Sunday, February 28, 2010


You know what I love about baby showers? Naturally, the cake. Though I was embarrassed for 2 seconds (and only 2) when I had finished mine before all other attendees.

But maybe even more than the cake, the chance to shop for those impossibly tiny baby clothes that seem so long ago. Luckily, I have several young friends still in the thick of baby time giving me this opportunity.

And I can't say I am entirely opposed to (guilt free) hiring a babysitter on a Saturday afternoon, dressing up and lunching with the ladies. My girls were quite put out that they couldn't go. In their eyes, it was for girls so they should be on the guest list. Maybe next time...

Le Concours du Cheap Wine

I love throwing parties. But I have to say that I am not especially good on having clever themes. Generally ours are cocktails, lots of them. But our friends Katie and Rob always have fun ideas which are not just themes that involve a certain type of dress or drink but an activity as well.

Last night was Le Concours du Cheap Wine where each couple brought a $10 (or less) bottle of wine. They were tasted blind with awards for best and worst in show. We even had an injury.

Kidding - but we did get to discuss at length her bobsled finish line wipeout.

Our wine was neither best nor worst, falling directly in the middle of the pack in spite of the high rating I gave it.

And despite the high probability of "Cabernet flu" the following day, small tastings and liberal doses of water equalled a happy Sunday morning.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Family Night at the Club

So last night at the Club was family night. There was also a recruiting cocktail party so we called up Melanie & Jerry to see if they wanted to go since their presence would mean free drinks and snacks for all! On the way there the kids were in rare form. Maggie informed us that "Heaven is the place you can do whatever you want, unless your Mom & Dad are there." Nice to know that in her eyes, I trump even god.

Morrigan was insistent on ordering "fire whiskey." When I told her she was too young to drink, she asked, "Can I just get a regular whiskey then?" Clearly, we're taking this free drinks thing a little far.

The kids happily ran around and ate popcorn while we chatted in the bar. When we finally gathered the troops, sans Eion, never did really figure out where he was the whole time, luckily, he hates dinner, and headed back to family night, we discovered that reservations might have been a good idea. The last time I went to family night, it was me, my kids and my parents. Half the membership could have dropped in and gotten a table.

But last night it was packed. So we thought about leaving but finally convinced them to clear a table for us. God forbid they have to turn over a table once in an evening. Dinner was, well, marginal. Much as I am a huge cheerleader for the Club, the dining experience is unlikely to gain them members. When we got into the car, Morrigan burst into tears. She was VERY unhappy that we had a family style dinner populated largely with dishes she did not like. But I had to give her props for holding it together until we were alone and not making a scene at dinner.

I have to say that for the purposes of recruiting, it was a very accurate picture of what membership at the Club is like: lots of people you know, everyone was happy and the service and food were completely second rate.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Wisdom of the 8 Year Old

Drop off at school in the morning is a little like Groundhog Day. The same people are on the same schedule and, unless you're late, you see the same faces every morning. So naturally, we saw Jerry dropping off John-Paul this morning and Maggie & Eion wanted to get out and walk in with them. After they got out, Morrigan asked me if JP had been held back. I told her no and asked why she would think that. "He's much taller than Eion." she replied.

Which is so true. So I told her that JP's Daddy is taller than her Daddy and E is kind of small for his age. "Well," she told me, "he must be much older than Eion." "No," I said, "they are only about 2 months apart. Why do you think so?" The million dollar reply, "He's allot smarter than Eion. I bet John-Paul gets to go to Plato."

Thursday, February 25, 2010

In the End, Cross Dressing Won Out

Today was Morrigan's class' Wax Museum. After initially balking at cross dressing, in spite of the fact that her chosen historical character, Deborah Sampson, was famous for having posed as a man to be in the Revolutionary War, Morrigan finally saw that it made sense. And for each and every person who came up to her, she read all 15 notecards.

The din of the room by and large made it impossible to really hear what most of the kids were saying, not to mention speeches by 8 & 9 year olds trend rambly, so mostly you just smile and nod. I did love that one of the girls, who was Laura Ingalls Wilder, ended her speech with "I finally died in 1957."

