Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Cultural Heritage Night

Tonight we went to Cultural Heritage Night at Maggie's school, which for the record, is outside my bubble. Originally, I didn't plan to go at all. Tim was working, Morrigan had piano etc. But as time passed and Maggie started previewing the songs for us, I realized that the gal was going to be crushed if we skipped it.

So I got a sitter for E (really doesn't handle these events well) and the girls and I were off. Now I do have to put a disclaimer out there before I go any further. I guarantee I will sound snobby, elitist and possibly, shoot likely, completely bitchy before I am done here. So if this will tarnish your view of me and you want to keep that sweet image of Katie.......to hell with it. By now you know what I am all about.

Alright. Are we ready to go? The performance was cute. The pre-K through second grade sang some songs complete with sign language. Maggie looked like she was taking the whole thing very seriously. And would intermittently wave and give me a huge grin. Morrigan gave her flowers afterwards and to the surprise of all present, did not act at all put out that she herself was not the recipient of a bouquet herself. [Note: I hopefully will have a short video of the songs up tomorrow.] The boy next to Maggie is Mateo, love of her life. When I put the flowers in water later, she let me know they planned to use them for their wedding.

After the program concluded, I would have LOVED to have gone home. But the girls wanted to go to the reception in the cafeteria. The flyer they sent home asked for parents to bring food representing their ethnic background but I didn't think we could manage it with Tim working, piano, you get the drift. Personally, I had no intention of eating any of the food. Not to go all Howard Hughes on you, but I do not enjoy food from unknown sources.

My trepidation was not shared by many or any. We entered the cafeteria and it was every woman, man and child for themselves. Let the kids have a chance at the refreshments before the adults moved in? Not a snowball's chance in hell. Pushing, cutting in line and heaping one's plate as full as the laws of physics allow seems to be par for course here. My poor girls kept politely waiting their turn only to find lines and common courtesy were merely suggestions.

And I have to add that almost everyone seemed to have a general fear of serving implements and a love of double dipping. If I was unsure about eating there before, I was not now.

At one point, I saw the grandfather of one of Maggie's friends desperately trying to escape the chaos. He looked as pained as I felt. He saw me seemed relived that not everyone in this frenzy of a dinner was a hooligan.

Eventually I couldn't take any more any was ready to leave. Maggie started crying because all she managed to score was a few Wheat Thins from the America table (great representation of American culture. I think there was cotton candy earlier too.) But pulling out all the stops, I got them to leave with promises of ice cream with not only chocolate syrup but sprinkles. So worth it.

Six Word Memoir

I was recently tagged by friend David, of Jefferson Street Realist infamy, to write a six word memoir. After asking why couldn't I get one of those easy tags like "write five random facts about yourself," I started thinning down my memoirs. As with Haikus, I find the limitation of words and packing allot of meaning into said words difficult. As you may have noticed, I do go on a bit.

Over the years I have been, or aspired to be, many things including but not limited to: a ballerina (didn't work out), a flutist (once was but no more), a princess (clearly obtained that goal), a Deadhead (Jerry's death made this unsustainable in the long run), a rock star (right), an actress (right again), a lawyer (I loved LA Law which in the end wasn't enough to drive me to Law School), a chef (still not as good as Tim but I keep trying) and a seamstress (though mainly limited to hem repair and button replacement these days.) But if I had to narrow it down to that which was most important and what I would want people to know about my life, it would be:

Wife, mother, friend. She was happy.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

In Name Alone

Fun Day 2008 is now complete. And in spite of it not actually being fun for any parent involved, it was the least painful Fun Day to date. This is due in large part to my friend Ann. I offered to take her girls Sophie & Riley with me. They are the same ages as my girls and I figured 3 kids, 5 kids what's the difference. She offered to take Eion and have him play at their house with her son Will while I took the girls to FD. Let me tell you about how that is a deal I will make every day of the week! I quickly verified she was serious, made my stance known that I was really getting the better end of the deal, and then high tailed it out of there before she could change her mind.

