They Coulda’ Been Great: September-December 2016

It’s been a long time since I’ve added an update here…Like A YEAR. I’ll start with the rest of 2016. (What is this? All answers are HERE.)

September 2

9:17 p.m.

“So Mom, what was your favorite ride to watch today?”

Right there, Eleanor summed up my day at the amusement park.


September 6

3:48 p.m.

I took 5 pictures of the kids on their first day of school before noticing that the bus had already arrived (9 minutes early). I’m sure they felt nothing but relief as they ran off to catch it. They loathe my forced photo shoots. Then again, George will have to live with this as his first day of 4th grade picture for the rest of his life… And don’t even get me started on Oliver’s refusal to give up the backpack we bought him in first grade. He looks like a trendy girl from the 1990’s with one of those ridiculous mini-backpack purses. Otherwise – YAY SCHOOL!

pic 1

4:46 p.m.

Big surprise when Oliver got off the bus today… For years, he’s been telling me he wants to be a safety patrol. Look at that proud smile! As soon as we got home he told the neighbor’s cat all about it. He’s now polishing his badge. Obviously.

pic 2


September 13

9:07 a.m.

Walking to school this morning…

George: Mom look! Alice’s pee is going in the same direction as another dog’s pee.

Me: It is?

George: Yeah, she’s peeing on the same spot so the tracks match up.

Me: Well, dogs like to do that.

George: I think she’s leaving that other dog a message.

Me: That would make sense since dogs like to pee in the same places everyday, leaving messages.

George: Yeah, and they always check their mail.

…we’ve talked about dogs “leaving messages” since the twins were in preschool. When we first got Alice, George asked why she always sniffed places where other dogs had peed. I explained that Alice could tell a lot about those other dogs through what she smelled, their age, gender, breed… Later that night after he had used the bathroom, he saw Alice sniffing the toilet, “look Mom. She’s smelling my messages.” Thankfully, George has never been interested in checking his mail.

pic 2

4:46 p.m.

Oliver’s teacher had the kids fill each other’s “buckets” (yes that’s a bucket) with notes that (hopefully) say something complimentary. There was a lot of the generic “nice”, “awesome” and (inexplicably) “hi” notes. But this one made me smile. Also – I wholeheartedly agree

sept bucket


September 15

5:35 p.m.

If I was ever asked to encapsulate my twins’ personalities on paper…

“I [Eleanor] started 4th grade today. It was pretty exciting. I think my favorite part will be starting band.”

“George started 4th grade today. he doesn’t like school. but he mite have adHd.”

sept 4th grade times

6:16 p.m.

Me: Eleanor – do you want to do the running program at school?

Eleanor: Yeah! That sounds really fun and I’m good at running.

Enjoyment of physical exertion AND self confidence? Clearly there was some switched at birth situation at the hospital…


September 16

2:30 p.m.

It MAY be possible to not sing along when Whitney comes on the radio with “How Will I Know” … But I really don’t want anything to do with that world.



September 21

7:45 a.m.

Walking your son and his friends to school provides unexpected learning opportunities. For instance, I learned from them that if you are stranded without water, the best means of hydration is drinking your own urine. They have of yet to learn anything from me. #boys

sept walk


September 22

7:33 p.m.

How is everyone doing this three fictional characters thing!? At first I thought it was another buzzfeed quiz. Is there some kind of fictional character encyclopedia I can reference? This could easily be a week long research project for me… Suggestions?

Also – I haven’t seen one Sex and the City character. Is that so 10 years ago? You people are digging deep!


September 23

5:13 p.m.

I think this is about as close as I’m going to get for 3 fictional characters. A little expected…but the most accurate. My short list also included Leslie Knope (for her oblivious optimism – but ultimately too energetic), Monica Geller (for her Christmas tree – but I could never attain that level of perfectionism), Elinor Dashwood (but I can’t include her AND Lady Grantham), Sansa Stark (pointed out to me a while back by Diane Cooper Gould), Nancy from Thirtysomething (but that made me sad), Angela from My So Called Life (but that was just high school me) and “every TV mom ever.” And if you don’t get Bob Newhart, then you’ve never met my family.

3 fictional characters 3

10:17 p.m.

“Wash your face! With soap! But not too much soap… And use water!”

Bedtime routine directives require a high level of precision in this house.


September 24

12:56 p.m.

Oh, just sitting at Dunkin Donuts, using the wifi and surreptitiously lip syncing to Mariah’s “Always Be My Baby.” You?


9:18 p.m.

Best tweet: “This is what America is! We disagree but we don’t hate.”

No one enters the Oval Office without a certain level of ego…but hate is unproductive and destructive. Any campaign that features hate and fear mongering does not get my vote.


October 3

10:43 p.m.

Mammogram perk: no one asks you to step on a scale.

Has it been a year? Don’t forget to schedule your annual appointment!

7:51 p.m.

Chris: you smell lotion-y.

Me: I just put on my moisturizer. I do it early so I’m not all, “I’m too tired…I don’t feel like it…” at bedtime.

Chris: Why don’t you just do it in the morning.

Me: I have morning AND evening skincare routines.

Chris: You do?

Me: YES!

Chris: I don’t know! I’m not a girl!



October 4

5:34 p.m.

Baby Andrew and I decided to rock stripes today. Nailed it.

Also – is that the cutest baby you’ve ever seen OR WHAT? Everyone at Target thought so.

Thank you for the baby love today Anna Donaldson!

baby andrew

7:28 p.m.

“Inexplicable aches and pains are just part of the human condition.”

One of my fancy answers for “I don’t know.”

I have no idea why my children bother asking me questions…

9:00 p.m.

Someday my children will look through old family photos and talk about what a creep their mother was taking all of those pictures while they were sleeping but COME ON!

oct sleep


October 7

10:44 a.m.

Me: What are you wearing?

Visiting 6 year old: I’m going on summer vacation.

Me: Okay…

V6YO: She [Eleanor] said we were never friends.

George: That’s what she said.

Me: Don’t say “that’s what she said.”

V6YO: But THAT’S what she said.

Me: That’s not what he meant…

Eleanor: I was just kidding.

V6YO: Well, I’m still going on summer vacation.

As long as we all know where we stand.



October 9

7:16 p.m.

This is turning 10:

1. Dressing yourself in the morning and wearing the same mismatched clothes to your party.

2. Letting your parents buy ANOTHER pinata which they think you still like…because they’re right.

3. Convincing your mother to replace original oil paintings with Halloween decorations you received as presents.

When did the party end? When George came inside and said, “Mom! Ask Armando’s parents if he’s had his tetanus shot!”

Happy birthday George and Eleanor!

hb 1

hb 2

hb 3

hb 4


October 10

4:00 p.m.

“Mom! Where are my gloves?” Because that’s not creepy enough…. Things I didn’t consider when I said, “yes – you can buy a Minecraft sweatshirt.”

oct sweatshirt


October 22

7:52 p.m.

Oliver (playing some kind of roughhousing game with Eleanor): Okay Eleanor – that’s one strike. Four more and you’re out!

Apparently we work on a five strike system now. #givingALLofthechances

[Then George – who isn’t playing – passes through the room, saying “it’s fun having a brother like Oliver.” I should think so.]


October 23

10:04 p.m.

I’ve always loved this 1970’s picture of a very tiny me, back when all you needed for family fun was a rope, a board and a frighteningly close tree trunk.



October 24

4:49 p.m.

8 year old neighbor to George after going home to ask his mother something:

“She said no in a way that means she won’t change her mind even if we keep asking.”

My kids should take lessons from that boy…

7:30 p.m.

You guys! We should totally start a band. (No – I really couldn’t tell you why George isn’t wearing a shirt.) #twins #pleasedontstartaband

oct band


October 27

4:22 p.m.

4th grade art project (aquatic theme?) Which is Eleanor’s and which is George’s? Hint: we fully live up to gender role expectations around here… #twins



October 29

12:00 p.m.

Such a beautiful, sunny day! Perfect for a stroll outside…a bank robbery or two…

oct mask

2:45 p.m.

“Halloween Brownies isn’t a thing.” …and other things I say to my kids at Target. Epilogue: we’re making brownies this weekend.

4:35 p.m.

It’s like the weather KNEW my shirt would arrive in the mail today.

nasty woman

6:30 p.m.

2 pumpkins down!

oct pumpkins


October 31

5:30 p.m.

When you wait until the last minute to decide what you want to be…you get to wear last year’s ninja costume.

oct george

You would think that after 4 years of being a vampire, he would want to try something else. You would be wrong.

oct oliver

And the winner for Most Animated Demon is…

oct eleanor


November 1

6:13 p.m.

8 Year Old Neighbor: I have to tell my mom the scores I got on my tests today.

Me: Were they good?

8YON: Yes! On the first one, I got 22 out of 27 and on the shorter one I got 22 out of 22.

Me: That’s great! On the shorter one you got a perfect score!

8YON: And I got almost all of the answers right on the longer one.

Me: That’s true – very impressive.

8YON: Yeah – and they were almost all wild guesses.

Good to know all of that hard work is paying off.


November 4

4:08 p.m.

Today, I got an e-mail from Oliver’s science teacher. As he advances through grades (now in 5th), he spends more and more time outside of the classroom working in small group and one-on-one academic pullouts. It’s necessary since he is working at a different grade level than his classmates, and luckily, he’s a good sport about it. From what his teachers tell me, he never complains or seems to see it as a negative reflection on him as a student. BUT he does get to stay with the class for “specials”, science, etc. Back to the e-mail…His teacher summed up so much of Oliver’s personality in a few lines. Kids who have academic challenges are often insecure in school and don’t seek the spotlight – and I am so grateful for my son’s confidence and positive sense of self. Here is what she wrote:

“I just wanted to share these pictures from science with you. Today Oliver had another great class! We were playing “echolocation tag” and he volunteered to be blindfolded and act as our “bat” who had to use just his sense of hearing to find his bug dinner. He was great! Then, knowing his love of butterflies, I let him hold one of them on his finger as we released it. He was so gentle and so sweet with it. When we went back inside, he said, “I’m gonna miss my little buddy.” It made my day! He is such a great kid!”

I can’t imagine life without MY little buddy. Though at 5′ 2″, he’s not exactly little anymore…



November 8

11:44 p.m.





November 9

10:47 a.m.

This morning, I sent my kids off to school with one directive: prioritize kindness.

They’ve watched silly videos and made Trump jokes…and on a more serious level, they’ve expressed outrage that a presidential candidate would publicly mimic a reporter with a disability, call women pigs and slobs, say Mexican immigrants are rapists and killers, suggest that a Black Lives Matter protestor DESERVED to be beaten up…and every child with access to YouTube has heard the “grab them by the pussy…when you’re a star you can do anything” brag. So I don’t blame my kids for believing that someone who could behave like that would never be elected as president. If I had their level of life experience, I would have had the same confidence.

So today they get their first taste of the real world. They see that much of our country is willing to brush aside racism and misogyny, and to take flat out lies at face value – simply because they want “change.” Apparently, at any price.

But that’s MY perspective. They’re just kids. And today they will be in school with other kids who are celebrating. And all of those kids have one thing in common – they are just reflecting the ideals of their parents. They do not have the life experience or intellectual capacity to truly engage in intelligent debate. So they shouldn’t be debating or arguing with each other. At all. Every single one of them should feel safe at school. They should not be berated for supporting “a racist” and they should not jeered at because their “corrupt” candidate lost. No child should be bullied for the decisions their parents have made.

So I told my three elementary school students to be kind. And to accept nothing less than kindness from others. Teachers will need to police this carefully, but I hope that when no one is looking, my own children choose to be kind. Today, they will have an early life lesson in balancing anger with graciousness. Something that doesn’t come easily to anyone.

We already talk a lot about how people need time and space to “feel their feelings.” I will continue that conversation so they understand that moving forward doesn’t require leaving those feelings behind. And that they will have to give the same courtesy to others. The fact that our country needs to be healed is a given – but that will never happen unless people are allowed to grieve and feel fury on their own timetable.

