Monday, November 25, 2013

Nerd Alert

I am ready to admit it.

I am 32 years old, a mother of two, and a higher education professional.

But really, I am quite simply just a big ole nerd.  And darn happy to be so.

This past weekend (well, Thursday), my sister Danielle and my mom arrived in Knoxville.  What would bring them across the state, both missing two days of work for the trip, when they are just going to be right back in 2 weeks for Jeremy's birthday?

If you have to ask the question, you simply won't understand the answer.

Um, hello!  Catching Fire came out and we obviously had to attend the midnight showing on Thursday evening so we could be among the first people to see the movie.  Naturally, I bought the tickets ages ago, Dani and I both wore our official Mockingjay pins, and we re-read the books to be at the top of our fangirl game.  And then, we saw it again.  Because, as any true fan knows, you see it once at midnight for the experience, you see it later during the day to absorb it and analyze it to death.


We also had time to catch some Thor 2 action while they were in town, because, well, Chris Hemsworth's abs, Loki and Thor banter, and Chris Hemsworth's arms.  'Nuff said.

While I am admitting these things, I suppose I can go ahead and make a clean sweep of it.  My nerdiness unleashed:

  1. I love The Hunger Games.  It is possible I have thought out whole strategies of how I might survive in various types of arenas.  Just in case.  You never know.
  2. I love Harry Potter even more. I saw every single movie at midnight (once that became a thing) and even dressed up for the first one.  Kids took pictures with us.  We were in college.  I do indeed know the incantations for several spells and curses.  Just in case.  You never know.
  3. Since we are talking about YA books, I also love the Divergent series and have read just about every dumb sci-fi dystopian fiction ever.  Yeah.  That's right.  You're jealous.
  4. Thanks to Netflix, I recently watched every single episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel.  That is like 200 hours of vampire television, my friends.  I now feel confident I could save the world (a lot) with my new-found knowledge of ancient curses combined with my lightning fast slayer reflexes.  These are important real life skills.  You never know.
  5. I have an intense love of Star Wars.  I wore the underoos as a kid, memorized the movies, saw and quickly erased from my memory the newer movies (Han shot first), and enjoy teaching my children the alphabet using all Star Wars characters.  It's a thing.  You should try it.
  6. I also love Star Trek.  I have seen all the movies and enjoy the new reboot very much.  I watched The Next Generation as a kid and can fluently add to the Kirk vs Picard debate (Kirk would shoot Picard then sleep with his girlfriend for fun, so why is this even an argument?) and had a crush on Will Wheaton as a tween.  Beleibers have nothing on Trekkies.  
  7. I keep score at every baseball game I attend (I don't think this qualifies, but I am told this is nerdy every time someone sees me do it) and enjoy reading box scores and stats.  I follow several teams and the MLB on twitter just so I can read stats during the season since I don't have cable and can't see many games.  I still have a framed photo of my first husband, Javy Lopez (#8 Atlanta Braves), in my office.  Yes, in my place of work.  And yes, when people ask me about it I do refer to him as my first husband.  What?
  8. I own a Jane Austen action figure (thanks to my mother in law).  Jeremy and Violet have both asked to play with it and I have submitted them to long lectures on the importance of keeping her in the box to maintain her mint condition.  Jeremy asked me her super powers and I told him she possesses the power of words and that the pen is mightier than the sword.  He looked confused and walked away shaking his head.
  9. My love of grammar knows no bounds.  I made my staff take a pop grammar quiz at our staff meeting on National Grammar Day.  I unabashedly shared my love of the semi colon with them.  Strangely, none of them quit.  
  10. One entire shelf in my office is full of my graduate school binders.  American Literature. British Literature.  Shakespeare.  I took all my class notes and typed them into spreadsheets and note pages.  you can sort them by author, genre, or title.  Sometimes, when I am having a bad day, I open one up and read about Edith Wharton.  I still hope to teach literature one day.  Even if it is just to my own kids, they will appreciate iambic pentameter, foreshadowing, and stream-of-consciousness.  
I could keep typing, but I think I made my point.  I go see midnight movies in theatres full of teenagers with my mom and my sister.  Regularly.  I read books about wizards and dream of engaging in witty repartee with a vampire.  I use the Oxford comma and sometimes daydream I live in Victorian England.  I think Luke Skywalker is a wimp and damn it man, I am a doctor, not a physicist.  

