Archive - March 2008

Night Two
Waiting and Praying
Rolling, Rolling, Rolling
The Monday After
Early Easter Fun
Calm Before the Storm
The Annual Cursing of the Shamrocks

Night Two

Our 2nd night’s performance went much better than the first.  We all had a better idea of the timing and pacing of the costume changes and how to best use our down time.  It was a huge learning experience for all of us!  Boo, Pumpkin Girl and I got to watch most of the show from backstage which was really cool!

The polka that was a disaster at most practices and especially at the previous performance was a resounding success last night!  They have never danced the polka better! Some of the other moms and I took charge and lined the dancers up in the lit hallway way offstage and walked them into the wings of the stage and made them stay in place.  The children were much more settled and confident when they took the stage in the dark and just danced their hearts out.  I don’t have any pictures from the polka because it moves way too fast.

The next dance for them was Los Machetes and it was just as good as it has always been.  Boo leads the boys out and then generally stays in one place, which makes for good pictures.  While he’s flashing his machetes, the girls are swirling around him with their beautiful skirts – much harder on the picture taking.  But here’s what we’ve got to share:


This one’s blurry, but that’s Pumpkin Girl in the turquoise dress. (click on it to see it better)


And there she goes, swirling away.


Here comes Boo, working those machetes and the sombrero.


One more of Boo.  That’s Pumpkin in the back, on the left.


The last dance was a merenge for carnival.  That’s another really fast moving one, not so good for the pictures.  Last night’s performance started an hour earlier, so it was only 9 pm when they took the stage for that last dance, instead of 10 pm like the night before.  It really made a difference in their energy levels – and you could tell they all had fun.


So now we’re done with any major activities for a while.  We can settle down and get some school done and enjoy the ride.


We made to the first folklorico performance last night!  Our stomachs had all settled down, even though our appetites had not fully returned.  Boo and Pumpkin Girl played with their friends in the morning and were more than ready to dance in the evening.

Our entire theater/dance experience to this point has been Pumpkin’s dance recital last year.  She showed up, dressed and ready, sat on the floor in front of the stage with all the dancers, took the stage when her group was called, did her thing, and sat down.  It was wonderful in it’s simplicity.

This weekend’s performances are significantly more complicated.  Three different dances times two dancers equals six costumes, one set of props and three hair changes.   And one stage mom to rule them all.

It was quite an experience.

The dance that I suspected would be a disaster was exactly that.  But the other dances were great.  Boo totally rocked the machetes and Pumpkin was beautiful in her dress.   The crowd cheered louder for the boys at the curtain call than for anyone else.

I don’t have any pictures, unfortunately.  Philip will be in the audience tonight, so hopefully he can get some.

Waiting and Praying

The costumes are pressed and waiting in the hallway.



But the dancers (and their parents) have the stomach flu.  We already missed last night’s dress rehearsal, so we are just waiting and praying that by Friday afternoon we’ll be feeling better.   I think Pumpkin Girl will make it, Boo is still iffy at this point.

Rolling, Rolling, Rolling

OK, I promised pictures of our day at the White House Easter Egg Roll.

Here’s the picture I took of Philip for his Linked In profile picture.  I told him I could Photoshop George Dubya in for him, but he declined.


Here are the children waiting for the whistle to blow.

And there goes Pumpkin Girl!  Boo was too fast and I didn’t get a picture of him.
Bip refused to roll his egg.  He wanted to open it up and see if there was candy inside.

Later, we met Spot the Dog and Peter Rabbit.

And Bip took a nap.

A great time was had by all!


Early Easter Fun

Good things do happen to us, too! It’s hard to remember that when times become difficult and things start to pile on.

Last Saturday we had chance to have a little early Easter fun at the base egg hunt.  Boo complained that it wasn’t Easter yet.  True, we told him, but this event was going to have very little to do with the Resurrection, so it was less about the date on the calendar and more about just having a good time.

