Monday, March 30, 2009

Check out my latest articles...please :-)

I need a few more views on Associated Content to reach my monthly goal of 1,000 page views...I only need 69 more page views! I have over 10,600 page views (with 69 articles) already since September when I first started which is totally cool.

The link is on the right side of the blog page. Quite a few of the latest articles are Columbus specific (don't hold me to all of the information...some of it was just fancy writing :-) )

The biggest news in this realm is that I was just tagged to write an article that may or not be sold to the Atlanta Journal Constitution! I made $40 just from Associated Content for it. One little article that took me about 3 or 4 hours to write and only had to be 500 words and I got $40 for it! Woo hoo! The best thing is that my writing is now being looked at more by the decision-makers at AC so I could have more opportunities like this one.

If the article gets published anywhere, I will be sure to let you all know!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

And the answer is...

A smaller part of this cake...(the star is supposed to be the capital, Baghdad)

I catered a dinner for a friend of mine in Illinois whose husband was in the Illinois National Guard and was being deployed to Iraq (way back in 2003). This cake is exactly what she wanted.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

I got a new sink!

Ever since we moved into the house I wanted a deeper sink with a higher faucet and on Saturday, that is just what I got :-) I didn't want to be one of those people that renovates some of their house in order to try to sell it and then wish they would have done it sooner so they could enjoy it.

Thanks to my wonderful husband and helpful little girl I have a new sink to use for a few months.

"What is it?" Wednesday

Sunday, March 22, 2009

And the answer is... ( late again...)

The cat with a nylon over his head. You know...a cat burglar :-)

The girls thought it was hilarious and the cat didn't seem to mind too much :-)

Friday, March 20, 2009

"What is it Wednesday?" (on Friday)

It's been crazy

The last two weeks or so have consisted of pre-created posts that were auto-posting for me and I missed Wednesday!

With trying to get the house ready to be put on the market, getting quotes from moving companies, looking for houses in Wisconsin, getting Loran to apply for his jobs, and the day to day living around here (which has become more clean than we normally live...anyone have any suggestions on how to DAILY keep the house CLEAN with two little ones, two dogs, a cat and a husband so that we can get in the routine for when people will hopefully be stopping by for house hunting...?)

So, it has been crazy and will only slow down slightly once the big things are done. I am packing books and clothes and toys and photos so that we can depersonalize the house. We are making minor (and one major) repairs to the house and I have to undo all of the painting I did!

I will cry the day I have to paint over Julia's tiger. I worked hard on it...oh well. So I will be posting Wednesday today (especially for Jodi, because she inquired :-) )

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Ticket to Ride

I LOVE TO PLAY GAMES. Card games. Board games. You name it.

There, I said it. It is out in the open now. Of course, it really isn't a secret and my poor husband probably wishes he knew about this side of me before he married me. But he is stuck with me now and occasionally humors me (mancala, cribbage, scrabble, even chess on occasion), especially when Julia is with us, because THANKFULLY she likes to play games too (just don't expect her to concentrate very hard) :-)

So anyway, two summers ago I was introduced, through my youngest sister and her then boyfriend (now husband) Adam, to a game called Ticket to Ride.

I love it. In fact, I believe that there are two other family members that now own the game and Heidi and Adam have at least one more version than the original.

I digress.

We played a few times during that vacation and then Heidi brought it with her when they visited us after Lillian was born. Even at a few days old, Lillian was enjoying the game.

We probably played the Christmas of 2007 which brought us all together for Heidi and Adam's wedding (looking back on it, they should have had a TTR cake!).

I know we played it this last summer (2008) on vacation and we played again on the day after my interview when everyone was home for a visit. Much to my Daddy's delight, Loran and I arrived back at their house on Sunday night so we could play AGAIN :-) And Lillian decided Grandma needed some help.

Of course, Dad came home from work on Monday and Loran and I joined him in another game and my mom went out and bought the extension set of cards and we played again when SHE got home. (That makes a total of four times in three days if you were counting...)

Was I tired of it? Not a chance!!!! Remember my earlier confession?! Was my honey tired of it? Yes, he most definitely probably was. Was he a trooper and did he hang in there and humor me and my parents? Yup. Does he deserve to be rewarded for his efforts? Yeah. I just haven't decided how big of a reward he should get especially because he avoided THOSE THREE when playing against my dad.

