Tag Archives: I think about these things…

They Coulda’ Been Great: March 2015

Almost three weeks later…here are the Facebook highlights  from March! (What is this? All answers are HERE.)

March 1

10:26 a.m.

Eleanor: So yeah – Jade got her ears pierced.

Me: I guess YOU want to get your ears pierced?

Eleanor: [rolls eyes] Uh – yeah. ALL of my friends have pierced ears…except for Lucy…and Lily.

Me: Well – we had originally talked about waiting until you’re 12…

Eleanor: That’s when YOU got your ears pierced.

Me: I know – back in “the olden days…”

Eleanor: MOM! I don’t call it “olden.”

Me: What do you call it?

Eleanor: “Old.”

Of course. Also? George still tells me that I’m “in my future.”

11:18 a.m.

I just let my kids buy what looks to be ALL seasons of Sponge Bob On Demand. Not sure if this makes me the best mom in the world, the worst mom in the world or the most desperate mom in the world…

March 2

10:30 a.m.

“Mom – there are three people on your world.”

-Eleanor telling me I have three Facebook notifications.

10:39 a.m.

“Emory boards are for nails, not crayons!”

So that’s how our snow day is going so far…

2:29 p.m.

Visiting 10 year old boy: Can I use your phone?

Me: My cell phone?

V10YOB: Yeah.

Me: Why do you want to use my phone?

V10YOB: To call my mom.

Me: Why do you need to call her?

V10YOB: [whispers] It’s personal.

Me: OH. Well – okay, you can use my phone to call her.

V10YOB: [walking away] I hope she lets me get YouTube on my DS…

Epilogue: He is not using my phone.

7:00 p.m.

So we were driving to swim lessons and there was a commercial on the radio telling us to CALL NOW for a chance be on Austin & Ally or Dog with a Blog or some other Disney Programs and we lost our chance because I was driving and couldn’t make phone calls. This was hugely disappointing of course, and a very dejected George declared that he would “never be one of those people who get famous.”

I told him I’d try to help him figure something out. We’re leaning toward YouTube channel (my suggestion of a Twitter account was deemed “weird”). But he can’t get past the idea of being a video gamer YouTube sensation which I keep telling him is so DONE at this point (he totally missed his window). Time to crowd source ideas. So tell me Facebook – what would you like to see George do/discuss on YouTube? He could dispense advice? Give commentary on what is going on in the world? Thoughts?

8:12 p.m.

The Voice is on and when I expressed relief that a singer wasn’t left unchosen by anyone, Chris said, “you’re one of those people who makes everyone get a trophy at the end of the season.”

I’m sorry – is this news?

March 4

6:06 p.m.

You know what gets more depressing with each new year? Scrolling through a drop down box for the year you were born. Scrolling…scrolling…aaaaany minute now…

7:02 p.m.

Several years ago when I had hernia repair surgery (filed under: things your grandpa and I have in common!) the kids created little cut out drawings and designs to tape to my bedroom door. Since then, the paper creations have fallen off or been torn in half by wild small people hurtling past. Tonight the twins are playing with the old school spirographs I bought them for Christmas. George asked if he could tape their work to my bedroom walls “for decoration.” I suggested that they tape them to the door instead, as replacements for their fallen predecessors. They thought this was a great idea, but George said it might be better if I did the decorating myself: “because it’s your door – and you can do it with style.” This may be the first time anyone in my house has ever acknowledged that I do anything with style. But just so you know…I do ALL THE THINGS with style.

March 5

2:53 p.m.

Oliver just ate THREE rice cakes with peanut butter (and I’m not talking mini rice cakes here…) So I wasn’t surprised when he asked me for a glass of milk. Since we are running low (because SNOW DAY), I told him he’d have to settle for water. His response: “then can I have some Cheetos?” It’s like living with Andy from Parks and Rec.

3:37 p.m.

Eleanor: You know, we’ve basically been having winter break.

Me: Yes Eleanor – I NOTICED THAT TOO.


March 6

12:14 p.m.

George and I are having a heated debate. I believe we saw some men setting up flares on the street. George thinks dynamite. #‎AtAnImpasse‬

March 8

10:04 p.m.

I remembered to be the Tooth Fairy twice in three days. So I’m basically KILLING IT at parenting.

March 8

7:39 p.m.

Currently covered in dust. Why? Because my kids are changing after swim class and I just had to jump two feet in the air to retrieve George’s underwear from a dusty ledge. Obviously.

March 10

6:05 p.m.

Finally giving in and letting Eleanor get her ears pierced. And after some extensive crowd sourcing/research, I decided to take her to a tattoo parlor where the employees are certified and follow strict regulations for equipment sterilization. When I told the boys where we were going, their responses were…

Oliver: Do they have candy?

George: I want a tattoo!

So predictable…

9:22 p.m.

We (she) did it!





10:31 p.m.

Oh I’m sorry. Are you trying to watch that?


March 11

8:29 p.m.

Earlier, I told Oliver he could play a game on my phone. Then promptly forgot all about it. An embarrassingly long time later he showed up with a dead phone asking me to charge it for him. I said I thought that was enough electronics for the day. This news was not well received.

He informed me that if I didn’t let him use my phone, he would have to leave. I asked him where he would go. He said “New York.” I asked him who he would stay with there. He said “somebody else.”

Not only did this seem poorly planned…it was possibly first time my oldest son has ever expressed a desire to live somewhere without me (let alone with anyone else BUT me…in New York). I kissed him, then told him I loved him and would be so sad if he ever ran away to live in New York.

Ten minutes later, I heard the distinctive sound of a lightly packed carry on suitcase bumping down the stairs. Inside the suitcase? All of his stuffed animals. ‪#‎NewYorkorBust‬


March 12

9:30 a.m.

Earlier this morning…

Me: George – you’re flossing! Nice work.

George: Yeah – I did it all this morning…brushed my teeth, used mouth wash, flossed, ran in circles…


7:17 p.m.

Eleanor declining a snack I brought for her to eat in the car after gymnastics:

“I’m sorry Mom – I don’t really feel like eating now…just drinking.”


March 14

8:42 p.m.

Harlem Globe Trotters!





March 17

5:45 p.m.

Me: Oliver – how did your back get so wet?

Oliver: I ran into a snow drift.

With his back?


March 18

8:26 p.m.

George: Mom – are you bored?

Me: No! I’m with you. I’m never bored when I’m with my kids (minor lie).

George: It’s your first favorite thing?

Me: Yes – it’s my first favorite thing.

George: What’s your second favorite thing?

Me: Hanging out with Daddy? [sorry Chris – I was put on the spot]

George: What’s your third favorite thing?

Me: Oh I don’t know! I just like being with my family.

George: I know what your last favorite thing is.

Me: What is it?

George: Leaving us.

There aren’t enough hugs for that one.

March 19

5:27 p.m.

A good co-pilot always sleeps with one eye open.

11073397_10205210724562505_3478249783596976670_nMarch 20

12:09 p.m.

The hubris of buying a cute new doormat for spring…

20720_10205217690576651_6857116212456317947_nMarch 21

8:46 p.m.

Someone who has never really considered herself to be a “dog person” (or even an animal lover for that matter) realizes she’s a fully entrenched “dog owner” when she sees the dog lying on her bed and, in her best baby voice coos, “who’s a lazy dog? Are you a big old lazy dog? Yes you are! You good girl…you’re just a lazy doggie dog.” Or so I’ve heard….

March 22

5:14 p.m.

After a frustrating struggle with our can opener, Chris tossed it in the garbage and told me to buy a new one, “and buy an expensive one this time.”

We’re so fancy.

March 23

11:02 a.m.

Yesterday, I took the kids out with their bikes and suggested we go to the nearby Nature Center. When George heard the destination, he balked, “but that’s too far, and I’ll end up crying a lot.” While I did admire this self awareness and ability to identify his limits…I was pretty sure he could do it. With a little encouragement (i.e. “too bad so sad that’s what we’re doing), I was able to get him on board. And as it turned out – there was NO crying at all. He was always in the lead and informed me on the way back that his legs weren’t at all tired. I recognized a bit of a life lesson here: never underestimate yourself. You never know what you can accomplish until you try!

This morning on the walk to school, George complained that his eye hurt, then that it was too cold for the sweatshirt that he chose to wear, and finally that his legs hurt. And he cried the ENTIRE TIME. As I waved to him from the entrance with an ironic, “have a great day!” it occurred to me that my little boy just offered me another life lesson: everything tends to even out in the end.

7:27 p.m.

Waiting for swim lessons to start, I walked up to find Eleanor chatting with the front desk lady about the Easter decorations…

Lady: Oh yeah – we decorate for everything. Did you see all the shamrocks last week…and the hearts for Valentine’s Day?

Eleanor: Well, we couldn’t a come last week, but I remember the hearts. What do you put up for Fourth of July?

Lady: What do you think?

Eleanor: Pictures of fireworks?

Lady: No…what do we celebrate on July Fourth?

Eleanor: Jesus?

It’s true…my children are vaguely aware that when it comes to Christmas and Easter, Jesus is the reason for the season… But those little heathens are forever finding ways to call me out for lack of religious instruction when we’re in public.

March 25

11:46 a.m.

Happy birthday to my wonderful husband Chris Hood, who will never be on Facebook because he thinks it’s THISCLOSE to being Match.com for married people. So those of you who love him will just have to text. **throws confetti/blows party horn***

2:07 p.m.

Between the kids and the dog, I find the weirdest things on my bed. I’m calling that tennis ball Alice’s “Wilson.” A very angry Wilson…


March 26

5:50 p.m.

George and Oliver are in the back seat laughing and cheering. Finally turned around to see what they’re doing: placing popcorn on top of the window glass and pressing “up.” Who says kids need videos and gaming devices to stay entertained in the car!

March 29

5:54 p.m.

Cleaning out some shelves and just found a “brand new” 90-minute cassette tape (still in original packaging!) Any takers? Actually – I may let the kids play with it (because OF COURSE we still have a boom box with a “record” button). And yes – that is the infamous book my mother used to scar me for life when I was six. Why do I keep all the things?! #‎hoarders‬


7:52 p.m.

First concert! Just found the program from Prince’s Purple Rain tour. I was in 7th grade and my Dad took me. Sheila E. opened and he got to stand next to me as we watched her simulate oral sex on one of the men in the audience. You know – typical Norman Rockwell stuff.


March 30

9:27 a.m.

Ten years ago today, I was sitting in the hospital waiting to be induced with my one-week-late first born, Oliver. And all I could think was, “I wish it was tomorrow.” I wasn’t particularly psyched about the day of childbirth ahead… And sure enough, when I was holding my newborn baby and my mom asked what I thought of the experience, I said, “well…it wasn’t my *favorite* day…” I may not be fond of delivering 9 lb. babies with huge heads – but I sure am crazy about this boy with his big heart and and open mind. I often joke that he’s Buddy the Elf – and I’m pretty sure that he’ll believe in Santa forever. He never ceases to put life into perspective for me. I think I want to be Oliver when I grow up.

baby oliver

boy Oliver

2:47 p.m.

We invited some neighbors over for a last minute birthday party. And Oliver just informed me that he wants to go outside so we can all “surprise” him. I love that kid.

March 31

4:27 p.m.

Good thing they kept their helmets on – because sidewalk chalk is no joke.


My Life is a Mess

This morning I woke up full of anxiety.

This is not necessarily a new thing…the to do list is always long, and I feel like I can barely reach it past all of the laundry piling up in front of me…or the dog hair that needs to be vacuumed out of the corners…the dishes…the general grossness of cleaning up after children, pets and let’s face it – husbands (at least mine)…

But tomorrow is Easter. And we have family in town. And there is a hole in our living room ceiling that no handyman had time to fix last week. And I never did get much cleaning done over the past few days since SPRING BREAK. And…well, the house is just a mess. I’m kind of a mess. My life is extremely messy and it can feel so overwhelming…discouraging…

Then I remembered something my Dad wrote for me. I needed to read this today. And if you commiserated with my post title, then I’m guessing you do too…

Life As a Reflection of Its Priorities
by Terry Coveny

When I grow up…

I think I would most like to be like my daughter, Kate.

Kate, to me, best reflects the essence of a business conundrum that states your choices include good, fast and cheap. But you can choose only two.

As a mother of three young children, her choices are happy, tidy and timely. She chose happy and timely.

Think of it…something in life always has to be sacrificed. Even the rich have been known to sacrifice cheap.

As I sit in Kate’s living room at Christmas, I consciously stare at the beautifully decorated tree… ignoring the helter skelter chaos that surrounds me. But my ultimate pleasure is reflected in the eyes of my grandchildren who radiate the blessings of being well loved.

The crayon stains on the sofas may seem rather distressing (at least from an Archictectual Digest point of view)… but to me, here is the happiest place on earth.

Thinking back in time to my own immaculately maintained home, I wonder what sense of joie de vivre was sacrificed for the tidy perfection that was achieved. Thankfully, both children maintain only happy memories.

But…I wonder. What if I were as insightful as Kate? Would the happy memories have been happier?

What of your imperfect existence?

Which of your three choices are you sacrificing?

Choose wisely.


