Saturday, April 12, 2014

I've been doing things...I swear

I threatened it before, and now it is official: I'm becoming a doula!!
I even have a webpage: http://hillarysdoulaservices.weebly.com/
If you live in the Evansville, IN area, and are pregnant or thinking about becoming pregnant, I would LOVE to talk to you.

We also formed the Doula Group of Evansville: http://doulagroupofevansville.blogspot.com/
We basically back each other up all the time and offer different sorts of services other than just birth attendance, such as help with baby-wearing, breastfeeding, placenta encapsulation, and more.  Yes, some of this is super crunchy and not everyone's thing, but we all sincerely believe that everyone who wants a doula should have a doula.  And when our doula powers combine, we become Captain Doula, or something like that.

I became one of the leaders for the Evansville Birth Network, which is this great group that meets once a month to talk about birth and babies and all that fun stuff.  I'm really excited to join the leadership of this group, and hope to expand our reach to more expecting moms in the Tri-State area.  I'm also excited to be able to do a little bit of volunteer work again, something that I've missed doing very much since my girls were born.  (Whoa, it really has been that long!)

My dissertation revisions are...almost done.  Like, so close to done I can taste it.  I WILL be finished with them by Tuesday evening, thus giving my advisor a week to hack it up again and me another week to finalize it.  Fun stuff.  But seriously, you can call me Dr. Melch now officially.  I believe once you pass your oral dissertation defense that becomes official, though don't quote me on that.

I've been substitute teaching.  So far I've only done it a couple times for some German classes, but it is admittedly more fun than I had anticipated.  If you know me, you know that I love interacting with adolescents.  (I know, weird right?)  The best part of each class is standing up front and introducing myself in German while their faces form into the "HOLY CRAP SHE SPEAKS GERMAN" look.  I LOVE it.  Don't get me wrong, I don't love it enough to want to become a high school teacher or anything, though the thought has crossed my mind and Andy's lips several times.  I'm just doing this for a little money right now while I'm looking for my grown-up job.

The job search is slowly grinding to a real start.  I'm planning to go back on the academic job market in the fall, which is both exciting and scary.  Exciting because, I could land a much coveted tenure track position, and scary because the whole process takes almost a year and we'll be in limbo that entire time.  I'm also applying for jobs outside of academia, which to me is even more scary right now.  I have an interview this week for a job here in Eville, so we'll see if my skills might actually be employable outside the ivory tower.  If not, I'm happy to cobble together a measly existence until the right job comes around.  By measly, I mean teaching adjunct at a couple local colleges, substitute teaching K-12, and following my passion for doula-ing.

We've committed to living here for another year, but we're moving to a new apartment in a new school district in August.  Annika's had a great kindergarten year, but we're going to move to the school district where we'll buy a house if this ends up being our permanent location.

So that's what I've been up to lately, besides the usual play dates and bon bon eating that goes along with being a mom.

What have you been up to my bloggy friends?





Thursday, March 13, 2014

I PASSED!!!!!

Great news from the world of academia: I passed the oral defense of my dissertation!
Yes, I will have to make some revisions to this draft of the dissertation, but overall the comments were supportive and helpful to my development as a scholar.  I'm over the moon happy that this whole process is almost over.  I get to walk in graduation on May 18th, and then walk a few short blocks over to a street fair where several musician friends will be performing.  What better celebration could there be???

So that is the good news.

The bad news: I only get 2 tickets to the actual graduation ceremony.  I guess Andy and my Mom will be the only ones in actual attendance, which will just have to work.  This also means that we get to find a babysitter for the time during the actual ceremony.  Luckily, we know a few friendly faces who might want to chase our girls while I'm getting hooded.

So that's what's going on with me.
I'll be spending the next month or so making the revisions to my dissertation and trying not to sweat it.

A very serious question:
Will I now be Dr. Mama Melch or Mama Dr. Melch?
Typically in academia the most prestigious title comes first.  In this case, I'm not sure which is more prestigious.  Tell me what you think!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Top 10 things I Miss

In no particular order

1. I miss being able to walk out the door worrying just about me.

2. I miss being able to go out on a Saturday night without procuring childcare.

3. I miss wearing pants without pockets and high heels just because I want to.

4. I miss 1 cup of coffee being enough in the morning.

5. I miss leisurely mornings that didn't involve getting other people dressed.

6. I miss being able to cuddle with my husband in the morning without someone climbing on us.

7. I miss making really spicy food for dinner.

8. I miss being able to watch adult shows in the middle of the day.

9. I miss jetting off somewhere for the weekend by myself and/or with Andy.

10. I miss being able to fix my hair and put on make-up without having to answer 50 questions at the same time.

But I would miss so much more if I'd never become a mother!  I regret nothing!!!

