October November December Janu...


This fall became a more intense semester than I anticipated, and I have basically skipped over Halloween - to early 2019. Here are some annotated events that I espeically loved.

For Halloween, Kevin was a kid on a roller coaster (he’s obsessed with each and every coaster he can ride). Damian was Stitch again. I was a half-committed Lilo, that was mistaken for a mom in a red dress. We had a perfect warm, colorful night for trick or trick. It was magic.

It was nice to have my brother Joel home from his first duty station as a Marine and my sister Abby home from Colorado for Thanksgiving. A lot has changed this year, but we made the most of our time and we played Drawful until Joel had to leave.

TetherAndFly.com | Thanksgiving 2018
TetherAndFly.com | Thanksgiving 2018

Since we didn’t have commencement in Summer, I participated in the (rainy) December event. I needed to acknowledge that I had actually finished my bachelors degree. There was only a short break between intense summer classes and my graduate classes. Everything seemed to blur together, beacuse I hadn’t really internalized that I had accomplished this personal goal until commencement. It was really special to walk out and see my sons, parents, and Dr. Schiml (my mentor, professor, & lab jedi of the Henessy-Schiml lab I’ve work in for two years) waving at me as we took our seats. There were a lot of sacrifices, so it was important to celebrate this milestone with my support system. I recommend doing this, even if it is a semester late!

PrintableAndAwesome | Spanish Graduation Cap

I had found this graduation hat listing on Etsy that resembled the Mexican bingo game that we used to play as kids (my mom would supply pinto beans -uncooked obviously- as the bingo chips). When I asked if PrintableAndAwesome could design a custom hat with my sons, (from a picture I sent them), I was so excited that they were able to help me honor such a large part of my identity and focus. It is truly a privilege to be a mamá y graduada (mommy and graduate)!

Etsy Store: PrintableAndAwesome
My graduation pictures were taken by my good friend, Briana, from Knack Creative

We had a lot of excitement leading up to Christmas, including orchestra concert (Kevin) and Christmas choir performance (Damian). Christmas week was quiet, but in a very relaxing way. My sons went to Florida for their entire break to see their family. I’ve learned to try to use their trips as a time to repair and sleep. This break was the reset that I needed after such an intense month leading to finals. I unplugged and lived in my pajamas. I did it so well, that it took thirty minutes to find my keys 1.5 weeks later.

Before I knew it, I was picking up my sons and headed to see my sister, Rachel, graduate with a bachelors degree in Information Technology (as a single mom of three!). Three out of four of us sisters graduated with bachelors degree in 2018, which is wild if you consider that we have about thirteen years between us! So proud to share this accomplishment with my sisters and to know that we each sacrificed a great deal to be where we are.


This was Abby’s Spring 2018 Wright State Graduation, with a Dobby graduation hat (of course). She’s a 2nd grade teacher in Colorado now! My son, Damian, was lucky to have her as a student teacher in Math last year.

Abby Graduated | TetherAndFly.com
Master has given Dobby a diploma All was well | TetherAndFly.com

The boys arrived just in time for our first major snowfall this year. Kev is now taller than me when I wear heels and Damian is trying to catch up.

January 2019 | TetherAndFly.com
Photo Jan 14, 12 50 47 AM.jpg

Hahahaha… I love their big gloves (borrowed them from my dad). They love snow.

We are getting back into school routines and enjoying the sound of their voices in the house again. I’ll have to get back to you on the rest of the -ARY ending of this month. Clearly though, it’s the in-between scenes that I treasure.


I Graduated


B.S. in Psychology with a Concentration in Behavioral Neuroscience + Pre-Med Prerequisites
from Wright State University

There is not a summer commencement, but my sister gave me her robe from her graduation three months ago. Holding it makes graduation seem a little more real. As I close this chapter, so many things came full circle.

Photo Jul 28, 12 15 32 PM.jpg

I took anatomy in 2004, but received an “X” in the class. I was very uncomfortable learning from donors and decided that a career in medicine was clearly not for my sensitive stomach. After that quarter, I left Wright State and earned an associate's degree in Visual Communications (from Sinclair) and went on to become a photographer. I retook Anatomy (now Anatomy + Physiology) in 2016 when I came back to Wright State as a single mom in my thirties. It went much better. In fall of 2017, I gave a speech for Boonshoft School of Medicine’s Anatomical Gift Program reception (2 groups of ~800 attendees) as an undergraduate representative to express gratitude for being able to learn Anatomy at Wright State.

The last topic I tutored this week was on acid base balance in Physiology. Me, the girl who didn’t know what a hydrogen ion was when I first sat in that class can breeze through this now. People had a lot of patience with me and I worked really hard. I also took a lot of chemistry.

The End (Graduation) Is Near | TetherAndFly.com
Pizzelles and Dahlias | TetherAndFly.com

Always surrounded by pictures of my sons, especially because they spend summers in Florida with their dad. I have missed them, but I'm glad they can go on vacation while I have spent long days at my classes, working in my lab, and tutoring. Studying for finals, I was lucky to be fueled by pizzelles my dad made.

Studying For Finals | TetherAndFly.com

When I was writing my (undergrad) thesis, I went back to papers we read two years ago in my research lab about maternal deprivation & the impact of stress in early life. I looked at the notes I wrote in the margins and remembered how hard it was to read those papers- partially due to the difficulty of the scientific literature and partially due to missing my sons that summer. It was incredible to realize how much I’ve learned since then about the immune system and the influence it appears to have on neuropsychiatric conditions.

There was also this moment of accomplishment when I noticed my professor had written my old married name on that stack of two-year old research papers. I've settled into my maiden name so much that I forget how recently it changed.

I’m thankful for friends that I’ve made here, and feel so lucky to enjoy being at Wright State. My friends have been so supportive and my lab partners took me out to dinner after our last lab (and my final "task" before graduation). My classes are so much better because of the people I've met in them.

My sons and parents can tell you how intense it has been to graduate with all my pre-med classes & the concentration in behavioral neuroscience. My family's support has been vital as I make this transition from photographer to medical doctor. My sons have come to classes with me and watched me study continuously. My parents have supported us and helped with rides when I had to take night classes. My sister, Abby, helped me get through my divorce and was a big inspiration to help me stick with my classes. It’s bittersweet since she moved to Colorado this morning, but I’m excited for her to do what she loves there.

Only a few more days until my sons come home, and I can’t wait to start a new chapter with them. Calling them to tell them I finished was a call I was so proud to make. Only cried a lot.