Wednesday, October 30, 2013


I have a confession to make.
I've been sleeping in the afternoon.
This wouldn't be such a strange revelation if I was a 3 year old, but I'm 34 years old and my 3 year old doesn't even take naps for me anymore.
So you might be wondering how I'm accomplishing these naps if Mayzie isn't even asleep.  Well, that's a little complicated...ok, not really.  I've been turning on a movie and sleeping on the couch while both my kids slobber in front of the TV.
Well, they're not exactly slobbering, because when I wake up there's a mess.  
These naps have to stop!  Two stories will illustrate why.

1. We took the kids to Boo at the Zoo, where they got a bag full of candy.  I woke up from a recent nap to find two empty bags of candy and a floor full of wrappers.  The girls weren't exactly bouncing off the walls, but they were certainly happy and full of smirks.  This is how I learned that the top of the refrigerator is not a safe place to hide things anymore.

2. Yesterday I woke up from a brief nap (actually I have no idea how long I was asleep).  I passed a closed bathroom door on the way to the kitchen and knocked.  Annika tried to sound nonchalant and busy in there, but something was amiss.  (It is seriously hilarious to listen to a 5 year old trying to be nonchalant btw!)  I opened the door to find her holding a half-empty can of frosting.  I successfully stifled my giggles and punished her appropriately, and resolved to stop the naps.

Why am I taking the naps?
Well, I'm having a hard time sleeping at night.  I've got a whole lot of coals in the fire and the accompanying anxiety of not knowing which is going to work out is waking me up.
So I'm still taking a break from regular blogging, mostly because I'm working on all these coals.

I'm resolved now though: NO MORE NAPS!
<YAWN> Where's the coffee?

Friday, October 25, 2013

Fall Apple Activities

As I am completely engrossed in job applications, conference papers, and my dissertation, I thought perhaps a guest post might be fun.  How fortuitous that my friend Ryan had a Fall Themed post just for me! 
Enjoy being crafty with Ryan: 

Now that we are firmly in fall, it is the perfect time for apple crafts with your kids.  Whether you are doing them as an outdoors activity on a clear crisp day, or around a warm fire with everyone bundled up in their kids pajamas, these activities can be a great way to celebrate the most colorful season with a colorful fruit.  From painted apple prints, to all natural bird feeders, here are three ways to make the most out of the fruit and the fall season!

1.       1. Craft your own apple tree
For this activity you will need brown and green construction paper, cotton balls, scissors, glue, and magic markers.  First have your child trace their hand and as much of their forearm as will fit on the brown construction paper.  Then cut it out.  This will be the trunk of the apple tree.  Then they can cut out a bushy circular shape that is a few inches wider than their hand print from the green construction paper – this will form the leaves of the tree.
The next step is to glue the green “leaves” piece so it attaches to the back of the “trunk” piece, forming a complete tree.  Then, the cotton balls can be colored in with red, green and yellow marker to make different, delicious types of apples.  Once the ink in the cotton balls has dried out, they too can be glued onto the tree.  The tree can be decorated with squirrels, birds, bumblebees, or any other animals you may find in an apple orchard.  Once everything is dried, you may want to hang it up on the wall, put in a scrap book, or attach it to a large poster board.  If you attach it to the poster board, your kid can add to it to create a whole apple orchard, or you could even make a tradition where each year they add a new different kind of tree and they can see firsthand how their art skills develop!

2. Apple Fall Prints
This activity is great because even the youngest kids can have a blast doing it.  You will need some paint, a few paper plates, an apple sliced in half, leaves of different shapes and sizes, and a poster board.  Pour some fall colored paint (red, yellow, orange, green) onto each of the paper plates.  Then it is as easy as dipping the leaves and apple halves into the paint and stamping them onto the poster board.  They can be shaped into your child’s name, like a sun with a golden delicious apple stamp in the center and then fiery covered leaves surrounding it, or into whatever shape your child can imagine!  You can also use magic markers or paintbrushes to add more elements to the artwork.  If you put the apple tree from the first activity on a poster board, this can also be a fun way to accentuate the background.  This activity can get messy, so it may be a good idea to either lay out some newspapers, or do it outside and bring a change of clothes or a kids bath robe for your children to change into before coming bck into the house.

