Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Flag Football - that's a wrap!

Ian is finished with his first season of Flag Football.  I have to admit that I never watched football before or even understand the game.   Heck, I still don't understand the game, but I know which team to root for.  And I've successfully figured out that when someone in the same colored jersey as Ian is running with the ball, that's a good thing.  A very good thing.  And its just as great when one of Ian's teammates blocks the ball from going any further when the opposing team has it. 

Ian had a great time playing.  I had a great time cheering him and his team on. All of the teams the Lions played (Ian's team name) were pretty evenly matched with the exception of one.  There was this one team that apparently didn't play by the rules and put together a team of the biggest, tallest, fastest kids you've ever seen.  All of the kids were supposed to be between the ages of 9 to 11 years old.  There is no way this was possible with this batch of kids.  The Lions had to play this team 2 times during the season, before the championship play-offs.  One of the game scores was 42-0.  Really.  Each time the moms and dads would comment what a joke it was for our sons to be playing against these kids.  One mom said, "I bet these kids already have armpit hair."  Another dad said, "These kids probably drove to the game."  It was insane. 

Of course when it came down to the big playoff game, it was Ian's team against these kids on steroids.  We all knew what the outcome was going to be, but we all secretly hoped the Lions would get their Disney ending. 

Believe it or not, the opposing team brought a new player to the championship game.  Like their current roster of players weren't intimidating enough, they had a new secret weapon ready to unleash.  The Lions were looking at another massacre. 

Somewhere from deep inside, the Lions played the best they've ever done.   It was truly phenomenal and so exciting to watch.  The Lions put all their heart into it and played a really fantastic game, full of defense.  One of the best quotes ever came from Ian when he exclaimed "Holy cow, I can't believe I blocked that!!"  The kid with the ball he blocked was easily 2 feet taller than him.   He had the parents on the sidelines laughing with that line. 

The Lions managed to score a touchdown.  Up until the last 4 minutes of the game, the score was 7 to 0, in favor of the Lions.  Woweee!!  No one was sitting in their seats; you HAD to be standing, with your eyes glued to the action.  What a game!!!

Unfortunately with the last 3 minutes, the other team scored a touchdown.  The game was tied until the last 10 seconds. It was unbelievable!!!   Then it went downhill quickly and the team scored another touchdown.  The ending score was 7 to 14.  The Lions lost.  :(

The coolest thing was this team Ian played against had never been behind in a game before during their whole season. And for more than 3/4ths of the game, it looked like the Lions was going to win!   The Lions gave it their all.  They should be very proud.  As Ian's coach said to the team afterwards, "It was not possible for them to play better than they did."   What a great way to end the season.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Finding happiness admist total mayhem

It's amazing how friends can make your day a lot sweeter.
I recently went on a girl's weekend to Charlottesville.  It was part of a multi-process farewell tour for my dear friend Dawn, whose family is moving to England for three years.

During the car ride home our conversation turned towards "being happy" and what that means.  It was a very interesting conversation of how people seek happiness and may never achieve it because they don't realize happiness can be just living in the moment.  For me, happiness is being content.  As long as my basic needs are being met (I'm not hungry, I'm not tired, I'm not too cold, or too hot, or whatever) and I am surrounded among people I enjoy being with, I am content.  And, therefore, I am happy.  In fact, all hell can be breaking loose around me and I can still be happy.  Really.

We went to dinner the night before at this supposedly very trendy, very hip restaurant in Charlottesville.  It came highly rated and of course, needed reservations to get a table for their busy Saturday nights.  We were seated within an appropriate amount of time of showing up.  The menu looked promising and we had a great waitress.  I ordered this amazing Peanut Butter cocktail that was out of this world. 

Three of us ordered the spinach salad (I asked to have my bacon on the side), Dawn ordered the salad on their specials list for the evening, and Susanne didn't order any salad.  Susanne and I each ordered the acorn squash soup.  Since I didn't order an entrée, the waitress said she would make my salad the entrée and bring out the soups first with the other salads that were ordered. 

Our salads (minus Dawn's) and both soups arrived at the same time.  We knew it was meant to be my salad because it had the bacon on the side.  No worries, I can set my salad aside and eat the soup first before it gets cold.  However, Dawn's salad never came.  And when it finally did, it was the spinach salad, not the salad special she asked for.  I asked the table runner if the small container was the bacon from my salad (it was very dark and I couldn't see it very well) -- he said and I quote "We don't have bacon at this restaurant."  Um, yes, you do!! It's written on the menu. 

The three of us look at our spinach salad we had ordered and realize it is missing easily 3, maybe 4 of the ingredients listed on what is has in it.  It is missing the cheese, the almonds, dressing, etc.  We eat it anyway because we are so hungry.

Meanwhile the table runner takes Dawn's wrong salad away and after a very long time, finally arrives with the salad special.  As Dawn is saying 'Thank you', the table runner slams the salad down in front of Dawn. Yes!  You read right, the plate gets slammed down.  Instantly the five of us drop our mouths open in shock.  We couldn't believe what just happened.  Dawn asks to speak to the manager and when he arrives, he makes excuses for the rude service and says that he isn't to blame for how busy the restaurant is.  WHAT!?!?!?!

