Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Dukes in Texas

Last weekend we traveled to Dallas, Texas to watch JMU play Southern Methodist University. Ironically, SMU paid JMU $425,000 to come and play their Homecoming game (it was supposed to be an easy win for them). But we ended up beating them in a really awesome game of football. The whole weekend was a great trip (sans kids). Here are some highlights!

We flew down on Friday and got checked in to our hotel. About half the hotel was filled with Dukes, including the football team and coaching staff. There was a lot of purple and gold! The Dallas Alumni Chapter held a social in the hotel and that's where we got to meet and talk to Charles Haley! The only NFL player to have five Super Bowl rings, and just inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame this year. He graduated from JMU and was there to support the team. Really nice guy - and he's HUGE! 

Here we are with President Alger. Coach Withers also spoke at the event.

My DH is treasurer of the alumni association. Here he is with some other alumni board members talking about something important that I wasn't paying attention to. 

Then Brandon and Heather (from Richmond) and Cathy (from Dallas) joined us for dinner downtown. 

At the end of the meal, our waiter found out that we were from JMU and got his manager, who is also a Duke! The manager came and talked to us for a while and then treated us to a round of pineapple juice shots - delicious! 

Saturday we got up and went out for a yummy breakfast at a local popular restaurant. Then we wandered over to the George W. Bush Presidential Library, which was right across the street from our hotel (it's on SMU's campus). It was a great museum with some very interesting exhibits, especially one about 9/11. They also had a complete replica of the Oval Office from his presidency - right down to the pictures of his family on the desk. You could walk around the room and even get your picture taken sitting at the desk! 

After a quick nap we met up with some other Richmond friends and headed over to the JMU tailgate. Over 300 people from JMU were at the tailgate, and we enjoyed observing some of the tailgating practices of SMU students and alumni. They definitely have some different traditions, but I had to admire their set-up of the 'Boulevard' and some of the portable tailgating pods with leather couches and big screen TVs! 

Six of us from Richmond, plus Jenny's family from Houston! Go Dukes!

There was a lot of purple in the stadium. When we were walking in, one of the SMU alums asked me 'So where is this JMU school?'  When I told him Virginia he said 'Wow - do you always have this many fans at your away games?' 

It was HOT in Texas, but luckily the sun had gone down by the end of the first quarter. I apologize for the number of pictures - we had to record our attendance at this game! 

For those of you who watched the game or read the articles later, you know that it was a very close game. But we were leading for most of the game (incredible), and toward the end SMU scored and was winning with 2:00 left in the 4th quarter. Then we scored a touchdown and there was a lot of excitement (me) and stress (Eric) for the last minute of the game. 

Then we WON!

Enjoy the victory celebration!

What an awesome game!

We all went down on the field afterwards to celebrate. 

Then, because it was SMU's Homecoming, they had a really great fireworks show. It was very nice of them to still put on the show even though we beat them! :-)

The alumni board. 

 On Sunday, after recovering our voices and eating a big breakfast, we headed to Arlington to see the Cowboys v Falcons game. The stadium is H-U-G-E. You really don't get a sense of how big it is on TV. And the fact that it's all indoors is even crazier. 

Even though my DH is not a Cowboys fan, I still got him to wear blue and he cheered some (mostly because one of his fantasy football players was a Cowboy that week). We lost but it was still a great game!

The game finished up by mid-afternoon so we headed back to the city, and went out to a movie and dinner. It was so nice to have a weekend away with friends. I'm especially grateful to my mother-in-law, who came to Richmond to stay with our kids and had to keep them entertained indoors because of rain. They had a great time and I think were well-behaved enough that she would consider doing it again. 

Overall a really great weekend - and so glad we could be there with so many friends to cheer on the Dukes! 

Friday, September 25, 2015

Five Stages of Parental Separation

We're heading to Dallas this weekend for the JMU v SMU game...without our kids. Yes, it's going to be amazing. My wonderful mother-in-law is staying with the kids in Richmond while we enjoy time with friends and pretend we are still in our mid-twenties. But before the fun begins, we must proceed through the five stages of parental separation.

Stage One - Excitement! 
We are leaving the house without our children! 

Stage Two - Panic
Wait, did we remember to tell Grandma to bring in the mail? What if she can't remember where to pick up the kids from school? What else did we forget to tell her??

Stage Three - Resignation
It'll be fine - they won't starve or die. Grandma is very resourceful. I guess I'll 
just read take this time to catch up on my reading so I stop thinking about them. 

Stage Four - Anticipation
This trip is going to be awesome! We're going to stay up late and sleep in and eat good food and see friends and enjoy a football game without entertaining a three-year-old! Let's go!

Stage Five - Enjoyment
Finally taking advantage of my husband traveling all the time by enjoying an upgrade with this free drink and warm cookie in my first class seat while he works...

Monday, September 21, 2015

Why I'm Late to Work

My Daily Goal:  To leave the house by 6:55am; drop Parker at Kari’s at 7:10am, and get to Steward School by 7:45am (when my work day starts). School starts for Ainsley at 8:00am. This is what happened today, which unfortunately is more our standard routine than not. 

