Wednesday, August 22, 2012


Tuesday night Maddie and Jake were playing Hide and Seek with Sadie.  Seriously, we were in charge of keeping the dog up in the family room while they hid - mostly in the basement.  When we told her "go get them" Sadie ran downstairs and sniffed 'em out.

At one point Maddie headed downstairs after Jake.  Pretty soon Mike and I heard some very loud crying/wailing and realized it wasn't play.  We raced downstairs and Maddie was on the ground sobbing and holding her leg.  We tried to get her calmed down and Mike started looking at her foot.  She hadn't been running down the stairs, but somehow at the bottom had tripped.  She said she couldn't wiggle her toes - at one point she said she couldn't even feel her toes.  She could barely stand to have him touch any part of it.

He carried her upstairs.  Jake was already upstairs being great and getting some ice ready.  We got her to the couch where we propped her foot on a pillow and she started sobbing all over again because it was so painful.  She really wanted ice when we suggested the ER.  When we couldn't even put ice on her foot without her crying all over again we told her we were headed to the ER.

A set of x-rays later and the doctor determined it wasn't broken.  He said that her ankle was fine, but that the top of her foot was severely sprained.  He said kids heal pretty quick and thought she would be much better in 3-4 days of laying around on the couch and using a walking shoe for necessary walking.

While we were sitting in the room waiting Maddie realized she was in her pajamas (Jake was also in PJs, but had already realized it and moved on).  Maddie looked at us and said, "Gosh...I hope they don't want to examine anything - I'm not wearing any underwear!"

Mike, very seriously, said, " neither."

Maddie's eyes got huge and she said, "What?!?"  Mike informed her he was kidding - but it was good comic relief for the three of us sitting on the sidelines to see her expression!

Today was day one of sitting around.

During breakfast I received a phone call on my cell...from Maddie...who was upstairs in her room.  She needed help getting to the bathroom.

During a coffee break for Mike and I my phone rang again.  I answered, "Room Service".  Maddie was downstairs wondering if she could have some orange juice. 

I can't imagine how traumatic this would all be without the modern convenience of her phone!

Jake's been great and in good humor about most of this.  But as of about 5pm he was done with most of the sympathy.  She'd pretty much milked everything from him.  She was upstairs and looked at him and nicely asked, "Jake, could you go downstairs and get my phone for me?"  His reply?  "No."

Volleyball starts next week.  The doctor was fairly certain she'd be okay by then, as long as she kept icing on a regular basis and stayed off it for a bit. 

Maybe tomorrow to kill some time I'll paint her toenails.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Organizing? Jake??

Today at lunch Jake was talking and mentioned how he LOVED to organize his iPod apps.

I stopped chewing and looked up.  What?!?  The words "organized" and "Jake" are not often in the same sentence unless we say, "Jake...could you be a little more organized?"

He kept talking about how great it was to organize all the apps into different pages and how he has things so organized he doesn't even need to swipe from page to page because all his apps can fit in their folders on one page.

So, I thought I would support this new found love and told him he could feel free to organize my iPod.  I have about seven pages worth of apps (most that I never use).  He thought that was going to be awesome and sat right down to do it while his lunch heated up.

Why doesn't this happen in his room?  If I could make his room cleaning into a video game it would be spotless, I'm convinced of it.

In short order I had an immaculately organized iPod with folders of like-apps together.  He was shocked that I had so many apps he had to create more folders than basic ones and rename them.  My apps fit across three pages whereas his all fit on one.  That's probably due to the fact that I really had him organizing those folders onto different pages so I could keep things separate.  I think he liked my folder "crap" the best.  It's where all apps that I can't delete go to hang out for virtual eternity.  Or at least until Apple Inc. decides to let me delete whatever I feel necessary rather than what they deem necessary.  Big Brother.

We have been pretty lax this summer about iPod/Phone time so this is a pretty common sight in our house.  That will change with the coming school year. It might be a rude awakening for a couple kids in our house, but real chores are going to come first, not virtual ones.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Under the Direction of....

Early this spring a woman from my church asked if I would be interested in conducting the National Anthem during "Lutheran Night" at a Twins Game.  It took me all of five seconds to respond an enthusiastic, "Yes!"

On July 30th the kids and I, along with my dad, headed to the game extra early so I could be where I needed to be.  While waiting for my part to begin, I heard that it was "Hot Dog Night" and the first 20,000 fans got a hot dog for $1.  I pulled out my phone pretty fast to check in with my dad who was in the stands with the kids 1 1/2 hours pre-game.  He informed me they had already gotten their hot dogs; Jake (an extreme hot dog enthusiast) was especially happy about that!

