The Room of Requirement

A few months back, I blasted out the old school jingle for Scramball, which Thomas did not believe was a true song, much less an true item. Let me tell you friends, don’t give me an opportunity to prove you wrong, cause I will, with love of course :0). A quick Google search did not provide enough materials to be sufficient, so I promised to make it obviously apparent, unequivocally noted, that I was right; Scramball does/did exist, even if Thomas, my Sister-in-Law, and my Brother-in-Law had never heard of it or had the exhilarating experience of playing it. The best way towards proof? Conjure up said Scramball.

When I came home with it, Thomas had no other choice but to believe me–and my jingle.  I present to you Scramball, complete with original instructions, circa 1990:

download-1After all, “Scramball is a hot new game; playing ball won’t be the same….” (and yes, I can sing all the words to this song; don’t tempt me)

Thomas shockingly said, “Where did you find it?” to which I immediately replied, “Mom’s of course!” With no hesitation, Thomas proclaimed, “I never should have doubted you. You are the best wife ever and I will never doubt again. Kiss me you beautiful woman!”

No, that’s not what he said at all…… but I am sure that was what he was thinking.

Instead, Thomas laughingly said, “Your Mom’s whole house is like one big Room of Requirement!” At this, we both erupted in laughter, for that is certainly true. For you Harry Potter fans, this needs no further explanation. If you’ve yet to experience the brilliance of J.K. Rowling, I’ll fill you in on the details.

See, The Room of Requirement is a place that Harry and others at Hogwarts can go and have their needs met. In one book, it is an open room for practicing spells. In another, it is a place containing a horcrux. And if you don’t know what a horcrux is, I know you don’t care, cause if you did, you would have read the books….or seen the movies….or be cool. Basically, it is a room that is “always equipped for the seeker’s needs.”

So, there you have it. I needed proof of a great game I played in childhood, of which I still remember every word to the jingle, in order to be right and not look crazy, and all I had to do was make a trip back to my Mom’s. Therefore, Mom’s House= The Room of Requirement.

I know, a single example is not enough to stifle your doubts. I will therefore present to you example B:

Recently we’ve had very unseasonably warm weather for the month of December. Our days have been short sleeves and windows open. Nights have been comfortable and barely crisp. Suddenly though, some warm rain came through and cooler air descended upon us. The boys were spending the day with my Mom when the weather was warm, but as the sun set and the rain left, the light attire was not enough and Wesley needed a jacket, although I had not sent him with one, due to all the earlier warmth.

And up comes another opportunity for The Room of Requirement. Mom trotted up the steps into her storage/attic space and reappeared with a coat for sweet Wesley.

download-3This is not any coat either. This is a 34 year old coat that belonged to my brother, Damien, when he was Wesley’s age. This coat is certainly vintage at its true best. Each day Wesley has worn it since, he gets compliments on it. Today, when the pictures above were taken, he got 4. Last week, when he wore it, I took a picture and put it on Instagram. He got a compliment there too from my friend Jen.

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So here you have it again: Wesley needs a coat + Mom’s house provides= Room of Requirement

Warmth, compliments, pride for being right, and hours of fun playing Scramball with your kids, your neighbor’s kids, and your niece and nephew……..Sounds like a whole bunch of what I need!

Thanks mom for always saving everything! I will proudly thank you now and likely hate this fact later :o)

Angry Birds Birthday Party

I truly can’t believe that my first born turned 6 in November. But since I can’t change the fact he is getting older, I resolved to have fun celebrating the fact. We did just that, angry birds style!

I really wanted to play angry birds, live action, and I just knew Daniel would love it, so I started saving boxes. With so much Thirty-One coming to my door, those boxes piled up quickly and we were set.DSC_0181

The kids actually stacked and constructed their own structure, piling our two stuffed pigs wherever they liked. Next, they took the three balls that I painted and threw them at the structure with hopes of taking out a pig!

DSC_0173My brilliant sister-in-law even played the angry birds theme music on her phone while the kids demolished their structures. Perfect addition.

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It was so much fun, us adults even took turns. When Thomas was creating, he wanted the pig at the top of his structure, which he couldn’t reach, and being tied with his dad as being the tallest person there, he opted to lift me up and make me responsible for getting the pig at the highest point.

DSC_0191 DSC_0192Right when us adults started to get tired and the kids started to get impatient for their turn to come again, the sun began to set and it began to get cold.

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When I had initially scheduled the party, I had forgotten about daylight savings time occurring just a bit before the celebration date, so the sun was headed down faster than I anticipated, but it worked well for ushering the party inside for food and presents.

Decorations were mainly what the boys had colored from an angry birds coloring pad. I also made use of a Halloween pumpkin, stuffed birds, angry bird toys, a decorative poster, and other themed elements that we already had.  I did purchase the balloon pig and bird at a party store though, cause they just looked too great to pass up.