Friday, February 21, 2014

Homes I've Had

21 different dwellings in 35 years.  This is only counting the places where I have lived for one month or longer and have received mail.  I have moved an average of every 1.7 years in my life.  That number seems a little scary to me, especially considering how not great I am at moving.  I KNOW that this explains my current yearning to buy a house and settle down in one spot for a while.  These are the places I have lived:

1. Sandborn, IN: This is the house that I was actually born in and where I lived until I was almost 4 years old.  I hardly remember it at all other than a few of those vague sitting at the top of the stairs pictures in my mind.  I could however tell you the entire layout of the house for some reason.

2. Yorktown House: I turned 4 in this house and lived there until I was 11.  I only remember my parents fighting in this house, and it was the setting of their divorce.  The house was lovely, but definitely tainted by all the sad memories I associate with it.  There were many many happy times too, like the garden in the backyard and the awesome tree for climbing.  We had a street full of kids our age to play with and a dead-ended street to ride our bikes down.  It was a great spot really.

3. Muncie House: From 11-13 I lived in this house with my Dad, Stepmom #1, Brother, and Stepsister.  This was the house where I got to come home after school and be by myself.  This was the house where my dad redid our closets so that we could crawl from ours into our brother's.  This was the scene of my greatest and worst prank ever.

4. Yorktown House: When Dad & Stepmom #1 decided we needed more room, we moved to this house.  I lived there from 13-18, and had a humongous 13'x13' room all to myself.  This is where I hatched my plans for the future.  This was where my brother got kicked out a mere 2 years after we moved in.  My last year in this house was spent alone with my Dad, who started my senior school year by getting a divorce from Stepmom #1.

5. Minneapolis Dorm: The start of college.  I met lifelong friends here.  I did debaucherous things that should probably be forgotten, but really just make fun stories to tell amongst old friends.  I learned how to take care of myself away from my parents, and learned to live far away and love it. I came home at Christmas to be in Dad's 3rd wedding.  I knew I would never go back to house #4 to live again after that.

5. Florida House: The summer between my first and second years of college in MN, I lived in Florida with my Aunt and Uncle.  I worked 2 crappy jobs, made friends, and had a great time.  I wrote loads of bad poetry by their pool and smoked secret cigarettes.  I learned so much about myself that summer, and seriously fed my love of writing and travel.

6. Minneapolis Dorm: My 2nd dorm in MN was also so much fun.  I had a great time living there and found myself in trouble with paying for school.  I was in denial, but would eventually figure out that I would have to come back home to IN.  I finished the school year and then moved into our...

7. Minneapolis House: I spent one summer living in this crappy little house with 6 bedrooms and 5 roommates.  We had a whole lot of fun and did very little other than that.  2 German friends came to visit us there, and we taught them about being poor American college students.  It was FUN.

8. Cadiz House: I moved from MN into my mother's house, where she still lives.  I sunk into the worst depression of my life and contemplated suicide.  I worked the worst jobs of my life and partied like it was my 3rd job.  I spent a month traveling abroad with my earnings, and finally figured out that I had to make a change for me.  So I moved into my Dad's...

9. Florida House.  I spent the summer living with my Dad in Florida.  He had moved into a new giant house and was in the process of divorce #3.  I dated a VERY handsome boy and spent many nights watching sunsets and drinking cocktails.  1 German friend came to visit me there and we went to the beach almost every day.  It was fun, but I knew I needed to get serious, so I moved into the...

10. Bloomington house.  5 of my friends were living in this house, so I moved in with them.  They were all getting ready to start their senior years of college, and I wanted to get back in the game.  I lived here for a summer, working and having fun before I moved in with my best friend to our...

11. Bloomington apartment. My first real apartment with just me and my best friend.  It was a basement apartment with horrible cream-ish carpet, but it was ours.  We made so many memories there! The next year my friend Robin moved in, and then I met Andy.  We got engaged in March and then in May I went to...