The hunt was run by Youth Services, which on this base is well known for being, how shall we say it…disorganized.  I’ll give them credit though, because it was better laid out than previous years.

First up was Bip’s category – 2-3 year olds.  We gave him a briefing and he was all fine and good until the Easter Bunny showed up.  Then he sort of hid himself in his hood and eyed the giant furry creature suspiciously.  Once I jumped in and helped him walk around the scary bunny man, he was fine.  A lot of over enthusiastic first-time parents got in the way of picking up eggs, with their camcorders, staged photos and “Honey, sweetie, look over here!  look at mommy!”.  I’ve done this many times now and realized that a good, candid shot is too hard to get, so I didn’t have my camera out.

Bip got about 5 eggs and one had a prize ticket that entitled him to 2 bags of candy instead of one.  He refused to return his eggs and I didn’t want to make a scene.  Next year I’ll just bring a few from home and toss them into the box.  Maybe.

We had to wait a bit until Pumpkin Girl in the 6-7 year old group was up.  While we stood next to the field, we were treated to a mom firmly telling her son to “just get a lot of eggs.” I resisted the urge to loudly tell Pumpkin, “Just have a good time.” We should have had to wait another 5 minutes, but for some reason they started Pumpkin’s group early. She was much faster than Bip and had part of the field almost to herself.  She practically filled up her basket, but didn’t find any prize tickets.  She had fun anyway. I heard Competitive Mom saying, “Thirty six eggs and not one prize!”  Hmm.

cimg3271.JPGBoo’s field was set and ready.  As soon as Pumpkin’s group had turned in all their eggs and collected their candy and prizes, they let Boo’s group go, even though now they were a good 20 minutes earlier than the published time.  Boo had almost half a field to himself and was even casually strolling as he picked up eggs.   He moved so slow that I got a picture. That boy found himself two of the big prize tickets.  When he claimed his prizes, we were surprised to find that he had won a boy Easter basket and a girl Easter basket.  Bip was thrilled to see that the boy basket contained a bouncy ball and he kept saying, “Boo play ball with me outside?”  Pumpkin Girl was over the moon with the big Easter bunny in the other basket, which Boo generously gave to her.

After we got over our excitement, turned in our empty eggs, and took some pictures, we were ready to go.  As we pulled out of the parking lot, I noticed the time  – 10:30, the same time that Boo’s age group was scheduled.  I felt bad for any families that might have shown up thinking they were on time for that group, only to find out that they’d missed the whole thing.  I wonder how many complaints Youth Services got about that.

They are happier than they look here, the sun is just in their eyes.

Finally, I have to share one more picture of the other furry creature at the egg hunt.  It had quite a lot of people stumped, but I have it on good authority that it’s the base mascot.  Nothing quite says  “Easter” than a goose, don’t you think?


Calm Before the Storm

This week has been such a nice one.  Because it is Spring Break, Pumpkin Girl didn’t have ballet class and we don’t have either our homeschooling group or a Brownie meeting.  Not those things aren’t fun, but they take time out of our day and can add to the feeling of having to rush around.  We have absolutely no where we need to be this week.

The temperatures have been mild, sort of jacket weather, sort of not.  We had a gentle rain today.  I let the children watch some extra TV because Pumpkin Girl had a fever and the boys were stir crazy.  I made chicken pot pie for dinner.  All was well.

Do you sense the other shoe about to drop?  I sure didn’t.

Pumpkin Girl sat up and said maybe she was having an allergic reaction to something.  She said she had bumps on her forehead.  I took a look at her and sure enough – bumps.  But not hives.  I took a look at her chest and stomach – more little bumps all over her.  She also had a sore throat with her fever, which I had totally forgotten is a symptom of strep throat. So much for my nice calm week.

I called a friend who called a nurse ( no such thing as an advice nurse with military medicine anymore), and I called a nurse (my mom) who called a doctor.  My friend and I consulted books and the internet.  The verdict: scarlet fever.

