Tuesday, December 25, 2012

It's the little things

What a wonderful Christmas morning the Roof family had today. Katharine declared it Christmas morning at 5:30 and we were off and running from there. The kids were so thrilled with all there presents; Matthew spontaneously shouting "thank you" after each one.  After the mad rush of getting ready for Christmas, a quiet day of togetherness is more than enough.

Merry Christmas from the Roofs

Saturday, December 22, 2012

First sleepover

Tonight I dropped KK off for her first "official" sleepover with her ol' ECDC buddy, Mae. Basically, they have known each other their whole lives as Mae's mother and I were graduate school office-mates back in the '90s.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Watching Rudolph

Beginning today the entire Roof family is on Christmas vacation until after the New Year. Hallelujah!

We are kicking it off with a quiet night on the couch, in our pjs, watching Rudolph. Hot cocoa, egg nog, cookies, and warm feelings abound.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

I don't know about you, but at our house the turkey can run but he can't hide.

May you have lots to be grateful for this year!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Birthday girl's big day

Katharine's day started with a few presents, her favorite being a Nintendo DSi from Nanna.

Then we drove to Columbia to see Grandmomma and Poppa, opening a few more gifts. Then we went to Yamatos for Japanese show cooking, which Katharine loved but Matthew had mixed feelings about. Mostly, Katharine loved that her cousin Morgan could join us.

I think she had a good day!

Happy Birthday, Katharine

Seven years ago today our beautiful baby girl came into our lives!

We love you, KK!

Friday, November 16, 2012

...and I was teaching!

So, Paul invited me to come and guest lecture in  his research methods class this past week.  I did a lesson  on focus groups and this is me in action!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Attitude of gratitude

So, somehow I didn't hear about this year's Facebook/Twitter/Wherever it started trend of posting something one is grateful for each day in November -- 30 days of gratitude. But, I caught wind of it somewhere in the second week and while it didn't change my posting behavior (as in, I almost never post anything and still don't), it did get me thinking.

I'm not really the kind of person that people are likely to describe as "Suzy Sunshine" or "bubbly" - I'm an introvert, always have been and probably always will be to some extent. I'm also not always the "cup is half full person". I like to think of myself as a realist rather than "negative" but the reality is that I can bogged down in the "what ifs" of life. Thus, gratitude is something I have to make a conscious effort to think about and practice. That being said, I'm doing my whole 30 days of gratitude right here, right now. Here we go:

1) My kids -- so obvious right? But let's face it, you grow another human inside your body, you loose all objectivity about the little creatures. I happen to think mine are too stinkin' cute, smart as pins, and funny as all get out. They test my patience everyday but I also marvel at their very existence everyday as well. They make me feel lucky, loved, and special just by being who they are.

2) My husband -- 10 years of marriage plus 5 years of dating and we're still going strong. We've grown together and become so many things together -- parents, homeowners, pet-owners (again and again), and (to some extent) grown-ups. We've moved, we've changed jobs, we've lost loved ones, we birthed babies but most importantly, through it all, we've loved and respected each other.

3) My Dad -- While we've never really celebrated it in the "daddy's little princess" kind of way, I've always been a daddy's girl. With the exception of a few rocky and hormonal years in my teens, we've always been a bit of kindred spirits -- being with him is easy and we seem to be at ease and in sync most of the time. He is my number one confidant, is always interested in what I'm doing, thinking, or feeling and always willing to help me think through a problem. And, most importantly, we laugh together -- we have a sense of humor that is unique to us and we never fail to crack each other up.

4) My Mom -- While it hasn't always been easy between us, we have grown into a relationship of mutual respect and inter-connectedness. She provides a safety net of love that helps me to feel that I'm not alone, won't end up homeless, or fall into the depths of despair without her trying to do everything she can to pick me back up.

5) My step-parents -- while one probably shouldn't be grateful for divorce (and this is not to say that I necessarily am) but I am grateful that my parents re-married to the people they did. While I lost iPop this year, both he and Jeanette were able and willing to provide things in the parental role that my biological parents didn't. I had the opportunity to have 4 parents and I will always feel blessed for that.

