Sunday, December 31, 2006

New Year's Resolutions

Ah, the new year with a fresh start. And in that time honored tradition, I hear by resolve:

1) To diversify my workouts. I run and lift weights but I really need to branch out.
2) To eat less refined sugar. My chocolate intake is truly alarming. And on the same note...
3) To eat more fruits and vegetables. Really, who doesn't need more?
4) To read more to my kids.
5) To lose my patience less. And lastly,
6) To become a more aggressive poker player. I continue to finish 2 or 3 often but rarely 1st. More aggressive play needed.

Hope the past year has brought you as much joy as it has us. Happy New Year!

PS New pictures added in the top Flikr badge.

Long, Long Days

We have reached day 4 in the five days of hell. Tim is at work for the 4th day in a row from 7a-7p. The good news is that I've been able to get a head start on my New Year's resolutions as I have been using my full 2 hours daily at the gym! Would have loved for Tim's parents to have stayed but I can see why they wanted to get home. There is little peace around here. When Doug was in the shower, the girls invaded and informed him, "Three people can fit in this bathroom. You in the shower, Maggie on the potty and me [Morrigan] washing my hands." Just what we all want, a bathroom entourage.

We had some good weather yesterday so we went to the park and rode bikes at home. No such luck today with rain. The girls asked me to move my car out of the garage so they could ride bikes in there. Lasted all of 5 minutes.

I decided that this morning was when I would wash Eion's puppy & blankie. Great idea as they were very mangy but I forgot to put them in the dryer. Brilliant. He was less than impressed with the substitutes I found and I left him yelling "Want blankie! Want puppy!"

When Maggie & Eion are napping, Morrigan & I have been watching the Star Trek Voyager marathon I Tivoed last week. She calls it "Space" but seems to like it. She asked who the "guys with the camera eyes" were & I told her they were the Borg. Then she said "The Dorks?" No honey, that's the people watching it.

Friday, December 29, 2006

The Claw


After its 18 month residence in Roanoke, we have successfully passed the Claw to Tim's parents. For those not familiar with the saga of the Claw, let me bring you up to speed....

Christmas 1994. Tim & I just got engaged. For Christmas, his parents bought me the Claw which is a cheap knock off of the Club (remember that?) From then on, it began the rounds. At first, you could just give it as a gift. So it was a staple for many birthdays & Christmases. But soon it morphed into a game much like hot potato: the last one left holding it was stuck with it until they could pawn it off on someone else.

One of my personal favorite Claw moments was when Tim's brother, Pat, snuck it into their Dad's golf bag. He didn't find it there until he was back home on the golf course. We have been unable to get rid of it for months. Tim's family has really gotten good at subterfuge. Our last attempts to put it in Pat and Doug's cars were thwarted.

Over Christmas, Tim's parents never let their keys out of their sight. But not being ones to give up, Tim & I tied it under their bumper. The best part was they knew we had hid it in their car but they couldn't find it! They stopped a few houses up as they were exiting town to look one last time in the hopes of "declawing." Victory is ours!

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Merry Christmas!


Tim returned to work today officially marking the end of our holidays. He is working 7a-7p for the next 5 days. Mercifully for me, Arlene came today so I have some much needed down time. We had a wonderful Christmas with Tim's parents coming to visit. They arrived on Friday night. We took the whole clan downtown to the Science Museum on Saturday and out to the Market Building for lunch afterwards. While there we ran into a friend who asked if we would be coming to her parents' house on Christmas night. I told her yes, but we would leave Eion at home. She didn't understand at the time but when we saw her on the 25th, she commented on the huge scene Eion made when we left the market. She said, " It sounded like he was calling for help." Indeed he was...

The girls were very excited about Christmas this year. They got to open one present each on Christmas Eve. Arlene came by and had a gift for each of them so it worked out perfectly. She gave each of the girls a doll. They were the same except one had a blue bottle and the other was pink. Morrigan opened the blue one and immediately started trying to get the pink from her sister. She started with the "Let's trade or I won't be your friend" line. Maggie, a veteran of her sister's techniques, didn't fall for it. Her next line of attack was "Sharing is caring." Priceless.

But minor territorial battles aside, they were very good & had lots of fun. Morrigan kept telling us it was "the best Christmas ever!" Maggie was thrilled to open Eion's gift as well as her own. He didn't want to open anything but was played with the toys once they were out. The big hits were Rescue Pets for the girls. They are stuffed puppies that make noise & you can feed them a bottle. Eion liked anything that made noise and was especially fond of the fake leaf blower and the play laptop.

The girls are old enough that we were able to do some crafts too. We made pinecone birdfeeders that we hung on the tree outside the family room window. We tried to make salt dough ornaments but in spite of the fact that every preschool teacher on the planet can make these things, I botched it. Oh well.

On the 26th, we had a holiday leftover potluck & bad gift exchange. Everyone brought their kids and chaos ensued. But it was lots of fun & we, along with our cohosts Ann & Hans, plan to make it a tradition. And of course the best part of the whole weekend was we were able to pawn off the Claw on Tim's parents. But more on that next time!

Monday, December 18, 2006

Science Museum


We took the kids to the Roanoke Science Museum on Saturday. It was surprisingly good! The kids were having such a good time that we didn't even make it to all the exibits. Perhaps over enthusiastic, I bought a one year family membership (it was only $55) so we can go back more often. It had tons of hands-on stations that the kids loved. Even Eion was manageable as he endurance tested everything. And there was really only one thing I thought he was in danger of breaking.
The museum is downtown so we had lunch in the Market Building which has a food court of all independent operators (no chain restaurants.) I got to eat Cuban while the kids snacked on burgers and fries. While there, we ran into our friend Christy and her girls. She told me that her son, Jack, played against Morrigan at chess club last week. He was very complimentary & said that Morrigan would say "good move" to him and even after she lost said "good game." Made me very proud to hear she was a good sport. His other comment was that she was very chatty. Can't say I am surprised.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Maggie's Christmas Program


On Friday Maggie's preschool had a Christmas program. She had been belting out the songs at home. She knew every word. Then when they were on stage she got very shy and looked like she was mouthing the words. But she didn't burst into tears like a few of the kids. Maggie was a bit disappointed that she was a star rather than an angel like the 4 year olds but she got over it. She did like Mommy as a star and instructed me to wear the headband at the reception afterwards. Sorry, no pictures of that!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Yup, those kids are mine.



