I don't like this woman and have tried to make a cut direct with her - something I thought would be easy to do when they moved.
When she called just after 8am, she woke me up. I hadn't heard from her since just after they moved to a town over an hour away this past summer. She started by making small talk which involved her asking me questions about my life (what have I been up to?, were we going on any vacations this year?, etc.) I answered her questions politely but did not go in to any detail.
Since you don't want to have a conversation with her, the best way to handle it is to seize control of the conversation and end it.
So you should have said, when she asked how you were, "I'm fine--is there a specific reason you called?" Then deal with that as BRIEFLY as you can (and as directly--no excuses, etc.). In other words, TELL HER or ASK HER to "get on with it." (just not those words, naturally)
This is part of the indirect way of telling her, "I'm not very interested in you personally." And you need to send it *sooner* so that you don't put her in the awkward position that you put her in. You answered her social questions, etc., but refused to do the other half of the equation. That wasn't polite. So next time, immediately send the conversation straight to the "business" aspect of it, and then get off the phone.
In your case, since you DO want to continue the contact for the girls' sake, you also get the convo over to what you ARE willing to be in touch about, and then you should be warm and enthusiastic about the kids and their friendship.
Then, for ANYONE who was awakened by a phone call or who doesn't want to stay in the stupid phone call, you say, "I'm going to go--I was in the middle of something."
If it's someone you might want to train to call you later, you say, "I was sleeping--I only get to sleep a little later on the weekends."
But in general, I would say, on a weekend, I would NEVER call someone before 9:30am unless I had absolute reason to know for certain that they're awake. On a weekday, I wouldn't call them in the morning PERIOD (again, unless I absolutely knew their morning schedule for certain).