Monday, February 28, 2011


Do you sometimes feel like the universe has transpired against you? Like the fates are looking down on you laughing their heads off at the many curve balls they keep throwing at your head in rapid succession?

Today was one of those days. You know, the days when nothing goes right, your plans are not only ruined but completely obliterated, and you just have to laugh to stop yourself from crying in frustration.

It started on a high note. I even arrived at my 8am meeting bragging about how my kid was not the one screaming when I left daycare (a rare occurrence). I should have known not to crow to loudly, or it would all come crashing down around me. I had a really busy day at work but a very productive one, so when I looked up and saw it was 12:30pm, I was shocked and almost late to head out to get Jeremy in time for his Monday commute to speech therapy. I arrived at the daycare without even turning on my wipers, but as soon as I opened the car door, the fattest rain drops I have ever seen came crashing down on me. I arrived in the classroom during what is normally the beginning of nap time (yes, speech is during nap, yes, it sucks) and saw the kids and teachers in disarray. I was quickly told they were moving the kids to the interior room for a tornado drill. What? I grabbed Jeremy and headed out the door, where the rain had increased 100 fold.

Now, picture it in your mind's eye. I am in my 7th month of pregnancy and am carrying quite large. I did not want Jeremy soaked, so I perched him atop his baby sister. I had my purse and my umbrella and was wearing a dress and flats. Oh, and the rain was coming sideways in buckets rather than drops now. I was parked a good distance away since there is no more parent parking at the center (gotta love UT), and by the time I reached the car Jeremy was sliding off my hip, my dress was caught up around my armpits, my umbrella was inside out, and I lost a shoe in the mud at the curb by the car. Not my best look. But, I smiled and laughed with my boy to keep him from crying as the thunder and lightning raged around us.

The rain abated as we drove across town to Bearden Elementary. Then, as soon as I opened the car door, I kid you not, the heavens unleashed their fury again. Perched atop his sister as before, we made a mad dash to the school, and it was not until we turned the corner in the hallway that I realized how odd it was that so many cars were lined up out front waiting at the kindergarten wing. Of course, I had walked right into another tornado drill. Jeremy and I were accosted by the principal, got our visitor badges and took cover in the hallway with a class of 2nd graders, one of whom is our neighbor and happily kept Jeremy giggling. Then, I got in trouble. Apparently, they could not release the kindergartners due to the funnel cloud that had been sighted, and a bunch of upset parents saw me run into the school and felt they should follow my lead. Teachers had to practically barricade the doors to keep the parents out until the watch/warning (I still don't know the difference) expired. It lasted 30 minutes. We missed speech therapy.

As I ran through my third downpour in one hour with a not-at-all-speech-improved three year-old sliding off my pregnancy-distorted hip, I started laughing hysterically. I don't really know why. What I do know is that inside the car, I made some phone calls. First, Brian had left me a message to call him. He was concerned about us since so many cars were stuck in flash floods around town. Oh, and our green car was flooded in the parking lot of his work. You know our green car. The Mazda I have had since grad school that I just switched to liability-only insurance two months ago since I have two kids now and can't afford two full insurances. That's the one. Flooded. I laughed some more and continued my calls. I told my boss I was going home, my assistant to cancel my afternoon meetings, and Jeremy's teachers he was not coming back today. Turns out the road outside the daycare was totally flooded anyway, so unless he wanted to swim to his classroom he wasn't going to make it anyway.

Well, we waited out the rain in the parking lot for about 20 minutes before I drove on. It took us about 20 minutes to get the 3 miles to our house, and I took some clever detours to avoid water covered roads. Happily home, I took off my completely soaked dress and shoes, all of which were saturated with water and mud. I got the monster to nap, returned a million work emails, and heard a knock at my door. Odd, right? Who even knows I am home in the middle of the day?

Turns out, it was our apartment manager. I had left my keys in the lock when I arrived home two hours before.


So, fates, here I am. Today I have flashed my underwear to everyone at daycare and elementary school (luckily they are my cute blue lacy ones), I have bathed in mud, my umbrella has been ruined, I have missed three important meetings at work, my son has not had speech therapy, I have participated in 2 tornado drills with people under the age of nine, I have compromised the security of my home, and I have lost a car.

But, the sun is now shining, and Jeremy is having a conversation with both Mr. Moo and his stuffed cat on the couch. He is even doing voices for them. I can't help but smile and feel the urge to laugh again.

Tomorrow is another day. Who knows what it may bring?