When I picked up Eion today, his teachers looked exasperated & said he had been "very bad." When I asked for details, they said "He was pushing other kids, throwing toys and stealing things from other kids. He was basically being Eion." Nice.

Morrigan came home and said she had to take a bath because she smelled like a boy with whom she had fought today. She said that he was 2 years older and there was pushing, hitting, kicking and scratching but it was ok because no teachers saw. Very nice.

At least when I picked up Maggie, her teachers said she had a great day as always and was very sweet to her classmates. Still I think the ratio of bad to good children is less than stellar!

Monday, December 11, 2006

Ho Ho Ho!

Much to my amazement, Maggie never got sick! Must have known I was done with puke! To the children's delight, we were very busy this weekend & they had many babysitters. Friday night we went to Tim's work Christmas party. (see photo above) I love office parties. Especially Christmas ones. Lots of people with nothing but work in common. And there are generally several women picking this occasion to wear clothes tighter than they would ever wear the rest of the year. We missed the inappropriate behavior as we were off to a cocktail party in the neighborhood. They had pomegranate martinis as the evening's signature drink. Yummy!

Saturday the country club had their children's Christmas party or as I like to call it, the "$10 glass of chocolate milk" since that is all my kids ate there. But I got a great picture of the girls with Santa. Eion was not cooperative at all for any pictures. He generally was causing a commotion wherever he went and had to be carried to the car yelling "help!" That night we went to see Borat. Unbelievably funny. I was in tears I was laughing so hard.

Sunday was my 35th birthday. The girls were very disappointed that I was not having a party. But we did get a cake and some balloons (at their request) and that seemed to make up for it. That night we had a birthday dinner with friends Greg and Ann (who also have December birthdays) and their spouses. Much fun had by all leading to a splitting headache at tennis this morning. I'm off to bed early! New pictures in the upper block on the right.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

I'm Out




That is it. One more kid pukes on me & I am out. Morrigan stayed home from school on Monday with a cold. She seemed in pretty good shape all day & I really thought I had been over protective. Then I heard her hacking cough in bed that night & found her covered in vomit. A change of clothes & a relocation to my room quickly followed. Then she threw up on me. One more round of new pjs & it was off to a crappy night's sleep.

She stayed home on Tuesday as well. Wednesday afternoon Eion wasn't himself. He didn't nap at all (the kid normally takes a 3-4 hour nap in the afternoon.) That night he wouldn't stop crying and coughing. So I moved him into bed with us. Two rounds of vomit and new pjs later, we settled in for no sleep at all. Tim, E & I were all up all night. Today he was in Jack Bauer mode but finally fell asleep after having been up for 30 hours. I'm at about 39 hours and getting giddy. Maggie is sure to get sick next but I've washed all the pjs so I am ready.

Decorating the Tree


This week we put up our tree. The girls were really excited about decorating it themselves. We have plastic ornaments so I let them have at it. They are mostly all hung in one area in the front but it was worth it to see them so excited and singing Jingle Bells as they worked. Eion mostly tried to undo what they did. The girls didn't let that dampen their holiday spirits. They just saw it as a chance to hang more ornaments!

Monday, December 04, 2006

Help!


We all went to the grocery store this weekend. Eion was being, well, himself as we were trying to check out - screaming & running all over. I told Tim I would take him to the car & wait there. Maggie wanted to come too. After they were in their car seats, Maggie wanted her window open. She opened it and proceeded to say "hi" to all the passersby. Eion, on the other hand, was yelling "Help!"

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Sesame Street Live!


I was lucky enough to get to see Sesame Street Live twice this weekend! I bought the girls tickets for the Saturday show ages ago. The day after I bought the (nonrefundable) tickets, Maggie's school sent home a note that they were going to the Friday show. So I went with Maggie on Friday. She was completely underwhelmed. It was not as bad as the circus but she informed me she wasn't going the next day. I told her we would meet Elmo on Saturday but no dice. The girl had made up her mind!

Luckily, Morrigan's friend Riley was able to go in her place. Compliments of Uncle Dominick who works for the production company, we had a "meet and greet" with Elmo. The girls were thrilled. This was the 5 year old equivalent of backstage passes at a rock concert. Then Jeff, a friend of Dominick's who works on the show, hooked them up with toys, programs and cotton candy. What they liked even better than the toys was the confetti that shot up in the air. After the show, they both insisted on collecting a bag of it. So I delivered Riley home, all fueled up on sugar and popcorn, toting a bag of trash. Morrigan even shared her haul with her siblings. The favorite item was, you guessed it, the confetti.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Thanksgiving Weekend


Well we survived the 10 hour drive to Detroit with the kids. Would have loved to have driven but we're far too cheap. The tickets were something like $500 each! Tim worked Saturday - Tuesday 7am-7pm before the trip. Though he was beat, we decided it was still better to leave Tuesday night & get a few hours under our belts. The kids were so excited about "driving in the night" (they don't get out much after dark) and staying in a hotel that they didn't fall asleep right away. In fact, they sang for the first hour. All I could think of was that line from Dumb & Dumber: "Radio? Who needs radio?" But they did eventually fall asleep & we were able to drive about 4 1/2 hours.

