Sunday, November 18, 2007

Guess What???

Guess What???? It's Sunday night and guess how many games we attended this weekend??

Zero --- Zip --- Nada --- None!!!

Woo hoo! What a great feeling to wake up BOTH mornings and know that we didn't have to rush around like crazy people, spending the majority of our weekend in a car driving to & from multiple games.

Charlie's team lost in the second round of playoffs last weekend. He was disappointed but he also had another outstanding game with some great tackles (that his Mommy actually managed to capture on video tape!) He even had an awesome sack on the quarterback. We were very proud of him.

Don't get me wrong, I love watching my kids games....but there is something incredibly freeing when the season ends.

Of course, around here it will be short lived. Neither of our boys play a Winter sport, so we like to think that we have the next couple of months off. We won't really be off though, because the day after Football Cheerleading ended for Veruka, baton started. Tomorrow she has tryouts for Basketball Cheerleading. A couple of weeks ago, Charlie found out that he made the Sunday Travel team for baseball. The season doesn't start until Spring but his team will start practicing once a week right after Thanksgiving. Oh well, so much for having a break.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Family Pictures.....A great way to torture your kids and yourself!

Well, we had our family picture taken last week. We were due, since our last family picture was 5 years ago. In the last family picture, Mike was 2 (awwww!) , Veruka was sitting on my lap and still didn't have her front teeth, and Charlie had a buzz cut! Yep, I'd say they've changed!

Getting a family picture taken isn't as easy as it sounds.

First, I had to break the "good" news to the kids. Nobody was too thrilled about it.

Then, there was the chore of deciding what to wear. This time nobody wanted to dress up, so we went with jeans. However, there still was the matter of coordinating everyone's shirts.

Then, I had to find a time where all 5 of us were available. (That alone was next to impossible!) We came up with one time that was an early dismissal day for the kids.
(You can imagine how thrilled they were!)

The day of the picture came and I have to say, that the kids looked so nice. Well, I should clarify that...Veruka always looks nice...the boys were the ones who looked better than usual. When they were all dressed I told the kids, that "before I had kids" this is how I thought my kids would look all the time. I mean, they looked like a catalog ad! (I had no idea that in real life boys would want to wear shorts 95% of the year, with jerseys and sweatshirts. Who knew?)

So, we got the pictures taken, which was honestly much better than when they were younger. (They have learned that if they smile nicely, the torture will end sooner.)

The great thing was that we got to select and take home our pictures that same day. Great in that we got it all over with at once. Not so great, in that I had to figure out exactly which pictures we wanted while Brian and the kids stood around bored to death. We ended up not really liking any of the pictures of the 5 of us, so they even reshot them. (Yea, the kids were soooo happy about getting to do it again!) Thankfully, those came out much better. Brian took the kids to the pet store to hold some puppies while I made the selections. After about an hour with my list and calculator, we were done.

We got to leave the Mall, mentally exhausted, pictures in hand, with 3 kids whining, "Can we please, please, please get another dog???"

I am not posting the picture, because it is going to be our Christmas Card this year. (I should have had them print a caption on it that says, "This is how my kids never look.")
So when you get it, you can think of all of our hard work that went into it. :)


Update....July 2008....I've added the picture, for your viewing pleasure! Of course, it was taken right before I got my sassy new figures, doesn't it???

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Veruka and the Hunt

I have to take a few minutes to talk about Veruka. Yes, it's true, as unbelievable as it seems, she is 14 and in HIGH SCHOOL! I know, I can't believe it either!! How can that be? It seems like just yesterday, and also at the same time eons ago, that she was born. I can clearly remember so much about her first two years. (That was way back, when I still had all of my brain cells functioning! Funny, how I can remember something from 14 years ago, but can't remember what I am supposed to be buying at the grocery store once I get there!)

