Friday, August 31, 2012

I had a meltdown last night.

When I picked the kids up from daycare yesterday I let them know that I had some homework I had to do and that I would need them to help me out by playing together and letting me have some time to work.

Actually, I told them I had some really yucky homework to do.
That prompted a discussion with Raiden on how no, homework isn't really yucky, but the work I had to do was really hard so I just used that word to describe it.
Not the best way to talk about homework to your child who is just about to start school, I know. oops.

So, when we got home what did the kids do? Basically, anything besides what I had asked them to do. They had dinner at daycare, but they asked for popcorn when we got home. Thinking that would keep them occupied for a bit, I made some.

We don't do microwave popcorn anymore.
No, I don't have anything against it.
It's just that I can buy a bag of kernels for $1.50 that will last a lot longer than the box of microwave popcorn, and since I'm admittedly cheap I just can't make myself buy the microwave stuff anymore. Besides, we can make ours taste any way we want when we pop it on the stovetop (throwing some sugar in with the kernels makes really great kettle corn).

The popcorn lasted about 5 minutes.
I still have a big popcorn bowl full of it sitting in the living room.

Then, they decided to fight about...well, I'm not entirely sure, but then again I don't think they knew either.

This went on for quite a while, so I decided it was time to clean up the bedroom before getting ready for bed. This task, instead of taking the maybe 15 minutes it should have taken, stretched out for about and hour.

Okay, so I know this is the pot calling the kettle black, but how hard is it to throw a bunch of toys into a box?!?

So now we get to bedtime. Conan asked me (without whining or crying, which was wonderful) if I would brush his teeth for him. So now both kids have clean mouths and have taken their gummy bear vitamins and are ready for bed.

Gummy bear vitamins are great.
The kids like taking them so much that I don't have to remind them--they ask for them...multiple times a day...

So now we head into the bedroom and I get both kids in bed. Apparently, though, at some point while they were in their room they decided to rearrange how the cd player and the nightlight were plugged in, so this prompted a discussion on the dangers of electricity and how they aren't supposed to touch outlets (something I thought we had straightened out quite a while ago) and how they won't get to have music in their room at night if they touch the plugs again.

Finally, both kids are in bed.

It is 9 pm and I have 2 homework assignments due in 12 hours...neither of which I have started because I was working on the homework for a different class that was due by 11:59:59.9999 pm Thursday night.

Homework, by the way, that I can distinctly remember doing in my undergrad modern physics, yet can't for the life of me remember how to do. And of course my modern physics book is pretty much the only undergrad physics book and notebook I don't have with is, instead, in a box on pop and mom's farm. 
Hope the cows and chickens are enjoying their education...

Nathan gets off at 9, so he sends me a text asking how it is going. I, of course, am a bit stressed out because I haven't gotten to start my homework...and I don't operate well at night, so I'm already starting to get 9... wow, I'm fun!

By the time Nathan gets home, I've been attempting my homework for about 30 minutes. So far, it hasn't done me any good.

My poor husband walks in the door to me saying I can't do this stuff, that I'm in way over my head and I'm not going to make it through, that I don't understand anything I'm working on.

To help me out he quietly goes into the kitchen to wash the dishes I started the night before and never finished.
After his 9 hours of work at Cabella's.

After a few minutes I hear a yell from the kitchen.
A glass broke while Nathan was washing it, and he now has a big chunk missing from the outside of the middle joint of his right pinky finger.
So, I take a break from worrying about one thing (homework) to attempt to play doctor for his bleeding finger.

You would be surprised how deep a cut can be on the outside of your pinky, right at the joint.

By the time all of this has happened, I've decided I'm just going to read chapter 2 of my Goldstein Classical Mechanics book to get ready for the quiz I'm sure will take place at 9 am.

The only problem is, I read each sentence multiple times and still don't understand what it says. I even pull out my undergrad book to try and make some connections (I've already used it more than I used it my entire semester of undergrad classical mechanics).

So, deciding I'm done and that it is bedtime I give up and put everything away.

