Friday, September 25, 2015


Picking up your life, moving, and starting a new adventure is just that: an adventure. But, it takes some adjustment. The more drastic the change, the more adjusting necessary (obviously).

There's been a lot of conversation lately about representing ourselves more authentically on social media. We tend to post the happy, pretty, exciting parts of our lives and leave out the messy, unresolved struggles. I mean, it makes sense... it's a lot more fun to post a pretty picture of our new home than it is to post something about how I'm really struggling knowing what to do with myself without my crazy life in Provo. So, here's that post. :)

Our transitions:


Bryan is going from working as a researcher and being a student to, well, working as a researcher and being a student on perhaps a slightly larger stage with a bit more at stake. Poor guy didn't get any break after grad school, but he's good at what he does and so far he seems to be adjusting well. He's working hard to try to figure out new routines and norms based on his classes, labs, and their expectations.


I think Lincoln is adjusting remarkably well. While we can tell he misses his family in Utah, he is sleeping through the night more regularly than he EVER did in Provo (praises go to having his own room finally), having lots of fun playing outside, loving to be social with all the new kids, and loving to have lots of space to run (whilst holding onto our fingers of course).

The little guy doesn't know what hit him sometimes, but I think that has more to do with teething + wishing he could take off and run, than it have to do with the move. For the last little while in Provo, we were living in chaos; the sea of boxes and messes that comes with preparing to move really cramped his style. I think he's loving life for the most part. He's a strong-willed, really needy, happy child.


Things have been a bit harder for me.

I think I started preschool when I was like 3... and from that day on I've been a student. From first grade on I've been a full-time student. From 16 on I've also been employed while being a full-time student. All through my undergrad degree I only took summer break from about the third week of June to the end of August. In grad school I didn't get summer breaks. The summer between my under grad and grad school I had a longer break from school, but worked 3 jobs.

So, finishing school only a few months ago and ending my employment just one month ago, preparing to move, and then coming here without any of that feels like I've quit a really strong drug, cold turkey. So much of who I am has always been defined by my work, my school and my busy routines and known expectations. To have almost none of that in my day-to-day comings and goings has been a really difficult transition.

I loved what I did. I loved being a student, I loved teaching math, I loved researching, I loved the cognitive challenge of what I did each day, I loved the busyness, I loved the regularity of it all... I really loved this "strong drug" I just left behind a few weeks ago...

I'm having to completely create a new routine and figure out who I am now without all that in my day-to-day life. I don't think I've had to do this ever... I've always just slightly altered my routine to fit the new school year, the new semester, the new job, etc. But for the first time I'm having to completely create a routine from scratch. While it seems like it could hold a lot of really great opportunity, it's also incredibly daunting.

From small tasks like going grocery shopping to larger tasks like taking care of Lincoln or deciding what to do or not do about employment, nothing is totally established for me right now. I have no idea what grocery store(s) I'm going to use. I have no idea where things are when I go there or how much they're going to cost.

Even little things can exacerbate my frustration. For example, this area has this crazy "recycle everything" policy... literally I have to sort my garbage into 5 different dumpsters outside... which means I even have to create a whole new routine for what I do with my garbage inside! There have been moments when I've been shocked how frustrating it is to hold a piece of garbage in your hand and not know what to do with it without consulting the giant spreadsheet I taped to my fridge.

I wish I could say that I was completely satisfied with being Lincoln's mom and a homemaker at home all day; being a mom really is some of the most worthwhile work that there is. But, that doesn't mean that it's an easy thing for me to drop so much of what I've been doing for the past 25 years to stay home with a teething child all day... you know?

Needless to say, the transition has been extremely difficult for me. That's not to say it's a bad thing; I'm happy we chose Stanford, I'm really pleased with where we live, and I think we're going to have a pretty awesome 5-6 years here... but being in my head all day trying to figure this out is a little tricky sometimes.

So, how am I making the transition? I'm trying really hard to get our home in order to reduce the anxiety that I get from chaos and messes and stubbing my toes on boxes. I'm working on learning what our new normal looks like so I can get into a routine that fits it. I'm trying to get to the gym more often (those endorphins and the natural high that follows do wonders). I'm trying to do things that I enjoy like reading, playing the piano, cooking... though the cooking thing is sort of dependent upon the afore mentioned grocery I'm sure as soon as this crazy heat wave goes away we'll enjoy spending more time outside. I'm trying to spend a lot of time in prayer and reading the scriptures so that I can have the Spirit's support and guidance in all this.

