Weekend Snapshots 40


UVA Men’s Soccer Game



Things are already getting busy with the start of the school year. We snuck in one last trip to Arlington while we still had the chance.

We made our now obligatory stop at Yoder’s for road snacks and to see the goats…

This time there were the cutest piglets!!!

You did know that Saturday was National Pot de Crème day, right?!

OK, neither did we. We found out when we arrived in Arlington and my sister served this delicious dessert in pots de crème so exquisite and delicate we were nervous the whole time we were eating them!

After lunch we took a steamy hot trek through Washington DC to the National Geographic Museum, where we saw “The Greeks” exhibit.

I had a late night visit with my bff…We don’t get to see each other as often as I would like, but every time we do, I feel so lucky to have her in my life.


Before I headed back to C’ville, I spent some time with my sister messing around with my dad’s bookshelves in our attempt to take some photos of our sister’s soon-to-be-released novel Tiger Pelt. There are only THREE more days to enter for your chance to read it before everyone else in the Goodreads giveaway here!


Tiger Pelt


I give it 5 stars! Two paws up!

Remember that amazing novel I was telling you about not too long ago? This is just a quick post to invite you to enter the Goodreads Giveaway for an advance reader copy of my sister’s award-winning novel Tiger Pelt.

Gripping, suspenseful, and unflinching, Tiger Pelt is a story of rebirth from the rubble of a savage time and a ravaged place: Korea during the Japanese occupation followed by the Korean War. A farm boy embarks on a quest that propels him on an odyssey spanning the Korean peninsula and crossing the Pacific. In a parallel life, a beautiful young girl is kidnapped and forced to work as a comfort woman for the Japanese military. During a raging monsoon, the two souls will collide in a near-death encounter that will alter the course of their lives. Tiger Pelt was named to Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books of 2015.

Tiger Pelt will be available for purchase by the end of the year, but ten lucky winners will get a chance to read it before anyone else does! The giveaway ends in just a couple weeks, so enter now! Here’s the link:

Goodreads Giveaway


Good luck!

P.S., or: Other Stuff that Happened This Weekend…

But first, the drawing:

Jeanette, you’re the winner! Can you please send your address to me at owonderfulwonderful@gmail.com? I’ll send you this:

Now for the rest of the weekend update:

1) I declared shorts a contraband item. I was tired of arguing every single morning with the boys about wearing clothes appropriate to the weather (“Go back upstairs and come back down wearing LONG SLEEVES! LONG PANTS!). I was fed up with seeing them shivering and blue-lipped in the 40 degree weather. I demanded that they take every single pair of shorts out of their drawers and hand them over. And then I hid them. Of course, it’s going to be 70 degrees today.

2)During Saturday’s round of a zillion and one errands, I got alarm clocks for the kids. They were so excited,  they set them all by themselves the minute we got home.

3)On Sunday morning, Chloe/Cute-But-Rotten-Dog #1 escaped. By the time I found her, she was busily chowing down on something that smelled distinctly fecal.

4)Later that afternoon two of my children went to a roller skating party. I got lost on the way there. It was the first time they had ever been on roller skates. My daughter had a wonder/terror/joy-filled grin on her face the whole time. She clutched me as if she were drowning, but still managed to fall more than a few times. As we staggered back to the car at the end of the party she declared, “Roller skating is not my thing.” THANK GOD! because my back is killing from trying to keep her upright. I wish I could have taken a picture, but as I said, I spent the whole time trying to keep my girl from cracking her skull open.

5)I got lost on the way back from the skating party.

6)An hour later I got lost on my way to pick up the boys from their piano lesson. This is with my GPS and Siri to boot. (More on this sad state of affairs tomorrow).

7)As he was toiling away on his term paper, my oldest son suddenly piped up at around 10 pm Sunday night to say, “Hey! I have to bring in my edible cell project tomorrow! We have to bake a cake and make it look like a cell.” I sent Colin to the 24 hour Harris Teeter to buy a cake, which was transformed into this:

IMG_04748)I went to bed a little after 2 am. Shortly thereafter the alarms on the kids’ new clocks started going off. Every two hours.