(Let's just say that Adam never figured out that you are supposed to let your father-in-law win and my dad told Heidi that it was sad that she would be a widow so early in life. Yeah, Daddy gets serious sometimes...Adam will learn :-) )

The Airplane

Although Ankica has been on a plane quite a few times and Lillian was on one when she was 4 months old, this was the first time Ankica got her own seat.

It was still chaotic having to schlepp the two car seats through the airport with us but we got an extra carry-on because Ankica had her own ticket so that actually helped.

Ankica loved having her own seat and did very well. She buckled herself in and didn't unbuckle the whole time. She listened SO well in the airport and held onto my bag so that I could concentrate on Lillian. Now Lilly, on the other hand, will need a harness and a leash if we ever have to fly somewhere with her (moving to Wisconsin this year will help cut down on that...)

Lillian didn't really care for having to be held the whole time though...she kept getting passed back and forth across the aisle between Loran and I. Overall, though, they did well and I was so proud of them.

The girls had fun getting ready for the trip by playing in their carseats in the house. This actually came in handy when we had the carseats in the airport because the girls were happy to sit in them (for the most part) while we waited.

Friday, March 13, 2009

This book

Thank you Laura for giving Lillian this book for her 1st Birthday. I have amazed the girls on numerous occasions (like travelling through the air) by being able to read the book without actually having it in front of me :-) Needless to say, we read it ALL OF THE TIME. They love to kiss the baby with the boo-boo and the one with the tummy ache.

Our Extra Time in Wisconsin

Even though it was a bit stressful to see that our flight was canceled on March 1st and we had to wait until March 3rd to get back home to Georgia (and deal with all of the extra expenses and everything), it was nice to have a bit more time with my parents and to just relax for the day on Monday.

I took Loran down through the town where I went to Middle School and High School (Oakfield Wisconsin) and then we drove down to see the house where we lived when I was in Elementary school (in Mayville). Then we found a Chinese buffet in Fond du Lac (oh and was that good!!!)

So here are a few pictures from the extra time we had relaxing at my parents' house in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin.

Lillian looking up to her 8 year old cousin Katy (of course, I almost have to look up to Katy...she's a tall girl!).

Sam isn't really sure he wants to join the girls, but he is way outnumbered...poor guy.

In a few years we won't even see the difference between Emma and Lillian because they are only actually a little over 2 months apart in age. However, Lillian was born at about 38 weeks and Emma was born at about 21 weeks, so Emma has some catching up to do. And she is doing great!!

Emma wasn't so thrilled with Lillian's attention, especially when she wanted to give Emma kisses or when she would pet her on the head like a puppy when Emma was crawling around :-) It was cute though!

Lillian was showing Grandma Jane how to do the abc dance.

My little "hoo hoo ha ha's". Ankica and Lillian love Curious George and they call monkeys "hoo hoo ha ha's". So what do you suppose a banana is called? Why "hoo hoo ha ha eat" of course!

I made the fleece tie blankets before Lillian was born and Ankica loves hers. Lillian is starting to like to have hers around, which makes it comforting for them on a trip across the country.

We don't really have Barbies at our house yet because I just want to try to go through one stage at a time. At Grandma's house out! I wish I would have had time to play with the kids and the Barbies because when I was picking them up I recognized a whole bunch of the clothes and accessories and started to briefly reminisce. Ah, the memories!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Loran Loves Windmills

I should get a bumper sticker made or something :-)

A little over four years ago, Loran fell in love with the two windmills that we would see on the way from the Milwaukee airport to Fond du Lac where my parents live.

Then about three years ago we saw more...around Rockford Illinois. What seemed like MILLIONS of them.

And now they have "invaded" the town where I went to high school and we went to get a closer look and finally take some pictures. I counted 30 just in the one spot we were standing and there were MANY more than that. You can see them from at least 20 miles away I would say, maybe farther at night when the red lights are blinking on them.

Okay, Tera likes them too, but you should see the look on his face when he sees them :-)

And the answer is...

A submarine figurine in our fish tank.

I need to work on getting more random pictures...I am running out of fun ones for Wednesdays!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Ankica's Dress from Grandma

I love this dress on her and she loved it too (she hated having it removed from her body). She also got LOTS of compliments on Sunday but it is rapidly getting too short for her so she might be wearing it to church more and more in the near future :-)

And I couldn't leave Lillian out of the fun!

The red button

The girls love to hit the red button at the pediatrician's office. It brings a train around. Lillian can barely reach it put Ankica hits it over (and over and over).