6) My in-laws -- I also got lucky in the in-law department and am grateful that the Roof clan immediately took me in and loved me as one of their own.

7) My education -- I am fortunate to have had the opportunity to spend not 4 years in college but 10, earning not one degree but three. I was fortunate to have the support of family and the mental fortitude and persistence to achieve (sometimes read, survive) all that work.

8) My house -- I love my little two-story yellow house and look at like a friend everyday as I drive away in the morning and pull up at night.

9) My church community -- I love the JIPC folks and all that they have brought to my life in the last few years.

10) The Sisterhood circle -- I love being surrounded by these wonderful women once a month and sharing and learning together.

11) My co-workers -- we're all pretty human but, overall, we make a pretty darn good team.

12) Employment -- While my job can be stressful and demanding and I can come home pretty grumpy, I am grateful to be employed, to have a decent salary, to have benefits and paid days off. And, while it doesn't always make me happy, I am grateful to be in a job that challenges me in ways I don't think I have fully grasped yet.

13) Our pets -- there is nothing like the unconditional love of a happy dog or cat!

14) Novels -- I love to read, it's like candy for me. And nothing is sweeter than a good trashy novel.

15) British TV -- Even the trashiest of shows is ok with me if the accents are British. Some of my favorites this year have been Downton Abby, Shameless, and Being Human.

16) Modern Family and Parks and Rec -- while the accents are American, they still crack me up.

17) Humor -- I love to laugh, to make people laugh, and to share in a joke.

18) Sweets -- I'm a sweet tooth: chocolate, cupcakes, pie... it's all good by me.

19) Carbs -- potatoes, pasta, pizza, bread...yumm

20) Melted cheese -- seriously, there is almost nothing better than melted cheese.

21)  A fast metabolism -- see 18-20.

22) Good health -- this probably shouldn't follow 18-20 but I do feel blessed to have had two easy, healthy pregnancies (and babies) and no major health crises to date (knock on wood).

23) White egrets and blue herons -- I love looking at these beautiful birds.

24) Coastal living -- I'm a water girl and I'll never tire of seeing the coastline.

25) Being a Yankee -- while I've been in the south a long time, I'll always be proud of the Yankee upbringing I had and those chilly origins from which I came.

26) Laptops -- for allowing me to write this post from my bed.

27) Halloween, Thanksgiving, Easter, Birthdays -- there is nothing like holidays that involve presents, candy, hiding candy, or massive amounts of food.

28) Kittens -- there is nothing like kittens.

29) Online shopping -- love it! A working mom's dream.

30) Being able to come up with a list of gratitude this long (some might call it cramming, I call it a very good session of positivity).

Monday, November 12, 2012

8th tooth out and delivered

On Saturday night, in the car on the way to Disney on Ice,  Katharine's tooth popped right out in her hand! She was so surprised and excited, giggling and trying to study it in the dark car. The tooth fairy faithfully picked it up to deliver it to wherever the next destination will be!

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Helping hands

Manual labor never feels as good as when it is done to help someone else who needs it. Trust me, because I have done manual labor for minimum wage and I didn't enjoy it nearly as much.

Twice a year the CSU sociology club heads out to a small church on John's island to pack grocery bags for local folks who need it.

The kids help and we all have a blast. Tonight I was the counter, organizing the various orders heading out to different parts of Charleston.  The time flew by as I made tidy rows of 6 and kept the fellas on track as they carried bag after bag to my various stations.

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Monday, October 29, 2012

Look at the hair

Another classic conversation with Matt on the way to school:

Me: Matt, you have a cowlick in your hair.

Matt: No, its a horse-lick.

Me: A horse-lick?

Matt: Yes, because it's smaller.

LOL! That kid makes me laugh!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Halloween kitties

So, I couldn't resist the cat Halloween costumes on a recent trip to Petco. Mittens, on the left, is wearing the pirate tie (not the best costume and I can tell she feels a bit cheated). Miles, on the right, is wearing the vampire cape (the minute he put it on, I could tell he was going to get an attitude).