9)And finally, just as I knew she would, Chloe threw up in her crate overnight. I wasn’t expecting the added bonus of dog poop, however.

Now there’s a fine way to start your Monday morning.

The day the music died…

What is it about a broken instrument that breaks your heart?

This is my ukulele:

The kids were playing with it in the basement and it remained down there for a few weeks. When I asked them to bring it back upstairs, they delivered it into my hands with a hole in it. I gasped in horror when I saw it. I couldn’t even speak for a few minutes. (Anyone who knows me will tell you that doesn’t happen very often). The kids pulled out their best puppy-eyed, “Hunh?! There’s a hole in it?” when I pointed it out to them. They hadn’t even realized there was a hole and had NO IDEA how, or even when it happened.

My limited edition, solid cedar top and Hawaiian Koa wood ukulele with gloss finish, shell purfling, pickup, and built-in tuner was such a pretty little instrument. It still plays. But now it just looks like an instrument that lives in a household with three young children, rather than like a beautiful symbol of its owner’s sad little fantasy of being a musician…(a musician, who also happens to live in an immaculately pristine and serene household where terrible tragedies such as this could never happen).

This is what happened to Teddy’s ukulele this morning:

We heard a thud and then wailing. Nicholas and Teddy were so upset they were shrieking incoherently. It turns out that the boys were hanging out on Teddy’s bed when the ukulele fell off of it. When he tried to retrieve it, he stepped on it and snapped its poor, scrawny little neck. This somehow escalated into a crazy hailstorm of caterwauling and shouting this morning. It was Bedlam. Everyone was LOSING it. Not a great way to start the day.

Clearly, we are living too carelessly. It’s not so much the broken instruments, the perpetually messy house, the overloaded schedules…It’s how we deal with these stresses. What’s getting broken that we can’t see? This is what worries me the most. The sense of security and well-being that we should feel at home is what’s at stake here. And if that’s what’s getting broken, that really is heart-breaking.

The other day my husband and I were discussing for the umpteenth time why our once sweet, unflappable-bordering-on-phlegmatic Teddy has become such a grumpy old man. (He even changes into a shabby old bathrobe as soon as he gets home from school). We first noticed the personality change when he had a bad case of Lyme Disease this past summer. He became irritable, prickly, and frankly: pretty hard to live with. A jacked-up dose of antibiotics seemed to knock out the disease, but he’s never fully returned to his Teddy Bear self of old.

Whenever Teddy goes into Grumpy Old Man Mode, I tend to assume that it’s the ghostly whisps of Lyme Disease making their presence felt. Colin’s theory is that we are modeling the crabby behavior. There is far too much stress in our house and we aren’t dealing with it well. Of course, I know that it could be far, far worse. We are lucky to have a home. We are lucky to have each other. I know we’re like a zillion families out there with two working parents, additional duties and commitments, three children with their own crowded roster of activities, two cute but rotten dogs, and a house and yard that look like the set of a post-apocalyptic movie. I’m just pretty sure that we deal with these stresses worse than most. We are crabby, grumpy, yell-y, steam-coming-out-of-the-ears kind of people. I know this is why when I’m waivering about whether or not to go to my yoga class, EVERYONE in my family starts begging me, literally begging me to go.

So we’ve resolved to change the paradigm from the top down. I want to go into the New Year with a calmer, happier household. My husband and I have challenged each other to an Anti-Crabby contest. We will be issuing demerits to each other for bad behavior. We’re still figuring out what the punishment for the loser will be, but it will be bad, really bad.

The Cut the Crab Challenge is ON.

Tell me your best strategy for dealing with stress in the “Leave a Reply” section by midnight Sunday, December 2nd and you’ll be entered into a drawing for a fabulous prize. I’m not sure what the prize for the winner will be, but it will be good, really good. Truly. So come on! Leave a comment! The fact that not too many people read this blog means the odds of winning are HUGELY in your favor!