I spent about an hour with "my" volunteer choir.  Basically anyone from local Lutheran Churches (or not so local...there were a few from a couple hours away!) could volunteer to sing with the choir.  We had kids about 5 years of age up to 70s and 80s.  I would guess there were 60-70 people who volunteered.  We all got ushered down to the area behind center field and waited under the stands until our time to sing came.  We had a couple run-throughs behind the scenes and generally watched the pre-game set-up.

At 6:53 - seriously, that's the time I was told to have everyone ready - we started to walked out.  At 6:57 they announced the choir "under the direction of Kerry Murphy" and we were singing...

Jake and Maddie were in charge of all things photo related.  Maddie recorded it on her phone.  Jake was the photographer.  They had fantastic seats right above where we were singing.

It was such a fun experience and I'm very excited that I got an opportunity to do this!

Then it was onto the fun of the game.  Someone in our family has a slight crush on #7 and was quite excited that all his warm-ups were taking place right in front of our [spectacularly] awesome seats.

They were playing the White Sox and we really did have the best seats we've ever had!  We were in the front row right behind center field.

(This was my wide-angle lens. Things actually were much closer than this in real life.)

It was a great game and tied all the way through until the last inning.  The stadium went crazy when the sacrifice fly went up and the runner tagged home.  Jake said he was pretty sure he was the loudest one in the stadium.

Mike couldn't make the game because he was in Dallas for work that night.  It was a one day trip that, unfortunately, fell on this one fun day.  Thanks, dad, for hanging out with us and keeping the kids occupied while I got to check something off the bucket list that I didn't even know I could add!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

New Specs

At the end of July Jake had his yearly eye appointment.  He's been really good about wearing his eyeglasses.  According to the doctor he really didn't have much of a correction to begin with, but Jake has just felt better wearing his glasses at all times.

Forward to this year and we made an appointment to find out that his prescription hasn't changed a bit in one year!  I guess this is fairly rare for a kid his age, but that's how it turned out.

A couple hours later we were at the mall picking out a couple pairs of frames.  He likes to tell everyone that this pair was love at first sight for his mom.  It's true - when he put these on I thought, "That's it!  These are Jake!"  It took him a little longer to figure it out (after shopping through a different store) and possibly some reassurance from me, but he picked these out too.

These are actually adult glasses.  They kept trying to get him into the kids' section, which I understand.  Except, once he put those on...ugh!  They were SO small - and still the sales people were having a hard time steering us to the adult section.

He's pretty excited about them.  He got a second pair that are very similar, but on the cheaper side since they are the backup pair.  His first pair last year didn't last much into school because he wore them during gym class and smashed into a kid.  He's already said he's not wearing glasses during gym class and we are 100% behind that decision!

The doctor did tell me that there was a chance Jake's eyes will change when he goes through his next growth spurt, which usually happens around January for Jake.  Great...I was hoping to go through the shopping/paying for new glasses in only 5 months.

Monday, August 6, 2012


At the beginning of summer we had a garage sale and sold all our patio furniture.  It included a few lounge chairs from around our pool and our outside dining table and chairs.  In simple terms: we've had nowhere to sit outside except the four remaining chairs around our fire pit.

While dreaming of what type of furniture we'd like, we thought we'd dream about a 3-season porch as well.  Well - those are kinda pricey!

After much searching that included I don't know how many trips to Lowe's hoping they would put the furniture on sale that we loved, we gave up on them and bought some furniture online from Home Depot.

We did purchase a gazebo from Lowe's that we've been trying to find time to install.  We were finally able to finish staining one half of our deck (too hot weather, and possible storms made that quite a wait!) and last weekend the boys got to work installing.

I got a call while on my way home from a funeral last Saturday.  It was Jake asking if I could pick up some McDonald's.  In case I had any reservations about getting them such a treat he followed it with, "We've been working really hard putting up this gazebo all morning."

They got Taco Bell which was even better according to them.

Jake had his own toolbox out and opened ready for use.  Mike was explaining why they were using some of the different tools they were using.

I was put right to work when I got home.  Some neighbors might have seen me out in heels, a skirt and dress blouse holding up some iron rails while these guys bolted them in.  Sorry I couldn't take pictures of that feat at the same time.

Their "foreman" was really a slave-driver.