DSC_0169 DSC_0179 DSC_0180  DSC_0261 DSC_0221 DSC_0220 DSC_0217 DSC_0203 I had planned to do all cupcakes as birds or pigs bit those ended up being a big fail, so cupcakes ended up just being red with sprinkles. I figured out what the trick is though to making a red angry bird look like an angry bird……..it is all in the eyes. They have to touch to make it look right. If you gap them apart, it looks funny. See evidence below for full confirmation:

DSC_0170 579222_10151102556431765_49405976_nHad I discovered this sooner, the cupcakes might have been fully adorned with bird features rather than just sprinkles. But Daniel liked them, bird faced or not, so I was content with that.DSC_0253Daniel got some great gifts, from Legos, to books, to crafts, to super hero gear. He even received a “real” light saber from us, hand picked by Thomas. Thomas took great care to get this gift, and I can honestly say I think it is the first gift he has ever bought for Daniel’s birthday. Generally I buy them, Thomas wraps them, and we put both our names on it. This time, Thomas bought and wrapped, and when he brought out the gift, I am not sure who was more excited, Thomas or Daniel, but with the odd shape, even wrapped it resembled a light saber. As Thomas entered the room with the present, Daniel yelled out, “I know what that is!!!” “You do?” replied Thomas. “Yes! It is an UMBRELLA!” DSC_0243 DSC_0246This gift outweighs an umbrella, if you ask me, but I find it quite cute that Daniel was content to be getting an umbrella!

DSC_0256Each child guest went home with angry bird items (Thank you Target dollar spot and clearance section!) and a homemade angry bird name tag (Thank you Thomas for your cutting abilities!).

Overall I think it was a blast, and Daniel was very excited. We talked about knocking down the pigs for days after. His friends and cousins all had fun too. What a great time celebrating our son. Happy Birthday Daniel!

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Ragnar Recap

Well, better late that never…..

Almost a month ago I completed the Ragnar Relay. Me, 11 others, running just shy of 200 miles, non-stop. Think slumber party meets fitness. Initially we were all couples running the race together, so we were deemed “The Better Halves” but injury, work, and other life commitments had 3 of the 6 couples turn into different arrangements and pairs. Be forewarned, this is long, but I wanted to recap and remember the weekend for my own respects, so if it gets boring, feel free to just look at the pics :)

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Van 2 girls: Kelsey, Me, and Jennifer

I was runner 12 of the 12, so the anticipation was a long time building. My van was van 2, and we had to wait for runners 1-6 to finish before we even saw our first runner hit the road. Needless to say, we had a little time to kill before the action started.

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Here is our van waiting,complete me showing off my Ragnar temp tat (which should go to explain my ridiculous stance). My “Better Half” was Robert, the tall guy standing next to me (who is one of the youth ministers at out church and also happens to be really fast). You can also see Frank and Jennifer at the left end (husband and wife) and Billy and Kelsey in the middle (father and daughter)

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Robert mainly drove us and I sat as co-pilot, although I did little to help. He figured our location and paced our exchange times. I guess I took pictures—-and opened his Gatorade for him.

At a few occasions, our entire team was together briefly for a hand off of an awesome slap bracelet as van 1 ended and van 2 began. Before our van started running, we received word that one of van 1’s runners was running his leg very slowly due to some pain in his knees and it was suspected that he would not be able to run any more miles; our pace had extremely slowed past anticipated times and van 1 went into “how do we pick up his miles mode” since their van had to cover them and our van needed to gain back out time, which is just what we did.

The sun was about to set and the temps were dropping swiftly when my time to run came. I was prepared to pace out my first leg of 8 miles. My team was chatting, a  team member brought out to me my ipod from the van, and we were all keeping an eye out for our runner. Suddenly, we hear, “Hey!”and there he was, our teammate Frank, and I was on the other side of the street, barely stretched, no watch on, no ipod set, no time started. I hurriedly darted across the small street to where Frank was standing, exhausted from his 5 miles, and after the snap of the bracelet on my wrist, I took off running—in the wrong direction! Everyone was clapping, laughing, and yelling, pointing me the opposite way. I jerked myself around and took off for my 8 miles.

To say I was distracted and unprepared is an understatement. Since I don’t have a GPS fancy watch, it was going to be a guessing game on distance (they only mark with a distance sign when you are 1 mile from end of your leg). I know my body though and my general pace, and when looking at my time, I would be able to average what I was pacing. Unfortunately, since I jetted out unprepared, I had not set a timer. I was just running, in a completely unfamiliar environment, in the complete dark, without a clue to how fast I was running. Since I didn’t have my ipod on, I fiddled with it trying to secure it so I could run, which resulted in it falling twice and me subsequently having to pick it up twice. My safety light in the back also fell off and bounced down the road. It was extremely frustrating.  I decided to just keep running, hoping that my adrenaline from the frazzled start didn’t pace me too fast for the 8 miles and that I didn’t run the 8 so fast that I couldn’t complete the other 10 to follow before race end.  With cars driving way too fast and way too close while it was way too dark, I just set my sights on the blinking light in front of me, which represented another runner, and ran for a “road kill,” which means to catch up and pass someone in front of me. On my 8th road kill pass, I figured it might pay off  to ask that runner how much further we had to go. Perhaps she had a fancy watch. Turns out she did and the watch told her we had 2 more miles to log.