Time: just past duty hours.  Which means a trip to the ER.

And I forgot to mention that Philip is TDY again.  So after dinner I bundled my crew into the car and head out to Andrews AFB. If it was strep throat/scarlet fever we’re dealing with, there was no way I could leave them with a friend.  Better to expose the already sick people in the ER.  Plus, they could swab us all and we’d all come home with antibiotics and be all happy  in a day or two.


Pumpkin Girl’s scarlet fever was confirmed.  They wouldn’t even deal with the rest of us who didn’t have symptoms.  The pharmacy was closed and they didn’t have antibiotics for us to take home.  The only off base pharmacies I know of are in the absolute worst part of DC.  Nobody I know, man or woman, goes to the area right outside our base after dark.  So three hours later, I have a prescription to fill first thing in the morning.  I will spare you a diatribe about the quality of military medicine and what a waste of time it can be.

The good news is, scarlet fever isn’t the terror it used to be.  We all know about Helen Keller and Mary Ingalls, but nowadays we’ve got good antibiotics to square us away.  That is, when the pharmacy is open.

The Annual Cursing of the Shamrocks

Every year it’s the same thing. In a burst of motherly love, I don the apron, drag out the jar of cookie cutters, the mixer and flour and get to work making St. Patrick’s Day cookies. I don’t mind making cookies, especially if they are of the drop onto the cookie sheet variety. Half the fun comes from sampling the dough – strictly for quality control reasons I assure you – and the finished product isn’t so bad either. Cookies are easy and I often grit my teeth and let my children help.

But when the occasion calls for sugar cookies, watch out.

I usually forget that I’m supposed to make sugar cookies until the actual day arrives. Probably a form of self preservation. I pull out the recipe – butter, sugar, flour -easy enough, right? A little food coloring to match the holiday. Still good. Wrap the dough and refrigerate for an hour. Dig out the pretty pink silicone rolling pin. Get out the flour shaker.

And then it all goes to hell in a handbasket.

My pink rolling pin does wonders on any kind of dough. You should see me whip out a pie crust. But sugar cookie dough is a whole other monster. That stuff sticks like, well, like cookie dough to a rolling pin. Finally, after much muttering under my breath, the dough is rolled out. I proceed to cutting out the shamrocks. My first attempt is with a plastic green shamrock cookie cutter. The problem is that the stem keeps falling off the shamrock before I can even get it to the cookie sheet. Over the years I stopped even trying to stick it back on because then the stem only falls off the baked cookie.

It’s not my fault, of course. The cookie cutter has been engineered poorly. See – the stem is so narrow that you can’t stick your finger through it to push the cookie out. Every time I roll out the dough, I am only getting about 5 cookies successfully on to the cookie sheet.

By this time my children have discovered me. Cries of “ooo! Shamrock cookies!” and “Can I help?” and a round of the Donut Man song “God is three in one, three in one” are met with “Get. Out. Of. The. Kitchen!”

First batch in the oven and I’m swearing under my breath like Yosemite Sam. Frickin’ frackin’ frickin’ frackin’ tarnation shamrock cookies! Because nothing says “let’s celebrate the lives of the saints” more than mom cursing the shamrocks.

I do this every year. Every. Year.

This year, however, I remembered that I might have my mom’s shamrock cookie cutter that she used when I was a kid. It’s not really a shamrock, though, it’s a club, like in a suite of cards. Took me until high school to figure that one out.

Turns out I don’t have the club/shamrock cutter, but I found a different metal shamrock that I think my mom gave me after last year’s Shamrock Debacle. While not as cute as the plastic shamrock cutter, this one’s stem is large enough to poke your finger through. Plus, being metal, it gives a sharper cut.

Behold – almost 4 dozen shamrock cookies:


If that doesn’t say “love”, I don’t know what does.

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