Thursday, February 28, 2013

these boots were made for working

These are my boots. They have steel toes:


I wore them yesterday for the first time in almost three years when I went out "in the field" to visit a highly complex and widely publicized environmental project that earlier this week, made national headlines. In my new role, I've made the decision that if I'm going to work outside of the home at this stage in my children's life, I'm going to make it a top priority to get IN THE FIELD at least once a month so that I can re-connect with nature and remember why it is that I pursued not only my educational path, but this specific line of work as an environmental geologist. When I came home last night and told the children about my day, they were amazed.  While curled up in my arms they gazed up at me and said, "Mom, you're like a superhero for the earth! We're so proud of you!"  

And with that .... it felt like the 11,281 hours that I've spent working while my children have been busy growing up were not entirely in vain.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

henry's epic weekend

The apocalyptic stomach flu that we had anticipated on Friday, hit us on Saturday afternoon.  We headed off to the 5:00 church service thinking that everyone was feeling well and less than 20 minutes in, Charlie and I were summoned by the 2nd grade RE instructor who told us William was feeling sick.

By 5:45, the exact moment we walked in the front door to our house, William succumbed and over the next 12 hours,  Charlie - Carolyn - me - and finally, Elizabeth, fell victim to what was the most horrific virus I can recall in recent history.  Usually I dodge the stomach flu, but this one totally grounded me to the point that I couldn't even stand up without breaking in to a sweat and seeing stars. While Charlie and I were simultaneously leveled and hardly able to care for ourselves, let alone our eight-year-old triplets who were in equally dire straights, Henry - who had experienced the same virus two days earlier was fully recovered and in perfect five-year-old boy form.

(In my mental book of Parenting Nightmares, this scenario is in the Top 10.)

In an effort to keep him from swinging from the chandelier or otherwise breaking himself or something, he was granted access to our full movie collection and watched almost every superhero movie we have in our possession.  As a self-proclaimed "King of the Castle" he wore the same clothes for two days straight and for dinner, he sat at the head of the table and dined on pizza by candlelight - which is what he also had for lunch and dinner the following day. For breakfast he ate Cheerios, straight from the box. I think he might have also eaten a banana at some point, but am not entirely sure...


In the end, we all survived. And while this was one of the worst weekends in my memory - for Henry, it was probably one of the best.

Friday, February 22, 2013

recovery and preparation

It's amazing how much quieter the house is with this one little guy out of commission...


We've concluded it's too quiet and we're all ready for him to feel better.  Whilst also hoping the rest of us don't drop like flies. Today Charlie went shopping for saltines, Jell-O, popsicles, Gatorade and all the necessary components of the BRAT (bananas, apple sauce, rice, toast) diet.  We're now prepared for the stomach flu apocalypse, should it strike.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

don't ever trust an eight-year-old with your secrets

Last night, I went to bed at 12:30 AM.  Henry crawled in to bed with us at 3:37 AM, a mere three hours and seven minutes later.  I remember the time because when I sat upright to catch his vomit in my hands, I spotted the clock. It never ceases to amaze me how our children only get sick in the middle of the night. And, how I always manage to wake out of an absolutely sound sleep and catch the puke before it hits me or the ground.  It must be some kind of gene that only mother's have because Charlie does not possess what I have come to consider the R3 or "Rapid Reflux Reflex".

While Charlie brought Henry to the bathroom, I scrambled to wash my hands and check in on William who was sleeping soundly on the bottom bunk. While in his room, I noticed that William's comforter had been doused by his little brother, who had been sleeping on the top bunk and obviously launched the first load before he made it in to our room.  I stripped the blankets off the bed and cleaned up the boys' room while Charlie cleaned up Henry. My husband then retreated to the couch at 3:54 AM, while I crawled back in to bed with my sweet five-year-old who was sick every 20 minutes, on the dot, for the next seven hours.

