Saturday, October 31, 2009

Trick or Treat

So I think my town growing up was crazy. Apparently St. Louis is the ONLY place where trick or treating involves actually having some kind of trick. Growing up you HAD to have a joke, song or other trick when you rang someone's doorbell in order to get the candy. I can remember being in grade school and having friends compare jokes that they had memorized just for trick or treating. And the people answering the doors took it seriously too; there would be some people that would say things like "No, I just heard that one. I need something else." and really wouldn't give you candy if you didn't have another joke for them. I know my brother-in-law worked with my nieces last year for weeks making sure that they had jokes lined up for their trick or treating adventures; even parents take this stuff seriously down there.
Having now lived in another place in the country I can tell you that having a trick on Halloween is not standard practice. Years ago when I answered the door in my own home in Stevens Point and asked the kids what their trick was they looked at me like I had lost my mind and just asked if they could have the candy. Chris was so embarrassed he refused to come to the door with me ever again.
Is St. Louis/Kirkwood, MO seriously the ONLY place that requires payment for the candy on Halloween? I loved that part of the tradition growing up and can't believe that no where else is this the case. So my blogging friends from around the country weigh in on this...will you ask for a "trick" for the candy you give out tonight? Did you have to have some kind of "trick" when you went trick or treating?

Friday, October 30, 2009

Exam Day has Come and Gone

Yesterday was EXAM DAY. This is a both loved and hated day in this household. Chris, as an actuary, has to take nine major exams to get the final title of being a "real" actuary. Okay, I know there is an actual title but right now at 5:00am in the morning I can't remember what it is. Anyway, he has passed six out of the these nine beastly exams. There is no way to describe the amount of preparation, stress and pressure that Chris goes through twice a year for these exams. They mean SO much to his career both in terms of career advancement possibilities and financial advancement. But the studying is insane. He starts about five months prior to the exam, studies every day at lunch, gets some study hours built into his work day and then studies in the evenings when he gets home. Not to mention the studying that he does on the weekends. It is kind of like taking a full college semester course load and trying to learn all that information in five months without a professor or ever actually going to class.
So yesterday was the big day. He took test number nine (they don't really go in order; I know its weird). We won't find out until right around Christmas (literally getting the results on the 21st or 22nd of December!) if he passed or failed. The reason that I say the day is both loved and hated is because I am sure sitting for an exam that takes over five hours cannot be fun for Chris but when he is done and comes home we both know that there will be no studying for several weeks! He can come home from work and be DONE with work. We can make plans for the weekend and not have to consider when he will get time to study. I can once again count on him for help in the evenings with Sam's dinner, bath time and bedtime routines. These are all reasons to LOVE exam day or at least love once exam day is over.
Yesterday Chris came home feeling good. He felt good about the preparation that he had put into this one, good about how the exam went overall and good that it was once again over. He tried his hardest and there is nothing more that I can ask of him.

Now we just wait to see the results.

And this morning I thought everyone could use a good morning kiss... so here you go!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Halloween at the zoo

Sam is over 19 months old. You would think in that amount of time Chris and I would have figured out what it takes to have a successful outing. Sunday we failed miserably.
The Madison Zoo was having a Halloween party for kids that I was very excited to take Sam to. We had not seen the zoo yet and Sam hadn't worn her costume yet so I was pumped for both of those. However when we arrived at the zoo with an already pretty tired and cranky kid we quickly realized that we had forgotten the stroller! Who takes their almost two year old to the zoo for a huge public event without a stroller? We had to park several blocks away from the zoo so by the time we got to the zoo Sam was tired of walking and wanted to be carried. Of course, who did she want to carry her, ME. She is getting pretty heavy and with my hips disappearing it is more and more difficult to hold her. We also forgot anything for Sam to collect candy in which turned out to not be a problem because the trick or treat lines were SO long that there was no way we were actually going to participate in the Halloween portion of the event. Sam refused to wear the top half of her costume, which may be because it was pretty warm that day so a big wool cat costume was not the most comfortable thing to wear.
After about an hour of walking the zoo to see the animals and fight the big crowds Sam was almost asleep in my arms and we gave up on our big outing and went home.
Anyway, we did try to get the camera out a few times and get some pictures. Not very good ones but hey, at least we tried!

It's as if she is saying, "Seriously Mom and Dad, no stroller?"

This was towards the end when she could have cared less about the animals but I was still determined to have a good time.

