Thursday, March 5, 2015

What I've been up to...

I'm not even going to apologize for not posting more, because...well...LIFE happens.

I've been busy working with my friend Katharine McKinney to bring Listen To Your Mother to Evansville.  We have a cast and are now working on all the finer details of putting a show together for the very first time.  Holy mackerel is there some work that goes into it.  Good thing we are passionate about this show and making it the best that it can be.  Also, it is such a good thing we have some great mentors to help shepherd us along the way.

I'm teaching at UofE again this semester, though it looks like I won't be teaching the same class in the Fall.  Departmental restructuring cut the list of adjuncts to zero, so I'm happy to know it isn't because of anything I did.  I really LOVE teaching, and will be really sad if I don't get to do it at all next year.  That being said, I also will be fine if I don't teach at all.  It isn't like adjuncting pays the bills or that there is ANY glamour in it whatsoever.  I honestly do it because I love teaching and love being around college students.  Their energy is contagious!

Doula work has been going GREAT.  I've had some amazing clients that I've loved working with so far, and I find myself becoming more and more excited about this kind of work the more I do it.  The Doula Group of Evansville is getting off to a great start to the year, and I could not be more excited to get this business up and running smoothly.

What else?  Well...LIFE.
I'm writing an RO3 that's due next month.
I'm trying to help an awesome fund get off the ground with some truly inspiring women.
I'm going to start using my grant writing skills for a local non-profit that is dear to my heart.
AND...well, who knows what else I'll try to cram on my plate.

This post is all business, but I desperately want to get back to writing my heart more than anything right now.  I'm juggling too many balls at the moment and getting worried as I approach this revolving door while walking backwards that I might drop one at any moment.  This, coupled with my normal anxiety, could be a recipe for a breakdown at some point, but certainly not before May.  There is just too much to do before then.  I know I should slow down, but honestly, this is my normal right now.  Slow moments are typically fleeting in my life as sitting idle is not my forte.

Am I overly ambitious?  Probably, but I'm trying to take the 20 years perspective, which isn't always easy, but is almost always worth it!

Friday, January 2, 2015

This year I will

These are my goals for the year 2015.

1. Teach a class at the University of Evansville
2. Officially form an LLC for The Doula Group of Evansville
3. Continue to work as a doula, because I LOVE it
4. Run a 1/2 Marathon in April
5, Take a family vacation
6. Apply for research funding for a project that I'm super excited about
7. Bring Listen To Your Mother to Evansville, IN with my friend Kate from MammaCake  May 8th
8 Buy a house
9. Run a FULL Marathon in November  
10. Live in the moment as much as possible

I much prefer to have goals for the year instead of making resolutions.  Yes, I want to lose some weight, but I will accomplish that through goals #4 & #9.  #9 will also help me tick off one more goal on my 40 before 40 list.  I'm excited about the year to come.  It is going to be GREAT.

What about you?  Do you have intentions for the upcoming year?  Do you do resolutions?

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

This Magic Christmas

I used to hate Christmas.  I used to hate being shuffled between families back and forth, as is the plight of every child with divorced parents.  I hated it.  Yes, we had fun with our families when we were there, but something about being handed over in a McDonald's parking lot in Bardstown, KY seemed to take some of the magic out of it for me.  We got plenty of presents.  We ate plenty of sweets.  But that one hour ride between grandparents' houses made me loathe a holiday that most people enjoy.  I was a grinch, a scrooge, whatever you want to call someone that hates the holidays. 

Then I had children.  Children change you in a million inconceivable ways, many of which you don't even notice until someone points them out to you, but changing my mind about Christmas was noticeable and notable.  Changing my mind is a very difficult thing to do.  I am not easily moved once I make up my mind about something, and hating Christmas was something I had been doing for most of the years of my life.  Andy had been cajoling me about it for years, but it wasn't until I saw the pure joy of the season for my girls that my mind surrendered to the change.  

This year.  This year has been the major turning point in this change.  This year the girls are 4 & 6.  These are the magic years.  These are the years that are imprinted on your mind, with all the big things making impressions.  These are the years that parents want to remember, not because they are easy, but because they are filled with magic and wonder and curiosity.  These are the years when Santa Claus is real and a magic elf really does stay in our house and report back to him.  

These are the years when we do silly dances in the kitchen and nobody is self-conscious about it.  Goofiness emanates from your pores and you feel all the feelings ever so openly and heavily.   You are confident in your decisions and don't let anyone else's opinion shape your own of yourself. 

You are so fully yourselves in every situation, you girls.  You girls.  You light up my world and make it a better place to be. Which is why this Christmas is so special to me.  You are the most adorable and amazing tiny humans I have ever known and I feel so lucky to be able to say I'm your mother.  You will never know how much I treasure as many of the moments as I can.  Believe me, I try to forget the tantrums and breakdowns too.  We are not perfect, but we are perfectly wonderful just the way we are right now, all of us.  

