Friday, December 19, 2014


I'm a few days late on posting this, but...


I had really zero doubt in my mind that he would, but still there's a little part of you just can't wait for the relief that it is actually over.  He did a great job with his presentation, his public questions went well, and I am sure he did a great job with the closed door portion too.

So Phil is officially a doctor (of philosophy, not medicine).  I'm no longer the most educated person in the house.  :)

It is kind of funny because Phil almost doesn't know what to do with himself now that his dissertation and defense are done.  Not like he doesn't have a few things to do (he has a few revisions that he has to make), but it isn't the 24/7 type of work he has been doing.

And I am just totally exhausted.  As Phil was going through his presentation on Monday, I kind of relived the last 7 years.  There were parts of his research that I had kind of repressed a little.  Late nights, long hours, weekends alone, frustration in the process, etc.  By the time everything was said and done, I felt drained.

I have had a couple of days to kind of process everything and I am starting to get more and more excited about the fact that grad school is over.  It is definitely one of those things where it is good you don't really know what is ahead of you when you start down the road.  Graduate school is not for the faint at heart and neither is being a graduate wife.

Our first order of business after Phil's defense was to get him some ALUMNI gear.

{The ornament looks like of red, but it is actually orange}

After all, he most definitely earned it.  We had kind of discussed if Alumni stuff was appropriate for graduate work (since it seems like most of the time people only have that for undergraduate degrees), but then Phil pointed out that he spent more time at Oregon State than James Madison, so it made sense.

The last 7 years have been so crazy... Phil moved across the country. We met.  Moved in together.  Got engaged.  Got married.  His dad was diagnosed with Liver Cancer.  We found out we had some fertility challenges.  My nodules were found.  I had cancer.  I beat cancer.  We got a puppy.  We had a baby.  Phil's dad passed away.  We bought a house.

And he still managed to produce some great work and finish his doctorate degree.

Phil, I am so proud of you and everything you have accomplished.  With absolutely everything you have faced, I am sure most people would have given up.  But you endured and still managed to provide emotional support for me through the last crazy 6.5 years.  Congratulations, love.  I am so so proud of you.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Feeding a Toddler

Oh the many joys of toddler-hood.  Some of them really are joys:  watching him learn new things, master new skills, and peeks of his personality.  Others... not so much.  New-found independence.  Temper tantrums.  Picky diets.

One of my biggest stressors as of late has been feeding Henry.

It's a constant, never-ending question in our house... what is Henry going to eat?

I should start by saying a couple of things... I loathe picky eaters, therefore I know I am destined to have one.  Secondly, I am really hard on myself when it comes to the foods that Henry eats.  I struggle immensely with feeding him anything processed or anything with a lot of sodium/sugar in it.  I am constantly talking to myself about lightening up a bit.  I want him to be a kid, after all.  And I don't want him to be one of those kids that has such a restricted diet at home than they go crazy at their friends' house, eating junk food and LITERALLY digging through the garbage for cookies (a true story a friend has told me happened at her house).

Daycare only feeds the stress.  According to the daycare rules, Henry's lunch MUST contain four of the five food groups.  It sounds like a great idea, but sometimes it can be really tricky.  Especially when you figure in that he 1) doesn't like much meat and 2) only eats sweet potatoes for veggies.

They say that you need to introduce a baby to a given food 12 times before they will develop a taste for it, but honestly that is SO FRUSTRATING!!  Who wants to spend 12 meals having their toddler refuse their food?

We never had this problem with baby food.  Henry would eat ANYTHING if it was pureed.  So I know he doesn't mind the taste.  It's a texture thing.

Anyway... enough of my complaining.  Let's get to the point here.

Henry and I had a play date with the mom's and babies from our Bradley birthing class last past weekend.  We discussed our picky eaters and I took comfort in that we were NOT alone.  So I started thinking about all of my options for what Henry will eat.

Black beans
Black bean burritos
(do we see a trend here?)
Most soups
Chili (both regular and white bean)
Sweet Potatoes
Pickled beets (he is part Russian, so it fits)
Black Olives
Grilled Cheese
Chicken Nuggets
Annie's Mac and Cheese with baked Chicken Thigh fillets cut very small and snuck in there
Maybe PB&J
Turkey (as long as it is covered in cranberry sauce)
Green Bean Casserole

The list isn't super long.

So imagine my joy when I made THIS last night:

{Quinoa Enchilada Casserole.  Recipe from Damn Delicious}

I put some in a bowl for him, thinking "yeah right...".  But Phil and I were shocked when he started shoveling it into his mouth.

It was super easy and quick to make.  It's healthy.  And it's the perfect daycare meal with beans (protein), quinoa (grain), corn (veggie), and cheese (dairy).  Four whole food groups in one dish!  If I had given him the tomato and avocado (which he wouldn't have eaten) it was have had all 5 food groups in there.