She did enjoy watching the prairie dogs!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

I can sleep

My stressful time with work is over. And now I can sleep, except that I am still pregnant so I toss and turn to get comfortable and have to pee all the time. But still my brain is not waking me up with worries about the WAEE Fall Conference.
The biggest thing that our organization does each year ended yesterday. I was the co-chair of the conference this year and ran it from an administrative perspective; it was a lot! But beside H1N1 forcing about 8 of my presenters to cancel we had a great conference. There were still plenty of amazing sessions, workshop and field trips. We had a great bluegrass band play, our auction was so much fun and from what I heard from all the participants the conference was a great successes. Clearly they did not notice all the problems that we were having with HORRIBLE costumer service from the convention center that we were at, and all the broken promises from them regarding the food. But those that know the fiery side me would be proud because when the camels back was broken by yet another straw I lost my cool and got our organization a $300 credit for all the problems and hassles! Way to go me. So, now that the conference is over my job with WAEE is officially ended and I can just relax and focus on being a pregnant mom.

This Thursday is Chris's exam, attempt 2 at exam number nine for those that are counting, and once that is past us we will both be work stress free! Friday can't get here fast enough.

Sam spent last week in St. Louis with Grandma and PawPaw. We are so grateful that they were willing to take her so that I could go to this conference and Chris could focus on studying. I don't think Sam minded either because every time I called to check in they were doing something fun or there was a new fun story for me. She loved seeing all the family and the great time that she got with her cousins, Aunt Jojo and Uncle Chris. She ended the week with a quick visit at Nana and Grandpa's so that Chris only had to drive a few hours to pick her up and not have to drive all the way to St. Louis. The drop off worked out great. We are headed back to Bloomington this coming weekend to celebrate Halloween with them and have a longer visit.

Okay, now you are all caught up on us...hope you all had a great week!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Picking Pumpkins

Chris, Sam and I went out one evening last week to find our pumpkins. Not sure if we will find time to actually carve any this year but we wanted to at least let Sam have the fun of picking out her first pumpkin, now that she actually knows and understands what they are. So, I told Chris to keep his eyes out for a fun, family focused kind of pumpkin patch that we could go to. Weeks ago he came across one and saw kids out in the pumpkin patch running around to find the perfect pumpkin, it seemed perfect. By the time we got settled in Madison and had time to head out to find a pumpkin the fun pumpkin patch had been reduced to a pile of pumpkins on a cart. Oh well, we still had a great time in the freezing cold and bitter wind!

This is the face that Sam makes right now when you tell her to look at the camera and say "Cheese". I love the early "fake" smiles.
It took Sam quite a long time to decide which small pumpkin she wanted to bring home; we ended up with one large pumpkin and three small gourds! We just couldn't be mean parents and keep her to only one!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

promised pictures

I won't go into just what life is like in our wonderful apartment right now, I just don't have the energy. But I am sure you can all imagine living in a two bedroom apartment pregnant with a large dog, an eighteen month old and nothing to do during the day but remember what life use to be like in a three bedroom house. Oh yeah, we still don't have internet.

This weekend we came back up to Stevens Point to do some work on the house and additional packing. My parents joined us and were a life saver helping us with a huge painting and wall repair project along with removing a large tree that had fallen in our yard. We have had a great visit, gotten a ton of work done and will heading back to Madison to unload all that we have packed and then explore Madison a bit tomorrow.

Prior to the big pack-up and move Sam and I did one of the things in Stevens Point that we have both come to LOVE! Feed/chase the ducks along the Wisconsin River. I know there are ducks everywhere and I am sure that we can find ducks in Madison but at least for this season we probably won't be feeding the ducks anymore. I actually remembered to bring my camera with me this time.

Step 1: I feed the ducks to get a large group close by.
Step 2: Sam waits patiently for the ducks to get brave enough to start coming out of the water to get more bread from me.
Step 3: Sam gets really excited and takes off running after any duck that dares to step foot on land!

The whole adventure thoroughly wears her out and the ducks don't seem to mind too much.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Moving Day

Well we are officially residents of Madison, WI or rather Middleton, WI.

This weekend with the amazing help of our friends (THANK YOU Brandon, Traci, Nick and Stephanie!) we were able to get all the necessary furniture and boxes of stuff loaded onto the U-Haul, driven down to our new apartment and unloaded. It was a bit strange, and scary, walking through the apartment the first time when it was empty trying to imagine living there. It is not the nicest place. But once we got it cleaned, started moving our stuff in and had checked out the neighborhood a bit I was getting more comfortable with the idea. I mean don't get me wrong living in a small two bedroom apartment is going to suck but it means that Chris and I get to live in the same place, start our new life in our new town and just move on. So, I will deal with the REALLY bad kitchen, the very outdated bathroom and no space compared to what we are use to. Chris saw a ton of apartments and this was the best one that he found that 1) took big dogs, 2) was in a good neighborhood (this was one of my requirements!), and 3) we would be able to manage while still paying our mortgage. We will make this work; we will be together so it will certainly be better in that respect than what we have been doing since July 31st.

