Saturday, February 27, 2010

SEAHO: Not a Slutty Mermaid

Excellent guess, Danielle. But, SEAHO is the Southeastern Association of Housing Officers. I attended this housing conference from Tuesday to Friday of this week. 10 states in the southeast make up the SEAHO region, and we rotate states to host the conference. This year, Virginia hosted and so I spent most of my week in Colonial Williamsburg, VA.Williamsburg was really fun and cute, though the 9 1/2 hour drive in a big UT van with 4 colleagues left much to be desired. We played "go fish", stopped at Dairy Queen twice, and slept a lot, but really, anything over 5 hours for work is torture. But, the Mississippi people drove 16 hours, so we quit complaining.

Highlights from the trip:
  • I presented a program on apartment-style residence halls and how in the last 21 months since I started my job and opened 2 new halls I made positive changes in move-in, programming, and policy enforcement training. I had a packed house for my presentation and received very high evaluations. Yay!
  • The food was great. We were provided with some conference meals and we also got a per diem to eat out. I never eat out, so this was way exciting. Fresh seafood, steak, and yummy vegetables. Good stuff.
  • We stayed at the Williamsburg Lodge, which was attached to the convention center. I have been to 5 SEAHOs now, and this was the 2nd nicest (we stayed at a spa mountain resort in Asheville, NC - nothing can beat that). I had my own room and CABLE TV! I have not had cable television in 2 years. Oh, how I miss thee. Seriously, how does one live without Keeping Up with the Kardashians and House Hunters at 2am?
  • Thomas Jefferson was the guest speaker at dinner. He was really funny, answered questions on the fly completely in character and was perfection. I always did think he was the sexiest president.
  • Our keynote speaker was Jennie Arnold, star of The Little Couple on TLC. She is a neonatologist in TX and a little person. She was an RA in Miami while in college and gave a great speech about thinking big.
I had fun and learned a lot, but I was really glad to get home. I missed my boys!

Saturday, February 20, 2010


This has been one heck of a week. Please forgive the whiny nature of this entry, I am tired and I am not afraid to show it.

Monday I woke up with a weird feeling in my legs. Weird meaning they felt like they weighed a hundred pounds, they looked like they were three times their normal size, and my knees were so huge and distorted that I could not bend them. This is not a good way to start the day. I assumed this was my newly diagnosed rheumatoid arthritis acting up, but it did seem a bit extreme. I was determined to go to work, so I enlisted help to get dressed, drive me to work, and help me walk to my office. One hour of that was enough to squash my work ethic. I got an emergency appointment with my doc, and he drained 80ccs of fluid out of my knees and injected both of my legs with cortisone. He said it appears that my RA is a bit more severe than he thought (gee, what tipped him off?) so he is putting me on a new medication. However, I have to get my eyes checked before I can do it to make sure it won't cause me to go blind. Excellent choice: would I rather walk or see?

This week was insane at work. I am in charge of our Graduate Assistant Recruitment Committee, and we had 16 candidates traveling to campus for our interview weekend. This meant vans, guest apartments, parking passes, itineraries, interviewers, logistics, nightmares. We also had record numbers of students apply for our International Roommate Program, which I am also in charge of, and we had to accept those students on Friday. I was also chosen to be a part of the Women's Mentoring Network at UT this year, and I was given two mentees. I was supposed to go to something on Wednesday to meet them, but instead they got nice emails saying I would see them in a few weeks. I am a great mentor. Oh, and we also had a candidate in town for our Executive Director of Housing position, and I got to take her to dinner on Wednesday night (in lieu of the mentoring thing). Oh, plus I managed to get to mass for my ashes and ran the RA selection meeting with the hall directors in the same morning. My international book club was on Thursday and we discussed Romanian fairy tales. Fun, but for some reason I found it hard to focus. Friday I had a breakfast with the GA candidates, a showcase with the Division of Student Affairs, and organized a 60 person dinner for the candidates, deans, and professors. - By the way, all this stuff is in addition to my actual daily job of supervising 4 apartment buildings on a college campus.

So, this week I got to eat out twice at nice restaurants and charge it to the department. Once was on Ash Wednesday and the other was the first Friday of Lent. I am about as carnivorific as one can be, so this killed me. I successful abstained from meat, but begrudgingly.

Saturday we had the actual GA interviews, which incorporated a huge rotation with 16 interviews happening at a time, 4 times in a row. Everything went swimmingly, thanks to my wonderful committee.