And if you actually read this whole thing and got even some of it, you can be my friend.  
Me and Dani in line for Catching Fire Thursday night.  We are too cool for school.  

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Enjoying the Fall

Fall is such a beautiful time in East Tennessee!  We have been enjoying some excellent weather, and with that, some excellent fun.  Both at home with the kids and at work on campus.

For our annual professional staff recruitment guide, we take a staff photo and all wear our alma mater shirts.  We have been doing this for like 20 years at UT and other schools now steal both our photo and our recruitment guide format.  We are just that good.  Anyway, we took the photo at the UT Gardens this year to capitalize on the beautiful weather.  How cute is our staff?
 Jeremy got his first report card!  And it was really good!  They have weird grading in kindergarten, but he has almost all "meets expectations" with only a couple of "approaching expectations" - no really bad marks, the title of which I forget. Mostly he is still working on penmanship, listening, and paying attention.  He excels in reading (obviously) and math (whatthehell?).  He has some listening behavior issues we are working on right now, but overall, he is doing really well.
 I am not sure if I have mentioned it, but bedtime has become so much fun around our house.  Jeremy now reads the bedtimes stories for himself and Violet while Brian and I just watch.  He then says their prayers (except when he sometimes raps them) and Violet chimes in with her "God blesses" (she always says "God bless Pop!" every time).  Then they hug and Violet runs to her room and then begins her nightly tantrum.
 The tent reared its awkward head again, this time atop the bed, and they loved it.  We are asking Santa to bring a princessy one for a certain little gal, so if you see a good one, let me know.
 Jeremy was "Child of the Week" at school, so he had to make a poster about things he loves.  Click on it to get a better view - it is cute.
 Naturally, we went to my office to use the die cut machine and get some help from the RAs (I bought my own supplies, though, ethics police!)  Doesn't my office just scream "serious higher education professional?"
 Violet is hilarious.  She never leaves the house without a princess dress (duh), so here she is Cinderella (wedding version).  She also carries around a princess umbrella these days and constantly keeps it over her head in the most awkward manner ever. Please note there is no rain.
 I was sick and it was my daddy's birthday, so Brian made Papa Carr Soup!  It always makes me think of Granddaddy and it is so so so good.  Yummy.
 I missed a day of work to catch up on rest and get better hydrated (I am really bad at taking care of myself, I know) and so I stayed in bed with Jane Austen and Sleeping Beauty.
 It was RA Appreciation Week last week, so I took the kiddos to the big "spa night" we organized for them.  We had this little photo booth area, DIY trail mix, DIY hand and face scrubs, Rita's Italian Ice, yoga, wii games, and free massages!  The kids helped put up all the decorations and were really well behaved.  I was proud.  Violet, however, looks like a bag lady  since she HAD to wear both her Belle dress and her My Little Pony hoodie.  But she could not zip up the hoodie because it would cover up Belle.  So strange.
 Jeremy hit up the free massages before the 160 RAs showed up and took up all the chairs and magic hands. It was his first massage and he LOVED it.
 My office always does a treat for the RAs, so this year we made dynamite sticks out of Rolos.  It was totally Amy's idea because she is awesome.  Since the RAs had a spy theme all year, it worked perfectly, and they loved it. Doesn't the dynamite really look like it is on fire?
 I have once again been working the student gate at the home football games for some extra money, and I just worked my last game on Saturday.  It was so cold!  You can't even see our dorky matching Student Life polo shirts.
 Brian sends me fun pictures like this one throughout the day.  He somehow manages to get Violet to wear real clothes.  But, for the life of him, he cannot figure out how to do her hair.  I have even made him practice on me.  Now, I do it at night really tight and hope it stays in the following day. Keepin' it classy in the Hopper House.
 This pic is from August, but it is so cute.  Nana was ill, so Violet gave her some love.  I am fairly certain she was an absolute monster the majority of their visit to Nashville,so when I got this photo, I felt a little bit better knowing there was at the very least 3 seconds of sweetness bestowed upon her grandparents.
Fall is here, the leaves are in full golden splendor, the temperatures are dropping, and our little family is slowly but surely starting to get the holiday bug - fun nights filled with hot chocolate, turkey blessings, and cartoon snowmen will be here before we know it!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Fall Break In Memphis

