an attempt to make ourselves happier.  Apparently, we can change the neural pathways in our brains to make ourselves happier.  I found myself thinking about this article after I dropped Archer off at his office this morning. 

We had a fairly difficult night last night.  Bear is cutting 3 molars, as well as 2 other teeth.  He also has a cold, so he isn't sleeping as well as he could.  He was up from 2-3:45 last night.  When he woke up, I nursed him back to sleep, but as soon as I put him in his crib he woke up.  I patted him on his back (while leaning over his crib) for 15 minutes; at that point, I'd been awake for 45 minutes and was getting frustrated.  I woke up Archer and asked him to take over.  He happily complied, but 10 minutes later, Bear started having a full-blown meltdown, so Archer took him downstairs to get him back to sleep.  Archer teaches on Friday mornings, so our tacit rule is that I handle the night shift on Thursday nights, just as he handles the night shift the night before I teach in the morning.  So I went downstairs to take over.  Archer told me to go back to bed, but I said, "Nope, you teach tomorrow.  I can handle it."  45 minutes later I was finally able to get Bear back to bed, and 30 minutes after that, I was finally asleep myself.  When Bear woke up at 6, Archer told me to sleep a little longer, and he took Bear downstairs.  They played, and Archer packed lunches, made snacks, unloaded the dishwasher, made coffee, and essentially did everything that has to be done in the morning to get us out the door one time.  When I woke up 6:50, I had a cup of coffee waiting for me, and I only had to make the boys toast and get them and myself dressed.  It was, for the most part, a good morning.

When I dropped Archer off, I accidentally locked the car without realizing it, making it impossible for him to get his bag out of the car.  He glared at me and said something unkind, and I said something unkind in return.  He walked off to his office without really saying goodbye.  As I drove away, I was thinking all sorts of uncharitable things, most of which are completely in accurate about my husband. Both of our actions erased all the good feelings I had about the morning. 

This happens a lot in our house/relationship lately.  Why?  Mainly, I think, because we're both stressed out about job stuff, neither of us is getting enough sleep, and we spend too much time together, although it isn't the right kind of time together.  We're still struggling to balance our relationship with the demands of one t-t job, one full-time, non-t-t teaching appointment, and two children.  More often than not our relationship gets put on the back burner, which sucks.  Our baby-sitter, whom we don't use often enough, is about to have her second child, so we have to find another sitter.  We have no family around to help us, and although we do have good friends who routinely offer to take the boys, these friends have two girls of their own, so we never take them up on there offer (nor do they take us up on our offer to watch their girls). 

As I was thinking uncharitable things, I remembered the article I read yesterday, and I decided that I was going to make a conscious effort when I'm annoyed or angry with Archer to remember why I love him.  So here are 10 reasons why I love Archer. 

1.  I love his smile.
2.  I love that he knows exactly how I take my coffee.
3.  I love that he knows what kind of french fries I like.
4.  I love his pancakes.
5.  I love the way his eyes crinkle when he is laughing with the boys.
6.  I love that he can change Bear's diaper faster than I can.
7.  I love his laugh.
8.  I love he is always willing to stop what he is doing and talk to me about my work.
9.  I love his hands.
10.  I love that he is always knows when I need some time to myself.

I'm going to do my best to make this an every day practice, to recognize the things I love and the things that make me happy.  I want to feel more relaxed and happier with myself rather than so focused on the negative all the time.  Without sounding corny, I do have a lot to be thankful for, and I'm going to make an effort to remember that.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Seriously, you call that a visit?

Yetta and Pita (who is recovering very well) arrive for a visit late Monday afternoon.  They are bringing two of their friends with them, as they are doing quite a lot of sight-seeing along the way.  I was under the impression that they would be in CU Land for the entire week, taking day trips while Bear and Wild Man are in school and Archer and I are working and spending the afternoons and evenings with us (or with the boys).  They are, in fact, leaving bright and early Thursday morning.  I don't know if I can effectively express why, but I'm really annoyed.  Here are a few reasons.
  • For the last few weeks Pita has been telling Wild Man very excitedly about this visit, and he is, thus, excited.  Right now it seems like she and Yetta will be spending 3 evenings with him, probably around 12 hours.  He is going to be really upset when he begins to understand how short their visit is.
  • Yetta isn't even staying with us.  She is staying at a hotel with the travel friends.  While this makes life easier on us in a lot of ways, it further limits the time she has with the boys.
  • Yetta has already made several comments about how she never sees the boys and how she is so excited to see them, but that she hates that it will be such a short visit.
Clearly, seeing the boys is not the primary purpose of this visit, which is fine.  They are entitled to take trips that are not associated with visiting us.  But don't get my children all excited about a trip in which you won't be spending much time with them.  Don't complain that you don't know Bear at all and then plan a trip to see him which will not enable you to develop that relationship further.  Oh, and don't plan a trip for the school/work week and then get annoyed that Archer and I will be working and Wild Man will be in school.  I'm trying really hard to focus on all the positive things (yes, including the fact that my teaching schedule means I won't have to spend much time with them), but this isn't going to be an easy trip for Wild Man, who loves Pita and Yetta dearly.  He is going to be upset when he learns that Yetta isn't staying at our house.  It is going to be equally difficult on Bear, who has a hard time adjusting to strangers.  He will not want to go to them, and they will not be here long enough for him to get used to him.  Archer and I will also be regaled with comments like, "Well, why doesn't Bear like me?  I don't understand it.  Wild Man would come right to me at this age." 

