Archive | December, 2012

Winter Family Fun

29 Dec

For the first part of our holiday celebrations we met my parents and brother in Leavenworth – a perfect Bavarian town in the mountains that looks like it’s straight from a snow globe  It was so beautiful and the best way to kick-start our Christmas holidays!!

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After exploring the town we stopped by a local brewery for a couple beers. . . and everyone got in on the action 🙂

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Finally we headed back to the hotel and took some evening pics by a little fire …IMG_3985 IMG_3986 And this little bunny played with grandma and grandpa . . .IMG_4002 It’s SO hard to be a baby!

The next day we got up to go skiing — grandpa started the day by falling on ice and getting a (minor) concussion, so we had a bit of a slow start because he went to the emergency room to get checked out. Although we definitely worried about him, it was nice to have a slow start to the morning.  We took some pics around the hotel – the snow was so beautiful!!mama and nikita

Finally we got up to the ski hill and we slowly got into the swing of things. I haven’t been skiing for probably 10 years and hubs hasn’t been since childhood and that was on the streets of his Ukrainian town, not a proper ski hill.  It was amazing how quickly we remembered what to do!

Hubs is afraid of heights and he was TERRIFIED of the chair lift. But moments after getting off, he wasn’t lookin’ so bad…086 089 with my baby bro097I didn’t look so bad myself 🙂

We got in a few good runs before they closed for the day–we thought there was going to be night skiing so we were a disappointed to find out it began the next day. Now we’ll have to find the time, money, and a babysitter so we can go again!!

After skiing we headed back home with my family in tow – they spent the next 5 days with us to celebrate Christmas. It was wonderful to just hang out with them and Nikita had an amazing time playing–and learning new things (like walking!!). More soon!


O Christmas Tree!

13 Dec

First off, I passed my general exams! I am officially a PhD Candidate! Hooray!
My muffin and I just after I got home from the oral part of my exams

This week is still a busy one–since it’s finals week for everyone, I’ve had lots of meetings that were put off until the quarter was (mostly) over.  But Friday afternoon I’ll officially be on winter break until January 7th (which is Russian Christmas so I’ll actually be back the 8th).

Yesterday we decided to get a real Christmas tree–nothing like the smell of evergreens in the home to create the feeling of Christmas!  It was so cute–the tree farm had a little reindeer. N didn’t really care to much, but we thought she was adorable!

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We picked out a tree and got it home. It’s not as perfect as our artificial tree, but it was so fun to get and smells amazing. I love trees with character!

Impostor Syndrome

5 Dec

First off, I passed my written exams!

**cue celebratory dance**

Yayy!! When I got the mail from my chair that I passed, I let out a HUGE sigh of relief. The exams themselves were mentally and emotionally painful–I didn’t read enough, nor give myself enough time to think things out. So when I actually sat down to write, some words flew easily. . while others…not so much. I had a huge case of writer’s block on the third exam question and ended up frantically writing something the morning it was due. Not my proudest moment.

But I passed! And with great comments like “well written, lucid, and thoughtful” or “solid job” “strong summary” “engage deeply”….and so on. I honestly was telling hubs after I finished that for question one I critically analyzed some issues, question two I felt I answered worse than an undergrad. . and question three, I still don’t know what I wrote. So I was surprised to hear these responses.

Today I was talking with the English grad program coordinator and she labeled this “impostor syndrome”–that nagging feeling that you’ve been skating by all this time and that one day you’re going to be found out. She said grad students and faculty feel this way all the time. This is exactly how to name what I’ve been feeling. I know that I’m smart and capable. But this exam was SO tough–my goal is to impress the professors I work with so that they really will picture me as a future colleague. As I try to professionalize myself, there’s a lot of intellectual heavy-lifting I have to do and it’s hard with a baby, husband, side-business, and so many other things that pull at my time and intellectual energy. I’m torn in so many directions that I feel like I half-ass things half the time (and the other half doesn’t get done these days…).

So I felt like that lack of effort (not for lack of trying) would be ‘found out’ this time. But it seems I passed with flying colors. Maybe everyone else is under similar pressure?

Next Monday is the oral component, so I plan to coordinate my commitee’s written feedback and group it into categories and plan ‘talking points’ that I can use during the meeting. It sounds like it will be a pretty fun 2 hours to have three people I really respect in the same room to talk about the academic work I want to do. The better I prepare the more I can get out of it. And once it’s done….. I’ll be a PhC! Hooray!