Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Halloween 2008

Halloween is supposed to be a holiday of surprises, but more of the "BOO!" variety. In our family, though, it seems to be of the Surprise Family Visit variety. Last year (2007), Ben showed up in Manistee unannounced (at least as far as the girls were concerned) to spend Halloween with us, and this year it was the Grandmas who showed up on our doorstep! Seriously! Grandma Gail and Grandma Linda decided they missed us soooooo much that they just had to jump in the van (with the dog, of course) and come our way. Mercifully, Ben shared the news with me beforehand (though they had sworn him to secrecy) but we did not tell the girls. Fiona was confused, but since all of life is pretty confusing these days, she just took it all in stride. Also, it was the dog that she was really excited about - the Grandmas were just transportation for Barkley, and therefore appreciated. Rachel, however, had the biggest surprise of all...

Mystery Reader

A few weeks ago I had signed Ben up to be the Mystery Reader for Rachel's class on Friday afternoon. This is a weekly event, on Friday afternoons, in which a parent comes in to read to the class. Only the room mother, who organizes this event, knows who will be reading. The kids love it, and Rachel had asked me several times when one of us was going to be reading. So Ben took Grandma Gail along with him, and they shared the reading fun. Rachel was beside herself with joy, and the whole class caught her excitement. They were all apparently thrilled that Grandma was here, and you can tell from the many pictures Rachel took during the reading, that there was much bouncing up and down and general merriment.

Trick or Treat
After reading, Rachel, Grandma Linda and Barkley walked home together, took a little nap, then we had a simple dinner, and got ready for trick or treating. Rachel was a fairy, and Fiona was a mouse. We headed out at about 6:30, and it didn't take long for the street to fill up with kids. It
also didn't take long for Fiona to figure out what this Halloween gig was all about. She watched Rachel, the old pro, go up to a door, knock, holler "TRICK OR TREAT!", hold out the candy bag, and get the goods. Well, after two houses Fiona took over. She proudly carried her bag up to the door, knocked, did not say the words, but held out her bag. Then, following Rachel's polite example, "Thank you (which sounds more like Di Doo)" and "Buh-bye."

For some reason, I gave them each really large bags. Rachel didn't have too much trouble, but Fiona's was much too big for her. Nevertheless, she insisted on carrying hers, All By Herself, thank you very much. As it got heavier (we ended up going 3 blocks up our street, then all the way back on the other side - a good stretch for a toddler, I'd say), she had to hold it up and out, away from her body. This caused some strain on her muscles, and she began to complain of pain in her chest, near her arms. I offered many times to carry it, but Fiona flat-out refused, saying quite firmly, "Mine, MINE, MINE!"
Rachel was off and away immediately. Ben accompanied her, as she quickly outpaced Fiona and me. Especially when we happened along some of her friends from school. They took off together, leaving parents to just try to keep up. We all ended up back at home, happy and tired. Our neighborhood is perfect for Halloween, and we all had fun, but I was expecting a lot more visitors, so we had a lot of leftover candy.

The Rest of the Weekend
...passed much too quickly, of course. On Saturday I did my last long run before next week's half marathon on the Outer Banks. Then we went to IKEA in the afternoon, and Five Guys for dinner. Everyone should have a Five Guys burger before they die, so you can call to arrange your visit when you're done reading! On Sunday, we went to church, and Mom and I spent the afternoon just hanging out together, goign to various local shops including the Crate and Barrel Outlet. The girls and Barkley had a great time, playing and walking and generally being kids together. They left Monday morning, and the house was very empty after they were gone. I kept Rachel and Fiona home Monday, then Rachel didn't have school on Tuesday for election day. So, today was our first day back to our normal schedule. And oh, what a happy, happy day it is...

Thursday, October 30, 2008

If you can’t beat ‘em (which, of course, you can’t)…

…then you might as well join them. At least that’s what we’ve finally decided about Fiona and her sleep habits. Really, I am using the word “sleep” very loosely, because she has never slept well. We’ve tried everything from letting her cry it out to giving her bendryl. And nothing has worked. Sooooo… we decided to give in and accept the fact that, despite what my mother and all the other sleep experts out there say, the girl just doesn’t need as much sleep as other toddlers, and learn to enjoy getting up at FOUR AM! Or, if she’s sleeping until 6am, that hour or so that she spends awake at 2am. It’s always been either or. Either we get up somewhere between four and five o’clock in the morning, or we rock her back to sleep in the earlier hours of the morning.

