Friday, February 26, 2010

One Word: DONE

Sam is DONE the PA/NJ bar. I made a home made sign with those words "DONE" on the door when he walked in.

He made it! Monday night, anticipating the exam, was the worst. Ever. But Tuesday he did well, Wednesday went very well and Thursday was good too. Thursday, the day of the NJ bar, was a bit frantic as Central NJ was preparing for another SNOW MONSTER. (Which hasn't REALLY come into fruition). They started the bar early, had a short lunch and generally panicked trying to get the test takers home safely.

He arrived home yesterday at 4:30. I have never been so happy to see him. He had shaved- something he said he would do post bar- and he looked so relieved.

Seren and I heard him coming and yelled "YEAH" when he walked in the door. Seren surprised us all by crying happy tears! She was SO happy to have him back. Her teacher said that Seren had had a rough day- that she really missed her Dad. This stupid exam has been a stress on all of us.

I cried when I saw him too. It was such a trial for us! And I am so proud of him. And I'm proud of US. This marriage thing is really about partnership. About picking someone else up when they need you to pick them up. And we made it.

My mom and dad did the lion's share of the child care this week. Being with the kiddos for three FULL days and TWO full nights. What a HUGE help! They deny it but they looked exhausted too!

We aren't really 100% back yet. We are all still tired. And Sam isn't feeling 100% either. But we are BACK. Seren, as I have mentioned before, is really focused on 'whose day' it is. Is it a Mommy day? A Daddy Day? A Family Day? So when we told her that Dad was DONE, she said, "Does that mean we can have family days again?"

Yes, honey, we can have family days again.

And with several inches of snow on the ground (again), looks like our family days will consist of snowmen and snow angels.

A big thanks to all for getting us through this. We have really leaned on so many to pull us through this monster! He gets his results in May. (MAY?!) I'm not worried.

The One Where I Feel Like Norm From Cheers

I have a slight obsession with Dunkin Donuts coffee. I don't go every day and on most days, I make my coffee at home to save money. But I do enjoy a cup of it at least twice a week. I go to the same Dunkin Donuts every time. And I have a few 'friends' there.

Yesterday I stopped by at the end of the day to pick up a cup of coffee for myself and my Dad.

I walked into the store and without my knowledge, the woman behind the counter made me my regular order.

When I ordered a different order, a SMALL DECAF, she looked at me and said,
"But you never get that. I made you what you always get. It is ready now. For you."

"Oh, thank you so much. But tonight I just want some decaf. Otherwise I'll be up all night." I explained.

"But I already made it for you." She responded.

"So sorry about that! You are too quick for me!" I smiled.

"You SURE you want decaf? Ok, ok. I'll give it to you for free." (SWEET!)

So I walked out with THREE cups of coffee. My dad's order, my order and my 'usual'. Which I saved for this morning- it is all nuked up and ready to go.

I love feeling like Norm.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

13 month pics

I saw a picture of a professional photo in my colleague's office. His daughter is now 12 but the photo is of his daughter around 6 months.

We haven't really taken many professional photos. Which I have lamented time and time again. We have gotten some great photos ourselves. And my father in law has an amazing camera. But I think there is something to be said for a studio shot. Once March comes, I'd like to take both kids for a shoot because time just keeps on moving.

Here are four pics: all of them are taken when both kiddos are 13 months old. Life is pretty amazing.

Thanks for all of your well wishes this week and for your affirming comments yesterday. Today is a brand new day. We all are doing better. Not quite back from the edge but much better!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Burn out, exhaustion and the BAR oh my!

Today is day one of the PA bar. And it couldn't come any sooner! I actually woke up excited that the freaking thing can be behind us.

I am burnt out. I am tired from child care during the evenings after work and all day during the weekends. For 7 weekends. For 7 weeks. And the stress of this thing hanging over us has made both of us very irritable. We feel like we are under house arrest! The snow and dreary weather hasn't helped. We are a mess. And I haven't had a moment to just LAUGH with him in quite a while. The build up of this thing has been growing and growing and shaped every moment of our days! Ridiculous! Next to the 8 weeks of bedrest, this is the hardest thing WE as a team have had to do.

Poor Sam didn't fair well last night. He slept in a hotel in Philly to get some rest to avoid being awaken by little people. But he didn't sleep! And his stomach was bothering him. He said he got about an hour of rest the whole night. It was horrible!

Tests like this are mental. It is a mental game. I talked him up and kept telling him he could do it. Because he CAN but whew, it has to come down to just DOING IT! And no one can control that other than Sam.

I was literally almost sick to my stomach the whole morning. I was praying for him and hoping that a peace would just come over him as I could tell he was a complete and utter wreck. And so was I!

The 12 noon break was so good. He sounded good. Less nervous.

By 4:30, day one was OVER. I actually could HEAR him smiling. Praise God. Whew. One down, two to go. He said he did a great job, was focused, knew the answers and organized his responses well. Like I said, he is a rockstar and will totally knock this out of the ball park. Regardless of the outcome, I am proud of him. SO proud of him.

