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).

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