Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Exam Pep Day II

Congratulations, Love!

You survived Bar Exam Day 1!!

OK, the pic is from Ben & Lee's wedding, but I thought Leonard's enthusiasm perfectly embodies our excitement for you even in the face of your own, erm, "fatigue"...

Or, at least I'll assume you did, based on the "resurfacing" text you sent me...if just said "Bloof" but HEY!  You managed to send me a text!!

So, I know the process of studying for this exam has made you feel a bit like this:

But LOOK! You're in the home stretch now...Only ONE DAY LEFT!!!

So, go get some rest:

and when you get up, check in with your inner Awesome:

Then get on your way:

Keep on soaring:

And Conquer this thing!!!!

Just think, by this time tomorrow, your inner landscape can look just like this:

Kelly brought this picture back from  her travels in Taupo, New Zealand.  Especially fitting here since this was from the day she jumped out of a plane.  


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Exam Day Pep Post!

Sending gigantically wonderfully optimistic thoughts to James as he takes on day one of the bar exam first thing in the morning.  We love you James!!! You can do it! Rah! Rah!!

Go ahead, love, get your game face on:

Work your magic:

Take flight:

And enjoy the ride!!

We're rootin' for ya!!

And in case you need something to help you relax, here's a really cute picture of a bunch of puppies hangin' out in a pile of fresh corn that dad sent to me from the Farmer's Market:

Happy testing!  We believe in you!!!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Don't tell us how moonrise kingdom ends...

Last night James and I had a date night, thanks to Kelly, her friend Alison, and my mom, who created a nail-painting extravaganza to occupy the kids while we went to dinner and a movie.

It was really wonderful.  We hardly ever get to go out together, so we made the most of our time by just spending it together and enjoying the (uninterrupted) company.  We budgeted time for a dessert course our stomachs weren't up for, so we ended up arriving at the cineplex significantly early, and just sat in the empty theater and talked for about an hour before the film actually started (Late, I might add, but we didn't actually mind alll that much).

About half an hour or so into the film, everything suddenly cut out.  It was black and silent for a split second before a backup generator hopped to its task and the emergency lights came on.  We could hear a muffled rumbling behind the walls, and for a short while we thought just our screen had gone dark, and the noise was from a movie being played next door.

There was some confusion as to what was going on and whether the show would be resuming, but after a few minutes James and I decided to go see if what we were hearing was indeed just sounds from another theater or the source of some concern...and as we rounded the corner to the glass-fronted lobby, we were greeted with the spectacular sight of a brilliantly pink sky overwhelming everything but the deep purple clouds, which were billowing at great speed, producing so much lightning that the sky was almost never dark.  The rumbling we heard was thunder, which had seemed unlikely sitting in the cavernous theater, but here in the open (and yes, we did, probably stupidly, go outside briefly...I was considering just throwing in the towel and heading home to my babies, but it was way too unsafe to go anywhere) it was clear- there were so many strikes that each clap rolled over the last to create an unbroken wall of sound.

Last night's storm interrupts our local minor league baseball game, as captured by photographer Michael Kitchen
Then the theater's employees herded everyone back inside, and told us all to take shelter in theater 10.  The tornado siren had sounded, so no one was going anywhere, and things got somewhat surreal as I turned to go back into the theater.  The lights were still out, save the ER spots which gave just a bit of ghostly glow, and the whole place was decked out in honor of the opening night of The Dark Knight Rises ...Grey and black streamers, bats, and other gotham-esque decorations were everywhere, and they had literally filled the hallway with grey and black balloons, and the ribbons were hanging down almost to the floor, so you actually had to clear a way through them with your hands as you went along.

To add to all of this black-scale balloon jungle in the dark atmosphere, as I stepped through the door someone came around the corner in full Joker regalia, completely in character, mimicking Ledger's beautifully creepy mannerisms well enough that I was thoroughly creeped out when he started trying to control the crowd and direct them.  James had gone to the bathroom at some point, so I was waiting for him in the hallway as more and more costumed characters appeared and began interacting with the crowd in character.  At some point Batman replaced the joker as the one directing people to the safe theater, and there was a noticeable uptick in the number of people who actually followed.  I began to worry that the kids would be scared in this huge storm without mom & dad, and began trying to reach mom and kelly.

