Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Holidays Roll On.....

After all the fun of Christmas, what could we add to make it better? Poker, dinner and Rock Band! We went to friends Rob & Leigh Anne's house on Friday for dinner. The boys retired to the deck for cigars so the girls headed to the basement for RB. We did have to get Caroline (age 11) to bail us out and play bass but had much fun!


We finally sat down to play poker around 9ish. I was the first person out. Twice. Not my best performance. Then I retreated to the basement where I also was substandard at Rock Band. I blamed my cold. Tim said it might be the wine......


Saturday we took my parents to the art museum. Tim had to work that night and we were all happy to take a night off and rest.

Mom & Dad left this morning to the screams of Eion as he wailed, "I want to go with Oma and Opa!" He rallied when he heard we would be going to his friend John Paul's house later. We had commented earlier that we would have to go to a bar to watch the Lions and see if they would actually run the tables in reverse. Melanie and Jerry, who have NFL Sunday Pass, were kind enough to let us impose on them and watch the game there. We did get to see the Lions complete their 0-16 season and more importantly, had a great time. And I was able to introduce them to cheese slaw which really is a right of passage in Roanoke. I know all the in town folks know how to make it but for everyone else:

Mix together:
1 lb shredded swiss cheese (take the extra time and do it yourself, it is worthwhile)
1/2 cup chopped banana peppers
1/2 cup chopped jalapeno peppers
1 bunch chopped green onions
mayo to bind

Serve with Fritos Scoops. Guaranteed to please!


Friday, December 26, 2008

Wrap It Up!

I'm a bit off my game as I have been hit with a holiday cold. That being said, our holidays have been pretty darn good full of friends, family and fun. My parents arrived on the 24th. We were lucky enough to have good weather so they could wash the salt off their car. I think the kick back of the power washer caught E off guard!

That afternoon, Tim and I delivered mudballs (see previous post) to a few folks and made plans to get together for dinner, poker, and/or football. After inviting ourselves over to several homes (you have to watch it around us,) we returned home and made home made pizzas. After dinner and much wine, Tim, Dad and I headed over to Ann and Hans' house for a bit before returning home to prepare for Christmas morning. We discovered that I neglected to get stocking stuffers for Eion. Oops. He didn't seem to mind the Polly Pockets I pilfered from his sisters' stockings.

I bought each of the kids three things. My Mom, god love her, was such a Grandmother and flooded them with gifts. Morrigan and Maggie deemed every gift "just what they wanted." 

Eion, or as we will now refer to him, lazybones, didn't want to open his own gear claiming he couldn't. Never had such a bald face lie been told. The Boy can't rip things apart? Please. But when he finally opened them, he was delighted to be the recipient of many guns.

The chaos was so complete that when we cleaned up the paper, we found a few gifts unopened that had been buried in the fray.

E spent his day doing battle. Among the items he destroyed were the kitties, the bad guys, the tree, the ornaments and most of the family. 

We intended to have Christmas lunch but by the time it was ready, it was close to 2pm. We called it linner. The girls set the table with my Dad using the silver and china. They liked being fancy. Later Tom and Kirsten came by for a drink. All the kids were VERY wound up at this point so it unfortunately didn't last too long. But we did get a family photo. Looks like we should have gotten it when it wasn't so dark!

That evening, Tim and I took the girls to a Christmas cocktail party that the grandfather of their friends has each year. The kids were excited they were "twins." 


After a nice long day, I was more than happy to go to bed before 10pm. Overall, no complaints from me. It has been a great holiday!


Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!


Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.....

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Holiday Traditions

The kids and I made Mudballs this afternoon which are a long standing holiday tradition around my in-law's house. Nancy always makes them for us but since they can't come for Christmas this year, we decided to make them ourselves. A few snafus and a lot of "help" from the underlings aside, all went well and they are delicious! The recipe is below. And really, they taste much better than the name would imply!

