Proud Mom


We tell our kids . . . You can do anything you want!

And we mean it.  We really do.  Because we see The Potential and we know about Chasing Your Dreams and we trust that there will be Really Great Things Ahead for them.

But sometimes . . . reality bites.  They graduate with a neat and tidy degree, all wrapped up and ready to take on the world.  Sometimes, they even get an even neater and tidier Masters degree, even more determined to take on the world.

Sometimes . . . there are bumps in the road.

Sometimes . . . you have to work at Rite Aid so you can pay the rent.

Sometimes . . . you take an unpaid internship - for the experience - and discover there is no desk for you.  And you have to bring your own laptop.  And you have no access to the organization's network.  Or even the internet.  And you also don't even have an outlet to plug your laptop into electricity.  And there really is no direction.

Sometimes . . . you are one-of-two-finalists for position . . . after position. . . after position.  Losing out each time . . . to Experience.

Sometimes . . . you go on an endless stream of seemingly-pointless informational interviews.

It really is a tough world for our kids these days - in terms of getting a job.  A real job.  A challenging, career-focused, full-time job WITH benefits.  It takes a lot of work . . . to find work.  It's discouraging and disheartening and humbling.  And extremely frustrating!

But sometimes . . . the hard work and the time and the hustling pay off.  And the Most Perfect Job just kind of lands in your lap.  Right when you were at the End of Your Rope.


So, Erin.  As you start your new, career-track job today (full-time, WITH benefits!), remember that you CAN do anything you want.  Sometimes it just takes a lot of soul-searching, the ability to dig deep, and the hustle to keep trying to make it happen.

Congratulations, Ms. Editorial Assistant.

Welcome to the world of 9-5!


The Latte Boy

A catchy-tune kind of way to start your day . . .


This summer, Tom and I are complete empty-nesters.

Erin lives in Pittsburgh now, and. . .

Brian stayed on campus for the summer, doing lab research full time

Last Friday, summer research came to an end -- and to commemorate the occasion, there was a poster session and lab tour.


I dropped in, along with my Mom and Dad, to see what Brian had been up to in the lab for the last 8 weeks.  Brian enjoyed explaining his work to us (we tried our best to understand*).


And then he gave us a comprehensive tour of his lab . . .


and showed us all kinds of nifty equipment!


Signs like this . . .


were everywhere!  So . . .


we obliged.

It was great fun for us to see where Brian's been spending most of his time this summer!


Not ALL of his time.

Because he also works here . . .


Yep.  Brian performs chemistry in a traditional lab setting by day, and caffeinated chemistry as a barista by night!


Brian, the Lab-Latte Boy. . .


We love him, we love him, we love him!



* Tom, the only other chemist in the bunch, was on his way home from Portugal and had to miss the poster session.

Just Look At Them and Sigh. . .

A little CSNY to get your day started:


We had a full house last week!


Erin (and her Keith) came home for a visit.  We celebrated Erin's birthday.


And Father's Day.


Erin ran in her first 5K -- with her own personal cheering squad!


It was wonderful to have her home for a while.


I miss having her around . . . but I know she's happy in her own life, independent (well, except for the financial part) and growing into her own space.

The way it's supposed to be.

Teach your children well . . .

And know they love you!

Freedom . . . at Last

A song for today . . .


Birthdays come.


First birthday
First birthday


And birthdays go.


Broken wing
Turning 2 . . . with a broken arm


Cake.  Candles.


5th birthday
Age 5




Brian and clay
8th birthday - party at the roller rink


Make a wish!


2006 14th bday
Age 14


But. . . y'know. . . some birthdays are just BIGGER than others.


2008 16 2
Turning 16 . . . behind the wheel


Like this one.


Freedom.  At 21.




And . . . speaking of birthdays . . . be sure to wish Miss Patty a happy one herself!

Summer Fun

No time for Ten on Tuesday blogging today. . . but I thought I'd share some summer fun instead.

Here's the latest longboarding video from Brian and his friends, Jamie and Brennan, up at the beach in Pentwater, Michigan.



And. . . see you tomorrow!

So Very Much

We had a family celebration yesterday.  We had so much to celebrate!

Mothers. . .


(And celebrating by buying SHOES! Two matching shoes for walking in comfort and style.  And that's a real reason to celebrate!)

Birthdays. . .


(Better late than never, right Dad?)

Master's Degrees. . .


(Even if you weren't physically with us, Erin, we toasted your success!)

The end of a successful sophomore year. . .


(With more details about . . .what's cookin'. . . later this week.)

The beginning of fishing season. . .

Tom at the Green Cottage June 09 070

(Have fun, Tom!)

Blooms. . .


(Eye-popping color everywhere!)

and the end of that damn festival!

So. Very. Much.

The Joy In It

Brian has come home for the summer.

Not only did he bring an enormous pile of laundry (impressive; really), but he also brought loud sub-woofers, video games, the detritus of college life, and this. . .


This video, created by Brian and his best longboarding buds, is much more than a video showing skill and tricks.  More than that, it is a video that shows the best . . . of what it's like . . . to be 20. . . and. . .








Watch. . . and feel the JOY in it!

Not a Clue

On Friday, I had an unexpected day off.  Which meant. . . I got to see this. . .


My two chemists. . . talking chemistry. . . together!


Tom is a chemist.  Brian is a chemistry major at Hope College, where he is working in the lab on a research project with one of his professors.  Last Friday, he was able to present his work at a "poster session" at the Hope College Research Celebration.


It's a great experience for Brian -- all the way around.  To be able to be involved in this type of research as an undergraduate is just wonderful (and the reason he went to Hope in the first place).  And to be able to present his work in this format is just icing on the cake!


Tom (who has a PhD in organic chemistry, himself) was so proud!

And me?


Not a clue!  I have no idea what they're doing or what they're talking about or what any of it means.  But it really doesn't matter.  I was thrilled to be along for the ride!