November 14, 2014

introducing The Mama Commons!

Hi everyone!

In case you've missed the social media storm that I'm trying to create, I wanted to share here a project that I've been working on for a long time.

I have finally launched my website, The Mama Commons! It is a place for women in all stages of motherhood to find educational resources, discussions of current events, lifestyle information, etc. and I'm hoping I can grow it into something wonderful.

Please go visit the site and tell everyone you know about it!

You can find the site here and you can find us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter as well (@themamacommons). Follow, comment, share! :)

Thanks for sharing in my news!

much love,

November 6, 2014

hello world!

Wow. I think this may be the longest time I've ever gone without a post on this sweet little blog of ours. it doesn't feel like it's been almost two months, but I trust my calendar :)

Since my last update, we have been busy bees! For a short list: we weaned from breastfeeding, Nick had his big committee meeting and has been working hard ever since, we had Halloween and Alden's first time trick or treating, spent a weekend with my parents in Alabama, we have done a lot of reorganizing and purging at home, I've been working like crazy to keep up with life, work, a baby, and a class, and tons more every day tasks.

Here's the run-down of life in the Wiese household right now:

Nick got permission from his committee in September to begin writing his dissertation and to prepare for a MAY 2015 graduation date!! We were really anticipating him finishing up next August so his committee feeling like he can be out by May was a (great) surprise. It's making things a little more complicated as far as planning for the next phase goes, but we are up for the challenge! This means he's now been working for a couple of months towards getting a manuscript (or two) ready for publication and preparing to start writing the introduction to his dissertation. Plus, he's been keeping up with experiments in lab and trying to get through a HUGE to-do list of science so that he stays on track for a spring graduation.

We are excited that he's finally in the final leg of this marathon but the timeframe is definitely tight. He will be working himself to the bone over the next 6 months to make sure everything gets done in time for him to defend. There's also the added pressure of looking for jobs at the same time. Most PhD students won't set their defense date or commit to graduating until they have a job lined up. Since most science graduate students are supported on a stipend while they are in school, this ensures that they can avoid going without a paycheck during transitions to new jobs. If he doesn't find a position in time for him to graduate in May, he may push his graduation until later in the year to give him more time. Either way, he's going full steam toward the May goal and we're prepared to take things as they come for a little while.

Also...I've been planning to pursue another graduate program for a while now but this potential change in Nick's graduation has forced some changes to my plans, also. It has made for a crazy couple of weeks to say the least.

Long term, I am hoping to get accepted to an ABSN/MSN program so that I can ultimately work as a midwife. These programs, Accelerated Bachelor's of Nursing/Masters of Nursing with a Nurse-Midwifery specialty, are not super common and are generally very competitive all around. Bridge programs like this allow for people who have degrees in non-nursing fields to return to school and complete both their Bachelor level nursing degrees as well as their Masters level nursing degrees in a much shorter time than both degrees would take on their own (like, 3 years vs. 7 years). The schools that offer these programs each have their own set of criteria and qualifications that would make you a good candidate and most of the programs have limited space with hundreds and hundreds of applicants. We are hoping that my experience and higher level degree in public health will make me an attractive applicant but who knows what will happen.

My original plan was to wait and not even apply to any programs until fall of 2015 since some of the programs have start dates in the early part of the year and we weren't planning on Nick being finished until August. Buuuttt, when we found out he would be finishing in May, it made applying this fall (to some programs) a possibility. I will spare you the confusing and boring details of why this makes sense and just say that I completed an application to one of my top choice programs in less than two weeks after we had discussed this new plan. I submitted it on Nov. 1 and won't know anything about it until mid-December, with the final decision coming in February. There's another program that has an application deadline on Dec. 1 that I may still apply for, also. So there's that wrench in the gears, too. We sure don't like to make it easy on ourselves, do we? ;)

As far as Alden goes, he's amazing :) He runs everywhere, no matter how small the distance. He is talking like crazy and using short sentences almost all the time now. He loves his gymnastics class on the weekends and he keeps us on our toes, for sure. We both talk about how much we love this age and how much fun we're having with him. It really is so great to be able to watch your child grow into the person they are and to be there to support them as they change and learn. It is such a blast! Although, that's easy to say when Alden has been sleeping well and there are minimal tantrums ;) Ask me on a day when he hasn't stopped crying, wakes up multiple times at night and is generally a terror and you'd probably get a slightly different answer-haha!

Hopefully I'll get back here to post some fun photos of Halloween, talk about our weaning experience and do a quick photo post of all that Alden's been up to lately!

much love,

September 15, 2014

so now I'm 30.

