My Attempt to Bring the Kentucky Derby to Northern Kentucky

I am from Louisville.  I love the Kentucky Derby.  I live in Northern Kentucky now and there is just not the same appreciation or love of the Kentucky Derby up here.  I’m not surrounded by a bunch of Derby-Haters (well, except my husband.  More on that later), but the excitement is not here.

For example…

Curious?  Fillies (girl horses) are the only horses running in the Oaks…

I am a little sad that my kids are not growing up knowing the Kentucky Derby like I did.  The whole two weeks before the Derby is a big celebration.  Schools are closed on Oaks Day (that’s the Friday before Derby).  We got up early to watch the hot air balloons take off for their big race.  We stayed glued to the television to see who won the Golden Antlers each year during the Great Steamboat Race.  Every year we’d buy about ten Derby pins at Kroger because we’d always lose them. We’d go to the chow wagon for lunch.  One time my brother and I went to Kroger at midnight to watch them make the garland of roses for the winning Kentucky Derby horse.

Yes, we celebrate for two weeks for a two minute horse race.

I could go on…but let’s talk about my sad attempt at putting a little Derby in my kids’ lives…

On Friday, Oaks Day, I tried to explain to my youngest two children the significance of the day.  Oaks is the race for the fillies the day before the Kentucky Derby. The Lilies for the Fillies.  The girl horses.

Me:  Guess what today is kids?!  It’s Oaks Day!  That’s the race for the girl horses!  It’s called the Lilies for the Fillies.  They make a necklace of lilies for the winner.  On Derby day they use a garland of roses for the winner, but today is lilies!

Them:  Ooooh.  Huh.  Hey, this game costs zero nine nine.  Can we buy it for the kindle?

Moving on…

Later that afternoon a friend mentioned she wanted Derby Pie®.  Suddenly, so did I.  Funny how that happens.  I became obsessed with it and went to three different stores until I found my pie.

For those of you who do not know about Derby Pie, let me explain…because I have very strong feelings about it.

Derby Pie is not a pecan pie with chocolate.

It is not a walnut pie with chocolate.

It is not a chess pie with chocolate.

There is no other pie that can ever be called Derby Pie unless it is made by Kern’s Kitchen with Kern’s Kitchen stamped all around the edges.  It comes in a white box from Kern’s Kitchen baked in Louisville, Kentucky.  It is patented.  If you buy Derby Pie in a restaurant, they cannot call it Derby Pie unless it is the Derby Pie.  In my former workplace the cafeteria sold some sorry brownie with walnuts sprinkled on top and labeled it Derby Pie.

Guess who was a Narc?

This girl.

And, so, my quest for Derby Pie began.  I told my husband, the Derby Hater, and he said “Oh, just buy a chocolate cake.”

I almost punched him.

I went to Walmart.  No Derby Pie.  I went to Kroger.  No Derby Pie.  It made me sad at Kroger that when I asked an employee if they had Derby Pie he scratched his head and said “Nooooo…we don’t have that in yet.”  Well, buddy, Derby is tomorrow, so you better hope that truck comes tonight.

Next stop, Remke.  Or, as The Third Grader called it…Rumpke. I told him you don’t buy Derby Pie at the city dump.  Geez, kid.

Remke had it!  Yay!

I brought home my pie and the kids loved it.  There is still hope!

On Derby Day, I printed the names of all of the Derby contenders, cut them out and put them in a bowl.  We took turns picking horses and got ready for the race.  The kids started to get excited.  It was working.  They gathered around the television and chanted “Go mine!  Go mine!”

Close enough.

See their little horsey pictures?

I made them be quiet during the singing of My Old Kentucky Home and we watched the horses parade to the starting gate.  It was here.  The fastest two minutes in sports.  My kids were actually watching!

And, they’re off!!  They were mesmerized cheering on their horses!  It was so exciting for them.  I felt like I’d started a great tradition.

Until, poor sportsmanship reared it’s ugly head.  The Third Grader won.  Middle Child shot us all dirty looks, punched the television screen and declared “I hate this show” then stomped off down the hall to his room.

Luckily, I was still on a Derby Pie high.

How Marathons Are Like Childbirth

I ran my first half marathon Saturday.  And maybe my last.  Maybe not.  It’s like childbirth.  You can’t really decided if you’ll do it again until you totally forget all of the pain involved.  One day I’ll think “Hey, that was awesome when I ran that half marathon!  I think I’ll do that again.”

The Husband is probably thrilled the race is over (I use the word ‘race’ loosely…I do not run at race pace…more parade or fun run speed).  Training for a marathon, half or full, takes up a lot of time.  I did two or three short runs during the week and a long run most weekends.  This, along with regular workouts three times a week, is time consuming!  What am I going to do with all of my extra time now??  I can hear my husband as I type this…how’s about some laundry?  Point taken.

I tried to share my goals with the kids.  I told them all through out my training why I was running so much.  I kissed them goodbye on race day and Middle Child said “I hope you win Mommy!”  Such a sweet boy.  Naive, but sweet.  To him, speed is relative. 