We arrived at Tim's brother Pat's house around 1pm on Wednesday. We spent Thanksgiving day there with Pat, Gretchen, our nieces Kelsey & Darby, Tim's parents, and Gretchen's mother & sister. It was a nice relaxing day (read: I did not have to cook.) The girls had a ball with their cousins. I had a friend make them all matching dresses (see previous post) so I was in matchy heaven! Kelsey & Darby did want to change after their obligatory photo session into play clothes. Morrigan's response was "What are play clothes? Aren't these?" Now that's my girl.

Friday, we went to my Mom & Dad's (see picture above) where we had brunch with them, Dominick, Chris & their friend Laura. Much to my delight, my family bent to my will and had Pizza Papalis which I've missed terribly. We then spent the afternoon visiting friends Steve & Michele. It was wonderful to see them as it has been about 4 years since our last visit home. The girls had a good time with their kids though I was slightly embarrassed by the way my kids ate the entire time we were there. You would have thought I never fed them! We dropped the gals off at Mom & Dad's where they were sleeping over & we went to visit Alan & Barb.

Saturday, Tim spent the day with Pat (it was his birthday) and I went to get the girls from my parents. Olivia & Jen met up with me there & we went to lunch, leaving the kids with Mom & Dad. It worked out great. Olivia's daughter, Ava, fit right in & we got to catch up uninterrupted. That afternoon while Maggie & Eion were napping, we watched the original Star Wars with my family. Now Morrigan can speak about the dark side with authority!

That night we had a birthday dinner for Pat & got ready to leave on Sunday. We did the whole drive home in 1 day and it really wasn't too painful. That combined with the great weather we had in Detroit (really) leads us to believe that we will never have this good a trip again. But we did promise to be back before Eion turns 5 so we will likely brave the roads again this summer. All the way around, it was a great weekend!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Can't Get Enough of This Song


Had a great Thanksgiving in Detroit and haven't had a chance to post because of the backlog of work, laundry etc. since we returned. The picture above is the girls and their cousins, Darby & Kelsey. Full turkey day coverage to come....

But for now, I can't get enough of this song from the Dropkick Murphys, I'm Shipping Up to Boston. Awesome Irish folk music mixed with punk. Love it! Makes you want to drink too many pints and get in a bar fight.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Boyfriends


Morrigan is in love. we get to hear about Crawford Higgins on a day to day basis. She informed us that he gave her a kiss and they were going to get married. Friendship with the opposite sex seems to be a complicated issue. She & I went to lunch the other day downtown and saw a friend of ours, Chuck. So I said hi & we exchanged pleasantries. Morrigan asked "Do you know him?' I said yes. She then asked "Do you love him?" Yeah, not so much.
Have a great Thanksgiving. I will update you on our holiday adventures after the weekend is over!

Destructo


Maggie's teachers told me the nickname Eion had at school was "Destructo." I said it was better than what we generally called him: the little f**ker."

Thanksgiving Feast


Maggie's preschool had a Thanksgiving feast with a little program for the parents. I knew they had a surprise because her teacher told her to keep it a secret. So the day before the feast Maggie told me to close my eyes so I wouldn't ruin the surprise. Then she sang the song they learned. Even if not a surprise, it was cute.
All the preschool classes sang songs for us and then we had a "feast" (read: turkey sandwiches and chips) with the kids. They had a board up that had each kid's answer to the question "For what are you thankful?" Maggie said school. She's not the only one!

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Doctor Maggie


I overheard the girls playing "hospital" the other day. Maggie went up to Morrigan, handed her a baby doll & solemnly said, "I'm sorry to have to tell you this, but your baby died. There was nothing we could do." Ok. Note to self: do not watch House when the kids are around.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

The Power of the Darkside


I'm posting early today. All the kids had to go to bed early. They were all fussing endlessly and I remembered something from a baby book I once read. It said that fussing in the evening meant the baby was tired & needed to go to bed. So off they went. Goodbye children!
I tried to take a picture for our Christmas card the other day. This is as good as it got. Maybe no picture this year....
The girls continue to be obsessed with Star Wars, which they have never seen. I am routinely quizzed on the name of each episode. They also think it is the coolest thing ever that Anakin Skywalker was injured by hot lava, another one of their obsessions. These question and answer sessions generally end with the girls reminding me "You don't know the power of the darkside."

Monday, November 13, 2006

Picture Retake Day


Today is picture retake day. Can't turn out much worse than the original. I have to blame the photographer. One of Morrigan's friends also took a pretty bad picture. But he loved it. He told his parents it looked like he was turning into a dinosaur.

Chuck E Cheese


The kids and I just spent the evening at Chuck E Cheese, which surprisingly, is not nearly as painful as it sounds. We were there for a birthday party and all the kids did great. Eion immediately took off and found anything with a steering wheel. The kid loves cars. And no need to cook dinner - pizza, yum! As part of the party, they all got tokens. My kids never use them up so we add them to the ever increasing hoard of tokens we keep at home. One day we will really clean up at skee ball. The party was over at just the right time to bring the kids home and put them to bed. So I am off to have a tangerine martini and watch Heroes.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Parent Teacher Conference


I had a parent teacher conference last week for Morrigan. She is doing very well academically. Believe it or not they learn things in Kindergarten now. All I remember from Kindergarten is graham crackers and playtime. Times have changed allot and they now have all kinds of standardized tests for 5 year olds. Her teacher also said she was stubborn and very talkative. I simply don't know where she gets it.