For awhile it was a family affair. Ben (who has sleep habits that resemble Fiona’s) is getting up with her. Thank goodness, because after a year and a half of this nonsense, I was losing my good humor with the program. Anyway, Ben and Fiona would get up and go downstairs and share a cup of coffee, a cup of milk, and an Atkins bar. Well, I finally had to put the kabosh on the whole “bar” thing, because it didn’t take Fiona long to figure out that when she woke up, she got to have a yummy chocolate bar. So she would wake up at four o’clock or so ("or so" being the operating concept here), and before her eyes were fully open, she was calling out, “Baarrr, baaarrr…” It was her most clearly, carefully pronounced word, believe me! And, of course, it didn’t take long for Rachel to get in on the act too. Rachel, who has slept the dead for a good 12 hours a night for a couple of years now (thank goodness we have one good sleeper! Besides me, I’m a good sleeper, honest I am, I just need a CHANCE…), a sleep that usually would not be disturbed by a 24 piece brass band, would somehow spring instantly awake at Fiona’s first “Baaarrr!” So, we would all be awake at FOUR AM eating Atkins bars (the girls) and drinking a LOT of coffee (Ben and me). Ben thought this was kinda fun, but I could NOT see how it could come to a happy conclusion, so I put an end to Atkins bars at FOUR AM. Fiona still wakes up ridiculously early, Ben still gets up with her, but Rachel again sleeps until I cajole/threaten/harrass her little behind out of bed at 6:45.

So, we have a resolution of sorts, to the whole non-sleep thing. We, the adults, have finally decided to be happy about what we have been doing all along, which is getting up with Fiona at absurd hours. She will certainly grow up to become one of those people who needs very little sleep, and therefore accomplishes a great deal. President Fiona… kind of has a ring to it, eh?

First Field Trips and Other Adventures
Last week, (again, all of you who knew me 20 years ago, pause to remember…) I chaperoned Rachel’s first field trip. Fiona and I went along with our three Kindergarten classes on their trip to the pumpkin patch. This was no ordinary pumkin patch either. They had a “playground” with about 20 giant Halloween-themed play structures on steroids: giant (really giant, like 2 stories high) slides, tunnels, trains, hay heaps; they also had hayrides (well, tractor rides, as there was no hay and no horses of course) through a spooky woods and a petting zoo. There were about 5 other schools there on fields trips, and I have to say, it was lunacy. Fun lunacy, but lunacy nevertheless. The kids got to pick out a little pumpkin on the way out the gate, just to preserve the illusion of the pumkin patch. I learned 2 important things about field trips: 1) sign your husband up also/instead of yourself and, if that fails, 2) leave the toddler at home! Fiona had fun, but she was always going in the opposite direction of the 3 kindergarteners of whom I was in charge. And of course, none of them was going in the same directions as the others, either.

So, after that exhausting adventure (pictures after halloween, I promise), I fortunately had a chance to rest up. I had… drum roll, please… a WEEKEND AWAY!! A whole 36 hours with which to do exactly and only what I wanted. Wow! I took the train to Richmond, VA and met up with my dear, dear sister. We walked (a lot!) and talked (a lot!) and had a generally awesome time. We took the walking tour of Richmond, the canal tour, went shoe shopping, went to a few museums, found a couple of yarn shops (of course!), went to the farmers’ market, spent the afternoon eating and eating and eating at a fabulous Ethiopian restaurant and so on. I can’t believe how much we did! And somehow, it was really relaxing despite all this crazy activity. And, at the end, I was ready to go home to my wonderful family, and they were happy to see me (especially my wonderful, wonderful husband!!).

And now, we are all ready for Halloween. The pumkins are carved, the costumes (fairy and mouse) all laid out, the candy bought, and the plans laid. Oh, I’m sure I’ve forgotten something, but we’ll have fun! I promise, pictures next week! Happy Halloween to all!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

I knew it couldn't last

I must have spoken to soon! Yesterday (remember, everyone, The Perfect Day?) went a little off the skids, I have to say. After school, Rachel was positively mutinous and had to spend much time in her bedroom contemplating her choices (you know, like giving the stroller a good hard push and letting it go down a hill - with her sister in it. And then she locked me out of the house...).