A few weekends ago, Brian and I took Veruka and 4 of her friends on our church youth group's scavenger hunt. It was called, "The Hunt." Think "Amazing Race", scaled down to our little county in Maryland. Each car would be given one clue to a location that our kids would have to figure out. Once we got to the location, we would have to flash our headlights, so the person would know we were with the Hunt. They'd come to the car and the girls would have to say some spy code, ie. "It looks like rain." Then the person at the location would respond with their code, "Yes, it's going to rain cats & dogs." (Or some other crazy thing.) Then the girls would be given a task to do, solve a puzzle, sing a song, bring back a certain type of candy bar etc. Once the task was completed, they'd be given their next clue which would take them to the next location. There would be 10 clues all around our county. We would end back at the church for a big pizza party. Woven into all of this was a cool story line where the kids were all secret agents, who were trying to capture an evil villian named Dr Z.

So, the Hunt was supposed to cost $5 per kid. You'd think it would've cost us $5 since Veruka was our only kid going right? Wrong.
The day of the Hunt, Veruka tells me that she forgot to tell everyone to wear black, and she called them and 3 of the girls don't even have a black shirt. Plus they really want to all wear the same shirt.

So, I head to Walmart to buy shirts.

5 Black shirts at $6 each = $30 (Yea, Walmart)
Snacks for all of us = $40

Drinks and ice = $30

1 bottle of Advil for Bri & I = $5 (We did learn something last year when we drove!)

Then, I get home and the girls have arrived. Oops some of them forgot to bring their $5.

I tell them I'll pay for everyone. $5 x 5 = $25

We pile into the car, but need to get gas....$50.

So, before we even started we were out $180!!

When we got to the church, our Youth Pastor told the drivers, a couple of things:

1. Try to let the kids figure out the clues...don't help them too much. (We figured since our girls were all in High School, they should be able to do pretty well without help from Bri & I.)

2. There was a "help line" that we could call if we were stuck. He said we could ask for help or a more detailed clue, or even if it came to it say, "We give up, where the heck is the next location??" (Thank you, Thank you!)

3. This wasn't a race. He just wanted everyone to have fun. (That was just to make the losers feel better....of course it was a race!)

The Hunt took place on a Sunday afternoon. Everyone was dressed in black....(because they were secret agents, of course.)

Sounds like fun doesn't it??? Well, the entire Hunt took about 5 hours to complete from start to finish. So think about that.....

5 hours in the van.

5 hours in the van with 5 screaming, squealing, singing teenage girls. ("Oh my gosh, I love that song! ..... Turn it up!.... Ooops, I dropped the clues! .... Ooooh, take my picture.....How do I look?...I have to go to the bathroom" .....etc)

We get the first clue and it says, "If a your house had a train station in front of it, why then this is what it'd be called."

We were told that our clue was in Eldersburg/Sykesville. Well, there is a little restaurant here called Baldwin's Station. The building that it is in is an old train station and the train tracks literally run right up to it. One of our Pastor's last name is Baldwin. The girls immdiately think this is the place. We drive to it, Brian flashes our lights....and nothing. So he says, "Maybe I need to aim the car into the restaurant and flash the lights." He manuevers the car around and aims into the restaurant and flashes his lights. Again, nothing. By now, the people outside the restaurant and in the parking lot, are looking at us like we're crazy. The girls want me to call the help line to see if we're in the right place, so I do. They tell me no we aren't, and to think of another name for a train station. "Depot" somebody shouts out. That's right ...Home Depot. (Duh? You think, it seems easy in retrospect, but when you're in it, it was just as easy to come up with the wrong answer.)

This was basically how the afternoon unfolded as we worked our way through the 10 clues.

Last year we finished the "not a" race in 7th place out of 30 cars.

This year, we wanted to finish in the top 3.

Five hours after the Hunt began, we arrived back at the church and ended up coming in 21st place out of 40. (By the time we got there, we were just happy to have finished!)

It was actually a lot of fun and really cool for the kids. It was neat to be able to spend the day with Veruka and her friends. Next year Charlie will be able to participate since it includes kid's aged 7th grade -12th grade.

Brian and I are already fighting over who will get to drive the boys! :) Just kidding of course!