I rarely feel like I have time to choose anything. But I guess that’s not really true. Everyone has priorities that influence their choices. And if I choose to let the house – my life – get overwhelmingly messy because I prioritize happy children over the neat and tidy existence I desperately want…well, then I guess I’m doing okay.

IMG_1515This picture was taken of Oliver and me at a neighborhood party well after midnight. I guarantee that there were piles of laundry to be folded and dog hair dust bunnies rolling through every room back at my house… But I have a happily exhausted child passed out on my lap (and yes I know he has one hand down his pants) and I’m holding a glass of wine (and yes I know that I’m wearing a captain’s hat). Don’t mind the mess. We’re all JUST FINE.

Whatever you are celebrating this weekend – I hope it’s the best kind of messy.

They Coulda’ Been Great: February 2015

Without a hint of spring in sight…at least we made it through February. Here are the Facebook highlights. (What is this? All answers are HERE.)


February 1

7:04 p.m.

“So do you want to say hi to my mom, or are we still talking?”

-Eleanor’s way of saying she’s ready to get off the phone.

7:58 p.m.

Me: So what exactly is the “Puppy Bowl”?

Chris: WHAT?!?

Me: I mean, I’ve heard about it, but I don’t know what it is… Is it kids playing football? Or puppies…?


Apparently, I’m fired. (In my defense, I don’t watch the Super Bowl.)


February 3

3:04 p.m.

“Hello Mrs. Hood, this is Emily from Hunters Woods Elementary. Everything is fine, but I just wanted to let you know that George was in the infirmary a little while ago. He said that a globe fell on his head in his classroom. There isn’t a cut or anything but there is a faint red mark at his hairline. He had his ice and went back to class – I just wanted to to tell you what happened.”

I could have stopped listening at “a globe fell on his head.” Of course he’s fine and of course HE will tell me aaaaallll about “what happened” when he gets home…

4:54 p.m.

Eleanor: Mom! My 3-dimensional fox is going to be in the art show!

Me: Wow!

Eleanor: When we go, don’t look at the names. Just tell me which one is your favorite. Then I’ll tell you which one is mine.

SUPER plan…


February 4

7:37 p.m.

I’m helping George with math and one of the problems was:

33 – 18 =

This is the first time I’ve had to deal with 3 – 8 and had no idea how they’re doing this now… George didn’t know the strategy either, so I ultimately just had to teach him the method I learned in school (borrow a 1…3 becomes 2…13 – 8…then 2 – 1…)

I’M SURE there is a new strategy for this…so I circled the question and told George to explain to his teacher that I only know one way to do it and that she’ll have to walk him through anything new.

George’s response: “I’ll just tell her you showed me the ‘classic’ way to do it.”

Feeling very vintage…


February 6

6:38 p.m.

I’ve decided that if I had to write a memoir based on the chronic state of my house it would be titled, “My Life In Dog Hair.”


February 7

4:22 p.m.

Back at the Kennedy Center, waiting in line to get our Gigi poster signed because OF COURSE WE ARE. (No – we did not see the show a second time. I wish!)



9:27 p.m.

George: Mom – what do think is better: my brain or my teeth?

Me: Uh… Well, I’d say they’re both exceptional… But your BRAIN is responsible for all of your fantastic ideas.

George: So you pick brain.

Me: Fine. If I HAD to pick, I’d say brain.

George: So it’s okay if I never brush my teeth again.

Nice try.


February 8

7:34 p.m.

Working on what just may be the most repulsive “Valentimes” I’ve ever seen (gummy Krabby Patties – shudder).

IMG_13668:04 p.m.

I got to cuddle this today. (I mean the baby – not the sign.)

LTYM baby

February 17

8:55 a.m.

George: Mom! I just saw this commercial that said there are these cell phones that can save you a million dollars and I just don’t think that’s true.

Me: I don’t think so either.

George: Yeah. Because there’s ONLY a thousand dollars in the state.

Me: The state?

George: Of Virginia.

Me: Where did you come up with that number?

George: I researched it. In my brain.

Can’t imagine working with THAT card catalog. Assuming there is no Dewey Decimal System involved…

10:47 a.m.

Just saw the following subject line in my e-mail box:

“Blog Idea: Why Dirt is Critical to our Kid’s Health!”

Grammatical errors aside, I feel very validated. I KNEW there was a reason why Oliver is my healthiest child.


February 18

7:36 a.m.

Sometimes it really annoys me how these kids don’t get my Grease II references…

9:42 a.m.

George: Mom! You want to know what the C word means in a bad way?

Me: No.

George: No – I mean in a “bad way.”

Me: Still no.

George: But MOM…

Me: Fine – what does it mean?

George: Fart.

Me: What is the C word?

George: C-R-A-…

I really keep overestimating their knowledge of “bad words.”

1:53 p.m.

Eleanor has never heard the song, “I Got You Babe” before so I showed her this Sonny & Cher video on YouTube. Her response: “Can I watch All About that Base now?” #‎kidstoday‬

10:06 p.m.

The only thing that makes me feel older than witnessing the 40th anniversary of Saturday Night Live is remembering that I used to have the 15th recorded on a VHS tape.


February 19

5:21 p.m.

Current favorite thing: my kids singing, “this is that ice cold Michelle Pfeiffer that white gold.”

5:51 p.m.

George: Mom is there such a thing as cloud constellations?

Me: you mean cloud formations?

George: No – constellations. I see one out the window.

Me: You do?

George: Yes! It’s a crown. A girl wearing a crown on her head.

Me: That sounds pretty.

George: Yeah – but now it looks like a donkey chasing an egg.”



February 20

9:23 a.m.

This may just be the snow day cabin fever talking…but those Diary of a Wimpy Kid movies are pretty funny.

11:21 a.m.

There are boys running around my house playing some kind of hide and seek/chase game that I can’t figure out. Just heard the youngest yell, “I’m going to aim for the middle of the neck!”

I don’t even want to know…

11:53 a.m.

Officially beyond empty threats. Just halfheartedly yelling things like, “if I hear screaming, I’m going to be mad…” – then ignoring the screams. I’m pretty sure they know I’ve given up.

3:18 p.m.

Then I got this e-mail and decided to drastically limit the time George has access to my phone…


February 22

10:42 a.m.

Stephanie Stearns Dulli and I are so incredibly excited to announce the 2015 Listen to Your Mother DC cast! Mark your calendars for May 3rd!


February 24

12:45 p.m.

Co-pilot courtesy of Eleanor. #‎ThisCloseToSettingItFree‬

10991163_10205037202664566_2425962767072193292_n5:07 p.m.

Me: Eleanor – why don’t you start your homework?

Eleanor: I have a math worksheet, but I don’t think you’ll understand it. So I’m just going to do it with Ms. Edwards.

Me: I could look at it. I might understand it.

Eleanor: No – you definitely won’t understand it.

So I guess we’ll all in the know regarding my lack of math skillz…


February 26

8:10 a.m.

Oliver: Mom, can I have Girl Scout cookies?

Me: Oh…sure. It’s a snow day.

Oliver: Can I have two?

Me: Yes. [then seeing what he actually has in his hands…] Wait – no! Not two BOXES!


12:52 p.m.

In honor of the snow day, I’m having a glass of wine with my lunch. And by “lunch,” I mean cheese.


February 28

8:10 a.m.

Sometimes I wonder if the hermit crabs are happy. Sometimes I wonder when they’ll just die already. Mixed feelings about our hermit crabs…

3:55 p.m.

Making the bed, I can’t decide which annoys me more…Alice’s dirty paw prints on the coverlet or Chris’ sock lumps. #‎livingwithanimals‬


They Coulda’ Been Great: October 2014

And finally…our October on Facebook. Check back next month for November. (What is this? All answers are HERE.)

October 2

10:36 a.m.

George is having an 80’s moment.

IMG_03626:48 p.m.

Assembling Legos at the Knoxville Embassy Suites manager’s reception…

George: Can we stay here EVERY time we come to Tennessee?

#‎roadtrip‬ ‪#‎MemphisBaby‬!



October 3

5:17 p.m.

“Mom – no one is going to care about Dad’s shoes.”

And other things I say to my mother before rehearsal dinners…

8:07 p.m.

Party of 14. Five kids. My end of the table. And I love it. Also – the blue stuff is Flarp – not food.



October 5

11:18 a.m.

Hey! My brother got married yesterday!

10712941_10203803630224393_235538733566603853_n12:57 p.m.

Talking about the big house where we attended a wedding yesterday…

George: Mom! I liked that house. I wish I lived there.

Me: Well I guess you’ll just have to settle for our little house…BUT our house is full of fun. And full of love.

George: Mmmmm….no. That house was more fun.

Eleanor: Yeah – it had a pool.

Oliver: Can we go home now?

I guess we all have our priorities…

4:20 p.m.

Sitting on the shoulder of a highway – cars flying by at 80 MPH on the left – calling for roadside assistance and explaining that no, we don’t need a tow truck…I just got distracted and didn’t notice that we were running out of gas.

From the back…

Eleanor: Mom! Why does the car shake when people pass us?

Oliver: Mom! Tell them that we’re near a bridge!

George: Mom! I just took a picture of my mole!

#‎teamwork‬ ‪#‎roadtrip‬

11:13 p.m.

My view from bed: It’s 10:00 p.m. and we are finally settling into our hotel for the night. So obviously it’s time to pull out the rainbow loom…



October 7

5:39 p.m.

George: What does that say?

Me: That’s my signature.

George: Is it in French?

Me: No – it’s just hard to read.

George: Why don’t you write it in English?

It’s true – I have the worst signature ever. A silver lining to remaining un-famous…


October 7

7:57 a.m.

Anyone have any good pictures of the blood moon? Getting up at 5:00 a.m. to check it out sounded interesting until it was actually 5:00 a.m….


October 8

4:30 p.m.

“If you find something at the playground, do NOT put it in your mouth.”

What would they do without me?


October 9


#TBT Happy eighth birthday to my George and Eleanor!









98:00 p.m.

Weekday birthdays are the best.

11:04 p.m.

Well that birthday sucked…





October 10

7:37 p.m.

George: Mom – you know why the world is running out of water?

Me: Why?

George: Because each and every second, someone is using a water fountain.

Me: The world is running out of water because each and every second someone is using a water fountain?

George: And toilets.

If he pursues a life of environmental activism, I can’t WAIT to see his protest signs.


October 11

9:05 a.m.

After asking the same question and hearing “no” about a billion times this morning…

Oliver: Mom – can we get doughnuts?

Me: Oliver – I already answered that question.

Oliver: But you didn’t say yes.


1:02 p.m.

Only on page 7 and cry-laughing in Starbuck’s (as it should be). “I didn’t tell Jonah I was a virgin, just that I hadn’t done it ‘that much.’ I was sure I had already broken my hymen in high school while crawling over a fence in Brooklyn in pursuit of a cat that didn’t want to be rescued.” Thank god for Oliver’s 1.5 hour social skills group.

IMG_0549October 12

8:09 p.m.

10625164_10204806658994861_4552835060305275142_n10:29 p.m.

My girl!



October 13

9:21 a.m.

“Mom – tomorrow, when I get home from school, I’m going to make a portal to hell.”

-George Hood, age 8


9:53 a.m.

Eleanor [working on a Lego Friends set]: Mom! I’m missing a piece!

Me [getting up from the computer to go help]: …Which is code for, “I can’t find a piece.”

Chris [to George]: Mom is freakishly good at finding Lego pieces.

George: Yeah – once I saw her do it in less than a second!

Chris: I don’t know how she does it…

Me [returning after finding the Lego piece in less than a second]: Hey – that’s a book.

Chris: That’s the title of a book?

Me: Yeah – but it’s not about a woman who’s good at finding Legos. It’s about a working mom who’s trying to do it all. Fictional…really funny… about the whole balancing act.

George: Balancing act? Can I see the video?

Because if you are eight years old in 2014, you can’t imagine that anything of relevance wouldn’t found in a YouTube video…


October 16

9:15 a.m.

Yesterday, one of the kids started singing at the table and Chris immediately went into stern table manners dad mode, barking, “no singing at the dinner table!” Since this wasn’t a family dinner (we do that on Sundays) and I was just feeding the kids a meal, I considered that dinner to be MINE and therefore subject to MY rules. And as far as I’m concerned, singing is absolutely allowed. In our subsequent discussion about this, Chris asked me to understand that when he was growing up, they would get in trouble for singing at the dinner table since it was considered bad manners. First of all, I have no idea when this scenario could possibly have played out as I have never heard any of them sing a single note – ever. But that observation aside, we agreed that if I’m okay with a little joyous singing during an informal meal at home – then it can be allowed.

The only thing that annoyed me was that he made one of his many comments about how I’m from “a musicals family” (meaning that my family is constantly singing and referring to show tunes which is complete hyperbole on his part). I was about to protest, but then remembered this little conversation during the walk home from the school bus that day:

Eleanor: Mom – you know we had a tornado warning today.

Me: I know – but it was lifted.

Eleanor: I was afraid there would be a twister.

Me: We’ve talked about this. While we get all of the wind from tornadoes, we don’t have flat enough land for those big twisters you saw on TV. Twisters happen in states with “plains” they can sweep through…places like Kansas…

George: And Oklahoma.

Me: YES, “where the wind comes sweeping down the plains!”

