Ending the unintentional break

January 25, 2012

in About, Daily Life, Experiences, Health, Holiday fun, Parenting, Photos, The Tough Stuff

For a good year after I finished law school, I’d have the same nightmare at least once a week. I would walk into one of my classes, not really sure how I got there or why I was there, and a professor would hand me a final exam.

In law school, our entire or a gross majority of our grades in each class were based on one single exam.

So in this nightmare, I’d be in a class in which I knew I no longer  belonged and I’d have to take a final on topics I couldn’t recall thoroughly, and I’d panic. I’d stare at my blank computer screen, not sure what to do, what to write… I’d eventually wake up in a cold sweat.

I still have that exact same dream when I’m experiencing periods of stress. Maybe two or three times a year. It’s funny how it always goes back to the same scenario, even when the stress is completely unrelated. I mean, I finished law school in 2005.

And despite what I thought at the time, life most certainly does get a lot more stressful and exhausting than law school.

I’ve opened up a window in Firefox, typed in the admin url for my blog and then sat there with that same baffled feeling. What am I doing here? What do I have to say? I don’t know anything.

Of course, there’s no panic or stress associated with this. Instead, I just think, “Hmmm. I’ve got nothing.” And I close the window and move on.

So after over a month of that, it’s time to just let it go and sort of start over. December sucked.  I’ve never been so happy for a month to pass. It encompassed an unbelievable amount of stress, peppered with a few truly joyful days over Christmas that we spent with my mom, dad, brother and “his friend,” as my kids call his long-term girlfriend.

Our house was packed on December 19  over 10 long hours.

We stayed in a hotel. I use the term “hotel” loosely. Very loosely.

The movers spent 12 hours loading, driving and unloading our stuff into our new home on December 20. We drove back to our “hotel” near our old condo in Coronado, 50 minutes from the new place, ate dinner and allowed our kids to pass out in the restaurant like the stellar parents we were. We carried them back to our “hotel” and collapsed. Well, they did. I worked.

We finished up a few loose ends and said goodbye to an amazing view and a really cool condo that we enjoyed for a few years.

We drove from San Diego to Arizona on December 21. Sprinkles was the real hero of that drive. Well, Sprinkles and Molley’s recalled Build-a-Bear.

I had a minor meltdown on December 23, when I was overcome with exhaustion, stress over the fact that we had done no Christmas shopping for anyone and the realization of what I was going to return “home” to the day after Christmas after another joyous eight hour drive.

Said meltdown involved sobbing and blubbering. I never cry or blubber. It was ugly.

I made up for the guilt I felt over an awful month of me working 100 hour weeks (yes, really, even through the move), the kids being out of school for the entire month and being home during all of said 100 hour work weeks and packing our lives up five days before Christmas by spoiling the ever living hell out of my children.

Thanks to some amazing friends (hi Sarah and Matt), who told us to GO in the middle of our nighttime get-together, we left our sugar crazed kids with them and braved the aisles of Toys R Us on the Eve of Christmas Eve. It’s a wonder I didn’t end up in the bar next door. Neeevvveeerrr go to Toys R Us on Christmas Eve Eve. Never.

We made it out alive with a few carts full of stuff. That’s when we realized that one of our purchases wouldn’t fit in the SUV.

I’d like to thank, from the bottom of my heart, the woman who observed us attempting to make this work on her way into the store, who, upon exiting the store, said, “I saw you trying to figure this out 30 minutes ago. Can I give you rope?” Bless her. Ed went to work.

We drove all the way from the East side of town to the far, far North East where my parents live, at 10:00 pm, with the hatch half opened, the gifts covered in sheets and the kids asking, “Why is it so cold in here? What’s open?” That was a fun hour. Thank God for car seats with five-point harnesses. I’m also grateful for the fact that I can still lie to my kids and get away with it under dire circumstances. “What do you mean? No, there’s no window down. I don’t feel it…”

Christmas was over the top and great and it was all about them. It was the first time and hopefully the last time that we took it to that level. Reserve your judgment. The squeals, laughs, happy cries and repeated statements of, “You spoiled us, Mommy and Daddy” made it all worth it.

