Thursday, April 29, 2010

Game, Set, Match

After disappointing losses the past two weeks, my doubles partner and I won our match today! This is relatively new territory for me as I have never been much of an athlete. Once I regaled Tim with the stories of the many school teams for which I attended try outs only to be turned down over and over. If I remember correctly, his response was something along the lines of "You really sucked at allot of things." Which was sadly true. The closest thing to competitive sports I did in high school was cheerleading.

And certainly tennis was never on my radar prior to about 3 or 4 years ago. In my house growing up there were not sports, there was Sport. It was soccer, at which, surprising no one, I was also not very good. Now some of this was a lack of natural athletic ability but laziness played a pretty significant role too. But somewhere along the way (probably when I was fighting off baby weight) I discovered that working out and sporting endeavors can be fun. And it was about that time that I started playing tennis.

While I went to plenty of clinics, I wanted to try a more competitive level of play. So this Spring I coerced a group of girls to play on an ODTA tennis team (think country club vs. country club.) The last two weeks my court lost, though we were certainly in the hunt. But this week Mary I and pulled it out! And as I came home and told Tim, it was really much more fun than losing. I've been the one to just give up mentally when you're down a set and a few breaks and it was kind of nice to be on the other side and watch them start to break down.

So what will next week hold? Who knows. But I am happy that we won't go 0-6 for the season. And one of our other courts won so we won for the week. Not to mention, we were Team Pink in full effect. I was all pink:

While Mary tempered with a bit of white:

Really, did you expect a team I was captaining to wear anything else?

Monday, April 26, 2010


Do you know what is really, really awesome? When you have a friend cut your son's hair (please note pic is pre cut) and she discovers peanut butter behind his ear. I don't remember when we last had peanut butter. But then it got even better when on the other side of his precocious little head was a tick. I'm going to have to switch to a stylist I don't know. Either that or she needs to change the name of her salon to Kara's Cuts and Parasite Removal Service. Good lord.

Blue Ridge Marathon

Roanoke hosted the Blue Ridge Marathon this past Saturday. No, didn't run it - or the half either. I heard the full marathon was supposed to be one of the hardest in the country. Not at all what I need for my first race ever. But Fraught called me up and suggested we hand out snacks and water to the runners as they passed through the neighborhood and seeing as I was out of commission for the gym (all that jump roping left me hobbling around) it sounded like a plan.

A contingent of neighborhood folks gathered at the top of Stanley and the impromptu party began! The kids decorated the street and accosted runners with water.

And when the novelty wore off, they ran up and down the block and picked dandelions.

I had never watched a race in person and it was really inspiring. While I think the full marathon is more than I want to take on, I may (full right to reverse course here) run the half next year.

My favorite runner was this guy:

He knew some of the people gathered and he stopped to say hi. We were at mile 20 so many runners were glad for a quick respite. He said "I was told there would be beer! All you have is mimosas?" To which I replied, "I have beer." Now at that point, I got a couple of looks which I think were uncalled for. I saw at least a gallon of vodka, a gallon of gin and mimosa makings floating around. A few beers in the cooler with the Perrier didn't seem out of line. Who cares if it was 9:30am? Anyway, he happily took one and dominated the whole thing before going on to the final 6 miles. I like that guy.

The kids and I had a great time and it was a perfect reminder of why I live in this neighborhood - give us a reason, any reason - and a party just might break out.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Season Pass Cancelled

Oh I'm going on a rant people. Come along, leave, do what you want. But there's no stopping me today.

So I have been watching, on and off, Saturday Night Live for 30 some years. These days it is more likely to be on a Tuesday but I generally get around to it. But I have watched my last episode. [In advance, I am likely overreacting but it is just what I do.]

There was a skit last Saturday and the gist of it was some guys were all sitting around having a beer and telling stories. All the stories were outrageous and the joke was that no one reacted to the increasingly over the top stories. Like the Doctor who told his pals about having sex with a comatose patient. Or the guy who went to China and ate panda meat. And lastly, the priest who wasn't fired to masturbating on chat roulette but was transferred to another parish. It was amusing enough for me not to skip it. Until the end that is when these deviants all put on their tri-corner hats and headed off to a Tea Party protest.