I made the very smart, if not best financially, decision to buy unlimited fun wristbands. In the past, I always went the ticket route because it ends up being cheaper. This year, I didn't care. I did not want to be doling out tickets to four girls all day.

And doling out tickets I would have been. We did everything - mechanical bull rides


carriage rides

face painting

and hair beading. Which was a particular favorite of Maggie's.

She told me excitedly, "Now I look like all my brown girls at school!" [I mentioned that we may want to employ the term African Americans and generally shouldn't speak about people in the possessive tense. Good lord!]

We acquired their friend Katherine along the way so I ended up with 5 little girls as my charges. But there were, I am not kidding, no tears and we (they) had a good time. Mix in a few cakes won at the cake walk and we were good to go!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Hannah Montana Dance Party

At the Hannah Montana Dance Party, I learned several things about what dancing means to little girls:

1) Allot of bouncing up and down.


2) Even more screaming.

The party was huge - I estimate about 50 or 60 some girls. But it was very hard to tell due to the constant motion and the off-putting aforementioned screaming.

Eion came too and totally got in the mix. Although I will say his dance style bordered on mosh pitting which was not well received by the fairer sex.

Morrigan's dance style very much reminded me of interpretive dance. She moved like no other. And for it got a few looks:

As I have come to expect from sugar laden, sensory overload events, all three children were at one point crying. Thankfully, not at the same time. But what I think the most important thing I learned was, if you have the opportunity at these types of events, for god's sake, drop off!

Friday to you maybe

I should be more disturbed than I am that my son is watching Nascar but I am too pleased with the peace it has brought me allowing for serious endeavors like blogging.

My glorious one game tennis winning streak ended yesterday when my partner and I lost in straight sets. Yet still, having won one more match than I expected to, I will consider the season a victory!

Last night we went over to Tom & Kirsten's to have cake for Tom's birthday (and just a couple of glasses of wine!) when they toasted to it almost being the weekend. Hans & I both knew better. For us, yesterday was like Monday with Tim and Ann both starting a series of brutal 12 hour shifts. But I can only complain so much. Alright, I can complain a ton but I won't since there are lots of activities to keep us busy this weekend.

The girls (and E) are going to a Hannah Montana dance birthday party tonight. They are so excited in spite of having never seen the show. Then tomorrow is Fun Day at Morrigan's school. Since I will be tending to all three of them solo, I am thinking it will be fun in name only for me.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Happy Birthday Tom!

And by the way, I know there is cake later. We are so moving in on that action!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The Return of Buddy Bear

Maggie was completely pumped to be the caretaker of Buddy Bear today. He goes home with a different kid each night and you have to write a journal about your "adventures." For the past week, I have had to hear each night, "I didn't get Buddy Bear. He went home with Sadajah (or Chess or Emily or Markela.)" But today was our lucky day. We did all manner of exciting things like go to tennis and the playground.

What I did not write in Buddy Bear's journal was how Maggie's brother has taken to wandering about nude. In this particular photo, he was, in his own words, "swimming." (That would be in that puddle.) Even better, Maggie got home from school and rather than be embarrassed, took off all her gear and joined him. Thank god we live on a cul de sac.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Unsafe Home Life?

I have to warn in advance, I'm going on a bit of a rant today and it will have a somewhat political slant. So fair warning, you may want to get off the ride now. Want a peek inside my mind on tilt?

I hadn't really been following the raid on the Yearning for Zion ranch (I try to avoid the papers) but we were talking about it last weekend and I decided to read up on it both on the internet and in People, an excellent source for news. Now I have to state first and foremost that I have no idea if the people are guilty of the crimes of which they have been accused. But what I can say with absolute certainty is that I was completely alarmed by some of the comments I read from the social workers dealing with the children who were supposedly in danger.

They removed some 400+ kids from this compound alleging abuse. Then they placed them with people who were shocked the kids had never eaten Fruit Loops. They didn't know how to open a Capri Sun! They had never seen tv and only listened to Christian rock! And worst of all, they dressed as though they were extras on Little House on the Prairie!

