Wednesday, September 30, 2009

I Love Me Some Maggie

You just have to love Maggie. I was looking through her Wednesday folder and found a test from this week on which she scored 110% (love the bonus questions.) So I said to her, "Maggie, you were beyond 100%" and she replied, "Of course I was."

Off Topic

So this is a bit off topic for me but it's a issue that really has been right in my wheelhouse the past few days. I'm sure you all know about the Roman Polanski arrest and the ensuing battle about his extradition. And the large number of Hollywood types coming to his defense, not to mention the French and Polish governments.

Seriously, who can defend this guy? He came right out and said, under oath, that he had sex with a 13 year old girl. And he also said he knew she was 13. Then he fled justice for 30 odd years. Ummmm, how many laws do we need him to break before he is punished?

I read one defense saying it was so long ago and he had paid the price by not being able to live in Hollywood and being banished to France. Whoopi Goldberg said that is wasn't "rape-rape." Wow. In my world, which clearly does not align with that of Hollywood, drugging and raping a girl is most definitely rape-rape because minors cannot consent to sex. Especially when drunk and drugged. And not to get too graphic here, but let's not forget that it included anal rape.

I want every single one of you to imagine that happening to your daughter at age 13. Or your sister. Or your wife. Now is it rape-rape?

I trend hot-headed, but I am tempted to boycott the films of every single one of the supporters of this rapist/fugitive.

[And if you want to read more, I can't recommend enough the article by Steve Lopez at the LA Times that has some enlightening and alarming transcripts from the 1970's trial.]

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Boy

E has been a character lately. He has been on the Freudian tangent and wants me to marry him. Almost daily we have these conversations:

Eion: I like you Mommy.
Me: I like you too.
Eion: Then when I get big like Daddy, you will marry me.
Me: No sweetie, you're my son I can't marry you.
Eion: Not yet. But when I am big, you can.
Me: I have to tell you cheif, as a long time opponent to both polygamy and incest, it's not going to happen.

But worse is the loss of innocence which is going to force me into wearing pajamas. The other morning (when I had donned my nightclothes,) we had this exchange:

Eion: (peering down my shirt) Hey! What's in there?
Me: Nothing for you E.
Eion: I want to see it.
Me: Not a chance.
Eion: I need to feel your heart.

Now that last one made his father laugh out loud at the hard wired male instinct to say whatever it takes to get in a girl's shirt. I would think it funny to if it weren't my shirt.

Charmed, I'm Sure

I do have to issue a disclaimer today: I, Katie, am fully aware that I lead an exceptionally charmed existence. Today's sparkling jewel in my lifetime crown, however, had a few irritants and I fully intend to elaborate on them here. I will be complaining about relatively minor bumps in the road but dammit, I have a piercing headache and it is my blog anyway.

So with that out of the way......started out pretty well today. Though I again made one of the worst tooth fairy showings ever, again. As I was getting dressed, I realized I had neglected to do my fairy duty. I quickly grabbed the quarters and tiptoed to the girls' room. I opened the door and damn, they were stirring. But they were still shaking off sleep so I (badly) covered, "Let's see if the tooth fairy came!" while exchanging the tooth for the quarters. Again, I was amazingly not busted by my children. Soon my luck is sure to run out.

We arrived on time to school with cookies the kids and I made the day before for all their teachers and a batch for Jerry as payment in my "conscripted labor for cookies" program. He was nice enough to help me hang [read: hang for me] a new light in the master bedroom, replacing the hideous, cheap track lighting I have hated for six years. And patch the ceiling to boot. But more on the bedroom redecoration when it is complete.

Where was I? Oh yes, then it was off to Highland Park to read to Morrigan's class. I am still welcomed with open arms, a situation which is likely to change in a few years, so I figure I may as well take advantage of the welcome mat while I can. I also really like getting to know the kids' teachers.

When I got home, Tim and I went on an hour long walk in the neighborhood which was wonderful as always. We usually go for two hours but he had to work this afternoon so we kept it short.

I think the decline started at swimming.

While the girls swam, I worked out, assisted by Eion. It was an affirmation of why I do not want a home gym. Nothing is better than doing squats, bar loaded up with your body weight, and having Eion huck a large exercise ball at you yelling "here comes the boulder!" At least it wasn't a boner.