Now The Third Grader is fascinated with running.  He wants to do a 5k.  He wants to run a full marathon when he’s older.  He wants me to be there.  I will be…not running, but cheering.  He keeps asking what a marathon looks like.  I tell him to run from the coffee shop (yes, that’s the center of my world, so let’s start there) to church and back again THREE TIMES and then run to our house.  Yikes.  He’s thinking about it.  He asked if I could start training him today.  I said no since my feet are still throbbing.

I saw a lot of funny signs during the race.  My two favorites were:

Run, Random Stranger, Run!!!
Chuck Norris never ran a marathon!

The guy with the giant silver hand on a yard stick for high-fiving was also pretty hilarious. 

I loved seeing the special needs runners do the relay using their walkers, wheelchairs or helpers.  It was inspirational to watch a 90 year old lady run the half marathon…except that she passed me.  I did not see him, but I heard that one guy ran the whole race while dribbling a basketball.  I think the runners around him started to hate him after a while.

I’ve spent months training and now it’s over.  I feel like I should still be running.  There’s a little hole in my life.  As soon as my running partner crossed the finish line and grabbed her medal she sighed and said “I’m NEVER doing another one of those again!  It’s over!”  I kind of agreed but in the back of my mind I was thinking “Wellllll, we’ll see about that.  Maybe I can talk you into another.”  We met at the coffee shop today, where all marathons start, and she said “You know.  We know how to train for this.  We could really improve our times.  There are other cities that have marathons with a flat route…” 

It had barely been 24 hours since we crossed the finish line.  I told you it’s like childbirth.  How soon we forget!

Why I Hate Penguins and Hobos

It is 11:37pm on a school night and I have two angry little boys.  The Third Grader has informed me that he wishes Middle Child did not live with us, but instead wishes that he was a hobo complete with a red and white polka dotted bag on the end of a stick.  Those were his exact words.  In fact, they took turns calling each other hobos and took turns crying because they were hurting each others feelings. 

When I googled ‘hobo with a polka dotted bag’ all kinds of cute purses popped up.  Unfortunately, we spent $984 in car repairs last week or maybe I’d order one… 

Then I googled ‘hobo with a polka dotted bag on a stick’ and got this hilarious picture of McCauley Culkin next to what appears to be a hobo.  Poor child actors.  They just don’t know how to handle all that money.

And then I learned what they call the people who hang out in Starbucks for too long working but not buying anything…Laptop Hobos.  Makes sense.  I guess.


Say it 10 times slowly.

Are you sure it’s still a word?


It’s starting to sound odd right?

I digress.  Who can stay on track with a word like hobo?

All of this hobo business started with a penguin.

A tiny penguin the size of your thumb that was given to kids at school who completed a fundraiser.  The Third Grader brought home Brownie the Penguin two days ago and grew quite attached to him. Yes, he named him. He let Middle Child play with him a little and hold him for a few minutes at a time.  He left him lovingly nestled in his underwear drawer while he went to school.

That was a mistake.

Middle Child took it upon himself to babysit Brownie the Penguin and take him on a field trip to the library.  All was well until we got home and realized poor Brownie was no where to be found.  Middle Child insisted he fell out of his pocket in the VAN, not the library.  Whew.  That’s a relief.  Our search and rescue team did not locate Brownie.  Yikes….

It was at this moment in time that The Third Grader completely lost it and had the mother of all melt downs mourning the loss of Brownie. 

Me:  When exactly do you think you lost the penguin?  Where did you see it last?

Middle Child:  Are you going to be mad?  Is The Third Grader listening?  I think it was actually in the library…not the van.

The Third Grader:  WHAAAAAAT???!! 

It was at this point that The Third Grader decided he no longer wanted a brother and wished that he (Middle Child) was a hobo. 

With a bag on the end of a stick for all of his worldly possessions.  Of course, there would be no penguin in that bag.

The night continued to go downhill from there.

Let’s fast forward two weeks.  I am walking down the hall of The Third Grader’s school with Middle Child when I see this poster on the wall by his classroom.  It is covered with pictures of those tiny penguins.  There was a caveman penguin, like The Third Grader’s, a basketball player, a snowman, a regular penguin and tons more. 

When I saw this poster, all I could think of was how the images of those 20 or 30 penguins taunted poor Third Grader every day when he walked down the hall to gym or the library.  Every day he saw those little penguins and remembered that his non-hobo brother lost his.  Every day he worried and waited to see if the principal called the caveman penguin as the winner and he would not have his at school, so he would miss out on the prize. 

After I realized this, I thought maybe his meltdown wasn’t as bad as it could have been.  Not that I am excusing it, because he acted like a total turd, but he does put up with a lot.  So do I.  But, he did try to keep his prize safe and something still happened to it.  For once, he tried. 

I am happy to report that there are no hobos in the family, as of yet.   The use of the word has even slowed down.  Really, how many kids do you hear call each other hobos? 

If that’s as bad as it gets, I can handle it.