"What is it?" Wednesday

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

University of Wisconsin-Platteville

I just received the call. They have offered me the position of Assistant Professor in Animal Science at the University of Wisconsin at Platteville.

I have to make the decision by Friday :-) The job starts August 24, 2009. So now we just need to get Loran a job up there. There are two in Madison that he will apply for and he is fairly well-qualified for them.

Any questions? I may or may not have the answers :-)

Anybody want to buy a house with a swimming pool?

Strange Love

I don't know what it is, but the cat, Orion, has always had a thing for this dog, Indiana.

Now Riley (the German Shepherd) and Orion love to play and it is almost reassuring the way Riley takes the cat's head in his mouth when they are playing because he has never hurt the cat.

But the relationship between Indy and Orion is like a mother cat and a kitten. Indy was a puppy when I got her and I had a cat that would take care of Indy...lick her and scold her and play with her. So now maybe Indy has taken Orion under her care. When Orion wants to play with her, she tolerates it for a while and then puts him in his place.

Indy was laid up in the crate for about 5 1/2 weeks because of her knee surgery and the cat would occasionally squish his body between the bars to get in the crate with her. Now that she is out, he loves to be near her.

I will admit that these pictures are slightly staged. Loran put Indy's paw over the cat, but they were already laying next to each other and they stayed that way for a while afterwards.

Lillian's Spanish Lessons :-)

Lillian picked up a trilingual toy we had and said "Hola" so I was trying to get her to say some of the other words. Of course, she always prefers to play with the cat (her way).

Thursday, March 5, 2009

The Interview

Now that I have finally caught up a little bit from the unintended extra stay in Wisconsin, I'll let you know how the interview went.

We arrived safely, albeit wet and a little harried, in Platteville Wisconsin on Thursday. Friday morning, Loran packed the girls, still in their jammies, into the car so that we could drive around to the front building of the hotel to get to the lobby. (Not a good thing...I would recommend AGAINST the Platteville Super 8...). Anyway, I recognized Dr. Mee from his website picture so I said Hi and introduced Loran and the girls. We drove to driveways down from the Super 8 to the Country Kitchen.

Let me just say that I put a run in my nylons when I was putting them on but it was under my skirt so I just kept my backup pair in my bag until I *really* needed them. Which was about two seconds after I got into Dr. Mee's very large truck.

So we walked into Country Kitchen (which I remember from my Wisconsin days as being a great place for breakfast) and there were two female faculty at the table, one of which I recognized from her profile as having gone to UW-River Falls for undergrad (like me, only she's a bit younger). Soon another lady joined us and let me tell you, they LOVE to talk and poke fun at each other. Three of them have been there for 18 years so they really seemed like a close-knit group. They were telling all sorts of stories and asking very few questions.

So then we headed over to the university and met with the Director of the School of Agriculture (he had some very interesting questions like What are you passionate about? and What are you the best in the world at?), then I met the Dean and the Associate Vice Chancellor. They all seemed very impressed with my resume and how varied my teaching experience is and how well it looked like I would fit there (if I was selected). The Dean informed me that there was one more candidate after me on Monday (a total of three) and that he would make a decision by the end of this week. (Today is Thursday and tomorrow is the end of the week...just saying...)

Then I got a tour of the campus, which is quite nice and newly rennovated and reminded me alot of UW-River Falls. Then I met with six undergraduates who asked me questions like "If I was late because of a hangover, what would you do about my attendance?" and "Do you like to use Powerpoint alot?" and "Do you have any experience with animals?" Then after that we went to lunch where I found out that the faculty member who also went to River Falls is from Cannon Falls MN. Here is how that conversation went:

(we were talking about the ice and rain from the day before)

Her: My parents are from just south of the Cities so they get the same kind of weather.
Me: My sister just moved from the Cities. Where are you from?
Her: Cannon Falls.
Me: Oh, I've been there. I had a roommate from there.
Her: What's her name?
(At this point I'm thinking, right like she is going to know her.)
Me: Well, I don't remember her last name but her first name was Stacy.
Her: Knowlton?
Me: (shocked) Yes! Her father owns a...
Us at the same time: construction company!
Me: and her brother had a...
Us: baby when he was 14!
Her: yeah I went to school with her brother and I knew her pretty well.