After her initial reading to me, Morrigan found me a distraction and literally waved me off. Apparently I was bad for business.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


So I received a sweet email today from a fellow blogger with the subject line "augh!" bemoaning my ever infrequent posts. Well would that it were just because of the winter blahs. Where did we leave off...

Sunday swim meet: We had a full morning of DFLs . At one point, Tim looked at the result sheets and commented, "How can Morrigan come in last every single time?" I felt it my duty to point out that she came in second to last in the 25 Breast. She laid a complete beat down on that one girl. But on a positive note, she was legal for the first time in all four strokes and both girls improved their times. Tim and I again were hawking coffee and hot dogs though he felt that it somehow wasn't as much fun when you had a decent night's sleep. Slap happy apparently makes for better sales.

When we got home it was about 12:30 and I felt ready for bed. But no! It was Odyssey of the Mind practice. Nothing like a gaggle of 6 and 7 year olds when you are exhausted.

And then there is our cat Jack (the fat one, not the award winning kitty.) About a week ago he went on what might be described as a sh*t spree around the first floor of the house which I got to discover upon returning from a party. Nothing kills a happy post-party feeling like 45 minutes off poo detail. I was really really hoping that it was a bout of GI distress and and one time occurrence.

No such luck. With ever growing frequency, I am finding little Jack love notes scattered about. Today when I got home after a morning of meeting (we'll get back to that) Jack had defecated liberally and it was mere hours post cleaning lady day. It was out into the snow with him. Now, I have zero tolerance for pets who feel they are above the litter box law and have been known to dispatch cats for less but due to the begging and pleading of the children ("Please don't kill our cat!"), now have an appointment to take him, now affectionately known to Tim as Sheetaaz, to the Vet tomorrow.

And then the cookies. I finally completed my [nazi] Girl Scout cookie training and then got to pick up 22 cases (some 265 odd boxes.) Then distribute to troop. Then deliver our sales. Then start hawking the extras (they make you buy them in sets of 12) at all manner of meetings and hair appointments. Good news is we will end up with very few boxes at the Big Top. I don't need the temptation.

But what has overwhelmingly taken over my life is Book & Author Dinner. Wait, wait! I hear the protests of seasoned readers. You said you were done after chairing it for two years! I think the emphasis there is on "was." The person overseeing it decided last week that she had a change of heart, was no longer involved, and literally left the files on her doorstep. At which point I agreed again to chair the event, albeit a co-chair this time.

The good news is that a different person was in charge of booking the authors and we have a full and wonderful lineup. The bad news is everything else needs to be done. For anyone planning on attending, have no fear! It will be great! But all the behind the scenes work we normally have months and months to do will be distilled down into an ultra efficient 2 month period.

Translation: my ass is doing little other than planning this event until April 30th. And not having expected to be on the hook for this have committed to volunteer in my kids' classrooms, coach an Odyssey of the Mind team, captain an ODTA [tennis] team and be on the PTA.

So being in B&A rescue mode has kept me off the computer but fear not. Looks to provide endless sources of topics about which to complain.

Now step back Katie. And breathe.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Can We All Say Winter Doldrums?

You know, I don't generally buy into the illnesses of questionable validity. In that category falls firmly Seasonal Affective Disorder. But after the winter we've had, I'm changing my tune. Roanoke is (usually) blessed with mild winters during which snow is an occasional visitor who blows into town, shuts everything down for a day or two, melts within a few days and is frequently followed by temps in the 50s and up.

But not so this year. The cold has been sustained - my heat bills will back me up on this one - and the snow has lingered in large, grey hulks, making parking a challenge and turning streets into one lane roads for difficult driving. Personally, I have been feeling decidedly uninspired. And based on the grumblings on Facebook, I'm not the only one. But yesterday the sun finally came out and some of the snow started to melt. Tim and I both found we felt better than we had in weeks. Maybe there is something to SAD after all.

But with the improved weather and attitude, I'm hoping I'll be back to my old, bloggy self!

This weekend our swim team is hosting a meet. This is the first one the girls have been to since November so we didn't know what to expect.

Certainly, it was great to be on home turf and I find our pool and "holding area" to be superior to some of the others in town (but I just might be biased.) Funny that most of my friends were actually on the other teams but it doesn't matter much. You cheer for all the kids you know anyway, regardless of team.