Nancy's Mudballs
Mix together:
1/4 lb butter
2 cups crunchy peanut butter
4 cups (1lb) powdered sugar

Add 3 cups Rice Crispies and mix by hand. 

Shape into balls about an inch in diameter or the size of one to two bites. 

Melt 24oz semi sweet chocolate in a double boiler. [Nancy adds a 1/2 stick of paraffin wax to make it shiny but I just tempered mine.] Dip the balls in the chocolate (I use a toothpick. Make sure you take it out after you dip them) Place on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper or aluminum foil and refrigerate. Enjoy!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Change of Heart


Just a few days back I posted a status on Facebook that read "Katie is looking forward to Christmas break." Well Katie has changed her mind. We are three days in and if things continue on this track, I may lose it. Within 10 minutes of waking, Morrigan had broken into tears over two different things. 10 minutes! Then everyone cried about going to the gym. Then they cried when we had to leave the gym. Then they complained about having pizza for lunch It is not like it is fraking liver and onions! 

After an extensive lecture on You Don't Know How Good You Have It, they pulled it together for an ornament exchange to which the girls were invited. I was very concerned there would be tears when they asked, "Can we keep the ornaments we bring?" But the hostess said they were good and promised that Maggie was as sweet as can be. Would that I could see that more around here.

Steak for dinner seemed to lift everyone's spirits. Ah the healing power of meat. Let's hope it carries through to tomorrow.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

So the Holidays Begin

We're off to a rocky start here for Christmas break. When I looked at the calendar and realized Tim was working the first 5 days of the holiday, I was suspicious it would be rough going.We have all the kids banned from watching tv and one little boy under the threat of "Do that one more time and you will be in your room for the rest of the day." Merry Christmas indeed.

Yesterday was a full day of school Christmas parties and programs. Initially, I wasn't going to attend Eion's Christmas program since I didn't think he would care if I was there or not. But in the end decided I would probably be happier in the long run for having gone even if it meant missing tennis. The good news is he didn't meow at all. Then again he didn't sing either. But the teachers said they were just happy no one was picking their nose or had their hands down their pants. And I thought my expectations were low. [Video of him not singing available below. Very exciting stuff.]


Then it was off to Crystal Spring for Maggie & Morrigan's class parties. For Maggie's, we were making a popsicle stick snowflake ornament on which they glued little jewels and a picture of themselves. It turned out cute if I do say so myself!


While she was busy, I ducked up to Morrigan's class where I found her covered in paint, which had to be washable right? WRONG! Thank goodness she was wearing her silk, dry clean only Christmas dress. I suppressed my horror and fled back downstairs.

After a snack, Maggie's class played a game. We gave them each a slip of paper with the picture of an animal on it. They had to find the other person with the same animal by making that animal's sound. They loved it and wanted to play several rounds. Their teacher had the moms play a round too which was received with gales of laughter.

Later, Tim and I went out to dinner for our friend Greg's 40th birthday. We had all forgotten that it was Dickens of a Christmas downtown which meant parking blocks away from the restaurant. The 4 inch heels suddenly weren't such a great idea. The company was great and we had an excellent time but I have to say it was in spite of the food. We went to 202 Market which, in the past, I've found to be one of the best places in Roanoke. I ordered things I have eaten there before (and liked) to find them altered in unpleasant ways. The fish tacos tasted like they had tuna salad in them. I can't say we will go back.

We returned home to find Morrigan had conned the sitter into letting her stay up until 10pm hence the ban on tv today. It is going to be a GREAT vacation!

Eion's Christmas "Performance"

You have to love the boy......click through for video

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Fa La La La La


Let me tell you, it seemed like a great idea to go caroling at a local retirement/nursing home. In practice.....we arrived to find we had gone to the wrong location. They were expecting us across the street. We were about to head over when a friend's grandmother said, "You're not going to the nursing home are you? They just lifted the quarantine two days ago." Fearing infecting an entire Daisy troop with the flu, we opted to leave to the cries of my daughters, "Christmas is ruined!" I think we spread some serious joy.