In those 18 luxurious minutes spanning his recurrences, I would doze off to sleep and have the most bizarre dreams.  In one dream, everyone in our home, including the dog and guinea pigs, was sick to their stomach. In my dream, I was running around with buckets and bowls and doing my best to cleanup.  In my dream, I was so tired that as I was cleaning up a pile on the floor that the dog had left, I picked out what looked like a lovely banana nut muffin (that had apparently been swallowed whole) and popped it in to my mouth without contemplating what I was doing until after I had eaten it.

Fairly certain, that is the most disgusting dream I've ever had. And the only reason I'm telling it now, is because I was so ridiculously tired this morning, that in my delirious state of exhaustion, I made the mistake of telling our children about my dream as I drove them to school.  However, before I told them this dream that I thought they would think was funny (because eight-year-olds would think that was hilarious), I made them promise that they would never repeat this yucky dream that their mother had experienced. And my little rosy cheeked children who were securely buckled in to their seats, promised me. They said, "Mommy, we pinky swear, we will never tell this secret you are about to share with us!"

And like a fool, I believed them. 

Tonight as I was helping the children get ready for bed, William informed me that during circle time this morning? When the entire class was gathered and they were sharing stories?  Elizabeth decided to share the sacred story that her mother was so tired she ate a banana muffin that the dog threw up.

But oops!

She forgot to mention that it was a DREAM. 

Last week, I was embarrassed when in setting up my Linked-In account, an invitation to join this professional networking site was sent to my entire address book - including our children's second grade teacher. Think it's safe to say the embarrassment from this experience easily trumps that one.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

a knight to remember

Since Charlie and I have both decided that after spending the past 2.5 years funneling our resources in to fixing up the house - we need to take a break from any and all home improvement activities and instead do things that the kids will also enjoy.  And yes, while I'm sure they'd really LOVE new baseboards and crown moulding ... we suspect they'd love a trip to an amusement park a little bit more. So one of our two new year's resolution this year is to do a lot of fun things as a family.


In honor of President's Day - yesterday - this past weekend was a three-day weekend for the kids. And because there was a monumental flub-up with our last long weekend (which to our credit, was later redeemed the following weekend) I really wanted a do-over.  I wanted to take Monday off from work and do something fun and totally unexpected with the family.  A grand day trip adventure, of sorts.


When we'd gone skiing a few weeks ago, we picked up several brochures in the hotel lobby for "attractions" around town.  Attractions that would constitute day trips for  us, because we live in the general area.  One of the brochures was for the National Aquarium in Baltimore.  Another brochure was for Medieval Times.  Both looked like excellent possibilities for a fun outing with the kids.


And thus we made plans for our three-day President's weekend. We planned that we'd leave on Sunday afternoon and drive up to Maryland. We'd first have lunch at Medieval Times and then we'd drive to the Inner Harbor of Baltimore where we'd spend the night - and enjoy the aquarium on Monday before returning home so the kids could be back in school on Tuesday.

But those plans?

They were only in our mind. 


It's been brought to my attention by Charlie that I'm unable to make "real" plans. It is physically, or at least, emotionally impossible for me to commit to anything that requires for me to be somewhere such as a hotel on such-and-such a night. Because ... what if?  What if ... the kids get sick and we can't go?

What if ... the dog gets sick?

What if ... the car breaks down?

What if ... something critical comes up?


I've had some experience with this and have since learned my lesson.  A few years ago, Charlie bought the most amazing tickets to see the Indigo Girls in concert to which we had nearly front row seats. But because I was in the hospital with pneumonia, our babysitter - instead of us - went to see the Indigo Girls. With our tickets.  The same experience played out with tickets I had bought to go to the Lawrence Welk show in California.  I've decided that instead of buying tickets ahead of time - buy them at the door. That way, you know you'll be going. Or, if tickets aren't available, you can always go see a movie.

Movies are great!


Charlie, meanwhile, was chomping at the bit to make plans.  Him: JEN, how can we say that we're going away for the weekend if we have no plans to be anywhere?

