Life as MommyMo

Thursday, August 31, 2006

I get paid for this?!

In keeping with my life's apparent theme: Never A Dull Moment, I have spent the past few days dealing with an interesting type of crisis. I don't want to add to the Google index on the topic (nor do I need any extra spam brought on by the inclusion of certain key phrases), so I'll explain without using the actual words. Anyone who works with me will easily be able to recognize the issue.

A group of people at a clothing-optional vacation destination have joined our cause. Seeing as it's our goal to eliminate the nasty disease we fight every day, we welcome their support. It seems, ahem, as though some others see their efforts on our behalf as misguided and perhaps damaging to our reputation.

The crisis? In my world, that means helping people answer the phone calls and emails that usually go something like this: "Have you heard about this?" "Thought you'd want to know about this" and "What do I say about this?"

First, yes, I have heard. At this point, I've heard a NUMBER of times. So many, in fact, that I've had plenty of opportunity to think about how I feel about it as an individual. I agree with my organization. This is not about our personal values. While I wouldn't choose to sign up for that team, I am grateful that people from all walks of life give of their time and energy to make sure other families don't suffer.

Ours did. We were truly lucky in the outcome (and, arguably, even in the course of treatment) but it was not something anyone in their right mind would choose to face.

I've spent the last week or so helping to proof dozens of stories that will make up a monument to those who have fought the same fight. Too many of them didn't make it. For that reason alone, I say more power to anyone who is trying to do their part to end this disease.

Oh, and if the issue itself weren't keeping me busy enough, I also have just 19 days, 0 hours, 14 minutes, and 47 seconds to prepare for another rather large event that I've been working on for over a year now.

But who's counting?

Saturday, August 26, 2006

You get good material on the road...

Of the past 28 hours, I spent 4 of them waiting in airports to board planes, about 2.5 of them actually flying, another hour waiting for my half empty suitcase (containing the requisite toothpaste and hair gel), and about 8 hours in a car with my coworker and blogging buddy Leslie. All of this to visit a Relay at the very tippity-top of a mountain, accessed only by a road that is curvy enough to film BMW commericals on. More on that later...

First, I have to note that you know you've officially become a blogger when something strange happens and the conversation is not about how weird the event was, but what good fodder it will make for your blog.

I never figured Leslie and I would be at a loss for words while traveling together, but just in case the tourism board of the great state of North Carolina was concerned, they peppered the landscape with all kinds of sights that left me repeating, "Well, there's something you'd never see in New Jersey." Most notable were probably the huge water tower supposedly shaped like a peach that looked more like a sunburned rear end to me and some restaurant that had a 10-foot tall set of wooden flatware marking the entrance. My guess is they want to be prepared in case The Abominable Snowman ever makes his way down the mountain for a tasty meal. A not-very-distant third was a "dairy bar" festooned with ice cream cone-shaped lights clearly not intended for outdoor use, yet precariously dangling from the makeshift roof of said dairy bar. I shudder to think of the sparks that probably fly if it rains.

Our destination, the Mountaintop Relay For Life, was worth the crazy ride... Let's just say that the road up the mountain was curvy enough that we were asked in advance if we ever get carsick... and that maybe we should pick up some ginger Altoids just in case. Turns out it wasn't a bad suggestion. We braved the road with nothing more than Diet Pepsi and wound up losing our appetites for the rest of the evening.

I came down to North Carolina to see a Relay that earns top per capita honors in its population bucket every year. Now, coming from a sort of middle-of-the-road Relay area, when I heard this Relay in this little town raises over $200,000 each year, I was expecting a HUGE event. I wasn't surprised to see traffic at the one light in town as we approached the site. Turns out that traffic was because of construction. It also turns out that we sat in it while waiting to go down the wrong road. Apparently pink flamingoes aren't the beacons the event organizers had hoped they'd be.

I digress.

We turned into the event parking lot to find an event that would probably fit into the little park in my neighborhood. In other words, not very big. However, I quickly learned that this "quietly wealthy" (as I was told)community had raised $221,00 already, and Opening Ceremonies hadn't even begun. Only $58,000 was from corporate sponsors. While that's impressive, it was more impressive to me that the funds raised were coming from things like an auction in which a coconut cream pie fetched $250 and a mountain music festival that raised $17,000+. It's stories such as those that make me remember why I fell in love with Relay to begin with. I am also reminded that I have a very cool job!

As much fun as my whirlwind tour of North Carolina was, my favorite sight was still coming home to see Sam and Rob right past Security at the airport. Sam screamed and started bouncing up and down in his stroller. I hope someday he knows how much those little squeals mean to me.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

The Terrible Twos...

...are a very real thing!

Not to be naive and think that *my* kid would never act that way, but Sam's such a sweetheart most of the time that I was mildly hopeful that he wouldn't hit that terribly defiant and sometimes obnoxious phase in earnest.

He has.

Case in point: after a nice little snuggle session early this morning, Sam proceeded to very deliberately hit both Rob and I before we could wrestle him into a timeout. We literally had to stand with our backs to him, arms locked, to keep him in place. The good news is that rather than giggle the whole time -- which is typical -- he screamed like he was actually being punished. Imagine that.

I am trying to take solace in the fact that more experienced moms tell me that it's etiher age 2 or 3 that is bad. Maybe he'll be more consistently charming next year?