George: Yeah – and then the planes crash.

Me: Not planes like “airplanes” – plains like, “the rain in Spain stays mainly on the plain.”

Then I decided to let Chris’ comment go…


October 18

1:54 p.m.

Oliver just informed me that we really need to go to Party City for costume supplies since, “nobody has more Halloween for less.”



October 19

9:28 a.m.

Today, I’m taking the kids somewhere called The Land of Little Horses. And if that doesn’t make your inner eight year old girl swoon, then you didn’t hear what I just said because it’s THE LAND OF LITTLE HORSES. More on this later…

12:28 p.m.

The LITTLEST horses in the land.



October 21

8:10 p.m.

George: Mom – you know what our montray is at school?

Me: Your montray?

George: Yeah.

Me: What is a montray?

George: The montray is, “it’s not about me, it’s about us.”

Me: OH! Your mantra…

George: Yeah. Hey! Do you want to know what’s going on in the world?

Me: In the world?!

George: In minecraft.

Me: Of course I do.



October 22

4:45 p.m.

“It will have to be small. I’m not investing in expensive weaponry.”

“No you can’t have a fog machine.”

“I’m going to put that grave back if you don’t stop bashing it RIGHT NOW.”

And other things I just said to my children in the Halloween section of Target…


October 23

10:00 a.m.

#‎TBD This swing was in the backyard of the ONLY house I’ve ever lived in that HAD a backyard. 1974-1980…The golden years of almost but not quite braining myself on a huge tree trunk… I MEAN. I’m four years old in that picture and I clearly remember Dad pulling the swing back as faaaaar as it could go then WHEEEEE! #‎survivorofa70schildhood‬

(cool picture though when you consider that it was taken on film – no filters or fancy lens settings…)

swing6:15 p.m.

Another day that I wore exercise clothes with the intention of exercising…aaaand my heart rate never exceeded that of a napping snail…


October 26

7:58 a.m.

Oliver just dragged me all over the house in an impromptu dramatization of A Christmas Carol with a Halloween theme. I played a reluctant Scrooge while he did voice overs for three ghosts played by a small pumpkin, a sneaker and one of his fingers.

Hopefully – there will not be a sequel…

7:33 p.m.

Eleanor: George – what is you favorite part of your body?

Me: [holds breath]

George: My brain.

Me: [exhales]

Eleanor: What’s your SECOND favorite part of your body?

George: [big smile]

Me: [cringes]

George: [long considering pause]…My heart!

You KNOW what I thought he was going to say. Also? I love his brain. And his heart.


October 29

9:14 a.m.

George just made up my new favorite term for that moment you realize you’re in big trouble.

He and a couple of friends were playing outside, and when I went to call him in for dinner, they were gone. After wandering around the usual spots calling, “George! Dinner!” this evolved onto 3 sets of parents (including Chris who had just arrived home from work) frantically searching the neighborhood.

Approximately 20 minutes after my first. “George! Dinner!” Chris found the three boys several blocks away at a house where they “thought” their friend Charlie lived to “invite him to a show.” Apparently, they were walking around, handing out red carnival ride tickets for “Minecraft World.”

Later when George was tearfully telling me the whole story, he described the moment Chris discovered them as “and then bad words happened!”

I’m sure they did. And I’m sure “then bad words happened,” will be featured again in future stories like this one…

Epilogue: George is convinced that his friend’s “Minecraft World” tickets were real and has made it his mission to “apologize to everyone who got a ticket” about the show being cancelled.


October 30

7:40 a.m.

Then in a moment of severe Stockholm Syndrome I thought, “you know – Sponge Bob is actually pretty funny sometimes…”


October 31

8:24 a.m.

And if there was ever any question that Eleanor is MY daughter… This morning, she explained to me that she’s not afraid of volcanoes anymore, because even if there WAS one near us, she thinks we could easily outrun it: “Lava moves really slowly, and we can just jump in the car and drive away.”

Of course, MY childhood disaster plans always involved strategies for how to bring all of my stuff with me… They still do. Reason #673 why I wouldn’t survive the zombie apocalypse.

Happy Halloween!

9:05 p.m.

Every year I take fewer and fewer Halloween pictures (which means I’m ALLOWED to take fewer and fewer Halloween pictures…) Tonight I took FIVE. Here are two. George is not wearing shoes yet, you can’t even see Eleanor’s face and Oliver looks CRAZY with those teeth (love that he and Eleanor hammed it up a bit…if I had to give George’s image a title it would be “reluctant ninja”). Good haul. As soon as everyone goes to bed, I will collect my parental Halloween candy tithe…

halloween 2B


They Coulda’ Been Great: August-September 2014

Almost caught up on “They Coulda’ Been Great.” Here is our August and September on Facebook… (What is this? All answers are HERE.)


August 1

9:24 a.m.

“Hey Mom! Is it time to check my planters warts?”


9:45 a.m.

I’m now on Day 3 of putting on exercise clothes with the intention of exercising. Fingers crossed for Day 1 of actually exercising…

4:19 p.m.

The amount of time I spend texting with other mothers about where our children are in the neighborhood (“just left my house on bikes – are they at your house now?“) brings me back to my conference planner days spent running around an exhibit hall with a radio glued to my ear. I’m THISCLOSE to texting them stuff like, “Cathy – what’s your 20?

6:05 p.m.

Scene: Three mothers are talking while children play upstairs.

They hear dramatic shrieks.

Conversation stops as all freeze and tilt their heads prairie dog style to assess the quality of shrieks and what that might mean.

Mother #1: Sounds joyous…but possibly dangerous…

Mother #2 and #3: [Get up and go to check it out.]

Mother #1: Continues to drink wine.

End scene.

Pop quiz: Which mother am I?


August 2

12:43 p.m.

A few minutes ago, anyone who saw me in my car would assume that I was rocking out. Probably wondered why they couldn’t hear me through the window. Given the chance, I’d explain that I was actually whispering lyrics since “the singing police” in the back seat (Oliver) was ruining Jesse’s Girl for me with his complaints. WHO doesn’t sing along to Jesse’s Girl? I MEAN…


August 4

5:29 p.m.

Anyone ever deal with a missing hermit crab? A few hours ago, we noticed that Mr. Krabs escaped. Searched…but as of yet – he is still at large. Suggestions?


August 5

8:35 a.m.

Groupon keeps sending me e-mails about laser hair removal. It’s nice to know that someone out there really gets me…

6:15 p.m.

Q: What is, “what is approximately 10.”

A: The Jeopardy answer to, “the number of times each day Kate Googles something she sees on social media because she’s never heard of it before.”

Q: What is, “what is approximately 5.”

A: The Jeopardy answer to, “the number of times Kate tries to type ‘Jeopardy’ correctly before she finally gives up and consults Google.”

6:54 p.m.

So our dog, Alice has been having some stomach issues since we got back from the beach. The accidents have made me want to move, and what she does when we take her on walks make me vow to NEVER walk barefoot on grass again.

I was JUST thinking that it may be time for a visit to the vet, when Eleanor told me that she thought we should move a Costco-size bag of cheap dog food we bought a while back and then put in the basement when after two days we decided it made dog walks…unpleasant for those of us holding the plastic bag.

Eleanor told me that she saw Alice sniffing the discarded dog food bag earlier that day. So I picked it up and….LIGHT AS A FEATHER. Mystery Solved! And GROSS.


August 6

1:31 p.m.

Bumped into a friend I haven’t seen in a while at the YMCA. I told her she looked great and asked when her baby was due. She told me I look great and said she could tell I had been working out a lot this summer. I then explained that I haven’t been working out much at all this summer, it’s just that when you are 8 months pregnant, EVERYONE looks thin. #truth

3:54 p.m.

GOOD GOD but whenever George is talking it sounds like he’s holding a live grenade… #intensechild


August 8

11:24 p.m.

A few hours ago, the kids and I were walking home from “party night” at our neighbors’ house. Oliver was in front, and I could hear him saying something about a frog. But somehow my ears hearing “frog” and my eyes seeing the shadow in front of my feet just wasn’t enough to make the connection. Then a big bullfrog hopped across my feet. Then I jumped up and down, screaming, “OHMYGODOHMYGODJESUSCHRISTOHMYGOD!” Then my kids laughed at me, and it actually was pretty funny and I thought sometimes life isn’t so hard. Sometimes.


August 10

8:59 a.m.

Don’t forget to flush.
Don’t forget to wash your hands.
Don’t forget to put your underwear back on BEFORE you leave the bathroom.”

I’m thinking of having a plaque made… #boys

4:42 p.m.

Okay, let’s talk about Outlander. Just watched the premiere while folding laundry today. I decided to NOT compare the book and the mini-series too much because it’s impossible to recreate anything with that much detail. But I have to say, I thought it was REALLY good. Loved the actress who played Claire (and LOVED her wardrobe). In fact – I thought the casting worked really well if you didn’t get too caught up in how they looked…Jamie was just a little too pretty, Jack Randall wasn’t nearly pretty enough and WTF DOUGAL!?! Not nearly hot enough (but maybe that improves as the show goes on and he channels some Sean Connery older guy hotness? We’ll see…) Didn’t bother me at all that Jamie doesn’t show up until the last 20 minutes. The background of “present day” was necessary and well done. Who else laughed out lout at the Scots’ reaction when Claire asked for alcohol to dress a wound? Definitely a fun watch. Can’t wait for the next one!


August 11

2:16 p.m.

This may be my favorite picture of the summer. And whenever they are screaming at each other or crying about the injustice of him getting that or her having more, I will pull this up on my phone and stroke the screen saying, “pretty…so pretty…”

DSC_04504:38 p.m.

Is it just me, or does anyone else sometimes move their ships while playing Battleship so the kid can get more hits and the game will end faster?

7:03 p.m.

Playing Clue with Oliver is entertaining but not exactly fast paced. He’s far more interested in making the game pieces talk to each other than guessing “whodunit.”


August 13

8:12 a.m.

This morning – not for the first time – I noticed that my vitamin D pills come in a bottle that looks exactly like the Melatonin bottle. The actual tablets are also identical. This could end very badly for me one day…

9:21 a.m.

Eleanor has officially perfected her five syllable “Sto-o-o-o-op.” Flawless. I’m so proud.

11:26 a.m.

We’ve only been at the farm for ten minutes and I’ve already cleaned up an epic sunblock explosion in my backpack and retrieved George’s shoe from a gazebo roof. Auspicious beginnings…


August 15

9:18 a.m.

Just when we had given up hope, Mr. Krabs came back! Guess our crumb strewn floor provided whatever nourishment he needed. Finally – my slovenly housekeeping pays off!

1:18 p.m.

Today I have five kids at a farm with miniature golf. After 20 minutes of MY TURN! And YOU CHEATED! I think it’s safe to say that I have never in my life been so excited to feed goats.


August 16

1:15 p.m.

Doing something to the demolition derby track. I have no idea – but George sure is excited. The things I do for my children… #boys

IMG_97863:25 p.m.

Juuuuust cleared that height requirement.



August 17

9:32 a.m.

Just ate my weight in cheese grits. So I’m now ready for anything…that involves sleeping for 10 hours…

6:00 p.m.

George: Mom – can Ben and I have a play date?

Me: Weren’t you JUST telling me that he was being mean to you and telling you to go away when you were trying to talk to him and he WASN’T doing it in the kidding around voice?

George: Yeah. But then I did the right thing and apologized for being overly dramatic.

I doubt he will continue to “do the right thing” EVERY time he’s being overly dramatic… But this is a huge step forward for my INTENSE little boy.


August 18

8:59 p.m.

Me: Ready for bed?

George: [YAWN] No.

Eleanor: We’re never gonna “be ready for bed.”

Yes. I noticed.

10:07 p.m.

Earlier today, while trying to get the kids to stop running around the post office, I pointed out the track for a partition wall and asked them what they thought it was for….

George: I KNOW. They pull that out when there’s a tornado. Then everyone can stand behind it and not get caught in the twister.

Me: That’s an interesting idea…

Eleanor: Or maybe it’s for when they’re closed.

Me: Or that.



August 21

1:47 p.m.

On the way to the pool, George kept talking about all of the “swimming stuff” he was going to teach his younger friend. It was clear that the friend wasn’t liking this line of conversation so I intervened – suggesting that maybe his friend wasn’t interested in “learning stuff” today. George was having none of that…

George: [practically screaming with excitement] But I’m going to teach him how to jump off the diving board and swim to the side!

Friend: [mumbling] I want to go on the slide…

Me: [to a STILL talking, George] GEORGE! Maybe he doesn’t want a teacher. MAYBE he just wants a friend.

George: I could be a friendly teacher?


August 22

12:38 p.m.

One day late for #TBT. I think George was four… Decided to try out Oliver’s new bike.



August 22

5:05 p.m.

It was only a matter of time…



August 23

5:52 p.m.

Earlier today, our favorite babysitter (who is visiting for the weekend) was telling me a story about how her iphone was stolen. It began: “Well, it was my friend’s graduation party, and she was crying in her room – so you know, I had to take care of her…”

My first reaction was that it’s been a long time since I was at a party where the host was locked in her bedroom crying or where any of the guests had valuables stolen… Could not relate at all anymore.