Me:  We do have plans, they're just in our head!  Remember, you're talking to someone who planned a seven thousand mile, three week cross-country adventure on less than 48 hours notice and didn't make a single reservation the entire time.  My method works, you just have to have faith and believe! Come on! Where is your sense of ADVENTURE?

Him: ......... eye roll.


Sunday morning rolls around and Elizabeth is sick.  Aha! I say. Aren't you glad we didn't make non-refundable reservations for a hotel or at the Medieval Times restaurant?

By noon she was feeling better.  

Aha! Charlie says. Don't you wish we had guaranteed reservations for the show this afternoon? What if we drive all the way up there and it's sold out?!


Our house is cleaned, our bags our packed, our pet sitter is summoned.  We leave at 12:30 and arrive in Baltimore 30 minutes before the show starts. We procure tickets for the entire family.  We upgrade those tickets to the "King's something-or-other" because Charlie believes that if we're going to be there - and spend that kind of money to see the show - we may as well spend a little bit more and sit on the front row.  As I making the transaction we both realize that the tickets at the window are considerably less than they'd be if Charlie bought them on line.

Aha! I say. Aren't you glad that we waited until we got here to get the discounted rate?


We sit on the front row and see the show.  The talent of the "knights" was amazing, in a full canter, they were able to put their lance through little hoops.  (New year resolution #2 = learn how to actually use my camera.)


The children love it. The costumes, the horsemanship, the jousting, the medieval human torture...


The overall tournament experience! 


We determine, however, that all of the seats in the house are great and the upgrade to the "King's something-or-other" for $20 per ticket may not have been worth the price.  Even though Elizabeth was handed a carnation by our knight and Carolyn was crowned "Queen of the Tournament." Or, maybe it was worth the price since I think the kids will remember this experience forever.


On the way out, we walk through the gift store and the crazy "we're on vacation!" generosity bug hit me and I buy the kids little medieval costumes (and the accompanying paraphernalia) that they'll wear for Halloween and when we go to the Renaissance Faire later this year.

(Oh yes we are! The whole family is dressing up! Wait 'til you see my gown!!) 




We then walk more than a half mile to our car in the minus zero temperatures (with wind chill) and by the time we arrive - all of us have frostbite. I've since decided that only crazy people live where it is cold like that consistently and there is no way on earth I'd ever move to Canada.

Hopping in to the car we try for 20 minutes to wedge our bodies in to the heating vents. We then drive 30 minutes to Baltimore's Inner Harbor.  By the time we arrive, it is 6:30 PM. In my mind ... the mind that PLANNED this trip ... our timing was impeccable. We would unload the car, check in to our hotel room, and let the kids swim for an hour in a lovely hotel pool, before we brought them upstairs and got them in to bed. In the morning, we'd enjoy a free continental breakfast before our fun adventure at the aquarium that was within walking distance from our hotel.

This sequence of events is totally logical. We've stayed in no less than 100 hotels over the past several years. What with driving cross-country three separate times and business trips - I know what to expect when it comes to hotels.


When we arrived at the hotel, I was NOT expecting that the rooms would be $350 per night and we'd need two rooms because no suites were available.  I also didn't expect that parking was an additional $50 and there was no swimming pool, nor free breakfast.

Charlie shot me a look. Aha!  Maybe if we'd CALLED we would have KNOWN that the cost for a hotel in the Inner Harbor would be akin to the $400 a night room that we forked out when we stayed in New York. And Boston. And San Francisco. Or any other MAJOR city. 

Okay, so my method hit a snag.

Not wanting to spend a small fortune for a single night in a not that fantastic of a hotel, sans a swimming pool, we opted to drove home.  We could have stayed in a hotel outside of the city, but all of a sudden, I had a funny feeling. A whisper in the back of my mind, "This isn't the time. Go home..." 