He just needs some rest and some good food right now. That and he needs to stay healthy and focused for a few more days. I KNOW he can do this.

And we both agreed over the phone a few minutes ago, that if this doesn't work out, we are NEVER doing this again.

Tonight my parents have given me the gift of taking my children for a night. I am going out to dinner with a friend. I can't wait! I SOOO need this. My stress has been through the roof.

One day down, two more to go!!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

One More Week!

One more week until Sam take the bar. I'm literally praying and hoping the best for him. Please be thinking of him as he studies these last days and pray we all stay healthy.

We have one hell of a month. The blizzard last week was just surreal. Sam had planned to stay with a friend for the whole week so he could catch up and study for 12 hours a day without Thing One and Thing Two. The plan was that our sitter would care for them one day, I would take one day off, my parents would do one day and my in laws would help with the last two days of the week. Best laid plans...

Tuesday night, the night before the storm and before my in-laws flight, I knew it wasn't going to happen. No way that a flight from Michigan to Philly with predicted 18 inches of snow was going to happen. The airline cancelled and our visit with our Grandma and Grandad wasn't to be. Well, not last weekend. They are coming in March.

Operation Plan B.

My parents arrived Tuesday afternoon with overnight bags to help out. And my god! The snow! It started and I was giddy with the idea of snow, lots of snow! I awoke on Wednesday expecting to see a blizzard. And it was just a few inches! Really? That was nothing I thought! But THEN. But THEN it snowed!!

We had a Valentine's party instead! We decorated the dinning room with red and white streamers, pulled out the valentines' napkins, made more pink, red and purple cards and my Mom had already made a huge heart cake for dessert. Party on! And party we did.

We went out in the blizzard to build snowmen, etc. My dad did the most of the shoveling. And work was cancelled. It was busy but fun.

Then Wednesday night, the electricity went out. (Seren pronounces this elightricity). And it didn't come back on until Thursday at 6. It was a long, cold day that ended up with driving South 45 minutes to escape to my parents' warm house. We gave up when it got to be 57 degrees inside our home.

Anyway, this is all to say that we had a long, ODD week last week and are holding our breaths that the exam can come and go next week in a smooth fashion. Sam has worked very hard and is well prepared. He will rock this thing! And in just a few days, this will be BEHIND all of us!

Then we'll focus on house repairs, SPRING, and a new job for Sam. But I'm ahead of myself. One more week, one more week.

The break between the early snow and the major snow:

Valentines Day fun!

Walking around our hood because we were too cold INSIDE:

The support team:


Sunday, February 7, 2010

At the end of the day

A day can bring a lot of things. Good news. Bad news. Accidents. SNOW. No naps. Long naps. 5:15 wake ups and early bed times.

We had a busy weekend of snow craziness! I woke up at 5:15 because, ya know, why not? And I realized that we had no power. Which means we had no working monitors. So I crept out to the garage and found my sleeping bag and went upstairs to lay on the floor in the hallway incase the kids got up.

10 minutes later they did. Seren yells "Wait! I can't see the clock! Oh no! My night light isn't on! Oh no! Oh no! MOMMY! I don't know if it is 6 or not!"

I love how you can 'hear' her thought process. She calmed down once I explained everything. But then Wy guy got up and damn it was 5:30 and we no heat and no electricity! IT was dark!!

So, obvoiusly, we survived the adventure. And I found caffeine despite the fact we couldn't make coffee. And Sam studied. And I shoveled and shoveled. And Sam studied more and I hung out with the kids. And cleaned. And made to-do lists.

And today was a Bounce University party. And Sam studied. And I'm exhausted. And I wish the bar was OVER instead of two weeks to go. Sam is stressed. I'm tired. We miss our family life. I google things like "Club Med" on a daily basis. Just to escape.

BUT. At the end of the day, I am a proud and grateful momma to two little people. Two really little people who are scared of vacuum cleaners, visualize friends that aren't really there, play constantly, who need us in so, so, so many ways and live life large. I want to be sure that I recognize my two little guys as the miracles that they are. On a daily basis.

At the end of the day? I'm tired. I'm hungry. But really? I'm damn lucky.

Friday, February 5, 2010

If She Becomes a Scientist...

It will be thanks to Sam!

Here is my version of the "structured activities" when I have the day home with the kids:

* Make Valentines using paper, glue, stickers, maybe paint if I have had coffee
* Read stories
* Play with playdoh
* Play doll house, play in the little kitchen, etc.
* Use my acting skills for an awesome puppetshow
* Play an involved game with Seren when Wyeth (aka Godzilla) is asleep
* Eat granola bars for a snack

Here is Sam's version:
* Show Seren and Wyeth videos of volcanos on You Tube explaining about lava, flow, etc.
* Create a Volcano in our bathtub using homemade playdoh (which I made), red food dye and baking soda.
* Create 'floating' popcorn by adding salt to water which makes the popcorn kernels rise from the bottom of the glass.
* Place black construction paper outside. Wait for snow to fall. Look at the snow crystals using a huge magnifying glass.
* Cut out snowflakes out of paper while talking about the fact that each snowflake is uniquely different.
* Make a ramp and roll things down it- noting which items go fast and which go slow.

