Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Travels of a Working Mom

My job at UT allows me the opportunity to travel to various professional conferences throughout the year.  I went to Texas Christian University for a professional development opportunity one week in the summer, I attended SEAHO this past February in Louisville, KY and I recruited professional staff members in Baltimore this past March.

Before I get into my actual travels, this one photo represents the "mom" part of my working mom role.  I hate being away from these kids and my cuddly husband, but thank god for Skype and Facetime.  You can see how insanely excited I am to see these monsters.

The Mid-Manager Institute was in June (see how horrible I am at blogging) and I got to meet other higher education managers from across the country as we learned new skills and ways to improve our campuses.  And TCU was freaking gorgeous.  I am totally jealous of private school money.  It was also fun to be in Fort Worth - so close to where I spent so much of my childhood.
Posing with the TCU mascot - a horned toad

seriously, this campus is freakishly beautiful - I took this photo from a balcony at their student union - insane


My MMI mentor!

My MMI roommie!

SEAHO (Southeastern Association of Housing Officers) is our regional Housing conference - 10 states meet up to talk Housing!  Fun times!!  It really is, though, and I love reconnecting with other staff who I worked with over the years and have moved on to other institutions.  I am also about to rotate off my 3 year appointment as an editor for the SEAHO Report, so I have enjoyed getting to know more people through that leadership role.  It was fun being in Louisville!
I love nothing more than a hotel room all to myself!  Cable!  No kids!  Housekeeping!  (but sad empty bed with no hubby)

Of course, we had a dinner at Churchill Downs

free shot of bourbon - I almost choked - it was nasty

Anna!!  I miss my Anna!

TPE (The Placement Exchange) is the huge higher education job market/interview extravaganza.  Over 1000 candidates, 500 job postings, it is fun stuff.  We were hiring for our professional Hall Director position, so my job was to interview candidates and represent UT.  We also had a huge UT Family dinner where we invited over 30 former UT staff to come and all eat together - it was so much fun seeing old faces again!
Think we stuck out in the crowd of 8 million interview tables?  Damn right we did!  Go Vols!

Me and Nequel being nerds

Why would anyone want to work for us?  So professional.

Holly and Teddi
Adam, me, and Kim (love and miss you!!)

Matt, me, Holly

Kevin, me, Jasmine, Rob

Teddi and I explored Baltimore and found Edgar Allan Poe's resting place and his house - and the home of the Orioles, Camden Yards!

Really, though, the best part of travelling is coming home to my babies.  I came back on my birthday and a homemade (green) strawberry (my favorite) cake.  I love my job, but I love my family even more!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Photo Shoot

So, I am just going to jump in here and pretend like it has not been over a month since I touched this poor blog.

While we were in Memphis for Spring Break, my amazing sister-in-law Megan took these great photos of the kids.  She is my favorite person ever.

I have never paid for professional photos of the children, other than their school pics, and really I don't have some soapbox or anything about them - I am simply really cheap and I have TONS of pictures of my kids, so I never really understood why I needed to pay someone to do it and inevitably be disappointed with the results.

Well, I am most definitely not disappointed with these.  We went to Overton Park (where the Memphis Zoo is located) and took a random walking trail by the playground.  It was fun, the kids were relaxed and wearing normal clothes, and I feel like Megan was able to capture the true spirit of my little monsters.

I did not plan on being in the photos, but Megan just started snapping.  In general, I HATE pictures of myself, but I am glad to have some nice ones of me with the kids.  I wish Brian had been there.


favorite of the kids

real life

I told them to do "Frozen" hands (we spent the entire drive to Memphis singing Let it Go)

ok, this is hilarious - it was a quick little peck after we begged them to do it and turns out looking like some crazy passionate romantic kiss - I am slightly uncomfortable...

behind the scenes shot as Megan takes photos and Violet totally fell over that log head first.  Jeremy was too busy cheesing to even notice. Hahaha
Thank you, Megan for being the bestest!  We love you!!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Enjoying the Kids

Sometimes I find that I get too stressed about work, money, future, etc that I forget to stop and enjoy what is happening right in front of my face.  I worked so much last weekend that I cannot even tell you one thing I did with my kids.  Not one.  And I only see them on weekends (unless you count the one hour I see them on weekdays that consists of dinner, forced baths, forced teeth brushing, and tantrums at bedtime).

And next weekend I will be at yet another work conference and will not see them at all.  :(

This past weekend, I decided we were going to have some fun.  Let's pretend we actually have the time and money to do something and actually do it.

So, we did.

We started with Frozen.  Apparently every kid in the universe has already seen this movie at least once.  This was Violet' second time in a movie theatre, and Jeremy's third.  (movies are freaking expensive!)  It was fun and the kids very much enjoyed the movie (and the popcorn and candy).
We wouldn't pay $800 for the machines at the arcade, so they used their imagination.  

Full Belle dress and crown for the princess at the princess movie.  She was SO excited.

Jeremy really loved the snowman.
Vi tried to get in to watch it again while the boys were in the restroom.  No luck.

From there we headed downtown to the annual Friends of the Library used book sale.  Stacks of books as far as the eye can see!  We got 12 hardback books for under $8.  Jeremy and Violet had a great time sorting through the kids books, but even they can only read old books for so long and eventually I looked up and saw Jeremy chasing Violet through the aisles.  "But, she was escaping, mom.  I had to catch her and keep her safe."  Sure, Jeremy.
This is what happens when I try to take a nice photo of my kids.  How do other parents do that?

Get her!  (yet another parenting win as a snap a photo rather than stopping my kids from sprinting through the room)

Clearly seeing the kids needed to let out some energy, we ditched daddy with the books and headed right outside the sale to the World's Fair Park playground.  I never really take the kids to the playground (that is Brian's thing), so I learned a lot.  I learned that Jeremy liked to go up slides the wrong way and that Violet is bossy and pushes other kids in an effort to keep up with her brother.  Hmm.

Then, we strolled around downtown to Market Square to get some Rita's Italian ice (Jeremy) and custard (Violet).  They actually did not make huge messes and were decently behaved.  It was rather amazing.

We dropped in on one of my old RA's local store Nothing Too Fancy to say hi, but she was not there.  Her new vintage WWF (wrestling, not wildlife) game machine was, though, and the kids were highly impressed.  (Check out Lisa's store for locally made TN and Knoxville merchandise.  It is crazy cute and she is awesome).

It was a great day, and we had a lot of fun.  As a family.  No talk of work, bills, or chores ever came up even once.  The kids were hilarious, and I had a great time remembering how important it is to leave work at work and enjoy the little blessings that make all the hard work and sacrifice worth it.