We were off to a banner start as Maggie freaked out before her first race, the 25 Freestyle. This is an event she has yet to complete because she has bailed on it twice. But with a bribe in place and some words of encouragement, she went to clerk of course. And to my utter amazement, went off the blocks!

She won first place in her heat (and beat her sister's time) and was on top of the world. We just won't mention that in the whole field, she came in 25th. Morrigan, god bless her heart, was DFL, for the meet. But we aren't going to dwell on that either. Both girls made personal best times and were happy. Good enough for me.

They both swam the 25 Breast. Maggie has never been legal in this one and her stroke was, well, comical. But she doesn't know that. They didn't have the results up but I swear Morrigan looked legal to my non-swimmer eyes. We'll find out tomorrow.

Both also swam the 50 Back. Maggie remembered to swim the second 25, which was not at all a certainty, and Morrigan beat her sister which was of utmost importance sine they were in the same heat. Morrigan was also in the 100 Free relay. We don't know the results of the last 3 races but as we left, the girls we all smiles and said what a great time they had. We'll call it a victory.

Tim worked concessions and was quite the character. He just came off a string of nights and couldn't sleep last night so he was a wee bit punch drunk, responding to inquiries on the coffee's taste with responses like, "It is swim meet concession coffee. How good can it be?" and generally making up prices when they ran out of quarters. He was a bit put off when we got home and he discovered we have to go back tomorrow. Let's hope for the sake of all the concession stand patrons he sleeps better tonight.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Chili Cookoff

The field was deep. The crock pots were plentiful. And the chili cookoff was on! There were even a few brave vegetarian entries. Though I think they were largely a self defense mechanism as our non meat eating sisters were unlikely to find much else to eat other than their own offerings.

My entry was Detroit Rock City Chili which was largely based on Tom's Hell in a Bucket Chili. I say largely because over the course of the last few years making it, I've changed contents and method significantly which I am quite certain Tom will point to as the reason I didn't win, place or show. My own crock pot was one my MIL gave me. A lovely mustard color with a brown crockery insert. Tres 70's!

And while the much sought after spot as this year's winner on the plaque (I don't know if Angie and Eric have it out year round or not but it is a coveted position) wasn't me, I was pleased with 4th place. It was fun to hear all the different opinions. Of the three that beat me, I really liked one (actually voted for it - 2nd place, have to put your own 1st!) and didn't care for the other two. And then I'd hear people who liked three that I didn't care for at all. But win or lose, it was great fun and I am plotting my strategy for next year already!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

I (Don't) Heart Valentine's Day

You know, I had a whole rant fired up about over commercialization and the treat bagification of Valentine's Day when I realized that I had a similar rant last year. So I won't cover that topic again but I came really close to going off the deep end when we went through the bank drive through today and they had goodie bags for the kids. As we drove away, they totaled the bag count for the week and it was alarmingly high. Just sayin'.

Yesterday, for the first time in about two weeks, all three kids had school. A major miracle. And just in time for them to not actually learn and have a Valentine's party! As E's home room Mom, I was one of the ringleaders of said party. I will not, however, show up in any pictures since Maggie's Daisy troop had Mommy & Me yoga right after school and I was (against my own rules) there in athletic apparel.

Eion's class played a game where they used chopsticks to remove conversation hearts from a bowl. I was worried it would be too hard but they really got in the spirit and cheered for each other.

We, to my relief, didn't have time for a craft. While this is wholly selfish, E just doesn't do well with them and it is so painful.

While I didn't have to organize Maggie's party, I did get to stop by for a minute.

And naturally, both classes we chock full of sweets and sugared up kids. Must. Not. Rant.

But Mommy & Me yoga was terrific and relaxing in spite of talkative, giggly girls. During the relaxation, Morrigan kept going "Ahhh!" and talking about how relaxed she was. Oh well. It's a start.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Sibling Rivalry

[Why is it another picture in the snow? 'Cause that's all we've got here this month. School, after being in session one day last week, was 2 hours late yesterday and cancelled today. I may never have another picture without snow.]

While it does seem my kids have not been in school enough this winter to receive report cards, they did indeed arrive home in the folders yesterday. And all the way around, they were great. (Of course, Eion didn't have school yesterday so we haven't seen his yet. Who knows what awaits us.) But you know that sisters are always looking for an edge.