And probably the most important lesson that my white, middle class, extraordinarily privileged children can learn today is what it feels like to be a minority. Especially since this experience is but whisper of what people of color face on a day to day basis. I would love to spare them this fear of an uncertain future…but maybe allowing them to truly acknowledge those feelings will plant a seed for future empathy and understanding.

And all of this is on me as the parent. It’s on all of us. As our country spends the day crying, celebrating, hoping, despairing and planning, we also need to think about our children and what we want them to learn.

Children respond best to clear, uncomplicated messages. And I think kindness is an excellent place to start.

1:00 p.m.

Yesterday’s choice was easy. Today’s is much harder…



November 13

4:58 p.m.

Just arrived at the grocery store and realized I’m still wearing my slippers. #suburbsrepresent



November 14

5:58 p.m.

I used to think I was a really patient mother. Then math homework happened.

6:15 p.m.

Me: What is 11 minus 4?

Oliver: Give me one of your fingers.

#teamwork #MathHomeworkHostage



November 18

8:42 a.m.

6 year old girl walking to school with us today…

“My name is NO! My number is NO! …”

Practicing? #attagirl #theygottaletitgo

9:45 a.m.

Eleanor has been very concerned about me forgetting that she needs a costume for the 4th grade’s Colonial Day at school (what is she trying to say?). Proved her wrong with an 11th hour Pilgrim costume from Party City. A little off from a historical standpoint…but we said “good enough!” Apparently it pays to keep the bar low. I asked George if he wanted to dress up but he said, “no way – that’s so embarrassing!” The gender role conformity continues…



November 24

10:29 a.m.

Eleanor: On The first Thanksgiving, they didn’t dress up. They just gave thanks.

Excellent argument for not putting on fancy clothes today….


November 27

10:52 a.m.

“Can you find the elf? and 11 candy canes?” It’s not even December and we’re already talking about the damn elf. Decorations, Advent calendars and Elf placement begins on December 1 in my house. These kids need to slow their roll…



November 29

4:26 p.m.

Homework with 6 year old neighbor…

Me: What is that?

6YON: A pig.

Me: Write “pig” there.

6YON: [writing]

Me: That says “pike.”

6YON: Well at least I know how to spell “pike.”


8:42 p.m.

Eleanor asked if she could read a book to the boys tonight. Now she’s quizzing Oliver on reading comprehension. What is it with 10 year old girls making everything about school?


November 30

3:18 p.m.

I just bought one of those shatter resistant glass screen protectors…and shattered it while trying to put it on my phone. Sounds about right.


December 1

7:14 p.m.

Still life titled “Mom! We’re home!”



December 2

3:00 p.m.

Love my new wrapping paper from The Container Store.



December 6

7:14 p.m.

Me: Oliver…are those the same clothes you wore yesterday?

Oliver: Yup.

Things I notice at 7:00 pm. #RaisedByWolves


December 9

8:55 a.m.

“No! I said no detours, no climbing and no touching things. We are just walking to school. Let’s go!”

I totally bring the fun.



December 11

6:57 p.m.

Oliver wants me to buy him a Santa suit because of course he does.



December 13

8:29 p.m.

Eleanor is in the school play (Peter Pan) and her part is “Small Brave Girl” – one of Tiger Lily’s entourage. All of her songs involve lyrics like “ugh a wug” – so not at all offensive or anything… Anyway – everyone with more of a chorus role has been tasked with coming up with their own name and backstory. We were thinking of potential Indian names, and at the moment Soaring Sparrow (because she’s small, light and swift) seems to be the winner. Not set in stone, so if you have any other ideas, feel free to pass them on. But don’t even with Stands With A Fist. I already tried…


3:30 p.m.

NOW it feels like The Christmas season.



December 14

7:07 p.m.

For the first time ever – I’m not micromanaging how the gifts are positioned under the tree…yet. #PerfectBowsAREMoreFestive



December 16

4:07 p.m.

Okay – so I don’t have a picture on my phone that really shows this off to full effect… But I never cease to be amazed by my prophetic consumerism. When I was pregnant with the twins, I bought these adorable prints titled, “Banditos” (which the kids called “Bendy Toes” when they were little) from The Black Apple Etsy shop. I mean – how did I know??

bt 2


December 19

7:20 p.m.

Oliver is doing word searches and needed help finding “CANDLES”. Eleanor is always ready to boss people around and was happy to assist. She found “CANDY” but Oliver was adamant that he had to find “CANDLES” first. I said, “Oliver likes to do things in order,” and channeling Buddy the Elf, he agreed, “I like order – it’s my favorite.” Then Alice padded over to sit on the workbook. #teamwork



December 20

4:20 p.m.

Since I can’t send everyone a card… This picture was taken on our cross country trip this summer. If I had any idea that Sioux Falls would offer this kind of photo op, I would have dressed them in nicer clothes (which I guess would have required having packed nicer clothes…)



December 24

6:13 p.m.

I just managed to make a double batch of cookies with one extra stick of butter. Now that the rage is subsiding, I’ve decided that there are worse problems to have in the way of cookies.

6:30 p.m.

Weird mix of proud and jealous. That’s my childhood right there – down to the casual yoga pose. Meanwhile I am cleaning the kitchen and icing cookies. #nostalgia



December 25

6:30 a.m.

I don’t want to brag…but it’s December 25, and we remembered to move the elf every single night! Of course, a couple of those “nights” involved me waking up at 4:00 am in a cold sweat and running downstairs with a speed to rival those mornings that I hear the trash truck and realize that I didn’t put out the garbage. Whatever – it’s a personal best. #ElfMagic


7:35 a.m.

We put the “crack” in crack of dawn crafts. With safety goggles. #sorryneighbors




December 31

2:30 p.m.

Oh little green ornament on the ground…we are on the same page. I think I’m ready for the holidays to be over now.


My Favorite Day

My oldest son Oliver was born a week late. And I was pissed.

Because I’m a planner.

I like knowing exactly what is going to happen – because I scheduled it. I may not be the most organized planner in the world, but for the most part I very much like being master of my own destiny.

So pregnancy was super fun.

My husband, Chris and I decided to have a baby! It took a year. We thought we’d have two kids, two to three years apart. We had three…in 18 months. Don’t bother with math – there were twins.

The first time I got the thumbs up on a pregnancy test, I vowed to be more serious about healthy eating. I even bought a holistic pregnancy book complete with vegan recipes. From week eight to month seven my morning sickness was so bad that I existed on steady diet of cookies.

Even the thing I DIDN’T try to plan was a big joke on me. You see – I was terrified of the large needle involved in epidurals. So I decided that we’d just see how things went. Maybe I wouldn’t need it.

After giving birth, I decided there are two kinds of women who don’t get epidurals. The first are those who are deeply committed to a having a natural birth. With breathing techniques, special props and focal points. A partner who is ready to be there for all of it – the good, the bad and the ugly. Possibly with a doula.

And the second are women who give birth in the back of taxicabs.

I fit into neither of these scenarios. I arrived at the hospital with armed with a book and a husband so squeamish, he had to leave the room when I was getting an IV. We had no plan. And after about an hour of hard labor pains, I said, “fuck this. I will take that giant needle, thank you very much.”

So, no natural taxicab birth for me. Oliver was overdue, and I had had to be induced. Honestly, I was no rush. Pretty much nothing about birth sounded appealing to me.

The reason I was so pissed was that my mother, who was flying in from Florida, would have to leave the day he was born. She booked her arrival for the day after my due date, and a few days before my scheduled induction. But then my induction date got moved back. So instead of staying for a week to help me with my new baby, she spent all of her time walking up and down hills with me trying to kick start labor. Well – it wasn’t all walking… I eventually pulled a muscle and had to sit on the couch for a couple of days with a heating pad.

But I really tried to defy that new induction date. I even drank a castor oil and orange juice cocktail that several online sources claimed to be highly effective. No contractions…but I did lose about five pounds in one brief trip to the bathroom. On the upside, this made the weigh in at my final OB visit feel like a really successful Weight Watchers meeting.

So with Mom’s looming departure and the fact that I was absolutely terrified of giving birth, I started to feel rushed. I wasn’t excited – I just wanted to get it over with.

My mother’s sister, my Aunt Jan, drove down for the occasion. So the morning of the big day, all four of us headed out to the car together. Them, buzzing with anticipation while carrying my bags. And me with my pillow…the one week overdue version of dead man walking.

I vaguely remember a weepy moment where I announced to everyone, “I just wish it was tomorrow.”

I had no plan for this.

But I had my Mom. She had done this twice before and it was comforting to know she was there. I didn’t mention this previously, but my mom has always been my safe person. I could tell her anything – go to her with any problem – and she would always support me. On some level, I never stopped being that little girl who thought she could fix anything. And I have no doubt that if she could have given birth to that baby for me? She would.

Unfortunately that was not an option.

I had to do a lot of things that day that I wouldn’t classify as “pleasant.” But nothing was all that bad. The IV…the monitors…the epidural…the restless boredom of waiting. It was almost a shock when twelve hours later, my nurse announced that it was time.  Chris and I hadn’t planned to have other family members with us for the delivery, but after spending the whole day in that room together? Why not?

My mom and my aunt each held a leg so Chris could watch. He would regret this decision later. But I was always very clear about my own disinterest. The nurses kept asking me if I wanted them to grab a mirror so I could see what was happening. I declined. “You know…I’ve got a lot on my plate right now…I don’t think I need a visual…”

The nurses also informed me at one point that I wasn’t really pushing and suggested that I use the same muscles that I would for a bowel movement. I understood this logic, but was a little concerned. “What if something else comes out?” They said, “then we’ll know you’re doing it right.”

And with that, I said goodbye to my last shred of dignity.

The pushing was hard, but within an hour I was holding a healthy baby boy.

After he was weighed and swaddled and pictures were taken, my Mom sat next to me and with a gaze that held every hour in that room, waiting, worrying, laughing, complaining…pushing…she asked, “so Kate, what did you think?”

I looked down at my son – this entirely new person who belonged to me and said, “well….It wasn’t my favorite day…”

Pushing a nine pound baby out of your body makes you very honest.

But that’s okay. If there was anyone in the world with whom I could be so unapologetically honest and know that I wouldn’t be judged…it was my Mom. She knew what I meant. As much as that day really did kind of suck…it ended with me holding a miracle.

And while I didn’t quite get it at the time, it’s obvious to me now. I was ready. For everything that came next. That was my introduction to motherhood. It’s complicated and scary, and kind of gross. But if you can just relax and not worry about plans, it’ll be okay. Because it’s also full of miracles.

I have been a mother for over twelve years. And I’ve decided that there is no such thing as a favorite day. They all are.  Because they’re mine.

They Coulda’ Been Great: July-August 2016

So much for “be back shortly.” No wonder I never blog anymore. Better late than never? (What is this? All answers are HERE.)


July 6

7:57 p.m.

George: MOM! Oliver is teasing Eleanor. Every time she talks, he says “na na na.”

Me: I can’t arbitrate everything. I didn’t hear it, so I’m going to have to let that one go.

George: But it’s ANNOYING.

Me: Maybe – but you aren’t in charge of policing what other kids are doing. Eleanor didn’t complain to me – it’s not like this even involves you.

George: Well it kinda does. I kinda started it….

Me: [Bob Newhart Face]


July 14

10:01 a.m.

LTYM videos are now LIVE! Now I will start posting All of the Listen to Your Mother DC videos. Like I do every year, so expect 13 rapid fire status update from me starting now. (Then expect radio silence for the rest of the day as we’ll be starting our five week (yes – FIVE week) road trip as soon as I hit “post” on the last one!

10:03 a.m.

Video # 1: Tricia McCarthy Moran reading That’s What Mothers Do: Irish born and internationally raised, this mother reflects on how her own mother’s experience, moving far from family and security while raising five young children.


10:04 a.m.

Video # 2: Nicole Dash reading A Mami’s Touch: Watching her mother care for her dying grandmother, this mom reflects on her roles as “daughter” and “mother,” finding poignancy and beauty in continuing generations of women…mothers…daughters.


10:07 a.m.

