Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry Christmas, Eion Style

Eion arrived home from school with two wrapped Christmas gifts he made with his class. As he handed me the first one...

E: It's a pinch pot!
Me: We'll give it to Daddy. He'll be so surprised.
E: No, it's for Maggie. I also made a green handprint.
Me: I love handprints.
E: It's for Morrigan.
Me: Do I get anything for Christmas?
E: Yes, you get hugs.

While I really do love handprint tiles, I think he's such a sweetie to want to give something to his sisters. And I get hugs after all.

It's Beginning to Look Allot Like Christmas

The Grandparents have landed! And with them came enough gifts to cover Grandparents, parents and Santa too. The kids were very excited to place them all under the tree and in the case of Eion, so excited that the wrapping paper "fell off" one gift. The temptation being so very large and the volume of gifts so very high (especially when you add parents, Santa and Uncles), we decided to let them open a gift each day leading up to Saturday.

The girls received several games which were immediately put into action. Eion assembled his legos directly and started telling us about how these figures fit into a larger collection and he would need to get all of those too. The child has a future as a lobbyist.

Morrigan really wanted me to go to her Christmas party since I always went to the Crystal Spring parties. Luckily, Mom and Dad arrived in time for the last day of school before break so they covered Maggie and E while I went to Morrigan's school.

Oma and Opa will have to take a brief break from spoiling the kids to go with me tonight to pick up Uncle Dominick and Uncle Chris. They are arriving way past my bedtime (11:30 - PM!!!) but seeing as this is the first Christmas we've managed to get everyone together since 2005, I will forgive them. :)

The Big Top tent is going to be crowded for the next few days so I don't know if I will be online. In case I don't make it back in, have a safe, happy and relaxing Christmas.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Cocktail Club

While I am fine with your everyday, ok to wear jeans kind of parties (I do throw them myself), I love a good "dress up" cocktail party. Enter our Cocktail Club Christmas party. It was hosted by Sarah & Brad and Andrea & Lynn who had the foresight to host it at Blue 5. Smart idea - no set up, no clean up!

Tim, in the festive attire mood, wore my favorite seasonal pants:

And while it is normally a problem reserved for women, found he was not the only one!

You know people are bringing it when more than one pair such pants makes an appearance.

But anyway, it was a great party - though I was a little alarmed at the number of conversations that involved Justin Beiber. He is, it appears, everywhere. We had a great time, stayed out too late and I was certainly cursing my festive shoes by the night's end.

I didn't think about it until today but this month is the 10th anniversary of the Cocktail Club. I went back in my archives to find a picture of the original group but back in the day didn't even have a digital camera  yet! Anyhoo, this was a perfect party to toast to 10 years of friendship and many more to come!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Snow Days

Well we are on day two out of school due to snow. And while the snow did derail many plans yesterday, new ones took their place.

After some sledding at our house and some driveway clearing, we packed up and headed to Ann and Hans'. We generally over-ran the place for more sledding,

game playing, pretzel making and overall snow day relaxing. It was no swim meet but then again, it was no swim meet!

The sleet made us loath to stand out in the cold on Stanley but it was such a great afternoon that it's hard to argue with our largely indoor plan.

By evening the roads were clear enough that we could make it to our dinner reservations so Ann & my joint birthday dinner, oft plagued by illness and weather, came off without a hitch!

Naturally, school was cancelled today but seeing as the roads were quite passable in the Jeep, we were compelled to head to the gym. But as we were gearing up, Amy called with an infinitely better offer of sledding on Richelieu. Morrigan and Eion found friends there too and we had a fun morning of sledding and, in the case of my crew, snow eating. Blech.

And on the continued good news front, the girls' Christmas piano party as well as our Cocktail Club seem to be a go! While I may still object to Mother Nature's timing, that past few days have turned out pretty well.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Dear Mother Nature,

With all due respect, (and you know that means someone is about to be disrespected), you have some really crappy timing. Our schedule for the weekend:

Thursday: PTA Meeting [While I am generally anti-meeting, this one was covering some important issues that really need to be discussed.]
2nd Grade Polar Express Day
Swim Meet
Joint birthday dinner with Ann at new favorite restaurant Lucky

Friday: Maggie's friend is having a birthday party
Piano Christmas Party (Cancelled last year due to snow.)
Cocktail Club

Saturday: Christmas party (that we missed last year due to weather)

Thursday's events: cancelled (dinner might make it but it's looking bad.) Friday and Saturday in jeopardy. And might I add that for the billionth time in a row, this snow comes on a day where Tim has returned from a night shift, leaving me stranded on this mountain.

Well screw you weather. We're not missing the Stanley Ave. snow party this year. I am going to conquer my fear driving in the snow (stop laughing Northerners - these hills totally change the game) and take the whole crew out. Hey, our original plans are dashed but we might as well make the most of it!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Ice Castles

With not a whole heck of allot going on this Sunday afternoon, Tim said we should take the kids ice skating at the Roanoke Civic Center. I was feeling pessimistic about the entire adventure. For a multitude of reasons:

1) We had never even gotten the girls to roller skate, let alone ice skate.
2) It was "Blessed Blades" day which meant Christian rock. No offense to the big man, but rock and roll (and rap and pop) are really the Devil's territory.
3) Tim played ice hockey as a kid so he would be fully capable to assist. I, on the other hand, had not been on skates in 17ish years and wasn't that good then. Not only was I not sure I could assist, I wasn't sure I wouldn't spend the afternoon on my arse.