Then, around the time I was making dinner (which turned out to be quite yummy for everyone but me - after all, it was still the perfect day), I started to feel a bit off. By bedtime, I was in the grips of a rather unpleasant flu. Still feeling very under the weather, with a fever, headache, and chills. Yuck! Next time I have a Perfect Day, I won't crow about it to the world, eh? This oughta teach me!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Ahhhh... The Perfect Day

Now, most days I feel like I'm riding a runaway train straight towards a cliff. Usually, the kids and I look like one of those cartoons in which everyone is running in all different directions, usually right into the other guys. At least, it feels that way in my head. But not today! We started off with a sleep-in: Fiona slept until 5:50 am! We got up, got our coffee, etc. and about an hour later gently woke Rachel. Breakfast was prepared, but she got ready for school first, ate like a truck driver, and then finished the last few details before we all happily exited the house promptly at 7:45 am. No yelling, no whining, no fuss of any kind. Off to school with a skip, a smile and clothes that match! Yeah for us!

Fiona and I then went for a 4-mile run, again no whining, only considerable complaining on my part while I pushed the stroller up, up, up that long hill on Russell Road. Then back home, whereupon I took up my Tuesday chores (inspired by my friend Phuong, who seems to be in a good mood all the time, I have put myself on a daily chores schedule). And this is where the miracle happened. For an hour, I cleaned while Fiona kept herself busy with a variety of clever diversions provided by dear old mom. An hour, a whole hour! Usually I start cleaning, or whatever, and expect the girls to find something to do to keep themselves busy. But, after almost 6 years at this gig, I am finally getting smarter. So, this time, I was ready with a few tricks up my sleeve. Fiona drew with crayons, then I got out the playdough, then the beads for her to sort through. Then, of course, she read to herself for a good 15 minutes. Done with the chores! Yeah for Mom!

Now, things are going so well, that by this time it's only 10am. So we grab an apple (healthy snack! I am sooo on a roll this morning!) and head to the park. Fiona walked the whole way, about 1/4 of a mile or so, stopping only to pretend she was a crossing guard stopping traffic. Now, that was cute, and will please our real crossing guard no end to know she has inspired someone. So, to the park. We played in the sand box until Fiona threw a handful of sand down my shirt - again! This is her new trick. Whenever I am not paying careful attention, she crams a fistful of sand right down my shirt. Of course, she thinks this is hysterical, as do the other moms and nannies. And because they are laughing, I am laughing and cannot properly correct Fiona's rather funny bad behavior. So she thinks it's a great idea and keeps doing it. At this point we usually go play on the slides or something.

After the park, we came back home, where I prepared a nutritious lunch with representatives from each food group (gosh, anyone feeling queasy yet? I am so good, it's sickening!), which we ate vast quantities of, before happily toddling off to what I hope will be a 2.5 hour nap. And here we are! I am feeling so smug about this day that I am beginning to look over my shoulder. It's going too well!

One last note...
Anyone who has known me for at least the past 20 years (or has seen pictures/heard stories from that era) will probably get a big chuckle out of the news that last night was my first ever PTA meeting. Yes, I am a card carrying member of the PTA now. What next? After today, who knows!

All this perfection has worn me out completely and I must go take a little cat nap!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Dash for Dad

On Sunday, I ran in the first annual Dash for Dad, a 10K road race to benefit an organization working on prevention/cure for prostate cancer. My dad was recently diagnosed with prostate cancer, and Sunday was his birthday, so I thought it a fitting birthday gift/tribute. The girls both got up early (like, 5:15 am - on a Sunday! What's with that?!?) so Ben and I packed them up and headed out. They had fun waiting for me while I ran, and were there to cheer me across the finish line. It's such an inspiration to have them there, and gives me a good reason to smile as I cross the finish line. Goodness knows, my finish time was not making me smile, but I ended up 5th out of 13 in my age group, and 46th out of 172 women over all. So, not a total loss and I had fun. I do love to race, you know? Rachel also seems to thrive on the race atmosphere, and Fiona and Ben are mostly just hoping it's over soon! Above right, I am waving at the girls as I cross the line, and below, the girls are waiting, waiting, waiting...

Friday after school, Rachel's friend Grace came over for a playdate and dinner. They had a great time, playing dress-up, and making a considerable amount of art. Here's something Rachel did.

On Saturday, we kept trying to get out of the house to do something fun (like Air & Space Museum again), but every time Ben got off the phone it was nap and/or meal time. How aggravating! For no one more than Ben, I must say. Anyway, we finally made our escape in the late afternoon, going down to the river to feed the ducks. Not very original, but fun nevertheless. We also played in the "sandbox," a beach volleyball court in the park.