After I had enough lifting/dodgeball, we went to watch the swim practice where Morrigan completely fell apart when they were attempting to dive off the blocks. I could have handled that but she then failed to rally and wouldn't swim backstroke with the rest of the team. Result: loss of post practice lollypop. Next result: crying and more falling apart.

Sarah had mentioned she was taking the kids to family night at Chik fil A and it was going to have some sort of princess theme. I told my crew that if we could stop crying and finish piano and homework, we could go too. The whole thing was bordering on complete disaster.

I didn't realize that kids were coming dressed as princesses so the girls were ticked that we were in plain clothes. And E saw another little boy in pirate gear making him equally bent about his under-dressed status.

There was intermittent crying and fussing throughout our stay. The bright spot, for the girls at least, was the honest to goodness princesses aka pre-teen Miss Virginia who not only passed out signed photographs but posed for pictures.

Pictures in which my daughter is not wearing shoes and no, we didn't bathe when we got home. I forgot about it until this very second. What is that old adage? "A little fast food dirt never hurt anyone," I think.

It was Eion who lead to our departure.

He apparently took those plastic shields, provided by the Chik, and was beating on kids in the playland. I saw that an employee had him in tow, though I didn't yet know why, and figured I was not going to offer up the info that I was his mother. But he ratted me out and she informed me that he was banned from the playland (only for that day I hope) for his offenses. I would very much have liked to think that he was wrongly accused but when I asked him if he was hitting other kids, he tearfully replied that he was.

Now they are all in bed. I am abandoning my efforts to shed vacation pounds and going to get myself a large gin based drink. Those pounds can wait until tomorrow.

Sunday, September 27, 2009


Today, she is unfair. Despite entirely checking myself and drinking predominantly water last night, I have a headache for the ages. That and one of my headphones quit working right in the middle of my run this morning, making them the 5 millionth pair I have managed to destroy. I felt a little better when Webb told me he goes through about a pair a month too.

Friday night we hosted Super Supper Club and much to my horror, I took no pictures. Maybe it was the logistics of a lobster boil for 12 in the basement, maybe it was the wine. Ah but we had a good, if messy, time. Luckily, Tim gave me the green light to rip up the fantastically ugly basement carpet and replace with hardwood floors so mess is no matter. Love you Timmy! And out relocation to the basement was great for the kids. I think they slept better than if we had been on the first floor. E slept in until 9am the next day, a small miracle.

After yesterday's torrential rain, today is just about perfect in Roanoke. It is sunny, clear and 74 degrees. Tim is only working until five so we are going to grill out. Let's hope all the motrin kicks in by then.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Etiquette Dilemma

As one who lives a great deal of her life online for the world to see, I am in new spot here. I'm sure you have all guessed that not everything makes it out here - I live in a smallish town where everyone knows everyone so I try to be prudent when I post and it will impact other people.

So I have a story here. Do I put it out there? Do I keep it to myself? Hmmmm....

As you may have guessed from the fact that this post is here at all, it's coming out, with names removed to protect the guilty.

Facebook is such a fascinating study on human behaviour. I have friends that I know went to high school with me but I don't really remember but I saw no reason to reject their offers of friendship. I also have some friends who went to school with Tim, don't know me at all but are my friend since he is a Facebook refuser. I'm ok with the nebulous arrangements.

And I love the different styles of Facebook participants. Some people collect all the friends they can. Some are very selective. Honestly, my approach is just based on how I am feeling that day. Every once in a while I stumble across some I know who has made comment and I think, "I know him/her. Let's send a friend request."

Which is what I did Tuesday. To someone who has kids in two of my children's grades. Who I see, quite literally, almost every single day. Most of the time, a couple of times a day. So I wasn't surprised when this person accepted my offer of undying online friendship.

But then I login to my friend list today to send an unrelated party a message and notice my new friend is gone. Seriously? You became my Facebook friend with the clear intent of un-friending me asap? That's pretty damn cold or in Tim's words, completely awesome. So to my dear lost Facebook friend, might I recommend in a small town you might just be better off hitting ignore. Honesty is better than deceit, especially when you get to see the deceived daily.

Hugs and Kisses, Katie

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Happy 6th Birthday Maggie!

Yes, I am finding it hard to believe that my little Maggie is already six. And I spent a great many of those years fighting having a Chuck E Cheese birthday party. Boy was I wrong. Maggie may never have been happier.

