Saturday, March 30, 2013

Finally, A Little Bit of Snow!

Buddy loves looking out the window. He could probably do it all day. He even pushes his potty in front of it so he has a place to sit and puts his feet on the window sill. He loves watching the snow, but we didn't seem to get much this year! And when we did it was either way too cold to go out and then it melted before we were able to or it was too warm and it melted before we got outside. But we finally made it out in the little bit of snow that did stick on a day that wasn't too cold and made the best of it.

The only place Buddy would let us put him down was in the driveway where there wasn't any snow. He asked for a shovel and shoveled part of the driveway for us. He eventually got comfortable and started walking on the snow (and ice!).

WEEEEEE!!! Getting thrown into the air is fun everywhere all the time.

These wind chimes came with the house and they broke early on in a wind storm. They are chained onto the tree so we never took them down, and now they are one of Buddy's favorite things to play with outside. 

It's never too early to start practicing his shoveling skills, even in the grass. I love that we have a decent backyard so as Buddy grows, he and his friends have a safe place to play. It's surrounded by bushes so they can play and explore in peace. I'm so excited to watch him grow and use this space in different ways every season.

Buddy doesn't even mind that snow is cold. He doesn't seem to grasp the concept of cold. We can carry him outside to calm him down, even without a jacket, and he would stay out for an hour if we let him. I hope he continues to be that kid who never complains, despite the weather conditions. 

We even got to make a small snow person! Buddy was a little confused. I am excited to be able to get back into the snow, make snowmen, have snowball fights and go sledding without being those weird adults playing with the kids.

Exploring with Messes!

Buddy enjoys powdery substances. Don't ask me why because I have no idea. I guess the idea of covering himself, the floor and everything else he can get his hands on in messes is fun. He loves adding the flour, sugar, baking powder and baking soda into whatever I'm baking. So what better way to spend an evening than discovering what happens with baking soda and some vinegar?

Buddy couldn't wait to get started. Before I could lay out the newspaper and get the vinegar, he was already sticking his hand into the baking soda and spreading it on the floor.

The newspaper is out, the vinegar is in the first jar and the baking soda is already all over everything. With a little prodding, the baking soda made it into the vinegar.

We added some green food dye to the vinegar. Buddy loved the green bubbles!
 Adding more baking soda was Buddy's favorite part.

Almost finished. The vinegar and baking soda was done reacting so Buddy was back to exploring with the baking soda that made its way onto the newspaper.

Looking at those powdered legs!

Crumpling up the newspaper after we put away the baking soda and vinegar. Messes can be cleaned. Letting Buddy explore and see how chemical reactions happen, even if all he understands is that putting those substances together makes them bubble, is the beginning of a hopefully question-filled life. Without exploration, how can we move forward with science? Changing the world starts with messes and play.

And then maybe a little baking.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

You Can't Have it "All," or Can You?

Ah, life. We go to school until we're 18, then usually go to college for another 4 (5?) years, then look for a job or go for more school. Maybe by the time we're 25 or 30 (or older) we're finally ready to get into the working world. Here, we often work 80 hour weeks, trying to get ahead. To get to the next level, to get that raise to have more money. We reach retirement and have plenty of money to have a nice rest of our life. But what then? What happens when we look back at our lives, at what we've accomplished. Oftentimes, people who devote so much time and energy into their work failed to create a home life. Take Erin Callan, for example. Former CFO of Lehman Brothers, she never had children. She slowly started working a little bit more on Sundays until she was working a 6 or 7 day work week. She lost her husband to divorce and was left with only her job. Something she thought she wanted, but in the end, left her empty. She is now retired in Florida, married her high school friend (sweetheart?), a fire fighter who has kids from a previous marriage, and is so much happier.

So what about the people who do work their way to the top AND have children? THEY have it all, right? Marissa Mayer is 37 with her first child. Maybe she only wants 1, and that's fine. But what about this one? She had to build a nursery next to her office in order to spend time with the baby. Is that really quality time? And what happens when that baby is a toddler, a child, a teenager? Will that nursery turn into a playroom or cool hang-out? Probably not. Unless Marissa can take the time away from her strenuous job or her husband can stay home with the baby, he'll be raised by a nanny. He'll have to be. Who else can make sure he eats well, gets to school on time, is picked up and bathed every night if Marissa is working 80 hour work weeks. Her husband, Zachary Bogue, is also a high-powered executive, no doubt also working 80 hour weeks. So yes, they have a child, but they can't actually raise their child because they aren't home very much.

So be a stay at home mom! Have multiple children, even homeschool them so you're with them every step of the way! Of course this is a full-time job, I fully respect every parent who takes on this responsibility. It is just as difficult as any high-powered executive job, just in different ways. But what about one's intellectual aspirations? Did we go all the way through high school and college to blow noses and discover the world all over again? Maybe you did, but what was the point of college? What about pursuing the cure for cancer, making sure every innocent person has proper council, that the environment has someone to speak for it. This 24/7 job would leave me missing that part of me who has worked so hard to get somewhere in the working world.

As a PhD candidate, I spend countless hours in the lab and at my computer. I get home in time to make dinner, give Buddy a bath and get him to bed, just to clean up the house and possibly work some more. Who knows if I'll get out of here with a degree, but in the mean time, is it worth it to miss so much? Since having Buddy I don't think I've come close to an 80 hour work week, something that was common during my Masters work and the first few years of my PhD. The Hubs could take it, but should he have? Did our marriage suffer from it? Maybe at times, when I was stressed out over trying to get my data to make sense, I may have over reacted to silly things, but I apologized and everything was better. He has his days, I have mine and we understand we don't mean it when we're upset. We love each other and really can get through anything together. But what about Buddy and any subsequent children? Missing baseball games and music recitals for jobs isn't fair to them. Staying at home with them, feeling like my mind isn't being put to the test trying to understand the Earth's processes, isn't really fair to them either.

So what is having it all? Right now, I don't know. Hopefully it won't take retiring or laying on my death bed to finally figure it out. For now, I'm trying to spend a little less time exploring the world in my office and lab and a little more time exploring the world with Buddy. Let me know if you ever figure it out.

One of Buddy's favorite activities is watching the world from the window. He loves pointing out the dogs ("gog!"), the people ("man" and "girl"), the cars ("cah!") and trucks ("tuck!").

Buddy loves powdery substances. This is a sneak peak of our evening playing with baking soda and other household substances. Can you guess what goes best with baking soda? Check it out here!