Morrigan, recipient of all A's, was all over the fact that her sister got one B. She mused as we drove (unsuccessfully) to Toys R Us to acquire a new sled, "Hmm, have I ever gotten a B on my report card?" Ah, feel the love. Fortunately, Maggie didn't take it too hard.

And while I was baffled by their choice of ice cream as a celebration seeing as I think they may have to rename Roanoke Hoth, I was all too happy to reward their hard work. Even the B.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Weekend Plans, Revisited

So here is what we had planned for the weekend and the eventual outcome:

School: Cancelled
Mommy & Me Yoga: Cancelled
Poker: Cancelled
Swim Meet: Cancelled
Dinner with friends: Cancelled

What was added in the place of all these activities was lots and lots of shoveling as we were graced with 8ish inches of snow on Friday and Saturday. I can only hope the snow is done for a while as we are running out of places to which to move it.

We didn't make it down the mountain to what appeared to be a massive sledding block party. Our street wasn't cleared until Saturday after 5pm. Having heard from two neighbors (both with 4 wheel drive trucks) about how they either got stuck and had to abandon their car a 1/2 mile away or nearly went sliding and careening off the edge of an embankment, we thought we would hang back.

Tim spent the better part of Friday making home made lasagna: noodles, sauce and bechamel all from scratch. Our friends Damon and Karen (also having their weekend plans snowed out) brought their boys over for dinner. Damon grew up in Minnesota and 8 inches of snow certainly wasn't going to stop them. And our house is apparently a favorite with their son as it is "the one with all the guns." They returned the favor on Saturday and we had dinner at their house.

So while the snow certainly changed everything we had on the roster, it was a pretty fun weekend. And it looks like there has been enough plowing that we might make it to that Superbowl party after all.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened.

Have you been lucky enough to have friends who were your best friends almost from the day you met?

That once they were a part of your life, were like extended family and you couldn't imagine life without them?

I am. And today they moved out of state.

And I miss my friends.

To Cross Dress or Not To Cross Dress

Morrigan has an upcoming project for which the kids pick a historical character and represent said character in a "Wax Museum." She chose Deborah Sampson, of whom I had never heard, but she was a woman who impersonated a man in order to fight in the American Revolution. So I think great! I am sure there are costumes online for this and promptly find an appropriate rig:

I show it to Morrigan who deadpans, "That's a boy." I tried to explain that she was going to be someone who pretended to be a boy in order to fight because girls couldn't. To which she said, "Why can't I just dress like a girl?" Hmmm, can we say missing the point?

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Happy Groundhog Day!

And to no one in Roanoke's surprise, there are 6 more weeks of winter on the way! But take a moment and brighten your day by visiting Sorry I Missed Your Party and seeing some awesome Groundhog Day desserts.

More Snow and More Snow

The kids are out of school for the second day this week and it is snowing. Again. And Facebook, everyone's premier weather source, tells me that there may be 12+ inches coming out way this weekend. Hence, why Tim and Maggie are on their way to the store to purchase another snow shovel since our snowblower has picked one hell of a year to be unreliable.

But at lest we got out to the gym today. I was so happy to be out with adults and burning off the many snacks I consumed while housebound that I was practically skipping around the track. Apparently I was also inadvertently wearing my "correct my workout technique" sign as I had commentary on both my lifting (but it was Jerry so it is ok, he is a trusted source) and running style.

The latter from a trainer who, a half hour after my run, sought me out to give me advice and let me know I looked like I was "struggling" while I ran. My explanation that I always have a bright red face fell on deaf ears. Tim thinks he may have been more referring to my "Tigger-style" running. I cannot help it if I was so happy to be there I was bouncing.

In an effort to stave off snow, I went online yesterday and purchased boots and new snow pants. [The pre-baby ski pants were NOT EVEN CLOSE to fitting.] I ordered these boots:

from last night at 9pm. I kid you not, they were on my porch at noon today. And the shipping was free! Sadly, the snow pants did not arrive as quickly. In any event, it doesn't appear that they will have the scaresnow effect for which I was hoping. At least Tim is off most of the week!