Friday afternoon I had a tire blow out on 581. Now there are Veldmans everywhere shaking their heads. How could a niece of Uncle Pete let this happen! We actually were planning on replacing these tires in the Spring. Guess we were a bit too late. Fortunately, this happened as I was on my way to pick Maggie & Eion up at school. I had to call in many favors to get them home. It was ridiculous. I had three different people involved before it was over. Lucinda picked them up but couldn't take them to our house because she had to get her kids home to nap. April could take the kids home but needed someone to watch her son. Enter Hans who watched Andrew so April could get Maggie & Eion. Anyway, some nice guy stopped on the side of the road to help me change the tire. It was 75 degrees and sunny and he was crawling under the Suburban on the side of the highway trying to get the spare tire out. In the end I had to call a tow truck anyway but it was really refreshing to find there are still good samaritans out there.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Maggie-pie


The other day, Maggie dropped something and said "God damn it!" I have really cleaned up my act since we've had kids but that one does sneak out occasionally and was apparently noticed. So Maggie & I had a conversation about how she shouldn't say that and Mama shouldn't either. Good. All is well. About an hour later she is coloring and says to me, "Look Mama, I'm not saying god damn it!" I really have to watch my language.

The other fairly disturbing Maggie development is that she has started to smell. I am talking about grown up style b.o. At first I thought maybe I had just gone a day too long without giving them a bath. Then I realized she pretty much needs one daily. For all of you wondering why this is different than normal, I am not a bath every day for the kids kind of Mom. We generally are on about a every four days schedule. But no more. Honestly, just giving Maggie a bath wouldn't be so bad but my children refuse to bathe alone. When Morrigan and Eion hear the water running, they come dashing in too. Morrigan can be reasoned with but Eion will just leap in fully clothed if you don't put him in. And if two are in, may as well wash all three. I consulted a friend of mine who is a Neonatologist hoping Maggie's condition was medical. Maybe she was short a vitamin and that would fix things. Instead, Ann's very House-like response was "No, she's just a stinky kid."

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Election Day


Ah Election Day. They day they close school so you can take your kids with you to vote. Actually, can't complain. Arlene came to babysit. The kids were all very excited to see her which may or may not be directly connected to the fact that she serves cheetos.

Tim and I went to vote and then look for bathroom tile. I have had it with our downstairs bathroom. The tile is original to the house & is badly in need of a makeover. We have also determined that we need professional help. For the first time we are getting a decorator to help select tile & paint. I really would like to be one of those people who can do it alone but I am lacking skills. I have several unimpressive rooms I have decorated on my own. Enter Randall, who will hopefully have some good ideas. I couldn't get an appointment until late December but we aren't in that big a hurry anyway.

I did not have a very good election day. All the votes went opposite direction of how I voted. The Republican Senate candidate looks like he is going to lose and the gay marriage ban passed. But I'm still glad I went as control of the Senate rests with the outcome of the Virginia election. And besides, you get those nice "I voted" stickers to wear all day and show how you are part of the process.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Weekend Fun


Tim was playing poker at the lake on Friday (no girls allowed - probably they were afraid of another beat down by Katie!) so I invited the other wives and kids over for pizza. The kids were great and all played peacefully, leaving the moms to enjoy tangerine martinis! Eion (above) is foolishly trying to get some. He really should know Mama doesn't leave any in her glass. It had been a while since we had a girls night so it was good to catch up. And the kids even cleaned up after they were done playing. Amazing!

Saturday Tim & I went to a benefit for the Children's Miracle Network with our friends Ann & Hans. It was held at Roanoke Country Club - good to be on home turf. We ran into the kids' pediatrician, Dr. Eskenazi. So I regaled him & his wife with stories of how much the kids loved him. I told them about how Maggie was playing doctor. I called her Dr. Maggie & she said "No! Call me Eskenazi!" Then I told them about the time He walked past our car & the kids completely freaked out and started yelling "It's Dr. Eskenazi!" over and over. I said "You would have thought Jesus Christ himself had walked by." Later Tim asked why I couldn't have used another celebrity like Elvis or Elmo. Baffled, I asked why it mattered. I had forgotten that they are Jewish. Smooth move Katie.

Sunday both girls had birthday parties to attend so I was very lazy and camped out on the couch to watch tv while E napped. I had Tivoed a bunch of Da Ali G Show. In spite of the fact that this has been on for years, I had never seen it prior to last week. What a riot! For the 2 people other than me who have not seen it, you have to check it out!

Halloween


The kids had a ball on Halloween. Maggie & Morrigan both had parties at school that day so I spent the better part of the day at those. I was amazed by the ongoing popularity of Star Wars costumes. Maybe it is just because I was a Jawa in 1st grade but it warms my heart. The parties mainly revolved around eating snacks but it seemed to make them happy that I was there.

That night we went trick or treating with our friends the Zachmanns, Heerens, Pearsons and Hoffs. It was a big crew of 12 kids plus parents. We all took our travelers and hit the neighborhood. I was really impressed that the kids remembered to say thank you at almost every house. Eion couldn't quite get out "trick or treat" but he would say a cute thank you. And then try to bust into every house. Having not thought ahead, we didn't make Maggie take a nap so she, Eion and Luke were done early after about an hour. The older kids persevered for another hour or so but then we were all done. Maggie was an awesome kid with whom to share candy. She would take a bite or two then give it to me. Granted, it was second hand candy and I wouldn't want it from someone else's kid but I was too weak to turn down peanut butter m&ms.

Halloween has always been one of my favorite holidays so I was proud the next morning when Maggie asked, "Is it Halloween again?" and cried when it was not. After she got over that, she & Morrigan immediately started planning costumes for the next year. Just like Mom used to!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Mom & Dad Come to Visit

Mom & Dad came to visit this past weekend & watch the kiddos while I recuperated. Yes, phase II is complete. I spent the weekend in a nice Vicodin haze. But this surgery was much easier than the last one so I was up and about much more. Which is good because the week of Halloween festivities had started. I don't know about you, but when I was growing up, Halloween was one day. Really the fun only lasted a few hours. My kids went to three parties each and then went trick or treating! Which actually is ok with me. Halloween has always been my favorite holiday.

