Saturday, May 29, 2010
Friday, May 28, 2010
I must be getting old.
Anyway - moving all my old pictures from my phone to my computer inspired me to share some funny, interesting and touching moments with you. Rather than hoard these memories in my pocket, here they are for your amusement:
My pregnant belly at 22 weeks. I LOVED being pregnant. I didn't have all the awful side affects you often hear pregnant people complain about. No morning sickness, no swollen ankles, no hemorrhoids. It was wonderful having a perfect, plump belly (which actually made my butt and thighs look smaller) to puff out wherever I went. No more sucking in - I had a great excuse to just let it hang out there. Not to mention the perks of elastic waist bands.
This is a picture my brother snapped of me, mom and Picklebug (tucked safely in my belly at 5 months). This is the last time I was with my mom while she could still talk. The night this picture was taken she basically went into a coma. She passed away 6 days later.
*(If you don't like deep fired candy bars, there is always deep fried Twinkies)*
Last fall we had a terrible problem with spiders outside our condo. And I don't mean little tiny spiders. I mean BIG, HAIRY, WHOOP-ASS spiders. Ugh. So big you could hear them scream when you sucked them up in the vacuum cleaner.
Anyway, one day we came home to find this guy outside our door. I did some research and found out that Praying Mantis actually EAT spiders. So I named this guy Atlantis (the mantis) and he became my hero.
We are taking a family trip to Sparta NC to go visit MG's parents - so I'm sure there will be lots of kerfuffle to report on Monday. Until I return, check out this fun website and have a great weekend!
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
When I found out I was pregnant my mom was overjoyed. I joked early on that, knowing my mom, my neat and tidy house would surely be filled to the ceiling with baby clutter by the time the baby was a year old. Even before she new the sex of the baby she started collecting baby stuff for me. Most of it was second-hand or came from Fred's (the local dollar store) but she was so excited about showering the baby with gifts that she couldn't wait. So I have a pink AND a blue pacifier, a pink AND a blue teddy bear, a pink AND a blue bib... you get the picture.
Sadly mom passed away only a month after finding out we were having a boy. And the thing that bothers me, even now, is that my mom was denied to grandmotherly duty she had so looked forward to: showering my little boy with tokens of her love.
So now I find myself picking up where my mom left off. I try to carry on my mom's spirit of giving by treating my friends to lunch or picking up little treats here and there to bring smiles to their faces.
They probably think I'm just being nice - but really it's a way for me to stay connected to my mom, to celebrate her memory and to make sure her spirit of giving lives on.
Friday, May 21, 2010
Thursday, May 20, 2010
I've been out of touch over the past few days as I took a two day trip with a colleague to Washington D.C. to attend a Strengths Quest seminar. It was an awesome experience and if you've never heard of Strengths Quest I urge you to look it up. The quick and dirty explanation is that it's an assessment that identifies your top five "strengths" from 34 different talent "themes". Mine happen to be:
Empathy - the ability to understand the feelings of others
Communication - the ability to put thoughts into words
Strategic - the ability to see many different options in any given situation
Connectedness - the ability to see how everything connects
Discipline - ability to organize and be productive
So we spent two days learning about all 34 themes, how they play out in day to day life and how to build upon them to improve oneself both personally and professionally. I'm excited to put this information to work for me and to share it with my students and my colleagues. The best part about the whole thing is that Strengths focuses on what you are already good at and encourages you to build upon your talents rather than focusing on your weaknesses. At it's core, Strengths believes that "fixing" your areas of weakness may prevent failure but building on your strengths can lead to excellence.
As a person who continually focuses on the negative (my glass is always half empty, remember?) I love the idea of turning my attention and energy toward things I'm already good at.
Well how about I tell you a little about where we had dinner? We ate at Rosa Mexicano WHERE THEY MAKE FRESH GUACAMOLE RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOU! No kidding. And it was awesome. Here's a little snapshot of me getting excited about the guac making going on behind me...