The children were disappointed. Their bags had been packed and they were looking forward to staying in a hotel and making waffles at the free continental breakfast. But they got over it before we were back on the freeway headed south.  On the drive home, Charlie informed me that from this point on, he's going to grab the vacation bull by its horn and make reservations, whether I like it or not. "Get used to it, baby." He told me. "This is the NEW AND IMPROVED Charlie. I make the plans and you go with the plans. We clear? I can't survive with this 'seat of my pants' stuff anymore!"

Long story short, we arrived home 90 minutes later and got the children ready for bed.  Within an hour, Carolyn was up sick to her stomach. An hour later, Charlie was sick to his stomach. The rest of us were fine, so I'm not sure what happened.  But all day Monday the two of them spent recovering.

I'm not saying my method is right, exactly. 

I'm just glad that they weren't sick when we were in a hotel room that cost us $800/night.

Monday, February 18, 2013

my grand monkey

This is Henry's sidekick that for the past few days, has been accompanying him almost everywhere he goes...


It's his nearly life-sized Curious George stuffed animal that Henry has dressed in his favorite pair of snake skivvies, his Wing Man shirt and his red cape.


Whenever people ask, "Who is your friend?" He'll proudly declare, "This is my son!" Fortunately, he's reconsidered his son's name and now just calls him, "Little Buddy."

Saturday, February 16, 2013

hairs the thing...

As I've written before, one of my favorite pieces in the entire world is Desiderata.

It was written in the early 20th century by a lawyer named Max Ehrmann (1872-1945). When I was in high school, my 10th grade psychology teacher, Mr. Freeman, gave copies of the poem to all of the students in his class with a note that read, "Read this carefully and know that I dedicate each word to all of you with my very best wishes for a healthy, happy and fulfilled life."

(Ten months before the children were born and two days before the LASIK procedure that rid me of my coke bottle glasses). 

Twenty six years later, I still have the copy of Desiderata that Mr. Freeman gave to me. And whenever I need a pick me up or a gentle reminder, I turn to this simple yet incredibly powerful message. Here it is, again...
Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant, they too have their story.  Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.  
If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.  
Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many people strive for high ideals and everywhere life is full of heroism.  Be yourself.  Especially do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love, for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.  
Take kindly to the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.  Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. 
You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you now, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life - keep peace in your soul.  With all of its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.  
Be cheerful. Strive to be happy. 
What I love about this is that each and every sentence is so perfectly concise and so purely true. But for a while now, I've been hung up on the 13th sentence: Take kindly to the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. 

When I look in the mirror these days, I can very clearly see the counsel of the years.  It is appearing as wrinkles around my eyes, mouth and hands ... an extra bit of skin on my chin ... some padding around my waist ... and white in my hair.  I wrote about this topic a few years ago and if I recall correctly, more than 500 people voted on the poll and the results were nearly split for those who colored their hair and those who did not.

I'm tempted to cast another poll to confirm those results because when I look around at the women in my age bracket - I'm convinced almost all of them do something to their hair.  It's like men in my age bracket. They are either bald - going bald - or gray (with or without varying degrees of baldness). When I mentioned this to Charlie not long ago, he didn't believe me - until he started to look around and realize how unusual it was for a guy his age to have a head full of predominantly thick dark hair.


(His white speckled goatee is another matter.) 

When I was a teenager, I'd squeeze lemon juice on my hair and then sit in the sun for a few hours to have the perfect highlights.  And two months after the triplets were born, I had the most beautifully shiny hair of my life. 


But over the past five years or so, my hair has been developing more and more of it's own "natural" highlights.  Whenever I'd go to have my hair done - usually once every ten months because I've never been disciplined to go more frequently - the stylist would tell me that before they could highlight it, they'd first need to color it to hide all the grey.  And because hair grows so fast, a vicious and costly cycle was quickly born.

Eventually, I decided that I'd just color it myself.  It took me less time and cost me less money. But that didn't go so well because the color on the box was never the color that wound up on my head. Another drawback was that my once strong and lustrous hair became dull and brittle.  Like hay.