My second (delayed) reaction, was that I could probably tell the exact same story, but it would begin: “Well, it was my daughter’s birthday party, and she was crying in her room – so you know, I had to take care of her…” And the iphone wouldn’t be stolen – it would be broken by children fighting over who had the next turn playing games on it. While none of this actually happened to me…it totally could.

So really, we’re practically leading parallel lives… #20something40somethingworldproblems


August 24

3:58 p.m.

Ren Fair baby!



August 25

10:03 a.m.

Flying our freak flag high at the grocery store today…



August 26

6:58 p.m.

Oliver was calling me from the other room. He needed HELP because he couldn’t find the TV channel he had been watching. The Home Shopping Network was on and I made him wait another five minutes before I found Sam & Cat because TRISH MCEVOY was on HSN. TRISH MCEVOY! Facial lines were being blurred with magic powder. There was SHIMMER. It was mesmerizing. I miss department store makeup…


August 28

3:13 p.m.

Walking past a garden on a street with no sidewalk…

Me: Hey guys – be careful not to step on the flowers.

George: Because they’re poisonous?

Me: No! Because they’re beautiful.


8:26 p.m.

It was open house (meet the teachers) at the kids’ Elementary school today and I’m really happy with placements. This will be the first year that all three have new teachers (George and Eleanor were in K-1 so they had the same teacher/classroom for the past two years). Both of their second grade teachers are great. I could just barely pry Eleanor out of her new classroom. George got Oliver’s teacher from last year (the strict one – as it should be); and when we left the classroom he said, “Mom, THIS year, I’m not going to be bad.” Fingers crossed for fewer trips to the principal’s office… The only downer was how SAD Oliver was that he had to leave his second grade teacher (when I told George he would have Mrs. T, Oliver said, “OH – George will be in MY class?!“) There were tears. He tried to barter with his new teacher for a “trade” which seemed to involve him doing a week in the new classroom and then switching back to his old one. I have no doubt that he’ll be FINE after a day or two. But that one just breaks my heart with his loyalty and desire to be “little” forever.





August 31

10:30 a.m.

Just BARELY managed to put back a K.C. and the Sunshine Band’s Greatest Hits CD after initially dropping it into my basket at Target. This perfectly exemplifies the dangerous level of my impulse shopper mentality…and my taste is music…


September 2

10:20 a.m.

The amount of time I am allotted for first day of school picture taking is well represented by the “best” shots from this morning. Oliver was practically jumping out of his skin with anxiety over his new classroom, so I’m surprised he isn’t a blur between his brother and sister…





September 3

11:23 a.m.

Nothing makes you feel more attractive than an annual visit to the dermatologist. Unless of course, “photo damage” and “acne scarring” don’t do it for you…

7:49 p.m.

I’m not good at explaining sciencey things.”

And other embarrassing answers I give my children when I’m tired…


September 4

8:49 a.m.

Eleanor: Hey Jonas! I got George!

George: No you didn’t! That was my thumb! Thumbs don’t count!

Me: Yes they do! Thumbs DO count.

Not that I have any idea what they’re talking about… But George is in second grade now, and it’s long since time he learned that thumbs totally count.

7:45 p.m.

Eleanor just went outside with Chris to walk the dog…

Eleanor: [running in the door] GEORGE! You HAVE to see this!

Me: What is it?

Eleanor: A SNAKE SKIN!

George: On our steps?!

Me: [horrified expression]

Eleanor: No.

Me: [relieved expression]

Chris: Well, almost on the steps.

Me: [Thinking, “time to move.”]

Eleanor: I touched it!

Me: [THISCLOSE to passing out.]

I miss the city.


September 5

7:11 p.m.

His lesbian friend totally wrote this for him.”

-Diane Cooper Gould’s cynical take on a Hey Cupid profile our single friend found promising… #HoorayforFridayNight


September 7

5:36 p.m.

I’m not much of an activist (unless having opinions and really caring counts…okay, so I’m not much of an activist). But I WILL say this. For men who feel like it’s only natural that they would want to see stolen pictures of female celebrities (or any women, really) in the nude simply because they are sexually attracted to women and would OBVIOUSLY want to get a peek…consider this: That may be someone else’s wife or girlfriend. What if it was your wife or girlfriend? That may be someone else’s MOTHER. What if it was your mother? That IS someone else’s daughter. Do I need to ask the obvious question?


September 11

9:50 p.m.

Arnebya, you had no idea that by not coming tonight, you’d be missing out on drinks at a Bayou Sports bar called Chasin’ Tails (get it?!) where they have both “red AND white” wine. My glass of “red” arrived in a brandy snifter.





September 12

8:11 a.m.

Me: Oliver, do you need underwear?

Oliver: No thanks.

Me: Let me rephrase that. Are you WEARING underwear?

Oliver: Uh….

That’s what I thought.

4:52 p.m.

Mulch is like the ground beef of wood. WHO KNOWS what’s in there. Also – my children are burying themselves in mulch.


September 15

9:06 a.m.

Those mornings I have to ask, “exactly WHO are the people in MY neighborhood?#‎SweetRide‬



September 15

6:42 p.m.

“We’ve built up enough immunities. It’s time to start hand washing.”


8:39 p.m.

Chris and I are out to dinner for our anniversary, and it was only when we were walking into the restaurant that I realized I forgot to put on my earrings. My hair is pulled back of course. We may as well just go home now. Night ruined.


September 17

6:56 p.m.

Eleanor: I have Ms. Gutierrez for Music – who do you have?

George: Mr. Robinson

Me: You have Mr. Robinson again?

Eleanor: Who do you like better – Mr. Robinson or Ms. Gutierrez?

George: Mr. Robinson!

Me: Why do you like Mr. Robinson better?

George: Because Ms. Gutierrez only gives two warnings and Mr. Robinson gives four.



September 18

10:01 a.m.

#TBT 2010

DSCN22267:37 p.m.

Eleanor is reading a book about horses…

Eleanor: It says, “Genghis Khan conquered Asia and eastern Europe with an army of a quarter of a million horsemen.” There used to be HORSEMEN?

Me: Yes…?

Eleanor: So they were half horse/half man?!

#1 – OF COURSE she didn’t know how to pronounce Genghis Khan! (Or “quarter”)

#2 – I kind of wish I could’ve said yes…because GEEK.


September 23

7:24 p.m.

Just now – George came inside after playing next door, hollering, “Mom! The moon is bleeding and strange things are happening!

Where does he hear about this stuff? Stuff I need to google…

moon7:53 p.m.

George: By the way – aliens aren’t even real. Only on other planets. Like Saturn. And Mercury.

So that’s good news…


September 24

6:42 p.m.

G-E-O-R-G-E stands for:

Grat (Great)
Emeralb (Emerald)
Osum (Awesome)
Roking (Rocking)
Gelles (Jealous – because “sometimes I’m jealous”)
Efletik (Athletic)



September 25

8:20 a.m.

#‎TBT October 2008 with my first true blogging BFF. Yesterday was my turn to write a review for ‪Rare Bird‬. This would be the blog that is covered with dust due to perpetual html woes… So you won’t find any pictures there (damn broken blog) but I made up for it with an alarming number of words.

camera 3424:44 p.m.

As I told my almost eight year old daughter that not only did I read her new library book when I was a kid, but that we also have OUR OWN copy of Where The Sidewalk Ends right here at home…it occurred to me that she is doing an excellent job of raising herself.



Sandra’s seen a leprechaun,Eddie touched a troll,
Laurie danced with witches once,
Charlie found some goblin’s gold.
Donald heard a mermaid sing,
Susy spied an elf,
But all the magic I have known
I’ve had to make myself.

-Shel Silverstein


September 27

10:08 a.m.

And then I realized that all of those reminders from school that the 29th is a student holiday means that my children will ALL BE HOME, ALL DAY on Monday. I’m not mentally prepared for this…

3:31 p.m.

George: Mom! No one ever listens to me! And I’m mostly right.

Preaching to the choir, George…

3:49 p.m.

George: Mom? Should I get State Farm or Nationwide on your side?

Me: What?

George: When I grow up. What do you think? State Farm or Nationwide?

I think someone’s been watching too much TV…


I’ll post October this week and then we’ll be back to monthly posts. Then maybe I’ll start writing actual blog posts again…

They Coulda’ Been Great: June-July 2014

And suddenly – it was summer… Our June and July on Facebook… (What is this? All answers are HERE.)


June 1

9:21 a.m.

Waiting for kids at the Bike/Walkathon finish line, and happy mine are referred to as bikers not “walkers.” #‎TheWalkingDead

5:54 p.m.

It’s not summer until someone loses a toenail running for the ice cream truck. Poor Eleanor! #‎itsnotevensummeryet!



June 2

8:42 p.m.

When someone is going to be in a show, you don’t say ‘good luck’ because that’s actually bad luck. You say ‘break a leg.’ …Or something French.”

-Eleanor Hood, Age 7 on “acting”

So the BIG SHOW was today! Our last acting class (for the kids who were enrolled: Oliver, George, Eleanor, and the rest of the K-2 crew; and the grownup who had to “shadow” her oldest who refused to participate: me) was a performance of “Happy Fairy Godmother’s Day.”

Eleanor was Merryweather (one of the three godmothers) and LOVED being in a play. Even with her injured toe, she gave it 150%. Remembered her lines and did an excellent job projecting her voice.

George was Jombo (one of the two guys who announces each of the “supplicants” as they come in). He’s actually a good little actor and got some laughs when he really hammed it up. It goes without saying that he had no problem projecting his voice… Mainly I was just thrilled that he behaved and didn’t spend the performance rolling on the floor (with the exception of one or two superfluous break dancing moves at the end that I could have done without).

But the the real break out role was “The Big Bad Wolf” played by Oliver Hood. That conscientious objector who required his mother’s stern presence to even mumble through his lines, not only projected his voice…he stomped and roared and broke off into improv, telling the audience that he would blow ALL their houses down. Then he didn’t stop ad libbing and I had to make frantic gestures at him, hissing “THAT’S ENOUGH. GO SIT DOWN.” Someone needed to give him the hook. It was beyond my “participation” expectations. I asked Eleanor if she thought it was funny or embarrassing. She said it was “a little embarrassing” but she laughed along with everyone else. I agreed it was kind of embarrassing. In the best way possible.

I’m SO proud of ALL of them. And SO glad that I don’t have to sit in a gym watching boys roll on floor and practice their armpit farts next Monday.



June 3

1:15 p.m.

Just reached for a Diet Coke at Target. Have never seen this #‎ShareaCoke thing before and the the first time I do, it’s MY NAME. #‎ShouldHaveBoughtaLotteryTicketInstead‬



June 4

12:12 a.m.

Catching up on last season’s Bones, and Curtis Armstrong’s guest appearance made us decide that it is impossible to see him on TV and not say, “hey it’s Booger!” ‪#‎childrenofthe80s‬ (Also have serious Moonlighting nostalgia. AND Risky Business: “Sometimes you just have to say ‘What the Fu….’“)



June 5

10:10 a.m.

#TBT My solution to the twins taking off their diapers and peeing everywhere at nap time. I called them “the silver belts.” #‎ThisIsWhatDesperationLooksLike

This is also a bit of a time capsule with the old kids table, plastic plates AND R2D2 before he met his end on our basement stairs.

silver belts4:39 p.m.

Sitting on my front steps enjoying the beautiful weather, when I noticed the five year old boy next door singing Let it Go while scootering. When he spotted me, he said, “I can hear Eleanor [who was biking on the other side of the house] all the way over here.” I asked, “was she just singing Let it Go?” He nodded, yes.

Smooth move.

6:41 p.m.

Ah – the K-1 Movement Performance. The most painfully boring 60 minutes of the school year.

Just saying what everyone else is thinking….

9:07 p.m.

Anyone out there swaddle their elementary school age children at night? Because I’m seriously considering it. #‎GOTOSLEEPALREADY‬


June 6

11:06 p.m.

Orange is the New Black season 2 is now online! Had it streaming while I got stuff done around the house all day. Which means I’m halfway through the season, but haven’t gotten anything done around the house today.


June 7

10:03 a.m.

One great thing about having three kids is that at any given time, I can generally count on at least one of them to be delightful company. One not so great thing about having three kids is that at any given time, I can generally count on at least one of them to be a miserable human being. So apparently they take it in shifts.

8:56 p.m.

Eleanor: Mom, do you know why I cried so much today?

Me: Why?

Eleanor: Because my life is very hard for me.

Sing it sister.


June 9

5:57 p.m.

On a whim, I decided to pull out the old Free to Be You and Me CD I bought for my kids when they were toddlers. It’s been a while (like OVER three years) and I was feeling nostalgic. So I subjected four children between the ages of five and nine to Seventies gender equality sing-alongs for about 45 minutes in the car today. Not sure how into it they were, but I almost burst into tears when When We Grow Up started… (original and superior version by Diana Ross) ‪#‎Bornin72‬ ‪#‎AndYouAndMeAreFreeToBeYouAndMe‬

June 10

6:06 p.m.

A couple of days ago, Oliver dropped a box of cereal on the floor sending Lucky Charms flying in an explosion of Hearts, Stars and Horseshoes – Clovers and Blue Moons… Now I’m afraid that the dog will give herself a concussion bashing her head into counter crevices searching for strays.