Now you might be wondering what I did with Picklebug while I was on this adventure. Well, sweet, wonderful, caring MG agreed that he could handle watching PB while I was gone. And since Picklebug spends most of his day at daycare - I thought it wouldn't be so bad for either of them. MG would only have to worry about three feedings and bath time. Not too bad, right?
But on Monday Picklebug developed a chest cold and spent both days I was gone at home. With MG. (Who did an EXCELLENT job! He took PB to the doc, administered medication, fed him on time and kept him entertained for almost 48 hours. My husband ROCKS!) Needless to say both were excited and relieved to see me walk in the door yesterday!
Now that you are caught up, go grab some guac (since I know you are craving it now!) and have a great Thursday.
Friday, May 14, 2010
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
I went to see a counselor shortly after Picklebug was born for postpartum depression. I told him that having a baby was terrifying. Everything about being a mom scared me to the point that I was immobile. There was so much pressure! Feed the baby or he will starve. Swaddle the baby or he'll freeze. Change the baby or he'll get diaper rash and infections. Talk to the baby or his brain won't develop and he will be an antisocial freak! Crazy? Yes! That's why I was talking to a counselor - a very smart counselor who told me I was "awfulizing" the situation.
The inability to see the glass as half full or seeing the glass as a potential threat to one's eyes.
Besides, Picklebug doesn't need a glass, he has my boobs.
Sunday, May 9, 2010
Thursday, May 6, 2010
[Let me preface this post by informing you that I work at a small public institution of higher education in the south. It's a great job as the people that I work with make it fun and exciting 4 out of 5 days a week. And now that you are informed, hopefully the rest of this post will make more sense. Now let's continue...]
Things around here are pretty quiet now that summer is just around the corner. Classes are passed (for the most part), apartments are cleaned out and old roommates are dumped for new suite mates. There is a sense of freedom in the air. Skirt length has become directly proportional to the rising temperatures and everyone seems to have relaxed just a smudge.
Graduation is only two days away. I'm especially excited because MG will be graduating with his Masters Degree in College and Community Counseling. Oh, did I mention that he will graduate Suma Cum Laude with a 4.0? (I had to brag a little).
Okay, back to graduation. The ceremonial goodbye. Having worked here for four lovely years I've seen a lot of students cross the stage. But this year feels different. Perhaps it’s because this year's graduating class began their education the same year I began this job. In a way it's a milestone - I've been here long enough to watch a group of students go through from beginning to end. From freshman to senior. From uninvolved to organization chair. From a job in D-hall to an internship at CVS. From formal emails to late-night texts. From "Dear Ms. Rentschler" to "Hey Jen! What's up?!" From scheduled meetings in my office to dinner-and-a-movie on Friday night (yeah, we're that close).
I've had students dropping by all week saying goodbye and bringing me gifts. Let me pause to point out just how much I love getting presents - and this week's loot has been pretty awesome... jewelry, Vera Bradley items, scented soap, poetic wall art, personalized picture frames and even a handmade fleece cat print scarf complete with multicolored plastic pony beads.
But as much as I love these thoughtful presents, the real gift these students have given me is their time and trust. I am honored to have been invited into their lives (and in some cases, into their drama) and allowed me to be a part of their college experience.
I am so proud of their accomplishments that I will be packin' some Kleenex at graduation. And while I love the little tokens they wrap up in tissue and place in ornate bags - nothing compares to the journey they've allowed me to share with them.
Well, except for my handmade fleece cat scarf. It's pretty sweet.
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
My mother passed away on October 1st of last year. She was 48 years old and had been battling breast cancer since 2004. I was about 5 months pregnant with Picklebug when she suddenly got really sick. Within days she was gone. Just like that.
"I believe there is a difference between memory and remembering. Remembering has to do with turning the oven off before leaving the house, but memory is nurtured by emotion. It springs from a deeper well... safe from the passage of time."
And I know that there are many other precious memories of my mother out there just waiting for me in the most ordinary places.