We had the foresight to book on a Monday afternoon so the place was deserted. The kids had their run of CEC. They danced and played and, naturally, tried to get tickets so they could buy important things like mini frisbees and pop rocks.

I was in an ethical quandary when I discovered that Maggie had figured out how to game the skee ball system (and taught the others.) They started out throwing the balls overhand but then found it infinitely more effective to just walk up the ramp and put them in the highest point slot. Maggie had more tickets than ever before.

I decided the talk about how getting over on Chuck E was wrong could wait until it wasn't her birthday.
In the end, it was great for kids and parents alike. I had zero prep work and clean up to do and the kids were thrilled with the venue. And I stuck by my pledge of no goodie bags! Though our environmental impact was still pretty large considering the plethora of prizes they were able to get with their ill gotten tickets.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Oh The Horror!

So like many people who have blogs, I have a site counter. I don't look at it often but occasionally will look at my stats. You can't see exactly who is checking in but you can see their town and how they got there, be it by a referral or a Google search. And for the most part, it is all my regular peeps: the in town folks, my friend Jenny in Iowa, my brother's boyfriend in Wisconsin, my parents, but now and again I get an off the wall place. Generally, it is a Google search that contains a keyword that shows up in my blog somewhere, Fancy Nancy and Disneyworld being the top performers.

And then there is some cat from Romania. I clicked on his or her Google search and it is for a, presumably Eastern European, porn star named Morrigan. Seriously. Did I not choose an obscure enough spelling? I have literally NEVER heard of someone else with the spelling Morrigan and the only other person out there is a porn star? That is just great.

Why I Love Morrigan

Really, there's tons of reasons. But today, it's for this one. Maggie and E are already in bed and Morrigan asked if she could watch tv. I told her yes and off she went. What did she choose to watch? Not Scooby Doo, not Bakugan but Molto Mario. The cooking show.

I asked if she was watching Molto and she said, "Yes. It's a funny looking guy teaching people to cook Italian." God I love that girl.

Tennis, Tennis Everywhere

The girls decided to play on the Club's tennis team and this weekend they had their first matches. I was a twee bit flustered when Kirsten called me Saturday morning and let me know that Morrigan was Saturday and Maggie was Sunday. I thought they were both Sunday but she set me straight and we made it in plenty of time. She first played mixed doubles with Aidan.

If she looks out of sorts, she was. We didn't realize that her age group had to serve overhand and she had never done it before which lead to her double faulting her way through the match. But she made it and was even brave enough to play girls doubles.

Where they lost again. But she made it through and despite some iffy moments, didn't burst into tears. And in an ironic twist of fate, may be reported as a winner on the girls doubles anyway as one of the players on the opposing team might be disqualified. Either way, celebratory donuts were in order.

Maggie played today and won! She has a funny stance where she looks like she is waiting for the ball to be fed to her.

But the other team double faulted allot and Maggie and partner were victorious. More donuts indeed.

Eion was really pretty good through all of this, especially Saturday which was 3 hours. He has taken to dressing himself which lead to Indiana Jones meets clash of the embroidered fabrics but what the hell. He is at least dressing himself!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Today is Great!

And by great, I mean a complete disaster. Allow me to explain.....

While we were at the beach, I found this comforter at the Polo outlet store.

Our old duvet, which I love, is literally falling to pieces after six years of wear. So I bought the new one knowing that new paint would also be in order. I figured I would paint myself. The kids are at school so long and I have successfully downsized my volunteer commitments so it seemed to be a slam dunk.

I bought some paint and supplies yesterday and I was off. I was up until 11:30pm last night painting. I was still fired up this morning and got right back after it. I got about half the room done and removed the painter's tape. And that's when it all went to hell. Large portions of the ceiling paint came off with the tape and I hadn't planned to repaint the ceiling. But it looks like now I am or more correctly, Jeff Saunders will be.

Tim thinks I need to volunteer more as my time off is costing him too much money.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Victory in Our Time!

While at swim practice today Sarah told me that there were many cute Halloween costumes to be had at TJMaxx. Though the girls had been dead set on the ones they had already chosen, I thought it was worth a stop to see if we could save some dough.

After practice we both took our girls there and low and behold, they found ones they liked for a mere $29 each!

Granted, all four girls picked the exact same costume which means we will look like we are heading up some sort of Snow Princess brigade but I couldn't care less. I just saved something in the neighborhood of $150. Thanks Sarah!!!!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


Eion is in bed. Wearing his jacket. After I left the room, he likely grabbed his hat and whip as well.

