Ducks in a row

I’m back from Southeastern Arizona and my head is spinning. I’ve been so busy playing catch-up, I have not yet had the time to digest the depth of this incredible trip.  The desert…the night sky….the canyons….the birds….the scenery… the fun times with friends…. Continue reading

The right words at the right time


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I’m two weeks into the new job and there’s so much running through my weary head, I’m honestly having trouble choosing just one tidbit for this post.

It’s been a fulfilling and busy time couple of weeks. I’m grateful for my family and friends who are making this journey a lot less bumpy for me. A shout out to dear friends, Jill, Susan and Jenny for taking such fabulous care of my kids on short notice during my first days at work. And extra special thanks to my mom for coming to help us navigate my entire first week of work. I found this card to send to her as a thank you and she loved it!


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Best laid plans

Many of you already know that Mom’s Big Year has become bigger than I ever expected in more ways than I ever expected.  But, I’d have to say that this week takes the cake. My Big Year just grew exponentially in some completely new directions.

Big announcement here!

Tomorrow I start a brand. new. job! I’ve been tapped to serve as a biologist for the North America Bird Banding Laboratory at Patuxent Wildlife Research Center in Laurel, Maryland. Wow!  Not just one, but two jobs literally fell out of the sky into my lap this year. You can probably guess that they were not part of the Big Year plans. But both jobs were too good to pass up. So, Mom’s Big Year is still going strong (and I’m still committed to traveling as much as possible and seeing as many birds as possible before the clock strikes midnight on Dec 31…) with just a few new twists along the way. I’ll still be teaching at University of Maryland in the fall and will be working 3 days at the banding lab and two days at UMBC.

I’m super excited about starting at the lab tomorrow! I’ll be working with several of my mentors in the field of avian research and I know I’m going to learn a TON. I’m ready for that. I am thrilled, honored, and humbled to be working at a place with such a rich history in wildlife research. You can read more Patuxent’s history here. Read more  Did you know that Rachel Carson used Patuxent’s research to develop almost all of the content of her revolutionary book, Silent Spring?

Wow. Just wow.

I’ve been an at-home mom since I left my career as a science teacher and biologist 16 years ago.  So, as you can imagine, this is a huge change for my family and me.  This week, as I prepare the household for my completely new schedule, I’ve TOTALLY been ‘nesting’. (How appropriate!)  I’ve lost count of the number of trips I’ve taken to the store. I’ve been grocery shopping, back-to-school shopping, cleaning, cooking, freezing make-ahead meals and trying to spend as much time as possible with the hubby and kiddos.  I’ve stocked up on so many staples, you’d think a blizzard was on its way to central Maryland!

I’m not sure anything can prepare you for a change like this.. But I wasn’t going to take any chances and bought plenty of chocolate to help me wade through any unanticipated stress. However, IMG_9756I’m not sure how long the chocolate will last around this house as the kids have found all my hiding places!!

But my family can certainly rest assured…

I’ve bought enough toilet paper to last us through March. 🙂