So this magic Christmas I know that I will cherish for many years to come.  I know that we live in an apartment right now, but that's gonna change soon.  I know that we don't have a ton of money, but we have what we need.  We have enough and that is plenty.  You know only joy and plenty my dear girls and watching the magic through your eyes is what made me realize the error in my previous Christmas hating ways.  

So Christmas Eve, late at night while you are sleeping, we'll put all the presents under the tree.  We'll stuff your stockings full of tiny gifts and have trouble falling asleep because we can't wait to see your faces.  The pleasure of watching you open presents feels so precious to me, and I can't express the warmth it spreads in my heart to feel your little arms wrap around my neck and thank us.  I can't wait to spend the whole day together as a family.  I can't wait to go to GG Janie's house with ALL the Melch clan and watch all the kids cavorting around together.  I will take it all in with a genuine smile on my face.  

At the end of the day, I might cry a little because this magic Christmas will be done.  Next year will be great too, but after that one of you might not believe any more.  These are the years I want to cling to and wrap up in a time capsule so I can dig it up on a rough day in the future.  These are the years of magic and wonder and curiosity.  These years, they are the ones I will hold extra precious in my heart.  I know there will be great years to come later, but these magic years are few and I can't imagine anything being more fun than this right now. 

Monday, November 17, 2014

Snow Day

Oh southern Indiana, you gotta love it.  Last night we got about 3" of snow which translated to early morning phone calls from superintendent's letting us know that school would be cancelled for today.  The Cleveland girl inside of me balks at the ridiculousness of cancelling school when you can clearly see the road that you are driving on, but the Hoosier girl inside me knows that southern Indiana is ill-prepared to deal with any amount of snow because they are in serious denial about preparing for things that don't always happen here.  The girls rejoiced and I cringed.  I knew that I had a class to teach today at a university that was very unlikely to cancel classes.  I knew that I basically only needed my girls to be watched for 50 minutes so I could talk to my students about sexual health.  

Did I ask for help?  Of course not.  The optimist inside me won out when debating whether to call someone to watch the girls, so instead I opted to take the girls with me to my lecture and bring along some coloring books & toys to occupy them for the mere 50 minutes I had to work.  I really thought they might sit in the corner and color.  I really thought they might actually be good listeners for me.  I really really was WRONG.  

Here they are about to go outside and burn off some energy before my class: 

I made them go outside and play in the snow twice before we left.  I made sure they were fed lunch and had some just-in-case snacks along too.  I packed a bag of toys and such to keep their attention.  Little did I realize that 44 college students are much more entertaining than bags of toys.  

I should have realized my little entertainers would succumb to the temptation to make the whole class laugh.  What I couldn't have realized was what they would do once they got their first laugh.  

This week in my health and wellness course we are covering sexual health.  Thankfully today was not the sexual behaviors and STI lecture, rather the anatomy, physiology, and relationship lecture.  My students were remarkably quiet for a Monday even.  I put up a picture of the external female genitalia and none of them even wanted to say what it was.  Annika, being the over-achiever that she is, promptly raised her hand and announced to the class, "It's a vagina. Duh!"  The entire room erupted in 1/2 laughter and 1/2 gasps.  Apparently it is both hilarious and appalling that my 6 year old knows the proper name to call her junk.  Who knew?  

Annika was hooked.  She proceeded to spend the next 45 minutes dancing in front of the class, writing funny things on the chalkboard, and interrupting me to ask questions like, "Can I call on the next person when they all raise their hands?"  Yes, Mayzie also interrupted me a couple of times, but mostly to ask me to help her with something like the sweet little 4 year old she is.  Annika was a terror of holy proportions.  

It was stressful.  It was embarrassing.  It was hilarious...though admittedly I am only laughing about it now hours later.  

Lesson learned: Ask for help when you need it and NEVER count on your kids to behave when you need them to because that is the moment they will choose to prove you wrong every time. 

Snow days were so much better when I was the one getting the day off! 

Monday, October 27, 2014

What's up?

Hey there.  I promise I didn't forget about you lovely readers.  Things are in motion, and moving quickly at that right now.

Yes, I'm on the job market.  I've applied for jobs all over the country again: academic jobs and industry jobs and all manner of jobs that I am qualified for because of my degree.

Yes, I'm also teaching at the University of Evansville.  I'm teaching 2 sections of the same class, and I'm loving it so far.  I love teaching.  I love being around college students' energy.  I get them, and I have so much fun talking about health and wellness issues with them.