Eight months ago, I decided NO MORE.  I am GOING to take kindly to the counsel of the years and gracefully SURRENDER the things of youth! I'm GOING to let my hair grow out and EMBRACE Nature's Design for my head!   This has been difficult, since I'm currently in a two-tone zone wherein I've got 4" of roots and 14" of colored hair.  And then I find myself in situations where I'm with other women (elevators at work primarily) who are approximately the same age as me and they look like they are fighting the aging process - and winning. They have uniformly colored hair and perky body parts and I don't.  Boo!

So here I sit perched on the precipice of violating some significant terms of Desiderata.  I'm comparing myself to others, while contemplating how I can squeeze in a trip to a colorist and a plastic surgeon during my weekly lunch hours.  But then I pull out Max Ehrmann's words and I slowly re-read each sentence of what has become my life's credo and the poor body image thoughts fly away like the white wisps on my head...


I fully suspect that when I look back five short years from now, through my bi-focaled glasses, I'll be amazed at how young and beautiful I look, right now, as I'm doing my best to gracefully surrender.

Footnote: I reserve the right to crack like wheat on this whole aging process and bleach my hair blonde. The boob job and tummy tuck, however, are highly unlikely. 

Friday, February 15, 2013

favorite thing friday: the ramona series

Years ago ... many, many years ago ... my mother and I would go shopping at McAlister Square in Greenville, South Carolina.  Now a days, McCalister Square has been converted to a campus for Greenville Technical College and its the oddest thing to drive past a store that was once Belk's and see that it is now an IT Learning Center.  Anyway. When my mom would go off to do her shopping, I'd go sit in a bookstore and I would read and read and read and read.  I'd read for HOURS while mom would peruse the various stores.


(As I'm writing that sentence, I'm thinking that it might have only happened once, but in my mind - I remember it happening several times. Regardless!  I loved to read when I was a child! A lot!)  

It was during those days that I first stumbled upon the works of Beverly Cleary. It was also when I discovered all of the books Judy Blume had ever written, including Forever. (Blush!)

In looking back, I attribute my ability to read on a twelfth grade level when I was only in sixth grade, to my voracious reading skills that I honed while sitting on a floor in the back corner of the mall bookstore circa 1981.  Oh the memories! 


For their birthday this past October, Aunt Susan (Charlie's sister), took me on a long walk down memory lane when she sent our children the entire collection of the Ramona books which were organized in to two convenient volumes Volume 1 and Volume 2. And almost immediately (plus or minus a month), I began reading the books from my childhood to my children.

See, when the children were toddlers, I came to realize that if I read to them - while they were seated at the table - they'd stay seated quietly and would eat everything on their plates. These days, including their vegetables. Because that habit of reading during mealtime has taken a firm hold in our home, to this very day, I'll read (in between bites) whenever we are gathered at the table.

Sometimes, it's only a chapter. But other times, I'll crank out an entire book in a day. As I've been re-reading these classic books, I've been relating to the characters in a whole different way.  For instance, I remember Ramona as being a misunderstood little girl and her sister, Beezus, as being an over-controlling stereotypical "big" sister.  Thirty years later, I see Ramona as being an absolute PILL and Beezus as being a GODSEND child.

Kind. Helpful. Controlled. Disciplined. Mature beyond her years. 


The best part of reading these books to the children is that we have our own little discussion sessions following each chapter. Why do you think Ramona did that? What do you think she was feeling that caused her to act out that way? How would you respond to it? I love to hear the children's responses that suggest Ramona is a high energy spirit who just needs a lot of love and understanding.

And Beezus, well ... Beezus is a rock. 

As it turns out, I have been blessed with two children who are a stereotypical Ramona. Their names are ELIZABETH and HENRY.


I have also been blessed with two children who are a stereotypical Beezus. Their names are WILLIAM and CAROLYN.


