Monthly Archives: May 2012

A Sanctuary

Now that I’m done with school and I’m not teaching, we suddenly have more time on the weekends to go out and do something as a family.  This is usually hiking or biking or something out of doors.  However, we’ve been looking around for new places to go – it seems like we keep going to the same few spots over and over.  So a couple weekends ago, we just did an Internet search of hiking trails near home, and we came upon a little surprise: Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary.  The irony is that this shouldn’t be a surprise – the kids go to camp there every summer, and we are actually members.  So the kids know the trails quite well, but neither Nate nor I had ever actually been there.  So we packed up some snacks and some water and headed off.

What a lovely spot!  The trails are well marked and not difficult.  The scenery is amazing.  When we were there on a Sunday morning, we only saw a few other people.  There are lots of different kinds of terrain, from swamp to riverbank to woods to forest.  The kids knew about all kinds of interesting things that we would never have noticed.  There is an area called “the maze” with trails that intersect each other and swirl around.  There is also a huge tree with hollow branches.  If you take sticks and hit the different branches, you get different tones.  I think they called it the “music tree.”

Here are some of the fantastic views:

Box turtles sunning at the pond.

This kids called this hill The Rollercoaster – I guess because it’s nice and smooth and you can tear down it at top speed.

Absolutely pristine woods, cleared of brush. Fantastically beautiful!

They also have a “fire tower” which, I have no idea why, is on two stilts, rather than four.  Think about it, you’re going to put a platform with walls and a roof high above the ground.  I know, let’s put it on two legs instead of four!  Great idea!  Seriously, why?  I have no idea.  But I gamely went up the winding staircase, felt the floor shimmy beneath me, and came right back down again.

You thought I was joking, didn’t you? Yep, those are two legs. Maybe they ran out of money and could only afford two?

Here I am beating a path down the stairs as quickly as humanly possible. Then I stood at the bottom and hyperventilated until all of my loved ones made it down.

We had a great time, and the kids were really excited to be able to be the leaders of our adventure.  Here they are:

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Slow and Steady Wins the Race!

So I’m in the no-man’s land of audiology.  I have finished my externship.  I’ve got my degree.  Next step?  My state license.  Here’s the hitch.  I cannot work until I am licensed.  So, here I am at home, waiting, waiting, waiting for the wheels of the state to turn so that I can get back to work and back to my patients.  I would be a lot happier about it if the kids were out of school – then it would be a vacation.  As things stand now, it’s just an annoyance!

I was out for a run the other day, chugging up the hill, when I saw what looked like a very strange rock by the curb.  I almost jumped out of my skin when it moved!

I love how my arms look totally deformed in my shadow. I have relatively normal-sized arms. Really.

It was the biggest turtle I have ever seen (on land, anyway!  I’ve seen some ginormous sea turtles!).  This dude had crawled out of the Mill River, walked through the woods, and made it all the way across the street, only to be stymied by this curb.  He was trying so hard to scramble up!  I almost decided to help, but I was kind of scared to touch him.  He made it eventually, and kept on creeping along toward the little stream on the other side of the sidewalk.  Good luck and godspeed, my friend!

As I went back to my run (thankful I had a little break in the middle of the hill!), I thought about that turtle and his long journey, and how it was kind of like me and my journey.  I’ve made it so far – I just need to scramble over this curb to get to my stream!

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Baseball!

For me, one of the hardest parts of parenting is realizing that each of my children is an entirely different person, with different desires, different needs, and even different histories.  What’s good for one is not necessarily good for another.  Never has this been so clear as with the start of baseball season this year.

It’s been very important to Nate that the kids be involved with team sports in some way.  It’s something Nate didn’t really do as a child, and he wished he had and feels it’s really important, particularly for young boys.  The only problem is that Jake is just not a team sports kind of kid.  He’s really into Kung Fu, and is really good at it.  I persuaded him to put Kung Fu on hold for a couple months and play baseball again this year.  Mistake.  He went to a few practices, and then leveled with me that while he didn’t hate baseball, he didn’t really like it, and he loves Kung Fu, and it doesn’t make any sense to do something he doesn’t really like at the expense of something he does.  I think this kid is on his way to law school.  Anyway, he had a very good point, so he’s back doing his Kung Fu.

I also persuaded Lydia to try baseball.  She wasn’t really sure, but agreed to give it a try.  And guess what?  She loves it!  Her coaches are fantastic.  There are three of them, and they run a tight ship.  The result is that they are spending very little time managing behavior (there aren’t any behavior problems that I’ve seen), and are instead working on baseball fundamentals.  She’s gone from not knowing pretty much anything about baseball (we’re not huge sports fans here, did you guess?), to getting behind grounders and under pop flies.  She can catch, she can throw, she’s getting there with her hitting.  And she has so much fun doing it.  She doesn’t seem to mind striking out, and is just out there having a good time with the guys.

And then there’s Aaron.  Aaron is a riddle wrapped in a mystery.  I haven’t quite figured that little guy out yet.  He’s so much like Lydia, but he’s also so much like Jake.  We tried T-ball last year and he absolutely refused to participate.  This year, he was a little slow to start, but as long as there is actual action, he’s doing it.  As soon as it slows down and they are waiting for the other team to get organized, or our own team to get organized, he’ll come over and want to go home.  I just walk him back over to where he’s supposed to be and as soon as things get under way he seems to be having fun.

Of course, one of the best parts of baseball nowadays is that I don’t have to chase a toddler around when I really want to be watching the game.  Aaron is now old enough to find a friend and run off to play, leaving me to blissfully sit in the sun and watch the action.  Here are me and Lydia enjoying watching Aaron’s game:

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The End of an Era

The unthinkable has happened.  The journey I started about 10 years ago when I decided to go into Speech Language Pathology ended this past weekend when I was awarded my doctorate in Audiology.  It sounds strange to say it, but I’m kind of ridiculously proud of myself.  You’ll find no self-deprecation here.  I was lucky in that I really went back to school part-time for several years in order to fulfill the prerequisites for the graduate program.  By the time I got to graduate school, I wasn’t shocked by the amount of work required.  I was already familiar with the campus and the professors.  What I remember about that first day is mostly panic.  We had a meeting before our first class with all the incoming audiology students, the incoming speech students, and all the professors and staff.  We sat around a huge table, and went around and introduced ourselves.  I had just dropped three kids off at three different locations, leaving the house at 7 am to do so.  I was a wreck.  A shaking, neurotic wreck.

Over the next four years, I studied, I kissed scraped knees, I took exams, I did laundry, I wrote papers, I read bedtime stories, I taught courses, I threw birthday parties, I got swine flu and then pneumonia, I potty-trained my third child.  I could go on, but I think you see what I’m going for.  I did both things.  Maybe I didn’t do either of them as well as I could have if I had not been juggling so many things, but I did them adequately enough that both things have been successful.  My career is just beginning, and I couldn’t be happier with it.  My children are blossoming into incredible little people with their own personalities and strengths.  It appears that they don’t hate me for being a working mother.  Maybe they’ll work it out in therapy later.  :-)

Here I am in the crowd at my graduation.  I think at this moment Aaron had just spotted me and I was waving madly at him:

Here we are decked out in all our finery:

It was such a thrill to see my first patient this morning.  I didn’t do anything differently (other than sign my name with an AuD!), but I felt different.  Now I just have to wait for my license to come through – I’m told it will be six to eight weeks.  I shall try to blog more.  Now that I’m not teaching anymore, I’ll hopefully have a little more spare time.  Or not, but I’ll try to blog more anyway!

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Filed under Audiology, School