I know my views on food can differ from others and don't get me wrong, Lucky Charms are a treat my kids relish, but I don't think what anyone in this country needs is additional (or any really) sugar rings masquerading as breakfast or 10% fruit juice in disposable single serving containers. 

And as much as I think Christian rock is crap (sorry, it's just not very good) I think I would rather my kids listen to that than what is on the radio most of the time. On my way home from the gym today (no kids in the car incidentally) I heard, in a 7 minute ride, songs about strippers, having sex in a club and adult activities enhanced by the addition of syrup. Is it that bad to want to shelter your kids from that?

As for their fashion sense, while I am not planning to rock the Laura Ingals look, would it really hurt any of us to focus less on what we wear and how we look and more on what really matters?

There are allot of issues in play here but I think there is one that is being overlooked by the media in general. While there are serious accusations out there, what these people are being slammed for is being different and failing to embrace American consumerism. How dare they dress dowdy and not eat the additive filled food-like products that fill grocery store shelves? 

Should they be guilty of abuse or any other crime, punishment it is. But if the problem the government and the social workers really have is that they have chosen to drop out of mainstream America, shame on them for pulling those kids out. 

Ah the Weekend!

Tim had to work Friday overnight but was off for the balance of the weekend. Since it was forcasted to be good weather and Tim had the day off I thought it would be a great idea to go to the kite festival. I made the fatal mistake of mentioning this to the kids. Then I discovered they were anticipating 10,000 attendees. Hmmm. Now I realize I am running the risk of sounding just a bit snobby - but I think we all are aware by now that my personality has more than a dash of bitch in it - I really don't much care for events open to the general public. Especially such a very large crowd.

So it was time to find a way out without causing undue crying and gnashing of teeth. I was pleased with how easy it was (this time.) I said to the kids, "I don't think we can make it to the kite festival." Morrigan quickly piped up "It is probably cancelled." To which Maggie added "Because it is too windy." Under another set of circumstances, I might have discussed how kites work and the integral part wind plays in their functionality. But that day, I chose instead to say, "Exactly! How about we go to the mall instead!"

While at the mall, we visited the quarter-eating ride area. Tim and I have a firm "no quarter" stance when it comes to these things. For years our children didn't even know they moved. But eventually the secret got out - thanks again Mom. But still we stand firm! So as we are sitting in the food court watching our children play on the rides, I see Maggie talking to another Mom who then reached into her wallet. I call over to see what is going on. Apparently Maggie was begging change. Nice to know she is shameless.

But it got even better. One of the rides is a small truck that has 2 or 3 spots in it depending on the size of the riders. Some Dad put his son in and deposited the requisite number of quarters. As soon as it started to move, Eion went flying over and took a seat next to the child. The girls, not to be outdone, joined him, one in the truck, muscling into the remaining space and sending the boy packing to the back of the ride, and the other hanging from the outside of the vehicle. I would have taken a picture but I was too busy hiding from the pissed off looking Dad and laughing so hard I was crying.

That night Morrigan went to a birthday sleepover party where the host parents had 12 girls over. Brave souls indeed! When we picked up her up the next morning, we found out they had painted shirts and other messy endeavours I don't even like to do with one kid, let alone 12.
We, on the other hand, went out to dinner to celebrate Tom's birthday at Roanoke Country Club. We were the youngest people there by about 20 years but then again, we were having dinner at 6pm. We did have so much fun that we laughed so much that I am pretty sure the entire dining room was staring.

After dinner, Tim and I played poker with out couples group. We were both doing well but at 11:30, there were still 5 people in the game and I wanted to go home. Time to start playing recklessly! I lost my $10 but got to bed by midnight.

Sunday the boys went to play golf (11 holes anyway - damn rain) and the kids and I invited ourselves over to see Kirsten and the boys. Since the guys got back early, we stayed for dinner (yummy meatball subs) and the whole day went by quickly. I love when Tim is off for the weekend.

And then again...

Maybe I will want to push for potty training before summer. As I was changing E's stinky diaper the other day, he told me, "Ouch! You're hurting my crank."