I can't believe I'm writing this, but I really wish they were staying longer.  Yes, that would be more stressful on me, but it would be so much better for Wild Man and Bear.

Monday, September 20, 2010

More Job Stuff

I hate all the emotional ups and downs that come with being on the job market.  Hate them.  I like to think of myself as a fairly even-keeled person.  Being on the job market throws me completely off balance.  One minute I'm excited about a job ad, and the next minute I want to cry in frustration.  I may need to go into therapy just to get through this search.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Bear Update

Bear had his 15 month check-up late last week.  He is doing great, although he has slowed down in both his height and his weight.  Bear was my big baby, weight 8 lbs. 6 oz and measuring 22.5 inches at birth.  I'm 5'3" and weigh 105 lbs. when I'm not pregnant, so for me, Bear was a big baby.  Like Wild Man, Bear gained weight quickly, but he started slowing down at about 6 months.  Between his 9 month and 12 month check up he only gained a pound and literally fell off the growth chart.  That concerned his doctor and prompted a series of weight checks.  As of last week he weight 22 lbs. and 6 oz., which is about 1.5 lbs. more than he weighed at his 12 month check up.  He is gaining weight, but he is doing so at his own rate.  He is currently in the 25th percentile for weight and the 26th for height (he is 30.5 inches long).  He is hitting all of his other developmental milestones, so the doctor is no longer concerned about his weight.  She is concerned about his head size.

Bear is 30.5 inches long, and his head circumference is 19.8 inches.  He is off the chart for his head size.  Our doctor has expressed some concern in the past, but as Archer and Wild Man both have large heads, she hasn't been too worried.  But since Bear has slowed down in every other aspect of his growth except his head, she is a bit concerned.  She is sending us to have an ultrasound of his head to make sure he doesn't have hydrocephalus.  She is fairly certain he doesn't as if he did he would likely have some developmental delays, but she wants to be certain.  I'm a little worried, as I am every time one of my children has to go to a specialist.  As I think I've blogged here before, I tend to worry more about Bear.  I'm not sure why, although I think a lot of it is connected to his hospital stay at 1 month old.  The referral may take a while to come through, so I have no idea when we'll know anything at all.

Olivia Place

I rarely plug websites or products.  With that said, I'm now going to plug one.  An old friend of mine runs Olivia Place, a website that offers daily specials on items for babies and kids.  The products on the site are great quality, and the deals can be spectacular.  Check it out.


I seem to have lost a lot of readers since I renamed my blog.  I'm apparently not tagging posts as well as I was either.  I'm trying to decide if I actually care about that.

Second full week

Tomorrow begins the second full week of school.  I'm not entirely sure how I feel about that.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Job Stuff

The fall job list in my field came out this week.  It is ok.  Thus far, there are about 45 jobs I will apply for, but most are not in my primary field.  After many conversations, Archer and I have decided that I will apply for everything that I'm qualified for this year, even generalist positions.  I can't imagine that if I were to secure a generalist position somewhere that CU would offer me a t-t position, but who knows?  I'm also applying for several post-docs.  This time I'm not holding back.

I've also asked the heads of the departments (all three of) that I teach in at CU to write me letters of recommendation.  In case you're wondering, yes, my asking served two purposes.  I think each of these people will write me a strong letter, but I also wanted them each to know that I'm on the market. 