Video # 3: Meredith Curs reading Clarity: It takes the joyous words of a seven year old to make this mom look at the friends she has made as a mother, how this fits into our very broken world, and what she might do to create change for the better. #blacklivesmatter


10:08 a.m.

Video # 4: Summer Smith reading The Elephant in the Room: Faced with the challenges of an unexpected medical condition, this mother comes to see the hopes and dreams we have for our unborn children as far less significant than the gift of helping them grow into their unique and perfectly imperfect selves.


10:12 a.m.

Video # 5: ME – stepping WAY out of my comfort zone by trying to be funny (seriously – the terror of hearing crickets is no joke) – not to mention the subject matter… Here I AM, reading Walking the Talk: This mother takes a humorous look at raising boys and how survival can easily take an “if you can’t beat them, join them” direction.


10:14 a.m.

Video # 6: Claire Bartick reading Baby A: When this mother is told that continuing with a high risk pregnancy would not only be dangerous for her, but surely end in loss, she makes a decision to continue loving and hoping no matter what the outcome.


10:15 a.m.

Video # 7: Vanessa Ford reading Listen to Your Child: Even the most liberal of parents can be thrown for a loop when their four year old son announces that he is a girl, “in my heart and in my brain.”


10:17 a.m.

Video # 8: Julie Mushtaq reading What Goes Around Comes Around: This mom grew up knowing that SHE would do things differently when SHE became a mother – particularly Halloween costumes.


10:19 a.m.

Video # 9: Rena Corey reading Hubris: A mother explains how she and her husband were once experienced parents of six, who ruled their household “with an iron hand”….until their daughter turned four and took mischief making to an entirely new level.


10:20 a.m.

Video # 10: Director, Stephanie Stearns Dulli reading The Strong Woman: This mother reflects on the fallout from the loss of her father to a violent crime when she was a baby – particularly the effect on her relationship with her mother.


10:22 a.m.

Video # 11: Dani Ndiaye reading Sacred Guardian: A mother reflects on how motherhood has challenged her to “be better and to do better.”


10:23 a.m.

Video # 12: Kathleen Gordon reading By Herself: Traveling with a mom who has led a fairly sheltered life takes an interesting turn for one woman, when a TV channel selection introduces topics not typically included in traditional talks about the birds and the bees…


10:24 a.m.

Finale video! Eleese Bohannon-Scott reading One Woman: This mother takes a look at how faith guides her daily life – especially all that comes along with her most important chosen career path: Motherhood.



July 14

9:27 p.m.

If this doesn’t scream “fun” I don’t know what does. The glass of wine helped. #travelwithkids #nightlifeinknoxville



July 15

4:36 p.m.

Arrived in Memphis! I said, “Let’s go to the Botanic Gardens!” #outvoted

Memphis 2


July 16

8:05 p.m.

Eleanor: Mom. I think hippos would be good at Marco Polo.

Me: Really? Why?

Eleanor: Number one. If you said, “Marco” they probably wouldn’t answer. Number two. They can hold their breath for a really long time.



July 16

9:17 a.m.

I thought it was such a good idea to give Eleanor a blog for our road trip and was annoyed with the boys for their polite HELL NO. Didn’t take into consideration that this would involve having my computer bogarted by a nine year old…



July 17

3:03 p.m.

At the Pink Palace today.


7:05 p.m.

Can’t visit Memphis without getting BBQ!



July 18

11:17 a.m.

Waiting for the Peabody Ducks.


11:28 a.m.

35 minute wait for ducks with 3 kids requires a Peabody mimosa.


12:06 p.m.

And finally – ducks.

Memphis 3

12:28 p.m.

“Quilts” made of old license plates. City Hall Memphis.


12:38 p.m.

View from the pedestrian walkway. “Sorry folks – park’s closed. Moose outside should have told you.” Another “pedestrian” out for a walk just told us that Mud Island is closed on Mondays. How did I not see this online?! #sadtrombone



July 19

5:05 p.m.

Saw this. Pulled off highway into cow pastures, coasting as far as I could, praying for a gas station. And I FOUND ONE. Pulled in on fumes. #RoadTripFun



9:49 p.m.

It’s amazing how my mood can hinge on one of my children eating one half of a grilled cheese sandwich.

10:39 p.m.

All settled in for the night at our hotel and there was a knock at the door. I opened the door to find a guy knocking on the door of the room NEXT to us. When I came back and told the kids it was for the room next to us, Oliver asked, ” who was that?” I told him it was a guy, but he wasn’t knocking on our door. He then asked, “was he wearing a cloak?” Because, obviously.


July 20 

8:22 a.m.

Told Oliver that we’re going to a [amateur for those of you who are picky about these things] rodeo today. So now he wants to know where his “cowboy outfit” is. I didn’t even bring the cowboy boots I own because ONEMORETHING to drag across the country. Hopefully there will be other lame tourists to camouflage us. #UrbanCowboyFail

11:00 a.m.


11:05 a.m.

Cavalcade (Pawhuska, OK amateur rodeo) crowd is starting to fill in. Clearly my angst over our lack of rodeo appropriate footwear was unfounded. Boots…flip flops…sneakers… All are equally represented.


11:39 a.m.

You would never know that we just had a fight about how she never lets me take pictures of her (happily) and how I’m never in pictures with my children because I’m the only one in our family who takes pictures. It’s a guilt selfie. I’ll take it.


3:45 p.m.

“Mom! It’s better from up here!”

rodeo 2

7:12 p.m.

Me: Here is the problem with you playing PokemonGo. You have to use MY phone.

George: But Mom! It’s not COMpetitive. And you like games that aren’t COMpetitive.

I don’t like ANY games. When are they going to figure it out? I’M NOT FUN.


July 21 

9:35 a.m.

Heading out of Tulsa this morning, but dropped by to say hello to the Golden Driller. On to TX…


6:49 p.m.

This is George’s favorite car at Cadillac Ranch. Yes – it’s because of the Batman artwork. Obviously…



July 22

9:28 p.m.

My kids came to me claiming that they didn’t know how to use the microwave in our hotel lounge. So it was up to me to make the microwave popcorn. Now I know what the problem was. They took one look at that DIAL and it was like l put them in front of a ditto machine and asked them to make copies. #roadtrip2016 #howoldisthatmicrowave




July 23

6:04 p.m.

Yesterday: scenes from downtown Santa Fe.



6:05 p.m.

Yesterday: scenes from downtown Santa Fe. Georgia O’Keeffe Museum was my only HAVE TO. They did pretty well.



July 23

9:35 a.m.

Today’s excursion in New Mexico – Puye Cliff dwellings.


11:05 a.m.

Mesa view at Puye Cliff dwellings.


11:45 a.m.

We climbed down a big ass ladder.


7:30 p.m.

Saturday night and we in the spot (hotel lobby cafe).



July 24

6:23 p.m.

Greeting from Radiator Springs.



July 25

9:23 a.m.

All aboard the Grand Canyon Railway!



July 28

10:03 a.m.

Hey! We were there.


12:30 p.m.

Sedona views.



July 29

9:45 a.m.

The whole point of driving across the country (as far as my kids are concerned) is happening right now.


10:03 p.m.

Me: Why don’t you watch TV with Ma Sue?

George: I can’t. She’s watching 60 Seconds and that’s bad for me.

Ma Sue: Yeah – but it’s over fast.


July 30

3:15 p.m.

Driving on the highway with the windows down, singing Pat Benetar songs at the top of your lungs is good for the soul.

4:45 p.m.

Surf boards

surf boards


July 31

2:33 p.m.

When you realize that you may as well give up the pretense of NOT eating a whole second doughnut because you aren’t even fooling yourself with those little pieces you keep ripping off of it.


August 1

5:33 p.m.

If you ever have a craving for Chop Suey, San Luis Obispo has you covered!


5:50 p.m.

Outside the Mission in San Luis Obispo – twins complied and looked at me. Oliver was distracted by the guy wading in a fountain behind me.


6:15 p.m.

Downtown San Luis Obispo


6:35 p.m.



7:05 p.m.

So this is the state of affairs with my oldest right now. Just in case you thought we were all hearts and rainbows all the time. Same amount of pouting, whining, bickering and reprimanding as there is at home. We just took our show on the road.



August 2

6:11 a.m.

First night in San Francisco!

chris 2


August 3

10:20 a.m.

Chinatown, San Francisco.

San Fran

San Fran 3

San Fran 2

11:25 a.m.

We walked UP to Lombard Street – opportunity for exercise or error in judgement? #legday

San Fran 4

12:05 p.m.

Brief stop at Fisherman’s Wharf.

SF bikes

11:55 a.m.

Alcatraz view.

San Fran 7

12:35 p.m.

Okay – one more “walking down the street” picture. This city has no bad angles!


12:55 p.m.

Noodle house lunch in #Chinatown.

sam wo

3:27 p.m.

We are spending an inordinate amount of time in #Chinatown.

San Fran 6

3:52 p.m.

If you are ever in San Francisco Chinatown, definitely drop by the Fortune Cookie Factory in Ross Alley (just check the sign on the shelf before you grab a bag).





5:35 p.m.

We were just on this. 45 minute wait in line. Packed like sardines. So cold I could barely feel my fingers. My children loved it. Totally worth it.

San Fran 8

7:26 p.m.

Mandatory sea lion viewing at Pier 39.

San Fran 9


August 5

2:04 p.m.

Out and about at the Running Y. Klamath Falls, Oregon

OR 1

3:25 p.m.

Nothing to do? Find sand. Fun at the Running Y volleyball court.

OR 3

Because of course they did.

OR 4


August 6

11:16 a.m.

If you are ever in the Klamath Falls – the Klamath & Western Railroad train ride is adorable (30 min drive from KF). A relaxing 15 min for parents and even my “not small” kids really enjoyed it.

OR 5

1:55 p.m.

Lake. Big lake. (Howard Prairie Lake to be exact.)

OR 6

2:55 p.m.

Oregon trees don’t mess around. Skyscrapers.

OR 7


August 7

6:33 p.m.

A rare (some would even say thought-to-be-extinct) night out with my husband. We had to travel across the country and leave our kids with grandparents, but we are having dinner and then seeing Hamlet at the Oregon Shakespeare theater in Ashland.

OR 8

OR 9


7:49 p.m.

Actual culture happening NOW. Hamlet in T minues 10.

OR 10

7:57 p.m.

Outdoor theater.

OR 11


August 8

9:46 p.m.

Evening walk courtesy of over-abundant energy. Ice cream bribe included.

Update: Market was closed when we got there and Oliver got stung by a bee.

August 9

2:36 p.m.

View from Lake of the Woods. Last in in Klamath Falls.

OR 13

2:37 p.m.

They were so pissed I didn’t bring their bathing suits…

OR 14

2:50 p.m.

Okayfine put your feet in. Oliver is taking my instructions to not get his shorts wet very seriously.

OR 12

8:28 p.m.

Goodnight Klamath Falls. See you next time.

OR 15


August 11

5:11 p.m.

Town Square antlers in Jackson, WY

WY 1

WY 2

5:49 p.m.

Waiting for the Town Square shoot out.

WY 3

town square

6:29 p.m.

Ice ice baby.

WY 4


August 12

7:18 a.m.

Waiting for our boat at Jackson Lake. I guess pants would have been a good idea… Brrrrrr.

WY 5

8:01 a.m.

A good morning to skip rocks by the Grand Tetons.

WY 6

12:52 p.m.

Cool geyser stuff at Yellowstone.

WY 7

WY 8

8:20 p.m.

Where the buffalo (bison) roam.

WY 9

8:12 p.m.

Just before sunset.

WY 10


August 13

11:09 p.m.

Best hotel pool ever. (Yes – I know how late it is. Don’t judge.)

WY 11


August 14

1:10 p.m.

Mount Rushmore happening now!

SD 1

1:39 p.m.

Obligatory group shot of the kids with minimal yelling from the photographer.

SD 2

2:32 p.m.

Waiting for an instruction in horseback riding at Rockin R by Crazy Horse in Custer State Park George: “Shall we mount now?”

SD 3

4:47 p.m.

So that just happened.

SD 4

11:15 p.m.

Sunset rainbow in Deadwood, South Dakota.