I hesitate identifying our children in such a way, but the resemblance is uncanny. While I've been pondering the behavioral similarities among our children to these two characters - I haven't actually said anything about it.  Until earlier this week, when I overheard Carolyn whisper to William, "Is it just me, or do the two of them remind you of Ramona? Henry acts just like her and Elizabeth looks like her, too!"


I rushed over to them and gushed, "I KNOW! I KNOW!!!" And we hugged and it was a moment. A good, good moment.   It was also an important moment, because later in the week when Henry was doing something to drive William crazy and Elizabeth was doing something to drive Carolyn crazy, I just smiled at them and said "BE A BEEZUS" and that crazy moment was diffused.

Be a Beezus. 


In our home, those have become words to live by. 

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

while the sands 'o life shall run

It was 19 years ago tonight that Charlie proposed to me.  It was a Sunday and he would be out of town traveling the next day. Also, he didn't want to be conventional, so he popped the question the day before Valentine's Day to catch me off guard. I had been working at a wilderness outfitters store and when I arrived home, the house was filled with roses. Before I had an opportunity to register what was happening, he dropped down on one knee and recited to me from memory, "A Red, Red Rose" by Robert Burns.

Less than six months later, we tied the knot.

Fast forward 19 years.

After a full day at work, I came home tonight and was met at the door by a frazzled husband. He's been trying to wrap up a big report for work, so his typical, well-orchestrated daily schedule has been flipped on it's ear.  The kids were working on their homework. Or rather, he was trying to get them to work on their homework but getting second graders to actually do their homework is a lot like herding cats.

Henry was crying because one of his siblings hit him in the head with a book after he jabbed them with a fork. At five, he still hasn't quite mastered the cause and effect relationship. There was a pile of laundry in the hallway that was no less than three feet wide and three feet tall.  One of our children has been having an issue with bedwetting and although we bought an alarm several months ago - and that alarm worked great - the alarm recently broke and we've had a relapse and are now back to generating nine cubic feet of laundry a day until our replacement alarm arrives

Dinner, which had been served to the children an hour earlier, was on a plate in the oven where it was being kept warm for me so I sat down to eat, but the dog needed to go for a walk. The guinea pigs were squeaking and needed to be fed. First, however, their cage needed to be cleaned.

I could tell my husband was anxious and stressed, which is uncommon in Charlie so I knew that timing was of the essence and these kids had to GET TO BED.

While I started to clean up the kitchen, he started to bring the kids in to the bathroom to help them brush their teeth when suddenly I heard him yell, "JEN. I'M OUT."  I popped my head around the corner and watched him walk out of the bathroom with his hands in the air like he was surrendering.  He'd reached Maximum Saturation. I know that feeling very, very well. Since I'd just arrived home 30 minutes earlier - I was fresh on the scene, so I threw down my dishtowel and shouted, "I'M IN!" before enthusiastically giving him a fist pump and jumping in to the fray.

Tonight, it was my chance to save the day.  But last night, it was his. When I came home from a long day and he had a plate of Dove chocolate and Excedrin waiting for me, I fell in love with my Charlie all over again. Doesn't that sound dreamy?  It was.  But it isn't always so great.  We disagree. We argue. We fight. 

Why, I've been known to jump up and down like a freak in my ski boots. 

And the older the kids grow, the more challenges we seem to face.  We don't always agree on the foods that they eat. Or the clothes that they wear. Or the activities that they participate in. Or the chores that they do (or don't do). Or the discipline tactics. Schoolwork. Homework. Friends. The list goes on and on and on - and I'm sure will only grow longer with time. But in reality, each of these issues and each of these phases are so fleeting and I try to remind myself to think of the BIG PICTURE.  Our union. Our children. Our family.  Hold steadfast to the vows, the promises, that we'd made to each other when we were young. And naive. 

I'm reminded of a church service we attended years ago, when our minister told us that children, if given the opportunity, are little sinners that will divide and conquer. I'm also reminded of a church service we attended last weekend where the minister referenced Paul's words in Corinthians wherein he suggested that if you were married - stay married. But if you were not yet married, Don't Do It. 