Kiss me, girl!

Everyone knows Rachel is the kissiest, huggiest girl on the planet, but Fiona is getting in on the act now too. She has recently discovered the power of the kiss. And boy, is she wielding it! She is all over everyone with those lips, and those arms, and she is NOT always gentle about it. She gives kisses to everything that she likes: me, Rachel, Maggie (cat), Ben, airplanes in the sky, other kids on the street, the TV, yummy food, you name it. And speaking of TV, Fiona has also discovered Thomas the Train. When the TV is off, she points to it and says "doo doo" which is "choo choo" and really gets upset when she can't watch it. She also gets a big kick out of playing with the train table at playgroup. And she even made a "choo choo" out of her big Lego blocks. It's an obsession. Now all we need are some Thomas books and we'll be all set!

Above, Fiona is watching Thomas the Train (lazy bones! I thought this was funny, because I am so used to Rachel's aerobic TV viewing habits), and at right is the "choo choo" she made yesterday. I should say that she did this with absoluetely no influence or help from me. It is a 100% original creation.

Friday, September 26, 2008


This was me, murmuring in my sleep last night. It’s been hanging over my head, worrying me. As if there are multitudes out there, wondering where in the world the updates are. Ha! As if. Anyway, what keeps me so busy that I can’t blog more? We just keep going along, day to day - school, playgroup, playdates, school, playgroup, playdates… and so on, and so on.

I have lots of new pictures of the girls, and maybe I’ll just put them up and let them lead the way. The first picture was taken by Rachel. She's getting pretty good at pictures, has her Aunt Beth's eye. We were hanging out, waiting for cousin Katie to come over, and Rachel was snapping pictures left and right. Here are a few more (one to prove Rachel may be a budding photog, but she's still a kid).

These pictures were taken two weeks ago, I'm afraid. Since then, we have just been trying to get our routines down. Homework has started - can you believe it? Homework in kindergarten. I've decided to be a bit of a hard case about it, insisting that we go home, change, snack and do homework before doing anything else. This is because I seem to be the mother of a procrastinator. Gee, any guesses on where she might get that? Yes, Rachel is the queen of "in a minute, Mom." So I've decided we will not even start all that business with homework.

Here's a tub shot. I just love those, you know? Maybe I have such fond memories of playing in the tub with my sister, so I have about a million of these shots. I love this one especially.

The girl can accessorize!

Anyone who has spent even a small amount of time with Fiona knows that she loves hats. When we go out, she always gets a hat to put on along with her shoes. And she insists on shoes, too. Huh, how strange. Well, anyway. Here are a few shots to demonstrate that Fiona will make a hat, if there isn't one immediately available. We were cleaning up in their bedroom, and she got out her favorite pajamas and started to put on the shirt. They are Teletubbies pajamas (Teletubbies is a truly frightening show - you should check it out sometime, it'll really give you the willies, but kids LOVE it), that have been handed down through the Hale family, through our family, and goodness knows who else. Fiona is at least the fourth child to be totally obsessed with these silly pajamas. Anyway, once she got the PJs on (ready for nap!), she found the swim diapers, and put one on, just to complete the ensemble...

Clearly, I have no talent with the camera, nor do I have any skill inserting them into this so-and-so blog. Ugh, you have no idea the aggravation this is causing me today!!! In fact, I've spent so much time messing around with them that I have to go get ready to pick up Rachel from school now. We are bringing her friend Grace home for a playdate and dinner. Should be fun!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

A blog about a blog

Since this is sort of a slow news week, I thought I’d offer a few words about, well, words. I’d been meaning to start a blog for a while, but after a bunch of gentle harrassment from loved ones (you know who you are!) I really committed to it. I hope everyone is enjoying it, but we really don’t do anything remarkable or worthy of reporting on a daily or weekly basis. Mostly, this is an effort to keep connected with grandparents and family when we cannot be with them and all the shameless baby brags are for the purpose of keeping the generations connected rather than to report on our exciting lives. So, thank you for your patience and I hope you’ll keep coming back.

Oh, and one other thing. I’ve noticed what I fear may be the beginning of a trend. The, Oh-I’ll-read-the-blog-rather-than-call-on-the-phone trend. I hope this is not the case, because I still love to yack on the phone. So, call, call! And read, read!

A Mom's Delight!