Mini Marlins and Indiana Jones

The girls started fall/winter swim team yesterday. After reviewing our swim team options, we went with Mini Marlins - which is wonderful because I can refer to the girls as Maggie Marlin and Morrigan Marlin. Maggie was more than a little bit nervous. I had never actually seen her swim 25 yards straight, which is a requirement to be on the team. So as I watched from the observation deck, I saw her keep moving further and further back in line in an effort to hide from the coach.

Eventually, all the kids had gone except for her. But she got in and pulled it out! After that small victory, she was good to go. No more worrying about swim meets. They told me, "We're going to be the best Marlins!" I'm just glad they can swim better than I can.

Eion's hat, coat, and whip for his Indiana Jones costume came today:

He refuses to take any part of it off and made me take boatloads of pictures of him. Now the million dollar question: will he tire of this rig before Halloween?

Monday, September 14, 2009

Your Very Favorite Thing

Maggie & I went to Sam's Club today after school. We needed large quantities of meat and were low on coffee too. Afterwards, we went to the Sam's gas station (best prices in town) and as we were filling up, Tim called and said I should buy some wine. I let him know we were already out of the store so I couldn't. Mags asked what the call was about and I relayed the conversation to her. At which point she said, "I can't believe you forgot to buy wine, your very favorite thing." I would argue but it is so true.

Sunday, September 13, 2009


As soon as catalogs started arriving with Halloween costumes, my kids were all over them. Or as they call them, magazines. They ask me, "How do you get all these magazines with such wonderful things to come to the house?" Junk mail is not a concept they have grasped. The girls, after perusing many a catalog, have made their choices. Morrigan wants to be a Southern Belle. (Why am I not at all surprised?)

While Maggie wants to be a Candy Corn Fairy.
Naturally, they have both chosen costumes from Chasing Fireflies aka the land of breathtakingly expensive costumes. And luck would have it that their mother is a complete sucker for Halloween as it is and has always been her favorite holiday. But we do have to have some cost containment. Maggie's whole ride, dress, wings, purse and boppers, costs less than Morrigan's dress.

So I laid it out like this, I will cover X amount and you have to pay for anything over that. Maggie, falling in X amount (you know it is beyond my normal comfort zone as I will not reveal the value of X. Like I said, I am a Halloween junkie.) is covered. Morrigan wants all the extra gear: the hat, the parasol, the lace gloves, the freaking fan, the necklace. Said gear alone is $74! I tried to reason that she cannot hold a fan, parasol and a candy bag but she was not deterred. And damned if she didn't save up enough allowance (helped significantly by birthday money) to get the entire costume.

I know it is overboard. But do you remember wanting something so much as a kid? I remember as a tween spending $70 some hard earned babysitting dollars on a pair of paisley Guess? jeans. And that was in the mid 80's. But as outrageously priced as those jeans were, I loved them and really never regretted buying them. I can only hope Morrigan feels the same.

The E, he wants to be Indiana Jones. I got him a leather jacket on eBay for $11 and bought a hat and whip for $12.50. The boy is a bargain.

Melanie's Shower

This Saturday we hosted a baby shower for Melanie who somehow is on her third child but her first shower. Totally unacceptable! Not to mention, in this town, we have showers for all children - no child left behind. Jerry took in E and Tim but the girls insisted on staying and being hostesses. They hauled out dresses of Easters past and were ready to go.

This is also Mel's first girl so all of us who are done having babies reveled in buying tiny, darling, pink things. In addition to my small , pink clothes, I had to add the "I love my daddy" bib. I remember when the kids were babies and they made me insane crying or just having an off day I would slap on the "I love my mommy" bib and appreciate the irony.

Of course, some of the clothes were funny too. This one was from Melanie's brother who, the stories go, is quite comfortable in his birthday suit.

It was a beautiful day and we were so happy several of Mel's family could make the trip down from New Jersey. Now we're just counting the days until we get to meet Summer.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Next on the Agenda

We are largely getting settled into the new school year and I am fully confident that by day 4, I will have all children dropped off in the proper location. Wednesday, I dropped all of them off in the wrong spot. Today, I got Maggie & E right but still botched Morrigan. I think tomorrow I will be batting a thousand and all McK-lets will be in their designated drop off zones and I will successfully evade the wrath of the crossing guards.

Now, on to Maggie's birthday party!

