Monday, December 31, 2007

New Years Resolutions

As the end of 2007 approaches, resolutions for 2008 are being made. Though I have massive room for improvement, I can't say my goals have changed much from last year. So see December 2006 in the archives for that! What I thought I would rather do is list my best moments of 2007 (in no particular order):

1) Morrigan brought home a report card with an A in every subject.
2) When I asked Maggie's teacher to let me know at the end of the year if she would be ready to go to Kindergarten, she told me that Maggie had already achieved all but two of the required academic milestones.
3) Eion learned to say "I love you."
4) I ran a 7 1/2 minute mile.
5) Tim and I celebrated our 12th wedding anniversary.
6) I walked away from the poker tables in Vegas (filled mostly with guys) ahead.

I wish I could list all the things that made me proud, made me happy and made life worth living but I think I might run on a bit too much. Suffice to say, I had a wonderful 2007 filled with the best family and friends for which a a girl could ask.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Knock On Wood

Ok, I have to say that the post holiday, Tim is gone all the time, days have really been almost too easy. (Knock on wood.) Granted, I have had a liberal amount of support from friends but I honestly don't even feel frazzled. Today we went to the gym where we met up with Hans and his kids. [Ann had to work too.] We packed up the kids, plus Maggie and Luke's friend Jack, and headed out for some post-workout McDonalds. It was actually kind of a funny crew - we were like the Bradys. After lunch, we took them to the Science Museum where I was pleasantly surprised to find some new exhibits. There was a giant mouth into which the kids loved climbing.

There was also a new hands on tank with horseshoe crabs. Actually, it was awesome when Eion discovered it. The new display was in an area where previously there were some fish tanks. The museum is pretty much entirely kid friendly and indestructible not to mention loops around. If you are by the entrance, there is no way for rouge children to escape. So when another parent told me they saw E headed back to the fish tank area, I was not at all concerned. Soon thereafter, I found the new addition that had a pretty large open body of water (certainly enough for one to drown) that was unattended. But fortune smiled on us and Eion had not taken a dip.

After we tired of the museum, Hans and I took the kids back to their house and let them play their new Wii. Ann got home earlier than expected so I got to catch up with her too! Basically, the day flew by and we had fun. Couldn't ask for more (well, except that Tim could have been there too!)

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Holiday "Wisdom"

What I learned and/or gleaned from my 2007 holiday experience:

1) Kids don't need that many gifts to be happy. Seriously, some of the kids favorite gifts were new crayons, pencil sharpeners and a roll of tape. At least at this age, they don't need a Wii.

2) Homemade gifts are good. The grandparents liked the calenders and the hand print ornaments. Hell, I liked the ornaments so much, I made a set for myself!

3) Don't wrap the "Santa" gifts. The kids will notice they have the same paper as all the other gifts. (Damn those smart kids!)

4) In the holiday lunch vs. dinner throwdown, lunch wins every time.

5) Let the kids decorate as they wish (with some limitations.) It will make them really happy and no one will remember that you had a goofy looking tree in 20 years.

6) The old holiday tv specials are still good (we watched them all) and the soundtrack to a Charlie Brown Christmas is still the greatest Christmas record ever.

7) Spend as much time as you can with friends and family. That's really what the holidays are about anyway.

The $57 8x10

We got our outrageously priced 8x10 in the mail the other day. While I still think the price was a bit much, it was the best family picture we took all year.

Post Christmas Fun

Tim is back at work. He is scheduled for something like 55 hours over a five day period so the kids and I are on our own. We were lucky Friday that Ann (of the Oz party) had a get together at a place called Young Chefs on Friday. She won the party at a silent auction and decided not to wait for a birthday and have a girls' day for the younger set. Eion stayed with her son Will and a babysitter so the girls and I could attend the party uninterrupted.
Young Chefs had the kids all lined up at a large counter and had them make homemade pizzas. They all liked playing with the dough and picking their own toppings. Morrigan did comment when they were done that they weren't as good as Daddy's!

Today we headed out to the gym. While I was running on the treadmill, a guy I know got on the one next to me. He and his wife are both true athletes in the "collegiate swimmer, alternate for the Olympics, we run half ironmans" kind of way rather than my "I will take up running at 34" kind of way. Anyhoo, I was feeling good about running my last half mile at a 7.5 minute mile pace. Granted, when I was done, I looked like a tomato head and was near death, but I did it. I cleaned up my machine and told my friend hi. Noticed that his warm up pace was 7.5 minute miles. And he could carry on a conversation while doing it. Well I guess I should thank him for the reminder that I am a mere mortal. On an unrelated fitness note, I did manage 2 unassisted pull ups doubling my previous high of one!

