Sunday, March 30, 2008

Return to Normalcy

First off, going back to real life sucks. I very much miss staying in bed as late as I want. But it was a great ride while it lasted! We were smart enough to buy a splitter so we could both use our headphones with the laptop and we were able to burn through 16 episodes of 24. It made the trip downright bearable.

When we got there, we met up with Tom, Chris and Hayden. Tom was on his last day of a guys weekend and Chris was there for the same conference as Tim. This was the first time we were out there with mates and it definitely improved our buzz. I think we let Tom down a bit only staying out until midnight the night he was there but in our defense, we had been up almost 24 hours at that point and we tried to go out more but chose our location poorly. To everyone's shock and amazement, O'Sheas, land of beer pong, was unsavory and sapped our remaining energy.

The first day we also spent an hour by the pool. Seeing as it was 3pm, I thought I could go without sunscreen. I was wrong and got to sport some very lobsteresque coloring for the remainder of the trip. Note to self, desert sun is different than home!

We stayed at Caesars Palace since the conference was there. We opted to stay in the newer (read: more expensive) area of the hotel. The upgrade was well worth the extra cash. When we stayed there last time, we had a mirror on the ceiling above our bed, a decorating detail I am happy to report they omitted in the new construction.

In addition to playing poker, we went out to several great restaurants including Bouchon and B&B Ristorante, both of which I recommend highly. We ordered the pasta tasting menu at B&B and it was fantastic. There were several items on the menu that seemed like they wouldn't be good, like goose liver ravioli, that turned out to be some of my favorites.

But now it is back to reality. Homecoming was made a little easier by the kids' excitement when they saw us. And nothing is cuter than a 3 year old asking you, "How was Vegas?"

Friday, March 28, 2008

Leaving Las Vegas

So we are back home from Vegas. I am not sure I have the momentum after spending today catching up on laundry and the like to detail the entire trip. Not to mention it would make for one long ass post and I think we are all better suited by breaking it up into a few different blurbs. But I will give you some very important tidbits.....

My pockets are a bit lighter. It hurts my ego a great deal to say I lost money at poker. That being said (just watch this rationalization. It is awesome!), over the course of four days I lost $160. BUT I played poker for a minimum of 4 hours each of the four nights we were there. So that is at most, $10 an hour for fun. Way cheaper than a show and I was able to crush a heroic number of mandarin tonics. Certainly more than $10 worth per night meaning I'm really ahead right? hahahahaha

When I don't have my kids around, I am apparently able to operate on 2-3 hours of sleep per night. We would get in at 3am, my damn internal alarm clock would wake me up at 5:30am (8:30 Roanoke time) and I was able to repeat this process several times. Alternately, I got home, knocked out 8 1/2 hours of sleep last night and woke up tired. I have no explanation.

Tim was propositioned by a hooker. Seriously. At 9:15am in the hallway outside our room. It was pretty jacked up.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Off to Vegas

Tim and I are off to Las Vegas tomorrow morning for a conference because nothing says Easter like drinking and gambling! My mother in law, who I love dearly, is watching my kids. She is loath to take them all out and drive my giant car. So I implore my in town friends, pick up a McKernan for a playdate! I and my children's sanity thank you. I promise to repay all gestures of goodwill upon my return!

Why We Are Not Holding Out For An Athletic Scholarship

This is what my children chose to wear to go golfing today:

Happy Easter!

This morning was the Roanoke Country Club Easter egg hunt. It was a really good year for us. All the kids understood the concept of the hunt as opposed to years past where things would happen like Morrigan picking up one egg and proclaiming "I found the egg!" and refusing to search more. Or the year one of the kids tried to make off with a ball from where the golfers tee off.

We had a bit of drama to start as I bribed Eion to wear his Easter clothes (instead of a Thomas shirt) with the promise of candy filled eggs. We arrived on time for breakfast but an hour prior to the egg hunt. Eion stormed the Club demanding, "I want Easter!" We managed to stave off his Easter yearnings with jelly beans scored from the buffet.

Maggie and Morrigan both collected eggs in a very traditional fashion whereas their brother preferred to step on the egg to open it, remove the contents and leave the empty shell behind.