Yesterday was my 30th birthday. I don't normally do much outside of our family to celebrate- my favorite dinner made by Nick, a pedicure, a day of hanging out with my boys. But this year I decided that since it was a big birthday, I'd have a little extra fun. We invited a bunch of our friends to brunch at Heirloom (quickly becoming my go-to spot in Athens) and spent a cool morning eating, talking, laughing, and chasing toddlers around :) It was a wonderful balance of my usual slow-paced celebrations and the fun of socializing at a birthday party. 

Alden got to see his BFF for the first time since they both changed schools and they were up to their usual mischief about 30 seconds later :) It's so fun to watch him develop friendships and to see them interact, especially now that they both talk so much more. 

B sneaking a look at me while Alden tries to figure out how to climb up the wall

playing at the table
My parents came in for the weekend to celebrate with me and I always love seeing Alden spend time with them. As soon as Mimi walks through the door, Nick and I basically cease to exist in Alden's eyes. Every few minutes we hear, "Mimi? Mimi?" because Alden wants her to do everything with him while she's here. It is so sweet :) Plus, we managed to grab a Mama Daughter pedicure on Saturday afternoon. It reminds me of all the times we would go to the nail salon together when I was still living at home and it's such a great way to spend an hour or so just us. I never realized how much I would miss time with just my parents after we had Alden. It seems like every time we see them now our time is so full of kid stuff that we don't get a lot of time to just hang out with them.

tickle monster! 
When you find yourself upon a milestone birthday, it's natural to think back on the years and evaluate where you've been. Whether you did all the things you wanted to, accomplished everything you wanted to, or are in the place that you had hoped to be by now. I can honestly say that while nothing has gone according to "my plan", I am so very happy with where I ended up.

I'm not particularly sad to leave my 20's behind. I'm really, really crazy excited for my 30's. I feel better about who I am, where I'm going, and the path that I'm on now than I ever did in my 20's. The last decade, for me at least, was spent doing a lot of self-searching, growing, and learning to follow my instincts. I spent a lot of time discovering my passions, learning to let go of things that weren't getting me anywhere, growing up, and adjusting to being on my own as a real life adult. I feel better about the surface things, too. I feel more confident in my style, I don't worry so much about the number on the scale or the labels in my closet, I can look at a trend and hate it and then feel fine about not embracing it. I can watch nerdy shows and read nerdy books and feel great about the fact that, somewhere, other people are enjoying the same things and that, in time, I will find those people and we will get along famously. I can walk into a room without knowing anyone, reach my hand out to a stranger, introduce myself, and feel good having a conversation with them. I can network, I can sell my skills, and I feel good about what I have to offer. Even better, I know that I haven't figured all of it out and that I can still get better at all of these things AND I feel okay about not being 100% there yet.

The pressure to find the job, find the guy, build the career, buy the house, etc., etc. is gone. I'm still working on some of those things but I don't feel like I'm racing anyone anymore.

My twenties were this:

sorority meetings and greek parties
meals in the dining hall
late nights in the library with study groups
my dad having open heart surgery and me learning what it's really like to be scared
my 21st birthday with champagne, good friends, and a kiss from a boy I was just getting to know 
lots of dancing
staying up to watch the sunrise with friends and drinks and rooftops
lots of bars
lots of studying (undergrad, grad school, various classes in between...)
lots of papers, tests, and grades
getting engaged
graduating college
my first bout of unemployment
moving home
breaking off an engagement 
my first "big girl" job with benefits, retirement, and all that good stuff
buying my first car
meeting my husband
my first passport
my first trip abroad
getting engaged on a bridge in Venice, Italy
our wedding
a house with 4 dogs!
moving to Georgia
buying our first house
grad school (for both of us)
watching family grow up, get married, go to college
amazement at the terrific scientist my husband has become
internship at CDC
graduating with my MPH
my second bout of unemployment
saying goodbye to my sweet childhood puppy
welcoming our beautiful boy into the world
complete exhaustion
falling in love with our new family even harder than I thought possible
finding my calling
celebrating 5 years of marriage with my soulmate
our first nephew
and almost 2 beautiful years of watching our son grow and learn

If you had asked me 15 years ago what I would be doing at 30, my answer would have been SO different.

I've never been so happy to be wrong.

Although, I wouldn't mind going back to before I had these little wrinkles around my eyes and starting some miracle skin care routine that would prevent them from ever showing up. I'm not that well-adjusted ;)

finally got a little smile :) 
much love,