kids

kids

Friday, December 18, 2015

"Obi Wan has taught you well, young Jeremy"

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, a young boy turned 8 years old and enjoyed a fun-filled Star Wars birthday party.

I drew this myself in one try and was insanely proud.  I need to get out more.

My little man is currently obsessed with Star Wars, and I must admit it was not a hardship to plan a themed party around a nerd topic that I happen to know a lot about.  The problem was that we just moved here less than a month ago, and Jeremy had only been in school for two weeks at the time of his party.  That meant no friends.  He has made friends, but I don't have a class roster, don't know any parents, and basically did not have time to start a new job, move the family to a new state and invite 2nd graders to my house.  Instead, we invited our Memphis family and enjoyed a little of the we-moved-400-miles-closer-to-home perks.




Jeremy specifically asked for three things, and I delivered:
1.  A Darth Vader head cake (I hate store-bought cakes, but he really wanted it):

2. A pin the Vader head on the Death Star game (which I hand drew, thank you very much):



3. A game where you can use a lightsaber to block nerf gun bullets (hilariously dangerous - thanks to Uncle Joey for taking one for the team!):

Usually, I do a scavenger hunt for the kids to find their goodie bags at the end of a party.  Well, we had no kids, so instead, as we were eating cake and ice cream, Jeremy noticed the presents were all missing and became instantly horrified.  It turns out they were stolen and a note was left in their place.  A hilarious scavenger hunt ensued to reveal Daddy at the front door with the missing presents (he obviously beat up the thief who took them and did not steal them himself).  Jeremy loved it, and I appreciate my family running around the house with him as he solved the clues.


He got some great gifts, and Aunt Cheri sent him tickets to the opening night, first showing of the new Star Wars movie!  He chose to go with Dad instead of Mom (I am not cool anymore), but they had an AMAZING time.


Jeremy at 8 years old is definitely a Jeremy that has my heart.  He is hilarious, smart, quick, and kind.  He makes friends easily, smiles all the time, and loves to read.  He is by far my favorite son!

Happy Birthday, Little Man - thanks, as always, for making me a mom.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

We MOVED!

Oh my goodness, so life has been so hectic these past few weeks!  I have been lightly job searching for a few years, basically just keeping my eye out for anything that may get me closer to home, but not much has popped in my field.  In August, during my absolute most insane month ever, two of my former staff members contacted me separately about a job opening at Ole Miss.  I did not really have time to think about it, and just threw in my resume and cover letter figuring it was worth a shot.

Fast forward a few months and I had a phone interview and an on-campus interview.  I will say that I was dealing with some very intense health concerns with my dad at the time and almost cancelled my interview so I could stay with him in Memphis.  Part of the whole reason for the search, though, was to be closer to family for these very situations, so once he told me to get my butt down to Oxford and rock the interview, I did.  I had to do a presentation and a full two days of interviews with about a million people, but I think being so concerned about dad actually helped me to be less nervous about the questions and allowed me to just be myself and speak from my years of experience.  Dad ended up being released from the hospital earlier than expected and I was offered the job!

It was a heart-wrenching decision to leave UT.  I have lived in Knoxville since 1999 when I was 18 years old, including most summers. I love Knoxville.  I love UT.  I love the people I worked with and the department.  But, I missed my family.  I want my kids to see their grandparents more than twice a year.  I want to be an active member in my family.  And I wanted more responsibility at work.  I have an amazing mentor/supervisor at UT in Jerry Adams, and I cannot even begin to thank him for every door he has opened for me over the years.  He is not going anywhere (as he shouldn't since he is awesome), so if I wanted to continue moving up in my Housing career, I knew I needed to leave.
Love Jerry, but what on earth am I going to do with all my orange clothes?
Amy and Candace threw me the most amazing "I Dream of Jeannie" themed going-away party, and I really do miss the whole staff so much.  I was seriously humbled by the staff and students who came by to see me off and who sent such amazing words of encouragement.  *Love*
My first cake with my face on it.  So weird.  :)

Inside the Jeannie bottle!!
Everyone left me little messages in my bottle.  I still have them in there in my new office.  Love it so much!

My reaction when I walked in.  It  took all my control not to burst into tears.
Amy and Candace.  Just amazing.  No words.  Simply not possible to do them justice.
My very last day: lunch on Market Square with Amy and Mona!
And now I am happily ensconced in Oxford, MS.  I am the Associate Director for Residential Learning in the Department of Student Housing, which basically means I run the residence life program and am responsible for all of the residence halls and the nearly 6000 students who live on campus, along with a staff of over 300 students and professionals.  SO exciting.

We have been welcomed to Oxford and Ole Miss with open arms.  Everyone here is so friendly, and they totally know what they are doing.  This is a good university and a good housing department.  I am excited to be a part of it, and I am looking forward to what we can accomplish together.
The kids were so excited to be included in the Ole Miss goodies.


Look at all that fun stuff - 2 polos, 4 t-shirts, and shirts and cups for the whole family.  Jeremy and Violet were thrilled to get their own treats and cards. So sweet of the Ole Miss staff!!
Huge thanks also need to be given to my amazing husband who not only encourages me to grow in my career and supports me at all times, but also for taking on all the logistics of our move.  He handled everything from finding a new house, dealing with utilities, getting Jeremy registered for school, etc.  He is the best and I am so thankful for him and all he does for our family.

It has been a whirlwind month, but here we are.  The kids are happy, we are happy, and we are starting to settle in to our new normal!  #HottyToddy  #Vol4Life

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Halloween!

Life is a little hectic right now, but here are some fun pics from Halloween this year.  The kids were crazy excited and have had their costumes picked out for months.  Jeremy was a Shock Trooper from Star Wars (I think these are from the Clone Wars cartoons), and Violet was Hulkerella (she loves superheroes and princesses - however, we had a mishap one night so she was a butterfly as well for one of our events.  They were adorable no matter the costume.

We went to Steve and Elise's house to carve/paint pumpkins and decorate cookies.  They are too sweet!






We hit up Trunk or Treat sponsored by the Housing students at UT - I love how awesome our students are.  I broke my phone case and was too scared to carry around the caseless phone with Halloween insanity, so I don't have photos of the actual event.  But, I did dress up and I totally look like my mom here - I think because i never wear my hair like that.


We saw William and Annie at Trunk or Treat, which is like a 7 year tradition ever since the boys were tiny.


We headed over to William and Annie's house for trick or treating on the actual night, and it was so much fun!  They got TONS of candy, and I just love the neighborhoods that get super excited and decorate to the nines.  If I was rich, I would totally do that.










We had a great time!  Halloween is a favorite for our family, and despite our lack of time to focus on it this year, the kids had an amazing time dressing up and playing with friends.

Friday, October 16, 2015

UT Gardens

The UT Gardens, located on the Agriculture campus at UT Knoxville, is one of my absolute favorite spots to spend some time relaxing, walking, sitting, writing, or playing with the kids.  This past week, my lovely husband showed up at my office, kids in tow, and pulled me out of work to go play in my favorite spot.  So sweet.

Mostly I think Brian was going crazy with both kids at home all day due to Jeremy's Fall Break, but still, I love him and them.  :)

Some of the beauties from our visit: