Monday, August 31, 2009

Unique, beautiful...gotta have it.

I don't know which one yet but I want one for Christmas. Absolutely, positively WANT ONE.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Someone else's words

I normally just hyperlink a blog post that I think is cool but I wanted to actually have the words in my blog. Brianna is a young lady that has experienced quite a journey. She got pregnant with sextuplets and lost all but one special little guy, Sylas. Now she has precious Ivy to add joy to her life. She has a loving husband and, most assuredly, a loving family and church.

I know because I grew up in the same church. I know who her family is. Her grandfather was the pastor of the church for all of my life until recently when her father took over the role. I love going back there and now that she and I are both back in Wisconsin I am looking forward to seeing her in church on Sunday (God willing) and saying Hi. I don't just lurk on her blog, I post occasionally too, but I watch her lovely little family grow from a distance because we didn't really know each other well at church because we are about a decade apart in age. Makes a difference :-)

Enjoy a lovely post from Brianna.

Oh, to Fly

The other day, I thought I killed a bird. WHAM! It took a nose dive into the front of my car.

It was a beautiful goldfinch. I was very sad.

About five minutes later I came to a stop, dropped off the babysitter and was about to back out of her driveway when something amazing happened.

The goldfinch flew out from under the front of my car!!! He was alive and as lovely as ever.

That little survivor got me thinking. You're going about your business, living the day to day when WHAM! Life takes you completely by surprise. Without warning you find yourself in circumstances you've never imagined. You're zooming down the highway and uncertain if you'll survive.

It's frightening. Nay, terrifying.

But then something beautiful happens. As the shock wears off and you've had a chance to take in your new surroundings, you realize one very important thing. You still remember how to fly.

Oh yes, you most assuredly remember how to fly.

Would I do it?

Well, I have, MANY times in the past. Especially at the U of I in January before classes started and sometimes in the summer. When my adviser was away on business or vacation, I would start a lab thing that had to sit for a few hours then hit the theater. I was often the only person in the theater. Always matinees though.

Nowadays I don't think I would. I don't want to spend any more time away from Loran and the girls than I already do. Of course if there was a movie I wanted to see and Loran didn't (that hasn't happened yet) and he would watch the girls for the hour and half or two hours, then I would still do it.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

"Would you do it?" Wednesday

Go to a movie by yourself if you really wanted to see it?

(Assuming no one else would go with you for whatever reason.)

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

I should be...

Working on my powerpoint slides for the first day of class that is now less than one week away and I have a party to throw for my baby this weekend (not at my house, which is actually better because I am not stressed about the house to be cleaned and is just mom's house :-)

But instead I am blogging. (Turns out to be a long post...stay with me...)

On my work computer :-) I just got my laptop today and I am wirelessly connected to the internet at home, on the floor, with the cat laying next to me. Apparently he has missed me.

When I got back to my office after the morning sessions of meetings my computer was set up and waiting for me. I have a 19 inch monitor in addition to the laptop screen so that I have a dual monitor system. If you have ever used one you know how AWESOME it is when you are trying to work in different areas at once (writing a manuscript with an spreadsheet of numbers open to look at or making class powerpoints while the internet is up to get references from, etc). And I have a Bluetooth mouse and I will have an additional keyboard so that my laptop is almost just the processor at work. Very cool. Plus I am hooked up to a color laser jet printer at work.

Things are wonderfully relaxed there. My classes are my own and my schedule is this: I need to have 10 hours of posted office hours and I need to teach my classes and generally be available for students when they start to realize I am there. Other than that, "we just don't get paid enough to worry about the minute by minute comings and goings of everyone". Cool.

So far the last two days have been full of a TON of information about the campus and the campus systems. At some point I will be figuring out how to do a professional/personal website and how to do a website for my classes. I am also going to be doing a professional blog for careers in agriculture or animal science or something like that. I met with my mentor who was also the chair of the search committee and we are very much on the same goal should be to be the best teacher EVER. And I really do want to be. In a small school like this, half the battle is caring about the students.

I have met a bunch of new faculty and have a number of things in common with quite a few of them (one girl is from Fond du Lac and apparently her mom met my mom in a quilt shop so that this instructor remembered her mom saying that there was a faculty member in Belmont with the name of Montgomery...small world...). I also talked to an agribusiness faculty member who went to the U of I and is a big fan, so I am sort of on her good side for having a panoramic view of Assembly Hall up in my office. Then I got to talk to a nice German lady who is faculty in Criminal Justice and has 9 horses. She thinks it is cool that I work in animal science and I think it is cool that she has horses. So tonight at the farm cookout thing for new faculty, Loran says, Oh there is Roger and his daughter, you know the one I give guitar lessons to. And I say, there is Sabina, the new faculty with the horses. Turns out that Roger and Sabina are married and Sarah is there daughter. And Roger was a helicopter pilot in the Marines. I think we might be visiting their farm at some point :-)

Let's all sing "It's a small world after all..." Gracious. Anyway, I am glad that I have officially started and met some great people. And the girls? Cried. Alot. Well, Ankica did. When I dropped them off? know her better than that. She cried when I picked her up both yesterday and today. In fact, neither one of them wanted anything to do with me yesterday but Lillian was a little more willing to come with me today. Sigh. At least they are enjoying themselves. I hope Ankica eventually realizes she gets to be there every day. We'll see. I even took the traditional first day of school photo with them yesterday. I'll have to post it soon.

And Thursday/Friday will be interesting for Loran. The interview yesterday went better than expected and the plant really wants him there. So now it might be a bidding war and we will come out on top :-) What kind of plant you ask? We are in Wisconsin right? A cheese plant of course! Who woulda thought?

Lots going on and I hope to keep you updated as time allows.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Well, here we go...

Tomorrow I officially become an employee of the University of Wisconsin-Platteville in the College of BILSA, and the School of Agriculture. I will be a teacher and a an advisor. I will teach classes, advise students, give presentations, and attend workshops. And that is all before the end of October. I am still overwhelmed.

I hope to eventually become a researcher again. And a mentor. And get appointed to a committee or two. And become the go-to person in something as I meet alumni and the producers in the state. I may soon have goat producers calling me because of my background at Langston University. You never know why God puts you where He does but when one or two things become obvious, it is an AWESOME thing.

It is hard to believe this day has come. I know I have mentioned it before but I really never thought that I would be using my hard-won Ph.D. in Wisconsin in this capacity. I really didn't.

Loran has an interview tomorrow at 2pm in Belmont and a REALLY exciting one on Thursday at 11am. That is the one that we hope turns into federal employment. Only about 25 minutes away. And it would put us in a really good place here.

We are slowly starting to become known at the church. In fact, we seem almost infamous :-) Loran played guitar for almost three hours last week with the Associate Pastor, who leads worship and is quite a good player himself. Pastor Dana was so excited to be able to jam with Loran :-) Last week a lady approached me with excitement because she had been reading our blog for a while and was happy we were attending. Three Sundays in September will find us at church in a membership class. Even with our background as members in a PCA church, I am glad of the opportunity to see what the EPC is all about.

We watched a Packer game on state TV last night. It was wonderful :-) And they won very convincingly. We might make a showing this year!

Lililan's birthday party is on August 30th. We will really miss all of our friends that have been with us for the first two years of her life. I wish you all could come. But on the exciting side we will be able to have family at a birthday party finally. 32 members of family to be exact :-) I was always jealous of Chad and Chrissy and their mounds of family. Now I can have that too!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Lucchetti d'amore

Love locks.

Have you heard of it?

My sister's husband's parents (John and Nancy Holte) went on a mission trip to Russia recently and on a day that coincided with their 34th anniversary they walked over a bridge that had a bunch of these love locks.

The phenomenon apparently started in Rome, Italy and has moved to a lot of other bridges in Europe and maybe even the United States. I think there will be one soon on a bridge near Belmont Wisconsin.

Anyway, when a couple gets married, or has an anniversary or whatever occasion they choose, they buy a padlock and have it engraved with their names and the date and anything else that means something to them. They them secure the lock onto a part of the bridge and throw the key into the water below, locking them together forever. I thought it was such a beautiful symbolic gesture that I wanted to share it with you all.

Would I do it? Oh yeah..

I would totally go back for another degree. If I ever had the time :-)

I even started one right before Lillian was born, before I ever dreamed that I might be able to move back to Wisconsin AND use my Ph.D. Go figure.

I started school to get my MBA and I loved the three classes I took, especially because two of them were on-line. I took Accounting, Econ, and Marketing.

I might finish that. Or I might try something else, maybe something more literary in nature. But then again, I am already writing for money, so I must be doing a little bit right :-)

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Come and see the newest BLOG in the family!

From My Position is Loran's you KNOW it is gonna be good!

"Would you do it?" Wednesday

Get a college degree?

(Regardless of whether you have one or not.)

What would you get a degree in? Would you get a(nother) bachelor's or Master's?

So, would you do it?

Monday, August 17, 2009

The Auchtung Family Vacation

My mom's side of the family used to take family vacations together when we were little and a few years ago my immediate family decided we were getting big enough as a family to have our own. We now have mom and dad, me and Loran and our two (sometimes three) kids, Jodi and Dennis and their four kids, Cheri and Matt and their two kids, and Heidi and Adam. For a total of
18 (sometimes 19) people!

The last two years we drove two days from Georgia to Wisconsin to vacation with my family. This year we were blessed to only have to drive 4 1/2 hours to get there! It was wonderful to leave around 10:30am on a Saturday after having packed that morning and making a bunch of phone calls, etc. We then met my sister Jodi and her family at Culvers for lunch and then met the rest of the family at around 3:30pm at the lodge. What a beautiful place! It was a log cabin with a private lake and lots of walking trails. The weather was mild, in fact we started a fire one day (see below) and the people sleeping on the screened in porch needed more than the normal amount of blankets for the beginning of August (even for Wisconsin :-))

The first morning, Sunday morning, was the third annual pancake bake-off. So far only my brothers-in-law Matt and Adam have been a part of the contest. Adam won year one and Matt won year two. This year Matt made a pineapple upside down pancake and Adam make a lemon ricotta pancake. Adam won! The pancakes were delicious and I can't wait to try the recipe on my own. Maybe there will be more contestants in the years to come.

We went for lots of walks and Loran and I even got a chance to go kayaking for the first time ever. We tried to take Ankica fishing but she got freaked out by the canoe (she didn't want to tip over).

We ate some really good meals thanks to the wonderful planning of my sister Cheri. She is really a stellar vacation planner!

The girls loved playing with their cousins and it was amazing how far Emma has come since the last time I saw her.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

My beauties

This is what has been keeping me busy...spending as much time with them as possible before we are separated for hours a day. I always enjoy the look on their faces when I have picked them up from the nursery at church...they were always so excited after such a short time away from me. Of course sometimes Ankica wouldn't want to leave her friends but I actually appreciate her passion (even when the tantrums get a bit tiring...and she is doing the same thing with her neighborhood acquaintances).

Ankica is getting so polite and Lillian is getting to be two with all that entails. They love on each other constantly and fight only occasionally. I hope they will be okay with being apart from each other during the day.

Ankica still isn't potty trained and after reading about little girls that are Lillian's age getting potty trained, I am discouraged. I have been slated to write a bunch of potty training articles for Associated Content so maybe that will help with different ideas. She just doesn't mind being wet. The doctor isn't concerned yet and so I won't be either (not much anyway). Hopefully seeing the kids during the day that are "big kids" will help move her in that direction. We shall see.

Ankica learned to hike the football this morning and is riding her bike (with training wheels) quite well. Lillian sings all of the time and is learning to count. Ankica can count to thirteen consistently and almost to twenty. We are working on spelling her name and she actually says her name correctly now! :-)

I can barely remember a time without them and as much as I want one more, I am loving our little family of four (and sometimes five).

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Yes, I would!

I would totally get a maid :-) For the bathrooms, windows, and dusting. I HATE doing those things.

I actually like to vacuum, do laundry, and generally clean the gives me a sense of accomplishment.

Of course, the girls are less needy now so that helps. I think a maid would give me more time to try my hand at more cooking and baking and maybe start gardening.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

"Would you do it?" Wednesday

In lieu of what is it? wednesday, I was wondering:

If you could afford it...would you get a maid service for your abode? How often would they come?

So...Would you do it?

(My answer tomorrow :-) )

Been busy...

We had a great vacation last week that I will post about sometime soon and since we have been back we have been busy catching up on things. I am getting ready for all of the orientations and other meetings I have the first week of work which means that I need to get ready for classes in the coming week. But there are also cool things like the county fair and a dressage schooling show to watch nearby and a neighborhood birthday party and a family birthday party to plan and a rental agreement to put together to get the house officially rented in GA. Lots going on.

Plus, I went to Milwaukee yesterday because my sister Jodi had surgery to remove an adrenal gland and its tumor (around 3 inches!) that was caused by her neurofibromatosis and what probably caused her preeclampsia that caused both of her kids to be born early. The surgery went well and she even called me today and she should go home tomorrow! Praise the Lord for that!

More later...