See any difference!?

Sam is an amazing teacher! I am so proud of him!

A Growth Spurt?

Wyeth won't stop eating which is awesome!! At his 12 month appointment, the doctor was concerned a bit that his growth wasn't quite on track and he wasn't eating real people food. Try as we did, he refused to eat fun things- only stage 2 foods from jars. Blah. So we stayed on formula with stern instructions to keep pushing real food.

And then he just fell in love with feeding himself and eating real people food! He had four chicken nuggets last night. He has made tremendous progress eating. My list of food that Wyeth eats has stretched from two items (Cheerios and raisins) to over 15 foods. Whew! We are very lucky that he figured out how to eat with his hands and that he actually likes some of these fun foods. I have several friends whose children really struggle to eat so I'm quite grateful that, for now, Wyeth enjoys meals.

And he is sleeping a ton too. So between his huge meals and his double naps and long nights, I expect he won't fit in his 12 month clothing much longer!

Earlier this week I posted about how much I love my 5:30 wake up time during the week. I still do. But it is a little odd to be the only one up at 6:30 when I could be sleeping in a nice warm bed! This is the third time this week that we actually have to make noise to get the family going and moving! Note to self: this phase of my children sleeping past 6:30 will promptly END guaranteed on Saturday and Sunday mornings. Guaranteed!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

5:30 am in MY time

I went back to work full time in December. Prior to the one year mark, I woke up whenever Wyeth did. If Wyeth was up at 1 am, 3 am and 4 am, I was up. And if he slept until 6:30 am, I slept until 6:30 and got to work as soon as I could. (For the record, if he gets up at 3am, I still get up!)

But starting in December, I realized that I needed to be on a bit more of a schedule. I wake up at 5:30 and hit the shower. On some days, I only get 15 minutes before Wyeth is up and Seren follows at 6 am. On other days, like today, I got well over an hour. (They were TIRED!)

Getting a jumpstart on the day before the kids get up is very helpful to me. I get to shower. I make coffee. I make my lunch. I get the stuff ready for preschool. Today I even folded laundry AND read Newsweek! All before the wee ones wake. And when they do wake up, I get to cuddle them and feel refreshed- as opposed to half asleep.

I love it!

On a somewhat related note, in that it relates to 'me time', I spent about 30 minutes last night reading an old diary. Gosh, times were different back then. I love that I have journaled since I was 12 years old. My journals hold some amazing memories. They are records of what I did but also records of my thoughts, my worries, my joys. They are a treasure! My journaling has been scaled back significantly since children but it still happens. The good, the bad, the ugly- it is all in there. Maybe I'll have to get up at 5:00 to start journaling again.



Monday, February 1, 2010

Disney on Ice

This weekend we really packed it all in! The one up side of not having a partner on the weekends, is that I'm forced to organize activities that I may not have organized if Sam and I were both around. And this weekend was no exception.

But the highlight of the weekend was an event my mom organized. She coordinated a LOVELY trip to see Disney on Ice! This was a first for us! And it was only the girls! Wyeth stayed home with my Dad and Sam spent the entire day taking a practice bar exam. So it was the girls. We didn't tell Seren too much in advance about the upcoming show because you just never know if it will happen in cold, cough, flu season. But it did! We left way early but got lost. And I lost it with frustration. I was dropping f-bombs left and right! I did not want to miss the show! In the end, mom dropped Seren and I off and Seren and I sprinted to the show with about 600 other moms, dads, grandparents and kids. It was a zoo! But we finally got inside and we were only 15 minutes late to the show.

What a show! The sets, the ice skaters, the costumes! Seren doesn't really know a lot of the Disney stories and I didn't either (Mulan?) but the stories she did know, she enjoyed. She was waving like crazy to Snow White and then was so disappointed when "Snow White didn't see me!! But I waved!"

The show was also long. We had no idea that it would be well over an hour and a half. When Sam asked Seren all about it she said, "Well, it took a long, long time." She then went into the details of who she saw, what it was like, etc. It was awesome, thanks Mom!

The rest of the weekend was fun too- getting together with friends for homemade Stromboli on Friday night, meeting new friends at a UU church gathering on Saturday evening, and then just laying low and hanging out on Sunday while Sam studied.

And while the weekend was a ton of fun, I can't wait to have my husband back! It is like living with the shell of the husband formerly known as Sam. And he has decided to do something funky with his facial hair. He isn't going to cut his goatee thing until after the bar. Ugh! (Is it Sam or are other men this superstitious?!) The exam is 3 weeks from this week and then it is three LONG days of exam.

I'll leave this disjointed post with a statement that Seren made at lunch yesterday. "It is okay if you bite your own finger but it is NOT okay if you bite someone else's finger."

Be good to each other people on this Monday morning; don't bite anyone.

I added some pictures!