Today, I have my last day of training my replacement at work. I had to come back to Stevens Point last night to go back to work this morning. Sam will have her last morning with Andrea, nap in the pack n' play while I get some last minute packing, cleaning and yard work done and then the three of us (Sam, Polly and I) will load into the car and head to our new home. I am scared for Sam. I am scared that she is not going to understand what is going on, her personality will change or that she will not be able to sleep in the new place. We are hoping that since so much of the apartment is already set up with stuff she will recognize that this will help make her more comfortable in the new place. I will be trying my hardest to make it fun and comfortable for her but as a mom I am still very worried.

We won't have a home phone at the apartment, just our cell phones, so if you are someone that would have called our home number you need to delete that number from your phone and add our cell numbers. Need our cell phone numbers? Email me.

Oh yeah, and did you read the Fresh Art Photography Blog yesterday? My brother-in-law was a guest blogger in honor of my sister's 30th birthday and his posts are HILARIOUS! There are also a few amusing photos of me as a kid; seriously not to be missed stuff here people. Go check it out.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

I can see the light!

So I have had two days of training with my replacement at work and it is going really well. She is picking up all the book keeping, data entry and general office stuff really quickly. Tomorrow we tackle the more creative side of what I do, like the newsletter and I think she is excited and ready to see that part as well. With her picking things up so quickly I decided to go ahead and lay my complete "Conference To Do List" on her today. It was overwhelming even for me to talk her through but she seemed ready for it, nervous but ready for the challenge. It felt so good to talk through all the stuff that has to get done in the next two weeks and have the ability to pass most of it off to someone else! I feel my stress melting already.
Plus, Chris signed a lease on an apartment today in Madison, got a U-Haul truck rented for this weekend and sort of has a plan for how we are going to get the big stuff down to Madison. We have help lined up for Saturday in Stevens Point to load the truck we just don't have anyone in Madison on Sunday to help us unload the truck...hmmm...I don't think my doctor (or my mother!) would be very happy with me carrying couches! HA! I am sure we will figure something out. But just the thought that in the next week or so we could be living together, in one place all the time, is an incredible thought! Sure, it is a small not very nice apartment but whatever we are together.

All in all I think things are looking up. I am getting really sad to leave the friends, support and comfort of our home in Stevens Point but ready to start the next chapter of our adventure.

Speaking of our adventure....I realized I have not given you a baby update in quite sometime. I had my 26 week appointment today! 26 WEEKS! And I have lost weight...could it be stress related?! They actually asked me if they should be concerned about eating disorders! HA! Only if eating too much ice cream has become a disorder. Who knows how I have managed to lose weight but I have concluded that once we get moved I need to get back to cooking real meals and not just nibbling off of Sam's plate as I feed her. Other than the weird weight thing the baby is doing great. She is still growing, measuring bigger than my due date would suggest, has a great heart beat and is moving like crazy. All is good.

Enough for tonight! I swear some pictures really are coming soon!

Monday, October 5, 2009

who needs sleep

Second night in a row that my body has decided it doesn't need much sleep. Saturday night due to Sam having a rough couple of hours (tossing and turning, coughing, hiccups, etc.) I actually got up for the day at 4:00am. Tonight I simply woke up around 3:15am WIDE AWAKE! I tossed and turned for about 15 minutes but the whole tossing and turning thing is not much fun when you are trying to only sleep on your sides, keep a pillow under your belly and between your legs. I am having pretty bad neck and back problems right now and have found that the pillow offers some relief. I also knew that Chris has to wake up at 5:00am to begin his drive back to Madison and I wanted to make sure he got a good night sleep, so I got out of bed. It is currently 4:30am and I am watching Animal Planet and wondering what the hell is wrong with my body!
I hit a wall yesterday around 12:30 while we were watching the Bears game and wanted to nap but Sam was having a rough time napping herself and needed me. I got a power nap in of about 20 minutes. Is it possible that this little nap threw me off and made it so I didn't need a whole night sleep tonight? I don't think 20 minutes could do that but what do I know.
It sucks that I am not sleeping because it is going to be a CRAZY week. I start training my replacement tomorrow and have a TON of stuff to try and get wrapped up and figured out for this massive conference that I have been planning. I am terrified about having someone else take over (well kind of take over) for me right now; I just know that something is going to fall through the cracks for this conference.
So, I am sure that not sleeping, the fact that I feel like I have a cold and the pain in my back and neck are all stress related. But until this conference is over (October 24th!!) I just don't think I have any way to reduce my stress. Oh yeah, did I mention that Chris and I signed a lease for an apartment this weekend and are going to be trying to figure out how to move some of our stuff down to Madison this coming weekend? We are hoping that in a week and a half we can be all together "living" in Madison (I say "living" because we will probably still be making lots of trips back up here to move stuff, take care of the house and maybe even work on this house a bit). Nothing like adding in a move to bring down the stress level right?
Ahh, well....that's life.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

need a pic fix?

My camera has been on a bit of a hiatus lately so if you are in need of a Sam picture fix just head over to Fresh Art and see some great photos!

I promise I will be back to taking pictures soon.