You can see below that Miles has gone straight in to character and Mittens is begging for her life, "No, scary vampire cat, please don't kill me."

 Or, maybe they are just two cats annoyed that their human did this to them. But, you have to get your giggles somehow!

Another KK Masterpiece

This is another one of KK's little masterpieces - a volcano erupting and I believe there is rain or snow involved.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Lights on after school

KK and her after school gang doing songs and skits for the parents. A cute way to learn more about the program.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Tooth number 7 ready for pick up

I imagine the tooth fairy is already on her way to fetch KK's latest lost tooth. This one popped out at after-school care. KK theorizes that she has $7 coming her way since this is her 7th tooth. I should have been firmer on my bottom line when the tooth fairy and I negotiated our terms.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

SC State Fair

This is a less than flattering picture of Matt and I on the ferris wheel -- Matt's first time on a ferris wheel. KK chose our first trip to the state fair to announce she is afraid of heights. Go figure.  Between their small sizes and the no-heights business this narrowed our options down a bit. But, we took a couple trips through the fun house, played some games to win some prizes, and gobbled up some fair food. All in all a good time!

Saturday, October 06, 2012

Silly kids

Frankenweenie Friday Night Horror

So last night, with Dad out of town bearding, the kids and I got spontaneous and decided to go see Frankenweenie on its opening night. Did I know anything about this movie? No -- other than KK had mentioned how all the kids at school were talking about it. Did I watch the trailer before setting out on this outing? No, surely that would take the spontaneity out of the whole event, right?? Knowing it was a Tim Burton film should I have already suspected that research might be useful? Probably.

Was the film appropriate for 4-6 years olds? NO! I had one on my lap for the better part of the film feigning sleepiness in the hopes I would take her home as I leaned over into the other's seat to try to make him feel protected. Do I think they are scarred for life? No, they seemed to bounce back pretty quickly once we left the theater and slept without nightmares (Katharine even claimed to like it once we had escaped the dark theater).

The film was something akin to Frankenstein meets pet cemetery  The kids got to watch the boy's beloved dog get hit by a car, be brought back to life by lightening, die again in a fire and be brought back to life by a "jumping" from multiple car batteries (that was the happy ending). All this is punctuated by other kid's deceased family pets who are brought back to life only to become terrifying creatures that run rampant through the quiet town of New Holland (because these children had brought their animals back for the "wrong reasons" they became bad rather than the regular ol' family pet again with the occasional tail or ear falling off).

And the Halloween season officially begins for the Roof family!

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Future artist

In keeping with her Nanna, KK is taking an art class through her after school program focused on sea life and conservation. Today was the first day and she has already produced this masterpiece!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Sample schoolwork

KK brought this home from school today.

I like to ride horses

I am good at sharing

I know how to paint

Saturday, September 08, 2012

Happy horse girl

Today Katharine took her first riding lesson. After participating in horse camp this summer, Katharine enjoyed it so much she wanted to continue. She seems to love it and was thrilled to get to ride her favorite pony, Honey.

We are so happy to see Katharine take a interest in something new after dance fizzled out. She told me that she thinks this is her natural talent.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

First day back to school

 Today was the first day of school for both Katharine and Matthew. No longer at the same school as little brother, Katharine started first grade today at her "big girl" elementary school, Stiles Point Elementary. I think it is going to be a great place and she went off to class like a trooper this morning.
Matthew is now a "butterfly" (pre-k) at ECDC and had no trouble getting back in to the routine of things.

Monday, August 20, 2012

First grade, here we come!

Tonight was the kick off for the school year with an evening for new students. We joined the PTA, bought sweatshirts (featured here), and took a tour from a very dynamic little 5th grader. We think it is going to be a great year! Go dolphins!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Friday, August 10, 2012

Horse Camp!

 This week Katharine spent half days at Stone River Stables where she spent lots of times with horses. She absolutely loved it and is featured here trotting.

She said she wants to go again next year but is hoping she can have "a black, fuzzy helmet (instead of a hard one), those tights pants the girls wear (jodphurs), and some black boots".