Nathan follows me to bed, not really sure what to say to me. He listens to me while I cry and say once again that I can't do this, then simply tells me that he knows I'll do my best and that he's here for me no matter what happens.

Have I mentioned how wonderful he is about all these crazy dreams I have? 

I finally go to sleep...
and dream about the dumb homework.

This God that we have, though, has a way of putting things back into perspective and me back onto an even keel. 
When I flipped to the front of my Classical Mechanics book this morning, Goldstein's note included a reference to Daniel 2:23.
I looked it up and found the verses I'm going to have to write out and frame for my desk:

"He said, 'Praise the name of God forever and ever, for He has all wisdom and power. He controls the course of world events; He removes kings and sets up other kings. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the scholars. He reveals deep and mysterious things and knows what lies hidden in darkness, though He is surrounded by light. I thank and praise You, God of my ancestors, for You have given me wisdom and strength.'" 
 ~Daniel 2:20-23a

*You may have noticed that I've started using normal capitalization.
I like the idea of being all "e.e. cummings"-like, but I just couldn't take it anymore :0)

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

fun conversations to have with a 5 year old...

i know every parent thinks they have the best, most brilliant, incredibly insightful kids on the planet...and of course i'm no different. i'll temper it first by reassuring you that i know my kids aren't perfect: just this morning they somehow managed to turn opposite directions when we stepped out of the house and ran smack into each other--conan's hard head right into raiden's cheekbone.

they are pretty amazing though, so today i have a quick story for you...

just over a week ago, raiden came home from daycare (kindergarten doesn't start until the day after labor day, so we still have a few days to wait for her "first day of school" story that i'm sure will be...entertaining) talking about gravity. i don't know if that was something she had asked her teachers about that day or not, but when we got home our conversation went something like this:

raiden: "mommy, gravity is what makes us stay on the earth, right? that keeps us from flying out into space?"
me: "yes, raiden. the acceleration due to gravity (i had to get a little extra physics in there--automatic response thanks to dr. musser) is what keeps us here."
raiden, after a moment of contemplation: "so then that means things that are really big or really heavy must have a lot of gravity."

no question there, just a matter-of-fact statement from my tiny, blue-eyed, blonde munchkin.

when nathan picked the kids up on monday afternoon, the main teacher at daycare told him that raiden had started a conversation about air that day. apparently she informed her teachers that there must be air in water because fish have to have air to live. that prompted a discussion on just what air is and what it can pass through and be in.

i could be wrong, but i don't remember asking questions like this (or this) when i was her age.
crazy girl :0)

i hope and pray raiden...
never stops asking questions
always searches a little bit deeper
finds the beauty in the world around her

i pray i...
never discourage her curiosity
have the patience (and wisdom) to answer her questions
can sometimes step back and let her find the answers herself

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

classes have started...

...and i feel a bit like i'm drowning!

i'll start with my schedule for the semester.
1) i have a seminar class, where basically we will meet and discuss journal articles. we'll be responsible for doing presentations on what we read at some point, but i haven't had that first class yet so i don't really know too much about it.

2) i have a colloquium class. i'm looking forward to that one because i'll get to listen to lectures by a bunch of different people. it will be interesting--the first one is tomorrow.

3) i'm taking modern physics, a class that we've been told will be taught at the undergraduate level. it is supposed to be a refresher, something to help me pass my phD qualifying exam next fall (i get a shot at the test this september, but it's considered the "0th attempt" and doesn't really count so i'm not too incredibly stressed about it at the moment).

4) i'm in quantum mechanics. at the moment, that one doesn't seem to bad. i don't have an assignment yet... or a book... but so far i'm okay with what we went over in class. granted, it was just the first day.

