This ‘n That

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Exciting news! Emma has a new cousin…which of course means I have a new nephew! Thomas was born on Sunday and joins his big brothers Daniel and Lucas. Three boys — better Brian and Cindy than me, right?? I can’t wait to meet him when we go to Charlotte in October!

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It’s always nice when flex Friday aligns with a holiday, and I’m looking forward to my 4-day weekend! I do have to work a few hours this morning, so I guess I should call it a 3.5-day weekend…but close enough. We have no major plans so it should be a nice, calm few days.

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I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned it here, but Emma and I picked back up with swimming lessons at the beginning of July. (We did them last summer but then stopped.) It’s going really, really well! She had a couple rough classes in the first month because she hadn’t totally figured out how to hold her breath yet — as opposed to swallowing water. But since she got the hang of that, she’s been having a blast. While we’re waiting on her turn with the teacher, I sometimes let her stand on a step that’s only ~10 inches under water and jump off. She loves it!

Last year we stopped when fall rolled around, but this year I’m going to sign us up for the October-December session. The swim place allows kids to start solo lessons (i.e. with other kids, but not parent-kid) once they’re at least 2.5 and my hope is that by continuing through the winter, Emma will be ready for that next spring. (She’ll be 2.5 in February.)

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In other Emma news, she moved up to a new room at daycare this week. Her daycare runs their schedule to coincide with the school district, so she wrapped up a whole year in Room 2 and is now in Room 4! There are 12 other kids in there with her and their birthdays are all between May and September 2012, so they are all really close in age. Last year the transition from Room 1 to Room 2 was a little rough so I wasn’t sure how it’d go this year. On the one hand, Emma’s older and more adaptable, but she’s still going to a new room with new teachers. I’m happy to report that the week has gone amazingly well! She seems to really like the new classroom.

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After talking all about how I make it work as a mom yesterday, here’s the part where I admit to being “that mom” who still hasn’t gotten her daughter a birthday present…and her birthday was 3 weeks ago. I’m also “that mom” who hasn’t gotten her daughter a birthday present from her grandparents, who entrusted me to pick — and pick up — something. So maybe I can fix that over the long weekend also, eh?

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I just finished this month’s book club book and can’t decide what to read next. What have you guys been reading lately? Anything I should check out?

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And just to leave you with something cute, please enjoy this video of Emma “reading” her princess books last week. She basically is constantly talking these days, and it’s often a lot more intelligible than this video. (I actually have no idea what she was saying until she gets to “The End.”) I’m totally loving 2 years old so far.

Moms Make It Work

Ready for something different? Today I’m guest posting over at Julia’s blog, My Life in Transition She has been running a series for several months now called Moms Make It Work about what works for real moms from all kinds of different backgrounds. I’m excited to be participating, and excited to have my first-ever guest post on someone else’s blog, so head over there to read it!

And if you’re coming to my blog for the first time: welcome! My MMIW post gives a pretty darn good rundown of my life these days but if you want to know more about me, here are a few posts you might like:

  • I mentioned that before my current job, I worked in Mission Control for the space shuttle for several years before the shuttle stopped flying in 2011. If you want to hear more about what it’s like to work in Mission Control, read this.
  • A lot of people at NASA have wanted to work in the space program since they were small kids, but that actually wasn’t the case for me! If you want to hear more about how I got interested in space and how I got my job with NASA, read this.
  • I’ve always liked art and crafts, but took things to a new level a few years ago when I learned to sew. If you want to check out some of the quilts and other things I’ve made, you can find them here.
  • I recently finished a Master’s degree in Digital Media Studies and made a series of posters featuring cool space probes and satellites for my capstone project. You can find all 15 of them under the “master’s project” tag.
  • I mentioned in my guest post that I’ve been blogging for nearly 2 decades which is both crazy and awesome. Two years ago when I was late in my pregnancy, I shared some thoughts on blogging in general that you might enjoy.
  • I’ve done a lot of running and triathlons over the years. If you want to read about any of those races, including the half ironman I did in 2007 and the marathon I did in 2005 (yikes, so long ago!), you can find the list here.

Thanks for stopping by!

Interesting Elsewhere

Space Flight: Increasingly, Gifted Individuals are Opting for the Private Sector over NASA | Houston Press

There is a lot of truth in this article, and a lot of hyperbole as well. Some miscellaneous thoughts:

  • For those who want to literally build things and work directly hands-on with hardware, NASA is not the place. It has never really been that place, at least not in a long time. We conceive and design and operate…but we always contract out the building. It’s a bit misleading to imply otherwise.
  • There is indeed a lack of opportunities for advancement, and it is affecting the career decisions of many people — especially those in their 30s like me. It’s a significant issue at JSC right now, and I’ve seen no evidence that anyone knows how to solve it other than wait for older people to retire.
  • It’s time to stop talking about the space shuttle program. Period. I loved it too, but it is over and done and bemoaning that gets us nowhere. It is time to move on.
  • Astronaut jobs — or lack thereof — should have zero influence on whether someone wants to work for NASA. Your chances of becoming an astronaut have always been slim, not to mention that most aren’t working for NASA when they’re hired anyway.

Wireless Charging, at a Distance, Moves Forward for uBeam | New York Times via

My dad has always said we should figure out how to put giant solar arrays in orbit and beam the power generated back down to Earth. This is “only” wireless charging across a room…but it’s a start! We’re living in the future!

Credit: ESA

A European spacecraft flew within 60 miles of a comet | SciGuy

ESA’s Rosetta spacecraft is honing in on Comet 67P and taking fantastic photos on the way!

Need Kids to Follow Instructions? Don’t Ask. Tell. | New York Times

Then I looked at the larger issue, which is my tendency to ask my kids almost everything. “Do you want to put on your shoes now?” “Should we have macaroni and cheese for dinner?” “How about you go brush your teeth?” These are questions that present a problem if they are answered with no, because they are not really choices. If we’re going outside, we need shoes. If I’m preparing mac and cheese for dinner, that’s what we’ll be having. And we all know what happens when we don’t brush our teeth: cavities, hygiene issues and a future of dentist bills.

I try to be conscious of this exact thing.

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