SD 5

11:30 p.m.

Post rain sunset in Deadwood.

SD 6


August 15

8:26 p.m.

Falls Park in Sioux Falls, South Dakota

SD 8

SD 7

8:35 p.m.

2016 holiday card?


August 17

9:33 a.m.

My children as we arrived at our hotel yesterday…

“The pool isn’t very good.”

“Yeah. No hot tub.”

We are becoming very worldly on this summer road trip…


August 18

10:45 a.m.

Fly at the top of the (Sears) Willis Tower in Chicago.
Chicago 1

10:52 a.m.

My future Ferris with Sloane and Cam at the top of the (Sears) Willis Tower.

Chicago 2

11:43 a.m.

After a lot of yelling (me) and scene making (them…and I guess me) The Bean.

Chicago 3

Chicago 4

12:15 p.m.

Love and marriage… Buckingham Fountain.

Chicago 7

6:05 p.m.

Thought I got a cute picture of the kids with two (fake) Terracotta Warriors outside the exhibit. Didn’t realize that George was holding hands with one of them and looking all stranger danger. Do they WANT me to cry?

Chicago 5

7:35 p.m.

Night train.

night train


August 19

3:03 p.m.

I just said, “talk to me Goose,” to my GPS. So that’s where we currently are in the 5 week road trip…

6:17 p.m.

The bad news: Chris’ connection at JFK to come meet us in Cleveland (last stop on the road trip – visiting family) was cancelled.

The OMG news: He just met Tim Gunn!!!

Stalker pic – pre-handshake….

Tim Gunn


August 23

3:01 p.m.

George’s take on driving with the windows down:

“Feels good to air out your head.”



August 27

2:33 p.m.

Old, dog chewed glasses case won’t stay closed anymore. Not to worry – I’m very solutions oriented. I also like to keep things fancy.

Aug 1

3:44 p.m.

Oh, the farce of me putting on a bathing suit to go to the pool… The day all of my kids learned how to swim was the day that “tan lines” became synonymous with “farmer’s tan.” Waving to you all, fully dressed from the shade!


August 29

7:48 p.m.

Blast from the past: Eleanor just said, “up your butt with a coconut.”

Holds up.


August 30 

4:14 p.m.

View from below. Finally hung the Chinese parasol mobile from  Chinatown San Francisco in Eleanor’s room.

Aug 2


August 31

11:37 a.m.

Prodigy in the house! We spent time with friends from France on Friday (sadly, not IN France) and now Oliver claims that he can speak French. He proved this by saying bonjour, merci and BON VOYAGE! as we were leaving. Then this morning when I offered him a Pillsbury “crescent roll”, he informed me that, “actually, it’s a croissant.”

That said – I also just caught him trying to inflate himself with the bicycle pump…


3:38 p.m.

Heading out for a play date with friends and decided to walk…

George: Mom – I know a faster way to get there.

Me: Okay!

George: But you have to climb over a fence.

Me: I’ll meet you there.

Next up: September-December (oh yeah – knocking it all out in one post).

They Coulda’ Been Great: May-June 2016

Was April really the LAST month I covered for TCBG? Whoah – a lot has happened since then… I drove around the country with my kids for five weeks! But first, let’s start with May through June… (What is this? All answers are HERE.)


May 7

12:53 p.m.

Sitting at a Dunkin Donuts while Oliver is at an appointment, I decided that Mother’s Day is starting early…with TWO French crullers. #MothersDayCaloriesDontCount


May 11

8:30 p.m.

For the first time ever (in the 9 years since we’ve had children in the public school system), Chris signed paperwork for a field trip. Eleanor was going to hand it to me, but he was standing there and told her he would handle it. She also handed him her daily homework completion sheet to sign. He asked her if she had completed her homework yet and she said, “not all of it.” He asked, “why would I sign this now if you haven’t completed it yet?” Eleanor and I looked at each other, then looked at Chris. And I said, “you know nothing Jon Snow.” #noob



May 13

8:04 p.m.

“You know I need to mentally prepare myself for socializing.”

-Things I say to my extroverted friends.


May 14

9:02 p.m.

Sometimes children beg you to take their picture when they’re dressed like horses and you’re talking to your friend and all “ugh…okay, fine.” And 15 years later it’s like the best decision you ever made. Projecting a bit…but I’m pretty sure that’s how it’s going to go down.



May 18

6:52 p.m.

If I had a family food blog, it would be called “Spaghetti Again”. Why does dinner have to be a thing…

7:09 p.m.

I’m pretty sure I learned how to be a grownup by watching Thirtysomething in high school. Little did I know that yes, it would be just that boring.


May 24

7:28 p.m.

This evening at the twins’ third grade violin concert, the violin teacher announced that she likes to keep things “short and sweet.” So I’ve basically met my school concert soulmate. (No picture of Eleanor since her class was waaaay in the back.)



May 25

9:06 a.m.

George: That dog is so cute. I wish I could see what he looked like when he was a puppy. Like right after he came out of his mother’s butt.

Me: He didn’t come out of his mother’s butt. I explained how birth works…

George: Oh yeah! Only cats do that.

We may need to revisit that birds & bees discussion…


May 25

10:42 p.m.

Watching a commercial on Hulu…

Me: I think that’s Lane from Gilmore Girls.

Chris: Hey – did you know they’re supposed to be doing a remake of that show?

No caption necessary.



May 30

10:20 a.m.

Took the boys to get haircuts. So obviously.



June 2

5:37 p.m.

The age old question… “Mom! Search it up!”



June 3

4:44 p.m.

Me: Oliver – can you turn that down please?

Oliver: What?

Me: I asked if you could turn the sound down on your tablet.

Oliver: (no response)

Me: OLIVER! Can you please turn that down?!

Oliver: What are you saying? I can’t hear you.

Me: [Bob Newhart face]

6:20 p.m.

Eleanor is practicing her recorder songs (from sheet music she got at school) including this gem. And if you are wondering – no, it is not recognizable.

Oliver’s commentary: “Can we have some quiet time with no whistling please.”


9:12 p.m.

I’m not entirely sure what’s going on here…but it seems to involve a dump truck full of Hot Wheels cars, Minecraft videos and wearing my white circle scarf like a tube top. Bedtime!



June 8

1:50 p.m.

The bad news: I lost my drivers license and just spent 2 hours and $20 at the DMV getting a new one.

The good news: It seems VA is now allowing you to smile in your picture again, so I will no longer look like a serial killer on my primary ID.

Bonus news: For the first time ever, I listed the weight that I am and not the weight I think I should be. Because I’m 44 years old and no one cares and this is who I am dammit! *throws hat in the air – burns bra*


June 9

11:38 a.m.

I have a million things I should be doing right now (that’s right – ONE MILLION). But first, I think it’s very important that I eat all of the leftover Chinese food in my refrigerator.


June 11

10:35 a.m.

Eleanor: Mom, can I have some juice?

Me: I’m kind of busy honey, you can get that yourself.

Visiting 5 Year Old: Make that 2!

Me: How about “Eleanor – could you please get me some juice too?”

Visiting 5 Year Old: Make that 3!

She’s got my back.


June 12

1:24 p.m.

Before George’s soccer game today…

Chris: Hey – I want you to meet [woman’s name]. Look for her at the game – she’s blond…tall…thin…really pretty….

Me: You’re going to have to give me more incentive than that.

(He should have lead with the fact that her son is on George’s team and they want a play date.)

9:04 p.m.

Every Sunday evening I have to explain to my kids that yes, they DO have to go to bed on time because they have school the next morning and need a good night’s sleep. Little do they know it’s really because Game of Thrones is on at 9:00.


June 16

3:53 p.m.

I now know why yoga pants were invented. Here’s a hint: try doing down dog in shorts. Then look at your knees. Gravity is not kind to the aging body… #movingtomars

5:38 p.m.

Just as we pulled up to the pool, What a Feeling came on the radio. My kids then exchanged “dodged a bullet” looks because SINGING! There may be an a capella performance on the way home… #CloseMyEyesIAmRhythm

7:07 p.m.

I’m the kind of mom who buys educational games to play with her children. And then never opens them because ohmygod I hate games.


June 23

1:24 p.m.

I love it when teachers really know their students and recognize their unique strengths like this. Also – nailed it.



1:50 p.m.

I am the worst when it comes to volunteering in my kids’ classrooms and chaperoning field trips (combo of not wanting to lose time I can be working in a quiet house and not wanting to be out in the world socializing any more than strictly required). BUT I do come in for the end of year class parties and drive them home instead of making them hang around to ride the bus while I enjoy ONE LAST HOUR to myself.

George was the first to tell me he was ready to go, and I waited by the door as he gathered his things. I whispered that he should say goodbye (meaning to his teacher). So obviously, he yelled into the room, “BYE EVERYBODY! HAVE A GREAT YEAR!” (not just a great summer – because really – why stop at Labor Day?) After a few called “bye” back, one little boy came over and jokingly hugged him saying, “George! I’m gonna miss you!” So of course, another kid “brought it in” on the other side. Then another, then another…and suddenly, George was engulfed in a Bad News Bears group hug of screaming nine year olds, and pumping his fist in the air, yelling “HAVE A GREAT YEAR! HAVE A GREAT YEAR!” It was epic.

George’s take on this: “they’re gonna miss me because they love me SO MUCH.” My take: any excuse to scream. Either way – I wish I got it on video.

5:15 p.m.

If some one tried to offer me a frozen piece of cheese I would think they were crazy. But the cheese on that frozen pizza waiting to go in the oven? Whole different ballgame.

10:57 p.m.

George: So this is what I believe. Before you’re born, you get to pick who your mom will be.

Me: And you picked me?!

George: Yes.

Me: Well thank you.

George: Yeah – and if you just want a random, you spin the roulette wheel.

-George on what lies beyond the veil…


June 25 

8:48 p.m.

Sometimes you just have to stay in the car to hear the rest of Thunder Road. #cuesaxophone


June 27 

9:04 a.m.

George: Mom – you know how that one time in Sponge Bob, he said “don’t drop the soap?”

Me: Uh….yeah?

George: Well what does that mean?

Me: Um… It’s about prison…how people there can be dangerous…you don’t want to turn your back on anyone because you can’t see them coming…. Like if you drop the soap and bend down to get it, they could jump you.

George: You mean jump ON you?

Me: Yeah – like to hurt you. “Jump you” means try to…um…beat you up. Hurt you.

George: They’re allowed to DO THAT?!

Me: Well, no – the guards are supposed to be watching to make sure that doesn’t happen.

George: OH – because they don’t want the soap to get dirty.

Me: Pretty much.

12:24 p.m.

Scenes from your sister’s pediatrician appointment. #travelingcircus


2:36 p.m.

Four kids hanging off the side of the pool in the deep end…

Eleanor: Mom! Tell us who wins!

Four heads duck under water and stay there. Eleanor comes up first. Then friend #1. Then friend #2. Then George.

Me: George won.

Eleanor: What?! But I came up first!

Me: I thought you were seeing who could hold their breath the longest! Whoever comes up last would win!

Friend #2: Oh yeah….

I think they’re broken.

7:20 p.m.

Being a mom means always accepting the cheese touch from your child and never passing it on.

(If your kids are younger than 6 and older than 17 you probably won’t have any idea what I’m talking about.) #DiaryofaWimpyKid


June 29

8:04 p.m.

George: [unintelligible fury over something Oliver is doing/saying]

Me: Just ignore it.


Me: People are going to be annoying you for the rest of your life, and you can’t blow up every time that happens.

George: [muttering] Yes I can.



Be back shortly with July and August!

They Coulda’ Been Great: February-April 2016

THREE months later…we have a lot of catching up to do. (What is this? All answers are HERE.)


February 4

3:00 p.m.

Eleanor on choosing valentines for her class:

“I have to find some with candy so I don’t disappoint people with tattoos or something…”



February 5

4:41 p.m.