Back in Business


Rock Band is back chez nous! After the tragic death of our drum kit, I had been waiting for the release of the RB2 drums. I ordered them on Amazon and, for the first time in my life, was willing to pay overnight shipping as my withdrawal symptoms were getting pronounced! As the estimated ship date came and went without a shipping notification email, I called them in a near panic. No they told me, they were on backorder and the had no idea when they would come in. Drats.

I started a search online and found that the Best Buy in our area had them in stock. I called to verify and was told, yes indeedy, they had them in stock. Eion and I departed directly only to discover we had been deceived. I set to badgering an employee who recommended looking an another area devoted almost exclusively to RB and Guitar Hero. No luck. But then like a Christmas miracle, one lone Rock Band 2 Special Edition sat in the aisle. It was a wee bit more than I was going to spend before since it came with a guitar but clearly, it was meant to be. 

Eion during this whole exercise, was a riot. While we waited on a salesperson, a 19ish boy was playing a drum set up they had out and couldn't finish the song. Eion walked up to him and told him, "Mommy's a good drummer. She never flames out." He looked at me oddly but I decided it was best not to challenge him to Down with the Sickness. As we walked out, E informed anyone who would listen, "We bought all the new drums. We're going to rock!" And rock we did. While I played the new drums, E set up the non-functioning ones next to me and happily banged away as though he were playing the game. 

The boy is a character to say the least. I am a bit frightened for his Christmas pageant tomorrow. I asked him what they were singing. He launched into Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. But about two lines in, started meowing to the tune rather than singing. It's going to be great.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Ewww no I mean awesome no I mean ewww


I am so conflicted. As I was cleaning up this morning, I saw what I thought was a rubber band I missed with the vacuum. I picked it up to discover it was not a string or a rubber band but a mouse tail. Ewwww. But then I thought, awesome, the cats are killing mice. But then I thought, ewwww, the poison hasn't killed all the mice immigrating to our home from the forest behind us. I just don't know what to feel.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Nativity Scenes From Hell

I don't generally post click throughs but I couldn't resist. Enjoy List of the Day's collection of truly alarming nativity scenes!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Beautiful


As I left Maggie's class today, I told her, "I'll see you after school beautiful." Her teacher thought I was talking to him. The look on his face was priceless.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Overload

I think we were actually as busy as humanly possible this weekend (and you know I loved it!) Friday after school, the whole family went circus style to the grocery. Naturally, I had an incentive plan in place with the children having been promised either gum or a cookie for good behavior. They were all excellent so E got a cookie and the girls chose bubble tape. When we got home, Tim and I started getting ready for the evening as we were hosting couples poker. Shortly there after, the girls told me they ate ALL the gum. I asked it they spit it in the garbage and they replied "Of course." Mere minutes later, Maggie was puking and it was loaded with gum. Nice. I really hope this was the first and last time I ever have to clean bubble gum vomit out of my carpet. 

Morrigan went to a Christmas party around 4 with a friend who generously took a few girls to Build A Bear. We couldn't be sure if Maggie was actually sick or if this was the result gum ingestion. We made the executive decision that poker should go on! We had 4 couples over and it was a spirited game with Tim and Tom coming out on top.

Saturday, Morrigan had The Whole Notes Club (a piano thing) in the morning. After we picked her up, we took Maggie to a birthday party. While she was there, we shuttled the other two to the Zoo where they had made snow and had Santa come visit.


We ran into several friends and had a fun if cold time. After we picked up Maggie, Morrigan was off to her piano teacher's Christmas party. Tim and I commenced to cooking as Saturday was Super Supper Club. We were having a traditional holiday dinner. We brought dressing, mashed potatoes and egg nog (made from scratch of course! Seriously!) 

Kirsten was a little under the weather but completely manned up and threw an awesome party! Dr. Ann and I hijacked the party a bit and had cake to celebrate our December birthdays. Birthday bling compliments of Jen!