6:32 p.m.

My husband isn’t the best about getting stuff done around the house. But if I tell him we’re out of wine? He is AT THE STORE before I can blink. SO important to have common interests…


June 12

12:07 a.m.

After watching several episodes of Girls and indulging in a few glasses of wine, I’ve decided that I want to be the voice of my generation. Totally doable right?

8:24 a.m.

Most people have anxiety dreams BEFORE they have to be on stage. I, on the other hand, have mine a month later. Last night, the cast of Listen to Your Mother DC waited for me on stage as I frantically searched the dressing room for a button. Then when I finally did join them, I took time to ask everyone if my leopard print suit looked vintage – because that’s what I was going for. Also, the little bow embellishment at the collar kept drooping on one side. It was driving me crazy. Don’t even get me started on how I managed to leave the script in my car…

2:06 p.m.

Walking into Comcast to drop off my cable box and terminate service. I’m so bad at ending things. Feels like I’m about to dump a nice enough boyfriend I’m just not into anymore. Formulating my, “it’s not you, it’s me,” speech…

6:13 p.m.

George: Mo-o-om! Oliver keeps throwing the pee towel at me!

Me: Well George, since it was YOUR pee, I want YOU to pick it up and bring it to the laundry room. And Oliver – don’t throw pee towels at people!

So many teachable moments…

[Note because I got questions about this: a pee towel is what I usually call the towel I use to soak up our dog’s “bad girl” moments. In this case it was George who peed on the floor, and no – I have no idea why he thought that would be funny.]


June 13

11:36 a.m.

From Oliver’s social skills group report from Saturday: “When we went to the playground, I was really impressed with his ability to accept ‘no’ for an answer when I told him he couldn’t pretend to be a sloth any more. He said ‘ok,’ participated in the activities, and didn’t ask about it again!

I love this on so many levels.

12:22 p.m.

OMG it’s Friday the 13th! Why didn’t anyone tell me? Actually I’m not really all that superstitious…but those terrible movies scared me to death and bad luck or not, I’m very susceptible to bad connotations. I usually luck out and don’t not notice the date until it’s passed. Not sure how to proceed with the day… Maybe no Target?

5:49 p.m.

Me: Oliver, I love you to death.

Oliver: Yeah – like the death to me.

Me: What? No – I mean I love you more than anything.

Oliver: More than anything like death.

Me: Yes – I love you more than anything like death.

I love my little Balki Bartokomous more than anything. To death.

7:06 p.m.

Message from the universe (at my friend’s house) that yes, I SHOULD have spent this week watching the first three seasons of Girls.



June 14

8:14 a.m.

I want you to go into the bathroom right now and wash your hands and face…and arms…and knees.”

Said to Oliver, who just ate a chocolate doughnut.

3:36 p.m.

So tomorrow is Father’s Day. As I think about what to do for Chris, I’m reminded of Eleanor’s school journal entry about Mother’s Day. Something tells me he’s not going to clean our room…

mothers day


June 15

6:15 p.m.

Check out the level of description in Oliver’s recent school journal entry regarding his bike! I can’t wait for the novel…



June 17

8:38 p.m.

No problem, Chris. Work as late as you need to…



June 18

1:59 p.m.

You know when you haven’t taken an exercise class in years, and when you finally do, the instructor says, “lift your right index finger,” and it hurts so much you think you might cry? Well – I didn’t cry, but after taking two steps down the stairs when the class ended, I seriously considered turning back and using the elevator.

3:38 p.m.

My kids write each other the sweetest love notes!



June 19

7:19 p.m.

I think I’ve mentioned before that Oliver likes to give inanimate objects voices (his pencils talk to each other…vegetables scream while I’m chopping them…) And only today, did I finally notice that they ALL sound exactly like Mr. T.


June 23

5:04 p.m.

I think you guys need a safe word.”

Said to my children. No irony.

6:35 p.m.

I just had to have a talk with George after a friend informed me that he was walking around with a box of fireworks, inviting all the neighborhood kids to our house AND promising that afterward, Chris would buy everyone ice cream.

So vacations without him when he’s a teenager are OUT…


June 24

4:27 p.m.

I got so excited about this until I asked if she wanted to be a writer, and she said,”no – I just do it because I have to.” Guess I’ll take it.

IMG_86104:36 p.m.

Hey! NO ONE discovered it. You can’t “claim” a dead turtle.”



June 25

6:23 p.m.

School is officially OUT and suddenly my decision to forgo camps or childcare of any kind this summer feels like I decided to go skydiving…

JUST KIDDING! Skydiving only takes up one afternoon.

9:23 p.m.



June 28

3:03 p.m.

The other week at our community yard sale, Eleanor picked up a huge bag of crafting supplies for a dollar. SCORE! One item included in her haul was a package of decorative cardinals (those semi-lifelike ones that people attach to wreaths and such). Thrilled with this procurement, she decided to display them all over her room (one on a doll’s lap, three on her dresser, two on her bedside table, a few resting on baskets…). It’s like a fake cardinal convention. Unfortunately, they aren’t really designed to stand up on their own and keep falling on their sides. Now her room looks less like a festive aviary, and more like there was a gas leak in the mine. Puts a rather macabre twist on the shabby chic decor. I think it’s really going to catch on…


June 30

3:50 p.m.

Any Everybody Loves Raymond fans out there? Chris got back from a business trip on Saturday. Wonder how long his suitcase will live in our dining room if I don’t touch it. I’m designating this as Day Two. #SuitcaseStandoff



July 1

8:54 a.m.

George: Mom, you know it’s very easy to get lost in Asia and the African forest.

Me: Really?

George: Yeah – because there are lots of trees and it’s very narrow.


11:20 a.m.

How fun is this? My friend, Sarah Rosemary Bagley asked me to be a guest on her “recovering perfectionist’s guide to a B+ life” weekly podcast. We had to reschedule several times when I got my dates mixed up and then when we finally did the taping I spent approximately 1/3 of the podcast telling the twins’ birth story…so it’s clear that I’m living more of a C- life… BUT I really enjoyed doing it and we do cover a lot of other interesting topics like producing the DC Listen to Your Mother show and our own brand of imperfect parenting. If you like the sound of my voice as much as I seem to…I highly recommend giving this a listen.

podcast image
10:01 p.m.

Watching Sunday’s episode of 24: Live Another Day

Chris: Benjamin Bratt is dick.

Me: I hate you Benjamin Bratt! No wonder you couldn’t make it work with America’s sweetheart.

Chris: Who is America’s sweetheart?

Me: Julia Roberts. What generation are you from?

YES – that was well over 10 years ago. But we are old and still fully entrenched in our “glory days”. Also? Why do I watch TV with boys?


July 2

5:43 a.m.

Life with an intense child…

My boys are both struggling with reading. So I signed them up for a free trial with an online program someone suggested to me (silly cartoons teaching phonics). THEY LOVE IT! But after two lessons, Oliver was all, “it was real, it was fun, but it wasn’t real fun.” He would like to pick up where he left off tomorrow. NO problem considering you’re only really supposed to do one lesson per day. George on the other hand, is STILL at it (just checked, and he’s on lesson five). At this rate, I expect him to finish all 80 lessons in the two week trial period. Which my type A evil twin is totally rooting for…


July 3

12:14 p.m.

Me: Don’t eat your shoes!

Oliver: I’m not eating my shoes! … They’re flip flops.

OH – well, carry on then.


July 4

1:49 p.m

It’s SO great that L.L. Bean replaces backpacks when they break. UNLESS your child is so attached to his discontinued backpack that he has a nervous breakdown when none of the current options look like it. Apparently, “Oliver the Backpack” is still perfectly functional without a working zipper, and abandoning him at the store was an act of unconscionable cruelty. I don’t know if he’ll ever forgive me… It’s like trading in “Oliver the Car” ALL OVER AGAIN.


July 5

7:47 a.m.

Fourth of July is over, but but my husband’s suitcase is still feeling festive. I have seen Chris both step over it and walk around it this week. Day Seven and the #suitcasestandoff continues…

IMG_88401:34 p.m.

Me: So what was your favorite firework last night.

Eleanor: I liked the ones that went up in the air…but not the loud part – that was scary.

George: I liked the one Dad messed up that exploded down and went everywhere and was really dangerous.

We are fully embracing our gender roles today…

4:31 p.m.

Neighbors must have teased non-facebooking Chris about the standoff. Earlier when I was out with the kids, he texted me “standoff over,” with this picture.

IMG_8845Of course, a couple of hours later, I found this in our bedroom. So we seem to have a miscommunication about the exact terms of this standoff…

IMG_88447:52 p.m.

Oliver just looked horrified at the suggestion that he help his father with the hamburger patties. He’ll touch a dead chipmunk…but not raw ground beef. Earlier, I found him chewing paper…but GODFORBID I suggest he try a noodle. Well, he is entertaining.


July 7

12:13 p.m.

Lavender picking! But the (end of season) pickins are slim…

IMG_88918:51 p.m.

Every day my dog, Alice does something disgusting (today it was wake me up by loudly puking under my bed) and I give her my “why are you being so gross?” face. Then she gives me her, “I’m sorry, have you not met me?” face. This isn’t evolving…. #NOTSoulmates.


July 8

3:44 p.m.

I think I may finally be okay with being a 42 year old woman in a one piece bathing suit… Of course, I’ve looked like a 42 year old woman in a one piece bathing suit since I was 24…so that probably helps.

6:46 p.m.

The twins had a dentist appointment today and came home with shiny new toothbrushes. George is particularly taken with his, and keeps referring to it as his “Oral B.” #MrEnthusiasm

11:26 p.m.

Just when I think Chris and I are totally on the same page, I say something like, “aww – it’s the one where Ross and Rachael do laundry together,” and he has no idea what I’m talking about.” #NotSoulmates #EverythingLooksLikeJammiesNow


July 10

7:06 a.m.

Look who has returned to us (from Ebay)! Oliver and Oliver the Backpack had a joyous reunion yesterday. Now working on my own “brand new L.L. Bean backpack for sale” listing…

IMG_89211:36 p.m.

It’s only 1:30 and, I’ve already lost count of all the fart and burp contests I’ve been asked to judge (all declined of course). I’ve also heard the word “penis” approximately five BILLION times. #summer

8:17 p.m.

Earlier at Target…

Me: Okay you guys – this is going to be a very quick shopping trip. We’re only buying a couple of things we need. Milk and…what else…?

Oliver: Toys?

Ladies and gentlemen, may I present Oliver Hood – single handedly keeping hope alive since 2005.

8:36 p.m.

“I’m not tattling! I’m reporting what’s happening!”

-George Hood, age 7


July 11

12:40 p.m.

Next time I say, “hey – who wants to take a quick walk up to Dunkin Donuts to get a treat?” we’ll all know that what I REALLY mean is, “who wants to participate in a miserable 30 minute exercise in conflict resolution/social skills development?” #summerfun

But it was all good once we got the doughnuts. [Disclaimer: the misery was 100% George and Eleanor – not their friends.]



July 15

3:25 p.m.

George: MOM! You know what I just saw on the soap in the bathroom?

Me: On the SOAP?

George: Yeah! On the soap. Seasoned salt!

Me: (of course – turning to Oliver) You put seasoned salt on the soap?

Oliver: Uh….

Epilogue – I checked it out, and in Oliver’s defense, it’s clear that he must have gotten the seasoned salt on the bar of soap while washing his hands. Which isn’t at all weird since seasoned salt is “a thing” in Oliver’s world (which IS weird). So much so that my other children can identify seasoned salt residue on a bar of soap. Also – he is now acting as a ventriloquist and making the vegetables that I’m cutting scream in pain.

Never a dull moment…


July 16

5:18 p.m.

George’s friend: Hey Eleanor! Want to play manhunt?

Eleanor: What’s that?

George’s friend: Someone has to get to that tree without being tagged and everyone chases them.

George: Yeah! It’s really fun! Like soldiers vs. ninjas!

Eleanor can make her own decisions, but I can’t think of anything that sounds less appealing…


July 17

1:06 p.m.

Put on unflattering summer exercise clothes with the plan to run a few errands, then go to the YMCA. Errands took longer than expected and I had to run home to meet the summer school bus. Still have more errands to do – now with the kids. Still in my unflattering summer exercise clothes…And feeling very “People of Walmart.”

6:07 p.m.

#TBT Who else had one of these?? Bonus points for wearing a party dress made by Mom. And I have to say – the homemade party dress with a white eyelet apron was the quintessential 70’s look for Coveny girls. I would go so far as to say that it was OUR JAM.

Kate Christmas 27:58 p.m.

#TBT And how gorgeous was my MOM?! All 29 years old of her…

Kate Christmas 68:01 p.m.

#TBT And have we discussed this? My mother’s take on “outerwear.” The best part is that those were apparently my DAD’s pants. It’s a look…

Kate snow 3


July 18

8:15 a.m.

Leaving for the beach tomorrow and have of yet to do one of those bingo wing blaster exercises I looked up. I am my own worst enemy.


July 19

9:13 a.m.

Kicking off our drive to NC with a breakfast stop in Fredericksburg – where Oliver chose to make crayons talk to each other instead of eating and George wore his backpack full of Matchbox cars. Keepin’ it real. Keepin’ it fresh.