(I did mention you should reserve your judgment, right? Everybody deserves one pass. I took mine this year.)

(I should also note that I’m very conservative on holidays when it comes to gifts, so my over the top is probably another family’s norm.)

I’m not posting photos of the actual Christmas gift unwrapping bonanza. But the Jeep that had me alternating between laughter and tears was a hit.

Mattix was a natural driver. Truly. He got behind the wheel and knew just what to do. Forty-five minutes later, he was driving and talking, a big mistake. It didn’t end well.


It took almost an hour to remove the cactus spines from Mattix, the truck and his pajamas. They missed his eye by about 1/4 of an inch. He took the brunt of them on the left side of his face and his left shoulder and arm. My sweet little man has always been so trusting when we’re helping him. He didn’t move an inch during the removal, which Ed handled because, HolyHellCactusSpinesAreHuge and maybe Mommy was a little freaked out.

But it ended well, he got back behind the wheel and we had a great day. (We’re still waiting for the injuries to finish healing, one month later!)

We drove back to San Diego. I barely made it through the front door of our completely packed up disaster of a home before the projectile vomiting stomach flu took over. I cry when I vomit. Thirty hours of hardcore stomach flu. Me + bathroom floor + fever + crying + puking = bad combo.

You are sooo welcome for no iPhone photos of that fun.

Our incredible friends Tiffani and Nick, came from Arizona for New Year’s Eve. You know her by now. She was our very first nanny who became family and he’s her fiance who proposed to her with our family, on the beach, just under one year ago.

It was just what we needed. We hung out, played games, they helped us do some unpacking and Ikea shelf building for the play room, we did some NYE celebrating after the kids were in bed and generally enjoyed ourselves more than I can articulate. (They also brought that Big Wheels Jeep over from Arizona. True friends put you kids’ Jeep in the back of their Jeep rental.)

Then they left. I cried.

The kids began school

School is ah-ma-zing. That’s an entirely separate and good post.

And then Ed left for New York. And the horrifying respiratory flu hit Mattix first. More vomiting than I’ve ever seen. 104.5 degree fevers. Night after night of no sleep while I danced along the fine line of take-him-to-the-ER vs. wait-it-out — not wanting to subject him to what I knew would come if I took him in, but not wanting to wait until it was too late. I never stopped working through it and surprisingly, only got slightly behind.

He stayed out of the hospital, but he ended up with pneumonia. I’ve not seen him this sick in a very long time, and never for this long. Molley caught the respiratory flu part.


I caught it.

Ed came home. He caught it.

The unpacking has been borderline unbearable. I apparently paid people to take my perfectly organized cupboards, drawers, shelves and closets and literally dump everything into boxes, in this fashion.

You guys remember what a freak I am, right? They took my uber organization and threw it in hundreds of boxes, just like the above. I still haven’t called the moving company to express my displeasure. I’m waiting until I can do it without screaming.

We’re almost through it all. Almost.

Ed has been very busy with work. I’ve been very busy with work. And our kids always come first. So the unpacking has been slow. But we’re almost there.

Here’s what Mattix has to say about the hard times over the past six weeks. I couldn’t agree more.

Okay, fine, so Ed accidentally stepped on his finger when the movers were there and he was showing me his injury. (And, really, how could I not take a pic of that?) So, yes, it’s on me, but this is what six weeks of ultimate stress will do to you.

I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. I can also see the laundry room floor, which is a miracle in and of itself. I had no idea it was possible to go through every sheet, blanket and towel we owned due to a vomiting child.

There you have December and January. Phew. And I’m coming back after the longest break and the longest “I’m back” blog post ever.