This is a direct quote from the Bible:  But those who get married will have many troubles in this life. I want to save you from that. 1 Corinthians 7. 

Can you imagine if they read THAT at weddings?  Let's take an intimate relationship between two people that can be complicated in and of itself, and now - let's sprinkle in some children that will try you to your core. What fool in their right mind would get married - and then go on to have children?!


Actually, me. Because it's been more awesome than not. And I've come to understand that marriage isn't just about finding the right person - it's about being the right person. When Charlie told me that he'd taken an online quiz the other day that revealed he was desperately in love with his wife, I was humbled but not surprised. His actions, every day, consistently demonstrate his endearing love for me.  And as a result, it makes me want to be a better person, for him. 

Despite all of the challenges that we've faced and will continue to face, I know that there's no one that I'd rather have in my corner than my Charlie. Nineteen years later ... I'm still so thankful that he asked me and YES, I'M IN.  FIST PUMP!! 


'Til the seas gang dry my dear ... and the rocks melt wi' the sun. 

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

red solo cup

At this point in life, this is our favorite past-time...



And when I think of all the money that we've spent on toys...


Sunday, February 10, 2013

best in show

The 2013 Pinewood Derby race was yesterday morning.


Charlie thought his Wolves were racing at 9:45 so when we slept in until 8:00 we thought we had plenty of time to get up and have a leisurely breakfast. Until .... Charlie double checked his e-mail and realized that the Wolves were actually racing at 8:15. Roh Roh!!  So off he and William raced to the races and with only five minutes to spare, they were unable to pull on their full Cub Scout regalia.  It impressed the heck out of me that they didn't just go in their pajamas.


Half an hour later, I arrived with the rest of the crew and we took our positions at the bottom of the race track with donuts and orange juice in hand, compliments of the Pack. There were some very impressive Derby Cars this year.


But I think this one was among my favorites...


My little Henry has declared himself an "Honorary Cub Scout" and loves to wear William's retired orange Tiger uniform (hat and ascot) whenever we go to Cub Scout functions.


Sometimes this creates quite a commotion because people will yell to him, "Little Tiger Cub! Little Tiger Cub!! Get over here with your Den!!" so Henry will run over and join up with the kids wearing the orange until they look at him and ask, "Uh, who are you?"  To which he proudly replies, "I'M AN HONOWAWY CUB SCOUT!" 

(Also? Cutest five-year-old in the universe!)


There are two Wolf Dens at our school, with eight boys in each Den, for a total of 16 Wolf Cub Scouts. Of those 16 boys, Charlie William's car came in sixth place for speed. I didn't think that was too bad considering it was literally a block of wood on wheels with absolutely no aerodynamic enhancements. Charlie, however, thinks that he can do much better next year.  Something about nailing the wheels in straight, more Vasoline and Tube O' Lube, yada yada yada.


Also, I'm thinking that if you're competitive (which I'm definitely not, but my husband definitely is), a simple thing like thinking about the car in advance and spending more than 30 minutes on final design could make a BIG difference.  As it would turn out, Charlie's Den took first, second and third place in the competition for speed.  I think this is hilarious because the boys who won this year, are the same boys who won last year and the first place winner last year went on to win the Northern Virginia Regional Championship.  And oh, by the way ... all three of the boys' fathers happen to work for the US Military as Aerospace Engineers. Is it any surprise that their children's cars are among the fastest in Northern Virginia?


Probably not. 

More hilarious than that is that Charlie William's "PWD Boxcar" had the unanimous vote of the adult judges for Best in Show.


However, William's car wound up coming in third place ...


Because all the Cub Scouts were also allowed to vote (IMAGINE THAT?) and they selected the one that looked like a mouse driving a block of cheese.


Several parents came up to tell me that gluing the box directly to the car was absolutely brilliant. The fact that it took us only 20 minutes and yet landed us a spot on the podium?

Even more so.


As it turns out, every so often ...


Procrastination can work out quite well.