IMG_89879:30 a.m.

In Fredericksburg…

Chris: We’re going to a battlefield now.

George: YAY!

Me: We’ll walk around some fields to see some plaques and stuff.

George: And dead guys!

Me: No dead guys.

George: Explosions?

Me: No explosions

George: Michael Jackson’s leg?

Chris: Stonewall Jackson’s arm – and YES.


10:50 a.m.

On a boring Civil War walking tour, the resourceful man remembers to bring a yellow crayon.

IMG_90246:43 p.m.

Apparently he has my eyes AND my freckles. #minime



July 20

7:51 a.m.

One hour into the road trip and my children are already fighting about which DVD to watch next. At which point I turn all old lady on them and say, “when I was your age we didn’t HAVE movies in the car. All we had were these books called Mad Libs. AND they weren’t even all that funny.”

12:51 p.m.

We made it to the beach! Now the kids just have to do that for 3.5 more hours until we can get into our house…

IMG_90401:05 p.m.

Dammit Shoshana Kohn! Because of you, I read We Were Liars. Now I’m wrecked. Also watching my two boys and girl play on the beach. It’s not a “tiny beach” – but still. Sniff.

3:17 p.m.

Arriving at the beach five hours before you can get into your rental sounds doable until one hour before you can get into your rental and Food Lion was so crowded and your kids are exhausted from playing in the surf and you are now just listening to them whine as you drive around playing DVDs for them and you actually yell into the back, “if you don’t eat your chocolate bars and watch TV RIGHT NOW…” #hindsight

4:09 p.m.

Exploring the beach house…

George: (Runs in the door, breathless) Mom! Dad! Good news!

Me: What?!

George: (Brandishes a small orange object that looks a little bit like a guitar pick)

Me: What is that?

George: I don’t know!


7:24 p.m.

OMG I’m IN a picture. My mother in law just took this in front of the beach house. Oliver was a doll and blocked my bingo wing for me.



July 21

7:36 p.m.



July 22

Yesterday I bought Oliver a hermit crab to help with his homesickness (he misses our dog, Alice and I thought he needed a little buddy to nurture). So NOW we have three hermit crabs (of course). Oliver named his “Mr. Krabs” (does this mean we watch too much Sponge Bob?), George named his “Cameron” (apparently he has two friends named Cameron, but I keep thinking of Cam in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off singing, “let my Cameron go”) and Eleanor named hers “Flower.” But I guess it didn’t take since she just ran in, and breathlessly announced, “Mommy! I changed Flower’s name!” I asked what the new name was – expecting something like a TV character or one of her friends’ names. Instead she beamed, “Sunshine!” #girls


July 25

8:12 p.m.

Me: Chris! Take a picture of me with the kids!

Chris: Sure! Just let me get this sweaty guy in the shot.

Also – looks like George is ready for prom.



July 27

6:06 p.m.



July 29

9:22 a.m.

It’s impossible to sustain a grumpy mood while walking your neighbor’s puppy (dog sitting this week!)



July 30

10:54 p.m.

Chris was just telling me a story that involves a man going to jail for narcotics actually cleaning out the family bank account, saying he needs the money for jail. Then when Chris made a crack about why a guy going to jail needs money, I immediately launched into an explanation of how he would put it in his account so he could buy things to trade – probably for drugs… That’s right. I’ve watched two seasons of Orange is the New Black. So I’m basically an expert on prison life.


July 31

10:17 a.m.

Dear Eleanor,

Seven year old girls are not allowed to suffer from ennui. Especially when they have been enjoying DAILY afternoon play dates with friends. You have an amazing imagination. Use it!

With love from your Summer Vacation Cruise Director,

11:56 a.m.

Eleanor: When I got a filling, the Novocain made my lip feel like it was as big as Mom’s nose.

Me: That’s pretty big.

Eleanor: (wide eyed) Uh huh.

Love that guileless honesty… Stay gold Pony Girl.


Next up…August/September. Two more posts until we’re all caught up!

They Coulda’ Been Great: April-May 2014

Part two in catching up on this…Our April and May on Facebook… (What is They Coulda’ Been Great? All answers are HERE.)


April 1

8:30 a.m.

A minute ago, I heard a loud banging noise from the living room and called out, “what’s going on in there!?” Oliver answered, “we’re just playing chair banging.” Whew! And I thought they might be doing something destructive…


April 2

6:44 p.m.

I told George he could NOT put those rocks on my nice furniture. But apparently, these are “Truth Rocks” and “very special.” Also – the fourth one from the right is “Dragon Truth.” The “collections” are never ending…



April 6

8:27 p.m.

Lately, George has been asking me to sing him a song when I tuck them in. But tonight, he said he didn’t want to hear one of their old favorites like Chicken Soup with Rice or Under a Shady Tree. Instead, this evening’s lullaby request was Roar by Katy Perry.

Nailed it.


April 7

10:11 a.m.

We had our full cast read through for Listen to Your Mother DC on Saturday night and I have to say, if you haven’t purchased your ticket yet – buy it NOW! Such an amazing group of story tellers…Can’t wait!


April 8

12:18 p.m.

A few years ago, my friend Nancy ruined my life. She was complaining about the flab on her upper arms – and my misinterpretation of “flab” meaning “fat” inspired her to explain (in great detail) how even people with thin arms develop loose skin in that area as they age. And now I can’t un-know that. I also can’t wave hello without cringing. THEN yesterday, Nancy informed me that this affliction has a name: Bingo Wings. BINGO WINGS. It’s like one indignity after another…

7:51 p.m.

Just finished this beautiful memoir by a friend. What a gift – to be able to immerse yourself in the history of someone you love. Everyone should write a memoir – like right now! I can’t wait to read yours…



April 9

10:16 p.m.

Results say  I’m “Pretty Darn White.” Fair enough. Now I’m going to take this quiz for Chris. Incidentally, he thinks he’s a Samantha, but he’s SUCH a Miranda…



April 10

5:04 p.m.

Fact: there is no such thing as “simple” origami. Proof: the brain bleed I just developed…

brain bleed5:46 p.m.

I’ve never done a #TBT before… But I’ve been thinking about this little guy from my past a lot today. Possibly because he woke up at !TWO AM! last night and never went back to sleep.

exhaustion7:38 p.m.

Oh wait! I just saw that it’s “Sibling Day” and everyone is posting sweet pictures of their brothers and sisters. So obviously…



April 13

11:58 a.m.

New bike! Just a leeetle too big. Also Daddy bought her one with ONLY hand brakes. So that’s been interesting…

E new bike


April 16

6:18 p.m.

Chris: Oliver – don’t be doing that when company comes over.

Me: Does he have underwear on his head again?

Just your average Wednesday night…


April 17

2:36 p.m.

What is that small blue fossil at the Natural History Museum? Dinosaur paci. Obviously.

IMG_81233:06 p.m.

While they are really enjoying the soon to be under construction dinosaur exhibit – the items they got most excited about in the displays were a blue pacifier, a scattering of Cheetos and a toddler sock. #TheWonderYears



April 19

9:51 a.m.

I just have to make one little rainbow and then I’ll be right there.”

In OR out of context, I love my little girl…


April 22

6:47 p.m.

George: Mom! Guess what I did for the environment today?

Me: What?

George: I threw my trash in the trash can at school!

Wow – George is quite the activist this Earth Day. Now if only I could get him to extend this enthusiasm to our trash can at home….

7:16 p.m.

In honor of Earth Day, Alice got into someone’s leftover Easter candy and puked on my newly made bed so I could do a couple of extra loads of laundry this week. Yay pets!

And no – I have NO idea where she got it since I have been vigilant about keeping baskets “up high” and behind closed doors. I can only suspect that she’s just pretending to be a dumb dog without opposable thumbs. Time to install the nanny cams….


April 25

7:04 p.m.

Diane Cooper Gould just demoted me from sister-wife to sister-cousin. That’s cold.

— with Cathy McCarthy Trocchia.


April 27

9:32 a.m.

I just always call him Dude, since I can’t remember his name.”

Chris, upon hearing a neighbor’s name. Only my husband (at age 41) walks around the neighborhood calling people “Dude.”

1:24 p.m.

If a successful birthday involves drinking mimosas and inhaling half a tray of baked French toast, then WINNING.


April 28

2:41 p.m.

There’s no winner in going to the car. There’s just getting in the car.”

I’m such a buzz kill.

5:57 p.m

Me: [to Chris] You snooze you lose.

George: Yeah Dad – you snooze too much, so that’s what you get.

So I guess they’ve noticed his multiple weekend naps…

7:00 p.m.

I’ve been so busy today, I haven’t had a chance to thank everyone for the birthday wishes. I felt beyond fêted. It was a lovely, relaxing day and Chris invited some neighbors over for a surprise birthday brunch. He told me about it the day before since I don’t like surprises and I woke up and tidied the house since he doesn’t clean. It was all very seamless and you have every right to CRY over the AMAZING french toast bake you missed. But I have to give the biggest shout out to our neighbor Mary Catherine Trocchia (next to Eleanor) who gave me the best laugh I’ve had since her father got her that haircut. Yes – that’s a bathing suit – she’s awesome. Everyone needs a Mary Catherine next door.

MC7:05 p.m.

I didn’t mean to be so beautiful – it’s just the way I turned out to be.”

GODPLEASE let Eleanor always be so matter of fact about her loveliness (inside and out). Also – Don’t hate her because she’s beautiful. Pantene was on sale.


April 29

6:19 p.m.

Make sure to touch everything! And don’t forget to put your fingers in your mouth!

What I may as well say to my children whenever we go anywhere.


April 30

9:04 a.m.

This morning’s angst has been brought to you by the good people at I Have Nothing to Wear – making women crazy since the invention of textiles.


May 2

9:59 p.m.

Diane Cooper Gould gave me this good luck card for the Listen to Your Mother DC show on Sunday. Reminds her of us? Of course she is the one with the rhinestone glasses and kicky beret.



May 3

8:58 a.m.

Me: Eleanor? What are you doing?

Eleanor: Posing.

Of course. Happy Saturday!


May 4

6:54 a.m.

Today is THE DAY! What? No – not the day my Listen to Your Mother DC reign of terror ends. Well – that too – but more importantly TODAY is THE BIG SHOW. Can’t wait to see all of my local friends there. If you haven’t bought your ticket yet – we still have some seats available so you can get them onsite.

9:48 a.m.

So it probably wasn’t a good idea to open that bag of chocolate I bought for the Listen to Your Mother DC dressing room… Of course the kids at half of it! And by “the kids” I mean me. Epilogue – I just bought another bag at the store. Officially signing off of social media now. Time to figure out where I can get change for $20 bills on a Sunday… #‎poorplanning‬


May 5

6:04 p.m.

OMG – Sponge Bob is on and Mrs. Puff slammed a door in his face when he said he’d be in her drivers ed class for another year, and then he called out, “Okay – See you next Tuesday!” That was intentional, right? Also – I know I’ve seen that one several times before and never noticed that he actually said “SEE YOU NEXT TUESDAY!”


May 7

9:27 p.m.

Coming home to find your front doorknob coated in toothpaste is totally normal. At my house.


May 8

9:29 a.m.

Got a lot of compliments at the bus stop this morning on my new t-shirt (a gift from 2014 Listen to Your Mother DC cast member, Jessica Rapisarda). Then Eleanor asked, “haven’t you been wearing that shirt since yesterday?” And the answer is “OF COURSE – because I’m the…”

IMG_82217:40 p.m.

#‎TBT‬ George wanted me to post a picture of my newborn twins. When I said, “how about this one,” he said, “yeah – you look really young there.” Just goes to show what seven years with George will do to someone…



May 11

If there was ever a cure for the baby fever… That was just a few days before my water broke at the hair salon and the twins arrived (luckily NOT at the hair salon). Happy Mother’s Day! I’m done.



May 12

10:27 a.m.

That Monday when three leftover cupcakes are sitting on your kitchen counter? Is the Monday you decide that “the diet starts Tuesday.”


May 13

3:56 p.m.

God save me from my facial expressions… As long as I’m not talking or gesturing, I am VERY good about smiling blandly when cameras are present (no chance of looking deranged in candids). But if I have to open my mouth for any reason – the crazy eyebrows and rictus grins are OUTOFCONTROL. And I don’t even consider myself to be an animated person…



May 14

10:04 a.m.

I just finished this incredible book and have thought of little else since I turned the last page. I read it because my friend wrote it. But even if I had never met Anna, I like to think that I’d still find my way to this story of grief and hope and faith and love and just flat out survival. While I’m not particularly religious, I find stories of faith and grace incredibly inspiring. We all need both in our daily lives and interactions with each other. Without them, we’d fall apart. Spoiler alert! This author did NOT fall apart – but she came pretty damn close. There really is something in this book for everyone… Whether they are grieving, trying to support others who have experienced loss, having a crisis of faith, love great writing and personal stories… This is a beautifully crafted memoir that is so raw and honest. It doesn’t preach or pontificate. It just tells one mother’s story – but you will absolutely carry that story with you as a touchstone for your own questions and moments of doubt. Also – in case it isn’t clear….I HIGHLY recommend this book! Pre-order now for the September 9 release!