Yes, I'm working as a doula.  I've been attending births, and they continue to be as amazing as anything I have ever witnessed.  I will be attending one more birth for my DONA certification, and will be a certified doula before the end of the year.  But there is something else going on with my doula life.  I'm starting a group business with 2 other local doulas!  This is super exciting for so many reasons, not the least of which is because we'll get to be on a call schedule and we can take on more clients together.  Check out our group website:

Here I am all ready to head into my first C-section! 

September 1st, we moved to a new apartment in Newburgh, IN.  If we end up staying here, this is where we will buy a house.  That is one reason for the move, but the other reason is the SCHOOLS! We loved the teachers and administration at Annika's last school, but the other students and parents definitely left much to be desired.  We LOVE the new school! Annika loves the new school.  All things considered, like the fact that we moved approximately 5 miles down the road, we are very happy with where we are right now.

Andy got a new job! While he did love his old job, he had started to get a little too comfortable.  This new company sought him out and he made the move to a bigger company with more responsibility.  At the beginning of his 3rd week, he's still a little overwhelmed, but slowly easing into his new position.

The best news: The girls are both doing GREAT! Mayzie is still at Totten Hall and loving Pre-K.

Annika is an awesome 1st grader who is already reading at a 2nd grade level & rocking her short do. 

So, what's going on in your neck of the woods?  Busy busy with school days?  Eating bonbons on your couch while watching as much HGTV as possible?  

Whatever is going on with you, I hope you are well.  I will definitely try to write a bit more often, but no promises at this point. :-) 

Monday, August 4, 2014

Improving Birth Rally: 9/1/14 in Evansville, IN

Labor Day Monday September 1, 2014: Inaugural Rally to Improve Birth in Evansville, Indiana
Join us from 10am-noon at the Four Freedoms Monument on the Riverfront to Rally for evidence-based care and humanity in Childbirth. 
Find us on Facebook:


Learn more about the cause:


Thursday, July 31, 2014

Of Vomit & Barium

Our two adorable children figured out the sick role very quickly.  They know when they are sick that I'm going to dote on them and that all responsibility pretty much goes out the window.  They also happen to be a little bit enamored with our family doctor.  Yes, I agree that he's pretty great.  I mean, why else would we take them there?  But herein lies the problem.

As children, they don't really have the ability to understand when we NEED to go to the doctor for an illness or boo-boo.  Mayzie is a cry-er.  She cries every time she gets bumped even a little bit.  I soothe her, and she calms down while typically telling me "I'm ok" through her tears.  Annika on the other hand, is a complainer.  She'll complain about things hurting and directly ask if we can go see our doctor.

This leads me to my story about Annika.  Earlier in the summer, she was attending camp at her school.  She was vomiting at camp fairly regularly, in part I thought to get to come home, though I'm not sure she's that conniving yet.  So she missed some days of camp and we went about our lives like normal, because she was acting completely normal.  And then camp ended, and she was still vomiting.  It was getting to be about 4-5 times a day.  I was concerned.  So we made an appointment to see the doctor.  He told us it was probably just nerves, but to come back if it didn't fade away in the next 2 weeks.

Luckily, we had our annual check-up appointments exactly 2 weeks later.  Lucky, because the vomiting didn't stop.  Andy said I was making too big a deal about it, but the doctor had me worried and I really hated to see my baby puking all the time.  So the doctor looked at her, and wrote us a referral to go see a gastro doctor where they would do an upper-GI on her.

Cut to 2 days later, when I'm running around the hospital from building to building trying to figure out where the heck we are supposed to be because the lady on the phone just rambled it all off to me while I was trying to keep my kids quiet enough so that I could hear her while they were swimming.  (Hmm, I wonder why I couldn't hear the details?)  4 offices later, we finally found the right place.  They took a blood sample from Annika, for which she got a stuffed animal for being such a good patient.  Then they took her into a gigantic x-ray room.  There was a window so Mayzie and I could watch the whole thing.  They had her drink barium and we could watch it go down into her belly.  They then had her run around for a minute and then step back onto the machine so they could see the barium emptying into her small intestine.

Mayzie loved watching the whole thing and kept repeating, "Mama, look, I can see Annikas GUTS." Annika actually asked the technician if she could take the barium home with her because she liked the taste--apparently a first for him ever.  Then the doctor came in and said everything looks great.

So what does that mean exactly?  Does this mean that I completely over-reacted and shouldn't have been concerned at all?  Does it mean my kid has nerves that make her puke?  If that's the case, does that mean we need to get her counseling or something?

And then, magically, the vomiting stopped.  She hasn't puked once since the barium-extravaganza.
And now I feel like the overly worried mom who can't tell the difference between serious and non-emergent medical issues.

What would you have done?

In other news, Annika lost her first tooth this week.


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