Archer and I also met with the faculty retention officer (whom I will call VP, as she is a VP of something) of CU this week.  We've actually gotten to know VP outside of work a bit, as her daughter is in Wild Man's JK class and his daycare class and her son used to be in Bear's daycare class.  She is lovely, and I could actually see being her friend.  She was wonderful, and she asked lots of questions about what we want, what we think we could get elsewhere, and if we're happy in CU Land.  Given how Archer is getting some publishing done (2 articles accepted in the last 8 months and a letter of interest on his book project) and how I've managed to get some stuff out (1 article so far, and 1 more that I'm determined to get out by the end of the month) as well as all the teaching I'm doing, she thinks we have a strong case to make for pushing the departments and the dean to secure me something more permanent.  So I have to send her a current CV, and she's going to talk to the department heads.  She will then go to the Vice Provost, whom she expects will talk to the Dean of our faculty.  She was very clear that nothing can be done now, but she seems optimistic that something could be worked out for the 2011-2012 school year.  We'll see what we see.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Update on Pita

Pita was released from the hospital yesterday afternoon, and she was in the hospital for less than 24 hours.  Archer spoke with her yesterday, and she had no idea that Yetta had not informed us of the accident immediately.  In fact, one of the first things she said was, "Why didn't you call sooner?"  Archer explained that Yetta didn't call us to tell us of the accident and that Yetta was not returning his phone calls.  They talked for a while, and Pita is doing well, or as well as can be expected.  She suffered two broken ribs, a broken wrist, and has a huge gouge/cut on her arm, which is apparently the injury causing the most concern.  Yetta is already harping on her about how much the accident will cost--Pita was charged at fault (although the circumstances indicate that it wasn't her fault), and as Pita is on Yetta's car insurance, the accident will likely increase Yetta's insurance.  Yes, Yetta has found a way to make this all about her.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Random Updates

The fall semester started yesterday, so I've been preoccupied by all things teaching.  Here are some updates from my life.
  • I have a TA for the first time ever.  I'm not sure how I feel about this.  Obviously I'm excited not to grade papers for this course, but in some ways it also seems like a bit of a hassle to manage someone else's grading.  TA seems competent enough, so I'm hoping it all works out.
  • I finally finished the reading list for the course that I have no business teaching.  I added a unit on something that I find really interesting, and now, I'm rather excited about teaching the class.  Let's keep that one a secret, yes?
  • Archer and I have a meeting with the VP of Faculty Recruitment and Retention on Thursday.  She is meant to be our advocate at CU, and her primary purpose is to keep faculty here. We're hoping she can give us some tips on securing me a more permanent position.  As a bonus, her daughter is in Wild Man's day care and JK classes, and her son was in Bear's daycare class.  We've gotten to know her a little bit that way, so maybe that will make a difference.  Regardless of our personal connection, she is very nice and seems very concerned about some things we've been told by various administrators.
  • The job list in my field comes out on Thursday, so I've been communicating with people re: letters, essays, etc.  None of this is fun, at all.
  • My former adviser has taken an administrative position at Southwest College, and now she is impossible to get a hold of.  I've sent her two emails in the last week, and I haven't heard from her.  I may have to resort to messaging her on Facebook.
  • Pita, Archer's sister, was in a major car accident yesterday afternoon, and we were the last to find out.  She apparently ran into the back of a car on the interstate, prompting her to lose control of her truck, and was then hit by at least 2 other vehicles.  She flipped her truck several times, and she had to be removed from the car (it was upside down) by firefighters.  We only found out b/c Archer called his mom on her cell phone to ask a quick question.  Yetta was so hysterical that it was impossible to get any info out of her.  Archer's brother called us later in the evening, and I answered the phone.  I said, "So can we get some news from someone who isn't hysterical?"  He said, "Do you want the truth, or do you want what is circulating on the church prayer line?"  I had to crack up.  He then said, "No matter what Mom tells you, Pita wasn't airlifted to the hospital, and all things considering she has fairly minor injuries.  There is no reason for Archer to come home."
  • We've since learned that Pita has a broken wrist (which required surgery last night; she was out in under an hour), 2 broken ribs (although it may be just one; R, Archer's brother, says one, while Yetta says 2), and a large cut on her arm (this actually seems to be the most serious as it is so large that the doctor doesn't want to stitch it up; he has put a wet bandage on it to let it heal from the inside out).  The truck is total, and it seems likely that Pita was on her cell phone immediately before the crash.  
  • Bottom line: given the severity of the crash, she's lucky to be alive, and that is what we're focusing on in our house.
  • Archer is pissed at his mother, however, b/c he has been the last to receive information.  When family friends started posting updates about Pita on Facebook last night--updates that neither he nor R had received--he lost his temper.
  • Archer has been invited to give a talk at a big research university in the states by some bigwigs in his field.  He goes mid-week next month, which means, given my teaching schedule, we need someone to help out for a few days.  Our usual babysitter, who is also Bear's day care teacher, goes out on maternity leave next week, so we can't ask her as her baby is due the week before Archer leaves.  My sister can't come because of her work schedule, and it is too much to ask any of our friends, although our dear neighbors would help in a minute.  So I asked my mom if she could come help and visit for a week.  The caveat: I need her to pick Wild Man up at JK one afternoon, which requires that she drive (well, that, or that she hangs out in Archer's office all day long and then walks over to pick up Wild Man.  She would then have to go get Bear at daycare and then walk them both to my office so I could drive us all home after I'm done teaching.).  My mom absolutely refuses to drive in any city except the one she lives in.  She actually may not come because of this.  Seriously.  I'm trying to respect my mom's fears about getting lost, which do seem to be genuine, and to understand how those fears are amped by her bi-polar.  If you can't tell from my tone, I'm having a hard time.  If she doesn't come, I'll have to ask Yetta, who will happily drive, but she won't be able to get the boys dinner, a bath, and to bed when I'm teaching my night class.  My mom will be able to do those things easily, but she won't drive.  There are days when I wonder whose parents are less annoying, mine or Archer's.  And yes, I realize I'm being uncharitable.
  • I need to make an appointment with my doctor to discuss long term birth control options.  A third child is increasingly unlikely, but Archer informed me that he isn't ready to have a vasectomy just yet.  I'm tired of being on the pill, so I'm going to talk to my doctor about an IUD.  I've done some research and even considered getting one after Wild Man stopped nursing, but as we knew were likely to have a second child sooner rather than later, I didn't get one.  I'm feeling rather ambivalent about this, mainly because I'm tired of being responsible for birth control, but we'll see what we see.
  • That's it for now, although I could probably write for hours. 