I took horseback riding lessons for years as a kid so I am so excited that KK enjoyed this experience. We'll see what the future holds!
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Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Meet Rosie

Last Christmas when we mailed our presents to Nanna down in the Keyes, we included the pink flamingo you see featured here. At the time, we had no idea my mom and "Rosie" would become such good pals. Nanna loves to send us pictures of all the fun things Rosie gets into. As you can see here, Rosie was out sailing today and has left the Keyes to spend the summer in Massachusetts. Who knows what she will be getting into next.

Trip to the dentist

Conversation between Matt and the dental hygienist:

Hygienist: how many teeth did you bring to the dentist?

Matt: all of them!

Sunday, July 01, 2012

Monday, June 25, 2012

R.I.P. Gerald J. Ficks, Jr. (1936-2012)

I have always considered myself as having four parents. As a child of divorce this just made sense to me and helped me to maintain a sense of family in my non-traditional arrangement. Last week, I lost the first of those four parents. I had the pleasure of having Jerry as my stepfather since 1990, when he and my mother married in a small ceremony on an island beach. Jerry was kind and supportive  and I would not be where I am today if it were not (in part) for his support of my abilities, my dreams, and my future. 

His obituary (from the Cincinnati Enquirer):

Gerald Jack Jr., of Jupiter, FL, passed away on Thursday, June 13, 2012. Age 75. A former resident of Cincinnati, OH, Marion, MA, and Cudjoe Key, FL. Jerry is survived by his loving wife Trudie and sons John (Meredith) of Cincinnati, OH, Philip (Michael) of Brooklyn, NY and step-daughter Karin Roof (Paul) of Charleston, SC. An avid sailor throughout his life, Jerry was a champion Thistle racer and winner of the International Rolex Regatta. After earning an M.A. in Economics from the University of Cincinnati, Jerry worked for the World Bank. In 1972, Jerry was named president of The Ficks Reed Co. remaining in that position for 20 years. Jerry also served a term as president of the National Association of Furniture Manufacturers. Memorial Service, 11am, Thursday, June 28. Gwen Mooney Funeral Home - Norman Chapel, Spring Grove Cemetery. Memorial gifts may be made to the Charitable Care Fund at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, P.O. Box 5202, Cincinnati, Ohio 45201-5202.

On Wednesday, I will fly to Cincinnati to help say goodbye and I have been asked to read this poem at his funeral, so I thought I would share it here:

The Unknown Shore - Elizabeth Clark Hardy
Some time at eve, when the tide is low,
I shall slip my moorings and sail away,
with no response to a friendly hail,
in the silent hush of the twilight pale,
when the night stoops down to embrace the day
and the voices call in the water's flow.
Some time at eve when the tide is low,
I shall slip my moorings and sail away
Through the purple shadows that darkly trail
O'er the ebbing tide of the unknown sea,
and a ripple of waters to tell the tale
of a lonely voyager, sailing away
to mystic isles, where at anchor lay
the craft of those who have sailed before
o'er the unknown sea to the unknown shore.
A few who have watched me sail away
will miss my craft from the busy bay;
some friendly barques that were anchored near,
some loving souls that my heart held dear,
in silent sorrow will drop a tear;
but I shall have peacefully furled my sail
in mooring sheltered from storm and gale
and greet the friends who have sailed before
o'er the unknown sea to the unknown shore.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy Father's Day

We celebrated with our third annual (and perhaps final) recital. KK was a little star and her daddy loved watching her dance (as did mom, matt, grandmomma, poppa, yeya, olga, and nela). What in the world will we do to keep ourselves busy next father's day?

Friday, May 18, 2012

10 years of wedded bliss!

Happy anniversary to my man! Hopefully many more decades to follow!

Monday, May 14, 2012


Here is KK with two of her best buds, Evy and Mae Massey! These girls has so much fun tearing up Charlestowne Landing for a fun run and fun times!

And we were running....

For a change, the whole family was running except for Paul! This past Thursday night the kids participated in a 100 yard fun run and I ran a 5K (just under 33 minutes). The course was beautiful and we all had some healthy fun!