5:15am – Alarm goes off.
5:22 – Get out of bed.
5:23 – Get in the shower.
5:33 – Get dressed.
5:36 – Apply make-up.
5:42 – Make bed.
5:43 – Check phone for missed text message; read funny Facebook post.
5:46 – Let dogs outside.
[for the past 2 weeks we've been babysitting my parent's lab, who is basically a clone of our Dixie]
5:47 – Run outside to see why dogs are barking.
5:48 – Try to coax dogs away from opossum that has climbed up the smallest tree in the yard and can’t figure out how to get away.
5:53 – Finally get dogs back in the house; Ainsley has come downstairs carrying her clothes.
[We lay her clothes out each night. I still can't figure out why she has to carry them downstairs instead of putting them on in her bedroom...]
5:54 – Feed dogs.
5:56 – Turn on cartoons.
5:57 – Get breakfast for Ainsley.
5:59 – Walk into bathroom to dry my hair.
6:00 –Parker comes downstairs.
6:01 – Get breakfast for Parker.
6:03 – Argue with Parker about appropriate breakfast foods.
6:05 – Get second breakfast for Ainsley; ask her to get dressed.
6:07 – Give up on arguing with Parker and take him upstairs to get dressed.
6:08 – Parker doesn’t like the shirt I picked out. Try another one.
6:09 – Can’t find the other shoe that Parker wants to wear.
6:10 – Tell Ainsley to get dressed.
6:11 – Change the cartoon they are watching.
6:12 – Walk into bathroom to dry my hair.
6:13 – Dogs are wrestling; put them outside.
6:14 – Get another breakfast for Parker after he spills his cereal all over the floor.
6:15 – Let dogs back in house so they can clean up spilled cereal.
6:16 – Finish cleaning up.
6:17 – Walk into bathroom to do my hair.
6:21 – Half my hair is dry; take Parker to the potty.
6:24 – Give Parker treat for using the potty.
6:25 – Plead with Ainsley to get dressed.
6:26 – Walk into bathroom to dry other half of my hair.
6:30 – Turn the cartoon back on after they accidentally turn off the TV while fighting over the remote.
6:31 – Dogs are wrestling; put them outside.
6:32 – Brush teeth while flat iron warms up.
6:33 – Get Ainsley third breakfast.
6:35 – Notice that Ainsley has taken out half the things in her backpack. Repack bag and double-check for missing items.
6:38 – Walk into bathroom; forgot to turn on flat iron.
6:39 – Put my shoes, water bottle, and kids’ backpacks in the car while waiting for flat iron to warm up.
6:41 – Check upstairs to make sure lights and fans are turned off in kids’ rooms.
6:43 – Dogs are barking; let them in.
6:43:30 – Put the dogs back out when I realize they have muddy feet.
6:44 – Dry dogs’ feet.
6:46 – Brush Ainsley’s hair.
6:49 – Console Ainsley after hair-brushing-meltown.
6:51 – Ask kids to put on their shoes - it's almost time to go!
6:52 – Walk into bathroom to finish hair.
6:57 – Hair is finished.
6:58 - Yell at kids to put on their shoes. 
6:59 – Search for missing shoe that was there just a minute ago.
7:01 – Find missing shoe; tell kids to get in car.
7:03 – Give dogs a treat; tell them not to destroy anything.
7:04 – Parker doesn't want to leave; carry him to the car.
7:05 – Buckle Parker in car; ask Ainsley to buckle herself.
7:06 – Go back in the house to find Parker’s blankie.
7:08 – Go back in garage to find that neither kid is buckled; they are fighting over a happy meal toy.
7:09 – Buckle both kids in car while explaining the importance of leaving the house on time.
7:11 – Go back in the house for my phone; turn off lights.
7:13 – Pull out of garage. 
7:27 – Pull into Kari’s driveway.
7:28 – Get Parker into her house; chat for a few minutes about him.
7:32 – Get into car; get a snack out of the console for Ainsley.
7:33 – Leave Kari’s house.
7:45 – Traffic on 288 - we missed our no-traffic window. 
7:46 - Give Ainsley another lecture about the importance of listening to me so we can leave the house on time.
7:56 – Exit off 288.
7:59 – Tell Ainsley to put her shoes back on.
8:00 – Pull into school parking lot.
8:01 – Get Ainsley out of the car and start to walk through the parking lot.
8:02 – Turn around and go back to car; forgot my phone.
8:05 – Walk into school and get a late pass from Ms. Dunville.
8:06 – Kiss Ainsley goodbye and shoo her down the hallway to class.
8:07 - Try to ignore the stares of the teachers who know that, not only is my daughter late to school, but I am also late to work.
8:08 – Walk into my office and wonder why I can’t get to work on time.

We'll try again tomorrow...

Sunday, September 20, 2015


It's fall, and that means it's football season! This year we have a new tailgating spot on Godwin Field with several other families from Richmond. The first game we attended was overcast but luckily the rain held off. The kids were so excited to get back into their purple gear and visit Duke Dog. 

Eric serves as Treasurer on the Alumni Board of Trustees, and has made a lot of great new friends with other alumni. One of them has a suite at the stadium and invited us to join them for the game. We were able to visit with friends, watch the game from a great spot, and the kids certainly enjoyed the freedom to move around!

And the best part... a visit from Duke Dog!

We returned last weekend for another game and had better weather - warm and sunny. While we tailgate, the kids play in the moonbounce, get their faces painted, and run around looking cute. 

When we renewed our season tickets we were entered into a drawing and won field passes for a game!

They were both really happy to meet some cheerleaders!

But the band was a little too loud for Parker. 

They got to pet the real life Duke Dog!

My happy boys!