It was so much fun that when people started to leave, I thought to myself, why is everyone leaving so early? I quickly discovered it was not early at all but 11pm. Truly the sign of a good party when it flies by that fast!

Today we skipped the gym so the kids could have some down time. But this afternoon Maggie is off to another birthday party and Morrigan is going to see The Nutcracker. Tim has to work at three so E and I are going to invade Melanie & Jerry's. But I will come bearing home made lasagna!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Damn You Short People!

[Oh before you all get up in arms about the rights of the vertically challenged, I am affectionately referred to by my brother in law as "the family midget," a title earned for being all of 5ft 2in.] But on point here, I have been desperately searching eBay in an attempt to expand Tim's holiday pants collection. He has the red and blue versions (from Orvis) but I am unable to find the green cords with the candy canes. And incidentally, completely unwilling to pay the list price of $175. So after weeks of fruitless searching, I found a pair with Tim's waist size but they have a 29 inch inseam. Arrgh! And really, I have a 29 inch inseam. If you are my height, you should not have Tim's waist size. Mix in a salad shorty! But I will not give up yet...and I saw today they have three new holiday styles........

Highs and Lows


I was very excited to be invited over to my friend Melanie's today to play Rock Band 2 complete with the new cymbal attachment. Hopes were dashed by the arrival of Morrigan in my room about 4am, puking. Soooo, rather than go to golf clinic and then play RB2, I did excessive amounts of laundry and ironing. Good news is after about 9am, Morrigan seemed completely better though still not very interested in eating. 

And then tragedy befell our household. Our drum set broke beyond repair. I am at a complete loss. RB2 for Wii doesn't come out until the 16th and the new drums are much better than the current variety. So I can't really replace them for at least a week. Tim is showing very little sympathy. I had to call Ann, who understood. She said a broken bass pedal might have driven her to tears.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Chess Club

So I've been helping Maggie's teacher with the Chess Club. It was (is) dicey as I had never played chess before. But certainly I was good for crowd control and have been learning along with the kids. The fourth and fifth graders really get a kick out of me routinely needing their help. Well to be honest, I think there are a few second and third graders likely to lay a beat down on me as well. I have been playing on the computer and hope to rise above the elementary level soon.

Maggie was playing one of her classmates who is ironically nicknamed Chess. He drew first blood and captured one of her pawns. Maggie burst into tears. Being the sweetheart he is, Chess immediately pointed out a move she could make to capture one of his pieces. Throughout the game if she was stuck, he would show her moves that were generally to his detriment. I gotta say, that kind of selflessness makes me want to be a better person. 

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Christmas Parties

Ah the first glorious weekend of Christmas parties! No secret to anyone that I love to get out and December is packed with excuses to do just that. 

Friday we went to the Junior League party. Traditionally, this has been the zone of no fellas. A few years back, Tim was literally one of three men there. Imagine my surprise when it was nearly 50-50 this year. I felt bad that I had scared Daniel, the Club's assistant tennis pro whose wife is a Provisional, into thinking it might just be him and Tim! And it was great to hear all sorts of stories from the hostess about when her son, one of our friends, was a hellion back in the day. 

Admittedly, I was feeling a bit old as some of the younger members looked like they needed to be carded at the bar. I was introduced to one and she said "It was so lovely to meet you" in a very you are a grown up kind of way. Why don't you just tack a ma'am on the end of that and fetch me my rascal.

After we adjourned to the Fork for a few beers. Overall, the night was much more fun than anticipated! We came home pretty early knowing the kids would be up at the crack of dawn to see what St. Nicholas brought them. 

Saturday was the kids Christmas party at the Club. When you can see Santa this easily, you never want to wait in line at the mall again. Granted, this was as close as Eion got:

My kids saw Santa come through the door and ambushed him, making sure they were the first in line. I almost missed my photo op altogether. And we well know that it is all about the pictures!


