DC for the Win

We headed down to DC for a day trip yesterday. When taking Benjamin on a trip, we have learned to set our expectations exceedingly low, just in case.  Ben is a pretty adaptable traveler, but he does have his limits.  We also try to make as few plans as possible and/or be prepared to abort plans within seconds. It forces us to be a bit more spontaneous.

Well… the trip far exceeded our expectations and Benjamin had a blast! We started at the Smithsonian Zoo, met up with John’s co-clerk and his wife for lunch at a delicious BBQ place, and checked out the Air & Space Museum after that. We were pretty wiped out by the end, but I insisted that we make a pit stop at a cupcake place (Baked & Wired) that I had received a recommendation for before heading home. (I may or may not have come home with six cupcakes, rather than just one.)



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Here is a hodgepodge of things from our past few weeks.

1. More Walking!  This video is from earlier in the week when he was toddling around at the library.

His favorite things (obviously) are the very hungry caterpillar carpet and the fish. We went to Mother Goose story time today, and he was on cloud nine watching them feed the fish afterwards.  Then randomly, on our way home, we walked by the filming of House of Cards.

2. Another trip back home!

Ben & I made a trip back to Michigan a few weeks ago for a fun-filled weekend: Family reunion, birthday party, & Father’s Day all wrapped into one awesome trip.

Ben got his party on at the family reunion:

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Nana planned a wonderful little birthday party for her grandbaby down at Island Park. Ben’s favorite parts: almost falling asleep in the swing pushed by Grammy & getting wet in the water fountain park:


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Ben in his Father’s Day getup!



4. Last Sunday, we trekked over to Rehoboth Beach in Delaware.

Beach bum:

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Mommy & Me Margaritas?


Sand was an incredible (re)-discovery for this one-year-old:


The waves were a little shocking for Benjamin at first, but he was brave and tested the waters a bit!


5. Random playdates!

Ben has been hanging out with several of our neighbor toddler friends lately–Leila, Emerson, & Avril.

Here are Ben & Leila in the water down at Inner Harbor last weekend:

That’s all! We’re off to DC tomorrow. 🙂

Taming the Mammoth

I have finally finished my curriculum writing!!!

Several weeks past my goal, but that’s water under the bridge. Will I ever again have the luxury of working at any hour of the day in my jammies?

It is so satisfying to see the curriculum all in one place, in a form that can be shared and used by schools throughout Illinois.

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And apparently shared all across the nation! Just last week, I consulted with a brand new health science school in New Mexico.  So I just have to share some exciting feedback from the NM folks:

“WOW!  I have only spent a little time going through the HST modules, but I have to say that I am very impressed!  I have reviewed many, many curricula over the past 17 years and I have not found any that I really wanted to use – I am pretty picky.  You have obviously given a lot of thought to this format and curriculum.  I love it!!!  I can’t wait to review the rest of the modules and incorporate this into my program!  This fits perfectly with my teaching style!”

“You have a talent for preparing grade appropriate, challenging, and engaging materials!  You have made a huge contribution to Health Science Education.  I am very excited about sharing these resources with my colleagues across the state!  Thank you!”

Such great validation!  I’ll be honest…I stressed way too much this year. I had this totally irrational fear that the curriculum was not good enough, that people would have complaints or issues with it, that no one would be interested. Even that I somehow fooled them into paying me to do this job. I had a bad case of Imposter Syndrome. I think women, especially, are plagued by this problem of self-doubt in our work (not to mention parenting and other facets of life). It’s also pretty common in medical school, according to this interesting & timely (for me) read a few months ago. It makes total sense: when I was in Ann Arbor for the Second Look weekend back in March I was already blown away by the ridiculous accomplishments and general awesomeness of all my future classmates. I feel so privileged that I might be able to call them my friends very soon. But I am NOT an imposter. I am not! I vow to be vigilant about watching for (and squelching!) any of these types of thoughts I have when I start school in a few months. 😉

Another important lesson I am trying to drill into my head is to NOT care about other people’s validation (please ignore the sentence starting the previous paragraph). A longer, but reflection-inducing read, is Wait But Why’s new post: “Taming the Mammoth.” When I discovered it yesterday, I longed to be back in the classroom with my Advisory girls, to do our famous read-arounds in which Rocio would never know what page we were on and Imani would read ridiculously fast to help us finish before the bell. Then the next day in those precious 30 minutes from 3:30 to 4pm, we’d have a great conversation about our Mammoths & our AVs. Someone would cry and someone else would get scolded for working on their homework while we were “bonding.” And I would definitely discover that someone drew a Mammoth on my whiteboard when I arrived the next morning.


The Mammoth piece is really relevant to all of us, at any age, but I think it especially speaks to that crazy/awesome/confusing time of adolescence and college.

…I think I’ll just have to email spam it to all 18 of my girls (who have recently finished their first year of college!! holy moly!). I miss them like crazy!

Morning kisses.

If you need to improve your French kissing technique, Benjamin’s your man! He doesn’t dish out his kisses often (although I beg for them everyday), but when the mood strikes, he will knock you off your feet.

He opens his mouth, lets a bit of charming drool spill out, and then slowly leans in until he makes contact.  Such a little Romeo!

Unfortunately Mommy plays second fiddle to Toby when it comes to kisses.  This morning, Toby scored big time:



This week I will try to catch up on a few old posts–Father’s Day, our last Michigan trip for a big family reunion and Ben’s birthday party, and our day in Rehoboth Beach, DE.  Stay tuned!



Walking. Fo Real Yo.

Ben started taking his first steps about one week before his first birthday. But it was only 3 or 4 steps, and he would lean into it so we basically had to catch him at the end. We were really unsure how long it would take him to actually walk across a room.

BAM! Only 2 weeks!!!

These two videos are from yesterday. He walked at least 10 steps, but only with lots of encouragement. And he definitely had a strong preference for walking toward Mommy. But today, he is walking across the room on his own, flitting around like a busy little bee. All of a sudden he has no time for Mommy, cuz he has places to go and people to see.

I can’t even believe it.

We are so proud of our new little walker.