Epic fail on cross country skiing today. We drove almost 3 hours to WV and 20 minutes into the trail, we had to admit defeat. It was like a sheet of ice – terrible for kids learning how (not to mention their mom who was a novice the last time she skied over 10 years ago). Even Chris who loves it, fell on an easy hill. I actually spent an inordinate amount of time lying next to Oliver in the snow trying to teach him how to get up without letting his skis slide forward. On the upside, think I could now easily teach an advanced “getting up clinic.”

The rest was 100% damage control. George believes us that it will be better when there is more snow on the ground. Eleanor manages an unenthusiastic “skeptical.” Oliver thinks we’re full of it.

I took this picture right after we gave up, jokingly telling everyone to smile and say, “we love skiing!” Oliver refused to play and his face pretty much sums up the day.


pic ski fail

7:40 p.m.

George: So Dad – Spanish is written in English. It just means different things.

Me: Yes – Spanish and English are written with the same alphabet.

I speak fluent George.


February 11

6:18 p.m.

Oliver is working on valentines for his class, and every time he looks up the next name on the list it goes something like this…

“Okay…’Christopher’…hey! I know him!”

Every single time.

For Oliver, life is one long string of delightful surprises.


February 13

8:39 a.m.

8:30 a.m., nowhere to go and it’s freezing outside…

Me: Why are you putting on your coat?

Oliver: So I can be a mysterious figure.

Me: A mysterious figure?

Oliver: With gloves.

Well, obviously with gloves…


February 14

10:46 p.m.

Alex Tudor: I’m starting to notice lines on my forehead.

Me: I don’t see them.

Alex: Really?

Me: No – but this is when you start to get “fine lines”. I mean, before the they get really deep and obvious.

Eleanor: Yeah – like Mom’s.

And she’s not even being a smart ass! Trying really hard not to feel like an old hag… Also – Happy Valentine’s Day!


February 17

7:14 p.m.

Chris just sent me this picture. Takeaways:

1. If Chris stays home from work and I am out for the day, the bed will never be made.

2. Alice really knows how to make herself comfortable in an unmade bed.

3. Alice may be possessed.

pic alice


February 19

8:42 p.m.

“You guys – we should start a band.”

-overheard in the next room #‎9YearOldGirlRiteOfPassage


February 28

7:58 a.m.

Me: Look! There’s a cardinal outside!

Eleanor: I see it.

Me: Oh wait – that’s not the one I saw. That’s a female. The males are bright red. There was a bright red one there a second ago. I guess there are two of them.

Eleanor: Maybe they’re…

Me: …a couple.

Eleanor: Or just mating.

Well – HELLO, Miss Sophisticated!



February 28

8:58 a.m.

George: Mom – did you know that your stomach is the most powerful organ in your body?

Me: It is?

George: Yes. Because it produces acid, and acid can destroy anything.



March 1

12:05 p.m.

What a gorgeous day to get out and vote! Since the kids were home, Diane Cooper Gould and I took turns watching them outside. I had serious deja vu watching them play “throw the shoe” and realized that they did the same thing last time we voted. Also realized that I never actually asked them if they were throwing one of THEIR OWN shoes….and that they would make excellent child settlers out on the prairie. Who needs electronics when you can play catch with shoes or pig bladders or whatever.


March 4

5:58 p.m.

Friday happy hour at Diane Cooper Gould’s house and we (okay – Cathy Trocchia and I) just had a very animated (and completely serious) 20 minute discussion about vacuum cleaners. ‪#‎ThisIsMiddleAge‬ ‪#‎RetractableCords4Ever‬


March 7

8:25 a.m.

Look what I just found in George’s backpack….

How was he not “respecting each other and our teachers” and “controlling our bodies and our voices”?

“Slideing around the floor.”

What are some things he plans to do to make sure he continues to follow the “5 school rules”?

“Stop slide across the floor.”

My takeaway: how the hell does he know how to spell across?? It took me 10 years and auto-correct to master that particular C and S combination. Oh – and I’ll believe it when I see it.

pic school note


March 8

4:25 p.m.

Me: Sorry Oliver. I didn’t mean to snap at you. I’m just feeling frustrated.

Oliver: Don’t be frustrated. Be cheerful.

I’ve said it before…Oliver IS Buddy the Elf.


March 13

5:56 p.m.

My kind of party. And yes – it actually WAS a cat’s birthday party. Better yet? It wasn’t THAT cat’s birthday. It was a joint party for two other cats. Suburban night life is no joke. There has to be an Awkward Family Photos card in there…#‎HappyBirthdaytoSpike‬ ‪#‎HappyBirthdaytoHector‬ 

pic cat party


March 15

6:53 p.m.

George is in the corner watching YouTube videos…

George: “Kids react to Clash of Clans”??

Me: Is that an inappropriate video?

George: No Mom. It’s KIDS watching Clash of Clans. Not teenagers or adults or elders.

This put my mind at ease, as you know how inappropriate those “elders” can be…


March 17

12:49 p.m.

Finished watching the third season of House of Cards earlier this week, and haven’t been able to get the theme music out of my head. On the upside, it does add an element of drama to grocery shopping…


March 19

8:18 p.m.

If I had to write a book about my life right now, it would be titled, “I Don’t Love My New Vacuum – And Other First World Problems”.


March 20

11:10 a.m.

I really want to put away the snow pants, but the minute I do, we’ll get 3 feet of snow. ‪#‎NotTemptingFate


March 21

8:29 a.m.

Discussion while Eleanor and our five year old neighbor, Mary are making Easter cards…

Mary: When my brother was in my mother’s tummy, I wasn’t even invented yet.

Eleanor: Well, the name Mary was invented.

Mary: Yes! By the mother of God!

Me: That’s right! [Because in my house anything “cute” that comes out of a child’s mouth is automatically deemed true.]

Mary: Yeah – and a long time ago I used to talk to God every night.

Me: That’s nice.

Mary: Because I love him!

Me: Awwww.

Mary: Because he made cotton candy!

Not that this dialog is at all related our family’s heathen idolatry practice of worshiping chocolate bunnies….or wait – maybe it is…

9:32 a.m.

I’m trying to get some work done, but Mary (the five year old hanging out at my house) is bored. Eleanor is no help as she is now doing something very important on an electronic device…

Mary: I have nothing to do!

Me: [glancing up from the computer] Why don’t you practice sliding down the stairs on your tummy?

Eleanor: She’s already perfected that.

Mary: The rug burns on my stomach hurt.

Clearly, I missed my calling as a daycare service provider…


March 22

7:46 p.m.

George: Mom – can I ask you a question?

Me: Sure.

George: …No – wait. I’ll just tell you the answer.

I’m basically superfluous to our conversations.


March 26

1:13 p.m.

“Well – I’m not going to play into the drama…”

Things I say to nine year olds when I just don’t have the energy to come up with something age appropriate.


4:37 p.m.

Uncle Steve’s barn apartment/painting studio. AKA: one of the many living spaces I’m NOT responsible for cleaning this weekend. I love being a house guest…

pic barn

7:46 p.m.

My boys.

pic boys
8:42 p.m.

Uncle Steve gave the twins a painting lesson, but George had more answers than questions…

“French people use these.”

pic G painting


March 27

12:19 p.m.

Today after an Easter egg hunt in Uncle Steve’s barn apartment/painting studio I was looking at the art with George. I told him that I thought these two paintings (that happen to be in gold frames) are my favorites. So immediately, he exclaimed, “OH! Because they’re framed in GOLD.”

I started to reply, “well no – but now that you mention it…the frames do kind of confine them in a way that directs your focus to…” And he was already standing next to another painting, saying, “yeah – THIS baby needs a gold frame.”

George has this whole art thing figured out…#‎ItNeedsSomeBowsOrSomethin‬

pic gold frame 1

pic gold frame 2

1:56 p.m.

It’s after 1:00 on Easter and my boys are still in sweat pants. I assume there will be bribes/threats happening 10 minutes before company is due to arrive… Even then, Oliver will do something weird like insist on buttoning his polo shirt all the way up and George will still have THAT HAIR he has… It’s not easy being a girly, twirly-party-dress-wearing little girl at heart in this family.

pic boys easter

3:52 p.m.

First fancy Easter party in about 11 years!

pic kate


March 29

5:50 p.m.

Feeling very smug about not only remembering to take pictures this weekend, but actually handing the camera to someone else so I could be in a couple as well!

Did the Hood girls represent at the Fancy Easter Party?‪ #OHITHINKSO‬

pic girls


March 30

9:01 p.m.

Last week we were at some good friends’ house for their daughter’s birthday. There was ice cream cake and Oliver’s only complaint was that I wouldn’t let him have a second piece.

Eleanor was supposed to spend the night, but after a long day in DC, decided she wasn’t up to it. Her friend (also exhausted after a long day in DC) was crushed and needed some consoling. Oliver happened to be in the room where her mom brought her to talk. He asked what was wrong and the mom said, “well things aren’t turning out as she expected and she’s feeling a little sad.” My son said, “me too! I didn’t get another piece of cake.” From the other room I could hear low murmurs, and while the tears seemed to be slowing down, they hadn’t actually stopped. Then, during quiet pause, I heard Oliver offer some words of comfort: “well…I hope you get a pinata.”

If there are two things that boy loves on a birthday, it’s ice cream cake and a pinata. So that’s just what we did today after school for HIS ELEVENTH (someone pass the smelling salts) birthday. The kids on our block came over, and as soon as everyone scraped the last of the Carvel chocolate cookie crumbs from their plates, we pulled out the pinata.

Tonight after dinner, I let Oliver have a second piece of cake and decided that if I ever write a self help book, it will be titled, “I Hope You Get a Pinata.”

Happy birthday to my very first baby!

pic oliver


April 3

3:12 p.m.

This may be premature… But I’m starting to think that I MIGHT not win the 1 million dollars… #sadtrombone

pic mon

7:50 p.m.

This evening I got distracted by Facebook and burned the roast. To be categorized under “If social media existed in 1950’s sitcoms.”


April 5

7:46 a.m.

Some days, it’s hard to wake up. Other days, it’s hard to rise from the dead. Today would be the latter. No wonder zombies are so slow.


April 7

12:00 p.m.

Women my age look at pictures of ourselves from 25 years ago and say, “Oh my god! Look at how young I was! I was so pretty! Why did I think I was fat? I only wish I had that skin now…” Then other people look at those same pictures of us and say, “Oh my god! Look at your eyebrows!”

It’s all about the lens.


7:02 p.m.

Earlier today…

5 year old neighbor: Are you allergic to flowers?

Me: No. Why?

5 year old neighbor: [hands me a dandelion]

That kid says “your house smells bad,” to me on the regular…but she sure can be sweet sometimes.

8:00 p.m.

Eleanor is working on her math homework and it seems to involve figuring out patterns of numbers and placing them in boxes (it’s called “Magic Squares”)…

Chris: Hey that’s Sudoku.

Me: It is?

Chris: Yeah.

Me: So Sudoku is just math?

Chris: Yes.

Me: No wonder I never wanted to try Sudoku.

I fully embrace my gender stereotype…


April 13

10:38 a.m.

When something bad is about to happen in a book or movie you love, and every single time, you irrationally hope it won’t happen this time.


April 17

5:13 p.m.

Chris coaches George’s soccer team and they lost an important game today…

Eleanor: How was the game?

Chris: We lost.

Eleanor: What was the score?

Chris: 3:0

Eleanor: Eh. Pretty close.


6:52 p.m.

“So Mom…if I wasn’t in this body…then someone else would be controlling this body.”

-Existential conversations with George

9:02 p.m.

Earlier when the kids were brushing their teeth, I overheard Eleanor say, “remember to floss, boys.”

She’s raisin’ ’em right!


April 19

8:48 a.m.

Once George’s hair gets aerodynamic, I know it’s time to cut it.

pic G


April 20

6:39 p.m.

“We’re NOT late – you still have one minute to change.”

Another leisurely arrival at swim class! Hey – just doing my part. These kids’ anxiety issues aren’t going to create themselves…

6:53 p.m.

2 bottles of wine, a bag of Smart Food popcorn, a reusable water bottle (hidden) and a package of straws. In case you wanted to know what happens when I go shopping without a list…

pic shopping


April 22

8:46 a.m.