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Nicki January 25, 2012 at 10:09 am

Your Dec and Jan were exactly like my Nov/Dec. It was horrifying. I’m still surprised I made it through alive and frankly I’m still sort of suffering the long-term reprecussions of trying to work full time x2 parents while move while celebrate all the damned holidays while dealing with, by far, the most viral-filled winter we’ve seen in this house! It.was.rough. I remember reading about your move on FB and wondering why it sounds so easy for everyone else while it is so so so difficult for me. So while I’m not happy you suffered, i’m glad it isn’t just me :) Here’s to a more calm and peaceful and healthy 2012!


wendy @ mama one to three January 25, 2012 at 10:10 am

just found you through twitter. Love your blog; your family is outrageously cute.
I have that same dream–for me I am still in HS when I realize I haven’t gone to social studies all year and today is the final. This dream has haunted me for years!
Congrats on your new home.

I’m glad I found your writing. :)


Kelli K January 25, 2012 at 10:53 am

Oh, that sounds absolutely miserable (with some fun stuff mixed in but for the most part, miserable). You deserve an amazing 2012! And if it’s any consolation, I would take crying and puking over puking and wetting myself which is what happened to me a couple of weeks ago. Yes, I just admitted that. Obviously I have no pride. So happy to see a post from you- can’t wait to hear about the new school!


melissa January 25, 2012 at 10:56 am


1) that’s my exact stress dream too, although it’s not a law school class but something from high school usually. That, and one where my teeth splinter out of my mouth. Good times.

2) You’ll see that I’m not even linking to my blog anymore in my comment header…the blog is dead. Facebook won. I’m going to print them up for posterity and move on.

3) Welcome back.


January January 25, 2012 at 11:24 am

I have the college exam nightmare too. I also have the serving dream from my waitressing days where I have a hundred tables of people and am running in circles getting nothing done. I’m so happy you all survived. That is A LOT of sh#@ to go through. And most definitely kids deserve to be spoiled once in a while. Especially after a month like that. Welcome back Laura! Xo


Mandy January 25, 2012 at 11:47 am

Holy crap, woman. I hope you get a mani/pedi, or a full body massage, or a big cocktail. Something. You deserve it.

And that picture of the two of them in their Jeep made me SQUEE!


Terry January 25, 2012 at 3:22 pm

What a wonderful post to start the New Year with, I love it!!! I am sorry for the enormous amount of stress that crashed in all at the same time…what a ‘party’ it’s been for all of you. I wish you peace, health, prosperity, happiness and love in the New Year.
Mom (and grandma).
P.S. I love being your (and Matthew’s) mom!


Taryn January 26, 2012 at 12:06 am

Holy Moly, that’s more stress in one month than I go through in a whole year! Let’s hope that means you got it all out of the way and the rest of the year is smooth sailing for you!


kerryanne January 26, 2012 at 5:02 am

Love you, Laura!!!!


angie January 26, 2012 at 5:57 am

so glad to have you back!!!


Ronnie January 26, 2012 at 11:38 am

WOW…really just, wow!

I only had the laundry issue this week and I’m overwhelmed! It’s amazing how many towels, blankets, sheets, pjs, clothes, etc. you go through with sick kids!!!

Welcome back!


gayla January 27, 2012 at 10:19 am

Holy cow!! You just went through two seriously crazy months. So glad things seem to be settling down.

Also so glad you are back!


Laura January 28, 2012 at 1:48 pm

Laura – I’ve been following your blog for a few months and am a fellow adoptive mom of two. I just had to let you know that it was such a relief to see your last two postings as I had been worried about what was going on with you since the last we heard, you were about to move, in the middle of the holidays. That is a major prescription for stress overload and when you didnt post after the first of the year, it didnt bode well. I was imaging the worst, and you managed to exceed even that by adding flu bugs all around. Thanks for letting us know that you all survived. It will only get better now. Hang in there. Laura.


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