Sunday, February 20, 2011

My Trip to Mobile

This past week I traveled to the exotic and exciting Mobile, Alabama for the annual SEAHO Housing Conference. On the eve of the trip, Jeremy helped me pack by taking a suitcase, running into his room and frantically throwing in all of his trains. Then he said, "Ready to go Pop's House!" It was precious but sad, as I had to explain to him that not only was he not going to see Pop, but Mommy was leaving without him.But, leave I did. After an extremely long ride in a van with my work pals, we arrived in Mobile. We stayed in the Battle House Renaissance Hotel, which is a historic hotel in downtown Mobile. It was really pretty, and the bathroom was huge!The conference was pretty good. I attended a few beneficial programs and my own presentation was received well by my audience, which was once again a packed house. I don't know why I am the only one in 10 states who ever presents on apartment-style housing, but I guess if I keep it up I will be considered an expert. One of my old RAs, Holly, who now works at Valdosta, presented with me this time, so maybe she will take some of the pressure off. That's one of the things I love about conferences: the chance to see old friends. It was great to see Holly, and a big thanks to Alicia (another of my former RAs who has gone on to become an amazing housing pro) for the beautiful clothes for Violet! Look how full her closet is getting!Here are some photos of my roommates and I. Kristina and Amanda are Hall Directors on campus and they graciously put up with an exhausted pregnant lady for the entire trip. The strangely dressed girls are the Mobile Something Maids who are famous and depicted in the carpet design of the convention center. I hope I can one day be immortalized in carpet.We had to wear matching shirts for some parts of the conference since TN is hosting the conference next year. Unfortunately, when I replied with my t-shirt size a month ago I automatically put my regular size forgetting I would be 6 months pregnant when I got there. Oops. I had to beg for an extra large that still did not button over my belly, so looked crazy, but whatever.I especially enjoyed the food in Mobile. We went to two restaurants while we were there (the rest of the time we had conference food). First, we went to Wintzell's Oyster House and had yummy seafood, then Hopjack's, a pizza place where we had things like brie and bacon dip, pizza with filet mignon as a topping, and famous fries made in duck fat. It was amazing.I also learned that Mobile was the original location for Mardi Gras and they have a huge parade as well, but theirs is a bit more family-friendly than New Orleans. Mardi Gras began the day we left, so we got to see some fun prep as we got the heck out of there before the crowds descended.

And I for one was ready to get home. Brian had filled me in that Jeremy missed school on Friday with a 103 degree fever and a bad cough, and the thought that my baby was sick without his mommy broke my heart. Naturally, his daddy was more than enough comfort for him, but for MY health, I needed to hug my little man. Which is exactly what I did at midnight when I arrived home. That little sleepy smile and the drowsy, "It's Mommy!" made both of us feel better, I think. That and the impromptu trip to Target for a new train (Spencer!) and to finally set up a registry for Violet. Being a mom = getting way more satisfaction from providing for your kids than for yourself. I enjoyed being free from changing diapers, getting to sleep in, and not having milk spilled on my suit, but I have to say my weekend with my baby(s) was better than my whole trip to Mobile!

Final shout-out to Anderson who was undergoing eye surgery this weekend. We hope all went well! You are the toughest 1 year-old pirate I know!!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Crazy Love

Is there a better representation of all-encompassing love in this house?

Today, Jeremy had a speech session, so I picked him up from school after lunch, drove him to Bearden, and sat in my car while he worked on his sentences. Then, we snuck back into the school during naptime. At that point, I noticed it. Mr. Moo had been left behind at speech. Uh-oh. Jeremy noticed. Ms. Joann the speech therapist called, Brian called, and the pre-school teachers looked terrified. With a sigh, I got back in the car and fought traffic again to get Mr. Moo. He had been sent to the principal's office and was literally sitting in the chair reserved for misbehaving children. I felt like I was picking up one of my kids after he got sent home for biting another kid on the playground. Bad, Mr. Moo! On my fourth trip to daycare, I finally got smiles as I placed that raggedy old cow in his best friend's arms. Love.Brian sent my Valentine gift to my office this year. It was delivered to me by an entire group of Massey female RAs, who all wanted me to open it immediately to see if it was indeed from my husband and not a secret admirer. I love that they think someone would admire this big ole belly without the obligation of marriage. Here is my valentine from my hunny. Flowers, chocolates, and bath salts and bubbles. Nothing makes a preggo wife feel better than a relaxing bath. Love.Jeremy made a bunch of valentines for his friends at school and had one left over. I asked who he wanted to give it to (hoping for an excited "Mommy!"), but I was happily surprised when he said "Baby Violet." So, here is Violet's first valentine. Love.And here is Jeremy posing with his first candy box. He ate it in 2.5 seconds flat. Love?As for daddy, well, Jeremy and I decided to bring the crazy this year. Because why bother if you can't make an impression, right? Brian said it made him think of a Miami Night Club. Love?Brian surprised us a few days earlier with a lavish dinner. He made three live lobsters, steak, and rice. And a homemade ice cream pie that Jeremy enjoyed immensely. Jeremy thought the lobsters were hilarious. I thought they were scary, and we all thought they were yummy. Luckily, no Annie Hall moments were had. Love.And, finally, here is my new favorite photo. They did not even dress the same on purpose, it was funny. LOVE.
Happy Valentine's Day!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Did You Feel It?