After the gym we went to Panera for lunch and then took advantage of the mild weather and went to the park. I listened to podcasts on my ipod while the kids terrorized the tweens who were trying to play soccer. I did feel like I was leading the legion of nimrods as Morrigan rolled around on the grass (well, astroturf) showing the world her tights and underpants. But the older kids were quite tolerant of my tribe and let them kick around the soccer ball.

When we got home, I started taking down the Christmas decorations. I got most of them put away. I figure I'll take the rest down tomorrow. Then we were off to Kirsten and Tom's who continue to keep me from dying of loneliness when Tim works marathon shifts (rent check is on the way guys!) As we pulled up, Eion yelled "Look! It's Connor's house!" To which Maggie replied,"Connor is my friend." More rivalry. Excellent! But they all got along, mostly. As we left, Morrigan told Aidan, "We'll be back tomorrow!" We'll file this under "You know are overstaying your welcome when..."

Friday, December 28, 2007

Whew! Christmas is over!

Well our wonderful whirlwind Christmas season is over. This year my parents came to visit. They were due to arrive midday on the 24th but drove until late in the night to be here when the kids got up. The little ones were thrilled and were happy to start the day with one of their favorite activities, jump on the grandparents! We had a relaxing day hanging out around the house. Oma put out the gifts she brought for the family. This proved to be almost too much temptation for the kids. Maggie saw the bounty and asked, "Can I just sit near them?" [Up until this point, the tree had nothing under it. Just didn't trust them to leave presents alone. I had already found Eion rooting around in my closet one too many times!] Making them wait seemed to cruel so we let them each choose one thing to open. Maggie and Morrigan happily received Littlest Pet Shop pets and Eion got some new cars.

They quickly determined they needed to open more but we stood firm at one gift only. The girls then prepared for Santa by setting out "reindeer food."
For Christmas Eve dinner, Tim made delicious steak and oven fries. The weather was a temperate 50ish so grilling worked well. After dinner, Tom, Kirsten and the kids came by for a glass of wine. The kids played happily (and loudly) and we swapped stories of the day.

Then it was off to bed so Santa could come. All three kids firmly believe in Santa so they went down without another peep. "Santa" brought down the remaining booty and then went to bed herself.

Christmas morning the kids VERY excited. They ran downstairs, quickly woke their grandparents and dashed to the stockings which Maggie pulled down, heavy stocking holder and all. It landed on a gift inside it, smashing it and then was deflected onto her foot, cutting it. Much screaming ensued. So good. We woke up at 7am and by 7:06 we had a bleeding, crying child. Tim's comment, "Well I didn't see that one coming." Fortunately the power of Christmas won out and she rallied. Morrigan and Maggie then rapidly opened their gifts in a frenzy.
Eion opened one, found it was a train and then couldn't be bothered to open any others. His sisters were happy to help him out. Eion received mostly trains, which suited him fine. (But he did get a roll of tape which came in a close second.) He promptly started lining them all up and carrying them around the house.
Maggie's favorite gift was new ruby red slippers. As soon as she opened them, she took them upstairs to put away safely in her closet.
Morrigan declared that it was the best Christmas ever (apparently topping last year which was also the best ever.) Personally, I loved the Swarovski tree topper my Mom and Dad got me. I have been looking for a star for literally 10 years and hadn't found one I liked. This one matches the ornaments I collect and I love it!
I will have to say that Santa will have to be more careful next year. Morrigan realized that all the gifts were wrapped in the same paper and asked if I helped Santa wrap them. Of course I did!

We had decided to have Christmas lunch rather than dinner since that plan worked so well at Thanksgiving. Hayden, wife of another ER doc, was joining us since her husband Chris was working. Tom and Kirsten also stopped by on their way to his family. All visitors came bearing mimosas. It's so good when great minds think alike! We had turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole and green bean casserole for lunch, It was a feast. For dessert we had a yummy sherry cake a friend had given us. Tasty!

Later that evening, we were invited to our friend David's parents' house for a Christmas party. They have a small party for friends and family every year. It was a nice low-key way to end the day. They kids did try to add excitement though. One of the Dads checked on the basement chaos and came back with the question, "How concerned are you about the pool balls in the basement?" But much to everyone's surprise, there were no nick knack casualties.

While at the Christmas party, a neighbor told us about how Karen and Damon, who just had a baby a few weeks ago, had septic line tragedy earlier that week. I was feeling a little guilty that I had not already taken them dinner (generally try to do that in the first week home from the hospital. December babies get the shaft from the get go.) so we planned to smoke a pork shoulder the next day and bring them homemade bbq. Well as long as we were smoking one, we decided to do two and what a shame not to share all that sweet, delicious pork. So a few phone calls later and Hans and Ann, Hans' parents, Tom and Kirsten were headed over later with kids. Karen, who was going to be home alone after Damon went to work at 4pm, opted to pick up her dinner and hang out for a while. I love last minute parties!

On the 27th my parents headed to visit more family in Indiana. We headed to the gym (work off some of the food and wine) and got some much needed rest. What a great end to the season this week was!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

O Tannenbaum

Our TiVo is packed these days with Christmas specials new and old. Although I taped Shrek the Halls, the girls seem to watch A Year Without a Santa Claus (the one with Heat Miser) and How the Grinch Stole Christmas more. But it was A Charlie Brown Christmas that made me think of our tree. We got a real loser this year. But before we cover this year, a brief history of trees in my life....When I was growing up, we had a fake tree. It was always fun to pull it out of the attic and assemble it. The tree had a multi color system that divided up the top branches from the bottom ones. Dad always had me put them in piles by color before we attached them to the "trunk." I felt very important at the time but now viewing it from a parent's perspective, I think he was trying to keep me busy! And then there was the "fluffing" of the branches. My Mom didn't worry too much about the aesthetics of the tree and let us decorate it ourselves. Dominick and I would load it up with as many ornaments as the branches would hold.

And though I am not anti fake tree, when Tim and I had the space, we started getting live trees (he grew up with fake ones too.) In years past, we've had some very pretty ones. For a while there, I could even decorate them with all the Gorham and Swarovski snowflake ornaments I collect. They were good looking trees! But after the year when we had to quarantine the tree from the kids (Maggie was about 15 months old), Tim suggested that it might behoove us to have some unbreakable ornaments so we didn't have to protect it quite as much. I agreed and went to Target the day after Christmas that year and got an assortment of unbreakable ornaments in blue, silver and white. The next year they looked great with white lights and no fear of destruction by kids!

But the attractive tree was not meant to last. This year, the kids really wanted colored lights. Now I like the house to look good but I remembered how much fun we had as kids decorating. So in spite of the devastating impact on the beauty of the tree, I agreed to get colored lights. (Did pull out most of the blue ornaments to minimize the clash factor.) The kids enjoyed it as much as I remember liking it. It wasn't winning style awards but oh well. But I have to say that things went awry from there. The tree was not very full when we got it home but I assumed, as trees had in years past, that the tree would "fill out" a bit once out of the binding. It didn't. The tree also has a noticeable slant and bare spot. As if it didn't have enough problems, the tree is made even further unattractive by the fact that Eion keeps removing ornaments and distributing them about the house. When I put them back on the tree, I tend to place them out of his reach resulting in an ornament top heavy tree. So back on point, our pathetic tree is very Charlie Brown Christmas reminiscent. My parents are here for Christmas and I was telling Mom how ugly I found our tree this year. Morrigan looked horrified and told me, "Our tree is beautiful!" I'm glad it is to her. Come to think of it, I remember our trees all being beautiful as well.

From the Mouths of Babes

I was speaking with Ann (thrower of Wizard of Oz theme birthday party) the other day and she was telling me about a conversation she had with Morrigan the previous Sunday when she was so nice as to have her over for a playdate. The horror went something like this:

Morrigan: "Your car is really messy."

Ann: "Actually, I just cleaned it out."

Morrigan: "Well there are still allot of crumbs back here."

Really, my car constantly looks as if there has been a food fight in it so I don't know why she was picking on Ann. But it got worse. When they arrived at their house, Ann's son Will (same age as the E) said to Morrigan, "You're my best friend." To which she naturally replied, "You're not mine." Such a proud moment for me.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Milestone Met

All of a sudden, it is getting a little easier to take my kids places. We don't need a stroller anymore and all of them can understand delayed gratification to varying degrees. Like today, we went to the mall for lunch and to ride the Santa train [which, incidentally, they said would be out of commission all season and then they fixed it and never told me! I missed a whole season's entertainment!] We got lucky and found Kojak's spot so we didn't have to walk far. I was not thrilled that we had to pass the train in order to get to lunch. I was starving and knew they were too so food was a priority. As we went by, Eion started to cry but I promised him that we would return after lunch and ride it. And he understood! I was in complete shock.

The girls are reaching new heights too. All three of them stood in a crowded line with me at Chik-Fil-A and no one tried to flee. Then as I was waiting for our food, I saw a booth in the packed restaurant being vacated. I turned to Morrigan and said, "Quick, get that table." She understood why it was important to move fast and snaked the table before anyone else saw it. Then I told Maggie and Eion to join her and they did. Wonders never cease.

After what was a downright calm lunch, we headed downstairs to the train. The kids all went on and no one needed me to ride with them. Yippee! My days of Santa train riding are over! Kirsten brought the boys and all of them had several rides. We had to bail because poor Maggie Pie was wilting but even then, they all left without any significant fight. It is almost as though I am living some other mother's charmed life.


Did want to add that the party, while complete chaos, was fun! Even with all that was going on, I managed to get in some socializing and I'm always happy to have friends over. Would have never actually cancelled unless the ice were real!

Maggie & Morrigan's Christmas Party

Morrigan and Maggie asked me weeks ago if they could have a Christmas party. They had made up a guest list and party itinerary already and, generally loving to host things anyway, I said sure. This is how things were supposed to go:

Thursday, December 20th: 7pm, Bake cookies for the party. Finish up any last minute details.
Friday, December 21st:
9:15am Go to the gym.
10:45am Go to tennis.
1pm Pick up Maggie and Eion. Put them down for naps.
1-4pm Prepare for party.
3:40pm Maggie and Eion wake up, well rested and ready for party. Tim picks up Morrigan at school.
4pm Guests arrive, make crafts
4:30pm Decorate cookies
5pm Eat pizza
5-6pm Additional crafts and free play. Children leave happy with crafts and holiday pencils in hand.
7pm Babysitter arrives. We go to dinner with Ann and Hans at Marlo & John's house (birthday dinner for Ann.)

But the reader with an attention to detail has already noticed the "supposed to" in the description. The way the day unfolded was just a bit different.....
Thursday, December 20th:
9am Tell Eion's teachers you will see them tomorrow. Discover Eion doesn't have school on Friday.
9:30am Mention this to another Mom and discover that 1st Pres doesn't have school because the public schools have early dismissal.
9:31am Realize this means Maggie gets out at 11:15 and Morrigan gets out at 1:40 on Friday. Curse self for agreeing to host party.
3pm Exchange birthday gifts with Ann. Discover she and Hans also bought us Christmas gifts.
3:01pm Add shopping for gift for Ann and Hans to "To Do" list.
3:15 Tell Kirsten how I will be shopping for gift tomorrow with Eion in tow. Silence. Discover she and Tom have a gift for us too.
3:16pm Add Kirsten and Tom to shopping list.
6pm Start making cookies for party.
6:15 Bitch Tim out for backseat cooking when he says the batter looks like it needs more flour.
6:30 Take first pan of flat unservable cookies out of oven and realize he is right.
6:35 Get ingredients out to make a new batch only to discover there are no more eggs. Start crying.
7pm Tim, happy to escape me, goes to store for more eggs.
9pm Finish baking cookies.

Friday, December 21st
3am Wake up. Despite yoga breathing, fail to fall back asleep.
6am Get up to pack Tim's lunch. Discover it snowed. Curse Mother Nature as this will likely cancel school.
7am Go to get Eion out of bed. Find him in only a diaper holding his pjs saying "I take it off."
7:30am Check school closings again. Breathe sigh of relief when school is still in session.
7:45am Receive call from Maggie's bus driver letting me know she can't get up the icy roads to pick her up. Decide Maggie will stay home even though this means shopping with two kids.
9am Drop Morrigan off at school and take Maggie & Eion to the gym.
9:30am Run into two of Tim's co-workers at the gym. (One is invited to party, other is not.) Feel quite mortified when invitee mentions party in front non-invitee.
10:45am Take kids to first store. Hope that I am able to buy somewhat meaningful gifts for several people at the same store while feeding my kids peanut butter sandwiches in the cart and telling them not to worry about the cuffs of their pants being wet from the slush.
11:15am Completely strike out.
11:20 Arrive at second store (where there are no carts) and hope to have better luck. Leave children by train table in back of store in order to locate gifts.
11:30am Check on children to find one of Maggie's friends also left there while Mom gets coffee. Feel relief that I am not the only one employing this technique.
11:45am Get a friend's mother in law to watch Eion while I take Maggie to the bathroom.
11:50am Return to find E has a poopy diaper.
11:51am Head back to bathroom and discover that I have left wipes at home. Subsequently use piles of toilet paper to accomplish what 2 wipes would have done.
12 noon Drag screaming E away from the train table to go to Kroger and get cookie decorating supplies.
12:40pm Return home to find it much dirtier than it should be. Listen to messages and hear one from cleaning lady letting me know she wasn't coming today. Think about how I wish I hadn't already given her a Christmas bonus.
12:45pm REALLY wish Maggie & Eion still took naps.
1pm Consider calling all invitees and claiming roads are too icy for party.
1:02pm Discard plan knowing they wouldn't believe me.
1:40pm Pick up Morrigan at school.
1:50pm Turn on tv for kids, frantically clean house and set up for party.
2:10pm Discover children are out in snow on the deck.
2:15pm Remove Eion's cold, wet clothes. Leave him in diaper.
2:20pm Change the girls out of their cold, wet clothes. Put on new outfits.
2:35pm Discover Eion naked in the snow.
3pm Tally the number of party attendees to determine how much pizza to order.
3:01pm Completely freak out when I realize that 20 kids and 11 parents are coming over in an hour.
3:05pm Revisit icy road idea.
3:45pm Babysitter calls and cancels making tonight the second Ann's birthday celebration we will miss. [The first being dinner Tuesday. We had it planned for a month but Tim was vomiting ill.]
4pm Guests arrive. Complete chaos ensues.

4:15pm Morrigan demands group activity. Decide they will decorate cookies. Set a table full of kids ages 3-7 loose with knives, frosting and colored sprinkles.
4:20pm See one child pouring sprinkles into her mouth. Leave room without interfering.
4:30pm Herd children to the basement. Recommend they play Lord of the Flies.
4:45pm Find my children have taken all the pillows from my bed and are using them to build a fort. Take away pillows.
5pm Find the only child who was dropped off crying for her Mom. Call child's Mom and get told, "I'm at Petsmart. It will be a while." Make mental note to add this mother to my "Dead to Me" list.
5:05pm Try to socialize while holding someone else's sobbing child. Tell my own child I can't help with the craft because I have to look after her crying friend.
5:45pm Welcome the arrival of crying child's Mom.
5:46pm See that "free play" includes throwing jingle bells and Eion and friend Will jumping up and down on the sofa and pushing each other down.
5:50pm Briefly consider organized activity. Quickly discover that sugar and adrenaline levels are not at all conducive to crafts.
Sometime after 6pm Bid guests farewell. During clean up realize that we didn't hand out party favors.
9pm Collapse in bed.

Drinking for Prizes

I was at Kroger the other day getting a case of wine (the only denominations in which we purchase wine are 6 and 12 to get the 10% discount. It's not like it won't get drunk eventually) and I noticed a tag on the wine bottle. To my delight, it was a rebate form! There were various levels of rebate but if you bought a case, you got $40 back. That brand was already on sale for $10 per bottle and when you factor in the rebate and case discount, it ended up at something like $6.50 each. And the wine was quite drinkable to boot. Love getting deals.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Sickness Abound!

My blogging has really been adversely affected by illness. Eion is home for the third day in a row sick and Tim has been sick for two days. Mix in the fact that Morrigan is sleeping in the guest room/office so she doesn't wake up her sister (cutting off my access to the computer) and you have devastating impact on my ability to blog about the mundane details of my day. But on a positive note, the dropping of naps is going pretty well. Maggie is really having the roughest time but is taking a proactive approach by telling me at 6:30pm, "I am going to bed now." Got to love the 4 year old who wants an earlier bedtime.

Eion is going down at 6pm and getting up at 7am. He doesn't seem to miss the nap at all. But he has gone all Single White Female on me in the past few days. He calls himself Connor and makes me do it too. When he sees a picture of Connor on the computer he gets all smiley and has this adoring look on his face. Nice to know that in addition to pizza guy, wrestler and stripper, he can add stalker to the list of jobs for which he is qualified.

We are literally counting down the days until Christmas. The kids all have parties at school tomorrow so after I pop into work for a few hours (I may end up working over 8 hours this week. It is really getting out of hand.) I will be rotating though the various shindigs.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Thomas the Train Shirt(s)

Eion got a hand me down Thomas shirt from his friend Conner. I was forewarned by Kirsten that Eion would likely want to wear this shirt daily but he was being such a good little guy that I threw caution to the wind and gave it to him. He LOVED it. Wore it to school that day ans would repeatedly point to the different trains and tell me their names. Whenever he passed by a mirror, he looked in and said "Hello Connor." (He knew from whom he had gotten the shirt.) I personally think the way he idolizes Connor is kind of cute.

Anyway, at the end of the day, we put on pjs and he carried his dirty clothes to the hamper in my room like always. First thing the next morning when I got him out of the crib he toddled off to my room. I assumed he was looking for Tim but he went in the hamper and found the Thomas shirt which he extracted and brought out to me demanding "Wear it!" In one of my prouder parenting moments ever, I let him. But that afternoon we did stop by JCPenny to seek out some additional Thomas gear which I was pleasantly surprised to find was 1/2 off!

Weekend Fun

Today, I am tired. Was it worth it? Yes! Friday night we went to see I Am Legend with Ann and Hans.
I was decidedly over-eager and had bought tickets earlier in the day in case it sold out. Turned out there were plenty of seats but it was nice to skip the long line in the cold. The movie was great. And I say that in an "I would recommend this to anyone" way not a "It was zombietastic" way. [Just in case you doubt my judgement, everyone else liked it too.] I was more than a bit horrified when during the preview for Alien V Predator: Requiem Ann asked me what a Predator was. For goodness sake, even if you haven't seen the movie (sporting the likes of Arnold Schwartzenegger and Jesse Ventura) you really should know about it! But she hasn't seen Titanic (one of the very few chick flicks I like) so we may have to call her entire movie viewing history into question. After, we went to Fork in the Alley for a few beers and pizza. We weren't out too late but definitely past my normal bedtime.

Saturday Morrigan had ballet so I went to the gym with Maggie and Eion while she was there. On the way home, she threw up all over herself. Goody. Just what I need. More vomit, and this time in my car. Morrigan spent most of the day on the couch. The other kids and I hung around the house with her all day. Tim cleared our remaining leaves and put the snow tires on the cars in anticipation of the wet, icy weather we were expecting. But she felt well enough to decorate gingerbread houses with her brother and sister.
I helped Eion with his but I am not sure it is much better than the girls' masterpieces. Clearly, this is not my forte.

We were scheduled to play cards with our couples poker group that night. We weren't sure if Morrigan's sickness would cause us to have to cancel but she was in pretty good, if a bit quiet, shape by the afternoon. Our hosts live in the neighborhood so we decided to go, leaving the sitter with instructions to call if she took a turn for the worse. Rather than our regular game, we did a holiday tournament playing four rounds of Texas Hold'em with no rebuys. Each couple had brought gift cards for the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners for each round and a booby prize for the first person out. How did our night go? Let's just say we went home with 3 of the booby prizes! Which is great as our supply of penis shaped gummy candy was running dangerously low. Tim took his early departure from the game well and had Cathy show him some yoga poses.
But the many rounds did take a LONG time and we weren't in bed til 12:30, very much past my bedtime!

Morrigan is still sick today but seems to be on the mend. Maggie and Eion both have runny noses too and Tim has to work 4pm to midnight so we haven't done much today. But after such a busy weekend, we were happy to rest.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Hooray for E!

After a week of ringing endorsements from Eion's teachers like "He wasn't completely awful today," we finally had a good day. When I picked him up, nervous for what I might hear, they told me he was good all day and acted like a different child. Thank goodness. Could have something to do with the 13 hours of sleep he had the night before. Seriously, when I went in to get him at 7am, he was still out. Maggie, who also went to bed early, said she hadn't slept well since Morrigan had woken her up. I asked Morrigan if this was true & she said, "Yes. I couldn't sleep so I woke up Maggie to talk." Arrrgh! The whole reason I put Maggie down early and kept Morrigan up was so she could get more sleep. Not to mention that I specifically told Morrigan to be quiet and not wake Maggie. That girl so didn't get to watch tv.

But back to pick up, I scrapped my plan to take him and Maggie to the gym and we went to the craft store to get supplies to make thumbprint reindeer (I'll post a picture later.) It was an art project E's class did on a day he was being "challenging" so he missed it. We got home and I was ready to craft when I talked to Kirsten who said she was baking cookies for the ornament/cookie exchange we were both going to last night. Ooops, had the ornament, forgot to bake cookies. Crafts on hold, I had Maggie & E "help" me make a batch of cookies. I used raspberry and dark chocolate chips. Yummy!

Later we went to tumbling where the teacher didn't show up, again! But I did get to hang out with one of the other kid's babysitter who bears more than a passing resemblance to the hooker on My Name is Earl. Not to mention she smells like she just burned a pack of heaters. And let's not forget her outfit: jean shirt, jeans (always a good combo) and a black fringe jacket reminiscent of Jon Bon Jovi in the Slippery When Wet phase. Granted, I too had such a jacket but it was 1986.

But soon enough I was off to the ornament and cookie exchange where for the 4th year in a row, no one wanted my ornament! I really tried to find a pretty one that people would want to steal. But alas, the person who opened it took it home. As always, this was a really fun party. It was great to catch up with people and you get to take a box full of all the yummy cookies people brought! It is one of my favorite events of the season.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Poor Maggie

Well the drop the nap experiment pretty much requires Maggie to drop her nap which I am not sure she is ready for but try telling her she has to nap when her 2 year old brother doesn't. She was looking a bit worn out by the end of today and had one of the most telling signs of a tired child: the 1 second attention span.

To combat fatigue, I was planning to put Eion to bed earlier. This is (so far) working great. After bath time tonight, he went to his crib and climbed in. I asked if he wanted to stay up for a while as it was only 6pm but he said "Time to sleep!" And he seems to have actually gone to sleep.

I tried to keep Maggie up until 8pm (normal bedtime) last night so she could go to bed at the same time as her sister. For all Eion knows, the girls went to bed at the same time as him. But since Maggie & Morrigan share a room, keeping one up later than the other is sure to incite tears. Which is exactly what happened tonight. Maggie went to bed at 6:30 crying and refusing to kiss me goodnight. Explaining that she needs more sleep than her sister wasn't getting me anywhere. Poor Maggie in the middle. It's a rough life.

More Attention?

So we are on day two of the Nap Removal/Earlier to Bed plan. Thus far going well and without incident. Fixing Eion's behavior "issues," not so much. My thought was that he would benefit from some one on one (or one on two once Maggie gets home) time. But it does not seem he wants more of me. It has been close to 75 degrees the past few days and he pretty much has fled me entirely to play in the sandbox. For hours. [Mother, I can hear you all the way from Michigan. There was never any doubt the boy would LOVE getting dirty. It was a question of how much his mother would enjoy him tracking sand onto the floors Vicki worked so hard to clean that very morning.] Anyhoo, I made a real effort to be available and ready to read, play, not watch tv etc and he seems content to play on his own. Conclusion? Damned if I know. He's behaving at home and sleeping great at night. If I can just keep him from getting expelled....

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Happy Birthday to Me!

Yesterday I celebrated my 36th birthday. While I know that there are those who are melancholy about their increasing age, I have to say I honestly didn't mind. I can say without a shadow of a doubt that I am happier at 36 than I was at 26 or 16. I was lucky enough to get a variety of phone calls, emails and snail mails wishing me a happy birthday that I realized a few things:

1) I heard from both my parents, my brother, my in laws and my grandmother in laws. Not to mention some cousins too! I am fortunate to have such a large and wonderful family.
2) I had friends spanning the last 17 years or so contact me yesterday. I have been truly blessed to make wonderful, enduring friendships over the years, new and old.
3) I had some unexpected people remember my birthday. It meant allot to me. I need to work harder to make the people around me feel as special as those calls and emails did me.

Sentimentality aside, I had a nice low key day. Tim asked me what I wanted for dinner. I said I wanted something that would make the whole family happy. Dominick, my brother, asked if that meant mac and cheese and hot dogs. Fortunately for me, it meant steak, green beans and baguette! After dinner, we had an ice cream cake compliments of Tom and Kirsten. The girls asked me how old I was. When I told them 36, Morrigan said, "Well there's not enough room for that many candles on the cake. How about we just use 6?" Though you can't see it in the picture, Eion, Maggie and Connor all helped me blow out those 6 candles. It was a great day.

The Super Supper Club

Saturday night we went to Super Supper Club at Tom & Kirsten's house. [After an email misspelling calling it the Super Club as opposed to Supper Club, we decided that it was indeed super and we were keeping that in the name.]
I decided I was going to dress up - it's the holidays after all - and let the other women know that was my plan. Now Tim did point out that I was dictating the dress code for someone else's party but I assure you I was not! I was just letting them know what I would be wearing. They could dress however they wanted, I was going to look good! [And for the keen eyed reader, yes, it is the same dress as the night before. They were zero-overlap parties so I figured I was in the clear!]

We were on salad detail and made a wilted spinach salad for which I saw the recipe in Bon Appetit. It was good and I would definitely make it again. Recipe was as follows:

1 med red onion sliced in 1/4 in slices
9 oz fresh spinach leaves
7 oz feta crumbled
5 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar

Caramelize the onions in 2T oil. Pour over spinach. Put remaining 3T oil in warm pan with feta and partially melt. Pour over spinach and onions. Add vinegar. Salt & pepper to taste. Toss & serve!

It was a fun night with great food and wine, loud conversation (may be due to wine) and a good time was had by all!

We had the misfortune of arriving home to find Eion was in bed asleep but had a poopy diaper. What a way to end an evening! Then Maggie threw up in bed and had to come in our bed. For such a small girl, she really commands a large area of the bed. So we were a bit tired on Sunday. But Tim went to work at 3pm and they sent him back home because they didn't need him. This has NEVER happened. And Ann and Hans took us in for Sunday dinner (roast chicken and scalloped potatoes - yummy!) So despite sleep loss, a great day after all.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Breakfast with Santa

Saturday we skipped the Santa breakfast at the Club and went to one at the Hotel Roanoke that is a benefit for a local children's charity. While I think the kids had an ok time, I will have to say to hell with charity and go back to the Club next year. Everyone had an assigned picture time. We never got ours but several of our friends were slated to go before the breakfast started. So we arrived a half hour early (11am) to find our time was 12:15pm. So we had to wait in the "holding area" while they cleaned up the first seating which was at 8:30am. Eion took this as an opportunity to be as big of a pain in the a** as humanly possible - running away, trying to board elevators destined for unknown locations, shove other kids etc. This pretty much sums up his pre breakfast demeanor:

The girls were very good during the wait and played with friends:

After we went in, we were seated at table 15 (out of 30.) They started calling tables to go eat with tables 1 and 30 which meant, you guessed it, we were dead last. We sat down with our food at 12:07 so we had to leave our plates and go to the Santa picture line (if you miss your assigned time, you are out of luck.) While there, the woman told me she might have to put some people ahead of us and I promptly responded, "I really wish you wouldn't as my kids haven't eaten and are missing the entertainment [steel drum band incidentally, that was located 4 feet from our table.]" Luckily for her, she told us we could eat and come back whenever we wanted. The kids ate big plates of bacon, naturally, and then Morrigan happily joined the elf conga line.

Eion even rallied after a glass of chocolate milk and sat and listened to the band without incident (we weren't even trying to get his picture with Santa.) But I did not at all appreciate that halfway through breakfast, they seated 2 adults and 2 children at the two open spots (yes, that is twice as many people as should have been in said spots.) And after they sat down, they both left to get food and asked me to watch their kids. What?

But we eventually got our pictures with Santa and called it a day. Overall, really not a good time, at least for me and that is what it is all about anyway. At the risk of sounding elitist, I will pass on a comment from a friend about the whole thing: "That is what you get when you go to events open to the general public." Certainly, I think the plan next year is to go to the Club and send a donation to the charity!

Christmas Party Season!!

I was talking to a friend of ours the other day and asked the standard chit chat question about if they were ready for the holidays. He told me he couldn't wait for December to be over as he really hated the Christmas season and all of its goings on. What? I couldn't disagree more! December is always crazy busy but I love it. Looking at the calender and seeing all the upcoming parties, ornament exchanges etc makes me really happy.

Things got rolling for us this Friday with the Junior League Christmas party and Tim's work party. Tim had to work until 7 (which is really 8 or later) so I went to the League party by myself. Although I always know people there, this year I seemed to know everyone so I was sad to leave when Tim called to say he was on his way home.

Then it was off to the ER party. This is generally a very interesting shindig. The whole staff is invited so you have everyone from techs to doctors there. The mix of people is made even more fun by the fact that the ER just seems to attract odd people (Tim included!) But after being here for eight years, I know lots of people there too. And it was a good excuse to get a new dress!

Which of course you can't really see in this picture anyway. Tim has an affinity for loud holiday pants and broke out the red ones embroidered with wreaths. His seasonal dressing inspired another doctor, Kevin, to get a jacket that competed for most eye catching.

This party has been at the Hotel Roanoke in past years but Arlene, who organizes it, got in a tiff with them and moved it to the Holiday Inn which, in my humble opinion, was an enormous mistake. The wait staff seriously looked like felons. I'll have to see if I can convince her to move it back next year!

Pictures at Last

So I finally got the pictures that we had taken in July. And though I did not get the family Christmas card picture I sought, there were some shots that turned out very well, like these:

I think these are sweet, very natural and was pleased with them overall. Some of the others, not so much. [Before I go on too much, I have to give the photographer a little bit of a pass. He had to do allot of Photoshop on some of these and did give them all to me for free because of how long this whole transaction took.] This picture of Tim & me is marginal I think:

Though one could say the the photographer was handicapped by his subjects! The family ones both are, well, weird. In this one, he whitened my teeth so much I look like Eric freakin Estrada.

And in the other, complete with the church social hall background which you know I love, we all seem to be emitting a glow as if we are either from on high or were exposed to radioactive waste.

It's been a rough year for the family portrait.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Expanding His Repertoire

But alas, my meeting with the preschool was not to be since they called me to come get Eion at 10:15 since he generally refused to remain clothed and was throwing chairs at other children. So I marched his trifling ass home and parked him in a chair in the family room where he remained until naptime. Certainly wasn't going to have him thinking that he could act like that and get "Mommy and me" day. Unless by Mommy & me day you mean the day where Mommy does her very best to show you how good you had it prior to going pro wrestler on your classmates. But at least my house is clean as that is what I did while he sat in mega time out.