Dad & I went with the girls to a little Halloween carnival at Morrigan's school on Saturday. There were little games and cake walks. The weather was pretty nice & they were excited about the inaugural wearing of the Cinderella costumes. A friend's daughter, who is in 5th grade, met me for the first time. She said "You're Morrigan's Mom? There are 5 girls competing to be her big buddy. Everyone wants Morrigan!" To which my response was "What!?" But I am not that surprised. She really is a master manipulator.

Tim and I went to a couple of parties that night. I didn't really feel up to it but I hate to cancel at the last minute. We went as convicts - bright orange jumpsuits. Big & loose, perfect for the post surgery party goer!

Sunday, the country club had its Halloween party for the kids. About 100 sugar fueled kids running wild. It was perfect. I was glad to have Mom & Dad there as my kids have perfected running in three different directions at all times. I'll cover Halloween next time. Pictures from Halloween are in the lower group of pics to the right.

Maggie's Class Goes to the Circus

I went to the circus with Maggie's class last week. (That's her with her friend Jack.) Yes, all three year olds. Yes, the circus. To make it worse, it was not a big, nice circus. It was about as low rent a production as I think I have ever seen. But I was not there to see the sights. I was there to form wonderful lasting memories with Maggie. Actually she found out that I went on Morrigan's field trip & asked in the sweetest way, "You're coming on my field trip too aren't you?" No matter my motivation, we were going to have some Hallmark style memories, damn it.

We were doing great until the popcorn & soda ran out & I refused to buy cotton candy. Then it all fell apart. [Not to make excuses for the gal but this things was WAY too long for a 3 year old and they had smartly planned it so she missed lunch. Like me, my kids do not do well with missing meals.] So she cried all the way out and all the way home. I tried to cheer her up & asked her & Jack what their favorite parts of the show were. Maggie spit out, "My favorite part was nothing!" Clearly we were not up to Hallmark snuff. This may have qualified as a Springer moment.

But I made a decision that day. I will never again attend a circus. (And really, it has nothing to do with Maggie's reaction.) I am sure the bigger circuses are nicer but these poor animals seemed miserable. They were let out of tiny cages to come & be poked by sticks & whips. Then they were immediately shuffled back to the small cages. Now I know that hell has frozen over. I agree with PETA on anything. Rest assured, I will continue to wear fur and eat meat with reckless abandon.

Playing Catch Up

Oh faithful readers, my apologies for leaving you without any new tales of the clan McKernan for 2 weeks. I promise to make up for my transgression and fill you in on every boring detail of the second half of October!

The picture above is the girls at their friend Grace's birthday party. The carriage rides were very well received. We didn't let Eion go on one as I am certain he would have leapt to his death or dismemberment. When not on the carriage rides, Morrigan became a complete clown groupie. She spent the entire party within a 5 foot radius of Ziggy. Tim tried very hard to make her go up to him and say "Make me a bicycle clown" (see Wedding Crashers) but she wouldn't. Incidentally, Ziggy has a tongue stud. I am no expert, but I thought body piercing and children's entertainment were mutually exclusive.

Later that day we hosted our supper club. We themed it "Vampire Begone" (thank you Anne & Bob Gray.) The herb & garlic encrusted tenderloin was a big hit; the experimental lemon garlic sorbet had a less enthusiastic reception. But overall, everything went great. The kids came downstairs the next morning and very excitedly said "Look at all the corks!"

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Plagues


The ladybugs have attacked. I am not kidding. As I sit in the office, there must be a couple hundred of them around the door. The basement is even worse. It is like something out of a horror film. It's bad luck to kill ladybugs but does that still stand when one is under siege?

Took the kids to the pumpkin patch last weekend. The girls had a ball. Eion kept trying to run into the street. Tim carved the first pumpkin last night. He really does an awesome job. I'll post pictures once he finishes the others. As I was at a Junior League meeting last night and he had kid detail, he couldn't get to them all.

We have a super busy weekend/week coming up. My little sis from my sorority days, Lisa Keller, is coming to visit tomorrow with her 3 kids. Friday, we have a goodbye party for our friends the Stacys who are moving to North Carolina. Saturday the girls are attending a birthday party and we are hosting our supper club. Next week, I'm going with Maggie's class to the circus and hosting my "bunko" group. I'm going to teach them to play poker. Now am I getting ready for any of that? Of course not! Instead I am obsessed with finding the perfect shoes on eBay to go with my 70's outfit for a Disco party in a few weeks. My rig is great so far. Just need those shoes....

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Busy Week


Hard to believe that it is Thursday already! This week has flown by. Monday, I went with Morrigan's class on a field trip to Sinkland Farms (a pumpkin patch.) I was really surprised at how happy she was that I came. She wanted to sit with me on the bus and stayed with me the whole time rather than going off with her friends. Better enjoy it while it lasts. I'm sure teenage Morrigan will not act the same way! But we had fun. She was a bit distressed that all the pumpkins were dirty. Explaining that we were in a field of dirt didn't help. Luckily, another parent with a cloth came to the rescue. Maggie knew that I was going on Morrigan's field trip so she wants me to come on hers too. So I get to go to the circus with 12 three year olds AND drive 5 of them to Salem!

Tim & I went on a 5.4 mile hike called the Chestnut loop that is near our house. It is part of a series of trails through national forest that are literally 200 feet from our front door. I can't believe that it took me three years to get on them. But then again, I've been pregnant & caring for newborns so much I never had the time. Now that I have been there, I want to take full advantage of them!

Last night we went to our second ballroom dancing class. It is fun which is fortunate because we really suck. Coordination was never my strong suit. Our friends Hans and Ann are taking the class with us and have much more rhythm! But we had fun and laughed allot. Maybe we can even get a few moves down before the end of the classes.

Tim had to go back to work today. He had 7 days off (in a row) so I guess it was about time. But after the next 2 weeks, he has a 6 day off stretch again. We are getting spoiled around here!