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

First Day

I just got back from walking Wild Man to his first official day of JK.  After today, his daycare teachers will walk him.  I was a little emotional, and I thought I might cry after I dropped him off.  He, however, was not emotional at all.  In fact, when his teacher met him and his classmates at the door he didn't even look back at me as he followed her inside. 

I'm happy that this is turning out to be an easy transition for him.  I predict he will have a lot of fun and will learn a lot.  But I must also say that such transitions are not easy for me.  I have found this week to be very emotional for me.  It doesn't come as much of a surprise to me.  I tend to be emotional about changes, although I do think I adapt fairly well and quickly.  Part of me thinks it is because my own parents were not sentimental about anything.  I've responded in the opposite way.  In fact, I have been preparing for today since the beginning of July, starting with buying Wild Man a back pack and a lunchbox, as well as everything else he might need.  This past weekend he and I made a special trip to the grocery store to pick out snacks that he would like to pack for school.  My own parents were not very involved, so it is important to me to be as involved as possible.  I want to know what is going on in his life and I want him to know that his life is important to me.  I don't ever want him or Bear to feel like their lives are inconvenient or unimportant to me. 

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

That's my boy!

When Archer and I took Wild Man to tour his JK classroom and meet his teacher earlier this afternoon, we discovered that his teacher had misread his enrollment paperwork and had labeled his cubby, his coat hook, and his name badge with his first name although Wild Man goes by his middle name.  When he discovered this, Wild Man calmly walked over to his teacher, showed her his name badge, and said, "Mrs. Teacher, this should read W-I-L-D M-A-N.  That is my middle name, but it is what I like."  And then he continued to tell her this every time he saw his first name in other locations throughout the room. 

Wild Man and Junior Kindergarten

Tomorrow is Wild Man's first official day of Junior Kindergarten or JK, as it is most frequently called in the province where we live.  We just returned from meeting his teacher and exploring his classroom.  He was a bit overwhelmed, but he handled it really well.  I, however, was on the verge of tears the entire visit.  How is it possible that he starts JK tomorrow?  At moments like this, I wish we lived in the States, where he'd have at least another year before we had to start worrying about any sort of school.  That said, I do think he is ready for more intellectual stimulation than he gets at his daycare.  I know he will thrive, but tomorrow I will be a nervous wreck.

Monday, September 06, 2010


Tomorrow we leave the land of vacation, where Archer is ostensibly photographing various locations for both his work and his teaching.  We will return to reality.  Wild Man starts school in a week, and Archer and I both start the fall semester.  I think I'd rather stay on vacation.

*This entry was written last Thursday, but I wasn't able to publish it until today.