Her birthday is so early in the year that it is problematic. The class compositions at Crystal Spring change each fall. So do we invite all her friends from last year, knowing we will be excluding gals who will become friends this year? Or do we invite all the girls in the class, knowing we will leave out friends from the prior year who ended up in other homerooms? Or do we just invite who we want and damn the torpedoes?

I opted for choice c. Actually I pushed for all the girls in the class but Mags shot me down. Seems someone is picking on her already and she was not going to have her at the party. Maggie got to pick 10 girls with very little input from me. Why 10, you ask? Number of invites in one box, of course! Many of the girls were expected but I was happy to see a few of her new classmates made the cut too. Apparently, three days in, they have already become friends.

The saddest news is that she has chosen Chuck E Cheese as her designated party location. Looking on the bright side, I won't have to clean up after.

As a post script to yesterday's post, the impassioned pleas of the snake lovers of South Roanoke have all but ensured the survival of my slithery friend. That and I haven't seen him again. But my boss' husband is a legendary wrangler of snakes and has offered to relocate him if he suns in the yard a bit too much. So he will live.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009


You know what I simply never, ever need? To be pulling weeds in the garden and encounter this:

There I was, happily, well not exactly happily but it was getting embarrassing out there, talking to Kirsten on the phone and cleaning up the garden when I find this 4 foot long black snake. After much screaming and panicking, we determined my best course of action was to call Jerry. (Though Tim is a valiant slayer of serpents, he was at work.) Jerry, while also not a fan of snakes, and really, who is, offered to dispose of the pest directly. But while he was on the way over, it slithered into the wall and disappeared. So, not to overreact, we are all snake bait over here! And don't give me the it won't hurt you, snakes kill rodents etc. In my little 3/4 acre paradise, the only good snake is a dead snake. Maybe I will get some concrete tonight and seal it into the wall. After all, the children have all voted for the snake's demise.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

First Day of School or Living the Dream

It is here. The first day of school. A day revered by mothers everywhere. And this year is special for me as all my kids will be in elementary school leaving me free from 7:45am until 1:50pm. But first, had to get the kids off to school.....

We had to set an alarm, which is not the norm, but I had everyone in bed nice and early the night before and we were up and running at 6am. All went smoothly with only minor irritations (Maggie's new lunch box was too small to hold her lunch. WTF?)

Morrigan is at a different school than her siblings and while I know Crystal Spring well, I can't say I had any idea where her classroom would be at Highland Park. So while I plan to drive her in the morning, today she had to catch the bus. We caught it on time and secured a drop off at Crystal Spring in the afternoon. One challenge down....

Maggie & Eion were next at 7:30. They were both excited to go though Mags was a bit nervous.

The preschool drop off was mayhem with screaming children clinging to their parents' legs. E marched right up to his teacher, who he has met on several occasions, and announced, "Hi! I'm Eion!" Then he greeted his friend John Paul and bid me farewell with a big smile on his face.

Maggie wanted me to walk her in and since it was the first day, I did. Once we cleared the exterior doors, all apprehension vanished and she skipped off to class. And I swear she wasn't as morose as her picture implies.

I actually took a new picture after school as I just couldn't have that be the permanent photographic record of the start of first grade.

So there I was at 7:45 with the whole day stretching out before me. I worked out for an hour and a half, played tennis, had lunch at the Club, and even got to bathe before E came home on the bus. I am living the dream.

And to top it all off, Monfils is playing Nadal at the US Open tonight. Wonderful eye candy for the bicep lovers of the world. I love September!

Labor Day Pool Party

It was the end of Summer annual rite, complete with all the components. We were there promptly at noon for the all you can eat buffet, a perennial team McK favorite. The kids (and a few adults) were miffed at the lack of all you can eat cookies but were later vindicated by the "clean out the freezer" free ice cream and Popsicles. Maggie had at least six. And then wondered why her tummy hurt on the way home.

Eion helped prepare for the soda dive.

And is rewarded with (as he calls it) a "cocoa coola."

Maggie scored some jewel dive booty. Morrigan was not so lucky and started crying inconsolably even after her sister agreed to share. So I told her she could mope about it somewhere else. Later, our friend Troy came up and said he tried to console her without luck. Then he said he was sorry if it was an asshole thing to do but he told her to buck up and have fun. He was worried I might be upset. No problem. That's my tactic exactly which is why she was crying all alone at the other end of the pool, away from me.