Last but not least, I decorated for Halloween this week. It is one of my favorite holidays & I was happy to get out the gear. Maggie helped me unpack everything while Morrigan was at school. When she got home, Maggie took her around the house to show her all the new additions & Morrigan kept telling me "I love all this Halloween stuff!" Like mother, like daughter.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Snakes on a Front Yard

So I come home from tennis this morning and there is a 2 1/2 foot long snakeskin in my driveway. Eeww! Well I wasn't sure if it was skin or the actual snake at first so I grabbed a big shovel & went to check it out. Fortunately, it was only skin. Now we do live on an eastern facing rocky slope, an all-time favorite of copperheads, so I was not completely shocked to see a snakeskin. But as we had not had a sighting for a couple of years, I was not happy either.

I left it for the girls to see. They do not have my paralyzing fear of snakes and thought it was neat. All the kids wanted to touch it. On my way in the house, I found yet a second skin (that I did not see earlier) that was at least 5 feet long (see picture above.) We [read: Tim] bagged that one for later show and tell sessions. What was the worst is the big skin was on its way under the house. So I probably have some gargantuan copperhead hibernating under my garage. This is about all the snake action my ophidiophobic self can take.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Driving Home From Tennis

I was driving Morrigan & her friend Katherine home from tennis clinic today and the conversation went like this:
M: "Mommy, can I marry Mark?"
Me: "Yes but when you are much older."
K: "I already know who I'm going to marry."
M: "Kyle?"
K: "No, he is yucky and mean. I'm going to marry Logan. I already kissed him hundreds of times."
M: "You should tell him to stop that, it's gross."

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Joke Evolution


Morrigan has learned to tell a joke. Now she has been telling jokes for some time but they weren't very funny. They all went something like this, "Why did the chicken cross the road? Eyeball!" At which point she and her sister would burst into hysterical laughter. [Maybe I should correct my previous statement, I didn't find them very funny.] But the other day, she busted out with "Why is 6 afraid of 7? Because 7 8 9." Clearly we are not planning a sitcom for her yet but it is much improved over the eyeball or bonklehead punchlines.

I was cleared to go back to the gym. All I have to say is OUCH! I ran for the first time in 3 weeks & my legs are killing me. So if you see me hobbling about town, you will know why.

Tim is working all weekend (do you see a pattern here?) so the kids and I are off to the gym and then a picnic at the park. The really unfortunate thing is, cue the violins, several docs in the ER have resigned in the last week so we can expect more work weekends. Bummer.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

E's New Rig


I knew I had done right by the little guy when Tim asked if they made this outfit in his size.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Eion Speaks

More accurately, Eion speaks more and more. The other day, Tim came home E ran over to him. Tim picked him up & hugged him. Eion responded by cheering "Daddy, Daddy, Daddy!"

The gals and E were having M&Ms at the kitchen island. Eion dropped the last half dozen or so of his on the ground. His sisters, in a very vulturesque manner, swooped in on them yelling "Let's eat them!" Eion, who has mercifully not mastered exiting his stool, stood on it screaming "Mine, mine! Get down! Get down!"

Morrigan went to the chess club at school this morning. I will be very interested to see how this works out. When Tim tried to teach her in the past, she refused to use the rules and made up her own game. Maybe they will have more luck. And while they are at it, maybe they can teach her to pronounce it "chess" rather than "chest."

Maggie had her three year doctor appointment on Monday. She is in perfect health but was, like her sister, referred to an Ophthalmologist. They showed me the growth charts and I asked, "So Maggie is in the 105th percentile for height?" Turns out she is beyond that but that is as high as they chart. Kid is going to be taller than me by 1st grade!

Tim passed his lasik screening so it is new improved eyes all the way around! He is going to wait until after the 1st of the year too. They have some brand-new laser that corrects people to better than 20/20 most of the time. What a switch that will be!

Monday, September 25, 2006

Maggie's Birthday Party


Maggie had her big princess (and prince - she has allot of male friends!) tea party on Saturday. (Photos available in upper flikr badge.) She & Morrigan were very excited to break out their new birthday dresses and of course, tiaras! We had it at the Club and there were about 20 kids there. They served tea sandwiches that were pb&j and grilled cheese without crusts. And they got to drink apple juice out of real tea cups! After cake, the kids ran wild, literally. One of her friends, Stella, said, "Let's play chase!" And the screaming and running was on. Fortunately, we were the only people there and their antics were generally well received or at least tolerated. Only small glitch was that I forgot glue for the craft, make your own princess or pirate hat. But the events coordinator came through for me & found some. Maggie had a fantastic time and said it was the best birthday party ever.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Maggie Turns Three


Today was Maggie's 3rd birthday. (Pictured above with prized birthday gift.) She got to be Daddy's helper making pancakes and took cupcakes to school. Tomorrow is the big princess tea party. Full coverage available later this weekend!

We found Eion a killer pirate Halloween costume. But for a time we entertained the idea of dressing him as a drunken sailor (his unsteady gait serving as the perfect prop.) Tim determined no drunken sailor costume is complete without a jug marked "XXX." So he googled "xxx jugs." That was awesome. You can only imagine what came up in the images category.

But the big news of the day is I had my eyes tested to see if I can get lasik surgery and much to my surprise, I can! I am psyched. I have been blind as a bat for 26 years and would love to ditch my glasses and contacts. [For those tracking my elective surgeries, this will be number three. That's right baby - I'm fixing it all. I'll be like the bionic woman.] I have to wait until January so we can use Tim's healthcare savings account but what is another few months after being blind so long? Tim, on the other hand, wants to get it done immediately. I think he just wants to go first. His test is Monday. We'll see if he qualifies to be the new, improved Tim!