Friday, April 18, 2008

Classic E

As I was dropping Eion off at school today, he told me "Daddy went bye bye." So I asked where he went. The reply, "Daddy's in Vegas." He wishes!

Child Protective Services

Today was Eion's three year well doctor visit was today (sorry 3rd child, it's a few months after that b-day) and I have to admit, I was a bit concerned. The little guy is plenty healthy but he does look like we beat him with a hickory stick. Currently he has two scraped up knees, banged up elbows and any number of bumps and bruises. Good for us that our Doctor has experience with active boys and knew we weren't the origin of the battery.

I was also relieved that he was not too hard on me about the whole potty training thing. Admittedly, it is getting a bit embarrassing. The other day I forgot to bring diapers to school and asked if he could borrow one from another kid only to be informed he was the only one still in diapers. Ouch! And incidentally, he's the oldest kid in the class. But Dr. Eskenazi was on board for waiting till summer and then going all out. Really, at this point, what difference will another month or so make?

Thursday, April 17, 2008


Today was absolutely beautiful so we went to the playground after school. In typical McKernan fashion, my children hit the blacktop and instantly became famished. Knowing that bringing snacks and drinks was the sure way to get the kids to hang all over me, I came empty handed. But unfortunately for me, other moms came packing. 

The kids cleaned out the available stores, leading others to question if I actually fed my offspring, and proceeded to complain, loudly and endlessly, about how they were destined to perish within minutes. Finally we went home and I made dinner right away. Number of bites eaten? Maybe two each. On average that is. Eion, one of the primary fussers, ate zero bites. I am speechless.

We are the Champions!

Today I played my first ODTA tennis match. [I'm not sure what it stands for but I'm assuming the TA has to do with tennis and America.] Now I didn't really want to play in this league. No surprise to anyone who has shared a court with me, I suck. I am constantly having my serve broken and I lose allot. While paying a registration fee and traveling to different clubs in town in order to get beaten sounds like fun and all, I really prefer to get my a** kicked at home.

But the captain of the team is very persuasive and I finally agreed. Today we went to Hidden Valley CC where my partner Pat and I were scheduled to play flight 5, court 3. Translation: the complete bottom of the barrel! But then the impossible happened - we won in straight sets, 7-5 and 6-1. My very fragile serve wasn't broken once! Even the revelation that one of our opponents had only been playing for a few months couldn't take the wind out of my sails. A win is a win, dammit! And as infrequently as they come my way, I will take it.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

High School Confidential

Now this is actually a fairly embarrassing tv addiction admission, and really, for someone who eagerly anticipates the next Rock of Love 2 and Stargate Atlantis episodes, that is saying allot, but I have become completely enthralled with the show High School Confidential. Now you likely have not heard of it as it is on the We network for women (just adding to the shame.) Anyhoodle, they followed 12 girls in Kansas through high school. The results are strangely intriguing and at the same time completely terrifying. 

The girls all start out fresh faced, make up free and on the soccer team, many espousing the evils of premarital sex. Spoiler alert - let me tell you, they all (save the nerd who bore a deep resemblance to Orka and had an affinity for ill fitting t-shirts) ended up sleeping with their boyfriends, drinking etc. In short, I didn't like what I saw coming down the pipeline for my little princesses.

Now I am not completely naive, after all, I did see the interior of a French jail cell twice, though once was for not buying a train ticket which one would think should only involve a citation but I digress. My point is that this series has prompted two reactions from me. First, I was altogether to swift in my rejection of home schooling. Maybe being removed from the general public is not a bad idea. Second, I think we all need to revisit the idea of the chastity belt. What great piece of mind! And really at a minor inconvenience. Kids are quite resilient and I think they would soon get over the chaffing.

Return of Naps WTF!!!!

So Eion has decided the past two days that he needs an afternoon snooze. Yesterday he sacked out when I locked him in his room for being a little batard (save me your comments - I don't want them. He and I needed a 10 minute break.) Today he crashed on the couch. What is really lovely is that he chooses to do this right as it is time to pick up his sister at school. We have been lucky that so far Tim has been home but let me tell you about how I do not need this complication in my life. At all! Nor do I need the way he now, after his late afternoon siesta, does not want to go to sleep. Let me tell you buddy, I am done with you for today!