12. Norderney.  I worked as a waitress at a cafe on this German tourist island in the North Sea.  I didn't have a cell phone, and Andy could only call me on the house pay phone once a week typically if we wanted to talk.  It was a great summer, but I missed him so much. After 3 months I went...

13. Back to the same Bloomington apt, but with Andy living there now! We lived "in sin" with our good friend Heath in the other bedroom of the apartment. We got married the next summer and spent a month living in our friend Gavin's spare bedroom because of a lack of overlap in our leases.  Then we moved into...

14. Our married Bloomington apartment.  It was a tiny 1 bedroom, and it was all ours.  That next summer I went to live in...

15. My Berlin apartment in Kreuzberg.  It was a very odd apartment indeed, but I was there for research.  I lived with this guy named Jacob, but we never really got to be friends.  Oh well.  I was only there for 2 months and then I went back to our...

16. Married Bloomington apartment.  We spent that year gathering credits to graduate and applying to graduate school.  I got into CWRU, so we moved to our first...

17. Cleveland apartment.  It was the 2nd story of a house and really cute with great landlords...and then came winter when our heat just did NOT heat the apartment at all.  Seriously, it barely made it into the 50s inside most days and we had that baby cranked up to the max.  So the next year we moved to our...

18. Cleveland duplex.  It was HUGE.  We shared 5 bedrooms with another couple to keep costs down, and had an amazing first year there.  Annika was born at the end of that first year there.  The second year we lived with another friend who had a baby while there, not in the house, but a new baby came home to live there with ours.  That next summer a different friend came to live with us, and by the end of the year I was pregnant with Mayzie.  The beginning of our 4th year in that house she was born, and then the real madness began of me writing funding proposals and a dissertation prospectus without any childcare.  It got done is all I'm going to say about that. So then we moved into our...
19. Berlin Apartment.  It was in Zehlendorf.  It was tiny: around 600 square feet.  It was owned by a lady who was very particular about her things, which made me pretty much constantly nervous about ruining anything.  But it was great in the end.  We spent a year there, and then moved back to...
20. Andy's parents' house.  Andy was there a month before I arrived with the girls.  We then all stayed for about 2 weeks, until we found our own place...

21. Our Evansville Apartment.  By the time we move out, we will have been here for two years.  It's a nice apartment, but we're ready to be homeowners at this point.  We want a place of our own.

The catch right now: we aren't exactly sure where we're going to be living next year.  Wherever it is, it will be great.  I'm sure of that mostly because I know who will be there.

So that's it...those are the 21 different places I've lived in my 35 years.  Appropriate for the 21st of February don't you think?

How many different places have you lived in your life?
Does this list scare you too?


Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Cool Things My Friends Do

I have some seriously amazing friends.  I wanna give a shout out to a few of the most inspiring ones that I know.  Here goes, in no particular order of course.

Emmylou is a super dynamic and hilarious woman that I know from our Cleveland Anthropology-Physics connection.  (I realize the weirdness of this association, and we're all fine with it.)  Emmylou is originally from Darwin, Australia.  When Annika first met her, she asked, "Do you know a kangaroo."  Emmylou said, "YES," and it was love at first sight for Annika who is filled with wanderlust and wonder.  Emmylou's husband graduated with his PhD, and they decided to celebrate.  How?  With a trip around the world!!!  How amazing is that?!?!?!  I've so enjoyed following their adventures on Facebook.  I only wish she wrote a blog about it, though her stories are always better in person.

Speaking of world travelers, there's my friend Amy who I've written about before I believe.  She's a native Hoosier who's been living in New Zealand for the past two years while her husband has been doing a fellowship (or was it his residency? hmmm) in neurosurgery.  Yeah, she's married to a brain surgeon.  Oh yes, and did I mention that they moved there with 3 boys and are coming home with 4?  She's also a work-from-home mom who runs and is impossibly gorgeous and sweet.  She inspires me all. the. time.

Then there is Kelli who also went to high school with me.  She is also beautiful and sweet and has 4 kids.  She's a runner and a nurse, and cans food like a boss!  I LOVE following her adventures in taking 4 kids to the grocery store alone, and her grace and appreciation of the little things in life inspire me to be a better mom.

Keeping with the awesome mom theme there is Emily.  Emily and I ran cross-country and track together in high school.  She is now the mother of 8 children...yep 8...AND their family just adopted 3 little ones under the age of 3.  That's 11 children if you're keeping count!  She is one of the most patient people I have ever known, and I know that is coming in handy now that she has 11 people's needs to fill.