The even better news about this dish... Phil and I both thought it was delicous, it's meatless and gluten free, and SUPER inexpensive.

Basically it is my favorite meal of all time right now.

We have also resorted to sending baby food pouches to daycare that have fruits and veggies in them (mostly green veggies).  But I don't like do that all of the time because they are spendy.  But I just figured out that with Amazon Subscribe and Save, I can get pouches for basically $1 a piece.  With a mixture of brands and veggie/fruit blends, I am excited that he will be getting a variety of veggies, it won't be too expensive, and it will be delivered to my door every 3 months.

If you have any more ideas of toddler foods, I am ALL EARS.  I have tried pretty much anything I can think of (including spaghetti with every type of noodle and other forms of pasta) but I am willing to try it again.  Hit me with it!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

So much to do!

The holidays are a busy time for everyone and I know we are no exception.  Since Thanksgiving was late this year, it seems like the holidays are even more hectic.  There was one less weekend between Thanksgiving and Christmas than in previous years.  It shouldn't make a big difference, but it does.

The push to get Phil's dissertation done and turned in put us into survival mode.  Cleaning was kept at a minimum.  Laundry done as needed, but not folded.  Grocery shopping was limited as well.

I do have my priorities though.  Given a choice between folding laundry during nap time or putting up Christmas decorations, I chose decorations.  All.  The.  Way.

That choice, however, left me with a scene that looks like this:

And there's more where that came from.

To make matters worse, this is what awaits me at work:

To be reviewed.

My to-do list is so long, I pretty much need to take this home to review it.  But who has the time?  I'm trying to find a way to dig down deeps and get everything accomplished.

Laundry folded.
House cleaned.
Food made.
Work done.

And there is one thing that will always be at the top of my list...

Spending time with this guy.

If someone can help me figure out a way to get everything done, find 2 more hours in the day, or perhaps ways to have a little more energy, I would greatly appreciate it.

We are almost to the finish line of graduate school!  I just need to keep my head down and priorities straight until then.

Friday, December 5, 2014

I want to shout it from the rooftops!!!

I want to shout it from the roof tops!

And yesterday felt like a holiday...

Phil's dissertation has been turned in!!!!!!

There are not enough exclamation marks for the above statement.  Seriously.

For those who are not familiar, Phil has been studying to get his doctorate in Environmental and Molecular Toxicology.  That's actually how we met, in graduate school.

Getting a doctorate degree is no small task.  You have to do a research project that makes a significant contribution to your field.  Then you have to write that bad boy up and defend him to a group of committee members and the public to determine if you know you stuff and should be considered a doctor.

Phil's been busting his butt to finish writing his dissertation, which had to be turned in before his defense.  Henry and I have barely seen the guy for the last couple of weeks.  I'm pretty sure Henry and Phil have only spent like 10 minutes together the last week or so.

But after staying up literally ALL NIGHT Wednesday night, IT'S DONE!!!

Next up... his defense in a couple of weeks.

For his defense, Phil will have to give a 45 minute presentation on his work.  Then the visiting public can ask questions about his research and findings.  After about 15 minutes of that, the public is kicked out and the committee can ask Phil him questions about his research and ANY class he has EVER taken.  That should last another hour or so.  And after that, he'll find out if his passed or not.

I'm no Toxicologist, but I can say this... Phil has put in the work.  He knows his $h!t.  He's ready.

There have been so many challenges and setbacks for Phil along his graduate school path.  Changing project scope.  Marriage.  Dad diagnosed with cancer.  Infertility.  Waiting for data.  Wife diagnosed with cancer.  New baby.  Waiting for data.  Dad dying.  Waiting for data.

To name a few.

I have to admit that after the defense got postponed the last time, I was having a hard time believing that the defense would happen in December.  The goal was to get his dissertation turned in before Thanksgiving, but that didn't happen.  Then the goal was Tuesday.  Then Wednesday.

I likened the delay to being pregnant and watching your due date pass.  And each and every day you go past your due date gets harder.  And harder.  And you feel like you will always be pregnant.  You will never have the baby.  And it will never end.

It's irrational.  Pregnancy always has an end.  And grad school had to as well.

But it is in!  The defense is scheduled!

We have a couple hard weeks ahead of us still as Phil prepares for his defense.  But the biggest part has been accomplished.

Henry and I took Phil out to a nice dinner last night to celebrate.

{Everyone's drinks.  Martini for Mama.  Apple juice for Hank.  Beer for Daddy}

Because Phil has basically been working 20 hours a day for the last couple of weeks, Henry and I really haven't seen him much.  It wouldn't be an exaggeration to say that Henry has seen him for maybe 5 minutes a day for the last week.  And Henry made it known last night that he was NOT happy about it.  He wouldn't look at Phil, didn't want Phil to hold him, wouldn't respond to Phil when he talked to him.  He's a punisher.