Banner Parenting Day

Today was awesome! Let me count the ways by which I was able to make my children cry.... (accompanied by classic pictures of tears)

1) Eion found two C3PO action figures (or as he calls them BBPO) in the basement (from the 70's - I was a geek way back) and asked me to stand them up. Took at bit of balancing but I mastered it. He promptly ran them down with Lightening McQueen and asked me to repeat the process. I obliged him several times and then said no. Tears.

2) At the elementary school's silent auction night I won a night at Thunder Valley, land of a million germs yet much beloved by all 6 year olds, with Morrigan's teacher. She has been very excited about going. Today we received a Hannah Montana Dance Party birthday invite for the exact same day and time. I asked her which one she wanted to attend. The answer, surprising no one, was both. When I informed her of the impossibility of this option, tears.

3) I bought the kids new tooth brushes today. The girls both got Hello Kitty with one being predominantly pink and the other purple. Surprise! The owner of the purple brush was unhappy. Tears. Additionally, Eion dissed his new Go Diego Go toothbrush and demanded the return of Spiderman. Naturally, in tears.

4) Maggie and Eion really didn't want to go to bed today. Tears continuing as I type.

Truly, this is an abbreviated list. Cry me a river was not just a Justin song today.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

B&A Weekend

Whew! I survived Book & Author. The night went great. The speakers were funny and entertaining, not too long winded and there were no major catastrophes! Why, with a great headliner like Cokie Roberts (pictured above with me, my parents and Aunt Fran), would I have even been worried beforehand? You just never know when the evening will derail. This is the 9th year I have worked on this dinner and I've seen the good and bad. We've had well known authors come (no I won't mention names here!) who turned out to be so boring. And we've had authors go on tilt and ramble endlessly about completely inappropriate topics. Or even better, down countless scotches before dinner leaving us to wonder if they would find the stage.
But not this year! Sure I am completely biased, but it went about as well as I could have hoped. Now I just have to work on Book & Author 2009 (April 4th, mark your calendars!)

We stayed out pretty late afterwards since we were 1) spending the night in the hotel at which it was held 2) Kirsten and Tom (who totally dissed my dinner but I will forgive them) met up with us at the hotel bar and 3) we ran into friends Elizabeth and Michael who were in town for their book club and happened to be staying at the same hotel. I think we had as much fun after the event as we did at it!

But there was no rest the following day! My Mom and Dad brought my godmother, Aunt Fran with them. She lives in Indiana and had never been to Roanoke.

We went to all the sights, including the Roanoke Star. Truth be told, the "sights" took only a few hours. But it was great to catch up. It was also my Mom's birthday on Sunday. My Dad offered to take us all out to lunch to celebrate. Clearly, he had not eaten in a restaurant with my children in a while.

Luckily for us and restaurant patrons of Roanoke, he let me fix a special birthday lunch at home instead.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Easter Pictures

Low and behold the first photo shoot EVER to include Eion and not require Photoshop:

Evil Alliances

While I am in not in possession of direct evidence supporting my theory, I am 99.9% sure that the hospital schedulers are in cahoots with the alcohol industry. The memo would read like this:

To our comrades at Stolichnaya:

Here is our mutually beneficial proposal. We will schedule our workers for 12 hour shifts, leaving their spouses to be worn down into itty bitty nubs by their children. [Incidentally, we hear the boys consider whining and screaming to be Olympic sports!] Their desire, nay need for your fine products will be at an all time high. As an added bonus, it is likely the hospital employee will ALSO be seeking libations after those 12 hour shifts, especially considering they are generally really 13+ hours! We will require a percentage of your profits for providing this ready made marketplace. Please direct your reply to the Schedulers American Hospitals. We are looking forward to a long and prosperous relationship!

