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


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!


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


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!


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!"