Since we’re all sharing Prince stories… I was once lucky enough to score two tickets to the Purple Rain concert. Meaning MY FATHER who worked in advertising and had radio station clients was able to score two tickets to the Purple Rain concert. Meaning, HE had to take me – a seventh grader at the time – to the Purple Rain concert. I’m sure he too has fond memories of the concert…especially that part where Sheila E., who opened for Prince pulled a man from the audience and simulated oral sex on him while singing Next Time Wipe the Lipstick Off Your Collar. #‎MagicalChildhoodMemories‬

pic prince


April 26

7:47 a.m.

Eleanor: Mom – do you think when I grow up, I’ll have E.T. hands like you?

It may be time to dial back the self deprecatory humor around my kids…


April 28

10:58 p.m.

Someday when it’s not relevant anymore, I will master emojis. But for now I just think, “why so much produce?” Is there really ever a text that calls for corn?


They Coulda’ Been Great: December 2015-January 2016

Running a little late with the TCBG…like a month late! At any rate, here is December/January! (What is this? All answers are HERE.)


December 1

6:17 p.m.

George: Mom – did you know that you can eat cardboard?

Me: What? No you can’t. Never eat cardboard.

George: No – Mom – it’s edible.

Me: Who told you that?

George: Mom! It really is – you can eat it. It’s made of fat.

Me: First of all – you can eat anything if you put it in your mouth and swallow it. But eating cardboard would probably make you very sick. Second – it’s not made of fat (which is totally gross as far as eating goes anyway). Cardboard is made of the same stuff as paper.

George: So you can eat it – but it will make you sick. BUT you CAN’T eat a raccoon.

Me: Well – technically, I guess you can if you cook it…

George: But you DEFINITELY can’t eat a live raccoon.

So glad we cleared this up.


December 2

9:16 p.m.

“So I believe in Santa and all that…but I don’t believe thw part about kids having to be good to get presents. I think that’s something parents made up.”

-George Hood – as cynical as it suits him


December 3

8:57 a.m.

Invention idea! Locks for coat zippers. Parents would pay big money for this…

4:31 p.m.

5 year old neighbor to other kids outside: Santa’s not real!

Me: [5yo’s name]! Don’t say that!

5yo: But he’s NOT real.

Me: Well – I’ll tell you something [5yo’s name]…when you stop believing in Santa? That’s when he stops bringing you presents.

5yo: Okay – I believe in Santa.



December 4

7:27 a.m.

George: Mom – do I have the brownest eyes in our family?

Me: Yes – actually, you do.

George: Yeah – because they’re REALLY dark brown. Maybe I could win the world record for dark eyes. Or MAYBE there isn’t one and I can start it!

All roads lead to the Guinness Book of World Records. If the brown eyes thing doesn’t work out, he’s told me about one involving putting 70 post it notes on his face. ‪#‎It‬‘sOn


December 6

4:23 p.m.

Weekend trip to see family with a day trip to NYC to check out the holiday sparkle. For the most part it was a lot of getting crushed in crowds – but I still loved being in my favorite city…

You can’t see the ice skaters in Rockefeller Center (and two of us are rocking the double chin look big time) but we’re ALL in the picture! #miracle

First actual train ride (NJ to NYC).


Rock Center tree.


You can’t see the ice skaters in Rockefeller Center – but we’re ALL in the picture.


Rock climbing in Central Park.



Q: Kids – what was your favorite thing about NYC today?

A: The rocks!


Naked Cowboy siting in Times Square.


Photo op on the walk back to Penn Station.



December 9

8:00 p.m.

I’ve decided that 85% of parenting involves explaining things that I barely understand myself.


December 10

6:15 p.m.

Some families treat a power outage as an opportunity to disconnect from electronics and social media and do fun group activities like playing board games by candlelight. My family panics and considers eating each other. So I guess we’re somewhat prepared for the zombie apocalypse…


December 12

10:13 a.m.

Power is out again – so obviously it’s time to play with the lantern. #‎HeIsET



December 14

8:24 p.m.

Epic #‎vantler fail. The twins and I bought them while Oliver was at his swim lesson and had them all set up for the ride home. While in the car, I noticed a whistling noise (they attach to the car windows) and pressed the button to make sure our front windows were as “up” as they could get. But I DIDN’T make them go up. I somehow made them GO DOWN [because I am a giant dork with no sense of direction, even when it comes to automatic windows]. At this moment our vantlers are lying in the road somewhere on Fairfax County Parkway. So of course I had to promise to buy a new set tomorrow. If you are at the Sterling Party City and see a white car with a big red Rudolf nose and no antlers, make sure to say hello.

No idea what vantlers are? Watch this.


December 15

4:13 p.m.

Back in business. #‎vantlers‬



December 16

10:54 a.m.

“I don’t want to jinx us, but this is the easiest tree we’ve ever had…no branch sawing…no hours of trying to make it look straight in the stand…” Then Chris said, “SHUT UP!”

But no – I could not be quiet in my own head. I marveled over how letting the kids help this year was far less painful than I expected (yes – they are 9-10 years old and I have never let them help before). I mean – it was a little panic inducing to see them putting the nicest, most breakable ornaments at the bottom and placing the heaviest ornaments at the veeeeery tippy tip of a branch. But I was able to stay on top of damage control and was so focused on maintaining some semblance of order that it seemed to take a lot less time than it usually does.

And it’s really a PERFECT tree. I was about to post about it earlier this morning, but then I heard, “um mom – look at the tree…” Of course, half the lights had blown out. Of course. Because of my Christmas tree hubris. Luckily, the kids had to leave for school shortly after that, so I only had to do deep breathing exercises for 15-20 minutes while they whirled around me in the usual morning frenzy. I found the problem strand and replaced it (after removing all of the ornaments in that section of the tree because I wrap the shit out of those branches!)

The world can now un-pause since our tree is back to it’s original glory. In fact – it’s even better! Here is a picture. Expect me to post about 500 more over the next week. Also – if you are into anthologies, I have an essay about my Christmas tree travails in Mom for the Holidays. Check it out if you like humorous stories about grinchy tree-hoarding mothers who are paid back big time with pretty much anything that could possibly go wrong with a Christmas tree…except fire. We’ve never experienced fire. Of course, now that I’ve said it…



December 18

2:20 p.m.

Two things people in Safeway heard me say to my three kids plus two friends:

“No wrestling in the wine aisle!”

“Why does everything have to be a penis?”

Then in response to the cashier who asked if they are all mine:

“Just this one and the two on the floor.”

We’re like a walking birth control ad.


December 21

9:38 a.m.

“Wait! So you don’t have to kiss ABOVE the mistletoe…”

-George Hood, always looking for loopholes

3:37 p.m.

I may actually be DONE with any and all holiday shopping. This is unprecedented. It’s also probably a cruel illusion that will be shattered December 24th when I realize I forgot something… In the meantime – happy holidays everyone!



December 24

1:17 p.m.

If being controlling about about how presents are placed under the tree and hiding the messy looking ones in the back is wrong…I don’t want to be right.


December 25

8:05 a.m.

Aging perk: Christmas is no longer about wanting things and looking for MY presents under the tree. It’s about making magic for my family. And eating my feelings.

Merry Christmas!


8:14 a.m.

George: Mom – what if you got a baby for Christmas?

Me: I don’t think it works that way, George. You have to be pregnant for a while first.

George: Okay – what if you were, but then during the night, Santa gave you surgery?



December 26

10:40 a.m.

I had two errands to run this morning: bring a silk blouse to the dry cleaner and exchange a defective talking Yoda head at Target. Ran into the dry cleaner first, but when when I tried to put my silk blouse on the counter, I found I was holding a talking Yoda head. #‎ChristmasHangover‬

12:57 p.m.

Just figured out how to get the ringer to work on this dinosaur for my Dad. Am genius.



December 30

10:04 p.m.

If the tree wasn’t a complete fire hazard by January 1…HELLSYEAH!



December 31

10:26 a.m.

For dogs, every day is Sunday.


10:20 p.m.

“Stop running!”
“Stop bumping into each other!”
“Stop pretending to be ‘fancy waiters’!”

-Things I yell at my sons when they carry plates of cookies to a neighborhood New Year’s party.


January 2

11:23 a.m.

Bye holiday season. Sniff sniff.



January 3

3:51 p.m.

Happy birthday to my amazing Mom! If there were a pageant for “Prettiest Pilgrim,” the 1972 crown surely would have been hers…



January 5

7:12 p.m.

“Mom! I made up a constellation. It’s a horse – but the feet are missing. I also made up a little face.”

-George Hood, stargazing


January 10

8:27 a.m.

“Hey! Let’s do human dominoes!”

-Things I overhear five minutes before bus pick up on Monday mornings…


January 11

8:53 p.m.

Being on social media means that you might be late for a doctor’s appointment because your friend tagged you in a post involving Liam Neeson and you had to google him to double check how old he was in Rob Roy so you could reply…or something.


January 13

7:20 p.m.

I’m not completely sure, but I think my laptop battery just died. OR my laptop just died. Either way – it’s my only home computer, so I guess work won’t be possible this evening [opens bottle of wine…]


January 14

6:10 p.m.

Leaving in three minutes for the Twins’ third grade strings concert. Oliver keeps calling it “the violin contest.” I keep picturing The Devil Went Down to Georgia.

If only…


January 21

3:49 p.m.

Some people get excited about big snow storms with school cancellations and fun filled days of sledding and baking cookies with their kids. I am not one of those people.

7:49 p.m.

Okay – I am coming to terms with this whole being buried under snow thing – but now I’m hearing about expected power outages. Seriously considering packing up the kids and checking into a hotel. I am not cut out for apocalyptic conditions…forget about zombies – once the power is gone, I’m out.


January 22

2:44 p.m.

Experiencing nostalgia for last weekend when not only were we not expecting to be trapped in our house for days, we actually skipped up to NJ to spend the long weekend with Aunt Jan. Liberty Science Center on Sunday and then NYC on Monday (American Museum of Natural History and then Central Park rocks – of course). Helps me not feel guilty for the last two days of depressive sloth. I’m now resigned to the idea of a snow storm – but for the next 48 hours I will be somewhat preoccupied, bending the universe to my will that we NOT LOSE POWER. As I have mentioned a time or 20, I’m not made for apocalyptic living. But back to my fond memories of last weekend…

Liberty Science Center

Wow! Fish! So exciting – almost like we’re at Petco or something!


This turtle was 100 times better at posing for photos than my children.


Rock walls are hard. For me. Not so much for Eleanor.


“Oliver – take off your hood!” “George – put on your coat!” “Eleanor – stop acting so grumpy!” No one ever listens to me…but this one was pretty cute. (In Eleanor’s defense – she claimed to have a cracker in her mouth and couldn’t smile. I’ll take it.)


Museum of Natural History

Night at the Museum star sighting. You can’t walk 10 feet in NYC without bumping into a celebrity…. — at American Museum of Natural History.




MORE dinosaurs! Travel tip: when you go to a museum, specifically to see dinosaur bones, make sure to see everything else first so that by the time you get to the bones, everyone is over it and wants to leave.


No really, Mom – can we leave now?
Also – I think George is giving me the finger.


Central Park

We found the bridge where the pigeon lady lived in Home Alone 2! It doesn’t get any more glamorous than this. #NYCBaby


Pigeon lady bridge take 2.


Race to the rocks! George got there first (top of the world, Ma!)


There is no such thing as too many rocks to climb…


She NEVER poses for me anymore (willingly)! Central Park bring out the best in us I guess. Also – where the f*#k are we? #intothewoods


Right before we realized we were on the wrong side of Central Park. #NoInternalGPS .


It’s getting darker (and colder) and it’s really time to leave the park. It will probably be a 20 minute walk across…so obviously time to wrestle and give piggy back rides.



January 23

10:57 a.m.

Thigh high snow and it’s not stopping until tonight…


11:19 a.m.

First thing you do when you go outside to play in the snow right? Epilogue: two seconds later, the snow plow arrived and sent them scrambling for the sidewalk (or where the sidewalk usually is).


11:24 a.m.