James emerged from the crowd and we followed to find a place to settle in the designated theater.  Some of the folks who had been camping outside the building in anticipation of the premiere had simply moved their tents onto the floor in front of the screen, and some of the balloons had escaped into the screening room as was an odd atmosphere.  I started piecing together fun ways to spin what we were experiencing, being trapped in a dark theater with a bunch of comic book villains, bizarre landscapes, dangerous weather and all, seeming like a real-life horror movie or something...I even composed some pithy descriptions in both my facebook and twitter accounts, but something stopped me.  I don't know why I shied away from posting about our 'dangerous predicament', but it just didn't feel right.

We were having trouble reaching anyone at home, and realized that neither of us had Alison's number...but then, out of the dark, I heard a familiar voice.  James heard it was most definitely Joe, another of Kelly & Alison's friends.  He was there, somewhere, in the dark...and he may be able to help us reach our children...Then I started noticing that a whole lot of the costumed wranglers seemed familiar, and all of a sudden I realized these were all my sister's friends.  I started to chase them down to get Alison's number, but then I was suddenly on the phone with Kelly, who said things were mostly fine and the kids were chillin' in the basement with Nana, drinking root beer and not worried at all.

Eventually they announced that they'd give free passes to everyone except batman ticket holders, since they were still hopeful that the premiere (at this point still 3 hours away) would be able to go on, and James and I decided to take the opportunity to peace out.  It was still way blustery and wet, but the lightning and thunder were a bit more distant and no longer right on top of us, and at this point I needed my kids and James had exceeded his allotted non-studying time and then some...

We drove home through totally dark streets.  The power was out everywhere and major intersections had become terrifying free for alls. (well, 6 laned 4-way stops...ew.)  It was also gorgeous. The lightning was striking all around, still fairly constant, huge, multicolored strikes lighting up the landscape like fireworks...

We made it home safely, hugged our kids, and felt relieved.

Then this morning I heard about what happened in Aurora, CO last night and I was suddenly really glad I hadn't posted those melodramatic tweets and updates.  In the face of the true tragedy that happened there, my silly musings would have seemed trite and even offensive...My heart goes out to everyone who's lives were effected by the horrible events at their premiere, especially to the children who were hurt or killed...

Today has been an odd day.  I've tried to avoid losing myself in the coverage of this horrible crime, but I find myself oddly touched by it.  It brings my attention back to the importance of love and family, and how easily and unexpectedly something could go awry and take it all away...

It's not the type of day I would have chosen to put my husband on a plane, knowing I won't get to see him for an indefinite amount of time, but that's what I had to do. It feels like the first signal that this is the end of this chapter...Dad left to spend some time with Pat & Scott out in OR a little while ago, but that seemed like a summer trip and didn't trigger my end-times response the way this does.  Soon summer will be over and I'll have to move the girls and cats to DC, Kelly will be off to college, and mom will be back to relying on nearby friends and neighbors day in and day out - which, as much as I am grateful for it, is not what I want for her, or what I feel comfortable with...but we have to wait on the results of her next scan before we know what the next steps will be anyway.  It's just a hard-hitting sort of emotional day.

Last night's storm as captured by photographer Alex Slitz for the Daily News
 But at least I can hold these girls close and try to make sure they know how much I love them, and hope they feel safe and comforted by that.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

novel naps

I just realized that I've posted about falling asleep on the couch twice in the last month.  Evidently a nap is just that novel, that its worth blogging about every freakin' time it happens.  Seesh!

The Bar Exam Leads To Messes.

So, I'm gonna go ahead and blame the bar exam for this one.

Anyone who has had the experience of studying for and subsequently taking the bar exam, and anyone who has supported someone through said experience can tell you what a beast that thing is, so I won't bother going into all that here, I'll just set this quaint little backdrop for the anecdote I'm about to share:

We have hardly seen James in weeks.  Months, at this point.  He's technically here, and we do get glimpses of him now and again - when he emerges onto the porch for a light breakfast before going for a short run (followed by a cool down walk with the dog, who ADORES this new routine) and a brief shower before hunkering down for the day.  He alternates between sitting in the glider in the corner of our bedroom and standing at a makeshift "standing desk" involving a stack of random stuff on a table, the height of which is just variable enough to go from fully upright to doing a sort of horse stance - all this to give his body some variation and exercise during the 12 or so hours during the day that he spends studying.

Unfortunately for his concentration, this routine means we know exactly where he is if we need to bug him about something, but we have been making a genuine effort not to abuse the power...he'll join us for a brief lunch and again for dinner, and will usually take at least a little break in the evening to play with the kids, who are so good and patient and understanding about the whole thing, but also really miss their Baba. At least his proximity means that he IS there if any of us really need him - like the time a few weeks back where Hazel tripped in just the wrong place and gave herself a pretty impressive black eye.