Rare Bird Cover7:51 p.m.

My husband, Chris Hood (conscientious Facebook Objector, so no tagging) has been making fun of me for YEARS about how my family “always talks about musicals” (which is ridiculous – we may make references but we certainly don’t have full blown discussions about them). WELL. Just now, the self-proclaimed musicals hater made a little musicals-related joke. We were talking about the rainy weather and then about his RULLYBAD day and he said, “it’s okay. The sun will come out tomorrow…” AND NOW I will throw THAT in his face when he berates me for singing something like, “he’s in sixth grade, going on seventh grade…” [Which actually happened at a Coveny family dinner when we were first dating. QUITE proud of that one, thank you…]


May 15

7:39 p.m.

George: Hey mom – you know there is a YouTube video about how to tie a tie and it’s not inappropriate.

Me: Tie a tie?

George: Yeah – there are two ways to tie a tie.

Me: You mean like a bow tie?

George: No – there are TWO different ways to tie a tie.

Me: You mean like the ties Daddy wears to work?

George: …okay – so there are THREE different ways to tie a tie.

As usual – I have no idea what he’s talking about. But it’s endlessly entertaining.


May 18

9:29 a.m.

A conversation only two people who grew up in the ’80s could have…

Chris: Guess what I got sucked into last night?

Me: What?

Chris: Poltergeist.

Me: WHY would you watch that at night? How bad were your dreams?

Chris: I don’t know…I saw it and thought, “I haven’t seen this in years!” Then halfway through I realized it probably wasn’t a good idea, but couldn’t stop.

Me: The clown doll?!

Chris: [holds up hand in a “don’t even go there” gesture]

We’re all scarred for life.


May 20

8:14 p.m.

Still laughing about this. While “great” may technically be the most overused adjective…I think “awesome” is hot on its heels. At least in the context of social media. Either way, I’ve decided to drop both and overuse “solid” (when in person – with a fist bump for effect).




May 24

1:26 p.m.

OMG it’s already 1 p.m.?? I’m going to be late for my acting class. Did you know that I’m in an acting class? It’s called “Acting A (K-2)” and held every Monday after early dismissal at the kids’ elementary school. I thought it would be a GREAT idea since I could sign all three of them up for the same group (the twins are in 1st and Oliver is in 2nd grade) and I would have an extra hour to myself on Mondays.

Eleanor LOVED it. George told me he wished I put him in “Wiz Kids” and Oliver decided to be a conscientious objector. I could have pulled Oliver out – but then George would want out too. And quite honestly, I don’t want them to think that (respectively) whining or spending the class time sitting in the corner dismantling new sneakers will make me give them their way. So Oliver has a new “shadow” in acting class: ME! I’m having flash backs of the ill fated “blast ball” experiment….

Luckily – there are only two classes left. Today (which is TWO HOURS to make up for missed classes on snow days) and the Monday after Memorial Day. I’m dreading the two hours…but it is kind of entertaining. The girls are all really into it – but the boys are a mess. George isn’t even the worst one! (which is very refreshing) At any given moment, “C” is rolling around on the floor while “S” and “J” (a brothers team!) practice their armpit/back of knee farts. Last week we didn’t even have time to talk about costumes since the class was so out of control. We got a MAJOR dressing down for that one…

But I think my favorite day was when I arrived to have Oliver inform me that his pants were ripped. I inspected his mesh shorts and could find no evidence of tears or holes. After sending him back to his place though, I noticed that he kept pulling his cotton boxer-briefs over his knees (???) and dragged him out to the hallway to figure out WTF was going on. I thought maybe the hole was in his underwear (ripped so that it was drooping down?). But when I pulled back the elastic of his shorts and saw his bare behind – it became clear that when he last used the bathroom, he pulled up his shorts but not his underwear. THAT is a new one for me. Then when we were finally settled back in class, George announced that he had to go to the bathroom. I told him to wait until the teachers were done giving us instructions. But he informed me in his best stage voice that it COULD NOT wait because he was in pain: “I have to go poop! And it’s pointy.”

If it were possible, I think Eleanor would pretend not to know them. Oh – and of course I was busy this weekend and didn’t make the boys practice their lines for today’s rehearsal. So this should be fun…

7:15 p.m.

George: Mom – I don’t like these [gourmet] jelly beans.

Me: Too fancy?

George: No.

Me: What don’t you like about them?

George: The taste.

Kind of a deal breaker.


May 25

1:00 p.m.



May 27

8:40 p.m.

In case it wasn’t clear what Listen to Your Mother “is about” – that would be “parents that have kids.” According to my seven year old, Eleanor in her first grade journal.

LTYM journal


May 28

7:22 p.m.

Thinking I might take my kids to a Renaissance Festival in VA and saw this on the website… “For all costumed patrons: You may carry costume weapons with you. However, all weapons must be peace-tied, preferably with zip ties.” Totally investing in a mock crossbow. Or if that’s too cumbersome perhaps a mace…


May 29

5:51 p.m.

#TBT Just me and my GIANT baby Oliver (seriously – he was only 6 weeks old). We went to San Francisco and 90% of my pictures were taken in the hotel room (also – check out my old cell phone! A lot has changed in nine years…).

San Fran Oliver

9:09 p.m.

One more #TBT: The most annoying picture in the history of pictures! Why annoying? Because I did this EVERY night with the twins for years, yet there is no visual documentation. Chris does it once and OF COURSE there is a photo. But it’s my own fault. In every relationship there is “the one who takes pictures.” That would be me. Too bad I didn’t embrace selfies back then…

Chris Twins


May 30

8:37 p.m.

Me: Oliver, I love you.

Oliver: Thanks.

Me: You’re welcome.



May 31

6:21 p.m.

Never question my knowledge of Kool and the Gang lyrics.”

Something I actually said to my kids today. Without irony.


Coming up next…June & July 2014!

They Coulda’ Been Great: February-March 2014

You may have noticed that I updated my site. It looks different AND I finally figured out (after a mere nine months – cringe) WHY I couldn’t get any of my images to show up in posts. For a long time, I tried to enlist the help of designers, but they either wanted to charge me hundreds of dollars to fix a blog which already went through an expensive redesign two years ago OR they just never returned my e-mails.

Finally, I got over my fear of breaking this blog “even more” and channeled some of my 2008 new blogger pioneer spirit. I KNOW how to set up a basic (free) blog design in Blogger – so why not just start from scratch in WordPress. And here it is! A generic theme with very few bells and whistles. And? I actually prefer it like this.

AND…now that my blog is fixed and images show up, I can start posting my “They Coulda’ Been Great” features again! I’ve had these sitting in drafts, and will be posting them every few days in about five installments. Then we should be caught up through October, and I’ll go back to the monthly installments. As it should be.

Here is #1: my February and March on Facebook… (Wondering what exactly this is? All answers are HERE.)

February 1

10:07 a.m.

This means two things in my life: #1 Spring is coming! and #2 binging on my favorite candy at Listen to Your Mother auditions!



February 2

1:32 p.m.

House is freezing. Wearing layered t-shirts, a cardigan and a scarf. Will now commence jumping jacks. #SOCOLD


February 5

8:44 a.m.

Of course it’s only AFTER I rip the tags off that I realize I accidentally purchased a nursing bra…

5:09 p.m.

Doing homework with Oliver…

Me: (very proud of something he figured out) You are SO smart!

Oliver: (very serious) No. I am so cute.

Yeah – that too.


February 8

9:30 p.m.

Earlier this evening, Eleanor was looking through Netflix options…

“Mom? What is this Breaking Bad show about?”

Now, I’m no expert on developmental readiness for mature themes such as drug use, violence and crime rings…but seven is probably too young, right?


February 9

11:22 a.m.

In a movie theater waiting to see The Lego Movie. Since I worried about finding four seats together opening weekend, we arrived 30 minutes early. Everyone is already eating candy and George just asked, “can I explore this place?” This should end well…

5:52 p.m.

Watching ice skating in the Olympics…

Me: Wow that’s pretty amazing, huh? You guys have been ice skating – can you IMAGINE being able to do THAT?!

George: Yeah.

Of course he can.

7:55 p.m.

Why can’t wine, Diet Coke and ice cream be good for me? It would make my life so much happier…


February 10

2:56 p.m.

I love how whenever Oliver wants me out of his way, he says, “why don’t you go work on your computer?” We are SO on the same page!


February 11

11:27 a.m.

If I ever talk about books I’m reading, you can assume I’m referring to recorded books. Seems like the only time I feel like I’m allowed to just sit and read is when I get onto bed. I get 10 minutes in and zzzzzz.

On a not entirely related note, I have to say that that while Anita Shreve is an wonderful writer, her books are torture to read. THE TRAGEDY! I’m listening to Testimony and I’m surprised I didn’t drive off the side of the road earlier from a sudden lack of the will to go on. She brings a whole new meaning to the saying “life isn’t fair.”


February 12

3:16 p.m.

It’s not like I’m going to eat a WHOLE BAG of Cadbury Mini Eggs!” Famous last words…

6:31 p.m.

Want to know what it’s like to be a mom? I’m supposed to be having surgery in the morning, and now that the weather may make this impossible, the #1 thing that’s pissing me off is that I was really looking forward to being allowed to sleep all day.

7:55 p.m.

Continuation of my last post… Looks like surgery is off. SO I will now drink several glasses of wine, drench myself in perfume, eat a huge midnight snack and wear every piece of jewelry I own for the duration of the morning. What else is a surgery no no? I’m doing it!!


February 13

3:37 p.m.

It takes a village to entertain children on a snow day.


February 14

7:38 p.m.

Are we the only lamos who have no Valentine’s Day dinner plans? Not even a sweet family dinner. Eleanor is having tacos next door, George ate two English Muffins and Oliver is still working on a bowl of popcorn he made a few hours ago. I could say that we’re boycotting the Hallmark holiday…but it would be more accurate to say that we’re lazy. xoxoxoxoxo from the Hoods!


February 16

6:02 p.m.

While it seems like a good parenting move to have your child vacuum their OWN popcorn mess, you do need the patience to coach them through it: “No – just the popcorn…not your face…not the dog…not your brother…not your butt…”


February 17

7:45 a.m.

George just made me a new Rainbow Loom bracelet. As he handed it to me, he said, “you can treasure that it you want to.” Think I will.

12:57 p.m.

I can’t tell you how many times I hear people say stuff like, “I HAVE to run,” or “I HAVE to write,” as if they are utterly driven to to do these things. Like it’s beyond their control at this point – they just can’t exist without “running” and “writing.” I have done both off and on for years and feel like I should relate more to this NEED and DRIVE. And I kind of do…off and on. But someday, SOMEONE is going to say, “I HAVE to eat the cupcakes,” and only THEN will I have found my true soul mate.


February 18

8:20 a.m.

This morning’s two hour delay is brought to you by Sponge Bob and yesterday’s Valentine’s Day party candy. We put the fun in Fun Dip.


February 19

11:22 p.m.

Watching Olympic skating. Call me old fashioned, but I’m not into these flesh-toned stocking/skate covers. I like a white skate on a woman.



February 20

11:55 a.m.

Making the wait for car repairs (and the dreaded bill) a bit more bearable…

IMG_785110:49 p.m.

It just occurred to me that setting up an Evite after several glasses of wine may not be a super idea… At least not when you are literally cracking yourself up. Taking things down a notch…


February 22

2:50 p.m.

Today’s gift from the radio-option-only car: Madness!! They really capture how I feel about my own house much of the time… “there’s always something happening and it’s usually quite loud.


February 23

7:50 p.m.

I picked up Eleanor’s Girl Scout cookies today and Chris is taking her around to make deliveries. George desperately wants to help…

George: I want to come too.

Eleanor: No.

George: I can help carry the boxes.

Eleanor: [overly dramatic sigh of exasperation] No-wah!

Me: Eleanor, he just wants to help. Let him carry some boxes.

Eleanor: [to George] Okay fine. But you CAN’T SAY ANYTHING.

What a little B. Though in all fairness…she does know her brother…


February 24

3:45 p.m.

Home from surgery! And I have tampons in my nose!

7:39 p.m.

Oh my god you guys – I’ve been looking in the mirror and I think I look JUST like Jennifer Aniston….if she had plastic surgery to look just like me! Also – I just took a Vicodin.

10:55 p.m.

Don’t cross the streams. It would be bad.”

RIP Harold Ramis. I think of you every time my boys decide to “make an X.”



February 28

8:52 p.m.

Here is the great thing about Vicodin: it makes the ouchies less ouchy. Here is the bad thing about Vicodin: it makes you THE MOST BORING PERSON on the planet. I can barely muster up the energy to finish a sentence, let alone conduct a conversation. But I guess I wasn’t much of a firecracker to begin with – so I’ve gone from mellow to meh. Thinking it’s time to wean myself off the sleepy pills…


March 1

5:19 p.m.

How to get rid of Oliver: “Do you want to work on some homework?”

How to get rid of George: “Want to grab a book and come sit with me?

How to get rid of Eleanor: There is NO getting rid of Eleanor. And as inconvenient as that may be sometimes, I consider myself to be a VERY lucky mother and will take it as long as it’s on offer!