Monday, September 18, 2006

Sparkle & Kelsey


The girls have been begging for a pet. As I am absolutely not interested in another living thing under my care, I said we could get goldfish. So two weeks ago we bought Sparkle and Kelsey, names courtesy of Morrigan. In spite of routine bowl cleanings and proper feeding, Sparkle immediately developed a nasty head ulcer. Online research found that injections from a vet would be needed to fix this aliment. Sorry Sparkle, it's curtains for you! But currently she lives on. Yesterday Morrigan said, "Look! Sparkle is taking a nap on the bowl floor." A few taps on the bowl & she was back in action. Morrigan asked if the fish was going to die. I responded that her days were numbered. Was Morrigan sad? Not so much. She was mostly concerned that she gets to flush the fish rather than Maggie.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

It's All Worth It

Yesterday I told Eion that I loved him and he answered "I love you too." Made that long day without Daddy all worth it.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Valuable Life Lessons


I have learned an important lesson this week. If one is planning on having surgery and being heavily medicated, it is a colossally bad idea to send out invitations to a party. Maggie's birthday party is next Saturday and I sent out the invites a few days before I had surgery. People have been RSVPing for the last week. Unfortunately, I have not been all there for at least half of that week, thank you Vicodin. So I keep asking people if they are coming & they let me know that they told me days ago. Or my favorite to date, the friend who had already responded twice, in person both times. What on earth can you say to that? "Oh yeah. Well I'm trying something new this year. I'll ask you daily in case you want to change your mind." So I have to let the Club know soon how many kids are coming. I'll just ask all the parents again. "Please forgive me Mrs. X, I was wacked out of my gourd on Vicodin last week. Do you mind RSVPing for a second (or third!) time?"

Friday, September 15, 2006

Lucky Number Three


Looks like three is my number this week. I placed number three in poker both Saturday (out of 6) and yesterday (out of 11.) I also have three eBay auctions going that are all doing outstanding. Kind of eerie huh? Well not actually that much evidence but I am sticking with three this week!

Doug & Nancy came to visit for a day on the way home from Michigan (see above - check out Maggie's angry chimp look again.) It was a short stay but we were happy to see them. Morrigan discovered that Grandpa is a sucker for little girls that want pennies for their piggy banks.

I had my stitches removed yesterday so life is much more comfortable for me. I can drive again but still can't work out or lift anything over 10lbs. Which has been interesting today since Tim returned to work after being my nursemaid for six days. The girls I knew would be good. It was Eion "trouble" McKernan who would be problematic. But he was great today & climbed into the car (rather than making a break for it) and walked into school and up the stairs to his classroom (again, rather than making a break for it!) I do miss Tim's care. I will have to be like that tv show The Swan & just keep having surgeries so he is home to care for me! [You should already realize this but I am totally kidding ;)]

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Recovery Week

After last week's prolific posts, I have been quiet this week as I'm recovering from the outpatient surgery I had on Friday. I wasn't sure if I was going to put this out there but what the hell. I am not a very secretive person! Before I go on, a disclaimer for faint of heart: just skip this post. I guarantee you that when you're done, you'll say to yourself, "That is really more than I need to know about Katie." Now the rest of you are thinking, this is good, I'd better read on....

I had a breast lift on Friday or as I like to call it, phase one of the new fake rack. My original plan was to get implants but the surgeon said I was too far gone and I had to have a lift first. The children had literally sucked the life out of me! So the lift was Friday and later in October is the "enhancement." I feel good and am pretty much only taking ibuprofen for the pain. The Vicodin were fun but they made it hard to get anything done. My stitches come out on Thursday which will be sure to disappoint the girls. They love to look at "Mommy's big boo boo." Tim has been an absolute champ taking time off work & managing the triple team. He has been cooking, cleaning and chauffeuring me around. I have to have surgery more often!

So now you know! Clearly, I have not been very secretive about this and many people in Roanoke know. It is hilarious to see people for the first time post surgery. Women tend to look at my chest right away. Men, on the other hand, look me right in the eye the entire time.

The picture above of Morrigan in her new glasses is obviously unrelated to the post. Open as I may be, I won't be posting pictures related to this post!

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Morrigan's First Day of Kindergarten


Morrigan had her first day of Kindergarten on Wednesday. The teacher asked us to walk them to class the first day. So we all get out of the car and walk up to the school. I stop to get out the camera & Morrigan just takes off toward her classroom. With Maggie & Eion in tow, I go chasing after her. Although I'm sure she would have made it to the classroom just fine, I was not about to be the one parent that didn't walk her kid back!

She settled in easily & gave her teacher, Mr. Richards, the picture she made for him. When I picked her up after school, she was thrilled with the longer day (they are there until 3:40) and so was I!

Now I know there are those who giggle about my perpetually matching children & I have to go on record here & say it is not just me who wants them to match. The girls ask to - I swear. We were looking for Halloween costumes. Morrigan wants to be Cinderella. I suggested Maggie be Snow White or Sleeping Beauty. They both insisted that Maggie has to be Cinderella too. Morrigan actually broke into tears the other day when Maggie had on an outfit that she didn't have. Then again, maybe this is worse as it means my compulsions have worn off on my kids...

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Eion's First Day of School


Eion had his first day of school today. The little fella did great. I set him down & he toddled off to play. He wouldn't even look up for a picture. I said "Ok, goodbye Eion" and I was not even on his radar. When I picked him up, his teachers said he was a bit fussy on and off throughout the day. Now these girls are young, don't have kids and I am sure this is their first teaching job. I didn't want to break it to them that that is just what 1 1/2 year olds do. They'll figure it out.

Lots of posts today with updates on school. I'll post again later with info on Morrigan's first day of Kindergarten.

Maggie's Red Shoes


As promised, a picture of Maggie in the red shoes that are leaving a trail of glitter through the house. Check out the angry chimp face too. She is so her father's child.

Maggie's 1st Day of School


Maggie had her first day of school on Tuesday. She was very excited about going but got a bit shy when we arrived & started crying. I had a doctor's appointment so I had to scoot and felt pretty bad about leaving her in tears. Incidentally, I left her sister at home in tears because she wanted to go to school but didn't start until Wednesday. Clearly, there is no winning for me. When I picked Maggie up, her teachers said she did great & she told me what fun she had. She did much better today at drop off and was very excited that she was the snack helper.