5) ...and then there's classical mechanics.
this is the stuff i liked in my undergrad. it got into some crazy stuff with really yucky math, but it was still alright.
the thing is, right now it really seems like i'm in over my head.

we have a homework problem due friday. at first i just kind of stared at it blankly. i'm waiting on my book to come in in a week or so (that's what happens when you don't want to spend $130 on a book and order one that has to be shipped a long way), so i didn't have it to look at. after class today, though, a group of us got together and a couple of my classmates explained it to me and that problem is done now--having a book to look at and people to work with really helps!

we also have a group presentation problem due friday. mine is the double pendulum, a pretty common, basic problem in upper level physics... one i remember working in class, but can't for the life of me find my notes on now. that's what i get for being so disorganized, i guess!

 if you aren't a physics person, basically imagine a ball hanging on a string and swinging--the basic pendulum. now, attach a string to that ball and hang a second ball on the end of that string...

so what i'm supposed to do is come up with all the equations that describe possible motion of this system. the good thing is, i only have to deal with the case of both pendulums swinging in the same, single direction. i don't have to deal with stuff like spinning or one swinging left and right while the other swings forward and backward.

really, that isn't the bad part. the part that overwhelms me right now is the fact that we are having class monday through friday this week every day instead of just 3 days...and in class (tuesday from 4-5) we went through roughly 30 handwritten pages of his notes. there was no hope of even pretending to keep up.

not having the internet at home yet adds to the frustration a bit, but luckily (i guess...) i'm at school from 10 to 3 with nothing to do but study.
     that will change next week, though, because i'll start my teaching duties and i'll be responsible for probably 4 or 5 lab sections that i'll be teaching this semester.

i know i get super stressed out at the start of every new semester, but that stress is so much different this time around.
for one thing, the last time i did any upper level physics was december 2010.
for another thing, there's a lot more riding on this semester.

so, now i'm going to take a step back,
take a deep breath,
and focus on the fact that i know this is where i'm supposed to be right now.

i have no idea what's in store, but here's to finding out!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

just a quick note...

so, i've been out of the loop for quite a while now (and most likely will be for a while longer) since we don't have the internet set up at home yet...i did find my way to the library, though, so i'm getting the chance to reconnect with the world for just a bit!

we are in toledo was a long trip, but pretty uneventful compared to other trips nathan and i have taken. we made it in about 14 hours because of all the stops the kids made necessary. we are slowly getting settled in at our new house. my living room is pretty much intact, along with the kitchen, so at least we have two rooms that are comfortable. our bedroom is piled high with boxes still, but the kids are able to play in theirs. the crazy room is the one that was made to be a dining room but is going to be turned into our office/study/library/extra kids' space. that room is full of boxes, mostly because we are on hold for a bit before we can get the new bookshelves we need. the two bookcases in the living room are filled, but nathan and i are book freaks and we need a few more before we can get everything unpacked.

since nathan won't get his first check for about two weeks...and i won't get my first one until probably sometime in september...and our kids have the crazy notion that they should eat...
       the bookcases will have to wait.

i go in for orientation next week. we are in the process of finding a babysitter or daycare for the kids, which is a crazy thing to do when you don't know anybody! we have some help, though, so i'm praying and trusting God to put our babies in the right spot.

i can't even begin to tell you how nervous i am about going back to school. i've been out of college since december 2010, so when i get the chance to look at some of my old physics books i can't help but wonder what possessed me to do this stuff again!

don't get me wrong--i'm incredibly excited about getting the chance to chase this crazy dream (and, coincidentally, getting a little bit of time to chase the other one; i'm starting to work on the next part of the story i wrote. now i just have to convince myself to be done with the first part and send it out...). i can't wait to start working on medical physics and have a thought about something i'm even going to ask about as a possibility for research.

what i'm nervous about is getting back into the groove of doing upper level physics. in my undergrad classes, i didn't study. i simply didn't have the time. i have the feeling, though, that i won't be able to make it through these classes without studying. to be honest, i don't really know how to do that. also, i was used to the professors i had a tech. i was comfortable with them, i knew them, and they had faith in me (as crazy as that seemed to me at times). i'm nervous about getting all new professors at a bigger university, professors who think i know my stuff since they put me in the phD program. i'm nervous about proving myself all over again, nervous about getting them to have faith in me for those times that i lose faith in myself.

really, i'm just plain nervous.

so, since it might be a while before i get back on here i'll be able to tell you how the first week went when i write next.

i'll also take some pictures of our new house--it will give me some motivation to get everything else unpacked!

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