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!


Her enthusiastic approach to mundane household tasks empowered the kids to execute their daily routine with military precision. I was even fortunate to have my own personal ‘bed squad’ that made up my bed for me every day. Thanks kids!

Sampling of bands from the lab



I love my new job at the Bird Banding Lab (BBL). I’m sitting among giants in this field and it is so humbling to be working hand-in-hand with them. I feel like a sponge and am soaking in every little bit as I learn the ropes there.

So far, it’s been a great fit with my skill set and personality.  And the kids and hubby seem to be adjusting well to the new routine.

Most importantly, everyone has clean underwear. At least for the moment.

I think.  🙂

But, in all honesty, the transition has not been 100% pretty. I’ve had severe laryngitis for almost 2 weeks and am being treated for walking pneumonia. It’s quite an adventure starting a new job and meeting new colleagues without a voice! With 45+ hour work weeks on top of family responsibilities I’ve have had little time to daydream about next Saturday’s trip to southeastern Arizona. But in the words of my friend, Martin, the trip’s going to be “EPIC!” So stay tuned for upcoming posts.

With everything going on, last night was the first time in weeks I had a few minutes to take a deep breath and reflect.  My mind went immediately to the fact that all these long hours learning a new job (with little energy in the evenings while being sick) translated into a whole lot less of much-needed time to strategize at a critical point for Mom’s Big Year.

And then the questions of doubt started populating my brain:

Is 500 species out of the question? What trips should I cut and what trips should I add to close the gap?  How will I get my syllabus, lectures and exams written and ready for the 150 pairs of eyes that will be staring at me in a few short weeks?  How will we get dinner on the table and all the family needs meet while juggling these two jobs, nipping the pneumonia, traveling across the US, and needing to get out in the field at home during migration?

Where can the answers to all of these questions be found? (Those of you who read the last post know exactly where I find them…)

 in CHOCOLATE of course! . 🙂

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But in all seriousness…the answer as to how to reconcile this blizzard of emotions came to me in the form of an email from the matriarch of our local Howard County Bird Club. Coincidentally, the email arrived last night out-of-the-blue, just as the first sense of doubt entered my mind. The subject line said “Congratulations” and I actually almost deleted it as I thought it might be spam mail.

Everyone should be so fortunate to have words like these fall in their lap. These are the words I needed to hear tonight, exactly when I needed them most.


With the first six months of Mom’s Big Year behind you–and all it has brought–one can hardly imagine what else is in store.  Not only are you collecting an impressive number of birds, but you’ve made strides in fighting your personal demons, are still keeping your family front and center, and are having jobs drop into your lap that involve your passion!  I’d say it’s been a successful year so far beyond your wildest imagination.  Sure, it hasn’t all been smooth or easy, but little by little…

Congratulations on your new job at the Bird Banding Lab.  You’ll be following a tradition of great biologists there!…….

…….When you finish 2016, the number of birds you have on your list will become a target for the next Mom who follows in your footsteps. Someone will always top that number no matter where you set the bar. That’s the nature of being a pioneer. But you will have all the memories of the people, places, and experiences–as well as the birds. Can you imagine anything better than that!?


4 thoughts on “The right words at the right time

  1. Loved the post, and loved the congratulatory remarks from your local bird club!
    But…you must take car of your health, or you won’t be able to accomplish any of your goals. Just ask your mom.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. As our very unofficial Couple’s Year List draws to a close (20 August 2015-19 August 2016), that last paragraph is especially true, very beautiful and important to me as well.
    Cheers from Melbourne (yes I am actually in the big city).
    Thank you for another lovely post!

    Liked by 1 person

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