During this whole process the spinach salad with the bacon on the side keeps arriving at our table, again and again and again.  I keep turning it away saying I already received it.  However the 3rd time it came, I got curious and asked to see the salad the guy was holding in his hand. I saw it was made correctly!  This is what the Spinach Salad should've looked like!  I told my friends the 4th time the salad shows up, I am taking it.  Sure enough, the extra salad came a 4th time and I said, "yes, it was mine."  This one was tasty.

It had to have been a full hour from when the salads arrived to when the entrees came.  At this point I only had sweet potato fries left to eat.  I shared my fries with my friends.  The one fry Dawn picks up is frozen!  Crazy, right!!?!?   We call the waitress back over and tell her to hand this fry to the manager.  Almost immediately a new order of sweet potato fries arrive at the table. 

We lost count at the amount of mistakes that were made.  It was pretty hilarious.  It wasn't the waitresses fault and we made sure her tip reflected that.  As she put down the bill, she said "If it said salad, you won't see it on here."   More probably should've been done to compensate for the rudeness and all the other mistakes, but we survived. 

What a crazy, fun night.  It might not be most people's definition of happiness.  But for those 3 hours, it was mine. 

The peanut butter cocktail...they did get this drink right.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Halloween: heartbreak no more.

Last year's Halloween was draped in disappointment for me.  Neither child wanted to dress up or go trick-or-treating. They were content staying at home and handing out candy.  This year both kids let me know way in advance we were repeating the same thing again; no dressing up and no trick or treating.  Ugh.  I'm still not happy about it, but I've gotten used to it. No matter how many times I've asked them through the month of October if they've changed their minds, they told me time and time again "Nope, it's not going to happen."

4:00pm on Friday, October 31st, Ian asks me the following, "If I were to dress up, what could I go as?"  WHAT!!!?!?!?!  Are you serious?  I'm planner, an OVER-PLANNER if there is such a thing.  You can't pull this on me this late in the game!  Apparently Ian was changing his mind.  And because Ian was changing his mind, Sam was changing her mind too.  She will do whatever her big brother does.

With only a few hours to go, we went to the CVS across the street to see what Halloween costumes we could put together.  Believe it or not, we found a witch costume for Sam and a skeleton costume for Ian.  And get this, because we were buying the costumes in the 11th hour, we got it for 50% off.  Bonus! 

I took the kids trick or treating from 6:30pm to 8:00pm.  We went around our neighborhood and kept it low key going from house to house on our own.  They were enjoying it very much.  Ian started talking about next year's trick or treating and which friends he'd want to go with. 

I believe we've brought Halloween back to the Toppall house.  Yay!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Flu Shot Extravaganza 2014!

Our annual date to make getting the flu shot an event had a few things going against it.  The main thing was the dates our pediatrician chose to offer their flu shot clinic.  The 3 dates they offered didn't work for Beth or me.  So we quickly adapted to a new plan and picked the local Target pharmacy to get the kids the Flu Mist.  We intentionally picked a Target in a busy strip shopping center that would offer many restaurant choices for dinner.

The other thing going against us was Sam getting sick the same week we had picked to do our outing.  Jeff was able to watch Sam at home and I continued with our plans with Ian.  It was strange being with one less kid for something that BOTH kids always comes to.  But that's the way the cookie crumbles.  Sam will just have to get her flu shot without all the added hoopla.

After the three kids got the Flu Mist, we headed to Olive Garden for dinner.  It was a great choice as Ian said he was "in the mood for really good Italian food."  Ah, the poor kid has not really lived if he thinks Olive Garden is the epitome of 'really good Italian food.'  However, it worked for our group and we each enjoyed our dinner very much.  Instead of going for ice cream afterwards (in the original Flu Shot Extravaganza, ice cream after dinner is a MUST!), the kids ordered dessert at the restaurant.  Ian was thrilled with his chocolate mousse cake. 

All in all, Flu Shot Extravaganza lives on.  It may not be exactly as it had been in the past, but mission accomplished.  The kids have been vaccinated.  Let me rephrase that, Ian has.  I still need to take Sam.   Which hopefully by the time you read this, the flu won't stand a chance trying to invade her body.  :)

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Fever for four days

I know some people who think I can't go with the flow.  However, let me tell you, I went with the flow.  For 4 days! Almost 2 months to the day, Samantha picked up another virus and along with it, came a fever of 101.  I got the call from her school at 11:00am on Tuesday morning that I needed to collect her.  Samantha never made it back to school that week.

Her teacher said she was the 3rd one at her table to get sick.   Knowing Sam the way I do, I can picture her seeing the kids at her table dropping like flies, getting a vacation from school and licking their seats and table space to catch this bug too.  Well if that's what she did, it worked.  Sam couldn't kick this fever of varying temps of 100 to 101 for all 4 days.  We were stuck at home.  It was not fun.  It made for a long week.  A very long week.

By Friday,  I was going stir crazy. I had a whole day of appointments and errands I needed to do and couldn't handle staying indoors another day.  My ability to go with the flow had an expiration date.  I gave Sam her morning does of Tylenol and off we went.  From 9:00am to 2:30pm, we must've stopped at 8 different places (drs appts, target, dry cleaner, lunch, etc.).  Samantha was a trooper the whole day.  We had a really nice day together.  By the time we got back home, any medicine I had given her had worn off and she no longer had a fever.  Yay!  Three cheers for her fever finally breaking. 

It was a crazy week. I am glad it is over. And now back to our regular scheduled programming.