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Fate at the Farmer's Market

Well, if I ever doubted that some things are just meant to be, I think I finally decided this morning to put the notion to rest.

I've actually experienced quite a few things in my life that were simply not accidents: I know that's how I met Andrew. I know that's how Sam came to be our son. I know I was laid off from a yucky job just as the American Cancer Society needed someone in my area (which was also a time when Rob didn't want to acknowledge his cancer experience, but I was feeling a need to find a tangible way to show my gratitiude, but I digress...)

This morning, we ran into Jodi and Eric at the Collingswood Farmer's Market. We don't go there frequently, but had only been there about 5 minutes before we ran right into them. Jodi and Eric are the parents of the adorable Cesi, their sweet daughter born in China.

We first met them when we went to Music Together class last summer. We hadn't had Sam long, but wanted to foster his immediately obvious love of music. As soon as we sat down in class, there they were, and we just clicked right away. They'd been home from China only a couple of months when we met.

Well, we didn't see them again for a while, but asked the teacher (who goes to our church) if she'd seen them, only hear they'd asked about us, too. When you think about all of the people you meet, just the fact that we remembered and asked about each other was interesting enough.

About six weeks ago, we walked into the Moorestown Mall -- where we NEVER go -- and said to each other that we should really look them up. Several minutes later, just chatting over salads, they walked up to us. They were out on a "date," yet hadn't been in that mall for five years. We exchanged numbers and decided to get together soon. Rob and I went on vacation soon after and kicked ourselves for not having called them first.

Today, we made plans while we were together just so we wouldn't let the time pass before we actually met up again. Eric joked that waiting to meet at the mall, while a strange coincidence, is sure not to happen again within the next five years.

The moral of my story is that I just know we were meant to know these people. It's also yet another example of how the miracle of adoption really does bring people together. Our now-very-good-friends, a.k.a. Ethan's parents, were just here the other day, and we met them online of all places.

Hmmm. I just had a thought. Maybe it's Sam and Cesi who were meant to be together?! I'll have to remember that thought when they're out of college...

Thursday, August 10, 2006

My life as affected by the news

It just dawned on me how very much my life has changed in the past just-over-a-year. First, I'm working while my husband and son at are Gymboree. I wasn't quite sure what Gymboree even was at this time last year.

More significantly, though, is the fact that the latest news of a terrorism plot has real ramifications in my very own life. I'm sitting here stunned by the fact that I can no longer carry my bags onto the MANY planes that I travel on each month. I can't check bags, because checking bags would mean no hair product. No hair product means a slightly deranged look. Slighty deranged and serious business meetings aren't typically a good combination.

Now... of course I understand that the state of my "do" is unbelievably insignificant in the grand scheme of things. After all, very disturbed people are spending their free time plotting to blow up aircraft, thereby killing large numbers of people at once. Thank heavens for the people who devote their lives to making sure this kind of thing is prevented.

It's just so strange to sit here and think how much terrorism has affected my daily life. In some ways, they really are getting what they want: we're all terrified and affected in various ways.

I vow not to get annoyed at long security lines (which is a big commitment) since I know that they'll mean I get back safely to my family. That is worth the wait.

Monday, August 07, 2006

I was tagged...

I have been tagged by Leslie, so here are my answers...

5 things in my freezer: Waffles, Ice Packs, more ice cream than I should admit, peas, coffee we brought back from our vacation

5 things in my closet: lots of Relay Gear, several sizes of clothing, a bridesmaid dress, Rob's ties, the shoes I wore for my wedding

5 things in my car: transponder for my iPod, several Thomas trains, a car seat, my cell phone charger and an EZPass

5 things in my purse: my iPod, wallet, inhalers, business cards I've collected and a Weight Watchers Point slider

5 things in my wallet: license, US Airways Dividend Miles card, Marriott Rewards card, business cards to give away, Canadian coins

People I tag to do this list:
I'm supposed to tag someone with a blog, but Leslie is my only blogging friend and she tagged me.... Uh oh! I'm breaking the chain.

It's so good to be home

I spent about five days in Los Angeles last week for the Relay Strategic Conference. It was a great meeting, I accomplished a lot, met some fabulous volunteers, yet of course, I just wanted to see Sam and Rob. Goes with the territory of being a traveling mommy, I suppose. The trips that are longer than a few days are harder than the quick ones...(duh, mommy!)

It didn't help that Rob told me he was "fighting" with Sam several of the days. Uh. Ok. Fighting with a toddler. I know it was just his stress talking. Sam was teething and being a grouch, which translates to not one, but two, short fuses.

Anyway, I arrived back home yesterday (via my very first first class updgrade I might add... very nice way to travel!) to a little boy that was just thrilled to see me. It was sooooo nice. The best 30 min. I've had in a while were during the ride home from the airport when Sam did nothing but hug and kiss my arm and "sniff" me, which is a big bonding thing for him. We giggled the whole time and he's been a lap baby ever since. I love that.

Today is our eighth anniversary, too. I told Rob that all I want to do is celebrate somehow as a family. We had tears in our eyes this morning when after a quick good-morning-happy-anniversary hug and kiss, Sam whined that it was "My turn! Hug me!" That's what it's all about. We never would have guessed eight years ago what a normal day like today would look like, but we couldn't have asked for me. God is so good to us!