It was a beautiful day, 72 and sunny at noon, so we also went to another Easter egg hunt at the fire station in our neighborhood. There the children gathered much needed additional candy bringing their food intake for the day up to 3 pieces of bacon and 100 pieces of candy. The crash should be spectacular.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Summer Camp

I'm in a quandary about summer camps. While there is no doubt in my mind that we will need some camp, the exact amount and distribution among the kids is in question. I have a wide variety of brochures from many a camp including the Club, Science Museum, Zoo, and others. But how to decide? In my obsessive compulsive, over analyzing way, I have broken down some of the contributing factors and key points to ponder:

1) Do I send them to camp the week after school is out? There is a lovely camp at Raleigh Court Pres that will take all three kids from 9-1 (and it is the only place in town that will take all three) the first week of summer break. I think to myself, it is the first week of summer. How bad can it be? But last year I opted against camp the first week out and was ready to kill them all by Friday.

2) Substance or Convenience? The RCP camp meets again for a week in July and a week in August. But I am sure that the girls would prefer several camps over this one. Dispositioning the boy is pretty tempting.....

3) How much do I inconvenience myself? Morrigan went to a camp at the Zoo 2 years ago and she loved it. But even carpooling, it was a huge pain. Driving up there, walking the kids in and driving back took 40 minutes and the camp was only 3 hours long. But she still talks about how much she liked it and seemed to learn a fair bit about animals there.

In the end, I think I've come up with a plan that balances what they want, what I want and what I need in order not to be institutionalized this summer. One week in August, they will go to the camp they can all attend. By then, I will need the break. Each girl will get one week at a camp on their own that they will love but is generally inconvenient for me. And lastly, one week that both girls will go to a camp that is good for me and I think they will like.

Will it work? As my ever optimistic husband said, "No matter what you do, someone will be unhappy." How's that for a cheery outlook?

Fancy Nancy Birthday Party

The girls and I went to a Fancy Nancy themed birthday party yesterday. The invite said to wear your fanciest clothes so I joined the girls in dressing up!

As are all parties thrown by the birthday girl's Mom (see Tim's birthday party) it was fabulous! The girls did crafts, were read Fancy Nancy books, and all dressed up as princess butterflies.

Naturally, cake too. We had a great time. And I must say it was held at a very age appropriate 4-6pm!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

And Another Thing...

I knew there was something else about which I wanted to rant today. Maggie got an invite to a birthday party today. It was for a boy in her class she really likes and she was excited. I looked inside to make sure we were available. You will NEVER guess at what time this party started. 8 o'clock. IN THE EVENING! The child is turning 5. For god's sake, Maggie goes to bed at 7. I realize my parent of the year award is occasionally subject to revocation but even I can't get behind this.

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

When I was growing up, St. Patrick's Day essentially involved wearing green, trying not to get pinched and, later, green beer. No more. At all the kids' schools, leprechauns came by, messing up the classrooms, leaving behind treats, and, my personal favorite, depositing green urine in the toilet. The girls spent a fair bit of time constructing a house for the leprechaun. Based on the amount of destruction he seems to cause, I can't say I need him as it appears I already have three.

Maggie wore green to tennis and the instructor told her she looked like a leprechaun. She earnestly replied, "I'm not. I didn't mess up anything."

We also got to buy a new refrigerator yesterday. On Saturday morning we discovered ours was keeping its contents at a balmy 62 degrees. I have disliked our current fridge since we moved in four years ago so although I was not excited about shelling out the cash, I was glad to replace the thing. Until that is, I found that there was only one new fridge in the entire city that fit in our designated space. It is not terrible but it would have been nice to have some say in the matter. And turns out black is the most expensive style to boot. Hmph!

They asked if it was ok if they delivered it in two weeks. Again, as if we have a choice. I am so glad we have the beer fridge in the garage to use in the meantime.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Surprise Tim!

Tim and I NEVER surprise each other. We don't even get each other gifts. So you can imagine his shock when he rolls up to what he was told was a housewarming party and finds it was instead his 40th birthday party! He was, perhaps for the first time in his life, truly speechless. He was so taken aback that even when all the guests yelled "surprise" and "happy birthday" he still didn't think it was a party for him. I think it finally clicked when he saw the cake with his name on it!

The party was a blast. My friend Jennifer hosted it for us and being just like Martha without the prison record, she had taken care of all the details. She made masks for people to hold when Tim came in using a baby picture of his and had pictures from the last 40 years playing on the tv and displayed around the house. What made it a success in my mind though was the way Tim looked really happy all night. I had to bail around midnight but as I was leaving, Adam, who was arriving, told me he would get Tim home. And he did. Around 3am. Clearly a successful party for Tim!