3.     3.   Organic Apple Bird Feeders
During the fall many animals are trying to eat as much as they can to store some energy for the long, cold winter.  You and your child may be able to help the birds plump up by making an all-natural apple bird feeder.  For this, you will need an apple corer, darning needle or skewer, a few feet of natural twine, some peanut butter, and sunflower seeds.  Here is how to do it:
1.       Note: This step involves sharp tools so an adult should do it for the child. Put a whole through the center of the apple with an apple corer, skewer or large needle.
2.       Thread a piece of twine through the center of the apple and tie it off so the apple can securely hang from it.
3.       Coat the apple in a thin layer of peanut butter.
4.       Cover the apple in sunflower seeds.
5.       Hang up your natural bird feeder from a nearby tree, windowsill or awning.
If you hang up the birdfeeder somewhere in view of your window, you and your child may be able to watch the different birds come by and feast off of it.  For older kids, they can grab a pair of binoculars and a local field guide to observe which kind of birds come, and if the bird feeder lasts long enough (or you just build more) they can take notes of which birds come at which times of the year.  Another idea is to add things like nuts, oatmeal, or rice and see if the birds have a preference for certain foods.  If your kids take good notes on their observations, it could even make a great project for extra credit in a science fair or for class!
Fall is definitely apple season, and with projects like birdfeeders, painted apple prints, and crafts to make your own tree, you and your child can fully embrace it!  If you go to an apple orchard you may even be able bond with your child while you pick your own, and it is a great opportunity to spend a little more time outside before the winter weather sets in!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Pardon the Interruption

I'm currently almost busier than I have ever been in my life.  I have so many things in the pipe-line that need my attention, and sometimes I find myself completely overwhelmed as my shoulder muscles start spasming.  This is no fun, but it must be done.

I write this not as a lame attempt at sympathy.  No "poor Hillary" necessary.  I'm happy as can be working my butt off, despite the ever present somatoform stress expressions.

This month is always nuts for Academics that are on the job market...and yes, I've decided to put myself out there after much convincing by several professors in my department and others.  I don't feel prepared, but that's fine.  If you know anything about Academic hiring processes, this means that I'll spend time preparing my applications for submission by their various deadlines (most within the next month).  I'll then get to wait, which really means getting back to my dissertation.  I'll hear back in November if I get to be interviewed, and will most likely interview at the AAA meetings in Chicago.  That's a pretty quick turn around really, all things considered.  So IF I got an interview and dazzled them, then I would be invited to probably another round of interviews.  IF I got past those, then I would be invited to come give a lecture to the department presenting my work.  All the professors in the department would "engage" me as a scholar (read: pound me with questions that I should or should not know the answers to).  I'll get to schmooze with the department, and then fly home to wait again.  And wait, and wait, and keep my fingers crossed.

In addition to the faculty positions I'm applying for, I am also applying for postdoctoral positions at several universities, 2 writing post-doc fellowships, and 3 independent research postdoc fellowships.  Didn't you know that I'm ambitious?  Perhaps a bit too much for my own sanity.

Again, I'm writing all this down more for posterity so I can look back and laugh at how silly I was for stressing out about all this stuff.  I NEVER want to give the impression that I am part of the holier-than-thou-Oh-so-busy club.  I hate that club.  I hate what they stand for.  I hate the super-American-ness of it all, and I refuse to be a part of it.  I want to document this for myself.  I want to write this so that my family understands why I'm not calling or answering the phone so much, and why I always look tired.  I want them to be proud of me, but more than that, I want to be proud of me.  I know that going balls to the wall (pardon the expression) is really the only way that I'm going to be satisfied with myself.

So pardon the interruption if I don't get around to publishing as much as previously.  I'm busy being a Mama PhD, and loving almost every minute of it.

P.S. Be proud of me: my dissertation is seriously starting to take shape now with almost 1/2 of it finished!


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