We took a trip to Memphis for Fall Break, and we had a great time!  I am going to do this post as a photo slideshow, because it just makes more sense that way.  Warning: this is long, I take way too many pictures.
Immediately upon our arrival, Violet found the Tinkerbell costume Nona bought her.  And all of Nona's princess dolls. So, she dressed up and sang songs to Aurora.
We met Uncle Joey for pizza at Rock 'n Dough.  Yummy!

All the sibs - Aunt Dani, Aunt Cheri, Uncle Joey, me and my monsters.  We were super excited that Aunt Cheri came in from Chicago (where she lives now) to coincide with our trip.

Nona took us to the Children's museum and Jeremy loved the plane!

He and daddy even flew it!


Shopping at kiddie Kroger.

Motorcycle cop

Policeman Violet

Race car driver Jeremy

Pumping fake gas with Nona

And when it was time to leave, this happened.  I call her a monster and people think I am mean.  Ha ha.  Hahahahaha.  Oh, you have no idea.  I had to elbow her in the stomach to get her into the car seat (that sounds worse that it was, I did not injure her in any way).  That girl will be the death of me.

Then we hit up Food Truck Friday at the gardens and visited my cousin Chris and his food truck!  Check out the tiny head in the truck - Jeremy got to go in and make some smoothies for customers!  He even got tips!
Really, Violet?  SO cute and yet so evil. 

Cheri, Chris, and my monsters.

I do love my evil little hobbit.
Vi is really into the Berenstain Bears, so we have the heavy duty versions with like 10 stories in one.   She smacked that book on the couch and climbed right onto Aunt Dani's lap for a little read.

Tea parties with Nona.

And with Pop.
We celebrated my mom's birthday while we were in town, so I made her buttons!
We all wore a different version of Velita.

Oh, my family.  Cheri and Aunt Judy.  And their impressive boobs.

Happy Birthday, Mommy!

Joey brought over his dogs, which my kids LOVE.

Family.  Love.

We stayed up late playing poker (I was horrid, as usual).  
Those two.

Somehow, we rewarded her monstrosity with a My Little Pony sweatshirt which will feature prominently in this blog from here on out.  She sleeps with it.  Really.  Like it is a stuffed animal.  Every night.

Me and my mommy.  I miss her.
 One of the other great things about this trip was that it coincided with my Aunt Lynn's annual Halloween party!  I have heard legends about this party for years (live band, food, booze, costumes, fun!), but since I have lived in Knoxville for 14 years, I have never been.  We did not get to stay long because of  the kids, but it was so much fun!
We took Jeremy over in the daytime to show him the decorations were fake

She has TONS of decorations that I did not have a chance to photograph.  SO cool.

The first appearance of Peter Pan and Tink.  Thanks, Mom!

Joey was a lost boy.

I was Wendy!  My mom made the dress by hand from a bed sheet.  Crazy!

Brian was Captain Hook.  I wish this had not turned out so blurry.
Mom and Dad were Groucho and Harpo Marx.

Dani, Mom, and Me.
Cheri was a gun.  

Photo with Great Nona!
 We had an absolutely wonderful visit and look forward to seeing everyone in Memphis again next year!