What can I say about my friend Kristin.  First she has a blog that I love to read.  Second, she has 2 fun boys that I love to snuggle.  Third, she is a sarcastic pain-in-the-ass just like me.  Fourth, she and her business partner own Eli Rose Social Media, which she basically does while standing on her head and juggling flaming rocks...aka: while also being a work-at-home mom.  They even hired me to do some contracting work for them, which I'm loving by the way.  This woman keeps me sane here in Eville, and I don't know what I would do without our playdates...seriously!

Finally, for this post anyway, I want to give a big round of applause to my friend Maggie in Berlin.  She let me stay at her house last year when I went to visit, and helped keep us sane while we lived there.  She is a tri-athlete, a very serious one, and a mom to two adorable girls the same ages as ours.  Their family moved to Berlin not speaking any German, and they are making it work there!  She's even going to start working as a lactation consultant there now that she speaks better German and can get her qualifications recognized.  Mags, you rock! She occasionally blogs, and you can see her get interviewed around minute 15.

I think I'll save the anthropology friends for another post, especially since these 6 ladies certainly deserve much applause for all they do.  So ladies, I tip my hat to you.  You are AMAZING and I hope you know that I admire you for all you do!




Monday, February 17, 2014

My 40 by 40 list

Originally I thought I would post this on my 35th birthday, but that has come and gone and I was buried in a mire of dissertation madness at that point.  I'm finally getting around to publishing it.

I came up with the idea from my LTYM friend Heather who made up her own list and let me interview her about it.  I even pilfered a few of the ideas from her list.  I don't think it cheating to have already accomplished some of the things on the list, especially because there are so many more ripe for the picking.

Without further ado, I present to you my readers: My 40 by 40 list.
I have less than 5 years to accomplish these things, but I'm hopeful I can do it.
I promise to report on all these things as they happen.
Like the time we went zip-lining.

Keep checking back for updates friends.

Here is my first attempt at #16...still not accomplished, but a nice start (and a great model)!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Dad

Today is my dad's birthday, so it's only appropriate that I write about him instead of some schmulzy stuff about the live of my life. BTW: whenever my dad says anything about Andy, by usually follows it up with, "and you be nice to that man. He's a good one!"

Let me start by saying that my dad is far from perfect, and he'll be the first to tell you. Including my mother, he's been married 4 times. I like to think of him as an eternal optimist and believer in true love. #4 is our favorite for him, so much so that we told him we'd keep her if he ever divorced her. But thus isn't about the awesomeness of Val, I want to write about my dad.

My father is one of the most patient people I have ever met. I've honest to goodness only ever had him raise his voice to me a handful of times in my entire life, which used to be frustrating to me but now I appreciate it. Just never go skiing with him.

I can always count on my dad for sage advice when it comes to parenting, and he is an outstanding listener. He always told me growing up to get the most education I could, because that was something no one could ever take away from you.  I may have taken that one a little too much to heart, but I know he's so proud of my academic accomplishments. 

My dad is a fisherman.  He's still learning about saltwater fishing, though he HAS lived in Florida for years and years.  Dad is also a geriatric social worker, and by that I mean he talks to elderly people not that he is one yet...though he IS 65 today.

My dad is sweet and sensitive and weepy when it comes to his family. He has OCD, more compulsive than obsessive  which is sometimes annoying, but somehow my step mom seems to keep him busy enough with projects around the house to keep it mostly in check.

My dad is one of the most fun people in the world to travel with. He's always up for an adventure anywhere, & he's only now starting to maybe meet any sort of physical challenge he can't defeat. I certainly got my wanderlust from him.

I lived with my dad from the 6th grade until I left for college, and can say with some certainty that he is one of the worst cooks in the world.  His dry chicken, tuna noodle casserole, and chitlins might be the reasons I became a vegetarian 16 years ago.  Thankfully Val takes care of him now in that department.

That is my Dad in a nutshell. I really do love that man with all of my heart, and I'd better since half of me IS him for sure. I wish we got to see each other more, though Skype helps that some.  I was so lucky to have such a great example for a father, and I credit him for my ability to NOT have a daddy-complex and to be able to pick an awesome mate for myself.
Love you poppy! Xoxoxo
(Please stop crying already dad!)

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