You know SNL, I'm going to take that one personally. If you want to disagree with the political stance of the Tea Party, fine. Go right ahead and make fun of them for the things they do, like dressing up in period gear. Something I could do without incidentally. Imagine my horror when Morrigan told me of her plans to wear her Deborah Samson costume to the next protest. Really, she's only a step away from face painting at that point. But I digress. But what that skit was about, simply put, was a smear campaign. Unfortunately, one the mainstream media is all too happy in which to participate.

Do you know how tired I am of hearing "analysis" of who the Tea Partiers are that inevitably comes to the conclusion that we're all a bunch of racist homophobes. Bill Clinton has gone as far as to imply that he thinks the Tea Parties will lead to another Tim McVeigh. But if you really want to know who they are here you go:

A bunch of mostly polite people who get together and listen to speakers talk about political issues, local and national. At the last local rally, there was an African American speaker who, I am sure to the surprise of the media, was not run off by the racist hicks but given a standing ovation for her excellent speech on how we are all taxed too much, in various ways, all day long.

And when they are done, everyone packs up their trash and leaves wherever they have gathered spotless.

Are there some bad apples in the bunch? Shoot, find me a group of thousands of people that doesn't have some wackos. Seriously, that professor that shot up her colleagues when she failed to receive tenure was a HUGE Obama supporter. But that doesn't make me think all of team Obama is on the verge of making their friends target practice.

But our friends at SNL are more than happy to take a broad, insulting brush and paint the entire Tea Party movement with it. Well, have at it. Compare me and my family to panda eating rapists and sexual deviants. We'll vote with our wallets and stop supporting your network and encourage others to do the same. And no matter what names you call us, we'll vote in November.

Jump Around

Today at Morrigan's school was the Jump Rope for Heart event. And seeing as a desperate plea for volunteers went out yesterday, I said I could help in spite of having many other things to do. (Well alright, didn't have anything going on other than a trip to the gym but I hate to sound so lame.) Turns out, trip to the gym - not at all needed. I told the kids in Morrigan's class that I would donate $1 for each kid who could jump rope longer than me. I figured even if they all beat me, I would only be out 50 bucks or so.

I quickly became the "challenge match" lady with scores of children, one after the other, demanding I take them on. Good news: only one kid managed to beat me. Bad news (that's also kind of good news): I was jumping rope for the better part of three hours. Oh, we were having races, doing tricks and trying all sorts of crazy jumping styles. But I am about worn out and in all likelihood going to be paying a heavy price tomorrow.

But even if I am in horrible pain tomorrow, it was worth it. At the end of each class' time, they got to return to their favorite station. To my amazement, lots of kids came back to mine. Granted, it was for a rematch but still! And some very sweet little 2nd graders gave me hugs (ill advised hugs based on the way I smelled by then) when they left.

And in spite of my complete dominance over a bunch of 8 & 9 year olds, I told Morrigan's class I would sponsor them all anyway.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Earth Day

In honor of Earth Day, or "Earf Day" as the E calls it, how much do I love this product?

When I asked Eion what Earth Day meant, he told me they colored a picture of the Earf. Anything else? Not according to him.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Poor E

The boy needs his sleep. When he is well rested, it just makes a world of difference. Now, on weekends, when left to his own devices, he will sleep in until almost nine. Incidentally, something his sisters never, ever, ever do. So I don't mind letting him stay up a little late since he'll make it up the next day. But with school starting at 7:45, we don't have that luxury during the week.

As I was prodding him on to bed tonight, I realized that we were completely out of pull ups. And yes, I know he is 5 1/2. Don't get all judgey. I have a friend whose son a few years back was still in night time pull ups at age 5 and I was (albeit internally) horrified. Just look what karma dealt me. Lesson learned. Anyhoo, I was in the middle of making bacon for lunches, baking cookies, and homework and packing up the circus for a trip to KMart was unappealing to say the very least. So I called up my neighbor who has a three year old girl and begged for a handout. She gladly obliged (thanks a million Jen!) and I sent a minion up to fetch it.

Feeling good about sidestepping that diaper run, I took it upstairs to give to E who was not at all impressed with the pink, princess encrusted pull up. Insert here my lecture about beggars not being choosers and how no one in the world would even know. A lecture which fell on largely deaf ears. I did feel just the teensiest bit guilty as he lay down crying about how he was a boy, not a girl but not guilty enough to miss the opportunity to point out that he could avoid this situation entirely by using the potty.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Reports are In

Report card time! Maggie May:

All A's. Go get 'em Mags!

Morrigan (who in this picture is getting sprayed by the power washer. I didn't realize until it was up here that was not obvious):

Almost all A's with a B in Math. But since said B was a *gasp* C halfway through the quarter, we'll breathe a sigh of relief and call it good.

And Eion:
While he still has not been green lighted for Kindergarten, many of the "developing" marks had turned to "satisfactory" and he wasn't ruled out for Kindergarten. Is "could be worse" a complete cop-out?

Monday, April 19, 2010

Death and Destruction

You wanna know what really doesn't go over well with the kids? When the cat kills and eats a butterfly in front of them. "But how can she do that? The butterfly is so pretty!" And apparently tasty too.

0 for 2

This round of school pictures just wasn't meant to be....

Saturday, April 17, 2010


So with all sorts of random floating around in my sleepy head, I will borrow a convention from Fraught....

The race is on: Maggie is bound and determined to read as fast as her sister. They seem to be in a competition and both report out to me as soon as they finish a book. Luckiest. Mom. Ever.


I did indeed eat an entire KFC double down sandwich this week. Worth every calorie.

As we are driving in the Jeep, the Jay-Z-Linkin Park song Encore/Numb comes on and Morrigan informs me, "This is one of my top ten favorite songs ever." Got some good taste there sweetie!

How do you know you are cheap? When E comes downstairs, having dressed himself in a Red Wings jersey, and asks, "Did you buy this for me on eBay?"


I had my first ODTA tennis match this week. I was telling Morrigan how I was so nervous that I felt sick. Incredulous, she replied, "Why? You know you are going to dominate." Sadly, she was wrong, but I appreciate her faith in my tennis skills. And while we did lose, it was a close match and the vast majority of the games were also very close. Oddly, I have never felt better about a loss. Not to mention, I served my first honest to goodness ace! Next week, we'll live up to Morrigan's prediction - especially since we will have our new pink and more pink uniforms by then!


Friday, April 16, 2010


I had this bad dream where Tim and I were with the kids at a nightclub (dream remember.) There was some sort of danger and I was determined to get the kids out. Timmy refused to leave and I took the keys to the car but there was more peril because the car was parked in a sketchy spot.

As I am telling him about this dream the next day, he turns to me and deadpans, "We didn't valet?"

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

File Under

From the file of things I should never, ever have to deal with...

Passing by the bathroom where my half naked son turns to me, penis in hand, pointing said appendage at me, and yelling "Piya! Piya!" My comment of "Son, your penis is not a toy" met only with a knowing smirk.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Suffer the Little Children

So for a few years now, Tim and I have been big Dave Ramsey/living debt free fans. After a while, it just becomes second nature and you just forget that the rest of the world might just view it a bit odd. Like the other day when someone we know asked, "What do you mean, you don't borrow money?" To which we explained it meant just that - we don't borrow money, ever. His response, a new one, was "Are you two in the witness protection program?"

But what is off the rails to others is downright normal in our house. We were at the library the other day and we had to get a library card. [As an aside, I'm not really the biggest library fan. I hate having to read on their timetable. Or wait for the book I want. So we just bought our kids books. But when Morrigan burned through 13 books over Spring Break, we thought our bottom line might need to mix in the library.] Anyhoo, the librarian asked me if I wanted a card that goes on my key chain or one like a credit card. When I chose the latter (keychain is crowded), Morrigan gasped in horror and would only stand down when I explained that it was only shaped like a credit card and was not actually an implement of evil.

So I wonder about the impact of these idiosyncrasies of our household. How will they feel when they find out very few people cringe at the sight of a credit card? Or that most families don't play slug buggy when they see Landau tops (or as Tim would say, alert you to the presence of a Landau top in a tactile manner.) Or that most families don't have a few pounds of cooked bacon on hand at all times. And worse, that bacon is not most people's idea of a picnic food (it should be.) I can only hope they'll be happy with our eccentricities - I like them.

Just How I Like It

My children have an unnatural fear of hair care. They really start out disadvantaged as they are all in possession of crazy Irish mops to varying degrees. I've simply given up on Eion. He won't brush his hair. Ever. But I do try, no matter how the appearance of their hair would tell another story, to at the very minimum, have the girls brush a few times a day. As we were struggling through the process the other day, E spoke up.

E: How is my hair?
Me: Well son, it's sticking up all over the place.
E: Good. Just how I like it.

Friday, April 09, 2010

The Staycation

So as we were planning our Spring Break, we came to the conclusion that weather would be really important. The Homestead Easter Egg hunt when it is 65 and sunny is much nicer than when it is 35 and rainy. Much to Tim’s surprise and delight, I agreed to postpone the actual decision making until the last minute.

Once the forecasts were in, we realized that Roanoke, Virginia was going to be a pretty fine place to be this week. High 70’s every day, sunny and beautiful. And the Staycation was born. We reserved the right to flee town if the weather went bad but for the time being, we were staying home.

For the kids’ benefit, we had a couple of changes to our regular schedule. We promised not to make them go to the gym (which I will never understand why they object to it so much – all they have to do is hang out) and they didn’t have to practice piano. The latter may not go over well with their teacher but oh well! Personally, I tried not to spend too much time on the computer (hence the lack of posts this week) and limited my talk radio.

The week was great! We went on walks, played tennis and spent allot of time with friends. Over the course of the week, everything was blooming and greening up.

We spent some serious time on the deck making pizzas and drinking beer. We bought the kids water guns which were very well received. While the water guns were a strong move, we were completely out classed by Melanie & Jerry who had an inflatable water park set up in their yard.

We relaxed on their deck, with a minor reduction in the number of beers consumed. Jerry made an excellent brisket and by the time Beatles Rock Band started up, we were all stuffed.

Yesterday we took the kids bowling. Between the bumpers and this ball launching contraption, they were posting scores in the neighborhood of 50 which, regrettably, was not that far off from my own score.

And Eion's victory dance was outstanding.

Now that Virginia has banned smoking in restaurants and the bowling alley is smoke free, it is a great place to be! They have all sorts of fried food and a whole host of beers. It was good, cheap fun. Sadly, Tim goes back to work this afternoon so we will be returning to normal. But it was an awesome, relaxing week.

One minor drawback to things having gone so very well is that this has emboldened Tim to try and make more vacations last minute adventures. And while I don't mind a staycation here and there, I think leaving planning to the last minute will generally lead to only staycations. We'll have to work on him...

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Bunny Brunch

You know, every time we hit one of these holidays, I keep thinking it will be the last time my kids want to go. But today, they were still all about the Bunny Brunch and Easter egg hunt. We arrived promptly at nine so the kids could proceed to ingest very little real food while loading up on chocolate.

Much to my complete surprise, all of my kids were in the "big kid" category for the hunt itself. Say it isn't so! When did they get so big? But all fared well in the melee and Maggie even scored a golden egg that had a dollar in it.

None of the kids objected to pictures with the bunny. Eion, a past objector, did notice that "The bunny has a zipper on him. He's a faker." What with the myth of the Tooth Fairy going by the wayside last week and the takedown of the Bunny, we may well be without fictitious givers of gifts by year's end.

This year I have adopted a new approach to Easter candy. In the past, they get to eat some but the lion's share goes into bags from which they get a treat every day or so until it is gone. Which worked out to be a huge hassle and just drug out the pain over a period of weeks or months. So this year, I just let them have at it. They have been allowed to eat candy and chew gum all day long. I actually think most of it is gone already, which suits me just fine. And so far, no one has thrown up.

E liked his seersucker suit so much he refuses to take it off including when we went to the park. Nothing says playtime like a suit and tie.

And so our staycation begins. Happy Easter!

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Top Down

You know how I know there is a higher power and she loves me? Convertibles. Today was forcasted to be 83 degrees so we took the top off the Jeep. Granted, it was a bit chilly this morning but the kids didn't mind. As we rolled down the hill to school, they had their hands up, roller coaster style, yelling, "This is the best!" and "Party!" We pulled up to school in true rock star style with the kids giving shout outs to all passers by.

By this afternoon, it was perfect top down weather. The first question Maggie asked when I picked her up was "Did you bring the Jeep?" They all agreed we should drive it every sunny day. I concur.