Monday, April 28, 2014


Who doesn't love a good acronym?  Apparently, here at UT we love them a little too much.

But, try as I might to resist the urge of the acronym, I find I have failed miserably at staying aloof - pretty much every weekend and certainly all week, my life (and thus the life of my family) revolves around those pesky Vols.

We are indeed Vols For Life who cheer Go Big Orange while working at the University of Tennessee Knoxville with the Resident Assistants.

A few weeks ago (pre-Violet haircut), we attended the Orange and White game (big scrimmage open to the public for free) and had a blast meeting up with Teddi (my co-conspirator at work) and her kids to cheer for the football team.  Please ignore that Jeremy will be in that uniform for the entirety of this post - he has baseball every stinking day (more on that in a later entry).
Love my husband - he really is the best dad in the world


Football toss



5 kids!

football - in the shade thanks to Teddi's smart planning

On Tuesday of this past week, the kids came to RA Council, which is a real meeting, so I dont have photos, but they were really good and did not cause any interruptions.  Afterwards, though, as I was decorating in the main office for Administrative Professional's Day, Violet escaped the office and I had 15 of the longest minutes of my life as we searched frantically for her.  Clearly, she is right at home at UT since Teddi found her two floors down and all the way over in the Communications Building, not at all scared and simply mad that "mommy got lost."

Friday morning, I had my annual new RA breakfast at the crack of dawn.  This is over 20 years of tradition, so I had to meet the newly hired RAs with catered breakfast and make them say a ridiculously goofy pledge that was written 22 years ago by my boss, who was in my position at the time.
reading out the pledge to lots of RAs
Saturday marked a big day on campus as the semester classes are over and the halls are all having celebratory carnivals.  We attended (after baseball) Frank G. Day at Clement (Frank G. Clement is the namesake of the building) and the kids LOVED all the food and games.

doggies!  (they had a pet agency come out to promote animal adoptions)

Dunk tank!

she won a free chick fil a meal

she grabbed the chalk and messed up some of the advertisements with her own artwork

putting on the harness...

And attacking the rock wall!

cheating at the dunk tank - thank goodness the RAs love my kids - they are so rotten!

cotton candy!

What?  A photobooth?  Fun!  Jeremy is with Erika (GA) and Christina (RA) in the top one

Then, we hit up CarniVOL at Vol Hall where we gorged on even more free food and games.  Is your job this cool?  Yeah, I didn't think so.
eating Moe's, Jimmy John's, Rita's, and Insomnia Cookies - oh my!

begging for more cookies...

and getting them

Welcome to Moe' Vol Hall!

my kids will be very skilled at beer pong once the time comes

playing in the fountain


corn hole!

Sunday night, we had the RA Banquet, which I helped organize, and our Casino Royale theme was a big hit as our yearlong spy theme for the RAs came full circle.  Seriously, who knew I would get to use my theme planning/decorating skills in my actual career?  Crazy.

LOTS of decorations - we worked on these for weeks

my amazing admin woman of awesomeness - Amy!
(and I look insanely large - my dress was blowsy and it turns out, not so flattering)

Hope you enjoyed my UT fun!  LOL!  TTFN!  IDK!  BFF!  WTH!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Hopper Easter!

We enjoyed a very low-key Easter this year, which was nice, especially since I was a bit under the weather for most of the day.  But, we still managed to have lots of fun while staying at home, so here are some pictures of our Easter celebration!

Since school and work were both cancelled on Friday and we just got our tax return, we decided to take the kids out for a treat. The boys had their day buying shoes and getting haircuts, and Vi and I enjoyed our own girls day at the mall and Target.  I took her into the Disney store for the first time (yes, first time - I am poor and homegirl is prone to tantrums) and she was in AWE.  I don't think she would survive actual Disney World - it would just be too much.  Anyway, it was solidified that Cinderella is officially her princess.  I have suspected it for a while, but she bypassed everything else and lost it over the Cinderella stuff.  We got a nightgown and plush doll.  I wanted to get sandals at Target, but we ended up with just a cakepop and milk from the in-store Starbucks.

Saturday, we made our annual bunny cake that the entire world makes every year, and I think it was our most successful one yet.

Later that night, I got angry at Violet's hair after her bath, so I plopped her on the kitchen table, grabbed our kitchen scissors and started hacking.  Yes, that is the sweet and sentimental story of my daughter's first ever haircut.  I think it turned out ok.

The kids enjoyed placing the empty eggs in the basket knowing that the Easter Bunny (or Easter Rabbit as Vi calls him) would fill them and hide them in the night.

And he came!  (Shoutout to my mom and the $1 section at Target for these awesome treats!)

Our egg hunt happened in the back yard at like 8am - their feet were soaked with dew, but you can't delay excitement!

Hope your Easter Sunday was full of just as much fun, silliness, and candy as ours!  Oh, and Happy 8th Birthday to my lil sister Dan Quayle!!  Love you!!

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!