Alice waded out, but decided this was a bit beyond her frolicking abilities. #‎NoIditarodDreamsForThisMutt‬


4:44 p.m.

“Before you walk one step further, shake the snow off of your coat, pants and head!” #‎AbominableSnowOliver‬



January 29

10:51 a.m.

Oliver: Mom – I need some explosive materials.

Me: No more YouTube

Also – I really need them to go back to school…


January 30

8:08 p.m.

George: Eleanor – give me a scale of how many times you’ve coughed. 1:1 [one to one].

#‎statistics‬ ‪#‎somehowthismakessensetohim‬

They Coulda’ Been Great: November 2015

November was a blur – thank goodness I can look to Facebook for confirmation that it actually happened. Here are our recorded happenings… (What is this? All answers are HERE.)


November 3

10:58 a.m.

The other day, I tried to buy this lamp at Target. I need two but couldn’t find another. Figured I could pick #2 up at another Target or online – so I put it in my cart. At check out I was informed that I couldn’t purchase it because it was the floor model. They checked other stores and found one in Sterling, but nope – that’s also a floor model. None online either. So now there are two lamps I want within driving distance of my home, but I’m not allowed to buy either of them. And the Reston Target floor model continues to mock me every time I am there (pretty much every day). #‎ConsumerWorldProblems‬


7:47 p.m.

“No – you may not use a knife on an M&M.” And other bizarre things I hear myself saying to Oliver. It is time for the Halloween candy to BEGONE!


November 5

8:20 p.m.

The candy entitlement in this house is OUTOFCONTROL. At any moment, I expect to walk into a room and find them freebasing Kit Kats. Mass quantities are going to be disappeared tomorrow when the junkies are at school…and work (I’m looking at you Chris Hood). #‎HalloweenIsOvah‬


November 6

4:36 p.m.

When you drop your child off at an after school activity, and just as you slip into your car and open the windows to enjoy the early evening autumn air, every light in the parking lot illuminates as The Heat of the Moment starts on the radio.

Rock on suburbia.


November 7

5:41 p.m.

One week after Halloween and my dog is still pooping candy wrappers. #‎FunWithKidsAndDogs‬


November 12

4:40 p.m.

I both love and fear George’s self portrait.


November 13

8:29 p.m.

Just caught Oliver trying to put this in his backpack. Guess you never know when you’ll need a homemade water balloon…

11041578_10206839475960272_6976035370060497177_n10:16 p.m.

Feeling grateful for a boring night at home with children safe in their beds…wearing stuffed animal night caps.


November 14

3:31 p.m.

At George’s soccer game and only registered the sound of a car alarm when he yelled, “Mom! That’s OUR car!” from the field.

Worst sports mom ever.


November 16

9:09 p.m.

We were killing time at Party City earlier and the twins found those antlers people out on their cars. While we don’t have a minivan, I’ve called them “vantlers” since Stephanie Stearns Dulli’s hilarious Listen to Your Mother 2015 performance. And of course the “PLEASEMOMPLEASEPLEASEPLEASE” was deafening. Luckily, we had no time, as we had to dash off to pick up Oliver at his swim lesson. But sure enough – as soon as we all got back into our car…

George: Mom – can we PLEASE get the vantlers?

Me: Oh…you REALLY want the vantlers for Christmas?

Eleanor: YES! Wait..FOR Christmas?

Me: I mean for the Christmas season.

Oliver: We’re having FOUR Christmases??

It’s not even Thanksgiving yet, but we already have the holiday spirit…times four.



November 19

3:18 p.m.

Just found this little package wrapped with homemade holiday paper. Eleanor is getting an early start on her gifts this year… ‪#‎girls‬


November 20

8:25 a.m.

Just reminded Eleanor that it will be time to head out to the a school bus in 10 minutes and she still needs to get dressed and brush her hair.

So obviously, it’s time to practice the recorder.


5:23 p.m.

Me: I have to take Eleanor to acting.

Oliver: I can’t go to acting.

Me: No?

Oliver: Nah. I have a magic appointment.

Of course.


November 21

8:08 a.m.

Just another Saturday morning at Safeway.


November 23

9:03 a.m.

I know that book fairs are school fundraisers (so no regrets) but sometimes I wonder how I got suckered into spending $500 on Diary of a Wimpy Kid Mad Libs.


November 23

11:53 a.m.

It’s so easy to get caught up in the have to’s and didn’t have time to’s today… I’m going to take a moment to just feel thankful for…

My husband, who actually likes cooking and doesn’t expect me to produce an entire Thanksgiving meal by myself while he drinks beer and watches football. He even bakes bread!

My daughter, who wants to help me clean when everyone else disappears. She is everything I wished I was when I was her age, and she doesn’t (usually) sweat the small stuff. On Saturday, Eleanor was in a play and told me later that she forgot one of her lines, “but it was okay” – and it was. No one noticed. At her age – hell, at MY age – this would have plagued me for years (“why, why, WHY did I forget that line???”). She hasn’t mentioned it since. I’m taking note and trying to let the disappointments and failures (big and small) go.

My oldest son, who also likes to help sometimes. Particularly when it comes to cooking. He got up at the crack of dawn (which admittedly, he would have done anyway) and helped Chris bake bread. Then, while I was making an onion and cheese casserole, he stood next to me making screaming noises as I sliced the onions. Then he helped me grate the cheese. And made more screaming noises. His imagination is beyond anything I’ve ever seen. After Eleanor’s play about fairy tale characters, I asked if he thought she was a good “Dopey.” He said, “yes! And I was the evil king in the audience.” Yes you were, Oliver. I need to leave the sidelines and put myself in the story more often – thank you for the reminder.

My youngest son, who throws himself wholeheartedly into EVERYTHING. The other weekend, he was in a soccer tournament, and the coach gave them a pep talk before the first game. He said, “I want you all to remember that you are the best – it doesn’t matter if you start or not – I’m not putting the best players in first, because you are ALL the best. Now do you understand what I just said to you?” George answered, “yes – you said I’m the best.” This is hilarious – but that attitude takes him so far… When he started soccer last spring, he and Chris (who is an assistant coach) were talking about who their best players were. George listed the four he thought were at the top of the list – himself included of course. I looked at Chris and he discreetly shook his head, no. But two seasons in, he worked hard and made it to the all stars tournament. He reminds me that I need to just think I’m the best more often – because that’s the only way it’s ever going to happen.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!


November 27

4:06 p.m.

At Target with Oliver getting supplies for gingerbread houses…

Me: I think that’s everything. Let’s go check out.

Oliver: Wait! What about my Santa hat?

Duh! I always forget something…

12301468_10206916341241856_5760499588060043876_n10:07 p.m.

Nightcap. #‎ChristmasIsComing‬



They Coulda’ Been Great: October 2015

October was a pretty big month for us – started with a road trip to Rhode Island for a wedding and ended with Halloween. Here is this, that, and everything in between. (What is this? All answers are HERE.)


October 2

7:18 p.m.

Leaving town with the kids for a road trip. Five minutes in, the subject of bucket lists comes up and I have to explain what they are…

George: Oh yeah – I have one of those. But I pretty much completed it.

Me: You did?

George: Except for one thing.

Me: What’s that?

George: Getting an iPad.

Oliver: And I want a big bag of Cheetos.

George: OH! And can I add going to Orlando? There is a Harry Potter roller coaster there that’s the best roller coaster in the world. Orlando: Home of the Best Roller Coasters.

We are simple folk with simple dreams…


October 3

10:14 p.m.

Settling in at our hotel after a rehearsal dinner (just the kids and me in RI this weekend)…

Me: That was a pretty long day.

Eleanor: Yeah – but it was fun.

Me: We all make a pretty good team, huh?

Eleanor: Eh.

Me: You don’t think so?

Eleanor: Oh Mom…you make it all happen.

Well Eleanor – that’s because I’m…



October 4

7:42 a.m.

George: Mom. You know, when I was sleeping? I think I got a glimpse of the future…

Epilogue – It ended up being something about Minecraft.

6:08 p.m.

“Am I holding this right?” We’re all fancy at weddings.

IMG_33166:49 p.m.

Okay ONE more picture. #‎flowergirl‬

IMG_33206:56 p.m.

Not 100% about the tie…



October 5

12:45 p.m.

Was running low on gas and when I looked to see what exit was coming up, it was New Rochelle and Pelham. So obviously…10 minutes later…

Where I lived in Pelham from age 2 to 8 (edited to mute the hideous blue/green color – used to be so much prettier!)

IMG_3348Our old pizza place around the corner from the Pelham house.



October 6

2:05 p.m.

Then and now (my old Pelham house). Sorry – feeling nostalgic.



October 10

1:43 p.m.

Dear whomever invented these festive 3-D foam crafts: there is a very special corner made of flimsy foam that collapses every five seconds reserved for you in HELL.



October 12

5:35 p.m.

I think I’m finally mastering emojis. It now takes me no more than 3 minutes to find one that applies to what I want to say. 😀 If you do not understand emojis – that one means “happy”. I think. Yay emojis!


October 14

10:37 p.m.

If you are not watching American Horror Story – Hotel, you should know that “skinny jeans are out, fringe is in and ponchos are forever.” New season is pretty good so far…


October 15

6:26 p.m.

George is doing a geography homework sheet on hemispheres…

George: Mom! Some people in my class aren’t going to be able to do this worksheet. It’s going to be too hard for them. Even their parents won’t be able to figure it out!

Me: Why?

George: Because they celebrate Hanukkah and other stuff and they don’t know about the North Pole!

Eleanor: Everyone knows about the North Pole George.

George: NO. Not everyone celebrates the same religions!

I tried to explain that just because Santa lives at the North Pole, it doesn’t mean that other people in the world who don’t celebrate Christmas wouldn’t know where it is. He’s still not buying it.

Also – it seems that Christmas is our heathen family’s “religion.” Please don’t judge.


October 18

5:43 p.m.

I just realized that the twins turned nine on October 9th and I said NOTHING about it on Facebook. That’s like the social media equivalent of disowning them, right? I’d post a picture from the day, but I DIDN’T TAKE ANY. Worst mom ever. Also guilty, so a belated happy birthday to my babies! I couldn’t adore them more.



October 19

11:30 a.m.

“Mom. This is my tactic for buying a house: not too good, because then you won’t have enough money. But not too bad, because then you won’t have a happy life.”

-George Hood, future realtor

8:27 p.m.

Eleanor got a microscope for her birthday…

Eleanor: Mom – what’s a paramysiam?

Me: What? Oh! You mean a paramecium?

Eleanor: Yeah! What is it?

Me: …um…something from Science?

So I’m basically worthless. #‎AskDaddy‬


October 20

12:24 p.m.

My Alex sent me this cropped image and begged (yes – actually begged) me to make it my profile. First I said, “hahaha. no.” But since I look like Tom Cruise from Risky Business, I’m going to take his friend, Booger’s advice (okay – that guy was Booger in Revenge of the Nerds – can’t remember his name in Risky Business) and say “What the F…”

12107049_10206712593948301_8044938428505835291_nThe resemblance is eerie…

12096284_10206712602708520_1353894722220645132_n7:07 p.m.

Waiting his turn for the barber. Oliver has “Lego hair” and tomorrow is picture day!



October 22

9:03 a.m.

It must be really annoying to be named Stan. People would always be saying “what’s the plan Stan?” to you. Feeling grateful to be named Kate. #‎blessed‬

7:04 p.m.

George is on my computer doing school stuff for fun! Chris looks over his shoulder and says, “cool map!” George says, “yeah – I’m working on a project with my friends.” Chris asks, “really? What about?” George says, “horrible disasters in the world.” Should I assume this is the precursor to his “goth phase”? Also – how talented is he, multi-tasking with that ice cream cone??



October 23

11:12 a.m.

Just looked at my phone, and realized that I’ve been wandering the aisles at Target for over an hour. Clearly, I have experienced lost time. What aliens put all of this crap in my cart??


October 24

1:36 p.m.

Me: Oliver – what are you doing?

Oliver: Oh – just talking to the chocolate.




October 27

8:59 p.m.