The good news is that he seemed to be over that this morning.  He was looking up at Phil with an expression that said, "YAY MY DADDY IS HERE!"  It was pretty much the cutest thing ever.

Now excuse me while I go take multiple deep breaths because it feels like a HUGE weight has been lifted from our family's shoulders.  You'll find me partially floating on cloud 9.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Oh hey, I have a blog

I've been fairly silent on social media for the last few weeks.

Henry's ear infection turned into another ear infection (with antibiotics that he would only take if you turned on Frozen).

{I don't know what it is about Frozen, but it seriously puts him in a trance.}

Then I got bronchitis.  Now I've had bronchitis before, but this was the worst by far.  I've never gotten it before with a fever.  We are talking fever, body aches, chills, severe sweating for 5 days.  Thankfully on Day 6, the antibiotics were kicking in and I was able to resume normal life.

Day 6 of my sickness was also the day Henry got Croup.

Did I mention that this whole sickness relay also happened while Phil has been working almost around the clock finishing up his dissertation?  I am so thankful for my parents who watched Henry for basically the entire weekend so Phil could work and I could be sick on the couch.

So between sickness, the dissertation, keeping everyone fed, clean, and clothed, blogging has fallen to the wayside.

Don't fret my pets... the end is in sight.

But seriously, Henry and I apparently need to invest in large quantities of vitamin C.  I'm pretty sure the only reason Phil hasn't gotten sick is because of adrenaline.

One thing I have noticed, even when I was healthy, was that without Phil's help I really can't do everything.  Not that this should be a huge surprise.  And it's not like things don't get done.  But they don't get done well all of the time.  Laundry from two weeks ago is sitting folded in the bonus room.  And I haven't done any laundry since.

Sometimes making dinner means chicken nuggets.

 Sometimes it means pizza.  And sometimes cleaning means doing the absolute bare minimum for the house to not be gross.

Henry has been in disposables, partially because antibiotics have been havoc on his poor little digestive system and partially because I haven't wanted to deal with the extra laundry.

Ultimately, none of that crap matters.  We are getting through the end of graduate school.  And as long as we are mostly happy, loving, and supportive of one another, the details don't matter.

Henry's happy, so I must be doing something right.  :)

Stay healthy, people!

Thursday, November 6, 2014


Last week, Henry was diagnosed with an ear infection.  And while an ear infection is about as normal of a childhood ailment as they come (second maybe to having a cold), I'm finding myself a little anxious about it.

This seems super silly because I had bundles of ear infections when I was little.  And I have friends whose children have had dozens of ear infections in one year.  But Henry's last ear infection took 4 antibiotics to clear up and he ended up in the hospital with pneumonia.

While I know this isn't likely to happen again (his pediatrician told me it would be rare), I find myself anxious about whether or not the ear infection is actually going to be cured.

Today was his last dose of medicine and while he seems to be doing alright, he still digs at his ears.  Is that wax?  Teething pain?  Or is that ear infection lurking still?

It seems like every time he gets sick, I kick myself incessantly.  I know I shouldn't do that, but it is hard.  The weekend before we took him to the doctor (and a few days the week before), I knew there was something wrong with him.  I told myself I should have trusted my mommy intuition and taken him in sooner.

My mommy intuition tells me to take him back to the doctor to check.  I also know I am an anxious person.  Better safe than sorry is my mantra.  Do I wait and see how he acts, knowing where we ended up last time?

Being a mommy is hard.

For now, my plan is to wait and see what happens.  But if my intuition starts telling me something isn't right, I am going to trust it.  I'd rather lose the $30 for the copay than risk him being in pain or getting sicker.

Better safe than sorry.  :)

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Order Out

Without being TOTALLY original and talking about daylight savings time, I have to say...

It's totally kicking my butt!

Henry seems to have adjusted to it just fine.  It's me that has a problem with it.  I swear, ever since I lost my thyroid, my system is so sensitive.  Now, I need LOTS of sleep and LOTS of water.  It's a little annoying.

You want to know what else is annoying?  Last night, I tried to make curry for the second time and, once again, it was TASTELESS.  How is that even possible?  It's curry!  My entire house will probably smell like it for the next week, but taste?  Nothing.  I find it very annoying that I bought ingredients, prepped them, made the meal and then we STILL have to go get something else to eat.  Plus I had to do dishes.

I have accepted defeat.

If I want curry, we'll order out.

But you know what is wonderful?  It is Wednesday.

{image found HERE}

And my Thursday is busy enough that it will likely FLY by.  Which means it is basically Friday.  :)  Don't you love my logic?

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