I woke up this morning and I just knew. It was like a second sense, a beacon calling me home, a whiff of Mom's gravy when opening the door on Marion Road. Something wonderful, happy, and comforting was happening. And I knew just what it was.

Since having Jeremy and now preparing for Violet, I have not had the time to keep up with my old interests and pursuits very well. I miss favorite TV shows, completely forget traditions that used to be second nature to me, and honestly, I don't really care - with one exception.

I used to stay up til 1am in middle school to see it through, scan the newspapers for any bits of information, keep scrapbooks, and decorate my walls with memorabilia. 162 days of pure bliss, followed by a usually heartbreaking extra month of stress and excitement. I would plan dates, homework, and nights with friends around my obsession.

And even though I have gotten caught up with life and let my passion take a back seat the last few years, there it was. I woke up and I felt it. Without reading a paper or even realizing the date. I just knew.

Pitchers and catchers reported today.

Did you feel it, too?

Monday, February 7, 2011

Deep Thoughts...By Jeannie Hopper

I have been having the strangest musings recently. Probably a combination of stress, pregnancy, spending too much time with a three year-old, and poor eating and sleeping habits, but I have seriously been contemplating the most ridiculous things. And since I am incredibly stressed and tired at the moment, I wanted to focus on these light-hearted flits of whimsy for a bit.

1. How does one train oneself to breathe through one's nose? I have been a mouth-breather for as long as I can remember, and it is quite unattractive and makes my lips constantly chapped. I have spent many hours contemplating this dilemma of my life. Suggestions?

2. Why do I see trains all the time when I am by myself and never when I am with a certain toddler who loves them? This is a typical timing question, but come on, fates! Throw the kid a bone and let him see a train that is actually moving every now and then. It would make his day.

3. Why can all men/boys make amazing sound effects and girls/women can't? Jeremy and I play trains. Jeremy and Brian play epic train crash battlefield extravaganza. I cannot make machine gun sounds, light saber sounds, or zooming car sounds. I have yet to find a male who cannot make them with little to no effort.

4. Why, when you are sitting in one spot for a long time, does one butt cheek go numb while the other is perfectly unaffected? They are equal carriers of the same load, right? But inevitably, one cheek gives up while the other keeps ticking right along. Odd.

5. Why do young women wear ridiculously weather-inappropriate clothing all the time? Ugg boots in summer. Mini skirts and short shorts in winter. It defies the law of nature and come on, you just look silly and cold/hot. Stop it.

6. Why do toddlers only repeat the inappropriate things we say? We watched an hour long episode of Glee several weeks ago. There is one line where Puck says "MILF". There are 59 minutes and 48 seconds where no one says anything inappropriate (well, usually). Why does he pick up on that and repeat it constantly, even weeks later? One day, I said "stupid." Now, Jeremy says "stupid car," "stupid breakfast," etc. Guess what, toddler? I have also said "nice." Try repeating that occasionally.

7. One of the graduate students I work with recently told me that according to the news "pie is back in fashion." Seriously. Pie. As in the round thing that you bake and eat (we were setting the menu for an upcoming banquet). Who on earth dictates when pie is and is not "in fashion" and do we care? How much does that person get paid and where do I apply for this job?

8. How does hair get so messed up at night? Jeremy goes to sleep with flat, normal-looking hair. He wakes up with a head of peaks and horns. And this child sleeps like a log and barely ever moves in his slumber. Why, sleep fairies, why?

9. Speaking of hair, who said women have to shave every inch of their bodies? It is hard to shave your legs while pregnant, and I am tired of almost falling over in the shower. I agree hairy legs are gross, but that is only because I have been trained to think so. How do I change this cultural oppression?

10. What demon possesses my child when the words "bedtime," "potty," "clean-up," "share," or "no" are uttered? I am willing to try an exorcist, a priest, and the entire Joy Luck Club if I need to, but, Demon, you have got to go. Release my child, I beg of you!

11. Who named the colors? We have been studying rainbows at home and even learned a song from the Cat in the Hat. But, it begs the question: why "red?" Do color names mean something? Did some guy just make them up? What if we sign a petition to have one changed? Who would we send that to? Anyone supportive of changing "green" to "wubble?" It seems just as logical a choice, right?

12. Belly buttons are super weird. Why do some people have innies and others outies? They all served the same purpose, shouldn't they look the same?

What are your odd musings? I find it fascinating to hear of what passes through people's minds when they allow their thoughts to wander.