So proud of these guys - actually reading directions!

The final product...

There is still one chair and ottoman on backorder.  We've spent a lot of time out there since setting up.  Mike, Maddie and I even spent about 30 minutes during a nice rain.  We read and visited and really enjoyed being outside and not getting wet.  Then the canopy started leaking and we headed back inside.  I've been put in charge of picking up some waterproofing spray in the next few days.

Maddie's waiting for when we can close the privacy curtains to keep out rain, or the netting to keep out bugs.  I'm waiting for when we get a chandelier to provide some light so I can read outside at night.  Maybe Maddie will be outside too and we'll close the netting and kill two birds with one stone.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Playing Catch

Jake finished up his baseball a couple weeks ago.  They had a tournament of two games on a Saturday.  That particular Saturday was one of the really hot days we've had over the last month.  It was finally a game that I was attending that Jake was catching and he had wanted pictures so much!

(Full disclosure: I had actually taken an entire inning's worth of pictures at a previous game before realizing I had forgotten to put my card in the camera.  Rookie mistake.)

Before this year Jake's favorite two positions were catcher and pitcher.  While I still think pitcher ranks closer to the top than other positions, catcher is definitely his absolute favorite.

He's actually pretty good at it.  In his t-ball years he wasn't in a "hustle" kind of mood, but he knows that as catcher you sometimes have to be ready to move and throw.

I'm not sure how his knees will feel in a couple more years of this, but for now he really has fun behind the plate.

As I mentioned - that Saturday was crazy hot!  Being in all this gear didn't give him much chance to cool down.  All the dirt stuck to him like glue...that kid was filthy!

He starts "Fall Ball" in a few weeks and I'll be honest; I'm enjoying the respite from cleaning a baseball uniform!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Summer Splash

This summer, as I have mentioned, Maddie turned 13.  We intended to be done with friend birthday parties at the age of 12, but slacked last summer and she never got one.  She convinced us that she should get one on her 13th birthday instead.

She wanted a very relaxing evening in the backyard - and I think in general, a more "grown up" party. She had a pretty good idea of what she wanted: pool time, drinks, a photo booth, kebabs, and a movie under the stars.

The swimming wasn't so hard to arrange.  Her menu didn't take long to figure out for Mike and me since we mostly got a list from her.  Chicken kebabs, some veggies, watermelon, a cracker/cheese tray, and a sundae bar.

Tracy and Rob have an outdoor movie system that they were kind enough to let us borrow.  As for a photo booth, we found (and borrowed) a bunch of costume-y things and I took pictures against our "backdrop".

The day of the party was about 95 degrees.  We'd spent all day at the baseball park for Jake's playoffs.  Maddie stayed home to make party favors and clean, I left a couple hours early to help get things set up and Mike and Jake returned home about 4pm...for a 5pm party.  Yikes!  

One of Maddie's requests was lights over our patio area.  Mike had been in Chicago all week prior so hadn't had a chance to hang these yet.  He got right to work and was sweating like crazy 10 minutes into the job.  But, it was one of the things Maddie was SO excited about for her party so he wanted to make sure it got done.

She also wanted a "bar".  We bought Margarita and Pina Colada mix and lot of ice.  We also made punch and had the goods on hand for "Shirley Temples".  This was probably the least attractive set-up in the history of parties, but we had about 15 minutes by the time we got to this part.  

Mike stood outside off and on throughout the night either cooking kebabs or waiting to mix up some drinks.  

Maddie and I had made up some tags for all the glasses and Maddie assembled those while we were at the game.

Decorations were minimal - our patio are and the place where most festivities happened:

We had purchased a box of leis to cut up and use as decorations strung across the deck.  After Maddie cut the first one, it unraveled.  She came up with plan B:

These things hung everywhere - I'm still finding them.

I think the girls had fun.  They swam a lot and then jumped out and had a little time in the "photo booth".  They were goofy!

We learned that 13 year olds will eat all the chicken of a kebab, but will not eat many of the veggies.  The watermelon was gone and many crackers.  Of course, the sundaes were a big hit.

When the sun went down we started the movie on the deck.  Originally it was going to be in the grass, but we told Maddie it would probably be too buggy.  She agreed so while they partied, we set up the movie.  And by "we" I mean...I held up the screen and Mike did all the work.  They watched about 30 minutes on the deck and then moved inside because of all the mosquitoes.

By 11pm things were done and we were definitely ready for bed. Birthday parties are done for this year and we couldn't be happier!