In spite of his anti-Santa stance, Eion was remarkably well behaved and had a great time with friend John Paul, whose family came with us.
We had lined up a sitter for Saturday night and found ourselves without plans. I called Sippycups to go out but they were hosting Dr. Daddy's group's Holiday party. A party which she told us to crash. Dangerous invite indeed - you never have to tell us twice to come to a party! We know many people in the group so we shamelessly showed up, garnering a few strange looks but otherwise just having a fine old time.

Today I have a dozen Brownies coming over for a meeting - bring on the pinecone bird feeders!

Friday, December 05, 2008

Sweater Party

Last night Kirsten and I hosted the cheesy holiday sweater party. What a blast! About an hour prior to the soiree, I realized we had no holiday music. I quickly uploaded some cds to my iPod and promptly forgot to turn on when everyone arrived. Which as it turns out was fine since the noise volume in the kitchen at the peak of the night reached what you might call deafening.

The sweater selections were outstanding making voting for the best of the worst a daunting task. The beads, the fur, the completely unflattering cuts. It was all so good. My Goodwill shoes were a great addition to my outfit. I topped it off with a flashing ornament necklace and earrings. One partygoer said I looked like Maggie dressed me. Thanks! Morrigan was horrified that I chose the sweater I did saying it was much to beautiful for an ugly sweater party.


We had requests to make it an annual event which naturally, we will! I would never dream of rejecting an excuse to have the girls over for drinks.

So start shopping now for the 2nd Annual Cheesy Holiday Sweater Party!

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Thank You Tyler,

for raking!




There is no better...

So I haven't had the chance to blog about this Thursday's cheesy holiday sweater party Kirsten and I are hosting yet. We planned to have it early in the month to kick off our holiday season. We sent out this invitation:

When Tom took the picture for us, he commented that not only has my sweater hideous, it was terribly unflattering as well. He marveled, "I have never seen an item of clothing cause one to have fat rolls!" My response was naturally, "Thanks!"

We have just about everything planned out including cheesy prizes for the best in show. Should be lots of fun!

Now, I generally reserve untempered glee for truly monumental occasions; graduation, wedding day, birth of a child, etc but today I was downright giddy when I found these babies at the Goodwill:

I saw them on the rack and thought, there is no way they are my size. But lo and behold,  6 1/2! I thought it impossible for my holiday sweater party look to improve. So wrong. I did have to go against my overall aversion to used bootery but for this glory, I will heavily lysol, wear socks and bathe before bed.  

Monday, December 01, 2008

Holidays


With December so busy, I almost emailed the girl's teachers to say I wouldn't be volunteering this month. After this morning in Maggie's class, I am glad I didn't send that email! When we were discussing Thanksgiving, Ray told me they had bacon and eggs rather than turkey for their meal since he is Jewish. Must be a Temple I don't know well.

Then a friend's son, who incidentally is caucasian, told me how they don't celebrate Christmas, only Kwanzaa. I am certain this will be news to his Mom.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Success!

My first attempt at grilling/smoking a turkey was a success! The picture doesn't really do it justice - it tasted great. And I so prefer to cook the bird outside as it frees up the oven for sides. Of course grilling fun was assisted by the wonderful, mild weather we had yesterday.


The kids and I finished decorating before Tim got home from work. The very last box I unpacked had these:

I was really bummed out when I thought I had lost them. They were a gift from Tim's Mom. She always had them in the bathroom when Tim was growing up. He and his brother Pat would rearrange them to spell LEON. The thought of mischievous little boys trying to get their Mom's goat always makes me smile - though I found it funnier before I had one of my own. 

We had an early dinner. The girls were very interested in cooking and helping set the table. I set them loose with the china and silver and am happy to report it is all still intact! They also made us placecards with rainbows and flowers on them. And they actually sat down for the meal which lasted quadruple the length of last year's five minute affair. (E - notsomuch.) I enjoyed their enthusiasm. It really made the day more fun.