Big News! Fiona pooped on the potty! Now, she probably won’t repeat this feat until she’s 5, but maybe she’ll surprise us all. The reaction she got this time had to have made a big impression. So, here’s what happened: Fiona was in the bathtub by herself (Rachel having finished up), when she stood up, clutched at her netherparts, and said, “Boo!” This is her word for “poop” which she uses to notify me when she has peed or pooped in her diaper. Anyway, I said, “Do you have to poop?!?” (Now, let me just say here that one of my chief fears in life is poop in the bathtub. What a pain! Get the kids out, get the toys out, get the poop out, bleach the toys, bleach the tub, get the kids back in the tub, bleach the kids… no, just kidding, I wouldn’t do that.)
So, yes, Fiona nods her head. I ask her, “Do you want to go on the potty?” And yes, she nods again! I scooped her out, put her sweet naked self on the toilet, and she pooped!!!! She was mighty pleased with herself, but the rest of the family, now we were overjoyed. We cheered, we whooped, we jumped up and down, we hugged. Rachel was thrilled, Papa came upstairs and we all looked at the poop. We high fived, we low fived, we… well, Fiona got the picture too. Needless to say she was quite amazed at the fuss. So, everyone, send your positive potty thoughts this way, and maybe we’ll see a little more action out of Miss Fiona. Here’s hopin’!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Betrayed by my own daughter!

Listen to this: it was at school dropoff this morning. We were hanging around waiting for Rachel's friend to put her bike in the rack. There were lots of other moms around, of course (including our family health care provider...). And one of those moms asks Rachel, "So Rachel, how is your morning going?" And Rachel, MY daughter, you know, the one I endured 17 hours of pitocin-induced back labor to bring forth into this world (not that we aren't still looking for credit for that one, or anything), yes, that very daughter says, "Oh it's going great. Mommy didn't even yell at me one time this morning!" WELL! The minute she said it, she knew she had said something very funny (gee, was it the moms doubled over with laughter that gave her the first clue???!!) and started blushing. Oh, I so very much hope that she hasn't yet discovered her power to embarass her mother deeply...

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Way to go Fiona!

Now that Rachel is safely off to school (going into the building all by herself, even!), Fiona is starting her "preschool." We applied for - and were accepted into - a cooperative playgroup for one and two year olds. It's organized and staffed by the moms, and we rotate taking care of the kids. It's really well set up and I think we're really going to enjoy it. Monday was our first day, and I worked (I was the diaper person...hooray!). Fiona did well, except she wouldn't let me hold or touch any other child. Sheesh! Who would have thought? So, with that, combined with her past performances as psycho separation/stranger anxiety baby, I was a little bit worried about her when I dropped her off today. I figured I'd get a call asking me to come get her, but I did not. Nope, there were no calls to interrupt me as I sat around eating bon bons. Just kidding! Actually, cleaned the house like a woman on fire, but this isn't about my exciting life. So, receiving no calls to come get my desperate child, I went to pick up Fiona, and there she was, happy as a clam, having a great time. Huh. Well. Go figure.
Fiona seems to know lots of colors, but can only say "green" which sounds a lot like "GWEEEE" which should not be confused with "DWEEE," which seems to mean "drink" plus something else I still haven't figured out. Who says moms understand everything their children say? I sure don't! Also, she is obsessed with body parts, arms, legs, eyes, etc. and we have many reviews of these things daily. She can do almost anything you ask of her - this morning I asked her to go get her shoes on, so she went downstairs and when I came down a few minutes later she had put on her sister's old froggy rain boots, on the correct feet, thank you very much. Then, of course, we spent the whole way to school naming the parts of the frog - "eyes" "lips" "eyes" "lips" "eyes" "lips" and so on, and so on, and so on...

She walks backward (you can't really tell, but that's what she's doing at left), spins, and even tries to skip. This is a hoot, because she looks just like the "Karate Kid" doing that stork pose, or whatever that was. Since she's got about 4 years to practice, I'm not worried.

I will soon get into the habit of taking a camera with me wherever I go so that y'all can see fresh new pictures of our adventures, which aren't really so adventurous, but...
I'll post more really soon, but at the moment I have to go wake Fiona up (ugh! it just kills me to have to do that!) to go get Rachel soon.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

"This is the first day...

of the rest of your life," I said to Rachel at breakfast yesterday, her first day of kindergarten. She gave me one of those, "You are such a dork, Mom" looks I'm going to have to get used to. But my statement was a general reflection of my mood regarding the start of our school years, which is alternately maudlin and hopeful. After a few tears (on Rachel's part, we won't talk about Mom quite yet) she went off with her class quite bravely and had a great day. They had music class, which was the highlight for Rachel. We had a little drama at the end of the day when she realized she had lost her lunch box and all the stuff in it. We had half the Maury School staff on the hunt for it, but we had to wait until this morning to find it in the lost and found. Whew!