Here are some pictures:

Monday, November 5, 2007

A Day of Football

I just have to take a minute to tell you about Saturday!! In the morning, I mean EARLY morning, Mike and I left to go to his last football game of the season. (We had to leave our house by that dedication or what??) He has had an AWESOME first season of football, and it was a great experience for him. He scored one touchdown this season and recovered a couple of fumbles.....not too bad for never having played before! Unfortunately, his team lost their game 13 to 12. :(

(There aren't playoffs for his age group, so now his season is over.)

Overall, they had a great season with a record of 5 wins-3 losses and 1 tie.

Check out how dark it was when we arrived!

Here is a pix of Mike (#82) getting ready for warm ups. This field was sooo nice, artificial turf and all.... totally first class. (The pictures aren't the greatest because I was pretty far away, nobody but players and coaches were allowed near the field.)

Brian and Charlie couldn't be at the game because, Charlie's team was playing in the first round of playoffs up in Urbana. (We've managed to go all season without any conflicts between the 3 kids sports until today....not too bad!)

Charlie's team got off to a slow start this season, going 0-4. They ended up with a regular season record of 4-5 which was good enough for them to get to into the playoffs.

Mike and I didn't arrive until the start of the second half. Charlie had a GREAT game, probably the best he's had all season. He only plays on defense, where he usually starts at Cornerback. Saturday he was starting Linebacker and had about 10 tackles, including a great tackle that caused a fumble. He was fired up!

There was a lot at stake because the playoffs are single elimination and this particular team had knocked Charlie's team out of the playoffs the past 2 years in a row. It was a grudge match to the end, tied at 6-6 at the end of the 4th quarter. They ended up going into double overtime which included a fumble by Charlie's team and two fumbles by Urbana. It was a real nail biter, but in the end Charlie's team was victorious 12-6!!!

It was a hard fought, well deserved victory, that was two years in the making! We were so proud of Charlie at how much he's improved over the years. He's really turned into a tough football player.

Here are a couple of pictures from after the game, they aren't the best....I was too caught up in the excitement, to take any others. These are from after everyone calmed down and the coaches had a chance to congratulate the boys. Charlie is #24...on the right side of the pics.

Next week his team moves on to play in the semi-finals.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Just When I Thought I'd Have Nothing to Write About....

Well, After I figured out this whole process and got my first two posts up on my blog, it dawned on me that I might not actually have much to say. What if I didn't have anything to write about????

Silly me, I forgot, I live with three living, breathing, walking fountains of new material.

Friday night we had some friends of ours over from church. (We are part of a small Community Group and we usually meet on Friday nights.) Well, it was the end of the evening and everyone was saying their goodbyes and heading out the door, when I heard Mike yelling from the basement. He was calling for his friend Coby. I shut the front door and headed for the basement steps to tell him that Coby had already left.

"Okay," he meekly replied. Well, if you know Mike, you know that he is not meek about anything. As I stood pondering this, he yelled up to me,

"Mom, do you think you could come down then?"

Being the good Mom that I am, instead of going down, I yelled down to him,

"What do you need?"

It was dead silent for about 10 seconds and then he said, "I'm stuck."

So of course, I ran down the stairs, fearing the worst, and this is what I saw:

He had managed to wedge himself into one of the plastic toy storage containers. (Knowing, Mike he probably thought it'd be funny, not thinking that he'd really get stuck.)

Of course, before I freed him, I had to go get my camera....this was too good to pass up. Charlie followed me back downstairs to see what was so funny. He freed his brother by tipping him over (and of course hurt him in the process....ahh, brotherly love.)

Here's the funny part. As soon as Mike was okay, guess what Charlie did????

That's right...

It makes you wonder doesn't it????
I love my kids, they crack me up. :)

Friday, November 2, 2007

Halloween 2007

Well, I survived another Halloween! I have to admit that I actually love Halloween as much as the kids. It is always a fun night. Getting ready for Halloween, specifically getting costumes for everyone, is another story. I am NOT one of those Martha Stewart types who can sew an award winning costume. I am happy if I can just have 3 kids in 3 costumes. It's a miracle if I can just get everyone to the store and they all leave feeling happy about their costume.

