(The above picture is photoshopped... typically, that would be assumed, but with all the lackluster parenting in the media, I figure I better cover my bases.) The view is real--from the Loews Vanderbilt in Nashville--but I'll get to that later.
Although the past two months have still kept me on my toes professionally, I've also had more family time than I've had in awhile.
A fun shirt for Katie from my advisor, Bob.
Our house is a bit small to host our growing family, so we headed up to Mom and Dad's after graduation for a couple days.
Pictures can be deceiving; the above pictures make it look like Ellie and Anna have been best friends at first sight. The reality is more like...
However, we soon realized that we could stave off 90% of the issues with equal opportunity attention.
Halfway through May, I was invited to speak on our newly-released report on rural education at the Education Writers' Association conference in Nashville, TN. Not only did they pay for some nice accommodations, but I entered a small lottery system, and we won an upgrade into the fanciest hotel room(s) we've ever stayed in. (A double treat for JooYeon since we're accustomed to doing things the cheapest route possible!)
The talk itself went great, even though it was a much different audience than I'm used to. These were journalists and media reporters who were interested in telling stories about rural areas. Some were already from rural areas (one covers a small school district on an island in the northwestern U.S.) and others were from big cities such as New York who were shocked to hear about some of the educational issues in rural areas.
Back at home, JooYeon made Ellie some ladybug cupcakes for her birthday.
Next was a trip out to visit Mom's family in Lancaster, PA, which began with a hotel stay and Katie's first swim...
Lots of good discussion and fun with extended family...
Ellie had her first train ride, which she loved (aside from the occasional surprise whistles).
The Athens library rents out a nice bike so that Ellie can come cruising with me.
We met up with Heather, Bob, and Anna in Easton. This time Ellie and Anna had many more pleasant interactions than the previous visit...
...that is, except for the final hug goodbye!
Our next trip was to the Wilds, the closest thing to a safari in Ohio (we've taken more trips in the past two months than in the past couple years; this new phase is a result of recent family conferences we've had). But of course, we enjoyed another hotel stay before the Wilds. I think the second girl (and an actual full-time job) has tipped the scales on making it easier to stay in a hotel than at a friend's house... at least temporarily!
At the Wilds, Ellie enjoyed checking off the animals from her list as she saw them.
Back in Athens, I worked hard to catch up on some of my projects such as the textbook. One of my most intellectually demanding tasks was taking Ellie out for some ice cream so that I could get a picture for our section on 3D objects. :)
On Wednesday evenings during the summer, there are free concerts in Athens; Ellie enjoyed the view from on top of a large rock with her friend.
In Korea, the 100-day celebration is one of the biggest of the baby's life (I think this has its roots in the high infant mortality rate, and so making it to the 100-day mark was a good sign that the infant would survive). We dressed Katie up (a more successful endeavor that it had been for Ellie's 백생일!)
So, we continue our journey into the unknown. These next 6-8 months will be particularly exciting as we make some decisions about where we will call our home (which will likely be for the next 30 years or so).