So Fiona, tell us how you feel about all this!

Just before she dropped off to sleep last night, I asked Rachel how she liked school. "I loooove it, Mom! I just looove it!" So. Here we go, a new beginning.

Off to class, with a few tears...

Day 2 of Kindergarten

"Mom! What can I give Miss Nelson? I want to take her a gift." To make a long story short, this morning Rachel wanted to take a gift to her teacher so that "Miss Nelson won't forget about me!" First, she wanted to take a gift for Miss Nelson's dog, but I suggested perhaps she could draw a picture. She decided that she would draw a picture of herself with Miss Nelson. So off she goes... Hey, wait a minute! We have to leave in 2 minutes! Once she gets something in her head, she will not be dissuaded, so with no time to draw a picture, Rachel decides that she will take an apple to her teacher! Now, where she came up with this, I have no idea, and since we didn't have time to talk about the meaning of "cliche" I gave up and got an apple. I hope Miss Nelson gets a kick out of this!

Miss Nelson is about 25, looks like she's 12 and was almost certainly a cheerleader in high school. I mean this in the best possible way. I think she and Rachel are going to adore each other and I am thrilled about the pairing. Miss Nelson is so cheerful and bubbly that Rachel will never know that Miss Nelson is the one in charge.

The Days before School Started and a Bit About Fiona (Fiona Who?)

This is Rachel in front of her new school, first day of K-Prep

The two weeks between K-Prep and the start of school flew by. We went to the Air and Space Museum one day, and spent a few days at the Delaware shore. Good gracious! What a madhouse. Clearly, millions of people love it (an easy conclusion to draw, since that's how many people were there, along with their cars) but it was a bit (a bit!) crowded for us. We're going to look west, to the Shenandoah (?) Mountains, or some such for our next getaway. Which will be when Fiona is in college, because that will probably
be when Mom is ready to take her anywhere overnight again. That child sees a hotel room as an opportunity for an all-night party. Her father and I... OK, stop right there. NOT her father and I, just I, did not find this amusing. Her father slept through all of it, waking only at choice moments to bark something at Rachel (who was also wide awake and refusing to be herded back to bed) like, "Listen to your Mother! zzzzzzzz...." To be fair to Ben, he had the cold that I had had the week before, which caused an almost drug-like exhaustion. Anyway, someone, sometime, will enjoy Fiona's penchant for hotel-room partying, but it is NOT her family. I have vowed to avoid hotels for the foreseeable future.

Fiona is rather enjoying her days with her mom, but she asks for Rachel about every 10 minutes. She says, "Iss, Iss??" "Iss" is short for "Siss" or "Sissy," which we seem to call Rachel a lot. Fiona has a lot of words these days, including my personal favorite, "MINE! MINE!" Yikes.

We had a fun Labor Day weekend - a party at the home of some new friends, the farmers' market, church, and mini golf and dinner with Katie (Katie Willis - Ben's brother Bob's eldest daughter, here for grad school at U-Maryland, College Park) on Monday. Now, that was fun! I think Katie will probably be screening all our calls from now on (!), but the rest of us all had fun. I, personally, have come a looooong way since having children. We didn't even take a score card with us, and we only played about 14 of the 18 holes! I was so proud of myself! I got a hole-in-one and I only jumped up and down a little bit before running off after Fiona, who was having a great time climbing all over everything.

OK, I have one more story before I try to post this. It seems Rachel has taken up a cause I have long since abandoned - the Toilet Seat. We only have one bathroom, which makes things a bit interesting and doesn't leave much room for privacy. We try, but it's not easy. Anyway, Rachel caught Ben on his way out of the bathroom the other day, and noticed that he had (of course) left the toilet seat up. She said to him, "Papa! You HAVE to put the toilet seat down! You live with HUNDREDS of women and we NEED to have the seat down!!" We are still laughing about this, but poor Ben doesn't appreciate the reminder of how seriously he is outnumbered around here. I say, just wait about 10 years!

Keep an eye on us for more updates! I am sure I will figure out this picture thing at a later date, but in the meantime, I just stuck them in where and how I could.