Monday, December 31, 2007
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
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
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
4:30pm Herd children to the basement. Recommend they play Lord of the Flies.
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.
Sometime after 6pm Bid guests farewell. During clean up realize that we didn't hand out party favors.
9pm Collapse in bed.
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
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
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!
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.
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.
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
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
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.
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
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.
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.
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
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!
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!
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.