Thank you! Thank You! Thank You!

And the party would never come about without the ample support of my crack team of birthday specialists! The absolutely essential player was Jennifer.

She was kind enough to let me have this shindig at her house, find a caterer, cook some herself and generally do the lion's share of the work. And did I mention she was out of town until Saturday morning and still made it look effortless.

Hans and Ann:

provided keg delivery service and endless diversions and subterfuge for the party. Hans kept Tim busy Saturday so we could get ready (which wasn't so bad really, tennis and beers) while Ann took both their kids so Hans was free.

Tom and Kirsten [not pictured:( ]
Tom also helped occupy Tim and Kirsten, in spite of ending up to be so sick she had to miss the party, picked up the cake.

Sarah and Brad:
Took Morrigan off my hands all day. While they say she was easy, I have spent time with the girl and I know otherwise!

And to everyone else who was sweet enough to offer all manner of assistance to help make this a great party!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Birthday Fun

Tim has survived turning forty and is no worse for wear. The girls and I made a "surprise" cake for him on Wednesday night which he saw on the counter after the girls went to bed and asked "Am I supposed to act surprised when I see this?" My cake decorating skills leave something to be desired but Morrigan said it was the "prettiest cake ever" leading me to believe she has a real future in sucking up.

The girls also made a big happy birthday sign:

The picture really doesn't do it justice; it was 5 foot by 5 foot. When Tim came downstairs in the morning, the girls howled with alarm. They wanted his birthday, as all birthdays should be, a surprise. So they made him exit the room so we could all hide and yell "surprise!" when he returned. Always the good sport, he looked shocked.

That night we went to dinner with Ann, Hans, Ann, Joe and Tom (Kirsten had to stay home and help with homework. Damn school.) It was a great low key dinner. Although the few other patrons of the Club last night may still be recovering from overhearing our spirited discussion of all manner of off color topics.

Afterwards we retired to Ann & Hans' deck for drinks. Tom and I finally dragged Tim home at midnight. But he was in good spirits this morning ready to work out and go to tennis.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Happy Birthday Tim!

My darling husband turns 40 on March 13th. On this milestone birthday, I can say with pride that he was a beautiful baby:
a devoted son from the beginning,

the cutest hockey player I have ever known,

a major stud, even before I knew him,

there for so many important times in my life,

still the outstanding guy I married 13 years ago,

a great dad,

and the only white man I know who can rock a 3/4 length royal purple suit.

Love you more than you can know. Happy Birthday!

Connor and Maggie Sitting in a Tree...

Kirsten was kind enough to take Morrigan to tennis this afternoon so we had Connor over for a playdate. I think it was really tough on the little guy. He wanted to play cars and trains with Eion but Maggie informed him that was BORING and conscripted him for other activities including the perennial little boy favorites of dolls and house. He complied, mainly out of love for Maggie. But he was not happy about it. Should someone tell him this is just the beginning and he will likely spend his lifetime bending to the will of women? I can't bring myself to break his spirit just yet.


Tonight we put Eion to bed. He started wailing and crying like no one's business - which is highly unusual. After about 10 minutes, I sent Tim up to see why he was freaking out. He called me up to see firsthand how our darling son had stripped himself naked and thrown all his gear out of bed. I redressed him, putting his pjs on backwards so he couldn't reach the zipper. Tim commented the backwards footed pjs couldn't be comfortable. Perhaps the boy will remember that the next time he goes stripper on us.

Tuesday With Maggie

Maggie's class didn't have school yesterday so she spent the day with me. She had a friend over in the morning for a playdate which was probably the best since I had a Book & Author meeting here. 

After that we went to Crystal Spring to take Morrigan's teacher a gift from the class for Teacher Appreciation Week. I told Morrigan that Maggie & I would be staying for lunch so the girls picked out matching dresses that morning. Love those girls! Lunch was chaos as always. Our table had a spirited round of accusations attempting to determine who was in love with whom. Lots of "No it's you sitting in the tree kissing Roger!" 

Morrigan wanted us to stay for "walk and talk" which entails walking laps around the playground after lunch. She and Maggie promptly left me, more of a scream and run really but I was happy to walk laps with Hans, the parent supervisor.

I'm off to pick daffodils. They are starting to bloom and the girls insist on taking them to school daily for their teachers. I don't get to enjoy the fruits of my planting labor (put a couple hundred bulbs in the ground when I was 6 months pregnant with Eion - poor planning but I ordered them before I realized he was on the way!) but they are so excited I hate to say no.