So at this point Dr. Mee's head is about to pop off. What are the chances? Not only that but one of the other guys, originally from Cameroon got his Master's at Auburn so he was familiar with Phenix City and Columbus. Did I mention that the school colors are orange and blue, just like Illinois (where I got my PhD) and Langston (the last place I was an Assistant Professor)? Yeah, it's weird like that.

Back to the story. After lunch I got a farm tour from the 32 year old very nice dairy farm manager and as soon as we walked into the barn I became a different person. I was asking questions I forgot I knew how to ask :-) I became someone I haven't been for over 4 years and it was fun!

Driving through the swine facility Dr. Mee pointed out the fenced in area where the criminal justice students work. What? Well, apparently swine decompose similarly to humans, so they bury pigs in this field and the criminal justice students dig them us and try to figure out how long they have been buried. Thank you, CSI.

Then we drove back to campus and I started getting nervous. I had completed my seminar last Tuesday night at around 6pm and only read through it once on the way to the airport and found a few errors. The only official time that I read through my talk and actually timed it was at 9pm on Thursday night in the bathroom while Loran was trying to get Lillian to sleep in the rickety old crib we had to borrow from the front desk (again...I wouldn't recommend Super 8...).

My talk was at 2pm and I couldn't believe how many people were there. Probably about 50. Once the talk loaded and was up on the screen it became real. I like to write out everything I am planning to say on the notes page of powerpoint so I can see the slide and my words. I figure, even if I freak out I can read it word for word. But then I started and didn't hardly use my notes. In fact, I was having an out of body experience where I thought "This is a really good talk" and I was amazed at how well I injected humor and extra information that I hadn't intended to say.

I weathered the questions well and was happy to have alot of good comments as people were leaving. Then we moved on to the formal interview where the committee (whom I had been meeting all day and didn't know it) asked specific and general questions. Then we just kind of shot the breeze for a while and they asked questions about my family and stuff.

Dr. Mee told them how cute my girls are and there were some comments made from people who were at breakfast and lunch and suddenly I was part of inside jokes that the rest of the committee wasn't privy to. It felt very natural.

My favorite part of the interview was my example syllabus. First, I need to mention that my Master's and PhD advisor, Geoff Dahl, is department chair down at U of FL. He has a Master's student, Jake, who went to Platteville as an undergrad and did a research project with Dr. Mee. I had corresponded with him to get a feel for the university and Dr. Mee and what the undergrads would ask. He said that the candidates that did the best had example syllabi. So I had one.

In preparation for this, I looked up some syllabi on-line and found a neat newsletter style. So I adapted my Environmental Physiology class idea to this syllabus style and Loran made four color copies (it just occurred to me that I didn't get any back...). At one point in the interview someone asked, if you had a chance to create your own class, what would you do? I got out my syllabus and said "I would do something like this". As soon as they started looking at it they were saying things like "I will never look at a syllabus the same again" and "Don't let the undergrads see this!" (which they had already by the way). They were also making comments like "We really need to implement this class!" and "I hope you can start this class in the near future". So those were definitely positive comments.

And that was about it. Dr. Mee took me to meet Loran and the girls and was telling us how nice of a town Platteville was and making encouraging comments. I was just glad it was over by that point! I do still want the job. I was impressed with the faculty and the students and the campus. Once you are assigned a class, the class is yours and no one oversees you, which I like. Dr. Mee also said that when the new faculty comes in, he would sit down with them and work how who taught what based on their expertise. I was really happy with that because I prefer some of the other courses not really the ones in the job description.

Now I wait. Apparently the Dean is a man of his word, so if I don't hear anything by 5pm CST tomorrow, I will assume that someone else got the job and we will carry on with the next thing.

And the answer is...

A ladybug in a raspberry muffin!

On Tuesday morning before we had to head out to the airport, my mom made us some homemade raspberry muffins with homegrown raspberries, complete with the ever present ladybugs :-)

The muffins were delicious and luckily I hadn't actually bit too far into this one!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Monday, March 2, 2009

We are stuck here!

Yup. It snowed in Atlanta and Columbus Georgia but NOT in Wisconsin!

(Although there was some lake effect snow in Milwaukee today...)

So, our flight was cancelled yesterday and we headed right back up to my Mom and Dad's house until tomorrow, the first confirmed booking we could get (2:25pm). Hopefully the airport and weather fiasco will be sorted out by then :-)

We are just thankful for good circumstances in our lives that allow us to afford to lose two more days of work and everything down in Columbus to spend two more days up here.

Details on the job interview will be forthcoming when I get back, but I thought it went well :-)