So cold that I’m wearing my matching fleece pajama bottoms and robe. I call it my winter tuxedo. Never goes out of style.


October 30

4:57 p.m.

At the advanced age of 43, I just carved my first pumpkin! Felt this level of smugness called for an Instagram post. ‪#‎instabrag‬



October 31

9:58 a.m.

Me: Oliver – what are you doing?

Oliver: I’m teaching my class. [see candy lined up on the left]

Never a dull moment, shopping with that one…

12115638_10206769964582531_4283789644141861244_n4:57 p.m.

Day of The Dead sugar skull twins have started to put on their faces. Countdown to candy time!

12189144_10206771895790810_7900730473156325675_n8:25 p.m.

Now that trick or treating is over, I have time to post a few pictures! First Oliver – who doesn’t look anything like himself with vampire makeup and fangs. Also – he’s a ridiculous ham.

DSC_1420DSC_1417DSC_14218:27 p.m.

George allowed me to drag him outside for a quick photo. Didn’t realize about the socks until after the fact. Pictures where you can’t see kids’ faces are always kind of weird.

DSC_1426DSC_14278:29 p.m.

Eleanor gets a gallery because the makeup Alex did was AMAZING. Love my Sugar Skill Twins!

DSC_1390DSC_1395DSC_1401DSC_1410DSC_1411DSC_1422DSC_1425DSC_1428DSC_1432DSC_1436DSC_1443DSC_1446DSC_14508:31 p.m.

And as usual – a group photo fail. But I’m posting it anyway. Goodnight Halloween!


They Coulda’ Been Great: September 2015

Running a little late on this…but I actually wrote something and posted it last week (that WASN’T a “They Coulda’ Been Great”)! Wanted to bask in the glory of that for a few days. Because making fun of people on Craig’s List is pretty glorious, no? Anyway – back to Facebook silliness in September… (What is this? All answers are HERE.)


September 1

8:15 a.m.

Grandma sent the kids a package of some fun school supplies…

Eleanor: Mom – can I show Oliver his new school stuff?

Me: He’s already seen it honey.

Eleanor: I know.



September 3

11:32 a.m.

“You GUYS! It’s time to GO! Oliver – get that toilet paper off your head!”

-things I yell into the men’s restroom

5:10 p.m.

In case you were wondering? Eleanor is a girl.



September 4

8:54 p.m.

At the Friday Hood/Gould play date/happy (many) hour(s) and Adrian Gould is trying to explain binary code to Alex Tudor. I’m doing work on my computer and only marginally paying attention (because binary code) but heard something that sounded like a “yes! that’s exactly what I’m saying!” breakthrough in understanding. So of course I exclaimed, “by George, I think she’s got it!” and then started singing, “the rain in Spain stays mainly on the plain!” And nobody thought it was funny. I hope you are kicking ass at your rehearsal Diane Cooper-Gould…because you are missed…very missed…



September 7

5:45 p.m.

Waiting to see Diane Cooper-Gould in a play at the Kennedy Center Page to Stage festival and got a quick (and characteristic – weird – photo op) as she made a pre-show trip to the ladies. Can’t wait to see this talented lady PERFORM.



September 8

11:01 a.m.

It’s official. My kids HATE taking first day of school pictures. And yes – you are right – George looks insane in that last shot. It’s his new “picture face.” I actually had to tell him he looked like a future serial killer to get him to stop for a few.



DSC_134611:16 a.m.

Thought I was taking a “test” shot with my seems-to-be-dying camera, and it turned out to be the best one I got of Oliver this morning. You’d never know it from this picture, but THIS kid can’t WAIT to go back to school. He looks like he should be heading to middle school – not 4th grade… But don’t tell him that. He’s “still little.”

DSC_133111:19 a.m.

This kid chose to wait for the bus in a tree. Only took four tries to get a non-serial killer smile for mom. Ready for 3rd grade!


11:24 a.m.

No solo pictures of Eleanor this morning. She was too busy checking in with her nervous younger friends – assuring them that it will be a GREAT day. Especially this little lady who is starting kindergarten today! Honorary little sister agreed to pose for a picture with my 3rd grade girl. Undoubtedly, Mary Catherine will OWN that kindergarten classroom by the end of the day.



September 10

7:44 a.m.

Me: George – here are some clothes. And take OFF those socks. I know they’re yesterday’s socks.

George: They’re not yesterday’s socks! They’re from a long time ago.

Even better.

8:19 p.m.

George just came over to ask me for some water. I am sitting at the dining room table doing work on my computer. Chris is in the kitchen cooking.

When I suggested that he go ask his father who is standing directly in front of the kitchen sink, George replied, sotto voce, “but he’s working.” Please make note that my husband is not a chef and I do not do part time admin work for a law firm as a fun hobby.

ANYWAY. I had the exact same conversation with Eleanor two nights ago. Though her response was, “but he’s busy.”

I could be up to my elbows in homemade pasta dough and my children wouldn’t hesitate to ask me for a glass of water. In fact, I don’t think I have EVER been in the kitchen when they DIDN’T ask me for water.



September 11

4:54 p.m.

Just leaving Safeway after picking up supplies for our weekly play date/happy (many) hour(s). Footloose comes on the radio. Feels like a Friday. #‎EverybodyCut


September 13

10:43 a.m.

Darth Vader “vans”! Makes me wish I had little guys to buy them for… (at Target)


11:41 a.m.

Oliver was super psyched to go shopping with me today.



September 14

6:36 p.m.

“Mom! You know my friend – his real name is John – but he likes to be called Jack…”

This how George refers to that particular friend: “my friend – his real name is John – but he likes to be called Jack.” Every single time. Even if he “refers” to John/Jack five times in two minutes. George has some serious talking stamina when it comes to discussing John/Jack.


September 20

10:57 a.m.

Eleanor: Mom, which do you like better – the old movie Annie or the new one?

Me: That’s a hard question for a woman in her 40s Eleanor…


September 21

11:54 p.m.

Sometimes people ask me where Alice sleeps… #‎AndAlwaysOnMySideOfTheBed‬


4:52 p.m.

Eleanor [to our five year old neighbor]: Mary – what are you going to be for Halloween?

Mary: An evil clown with a knife.



September 24

10:54 a.m.

Pillows? What pillows? I wasn’t in any pillows…


4:45 p.m.

I feel like I should be saying no… So I took a picture.



September 26

2:36 p.m.

Just saw two seven year olds and a five year old scamper out my neighbors’ front door, looking all cute and ready for the adventures this breezy autumn afternoon holds in store…

They see me and offer dimpled greetings of “Hi Miss Kate!”

Charmed, I answer, “hey guys! Whatcha’ doin’?”

Seven year old #1 says, “oh not much…just playing Call of Duty.”



September 28

4:58 p.m.

Seven year old neighbor I watch in the afternoon:

“Why do we have to get HOMEwork? Can’t we just have fun at home and a boring time at school?”

A question for the ages…

Buyer AND Seller Beware… (Alternatively Titled: Who the ‘Eff ARE These People on Craig’s List??)

I have recently become just the tiniest bit obsessed with Craig’s List. I mean – it’s not like I wasn’t aware of Craig’s List before. I once purchased a double jog stroller from a Craig’s List seller. It was a steal for $75 and lasted a full month before the weight of my giant five year old son finally caused a wheel to break off.

I also used Craig’s List to unload a humongous French Provincial armoire I acquired through one of my Mom’s decorating clients. We used it as a TV cabinet in the kids’ playroom for years; but I had to get rid of it when they and their toys were old enough to be banished to the basement and the “playroom” could be transformed back into a dining room. Since it had suffered a bit of damage (doors broken by hanging toddlers) and weighed approximately five million pounds, I figured my best bet for speedy removal was to list it as “FREE.”

For the first time though, I’m actively stalking furniture listings in hopes of finding some sorely needed dining room chairs. There is nothing interesting about this. I only mention it as the reason why I’ve been checking Craig’s List so frequently that I’ve now added the “FREE” category to my daily search. While I don’t expect to find dining room chairs there, I can’t help but be curious about what useful stuff may pop up. Because people really do list things I may want at some point: free packing boxes, free firewood, free armchairs and couches, free office chairs (okay – maybe not those, but if I wanted to furnish an office, SCORE!), free mulch, free bricks from 1900…

But for every useful free item on Craig’s list, there are about 20 completely bizarre listings. And I have now spent an inordinate of time looking through these and thinking about WHO would actually list this shit!

Here are some of my favorites:


CL 1A CL 1BI was on the fence about that coaster holder…but since it’s a “nice one” it may be worth the drive. SO MANY awesome things in just one plastic laundry basket (which isn’t actually in the list – but I’m thinking I could possibly get them to throw it in for a couple bucks).

The weirdness of this is kind of mesmerizing. Admittedly a free stapler (with “staplers”!) is never a bad thing. But honestly, who on earth is going to pick up a laundry basket full of random crap like Koozies and 3D glasses? And more to the point – do you really want THAT person coming to your house?

[Confession: am marginally intrigued by the “Asian good luck amulet.”]


CL 2Are they really holding out hope that this office chair bottom will go to a good home? I mean, I checked pictures of all the other stuff they were giving away and there were definitely a lot of useful items that people might want. But the bottom of an office chair? You’d think that once they were left with a piece of a broken chair, they’d know that the party’s over and take down the listing…

Maybe this one of those Toy Story situations, where the seller is imagining that the office chair bottom has feelings and can’t bear to throw away something with so much potential to bring joy to another office chair user. Somewhere, there is an owner of a lonely office chair top – and with a little luck or divine inspiration, they just might check the “FREE” category on Craig’s List. YOU NEVER KNOW!


CL 31 CL 32You know that donation bag where you toss clothing that you don’t wear anymore? The one that gives you minor pangs of guilt because if you don’t want to wear a shirt with a mustard stain, it feels kind of elitist to assume that someone with less money would be less deserving of a stain-free shirt…? The bag you keep forgetting to drop off at Good Will or that clothing donation box at the Safeway? Apparently, this woman doesn’t have one of those.

In fact – not only does she think her nine year old white button down with “arm pit stains” is good enough for someone in need of a free shirt, SHE thinks that the buyer will be thrilled to provide their phone number and set an appointment time for pickup. But please understand, she’s not going to sit around waiting for you. If you don’t show up at the agreed upon time, she’ll just leave the shirt outside with a big “FREE” sign on it “meaning anyone else can take it.”

I’m sorry – did she forget to mention that this shirt has some kind of magical power like a cloak of invisibility or possibly the Asian good luck amulet from that other listing – something to warrant all of her effort? She took SEVEN pictures for this!

I can’t even imagine what it is like to make travel plans with this person…


CL 4She tried to make Larry’s porn go in the dumpster but he said, “No, no, no.”

Okay – it’s kind of funny. But REALLY Larry? You want people phoning you about your adult videos? Have you considered what KIND of people will want to discuss what you have on offer? I mean the “wife” mention gives us a hint that it’s of the hetero male variety; and the fact that you married someone who can’t stand to have adult videos in the house would make one assume that you aren’t into anything too deviant. I’m sure you imagine that you’ll be passing the porn torch to some nice frat boy. But you have now offered your personal phone number to pretty much anyone who 1. peruses the Craig’s List “FREE” section, and 2. would be willing to meet up with a stranger for some free porn videos. This just doesn’t seem like a promising combo. But hey – you did avoid all of that spam. So there’s that.

You do have to give him credit for not adding more trash (pun INtended) to his environmental footprint. And it’s not like he could donate those videos to the library or call Freecycle…


Do I think these listings are ridiculous and and a huge waste of time? Of course not! Well, maybe the shirt one – but other than that… There JUST MAY BE someone out there in search of a new base for their perfectly good chair seat. And who couldn’t use a little good luck? A potential buyer may think an “Asian” amulet is just the ticket. Even Larry with his porn nostalgia – there is absolutely a demand for adult videos of all kinds. I took a chance on Craig’s List when I didn’t want to move a heavy piece of furniture. So who am I to judge?

And on that note, I’ll leave you with this: If for any reason you want to go for a fancier parmesan cheese presentation at home, there’s a guy in Derwood who’s got your back.

CL 5