Sunday, March 09, 2008


Ok, Monday is back and this time I think we are in business. Eion finally recovered. He's still a bit whiny but I think we are good to go for school. Other news flashes from Team McKernan:

My poker losing streak is broken. We played Friday night (thanks for getting well E) and I placed 2nd. Just in time for the end of the month trip to Vegas!

Morrigan participated in Odyssey of the Mind on Saturday. They did great. While at this age they do not compete against other teams, they do get an evaluation. Her team received the highest possible score. But there was really no doubt here that she would be at home on stage. When they did a dress rehearsal for the school on Friday, Morrigan looked thrilled to be up there. One of her big concerns for Saturday was that the audience was not going to be large enough. I have a feeling we will be doing this for years to come.

Tim was nice enough to let me sleep in after Kirsten's birthday party last night. We got there later than we intended - dinner at the Club took forever as usual and on a side note, my entree was nasty. I ordered salmon and it came with marinara sauce. What is up with that? But once we did get to the party, we were strongly encouraged to stay as late as we could - midnight. Fun fun party with a great mix of people. Would probably have stayed later if we didn't have to relieve the sitter but today, I am glad I got the sleep.

This week is shaping up to be pretty busy. I have to make up for not having been to work last week, Tim turns 40 on Thursday and it is Teacher Appreciation Week at school. Toss in a Junior League nominating meeting and a Book and Author meeting and I shouldn't have a minute to breathe.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Same Old, Same Old, Dog

Would that I had much new to report. Instead we are on day SEVEN of the sick E. He did eat two pieces of cereal this morning and smiled once. He still isn't speaking and prefers the "scream in agony" method of communication. Luckily for me, he does not suffer in silence and the suffering goes on all night. Tim has retreated to his basement lair and I am running on very little sleep. It reminds me a great deal of the days of newborns, an era which I think I have made quite clear I did not like the first three times around. I took him to the doctor and was eloquently told he has "the crud." Now I am no Doctor, but that does not sound like a valid diagnosis AT ALL.

I would have been trapped here all week had it not been for Maggie's class trip to the Science Museum on Tuesday for which I had signed up to be a chaperone. Tim was off that day so I was still able to go. I was charged with the care and safety of Maggie, Ashanti and Kianna.

The trip was pretty painful. I'm not sure if it was better than home. When I go to anything like this; class trips, class parties, birthday parties, Maggie becomes an annoying, shy, clingy version of her normal, bubbly, outgoing self. Even her teacher said (and I quote directly) "I have never seen this Maggie before!"

But hopefully when she looks back at this time, she will remember that I efforted and that Mommy was there for her even when she was sick and only had a few poor quality hours of sleep. More likely is she will tell her therapist how Mommy hissed, "So help me god if you whine one more time about how you want to go to the giant mouth I will never go on a class trip again."

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Monday, At Last

I cannot tell you how happy I am that Monday is tomorrow. Then again, I don't know why I care as Eion is likely to still be home sick for the millionth day in a row. He spent the majority of the weekend on my lap oscillating between napping, looking lethargic (although my dear husband said I shouldn't use that word as I am apparently using it incorrectly and being truly lethargic is very bad but as this is not a medical blog, I'm going with it) and screaming in misery. He isn't eating or drinking (even juice which my kids never get and LOVE) so when Tim got up, you know he was working night shifts all weekend because fate would have it no other way, he started him on "hydration therapy" or as it seemed from E's perspective, Chinese water torture. The poor little fella is finally down for the night and we're keeping our fingers crossed tomorrow will be a better day.

I fortunately have caught some illness that has been working its way through the household. If it were not for children, I would be all curled up in bed feeling sorry for myself. But I do have to give props to the girls who have been really good all weekend, especially considering I was completely occupied with Eion.

Before I started feeling so lousy myself, I went out last night to the elementary school's fundraiser night. For the past two years, it was a casino night with silent auction items but this year it was more auction and less casino which didn't suit me at all. They moved the limited gaming tables into a different area from the food, drink, and, well, everything else. It was a bit like we were smokers and had been banished to the curb outside the building - only we weren't putting off fumes and were indoors. You know what I mean - I am exhausted people! But certainly I got to socialize and get out of my house of illness, making it ultimately worthwhile. And I don't want to complain too much. If you do that, they tend to try to put you in charge.