Later Tom and Kirsten came by with the kids to hang out for a while saving us from family movie night. Note to self: never rent Space Chimps again. And Ann dropped by after work. I felt a little bad when all we had for her were potatoes and green beans but this is the house of pork after all! The kids chased the cats while we enjoyed a few glasses of wine. It was a perfect end to the day. 

As we cleaned up, Tim and I talked about what we are thankful for and came to the conclusion just about everything: happy marriage, great kids, and wonderful friends and family. Hope this post finds you with lots for which to be thankful too. Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

So Far.....

Thanksgiving, play by play.

6am: Make Tim's lunch. Check in on Facebook. Realize neighbor Tyler was at Waffle House at 3am.
6:15-6:25am: Entertain the idea of send the children across the street with some sort of holiday treat at a very early hour. 
6:30am: Ultimately reject plan while highly entertaining, likely to result in years of animosity.
7am: Get kids out of bed. Children reject breakfast in favor of decorating for Christmas.
7:10am: Rethink the wisdom of decorating with the kids.
7:50am: Eion breaks ornament Maggie made in preschool leading to his confinement and many tears from Mags.
8:30am: Consider the ethics of drinking alone before 9am. Opt for a Perrier.
8:45am: Kids' hanging of ornaments leads to a seriously bottom heavy tree, much to the kittens' delight.
9am: The Macy's Thanksgiving parade mercifully draws the kids into the other room.
9:45am:  Eion removes all his clothes.
10-11am: Take little artificial trees MIL gave us out and "fluff." Discover the lights on them don't work. Go on to find that the lights are wound around the branches and in knots. Swear under breath as I cut them out for 45 minutes.
11am: Think how smart I am to remember to test lights for deck prior to stringing them.
11:25am: Realize what a nimrod I am when after stringing lights, I am left with the female end and cannot plug them in.
11:30-11:50am: Take down lights on deck and then put them back up properly with the help of my still naked son.
noon: Decorate little trees with the kids. Discover E really has a knack for untangling ornament hooks.
12:30pm: Corral kids for family shower.
1pm: Light Big Green Egg for the first time ever to grill turkey.
1:45pm: Put turkey on grill.
2pm: Break to blog. Back later......

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Let the Festivities Begin!

In general, I am appalled at the way the start of the Christmas season has inched ever closer to Halloween in a seeming ongoing effort to edge out Thanksgiving altogether. One of the local radio stations switched its format over to 24/7 holiday tunes a full two weeks ago. Now, I am a fan of Christmas music, A Charlie Brown Christmas and the Ramsey Lewis Trio's Sounds of Christmas being my favorites,  BUT when you are playing it non stop for over a month, you really have to dig deep into areas which should be left undisturbed. I think we can all agree that the world would be a better place if we never heard selections from nsync's Home for Christmas again. [Not that I don't still harbor the tiniest little cougar-esque crush on you Justin! Call me!]

That being said, I am all about being practical. The realization that Tim would be at work from 7a-3p on Thanksgiving, nothing would be open and, as we were abandoned by both our families, I would be left home alone with three kids made it clear a contingency plan was needed. Solution: decorate for Christmas. Hence why we were out buying a tree prior to Thanksgiving, a practice on which I typically frown. 

After we picked up the girls from school, the whole circus headed over to Lowe's where we have for years, for a reason I can't quite pin down, purchased our tree. Tim tied it to the roof of the Suburban. Not wanted to be a nag yet unable to help myself I questioned its security there. My fears rebuffed, we started the 2 mile drive home. On the first turn out of the store, we ended up like this:


Tim thought I should help tie it back up but I had priorities - to capture this family moment on film! We tied it up again but almost immediately, it slid to this position:

The children commented on its status all the way home but luckily, it didn't fall off for a second time. When we got it inside, it quickly became clear it was just a wee bit too tall but nothing that couldn't be remedied with some hedge trimmers. 

I'm sure since we are here all weekend, I will be checking in. For my in town readers, feel free to come by for a cocktail. And for all, have a wonderful, safe Thanksgiving!