This year was going to be even easier for me because I was only going to have 2 kids in costumes. Veruka was so sad because she was going to have to cheer at football game on Halloween and wouldn't be able to go Trick-or-Treating.....she is 14 and in High School after some point you do get too old to Trick-or-Treat right??? I mean when the kid is as tall as me, isn't it time for her to admit that she's too old!!

The best part of this year's Halloween was Brian. He left in the morning wearing blue jeans and a black T shirt. He said he and his brother, Chris, were going to work dressed up as "Aging Rock Stars." He told me that Chris had some things for him to add to his costume. About 2 hours later, my SIL emailed me pictures that she had taken that morning at her house. I almost died when I saw them! This is how Brian went to work and later Trick-or-Treating with the kids. He heard all kinds of comments...everything from Ozzy.... to the Fat Tommy Lee! (Check out the tattoos on his arms!)

Here are my boys, the rapper "Money J" and "Captain Jack Sparrow."

The funny thing about Charlie's costume was that originally he told me that he didn't want to wear a costume this year.

Three weeks before Halloween, our conversation went something like this:

Me: Charlie, what do you want to be for Halloween this year?

Charlie: I don't know.

Me: Well, we know Mike is going to be Jack Sparrow.

(He bought his costume back in August and has worn the hat well into the triple digits...we've certainly gotten our money's worth on that one!)

Charlie: So.

Charlie: I don't want to wear a costume.

Me: Well, do you want to go Trick-or-Treating?

Charlie: Yeah, duh.
(Oh, the joys of having a middle schooler!)

Me: Okay, then you have to wear a costume.

Charlie: Well, it has to be cool. I could just be the "Scream" again.
(Charlie has been the "Scream" which is a black costume with a mask, from the movie the Scream for the past 3 Halloweens!)

Me: How about if we see what we can find for you at the costume store?
(For the love of God, anything but the "Scream.")

Well, the days flew by, the week nights were full of meetings and football practices and games to be cheered at. The weekends were "stacked"...Church group Friday nights, 2 football games Saturdays, church on Sunday etc. etc. (You get the idea.)...not to mention visiting our parents, baseball tryouts, a trip to Skyline Drive and Luray Caverns, and Homecoming for Veruka.

In fact, October was so busy, that we never got to go to the pumpkin patch! The one weekend that we had some free time, it rained! My FIL felt so bad for Mike that he gave him the pumpkin that he had carved...see it sitting there all alone on the step??? (The other pumpkin is fake.) Sunday, I finally told the kids I'd have to get them pumpkins from the grocery store. Dejectedly, feeling like the worst Mom in the world, I drove to Safeway....there were no pumpkins!! They were all gone! Then on to Martins, it was the same story there....not a single pumpkin in sight! Oh well, there's always next year right???

It was now 2 days before Halloween and still no costume for Jake! Aaaagh! Monday night was out for costume shopping because Veruka was cheering at a Varsity game. (Her first one, we couldn't miss it.)

Tuesday morning (1 day before Halloween) Veruka was sick. She stayed home from school. While we were talking, she lovingly informed me that, "By the way, our cheerleading coach wants us to wear a costume for the game tomorrow. We also get to wear it to school."

(I always hate when a sentence starts with "By the way" just know it's going to be bad!)

Just when I thought I was getting off easy this year, now I was going to have to scramble and buy a costume for Charlie and Veruka and there was football practice that night! Aaagh!

I told Charlie that I would go to the Halloween store while he was at school and pick him out a couple of costumes to choose from. Veruka would come with me to pick hers out.
(Yes, I'm such a good Mom, taking my sick kid shopping.)

Anyway, we go to the first store and Veruka looks at about 99 costumes and tries on 3. Of course, the one she loves is sold out in her size. I look at about 99 costumes for Charlie and don't see anything I think he'll think is cool.