It's definitely a process... I don't think it's one that I'm going to solve overnight. I think it's going to take a lot of stretching and learning and growing. It'll be good for me.

If I weren't fairly set on someday living somewhere where I spend slightly less on slightly more space (ha ha), I may have vowed to never move ever again. :) I don't like moving (it was stressful). I don't like making a new routine. But, we're making it work. It'll all be fine, though it might be a bit interesting at times.

In other news, my dishwasher arrived today... so not having to hand wash every single thing I ever use to eat or cook is going to be a lovely addition to our routine. Hallelujah for dishwashers. :)

Click on the pictures for their sources.

Monday, September 21, 2015

The Big Move!

Monday the 7th- Tuesday the 8th: Packing, cleaning, loading the truck, family pictures, and saying goodbye

Thanks to everybody who helped us pack and clean so that we could get out of here on time and still sleep at nights. :) You are all great! (Thanks especially to Robin who helped a million times in the past few weeks, and to Bethany and Elizabeth who spent all Monday night scrubbing things.)

For someone who thrives on routine and order, the week or two leading up to these two days were very stressful! I felt like my house was a giant slide puzzle; to get anywhere I had to slide boxes into the tiny bit of open floor space and slowly make my way across the house.  
Thanks to David and Curtis for helping us pack the truck

Thanks to Doug for making everything fit when we thought we were out of room. 

Ah. Much better. Ready to go!

Visiting Bryan's family Tuesday night 

It was hard to say goodbye to everybody but it's much better than, say, an LDS mission, because we can call and Skype whenever we want. Besides that we'll be visiting Utah at Christmastime.

Wednesday the 9th: Leaving Utah, my parents driving the truck, and spending the night at Circus Circus in Reno. 

Saying bye to uncle David before he left for class Wednesday morning.

We met up with mom and dad for pizza in the-middle-of-nowhere Nevada when we needed to change a giant, terrible diaper in the back of the car because nobody had restrooms with changing tables. Good times. The pizza was actually delicious. They served cheese sticks with honey mustard... interesting.
Yay for cheap, week-night rates at casinos. :) 

"Give Lincoln kisses!"

Thursday the 10th: Driving through Donner's Pass, arriving in Redwood City, spending the night in a dumpy motel, running errands on Stanford campus, snooping out our new place, and how co-sleeping is DEFINITELY not for us.

Thursday morning we left Reno and drove to California! I drove the whole time today and it was kind of fun driving through the Sierra Nevadas, but I am definitely convinced that we will not be driving back at Christmas time; it was not a relaxing drive even in great weather.

We spent the night at a cheap motel in Redwood City... things are so expensive here; we spent $45 on our awesome Circus Circus room, and $150 on the one Thursday night. They didn't have cribs, so that was fun. Lincoln shared the bed with me because Bryan finally gave up and slept on the bedspread on the floor. Lincoln does NOT enjoy sharing his sleeping space and does not enjoy snuggling or anything like that, so that was fun. It took forever for him to fall asleep, he woke up tons, and he spent most of his sleeping hours forcing me off the side of the bed. Definitely not for us.

But, before the lovely co-sleeping adventure, mom and dad watched Lincoln while Bryan and I ran down to campus to get ID cards and parking passes. We were told what building we would be living in but we didn't know the unit. I decided to snoop the building out a bit and was pretty sure I figured out which unit we'd be in (the only vacant one in that building haha). I really hoped I was right (I was) because it was an end unit and was also shaded pretty well by some giant trees in the 6 pm sunlight.

Friday the 11th: Waiting around until our check-in time and unpacking the truck

They said we couldn't check in or even find out our apartment number until 1 pm... so we had to park the truck and wander around to try to find AC until then. I went in and tried to convince them to at least tell us the unit number so we could know where to park our truck. I thought that maybe if I could get that far I could get them to just check us in early since they already knew the unit number. No luck. They wouldn't because, "we can't until 1:00." Well, we went back at 12:45 to beat the crowd getting in line. They asked us if we'd like to come in and wait inside. We went in and suddenly the same guy had our paperwork and keys out. We finished checking in at 12:50... Not sure why that was so different from 11:15, but whatever.

We met a few people in our neighborhood that also go to our church because they saw our truck and came out to help us unpack. It was nice of them, especially considering how hot it was.

This is the only really good picture I have of where we live (mostly because our apartment has been a disaster and I haven't taken pictures). Our back door opens up to this fenced-in, grassy play area. Our apartment is on the right, off the camera. They're two-story condo-like apartments. The first floor is a small kitchen and dining area and a living room. The second floor is two bedrooms and a bathroom.

