Friday, January 31, 2014


A young girl runs across an office during a staff meeting and excitedly yells, "Winter!"  Everyone laughs, the young girl begs to go outside, and a startlingly beautiful mother swallows her groan of dismay.

It's snowing in East Tennessee.  


Yes, snow is beautiful and kids love it.  It is pretty, pure, magical, and whatever else people say.  Awesome.

But here's how the snow hit our house:

Tuesday 7am: I take Jeremy to school after he missed Monday due to a stomach virus.  I go straight back home and get Violet out of bed to take her to work with me since Brian has a dentist appointment he cannot miss.

Tuesday 9am: I am running my staff meeting while My Little Pony songs are playing in the background and Violet is dancing.  Somehow, my staff finds her more adorable and cute than annoying and distracting.

Tuesday 10am: Violet spots the snow and starts yelling to go outside.  I simultaneously get a call on my cell phone and excuse myself from my own staff meeting to take it when I notice it is the number to Jeremy's school.  I assume he got sick (yesterday's stomach virus).  No, Knox County Schools are closing at 11am.  One. Hour. Notice.  My office is 30 minutes from the school in good weather.

Tuesday 10:10am: Ended staff meeting, cancelled 4 more meetings for the day, confirmed Brian in dentist chair.  Head into the snow with Violet to get Jeremy.

Tuesday 10:11am: Brian calls in panic because he has the "real" car seat for Violet, I was just using Jeremy's booster for the morning during his appointment.  He thinks the school won't let me pick up Jeremy if I only have one car seat and two kids.

Tuesday 10:40am: Arrive at Farragut Primary.  Park, go inside so no one sees the illegal car seat situation. Apparently, I need some sort of yellow poster thing to get my kid (clearly, I never pick him up) so I have to stand in a line with the other secondary parents who don't know basic school policy and show my license to get my kid.

Tuesday 11am: Home.  Kids crazy excited to play in snow.  Tell them to wait until Daddy gets home because Mommy hates snow.  (I know, I am seriously an awesome parent)

Tuesday 2pm: Kids and Daddy play in snow after battle to find appropriate snow attire.  Hats - check.  Coats - check.  Boots - no luck.  Scarves - Mommy's will have to do.  Gloves - Jeremy, doubled gloved, check.  Violet, refuses all gloves and throws tantrum.

Tuesday 2:07pm: Violet comes in from snow crying that her fingers hurt.  Guess what, kid? I told you so.

Tuesday 2:20pm: Kids changed into fluffy jammies and bundled up on couch with blankets to watch cartoons.

Tuesday evening: oh yeah, there is a stomach virus in our home.  Hahahahahaha.

Wednesday morning: School closed for Jeremy.  UT opening 2 hours late.  Roads iced over.  More snow covering streets and yard.  Mommy feels like vomit.  Calling in.

Wednesday 10am: Kids don't care when parents feel sick but do love to make games out of jumping from the coffee table onto your prone figure as you lie in agony on the couch.  Oh, parenthood.  I love you.

Wednesday 4pm: Horrible smell from Violet's diaper.  Reaches for new diaper in the closet.  Comes up empty.  Oh dear.

Wednesday 5pm: Daddy back from hell-on-earth grocery run.  Violet has made it one hour and two outfits without a diaper.  Jeremy thinks it is hilarious.

Thursday 7am: School still closed for Jeremy.  Mommy still feels like vomit.  Mommy runs away from house as fast as she can to get to work and away from the kids so she might actually have a chance to feel better even though she feels really guilty to leave Daddy alone with the monsters.

Thursday 6pm: Announced school will be closed again for Jeremy on Friday. Daddy has had it. Mommy counts up days Jeremy attended school in month of January.  10 days.  Awesome.

So, yeah.  It snowed here.  The kids really did enjoy it.  Here are some photos of the best Knoxville snow I have seen in my 14 years here.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Jeremy Hopper, Shark Expert

Aka, the forgotten birthday post

I really suck at blogging lately.  I need a swift kick in the rear.

Anyway, Jeremy had a birthday way back on December 13th, and it was great, so here is a super late post to celebrate our little man turning 6!

His latest obsession is sharks and underwater animals, so naturally, we planned a shark-themed birthday party.  I made his invitations myself, so ignore the obvious DIY jankiness.  I try.

My parents came up (as they always do because they are wonderful and I love them) and helped me clean, organize, decorate, and invent games on the spot.  We invited several kids over, and while many could not make it, we still had a good group of little boys (and their younger sisters, who were screamed at by Violet).

Cupcakes, of course (I am telling you, they are SO much easier and cost $2 to make at home - I make the toppers myself and just hot glue them to a toothpick).  Apparently, store bought cakes are like $30.  I saved $27 with my version and no one complained.  I also make the stickers for the gift bags and they were filled with shark tattoos, shark gummies, little shark figures, shark-shaped hot wheels cars from the $1 bin at Kroger, shark pencils, and some candy.

The games I made up were also a big hit, which was nice.  The first was "pin the fish in the shark's mouth" and I drew all of this myself.  I am not particularly artistic, so I was way too proud of this.  Then I made a shark head out of a cardboard box and we threw balls in its mouth, and finally, we set up a sheet and had the kids "fish" with a fishing pole over the "water" to get their goody bags.  This one was more complicated and needed several adults running it to make it work, so sadly I got zero pictures, but the kids LOVED it.

Jeremy got way too many gifts, and one of his favorite is this huge shark from Aunt Cheri below, which he promptly named Jaws Hopper and which now (over a month later) still attacks Violet in a fit of giggles every single night at bed time.  Good gift.  Go Ikea.

Violet's job during the party was to entertain the little girls and share her toys in her room.  I'll let you guess how well that turned out.  What can I say?  My little princess is a spoiled rotten little monster, but she was a LOT better than last year and was fine if no one was touching her precious toys.

This next photo is random, but I love my dad and it really means the world to me that they travel 12 hours for both the kids' birthdays each year.  I do realize that Violet's face is a huge blur, but how perfect is it anyway?

The day after, my parents took us to breakfast at the Cracker Barrel, which has become a little tradition when they leave town.  I love my sleepy bed-head kids first thing in the morning.

Jeremy is now 6 and he really has gotten so much bigger and more grown-up.  I am proud of the little man he is becoming and I love to sit and listen to him read me National Geographic books at night all about marine life.  Love that boy!