So, it's on to the second Halloween store we go. As we pull up, I notice all of the front windows are painted in huge letters saying everything is 50% off! Woo hoo, I think, it's not going to cost me a fortune! So we head inside.

This store doesn't have the one costume that Veruka loved in the other store. Aaagh. So she proceeds to look at about 99 more costumes and tries on 6 of them. She can't decide between two of them; one that I HATE, called "Little Miss Muffett" and one that I moderately can't stand, called "Blueberry Girl." Both of them seem way too sexy for a teenage girl...both of them come with thigh highs if you can believe that!!! I tell her that she can get the "Blueberry Girl" but she can't wear the thigh highs. She can wear white leggings instead. The scary thing is that almost all of the teenage girl costumes were sexy like these two.....short skirts or shorts, low cut boostiers, and thigh highs. What are these costume makers thinking???? Lucky for us, Veruka is short, so her costume's skirt comes almost down to the middle of her thighs.

I looked and looked and looked for a costume for Charlie. In the accessory row, I saw a money hat, a $ necklace, and a "grill" for his teeth. I knew that one of his friends was dressing up as a rapper, I figured Charlie would probably like to be one too. So, I grabbed my loot, grabbed Veruka, and headed for the register to pay. On the way, I decided to pick out some face paint, just in case Charlie didn't want to be the rapper. He could paint one half of his face one color and the other half another color, wear one of his jerseys, and be a crazy fan. I got 4 different colors, so he would have some options.

By this time, I realize we aren't going to be home in time for the bus! I quickly call my neighbor to get the boys off of the bus. We pile up our things on the counter and the creepy cashier rings up our purchases.

Here is what we have:
1 "Blueberry Girl" costume for a teen girl
1 Money Hat
1 Gold/fake diamond $ necklace
1 Gold "Grill"
4 tubes of face paint

I breathe a sigh of relief, silently congratulating myself on a job well done, while I wait to hear my low, low price since it's all going to be 50% off. Just then the cashier announces that our total will be $104.11!!!! (I am not hundred four dollars and eleven cents!!!)

Me: Wait a minute, I thought everything was 50% off.

Creepy cashier guy: Oh, that sale doesn't start until November 1st. It says it in small print underneath.

Sure enough it did say the sale started Nov 1st. So, defeated, I handed over the debit card.

Finally, we headed for home. I had one last stop to make. I had to stop at PetSmart to get crickets for the gecko...(that's another story.) Veruka and I ran in and luckily they had crickets. She wandered off to see the kittens. She came back as the guy was handing me my bag of crickets.

Veruka: Mom, can I please hold a kitten real fast.

Me: No

Veruka: Please, please,'ll just take 5 minutes.

Me: No, we have to get home for the boys. It's already after the bus, and we have to leave in 45 minutes for football practice.

Veruka: You are so mean. You never let me do anything.

Then she proceeds to pout the rest of the way home. (
This is what I like to refer to as the Teenage Silent Temper Tantrum.)

When we get there, I round up the boys and show Charlie his costume. He LOVES the rapper idea. He especially LOVES the "grill." He quickly puts it all on. Here is what he says:

Charlie: Hey Mom, do you think maybe you can use makeup to paint my face black?

Me: (Silent pause ---Hmmm, what do I say to that one??)
No face paint, you can be a white rapper. Like Eminem.

(I don't even know if he knows who Eminem is, he isn't allowed to listen to his music.)

Mike: Ooooh, I want M & M's.

Charlie: Okay. Do you think I can wear the "grill" to school?

Me: Aaaagh! No!

Then we did homework, had a snack, and went to football practice. Whew!
Veruka was still pouting about the kittens when we left.

So that is why I feel good about myself for surviving another Halloween. I can't wait to do it all again next year!

PS. I caught Charlie trying to wear the "grill" to school the next day!

In the Beginning

This is the start of my blog. Being the computer savvy girl that I am (hee hee), we'll see how well I am actually able to do this.

This is my trial entry. I'm crossing my fingers, let's see if it works.