Wednesday, December 3, 2008

My Journey to The Moms Panel - Part 2

Ok, yesterday I left off with the phone interview, so I'll pick up there.

Waiting for the decision was so nerve wracking. After I knew that all of the interviews were over, it was just a matter of time. I was cautiously optimistic, but I still kept telling myself that I probably didn't make it and I should just be proud of how far I had come. All of the people who moved on to the third round had to do a background check. When I sent my forms back, I worried that I hadn't filled everything out or that I had forgotten to sign - even though I checked a million times before sealing the envelope! I was also replaying the interview in my head, thinking of things I could have or should have said. Basically, it was torture!!!

Then, on election day I received an e-mail that they would be contacting everyone the following day with the results - good or bad. Talk about being stressed out! I sat up watching the election results roll in, but my mind was consumed with what my fate would be the next day. That night I hardly slept as I thought about the possibilities.

The next day I carried my cell phone with me everywhere. I didn't dare risk missing this call! Finally at around 2:30 or so, my phone rang. I seriously almost passed out! I answered the call and braced myself for what I was sure was going to be bad news. When everyone on the other end of the phone yelled "Congratulations!!", tears immediately popped into my eyes. My hands were shaking and I just started crying like a baby. I think I even asked if they were kidding me, lol! I could not believe it. Actually, sometimes I still can't believe it. I was chosen to be a panelist on the Disney World Moms Panel in 2009!

I called my mom and husband with the good news and floated around my house like I was on a cloud for the rest of the day. The only bad thing was reading the posts on the DIS boards from all of the people who weren't chosen. I almost hated to write about my good news and how excited I was because I knew how disappointed others were. Luckily, everyone really seemed supportive and happy for those of us who had made it onto the panel. It was so great to share the anticipation with everyone there.

It's hard to believe that I got that phone call about a month ago. Back then it seemed like the training trip would never come, but here it is - the day after tomorrow. I am so excited to meet all of my new friends who I've been talking with these past few weeks on facebook. It has definitely made the time go by quickly and I am so eager to meet these wonderful people who I already feel as if I know.

Anna, Diane, Diane, Jo, Joanne, Jennifer, Doug, Cathy, Karen, Margaret, Kay, Jodi, Whitney, Jackie and Tanya - can't wait to meet you all in person! See you REALLY soon!!!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

My Journey to The Moms Panel - Part 1

Disclaimer - This is a pretty long post - way longer than I expected it would be, and it's only part one.

Wow, was it really way back in September when this whole thing began? Actually, it was way before that for me. I missed submitting my application last year by just a few days. By the time I found out about the search for the panel, it was too late. When I read a thread on one of the Disney boards that they would be looking for a new panel, I circled the day they would begin accepting applications on my calendar.

The day came and I excitedly read the essay questions. I typed in my answers in between changing diapers, filling juice cups and playing dress up. The maximum amount of words was 100 per question and I think I used all 100 words for two of my answers and 99 for the third. I looked over what I had written and hit submit. I didn't run them by anyone or second guess myself. Honestly, I never thought anything would come of this and I was just proud of myself for giving it a try.

Fast forward a few weeks. I checked my e-mail and saw an update from the Moms Panel. I assumed it was a "thanks, but no thanks" reject letter. I was shocked when I read that I had made it to round two. I had tears in my eyes when I showed my husband the e-mail. I immediately read the round two questions. This time I wrote them down and spent some time thinking about what my answers would be. I stayed up late that night writing my responses. I had pages and pages of scribbled sentences with scratched out words, arrows and circles. Trust me, only I would ever be able to make sense of what was on those pages and even I had trouble at some points!

This time I read my answers to my husband multiple times and listened to his advice. The next day I typed my three essays and looked over them once more. I felt butterflies in my stomach as I hit the submit button. In a flash, my answers were sent - hurtling through cyber space and I sat at my computer wondering if I had said the right things. I did second guess a few things, but I eventually told myself that it was done and I would just have to wait and see.

When the deadline came for all of the people in round two send their answers in, I started wondering when we would hear back. I began looking for information and came across a great thread on the DIS boards where I found a large group of people who were waiting just like me. I admit, I lurked for a long time before I ever introduced myself. I think I was nervous about opening up to a whole new group of people. When I finally did join the discussion, I was so relieved at how friendly and welcoming everyone was. It was really great to have the support of so many others in the same boat.

Once again, I had convinced myself that I would probably not make it on to the next round. I didn't want to get my hopes up too high only to be crushed. When I finally got the e-mail, I just looked at it in my inbox before I had the nerve to click on it. I closed my eyes and when I opened them, I almost fell off of my chair. I had moved on to round three!! I called my mom and my husband and shared my good news. This was so completely unbelievable. I quickly submitted my contact information so that I could get my phone interview set up.

Before I knew it my phone was ringing! I didn't want to seem unavailable or a pain so I said I would take any time. I ended up with the second interview on the first day. Yikes! On one hand, I was glad because I would get it done soon and not have to worry about it any longer, but I was also worried that they would forget about me because I was one of the first ones. I spent all weekend thinking about what they might ask. I made my husband ask me sample questions and basically I drove everyone crazy with my constant interview talk!

Finally! The day of my phone interview. My time was 2:15. My husband left for work around 2:00 and took the kids to my neighbor's house so that she could watch them while I did my interview with no distractions. I was so nervous! I sat at my desk and waited for the call. When the phone rang, I answered and waited to get connected to Laura, Leanne and the others conducting the interview. I say "others" because I can't be quite certain who was on the line because as soon as Leanne started introducing everyone, my two dogs started barking like crazy at something and I couldn't hear a thing. I was beyond mortified!!! Luckily, they all laughed and the dogs stopped barking.

The actual interview seemed to go by so fast. I felt like I answered the questions as best as I could. Some of the things they asked I expected and others made me stop for a brief second before replying. The time flew by and before I knew it, my interview was over. When I hung up, I just stood there for a few minutes replaying everything over in my head. The only thing I regretted was my answer to who my daughter's favorite princess is. I said that she goes back and forth between Cinderella and Belle. I blabbered on and ended with this - "I would say that she is an equal opportunity princess lover." OMG. Seriously Amber?? As soon as I said that, I was thinking to myself - how stupid are you? Other than that, I had high hopes that my interview had gone well.

Well, I know this is dragging on and on. If you are still with me, thanks for reading, lol! I will continue the saga tomorrow. Please stay tuned!