Thank goodness he's not super mobile yet... there are benefits to having a child skip crawling and want only to walk, but not be able to do it himself yet. 

Saturday the 12th- Sunday the 13th: Unpacking, organizing, exploring campus, and going to church.

Thanks to mom and dad for all your help. :)

When we went to church Sunday morning (we're in the Menlo Park ward) we were welcomed with open arms. It was awesome. We were also met by a surprising number of BYU graduates and BYU football fans who loved that we were too. :) Small world: there are at least 2 other people in my ward who were MathEd majors or minors at BYU. Fun.

So far we really like living in Escondido Village. It's fun. There are lots of people in our same situation and Lincoln has lots of kids his age to make friends with.

Here are a few pictures from our afternoon of exploring on campus:

Can I just say how great these perfectly-trimmed bushes are? I felt like Monk (the OCD TV detective) with how happy they made me. :) 

The building where Bryan's department is based. I teased him that he's in the only building on campus that doesn't look unique to Stanford.

Monday the 14th- now: the next blog post. :) 

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Our Theses

We figured it was time for you all to meet our two other children. 

My Thesis: English Learners' Participation in Mathematical Discourse

161 pages
45,154 words
276,047 characters (with spaces)
1,524 paragraphs
4,618 lines
10 figures
13 tables
25 references

Due to the increasing diversity of mathematics classrooms today, teachers need guidance on how to support English Learners (ELs) in mathematics classes in a way that situates language learning within mathematical activity. Unfortunately, neither mathematics education research nor EL education research is sure how to navigate the complexity of teaching ELs mathematics while supporting both their language development and their mathematical development through their participation in mathematical activity. This study examined ELs’ participation in mathematical Discourse, investigating both the mathematical purposes ELs accomplished by using multiple symbol systems, and the way ELs used non-English language (NEL) symbol systems to support their spoken English. The participants were college-aged ELs beginning their studies at the English Learning Center at an American university. The students all had fluency with basic conversational English, and had many different levels of mathematical experience. I identified five categories of purposes in which ELs engaged during mathematical Discourse. I also developed the Replace Augment Learn (RAL) framework that describes how ELs used NEL symbol systems to make up for their decreased English literacy and facilitate their participation in mathematical Discourse. Analysis of the data suggests ELs’ use of NEL symbol systems (1) played a significant role in achieving many of the purposes associated with mathematical Discourse, and (2) opened up a space for effective language acquisition. These findings indicate that authentic mathematical activity can be a productive site for language development, and that ELs with basic conversational English and literacy with a variety of symbol systems can participate meaningfully in mathematical Discourse. 


Bryan's Thesis: Advancing Phage Genomics and Honeybee Health Through Discovery and Characterization of Paenibacillaceae Bacteriophages

162 pages
48,139 words
335,233 characters (with spaces)
4,285 paragraphs
8,211 lines
17 tables
35 figures
133 references

The Paenibacillaceae family of bacteria includes two species known to infect the hives of
honeybees, Paenibacillus larvae and Brevibacillus laterosporus. P. larvae, the causative agent of
American Foulbrood (AFB) causes a lethal infection of honeybee larvae, while B. laterosporus is
a secondary invader following European Foulbrood (EFB) infection. Increasing antibiotic
resistance of P. larvae bacteria has prompted a search for alternative treatment methods for this
disease. Bacteriophages are the most diverse life forms on earth and can provide important
insights about the bacterial hosts they infect. However, few Paenibacillaceae phages have been
isolated or characterized. In this study, the first B. laterosporus phages are characterized with
respect to host range, structural morphology, and sequence similarity. The isolation and
characterization of many P. larvae field isolates together with 38 novel P. larvae phages made
possible the first broad phage typing study of P. larvae. Phage typing data indicated that P.
larvae strains tested could be categorized into one of two groups. Comparative genomics of
bacteriophages was made easier by modifying Phamerator to make it broadly accessible and
usable to phage researchers throughout the world. Additionally, raw sequencing data can now be
used to identify phage DNA packaging strategies that are indicative of a phage’s physical ends.
Using these data, phage genomes can be published in an orientation and complementarity that
reflects the physical structure of the phage chromosome, providing order and consistency that
will benefit all future phage researchers.


These have been sitting on our shelf for close to a month now. It's a little surreal. Somehow 161 pages (or 162 in Bryan's case) is a really strange temporal representation of what we've dedicated the past years of our lives to. 

Well, that, and this: