Friday, August 31, 2007

Lack of Weekend Plans

Got these pictures back the other day (from the day Eion fell on his head.) Pretty happy with them considering what a crappy day we had! And I do adore the preppy pink & green.

So it is Labor Day weekend, Tim has the whole thing off and we have no plans. This is very unlike us and I feel happy to be free to do what we want and anxious that we are not more organized all at the same time. Our friend Hans is taking his kids camping tomorrow night but Tim was not interested. Darn! Ann & I would have had a great evening sans husbands and kids! But as the pool is closing I'm sure we will try to get in as much time there as we can. And we will likely go to the Labor Day party there.

We did have a great day today. We got a sitter and played tennis with Ann & Hans this morning, went to tennis clinic & then to Issac's, the new Greek restaurant in town where we ate ourselves silly! They have the best falafels I have ever eaten, bar none. After naptime, we took the gang to the pool where again they were all well behaved. Soon I will think that aliens have abducted my children and left eerily obedient ones in their place. I did forget my box of wipes and had to shower off a poopy E in the locker room but I can't say that was his fault. Though it would be nice if he showed any interest at all in being potty trained.

Have a great weekend and enjoy the end of summer!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

3 Schools, 3 Orientations

So Yesterday is Morrigan's birthday. We spent the whole day being all about Morrigan: she got the American Girl doll she wanted, she picked where we spent the morning (Science Museum), where we ate lunch (Market Building), what we had for dinner (steak), and we had a cake. Was the girl happy? Not a chance. The first thing she tells me this morning is that her birthday didn't work out the way she planned because she had to go to bed earlier than she wanted. ARRGH! This is exactly why I don't try too hard to make my children happy. I just operate as I want and if they are happy, fine. If not, so be it. When you try to hard, they morph into Paris Hiltonesque brats who don't deserve what they have.

But on to today. We were way busy with orientation for all kids (three different schools this year), a PTA meeting, and doctors appointment for Morrigan. All went as smoothly as can be expected. Maggie's teacher we knew as Morrigan had her two years ago. Mrs. McCauley is great! Morrigan's teacher seems wonderful. And then there is Eion's teacher. She seems really nice and well intentioned but has clearly not dealt with the likes of E. She doesn't want to use the word "no" as she finds it too negative and plans to "redirect" when they are misbehaving. Though I am sure those Psychology books were a good read, GOOD LUCK! I am taking bets on when she resorts to using "no" with Eion. I give her a week.

Before we went to meet Morrigan's teacher, we quickly dropped by Target to return a few items. The girls were dressed like this:

A nice lady said "Aren't you darling! Are you going to get your picture made?" To which the dears respond, "No, this is how we dress all the time!" Then we go into the store to acquire Cheerios and the girls report their Dad for speeding to the Target security officer. He let us off with a warning.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Happy Birthday Morrigan!

Though I find it hard to believe, Morrigan turns six today (party last week was early to capitalize on free clown.) As very corny as cliche as it sounds, it seems like yesterday that I was headed to the hospital in labor, excited, terrified and in no way prepared for the amazing roller coaster that is motherhood. So today is a trip down memory lane with some of my favorite Morrigan pictures. The one above is yesterday. She, naturally, picked out the outfit herself and wore that hat all day.

She was only a few weeks old here. I had never been so tired and happy in my entire life.

New Years Eve 2001 - I loved that outfit.

Summer 2002 - We thought we knew what a troublemaker was. Clearly, Eion was not born yet!

Valentine's Day 2003 - Tim said if kisses were 5 cents, he wanted at least a dollar's worth.

Holding newborn Maggie October 2003.

February 2004 - The girl always loved her hats.

Summer 2004 - Hard to believe this is only a few months before Eion was born.

With newborn Eion - February 2005. She was only 3 1/2 but really was a great big sister.

Christmas 2005

August 2006 - I think she looks so grown up in this one. She just wanted to pose with the cake.

October 2006

Disney World March 2007 - She was so happy to have her nails painted and Tim was pissed because he thought the red was not appropriate for a little girl.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Sleep, E, Sleep

I come home at 9pm from a Junior League meeting tonight and hear Eion singing in his crib upstairs. I go up and tell him to stop singing and go to sleep. "Ok Mama" he replies brightly. As I close the door, I hear him singing at full volume, "Life is a highway. I want to ride it all night long." Thus far he is still riding that highway. Hopefully he will find a nice motel and turn in soon.

Well Played Maggie

Maggie was playing Polly Pockets with her sister and said as she directed the storyline, "Pretend she said 'Dammit, I forgot my purse at home.'" I told her that Polly should say "darn it." "But it's a Mommy Polly Pocket" she replied. Touche.

Really Makes Me Wonder....

So before I get started today, I have to tell you about my trip to CVS pharmacy. Morrigan is making her own thank you cards to send out to the kids who came to her birthday. Her writing is pretty big so you end up needing 6x9 inch envelopes which I picked up at CVS. As I am checking out, the cashier says to me, "I love these. They really come in handy when you want to mail something." Now she looks to be in her 50s and presumably does not smoke pot so what is up? I did my best not to burst into laughter and left the store, handy envelopes in tow.

Was MIA the past few days as Tim had to pick up 12 1/2 extra hours over the weekend (he was already scheduled to work, these were just bonus!) The kids and I went to the pool on Saturday where they once again were very good! We stayed til an unprecedented 2pm (deep into naptime) and then headed home. Yes, 2/3rds of the crew broke down upon departure but it was still worth it.

Sunday Morrigan spent the afternoon with her friend Grace (and ended up having a sleep over there) so Maggie, Eion & I went to Maggie Moos ice cream. Eion was even kind enough to share with his sister. They both ended up a blue mess. I can't stand that cotton candy ice cream but something about the blue color really speaks to my kids.

Today Tim isn't working until 11pm so he was able to watch the kids while I got my hair done and caught up on my Us Weekly reading. Love that trash! Also, we got our new (used) piano today!
The kids have been beating it mercilessly.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

First Grade Class Lists

So my friend Kirsten called me the other day to let me know that her sister in law had already received her mail that day and the letter was coming. That would be the letter that told us which 1st grade teacher Morrigan would get. I immediately got excited. Then I realized, I don't know any of the teachers, why do I care? Now when Maggie's letter arrived, I had cause for excitement, we wanted a particular teacher (who we luckily got.) But then Kirsten pointed out that in addition to the teacher, the other members of the class were important as their parents were the ones with whom you would be doing lots of activities, carpools, birthday parties etc over the next year. So far, I know at least 4 of the parents pretty well and they are people I like. As for Morrigan, she pretty much seems to get along wherever she is. This is the girl who wanted to invite 80 kids to her birthday party because she couldn't narrow the list!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Morrigan's 6th Birthday Party

I thought for sure that our lucky streak with weather had ended. Yesterday morning was foggy and overcast and they were calling for thunderstorms. But we figured we had the clown anyway and we could always move into the clubhouse and play games. But the skies cleared and the weather turned nice by 4pm. And not one crack of thunder either!

We left Eion home with a sitter. Sorry buddy. I didn't want to spend the entire party chasing you and cleaning up the mulch you liberated from the flower beds. Maggie & I went a few minutes ahead to set up and get ready to "surprise" Morrigan. She and Tim arrived a few minutes behind up. We recruited anyone handy to hide. Morrigan loved it. Seems to her being surprised is not actually as important as looking surprised. (Check out the video further down.)

The balloon animals and face painting went over well. And Morrigan thanked everyone properly just as we had discussed before the party. The discussion went like this:

Me: Morrigan, you have to tell everyone thank you even if you don't like a gift. You are thanking them for thinking of you.

Morrigan: Yes, I will tell them it is a little stupid but I appreciate them getting it for me anyway.

Me: No, just thank you will be enough.

Mercifully, she got my point and just said thanks, generally adding in an "I love it!"

Maggie, in the difficult role of "girl who gets to watch her sister be the center of attention and get all the gifts" did excellent. She really wanted to hand out the goodie bags. I tried to discourage it but she was tenacious! So she handed them out, to anyone who came her way, even if they weren't our guests. Luckily, I made extras. We were also happy that we had tons of cake and pretty much was able to share with everyone at the pool that night. Morrigan had a great time and told me it was (again this year) "the best birthday ever."

Morrigan's 6th Birthday Party

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Soccer Season Begins

Tonight was the first night of soccer for the girls. I have a friend with kids Maggie & Morrigan's ages with whom we are carpooling but we thought we should both be there the first night to get the lowdown. We are minutes away from departure when the girls announce they can't find the ball. Now all the Veldmans out there are gasping with horror that there is only one ball but it is true. So we make a detour to KMart to get a new ball. I leave the kids in the car, which is locked and running, and dart in for new balls. They are yelling after me, "We want pink ones!" To which I screech across the parking lot, "For the love of god shut the windows!" I am thinking we are lucky to find a ball, let alone two pink balls as this is the suckiest KMart on the planet. But low and behold, there were two bright pink, albeit a bit flat, balls.

So off to the fields which I, amazingly, found with no trouble. The girls displayed all the athletic skill one would expect from my offspring, which is none. But there were lots of friendly faces and they seemed to have a good time. Eion spent the entire time trying to steal people's balls, water, food, you name it. And he had a run in with a large metal trash can that was most likely covered in lead based paint and definitely was a tetanus shot waiting to happen. I'm hoping not to have to bring him very often. [I wanted to take a picture but forgot the camera due to the great soccer ball crisis of 2007. So I offer a vintage pic of Morrigan circa May 2006.]

Some Reading For Today

Below is a link to an article I read online. Thought you might like it. First, the disclaimers:

1) It is political in nature. Yes, even I occasionally branch out from my world filled with diapers, Thomas the Train and Polly Pockets. Promise to be back to the insignificant details of my life soon.

2) If you do choose to read it, remember that we are planning to install solar panels when we replace our roof.


Birthday Party Ahead!

We are only one day away from The Party, Morrigan's 6th birthday party that is. Her actual birthday is next week but she has pretty much declared August as her birthday month so she doesn't mind dragging out the festivities!We are coinciding with family fun night at the pool so the beloved Ziggy the Clown will be there. Though I thought she might give up on the idea, she still wants it to be a surprise party. For the past few weeks whenever we are at the pool, she spends her time scoping out hiding spots for people; "Maggie will be by the toy box, Mark can be by the hutch and you will be the lookout Mom." Call me a sucker or overindulgent Mommy, but we have decided to take two cars so Morrigan can indeed make her entrance & be "surprised."

I did buy the girls new suits for the party this year. I felt bad last year when we got to the pool & I realized how stretched out and worn their suits had gotten over the summer. See exhibit A below:

The new ones are Kate Mack anyway so even if they only wear them this once & outgrow them, I can resell on eBay! Naturally, they are "tutu ballerina style." Full report on the party later this week!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Pajama People

I got so caught up in Brett Michaels that I forgot to tell you how much the kiddos loved wearing their pjs all day. As we went up the stairs to bed they cried out "We were pajama people all day!"

Party was a Blast!

Sorry to keep you hanging about the outcome of Saturday night. As the title of this entry suggests, it went great. The weather was perfect. Seriously, if I could have hand picked the weather conditions, I couldn't have done better. It was clear, about 80 degrees and beautiful! Since it was so nice out we were able to be on our deck which overlooks the Blue Ridge Mountains and Parkway. We had a fun mix of people show up - about 55 in total. Tim made a beef tenderloin which was awesome! I ripped off my friend's Asian Curry dip and veggies which turned out almost as well as she makes it. Since it was our Cocktail Club, some of the guests brought yummy food too including some sesame chicken bites that I may have eaten half of myself! Much jollyment was had with some of the late stayers (see pictures) there until about 2am.

Which leads us to why this post is several days after the party. We were exhausted on Sunday. The whole family enjoyed wearing their pjs all day and eating several meals consisting entirely of pizza. I would have varied the menu but pizza was the only food I could make come to me. But my day on the sofa was not without benefit. I discovered Rock of Love on VH1 or as I like to call it, the greatest show ever made. Basically, this troop of skanks compete for the grand prize: dating Brett Michaels:
who is the lead singer of 80's hair metal band Poison, the man who helped create such classics as Talk Dirty to Me and Every Rose Has Its Thorn. This show is hilarious! From where they assembled this motley crew of former/current strippers and porn stars I have no idea but they are the most captivating train wreck I have seen lately. They have the "elimination nights" where Mr. Michaels gives the girls who get to stay "VIP passes" and bids the losers farewell. When he puts the pass around each girl's neck, he asks, "Will you stay in this house and continue to rock my world?" Priceless. When one girl left, she flipped him the bird & wouldn't hug him goodbye to which he remarked, "that girl just had no class." As opposed to the other girls who make parting remarks like "I have had more famous stars the Brett Michaels." Her Daddy must be proud. It is just so good! What I really don't understand is if they really want to date him, wouldn't it just be easier to catch up with him after his next gig at the state fair?

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Wildcat Power!

We will be leaving late for the gym today as the kids are busy watching HSM2 (High School Musical 2 to the uninitiated.) It actually aired last night but it ended at 10pm so I Tivoed it for early morning watching. The kids (even Eion) are so excited about this. Morrigan has been making "Wildcat Power" signs and hanging them around the house for a week. They were a bit disappointed that it didn't have a sing along version like the DVD of HSM (basically the words to the songs pop up on the bottom of the screen like karaoke.) I'm sure they will all know the words anyway by the end of next week. If I can get it on film, I'll post E singing - it is a hoot!

Friday, August 17, 2007

My Little Angels

I am well aware that here at LUTBT my faithful readers are generally subjected to the misadventures of my children which typically end in the need for me to pull my hair out or seek solace in a glass of wine. Yet today, I bring you the story of The Pool After Naptime. They were great! I honestly got to spend the majority of my time talking to Hans. No one broke down when we left. How dull. Tomorrow: back to insanity.

Mean Green Earth Savin' Machine

We are having a cocktail party Saturday and it looks like about 65 people are coming. The weather, in spite of this morning's rain, is scheduled to be perfect! If it holds, this will make three parties in a row we have hosted with great weather. Maybe the curse has lifted....

So in preparation for the party, I ordered some cute napkins and guest towels from my friend Jennifer (

Tim (pictured on the left above with Adam of the nearly dead mouse removal fame) really got a bee in his bonnet about it. Spent too much money you say? No - he wanted to be more environmentally friendly.

Have to take you back a few months to How We Got Here. Tim, longtime conservative, routinely found that in matters of conservation, being on the right meant you were not taken seriously a la "You can't really care about the environment, you're a Republican!" [Must add here that I think he is right on this. One of my very favorite cousins, who shall remain nameless, many years ago expressed horror that I had changed my political alignment to the right. "You can't be a Republican" she said, "You recycle!"] Back on point, Tim decided he would out-green the liberals. Figures that will take that argument off the table.

Now we always recycled and tried to reuse items but he stepped it up a few notches. We have a compost pile, meat waste is discarded in the woods, no more disposable water bottles or cups at the pool etc. In prep for the party, he decided we should have keg beer (no bottles in landfills - Roanoke won't collect brown) and use glass pint glasses, of which we have many due to our long standing love affair with bar ware. We have plenty of plates so we don't have to use paper. He has grumpily conceded that since the napkins are already printed, we may as well use them.

For those who know him, this is all a bit out of character for the T. But I am not exaggerating at all. So you how far things have gone, I have to tell you the man wants me to drink (and worse yet, serve) box wine. I drew the line. So party goers, you are safe this time!

Outing with the Girls

Eion went to his Thursday "playgroup" [read: babysitter enjoying several 2 year olds, including one who apparently bit E but we all know he likely deserved it] so the gals and I headed downtown. Actually, I had an 8:05 Ophthalmologist appointment, follow up on lasik which is still the greatest thing ever, so I left the kids in Tim's able care. I told him I would meet him at the gym after the doc's office and take the girls out. He naturally complained he didn't know how to get the girls dressed but I said to just let them pick out their clothes. This is where the communication disconnect came into play. What I said: the girls can pick out their own clothes. What he heard: they can wear any random pieces of clothing their toddler heads think match and you don't need to provide any guidance whatever. Hence why my friend Allison burst into laughter upon seeing the dears at the gym and asked who let them loose with the Bedazzler.
Really, in whose world does this match?

But with no time to change (had to pick up E at 1) we were off to downtown where we ate at the market building. Then it was over to Art Venture, an interactive part of the Art Museum for kids. It was nice, if a bit pricey. I thought the admission charge for me was completely unnecessary. I'm not going to use any paint or cause wear to the dress up clothes. But the girls had fun and that was why we were there. Morrigan was painting a picture of her sister which started with a huge orange head. Then she turned to Maggie and said, "Now hold still, I want to get this just right."

Woke up to rain today because you know we are having a party tomorrow and nothing brings the end of a two week dry spell like a McKernan soiree. The forecast is still calling for nice, sunny weather tomorrow. Keep your fingers crossed for me!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Cosmic Conspiracy

Do you ever feel as though the cosmos itself is conspiring against you? Welcome to my morning. We went to get the girls' birthday pictures taken this morning. Tim worked an overnight so he was not with us but I had also dressed Eion and myself for pictures just in case everything went swimmingly and we could get a good group shot. The girls, bolstered by the promise of lunch downtown and a trip to the Science Museum, were great. Eion looked darling in his little vest, shirt & tie but you will never know it as, naturally, he was completely uncooperative, refusing to be in any picture unless he could hold a set of plastic rings. But I think we did get a good picture of me and the girls. By the time we left, we had completely disrupted the studio (Eion was screaming the entire time I changed him into shorts.)

Although I predicted E would make my life miserable downtown, I wanted to live up to my promise to the girls. As I pulled into the parking structure at Center in the Square, I saw a sign saying it was full. It was too late to turn back so I hopefully asked the attendant if it was still full. Her snarky response was "That's why the sign is there." Hey thanks sunshine! I really need your sarcasm. So it was off to the pay lot which has raised its rates to a staggering $1 per 1/2 hour or $6 all day. It was only 11am so I begrudgingly paid the $6.

We walked over to the Market Building for lunch where a group of men of questionable mental stability started talking to the girls. After herding them inside, I went up to the counter to order lunch at which point Eion bolted. I chased him down, scooped him up and sat him on a stool. Now granted, the stool was high but the child had eaten lunch sitting on one of these many times. He could do it months ago. But he was angry and managed to dive off and land on his head. So he is screaming and people are crowding around. I picked him up, took the girls and went around a corner to a hallway so I could call Tim. Some guy starts waving a card in my face with some neurological condition on it and telling me how Eion is going to now be epileptic. I assured him that I was calling the boy's father, an ER Physician, and I had it under control.

Finally, we just had to leave which prompted the girls to start howling as their reward of lunch and museum slipped away. I got back to the car (that $6 spot having been used for 10 minutes) and buckled everyone in. They I just started sobbing. The kids, who never see me cry, were worried. Morrigan asked me, "Can you cry and drive at the same time?" Even E was saying "Ok Mama, ok Mama." So I sort of pulled it together and called to see who was working in the ER. One of the docs told me what the trouble signs were and we headed home. I called Ann (a doctor) & Hans to see if she was home which she wasn't so I launched into a tirade telling Hans about the morning's exploits completely forgetting it is his birthday. Now I am a bad mother and a bad friend.

Tim got up a few minutes later & confirmed that Eion was not going to perish and made us all pancakes for lunch. Well I guess everything can't really be conspiring against me!

Sunday, August 12, 2007


On the way home from the pool today, Morrigan asked me, "Are you & Daddy planning to redo the basement?"

Me: "Yes, in a year or so."

Morrigan: "You should really use some Scotch Blue Tape. It will make your project easy."

Me: "Morrigan have you been watching commercials again?"

Morrigan: "Yes. They are no good for you but I learn lots of things like how Scotch Blue tape is great."

Ah yes, my budding little consumer.

What to do on a Sunday

Well after yesterday's rodent excitement (thanks again Adam!) we had a pretty low key day. After we came home from the gym, I spent the balance of the morning sterilizing the kitchen - damn mice. Once it was clean enough to eat in again, Morrigan & I baked some cookies for Adam and Olivia to say thanks. He later called and told me they were the best cookies he had ever had. Really nice to hear especially when your competition is Tim. I mean, I am a good cook but he is generally (alright always) better. Which naturally has its perks, all the great food he cooks, but the downside is when I cook, I feel like it is the 2nd place meal!

I taught the girls to play the card game Uno yesterday. They both grasped the general concept pretty well though we will have to work on not showing everyone your cards. And when Morrigan deals, she looks at all the cards being handed out - also an area for improvement! Maggie kept winning which drove Morrigan to tears. But after all, then we could learn The Real Lesson of card games: how to be a good sport. After Maggie tired of winning (seriously) Morrigan & I played a few hands and she won, greatly improving her mood. Soon, I'll teach them poker!

Now we just have to figure out what to do today. Tim is working 7a-7p again today and the kids are tiring of the pool. At least it is supposed to be only 91 degrees today. As in much of the country this week, Roanoke has been god-awful Africa hot this week. 91 will be a cold snap!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Crisis Averted

Three cheers for my hero, Adam S. who lives up the street and was kind enough to come over & remove the mostly dead mouse! So the pantry is safe again. Thanks Adam for your bravery in the face of injured rodents and Olivia for lending me your husband! We owe you one!

Help Please!

This is for my readers here in town. I need your help (or not to be sexist, probably your husband's help.) I have a semi-living mouse in my pantry. Tim is at work and the kids & I have had not success so far in dealing with this. So if you are out there this morning and willing to help with partially dead mouse removal, give me a call. I am desperate here.

The mouse is not moving so I will give you a rundown on events so far: During the morning mouse trap check, I saw a trap was closed but had no mouse in it. So I looked under the lazy susan and saw what appeared to be a mouse corpse, later to be properly identified as nearly dead mouse. This has happened to us before. The trap mortally wounds the mouse & they can't get out & die there. So I went to remove the "dead" mouse (I'm not really a huge wimp, I do take out the dead ones) and it moved!

So I got out some thongs to grab the mouse with the intention of throwing it over the side of the deck. I enlisted Morrigan to be on standby with a box to trap it if I dropped it. But both times I grabbed it, it wiggled free. Not nearly as dead as I thought! So now it is cowering in the corner of the lazy susan, probably going to die and I can't get it out! So manly men or tougher women than me, would you like to mouse wrangle?

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Hooray for Camp!

The kids are at camp this week from 9-1 everyday. The theme this time around is Aloha. The girls love it. They want to wear grass skirts everyday. I have been working hard to get them into "play" clothes. The reminder letter this time for camp specifically called out that they should be in comfortable gear. I can't be sure but I think this addition was inspired by Morrigan who insisted on rotating through the last few years' Easter dresses for camp in July. I will really miss it when she decides to dress trendy and leaves her big, frilly dresses behind. Til then, we are the only household in America to wear out our dress clothes and hand down pristine play clothes!

Tim & I were talking today about how much easier this summer was than last year. But don't let it be said that I am not looking forward to school. Those supplies are bought, labeled & ready to go just in case they bump up the start of school a few weeks.

So what else is going on...I saw a copperhead curled up by the bushes next to the stairs leading up to the mailbox. Great. Now getting the mail is a very stressful experience. Would that Tim had been home to kill it. But it is still on the loose. Tim called me at work today (I worked a whopping 2 hours this week) and offered to get the much needed groceries. I thought, what a sweet guy! Now when I got home I looked in the fridge, I couldn't really tell he had gone. He said he couldn't think of what to buy. Nice thought anyway.

Morrigan got a thank you note from her Kindergarten teacher for the end of year gifts. She read the whole thing herself! Last but not least today, check out E's haircut. I think he looks so grown up. Tim saw him and said "He still has jacked up lettuce. Now it is just short & jacked up." Oh well. At least the problematic hair is on the boy and not his sisters.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Remodeled Bathroom

My friend Olivia has reminded me on several occasions that in spite of discussing the bathroom remodel, I never posted any pictures. So here they are! Small room so it was tough to get pictures but you get the idea. It is still not quite done as we need to get a shower door but we are almost there! The first picture is "before." Now I tried very hard to find one without kids on the potty but really, what other time are you taking pictures of a bathroom?