Sunday I have RA Class sign-up and our first class session. Usually class is taught by the Hall Directors, but we needed another teacher, and I have a condition that does not allow me to ever say the word no. It will be fun, though, and I am teaching with one of our GAs, who I actually taught 5 years ago when he was a little freshman. How fun! But, I have not made the syllabus or anything yet. Clearly, complaining on my blog is more important.

I think I have a son named Jeremy, but I am not entirely sure. I do know that at one point this week (I have lost track of the days) he fell (we think) and busted his lip really bad. His little mouth was full of blood and I ran into his room out of the shower to calm him down. He has a lovely bruise, but no lasting damage.

Finally, a bright spot: during our marathon GA weekend, I got to speak to our candidates about a million times, and it reminds me of why I really do love my job. One of our current GAs spoke and gave them some tips on the interviews and choosing the right school for them. She shared the fact that it was her interview with me last year that convinced her to come to UT. I never knew that and it was really sweet to hear, especially in a week that I was inclined to feel sorry for myself for no reason. Perhaps I won't be such a horrible mentor...if I ever find the time to actually meet my mentees, that is.

Anyway, thanks for reading. It was nice to write it all down - I now feel better and am done whining, for the moment. I really do love my job and I get so busy like this because I volunteer for extra work to challenge myself and grow as a professional - then I complain about it and blame others - perfectly logical in my brain!

I will try to get some pictures of Jeremy up before I leave town for SEAHO on Tuesday!

Monday, February 15, 2010


I hope everyone had a lovely Valentine's Day! We had lots of fun in the Hopper house. There were homemade valentines for Jeremy and me (how sweet -made stickers, paste, and construction paper!). I made heart-shaped cakes. Yummy!At Jeremy's school, they asked all the parents to write a special valentine for their kid that would be read aloud to them. We worked hard on something that we thought Jeremy would enjoy, and this is what we came up with. Lots of pictures of things he loves.
Cover:Inside:The "loves" include: snow, cars, mommy, big boy bed, coloring, books, Diego, Pop, Mr. Moo, Nona, hugs, elmo, daddy, Grandaddy, Nana, and being a fireman. I think all of those pictures are already on here, so I will not re-post. The note says:
Happy Valentine's Day! We love you so much. We love your crazy face and your silly smile and your wet kisses. We love watching Elmo and Diego. We love reading all your favorite books, like Oh The Thinks You Can Think, Goodnight Moon, ABC, Bee and Me, and Green Eggs and Ham. We love counting 1,2,3 down the stairs and driving cars all over the house. We love holding your hand and tickling your feet! We love your big blue eyes and your crocodile tears. We love pushing you on the swing and going down the slide. We love your heart and your stubbornness and your courage. We love that you try so hard to say your words and know you will succeed!
But do you know what we love most of all? YOU! Our little Buddy, Jerome, Monster Truck, Crazy Face, Buddy Bear, and Angel Baby. Life would not be nearly so messy, stinky, crazy, and PERFECT without you!
"LOVE" means so much more with you in our lives!
Mommy and Daddy

Ms. Amber said he loved and held it all day looking at the pictures and smiling. He is a good kid.

We also went to William's 2nd birthday on Sunday and Jeremy was such a good boy. He fell in love with William's Thomas the Tank Engine track and trains and did not want to leave them. Perhaps we should invest - he really loves that Thomas! Here are some pictures from when we went to get William's present on Saturday and Jeremy found the same Thomas trains on display at Toys R Us. He played with it for 15 minutes before I pulled him away (kicking and screaming to my mortification).And, yes, Dad. He is wearing a Cubs cap. It is the only one he has other than his train conductor one, and he is very into caps right now. I apologize. Once I get a Cardinals one, I promise to burn that one. (Just kidding, Taryn - we love the Cubs hat!).Ok, seriously. He looks 16 here. Why must he grow up so fast??Oh, and thanks to my favorite friend Bryan, the hubby and I were able to go see the movie Valentine's Day on Saturday with the free tickets I got from work. The movie was pretty bad, but it was nice to have a date. And Bryan said Jeremy was a perfect angel while we were gone, so double score!

Happy Valentine's Day to all!

A truly lovely post to come describing my horrible post-Valentine's drama, which explains why I am home right now writing this rather than at work on this incredibly busy week. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Oh the Poops You Can Poop!