After school Tuesday, Morrigan had an eye doctor's appointment. She failed her vision screening at her 5 year checkup. Surprising no one, she needs to get glasses. With myopic parents like me & Tim, the kids really have no hope. I told Dr. Facciani to expect us back soon with the other two.

Eion, the little f***er, has added opening the door to the garage (leading to the driveway, the street & certain death) to his skill set. Please don't think my labeling him an explicative is too harsh. Read on. We promptly bought one of those door handle covers to contain him. In less than a week, he has mastered that. Half the time I can't open doors with these stupid things on the handles. I think we are going to have to bolt the door at the top. Until then, we will just have to listen for his little voice saying " 'Side" (his way of saying outside) to warn us of his escape.

Monday, September 04, 2006

A Painful Weekend & the Start of School

What a long, painful weekend. I am so glad it is over. I realize to the rest of you it was a three day weekend. To me, it was three days where Tim was working 12 hours each day and we were trapped inside a fair bit due to hurricane Ernesto. But tomorrow is a new day and a school day to boot!

We went to orientation for all the kids last week. Morrigan will start Kindergarten at Crystal Spring Elementary. Since she went to pre-k there last year, she was pretty comfortable with the school. We found out she will be in Mr. Richards' class. When she found out he was her teacher, she ran up & gave him a hug. I have heard great things about him so I was happy she got him. There are also quite a few of her friends in the class so it looks like it will be a great year!

Maggie & Eion will be at First Pres again this year. E has a little boy, Trent, who he knows from the gym in his class. They play well together so that should be fun. Not that I am worried about the little guy. He will be happy to have a whole new room of things to destroy! Maggie is in the 3 year old preschool. She is the only girl in her class but I don't think she will mind. She's bigger than all of them anyway so they can't push her around! Both Maggie & Eion's teachers seem very nice & I think they will have a good time. Or at least I will have a good time being alone!

After Maggie's orientation, she & I went to Target to get some school supplies. While in the shoe area, she found some sparkly red shoes with which she promptly fell in love. She told me, "Those are the most beautiful shoes I've ever seen! Could I please have them?" Being a lover of cute shoes myself, I figured what the hell. She now wears them with everything. (I'll post a picture later. I don't have one & the kids are in bed.) But I have to tell you, I have never seen anyone so happy about shoes. She shows them to people wherever we go and you can tell she feels special in them. Not to mention, her sister doesn't have a pair which makes them invaluable. $9.99 well spent.

Maggie is off to her first day of school tomorrow. Morrigan & Eion start on Wednesday. Full reports to follow!

PS I've posted the pictures of Morrigan's birthday party in the upper Flickr badge.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Rabid River Otters and New TVs

Our tv finally bit it this week. We bought it 9 years ago as an open item return at Best Buy. Pretty much from day one it sucked. When using the remote you had to be right in front of it, the sound was always a bit off etc. But being too cheap to replace it, we endured it for 9 years. (But we did learn a valuable if painful lesson: NEVER buy open item returns or floor samples. You can tell me all you like about the money we would save. I am not interested.) Earlier this week I told Maggie to turn off the tv. She replied that it wouldn't turn off. Naturally, I didn't believe her. Come on now, would you? But when I tried to turn it off, it really wouldn't. The kids thought this was great - perma tv! So we unplugged it. [And I did apologize to the Magpie for not believing her.]

Luckily Arlene was coming the next day to watch the kids so we could go shopping for a new one. She wanted to take the kids to the lake which I thought sounded like a great idea. We packed them off with Arlene & set off to Target. Here is where this tale will disappoint you. Most people replacing a tv these days will upgrade to a plasma flat screen HDTV 50 inch monster. We just couldn't do it. We're really attached to the tv cabinet (read: the ability to lock the kids out of the tv) so we ended up with a 32 inch big tube tv. I felt as though we were buying an 8 track player. Tim was very put out that we had to spend over $200 ($267 to be exact) so we bought the least expensive one at Wal-Mart. Yes we are the proud new owners of an Ilo. Don't worry, we have never heard of it either. But it works and does turn off. While in line to pay for it, I saw the front page of the Roanoke Times: "Rabid river otter attack at the lake." I asked Tim, "Isn't that where we just sent our kids?"

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Morrigan's Birthday


Morrigan turned 5 yesterday (August 29th.) We had her birthday party at the Club on Saturday. [Full photo coverage will be available in a few days. I've exceeded my file capacity this month!] After much negotiation, I was able to sway her from her original plan, Chuck E. Cheese. Wasn't too hard really. Just let her know it would be a luau and she would have a hula skirt (or as she calls it, a tula skirt.)

It might have been the easiest birthday party ever. All the kids played in the pool (read: no games organized by me) and everyone seemed to have a good time. The weather was perfect, 95 degrees and sunny. Maggie skipped her nap to be there and did great. Morrigan was a good hostess and didn't bat an eye when the other kids helped her open gifts.

Speaking of gifts...most were dead-on. Princess dress up clothes, Barbie cars and the like. A dear friend of mine Ann, however, gave her a huge thing of Playdoh. 24 mini containers to be exact. Her exact words were, "I love to give gifts I wouldn't give my own kids." Now I do feel her pain in that she has two boys so buying for girls is tough. (I have the reverse, not knowing what to get boys. This year, they all got King Kong.) But let it be known this will not be forgotten. Glitter & glue sticks for Mark & Luke next year!

I did feel bad that the girls both had on swimsuits that were looking a bit stretched out. It has been a tough year for swimsuits. I didn't realize how bad they were until it was too late. But they didn't seem to care. On the way home, both girls agreed that this was the best birthday party ever which is worth quite a bit of Playdoh in the carpet.