Monday, April 07, 2008

Calm Before the Storm

So Book & Author Dinner is Friday night [not too late to get tickets!] and I am feeling amazingly calm. We had a meeting today and everything is going well. I don't even really have anything to do until Thursday night when we assemble the table decorations. I (almost) feel guilty that I am not working harder. But I think I can come to terms with that!
The kids are excited because my parents and Aunt Fran are coming Thursday night to go to B&A. Morrigan and I have already had the "present" talk.

Morrigan: Do you think Oma will have presents?
Me: I am pretty sure she will but you can't ask.
Morrigan: Ok, I will tell her that it is alright if she didn't bring presents.
Me: Nope. Can't say presents.
Morrigan: But what if I want to say "thank you for the present?"

Maddening. I just hope Maggie makes it to the weekend. When I got home from picking Morrigan up at piano, Mags was fast asleep on the sofa at 6:20. I tried to wake her and she begged to go to bed. I understand. I love the bed too.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Saturday Fun

Last weekend was so nice having Tim home both Saturday and Sunday. This weekend, we repay in spades as he works 11am-11pm today and a night shift tomorrow. First order of business today, after a large cup of coffee - couples poker always runs late, was to watch the new episode of Battlestar Galactica. [Come on, I know you've been waiting for it too!] Eion loved it. There was a spaceship battle and he told me, "Look at all the cho!" May well be on the road to sci-fi geekdom. But what were our chances of non geeks anyway? It's kind of like two blue eyed people will always produce kids with blue eyes - how could two nerds produce anything other than nerds.

Maggie went to see the play The Stinky Cheese Guy with her friend Jack so I took the other two to Maggie Moos. Love that blue ice cream!

Eion literally worked on his for 45 minutes. He would have kept going but we received a call from Kirsten and the boys at the playground. The draw of Connor was too much to resist so he finally finished up.

Tonight Morrigan has her friend Katherine over for a sleep over.

It's tough to see in the picture, but they have completely made themselves up with Morrigan's Hannah Montana makeup. They look like ladies of the night, well, ladies of the night with terrible taste in makeup. Morrigan's eyes are all pink. I think she put lip gloss on them. Ah the nerd-nerd genetics at work again.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

This Week Under the Big Top

[Again with the bad school pictures. What's up?] Morrigan has reached the designated point total necessary to earn a piano trophy. And she does not find it a hollow victory at all. She skipped up the stairs from her lesson Tuesday singing, "I'm getting a trophy, a trophy, a trophy!" [In the proud parent category, she told me she was the only "little kid" who had earned enough points for this somewhat dubious honor.]

As I tried to fold up an umbrella in the rain and meeting with much resistance I fussed, "I hate this umbrella!" To which Eion told me, "Don't be a hater."

The girls found a bird's nest in the flower box outside their window. We saw the bird delivering nest materials. After a close look, the girls went to the bookshelf to get their Birds of North America book to find out what type of bird was their new bunkmate. And they actually found it. If we are lucky, it looks like we'll have house wren babies soon!

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Fun House Fridge

After waiting two weeks, we finally have the new fridge. But not before, I must add, the old one got in just one more barb by leaking as it defrosted and warping the floorboards near it. Rust in hell buddy, rust in hell.

As I think I previously mentioned, we had the choice of exactly one refrigerator that fit in our space. We chose black to match the other appliances. What we didn't realize (floor model was stainless steel) was that it was going to be the most reflective thing ever. It is like a damn mirror. But here is the good/bad part, it is like a funhouse mirror that makes you look thin. Seriously people, it makes me look 10 pounds lighter (which in turn makes me think I need to mix in a few more salads but that is another post for another day.)

Now while it is fun to look in and think, "Look at me! I look great!" but it seems like they would have a bigger market for the circus mirror that went the other way. Then when you were on your way for that piece of pie, you would catch a glimpse of your enhanced reflection and think "Whoa! Maybe I need to go for a walk." They could have a whole cross sell promotion with Weight Watchers. As it stands now, you would come up to it and think, "I'm looking a bit emaciated. Perhaps two pieces of pie!"

Happy Birthday Jennifer!

As our friend Marlo put it, I keep thinking you will catch up with me but you never do!