We all felt a bit of shame when we sent in the pregnant lady for the beer dive. But not so guilty that we didn't drink the beer. And since Melanie scored six beers, we can't wait to see her performance next year after the baby is born! [In my weak defense, Tim wasn't there and the last time I attempted the beer dive I captured zero beers. I really needed her help!]

We stayed most of the day but left before the closing whistle. And Summer officially ends and goes down as one of the best in recent Team history.

Monday, September 07, 2009

The Last Day of Summer

I think E's look here sums up how I feel about the end of Summer. It went by too fast (for the most part) and I am having trouble reconciling the fact that I have three kids in elementary school. And I am having nightmares about the busing situation with Morrigan at a different school than her siblings. And I am concerned that my children's teachers will hold it against them that I have sent in notes that I don't want them watching the Presidential indoctrination, I mean back to school, address. [Tim says he is pretty sure I am over reacting and I am pretty sure he is right. But tell me which liberals would have been happy if W did the same thing. I'm just sayin'.]

But we'll forget that all today since we still have one day of Summer left and it is the Labor Day party at the Club! Though Tim is working and Morrigan is concerned that we do not have a family representative in the beer dive. She lamented, "You'll have to buy your beer!" It hurts me too sweetie.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Beach Fun

So the week before school we finally got around to a beach vacation. Mostly because we are cheap and that week was off season in South Carolina. But I did enjoy having all summer to look forward to it! We also finally got a GPS nav system to try to prevent the hour plus detour of the last beach vacation. Naturally, we got a TomTom with Homer Simpson narrating our travels. Woohoo!

The drive was uneventful (good) and our house was ready almost on arrival (even better.) After many trips where we always thought the house was not very important since it was just a place to sleep, we went big this time.

It had six bedrooms, even more bathrooms, and its own pool. Always thought pools on the beach were excessive. I was oh so wrong. It was the bomb and I may never rent a pool-less abode ever again.
Not to mention the interior was nicer than my own house and boasted a very useful ice maker at the bar and an ipod dock that hooked into the whole house stereo. Twas awesome indeed. Tim declared himself at home and set a goal of 100 beers for the week.

The day we arrived was Morrigan's birthday. (Eight already. I am having a little trouble with it.) We bought a cake but I had to decorate it. Truly didn't look that great to start but then all the icing ran together and it had a very horror movie effect. She didn't seem to mind.

Her gifts were like a trip back to the 70's. She wanted a mood ring and a magic 8 ball, which was immediately beset with questions about who has a crush on whom. Not much has changed since the 70's!

That night someone a few doors down set off some pretty big fireworks and Morrigan declared they were just for her. Not a bad 8th birthday.

The kids set out early the next day and walked the beach. But then by 9:30 they declared they were done with it. Hmmm. Might have to do with the flat screens in each bedroom. Which then did come in very handy on the day that rained. Somehow the adults ended up on the smaller tv watching Slumdog Millionaire and the kids had the big tv. We pointed out this inequity and mentioned we should be there. They let us know, "That wasn't going to happen."

Mid week we took a day and went to the aquarium. The kids loved it and it was not very busy.

They got to pet the sting rays which feel surprisingly soft.

And we went through the glass walkway at least 4 times. The fish and sharks swim right over you. It was cool.

Later that day, Morrigan told us how she was plotting her revenge. On whom? we asked. She said "the two of you." My plans to stop the revenge were seriously derailed by my laughter. But we later discovered that revenge comes in the format of copious amounts of whipped cream. I think we will survive.

Though I may start to get a complex since Maggie & Seldon conferred and determined that Ann was the best Mom with Molly and I too mean.

The last day started with a sand castle contest (that quickly fizzled out) and included lots of beach time. The boys wanted to use some fireworks debris on their castle and I told them we should just clean it up instead so it didn't wash into the ocean. Morrigan quickly elaborated, "Don't you ever think of the future Mark? If the trash goes in the ocean, it will kill the animals. And then we'd have to be vegetarians!" Horrors to my little carnivores.

We stayed on the beach until dusk and then started our last dinner there - we had fish almost every day. Then Tim and Webb set off fireworks before we put the kids to bed. Happy to report there were no injuries - probably due to Webb's previous firework setting experience.

We spent the week largely unplugged and it was tres relaxing. But now it's back to reality and back to school. At least until next year's trip.