Anyway, because he's so crazy busy, its been back to the faux single parenting thing for me.  Granted, I have mom around this time since she's unable to work at the moment, and that is a HUGE help, but it isn't quite the same...And though she sometimes fools me into forgetting what she's going through because she's so incredibly strong, she IS still in the middle of going through Chemo - and she has a broken sternum, to boot...

So, nearing my third trimester while chasing my precariously precocious 2 and 5 year olds around day and night, trying to make the most of a summer on a shoestring budget (yay for lots of crafts mom has leftover from Kelly & me!) amidst everything else I have been attempting to do has left me a bit exhausted.

There are some (albeit, very few) times when the girls will be playing well enough together that, if I simply can't make it, I can let them know that I need to nap on the couch for a few minutes and they can manage not to get into too much trouble.  This afternoon, however, was NOT one of those times.

Today, I just crashed.  I was so tired I slumped over on the couch and dozed off without meaning was home, but not right there, and I could still hear chatter and such, so I thought I was ok anyway and didn't immediately rouse myself...but then I heard mom say, "Ooops ooops ooops!" and opened my eyes to see her swooping towards Hazel, who was standing less than a foot from my head, completely silent, every bit of exposed skin on her upper body - hands, arms, face, even her hair -completely coated in a body butter one of mom's friends had left for her.  "Lotion!" Hazel giggled, clearly delighted with her handywork.

And that is how the bar exam lead to my two year old getting into a perfectly classic mess.

Lotion indeed, my girl. Lotion, indeed.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Boing, Boing...

There are times when I think about all the things I want to do, even NEED to do, that just don't get done, and I can't understand what the crap is wrong with me...Sure, there is a lot of it that's piled up at this point, but none of it seems unusually difficult or anything - there is really NO reason why I shouldn't be able to get some of it done.

And then there are times, like today, when I spend more than an hour actively trying to type out a single sentence, and a quaint little lightbulb goes off in some corner of my mind that says "ah yes, of course.  THIS is why none of it ever gets done. How cute that you had forgotten!"...though usually before that thought is complete, I've had to get up out of my chair another 6 times to fetch something for the kids, put out three fires, answer 20 questions that don't relate at all to what I'm trying to focus on, and, with this pregnancy, make four bathroom runs.

I'm not complaining.  I love my crazy life.  My frustrating, crazy, crazy life.  I've got it pretty well populated with awesome people, and that makes a lot of the ping pong ball existence worth it.  There's just a lot of bouncing involved, and I guess it's no wonder that sometimes I lose things along the way.

Excuse me, I have to go pee.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Kelly In The Sky

I meant this video to be part of my birthday gift to my sister, but due to life being, well, life, I didn't get it done until today.  (Her birthday was on the 3rd.)  So, anyway, Sorry it's a bit belated, Belle, but happy birthday!

Kelly In The Sky from Kat Stroot on Vimeo.

[It's a bit longer than I had initially intended, but when you're editing analog footage shot by your 12 year old self, you have to work with whatcha got to tell the story...]

Sisterly Support

Me, after Hazel bit the dust during some sort of chase game this morning:  Ok my ladies, we've already had three or four big crashes just this morning, so I think we need to take a break from the running around like crazy games for a bit, ok?
Hazel: K.
Cadence:  OK Mama, we will.  Can you please get me some milk?
Me: Sure sweetheart.
Cadence (To Hazel, as soon as I was in the kitchen): It's ok Hazel, if you're not having lots of accidents, you're just not living life.


Thursday, July 5, 2012

Happy 4th!

This is the best picture I got, since it was so muggy out my camera's lens irrevocably fogged up, and the smoke...But I kinda love it anyway.

We had a wonderful time celebrating with mom & dad, the day came complete with movies, shopping trips, ice cream making, cookie baking, grilling (in a freak thunderstorm), listening to good music, spending time with family, and of course eating all the great food we made and lighting sparklers out in the yard.  Guess who LOOOOVED them?

Things have changed so much recently, its kinda stunning to step back and look at it all...Hazel has even shed the last vestiges of her babyhood, rather consciously, I might add, and has basically given up breastfeeding and diapers since we arrived in KY two weeks ago.

Things have been busy, but the adventurous spirit has prevailed, and I think we've been able to keep the attitude fairly festive in spite of all the craziness.