As the night got even darker and the people left to physically pass got fewer, I began to second guess myself, thinking I had made a wrong turn. I didn’t see any more lights ahead and mentally that stressed me. So, when I saw a white van with shoe polish on the windows getting gas, I knew  they were Ragnar folks, so I yelled, “Hey Ragnar! Am I going the right way?” Turns out I was, and while looking at them and looking back at the sidewalk, I saw a big curb to run/jump over. I mismanaged my stride and ended up tripping, catching myself on my hands and not my face, fortunately, but I could tell my shin and ankle were throbbing and had taken a decent blow.

After a bit more, I hit the mile left sign and was glad to know I was almost done. Approaching the exchange point, the silence and darkness of the road turned into applause, lights, crowds, and bull horns. At this exchange, being a main exchange, my team was well prepped for my entry because they polled bib numbers about a 1/4 mile out from finish to get the next runner ready. Slap bracelet off, I learned I paced a 7:50 for the 8 miles, which made me pleased. Done with leg 1, I now had 11 more runners until leg 2.

We chilled in our van, laughed, rested, “slept” and had genuine fun. Come 1 AM though, it was my time for my 2nd leg.

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Exchange 23, at 1 AM, somewhere in the state of TN. The weather had gotten even cooler, so I had to add a bit more gear to prevent freezing!

This leg was severely uneventful. A few about 1/4 a mile in, I blew past a guy, and after that, I never saw another person. It was pretty creepy running in the middle of the night, not seeing a soul, not seeing any lights, having no clue where I was running, my path lit only by my tiny headlamp. I did run with my cell phone, in case I fell over or broke and ankle, but fortunately, I didn’t trip again, so no phone calls were made, although now that I think about it, I likely didn’t have cell service anyway. Again, my team knew I was close due to it being a major exchange, but with it being so late/early in the day, I took them still by surprise. I paced with leg at about a 8:00 mile for 3 and a half miles, finishing a little after 1:30 in the morning.

And for the first time in my life, I directly paid someone to let me take a shower, for that major exchange was a high school where you could pay for sleeping, eating, or bathing. My team all chose to do different things, but we all decided to drive to our next exchange and sleep in the van. Surprisingly, I grabbed a few hours of sleep, thanks

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There was a designated “sleep area” in the middle of Cool Springs. I opted for the warmth of our van!

to my eye mask and ear plugs :)

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Some people slept in the grass curbed areas of the parking lots!

At this point, everyone began hurting. Little sleep, fast paces, long miles, consistently crunched up in a van, and matters of the like, began to catch up with us. We all, however, had one final leg to run. Although they seemed to tick away slowly, my last run came closer and closer, as the weather became hotter and hotter, and my leg from tripping on my first run began to swell and bruise.

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Real “Better Halves” Scott and Katie. Fake “Better Halves” Summer and Robert.

Finally, I was off for my last 6.8 miles. At start, I was pacing well, but it was surprising what a contrast my first two runs were compared to the bustling activity found in my final run. Downtown Nashville sounds like a great place to run, but when no one is paying attention to runners, the areas and turns are poorly marked, cars never stop coming from all directions, and the weather was surprisingly warm for the season, it all added up and was impacting. Following the girl in front of me, who seemed to have a good head on her shoulders, we went the wrong way. We crossed the street as the sign said, but then she and I continued straight rather than turning again and going right. Fortunately, we only ran about 1/4 a mile out of the way but when you have to run that back, you’ve added about 1/2 a mile total, and mentally I was wiped at that point.

I just kept putting one foot in front of the other, hoping soon I would see that coveted “one mile to go” sign. Finally, I rounded  a corner and could hear the load speakers and cheers of the end. As the final runner, I got the privilege of running to my teammates and leading us through the final .1 of the 200 mile race and ultimately all across the finish line.  My team put my medal on me, and I was glad to be done! But I never stopped my time and at that point no one even cared, just as long as we were done, so I have no clue what my pace was for leg 3. Immediately, we headed to our photo ops and cheering section.

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In the end it was a great time, and Ragnar in no way compares to any other race I have ever run. The idea of multiple legs at various distances at all hours of the day is quite a challenge that is hard to prepare for without just doing it. Our team did just as we had hoped, even being down an injured runner, and we finished the race in about 30 hours. Not too shabby for 200 miles!

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