So, I just wanted to stop and take a moment to recognize how incredibly odd my son is. This is him in the bathtub. (Notice he ate the tip off the nose a few months ago.) He would not even remove the glasses when I washed his hair. Weirdo.
Next, we have him brushing the teeth of his rubber ducky. Let's not even ask the perfectly logical question of why his toothbrush is in the bath. (Sorry it is oddly cropped - I had to remove the nudity).
Then there are the cars. He LOVES cars, trucks, trains, whatever. He loves to roll them around everywhere. Each morning we wake to the sound of Jeremy driving his cars on his bedroom door. It kinda sounds like thunder. When we left Mr. Moo in his school cubby by accident one day (gasp!), I had to do some quick thinking at bedtime when he started frantically looking under everything on the bed for his beloved stinky lovie. Thomas the Tank Engine saved the day. I left him wrapped in his covers clutching his Thomas train in lieu of his BFF Mr. Moo.

I asked him to show me his bulldozer, so naturally, he gave it a kiss.
And this was him tonight as I put him to bed. He had to have all of the following before he would settle down: 3 night-night blankies, his bulldozer, Mr. Moo, Elmo, Snowy (the polar bear), and a tennis ball. Of course, a tennis ball. What kid doesn't sleep with a tennis ball?
Last but not least, there is "poop". This is his new favorite word. He does not say it, but he loves to hear it. I have taken to reading his books in "Poop Fashion". For example, we read "Goodnight Poop", "Green Eggs and Poop" and "Oh the Poops You Can Poop". This sends him into hysterics to the point of almost topling off the bed with laughter. Why? I have no idea. I suppose this is a boy thing.

Speaking of boy things: Why did no one let me in on the secret that you have to point the boy thing down in the diaper? Jeremy has been soaking his clothes around his waistband since birth. Hello, 4 grandparents who all had sons, someone could have told me this little piece of information. Thanks.

A quick speech update: Jeremy restarted therapy with Jennifer, his beloved therapist, and we have seen immediate progress again. He said "uh oh" twice in one day and has said "balloon", "don't", "no", "done", and "mom" in the last few days. Note: I didn't hear "mom", but Elizabeth swore he said it, so here's hoping. On the sign language front, he is signing "help", "all done", "milk", "eat", "please", and "more" consistently. We are currently working on "mommy", "daddy", "thank you", and "drink".

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Busy Boy

First of all, I am relieved and happy to announce that we appear to have beaten our insurance company into submission and Jeremy will be able to resume his speech therapy on Monday. We only missed two weeks, so not too bad (except that it should never have happened in the first place grrr).

So, the last few days have been busy ones for my little boy. Unfortunately, I am a huge slacker and did not manage to bring camera or video thing to any events. Oops. Jeremy accompanied me to a baby shower at work on Thursday where he was adorably precious. Other than the constant refrain of "can you say..insert any word here.." and my awkward reply "he doesn't speak" followed by weird looks (this happens pretty much everywhere we go now), it was really great. He was well-behaved and super cute! On Friday Jeremy and I went to All-Sing on campus (thanks for the free tickets, Jerry!), a singing competition in the realm of Glee that is hugely popular with the greek population on campus. Again, Jeremy was an angel. He loved the show and particularly enjoyed the groups that did Cats and Les Miserables. We left at intermission since by that time it was after 9pm, and I was really proud of him. I can pretty much take him anywhere now and not have to fear a major meltdown. He even walks holding my hand with no problem and no longer demands to be carried. Yay!

Here are a few pictures that I did manage to snap in the last few days. I went to the Spicerack for my friend Kristin's birthday. Think of Hooters with burritos rather than wings and even less clothing. It was classy. Joel wrote a hilarious blog entry about it.Here is Jeremy making his Pop proud. This was his first experience with A-1 steak sauce (on pork chops) and he LOVED it. He wanted to drink it, which made me think of Joey.Jeremy has also taken to wearing my shoes and gloves. This makes his feet and hands look huge and for some reason he finds this hilarious beyond belief.And finally, Anna and Nicole have posted these little flashbacks already, but I wanted to put them here too. How fun was my high school class? College was amazing and where I really found myself, but the stage was set and it all really began way back in 1995 when I first entered the halls of IC as a freshman. This is either freshman or sophomore year (we can't remember). Can you find me?Here we are before our last day senior year. Yes, we are wearing braids and our IC beanies from Freshman capping ceremony. Do you see where I get my amazing sense of fashion and coolness?Tomorrow we are going to a Super Bowl party at Ben and Elizabeth's house (friends and parents of Jeremy's pal William), so I will be sure to actually take pictures. Go Saints!