I was sure that it would be a disaster, full of complaining, but trying to be supportive, said if the kids were on board, I would go too. With a smile on my face.

The girls were all about it. E said he wanted to watch which was fine by me because that meant I got to watch!

Though the start was slow, the girls were soon skating tentatively around the rink.

To my complete shock, Eion decided he wanted to get out there. So he and I got some skates and got on the rink. Luckily, the girls were stable enough to be on their own so Tim could get E started while I found my "ice legs."

So OK, I was totally wrong. Everyone had fun. Everyone got out there. I was, while not spectacular, completely competent. I even learned to skate backwards, a first. I did fall once and I think I am going to have a doozy of a bruise on my behind, but it was great. When we left, 2 1/2 hours later, Eion was so bummed. Promises we would return soon had no effect. He said he wants to play hockey so he can skate all the time. Words to his Daddy's ears.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

A Birthday of Field Trips, Gingerbread and Love

As you may well have noticed from the profile update to the right, yesterday I turned 39. My near day long absence from the computer meant I didn't update it till the end of the day, leading one friend to question if I was no longer willing to broadcast my age. Maybe it's that things just seem to get better each year, but I really don't care that I am getting older. So the proud age announcement will stay!

I spent the morning with Eion on a field trip to the Science Museum and History Museum. He was a bit under the weather but having missed the last field trip, was not going to miss this one. The kids were great and I (really) had a good time.

After lunch, I was about to scoot out and E's teacher told me to have a great birthday. One of the other teachers then hauled me back in and had all 60ish Kindergarteners sing me Happy Birthday. When they were done, he said, "Now who wants to give Mrs. McK a birthday hug?" I think half the hands went up and I spent the next five minutes hugging the sweet things. One kid even put his hand back up for a second hug. I really, truly think there is no sweeter age than Kindergarten.

Later we had Christy, Andrew, and minions over for dinner and gingerbread house decorating. The kids had cooked up this idea the last time we were together and had been looking forward to it for weeks.

They had fun decorating (and eating) their houses. Maggie's was particularly stark. I think she ate almost all her toppings! I bought the pre-assembled variety, a decision about which I was very happy as the houses needing assembly had ongoing roof issues. But nothing we couldn't handle.

As they were sitting at the table, Eion told them, "I'm so glad you're here. You're my favorite friends."

Isn't it funny how what you want in a birthday changes? I can't say that 10 or 20 years ago this would have been my birthday plan but yesterday, Kindergarten hugs, a huge candy/frosting mess, and a quiet night at home with friends was just about perfect.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

The Next Phase

Here at Team McK, we are not the fastest renovators. Case in point, our basement. While we knew this large, bright area would be a great space, it took us about six years of living here before we made the move away from its original state:

It had it all: nasty forest green berber carpet - complete with stains, drafty windows, and institutional lighting.

Finally, last year we bit the bullet and installed new floors. It made a dramatic difference and I think we enjoyed it so much that we weren't in a great hurry to take the next step.

While we got rid of the nasty carpet, we retained the drafty windows and sweet industrial lighting.

Just under a year later, spurred on by a $1,500 tax credit, we had new (energy efficient) doors and windows installed. We chose to get casement windows which, while the exact same size, look sooooo much bigger.

And then, in a wholly unexpected flurry of activity, we decided to leave our one-step-a-year remodeling style behind and had crown moulding and new lights installed (thank you Jerry!) and painted. Today the last of the painting is complete and here is the result:

The crown moulding did a great job of making the walls look more proportional and the softer light from the chandeliers made the whole room look warmer. The walls were so large that I was afraid one solid color would be overwhelming and lord knows when we will get around to art that would break it up. So my friend Leigh Anne came to our rescue did some decorative painting above the chair rail that is perfect.  The walls have a bit of depth but it is also very muted and subtle. I am generally style challenged and couldn't have been happier to have someone help me come up with a color scheme. [She's the best - email me if you are looking for a (fancy) painter.]

I guess we're still not done since we need rugs, window treatments and possibly some baseboard heat (gets a wee bit chilly in the coldest winter months) but at our regular pace, that should only be 3-4 more years!

The Man

Me: Girls, are you watching commercials?

Maggie: It's not my fault. Morrigan has the controller. I told her to change the channel because we don't want The Man telling us what to buy. Or what to watch because sometimes he'll tell you to watch a show and it is a terrible show.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Santa Claus is Coming to Town

Oh every time the Santa Brunch rolls around I think it may be our last one. This one may well have been. We are getting to be on the upper end of the age bracket and one of these days someone is going to figure out the truth about the Jolly One.

But for now, they all were psyched to go, still believe (or pretend to) and were so well behaved that someone passed our table and remarked, "Y'all are living the dream." Indeed we are.

Starting the Season Off Right

Which means the tacky sweater Christmas party! It was fun and festive as always with the highlight of the evening (at least  for me) was hearing the comments everyone received before leaving the house.

From my neighbor to his wife: "Are you sure that is tacky enough? I mean, just having bells doesn't seem like enough."

From a friend's Mom: "It is so nice you're wearing the sweater I gave you!"

From various sons and daughters:

"Really Mom?"

"Nice Mom."

"You're not really going out of the house like that are you?"

[Moving from a look of horror and confusion to understanding to approval] "Oh! It's a BAD sweater party!"

"I can't believe you used to wear that in public."

And from my own sweet girls: "I don't know why you call it a bad sweater party Mama. Yours get more beautiful every year." [Which, according to Ann, makes them "part of the problem."]