March 2

6:49 p.m.

While I no longer need those post surgery straws I bought, my children are now straw obsessed. Each of the 587 glasses of water they request per day must have a straw. The new soundtrack of my day is kids blowing bubbles in their drinks. I feel like I live in a fish tank.

9:00 p.m.

Is it weird that I think winning academy awards for costume design sounds 100 times cooler than anything else on the Oscars?

9:08 p.m.

Chris: Harrison Ford has never won an Oscar??

Me: They said “nominated.”

Chris: But he’s HAN SOLO!

If regular guys were in charge…


March 3

8:31 p.m.

Snow days are exhausting. Now get out of my bed.



March 4

7:45 p.m.

No more running around with dog bones!

Directives that make sense to the people in my house.

7:58 p.m.

I have now seen several pictures of people discovering “the baby” in their piece of King Cake today. And each one looks like birth moment to me: “Breech!” “I see the head…!” Hope all those office kitchens were equipped with forceps…

10:08 p.m.

Watching that guy on Bizarre Foods eat blow fish eggs that are so incredibly poisonous that they have to be brined for two years, and thinking about how I can’t even handle blue cheese.


March 5

9:32 a.m.

So when you happen upon a school library book that you thought you returned months ago, and have said as much in response to every overdue notice that has been sent home…the best course of action is to just plant it somewhere in the school next time you’re there. Right?

3:17 p.m.

I really have to get to the store. But – you know – it’s like winter and stuff outside. I am currently on frowny face terms with Mother Nature.

5:36 p.m.

Friends don’t let friends wear tight yoga pants out in public. Unfortunately, none of my friends saw me today.

6:44 p.m.

Chris just walked in with ashes on his forehead (Ash Wednesday) and Oliver asked him if he was in an explosion. Chris tried to explain, but now Oliver thinks he tried to burn down a palm tree.

I love my little heathens.

7:35 p.m.

As soon as we opened this on Christmas, I knew its true destiny…



March 6

8:40 a.m.

Favorite book character day at school! We’re reading The Wizard of Oz so Eleanor wanted to be Dorothy. Because WHO DOESN’T have a blue gingham dress lying around their house? Luckily my neighbor did. Of course, her daughter is two years younger than Eleanor, so length required leggings. Wondering why no ruby slippers? In the book, Dorothy wears silver shoes (fun fact for the morning!)



March 8

3:54 p.m.

Hooray for spring daylight savings! That time of year when the clock in my car is no longer one hour ahead.


March 10

6:19 p.m.

I’m cutting vegetables and Oliver is standing next to me, doing a voice over of screaming noises. Sometimes he takes the personification too far.


March 12

2:34 p.m.

“Where is my [insert object that someone in my family cannot find here]?”

There are two constants to every incarnation of this scenario:
1. They haven’t actually looked for it.
2. I know where it is.

Hard to complain when I do myself no favors…

7:25 p.m.

George’s 1st grade homework required that he find similarities and differences between two books. So obviously…



March 13

10:30 p.m.

Chris and I have finally started watching House of Cards. And yes – it is amazing. But I just have to get this out of my system. HOLLYWOOD! Fortheloveofgod PLEASE stop putting brownstones in DC. We have brick townhouses painted in a rainbow of different colors. Bay windows abound. Lots of uneven brick sidewalks. Build a set or something. This shouldn’t be so hard.


March 15

3:34 p.m.

About to revisit my youth. Taking Eleanor to a roller skating party.


March 16

3:28 p.m.

Dear every hair stylist and barber to have ever touched George’s head… PLEASE explain WHY all the hair gel? He is my only child to ALWAYS leave haircuts with fistfuls of styling gel in his bangs. The main problem with this is that product is inevitably applied when my attention is diverted, and it’s only later at home that I discover he now has Buster Brown bangs. Never thought I’d have to add “no styling gel” to instructions for a seven year old boy’s haircut…



March 19

11:48 a.m.

A couple of weeks ago, I told Winter that I thought it would be best if we took a break – had some time apart from each other. Maybe a year. To get some perspective on the relationship. This week, Winter came back and asked if I would consider trying one more time to make this work. Just one more try. Oh Winter…just – no. No, I really can’t. I can’t…

yuck3:56 p.m.

In the car…

George: Mom do the front wheels steer?

Me: Of the car? Why?

George: Because if you want to shoot at the car you should shoot the wheels in the front because it will make the car go out of control.

Me: Why are we shooting at cars?

George: Because of the bad guys. And you know – some people are scared of robbers. But I’m not.

Me: You’re not?

George: Nah. They just take money and stuff from stores. Taking things isn’t scary.

Me: You have a point. We can discuss that further when you’re older.

George: You mean when I’m a teenager?

Me: That sounds about right. Why all the talk about shooting and bad guys and robbers?

George: Because there are a lot of bad guys. There are a lot of bad guys in PHILLY!

Me: Who told you that? Ben?

George: Ben’s dad.

Me: Well he’s from Philly – so he would know.

George: Yeah – there’s a lot of guys with guns there.

Me: There’s a lot of guys with guns in lots of places… But OUR neighborhood is very safe [of course I did].

George: Except for when we had the villain.


George: Yeah – that time all the helicopters were flying around looking for the villain. Hey – you know what’s really good about boys?

Me: What?

George: If we have to pee and there’s snow, we can just pee in the snow and even WRITE OUR NAME. We have very good aim.

Me: Well, that IS convenient…

George: Yeah – we’re the best pee-ers.

And I ASSURE YOU, the conversation DID NOT stop there.


7:51 p.m.

Eleanor: Is it, “I came in like a rainbow,” or “I came in like a rag ball?

First – I LIKE “I came in like a rainbow.” Also – NEVER come in like a rag ball. Rag balls always finish last.


March 20

5:43 p.m.

Sometimes I wonder if the people who design these homework assignments are just messing with us…

ants7:35 p.m.

George: Hey Mom! We got a new bus driver today. So I won’t get in trouble all the time now.

This says so many things about my son….


March 22

9:04 a.m.

If Sponge Bob laughs on the TV and no one is around to hear him, does he make an annoying sound?


March 25

6:30 p.m.

Eleanor’s birthday card for Chris. Are those HIP HIP HOORAY arms or WHAT?



March 26

1:59 p.m.

At the dentist with Oliver, and he’s cracking me up. Last time we were here, there was an unfortunate incident involving the removal of a spacer that got embedded in one of his gums. Very traumatic. So from the minute we arrived, he’s been adamantly informing everyone (front desk, dental hygienist, dentist, other parents, babies…) that there will be “no silver teeth today!” I think this bodes well for self advocating in his future!

2:49 p.m.


abomination7:30 p.m.

Eleanor: Mom…do you ever feel like crying but you don’t know why?

Um – once a month…for a week straight. Jesus! She’s only seven. Far too young to be so melancholy…or hormonal.


March 28

7:37 a.m.

Impromptu morning Rainbow Loom lesson requested by Oliver. George shared, Eleanor taught and Oliver actually made a bracelet! Stuff of miracles…



March 31

9:23 p.m.

This one turned nine yesterday. Though he’s pretty adamant that birthday aside, he’s still eight. As 42 looms, I can’t say I don’t understand…

DSC_0444BCheck back in a few days for April/May!

Top Ten List of Reasons Why Women Should Embrace Being in Their 40’s

I’ve been thinking about this list for a while now (approximately two years, five months and twenty seven days…) But in honor of my good friend, Diane’s birthday last weekend, I thought I’d post it here.

#10 You can set aside all of those unrealistic expectations about looking perfect. Because if it hasn’t happened by now…

#9 If you want to buy an embarrassing YA novel or boy band CD out in public, people will assume it’s for your daughter.

#8 You can lord your “older and wiser” status over all of your friends who are still in their 30s.

#7 After more than two decades,  you (hopefully) have the maturity and experience to understand all of that advice older people gave you in high school AND apply it to your current life (because no matter how old you are, everything ends up being just like high school).

#6  You can try to get out of speeding tickets by flirting OR playing the “sweet older lady” card. Options! (Full disclosure: neither has ever actually worked for me…)

#5 People are 100% more impressed by the challenges you take on now than they were when you were in your 20s – like training for marathons or making it to midnight on New Years Eve.

#4 You can blame everything on perimenopause.

#3 It’s likely that you’ve finally perfected a southern accent (and if you are from the south, it’s likely that you’ve finally perfected your southern accent). What? Doesn’t everyone like speaking in a southern accent? Okay – maybe that one is just me…

(take two) #3 It’s likely that you’ve finally stopped obsessing over the number you see on the scale every morning (of course, this is because you’re too busy counting new wrinkles…)

#2 You no longer have to be offended when people call you ma’am because COME ON.

#1 When you are in your 50s, you’ll think this was young.

Feel free to add any other perks in comments!

The Care and Keeping of Magic

While my blog has been broken forever (or at least since February) some headway seems to have been made on fixing the font issues. Still can’t see images (hence no “They Coulda’ Been Great” monthly posts – expect a monster one as soon as everything is back to normal) – but that’s not required for this post!

As all of my Facebook friends know (to the point of muting me, I’m sure), the 2014 Listen to Your Mother DC took place on Sunday. It was our THIRD show and I couldn’t be more proud of our amazing cast. As usual, Stephanie and I joined them on stage (you’ll have to pry that microphone from my cold dead hands…) and I thought I’d share the essay I read this year.

While I did write it specifically for the show, it ended up being the closing piece, so I had to re-write a bit (to give it more of a “show ending” end). But this is the original essay – you’ll have to wait for the videos (sometime this summer!) to see what I changed.


One evening last December, my seven year old daughter, Eleanor lost a tooth. And as she triumphantly brandished the small white prize for my inspection, I had to feign enthusiasm.

It’s not that I begrudge my children these Tooth Fairy years. I LOVE that they are still so pure of heart and willing to believe in magic… But I’m just so disorganized. And sometimes I forget to perform my Tooth Fairy duties.

That evening last December was one of those nights. We were trying to get the house ready for the holidays. I had mountains of laundry to fold and a closet full of presents to wrap… I had teacher gifts to assemble… I had to MOVE THE ELF.

I had a lot on my “to do” list that night. And I got a lot of it done. But I forgot to be the Tooth Fairy.

Just before dawn, a very disappointed Eleanor came into my room. I told her she got up too early and tucked her back into my bed. Then I made up an excuse to run downstairs and find SOMETHING to put under her pillow. No time to search for shiny quarters… I would have to use whatever was in my wallet. Which ended up being a five dollar bill.


Later, her brothers joined us for the big reveal. And three sets of eyes widened at the large sum. Before the boys could start decrying the unfairness of it all, I mentioned that it was mid-December… “maybe it’s like a Christmas bonus.” Then I cringed, as I saw the look on George’s face. He was undoubtedly plotting how to best rip out one of his own teeth before Santa arrived.

Being the Tooth Fairy exhausts me.

The next month at the dentist, we were told that Eleanor needed to have two teeth pulled. It was an awful, bloody business. She was brave but couldn’t hold back the tears that streamed down her face. Neither tooth was even close to being loose, and no matter how much Novocain they pumped into her, she could feel each excruciatingly slow extraction. Everyone assured her that the Tooth Fairy would be very good to her that night.

Call the Tooth Fairy Mommy…tell her she’d better hit the ATM…

When it was over, I carried my sobbing child to the car and promised ice cream, a small toy from Target, a day of television!…shhhhhhh…it’s all over now.

The rest of our busy day flew by, and as the evening light dimmed, Eleanor asked me, “will you – I mean, will SHE really bring something special tonight?” Two things occurred to me in this moment. The first was that she said “you” before correcting herself.

So. This is where it begins.  She knows – but she doesn’t want to know. She’s at that precarious moment of childhood where she has to actively CHOOSE to believe in the impossible. I remember when a friend told me the truth about Santa, but suggested that I could still believe if I wanted to. I said I thought I’d believe just a little bit longer.

Eleanor wants to believe just a little bit longer.

The second thing I thought was SHIT! I totally forgot to go to the ATM.

I grabbed my purse, but all could find was yet another five dollar bill. The same amount she received for just ONE tooth that didn’t cause her one second of pain or terror.

Moments later my husband, Chris arrived home from work, and I demanded, “how much money do you have in your wallet!?” He was only able to produce two crumpled singles.

I explained our predicament, but Chris was a bit more practical. “Look, seven dollars is a lot of money for a little girl. Don’t obsess over this.”

So I tried not to. But once the kids were asleep, I started obsessing. I rifled through junk drawers and change jars, trying to find more money. Again, Chris tried to reassure me. “Stop freaking out. Seven dollars is FINE.”

I assured him that he didn’t understand. “This morning was AWFUL. It was painful and scary. I had to help hold her down! She was promised something really special from the Tooth Fairy tonight and she is THISCLOSE to not believing anymore.”

He just sighed, “well…she’s going to have to figure it out at some point…”

As the grim truth of this statement washed over me, I thought, “but…TODAY? After that horrendous morning of blood and tears…after all of the promises I made just to get her through it…after she actually let slip that she IS starting to figure things out, but wants to believe in magic just a little bit longer? Today?? No. NOT TODAY.

Continuing my search, I found more wadded up bills and handfuls of tarnished coins. I placed them in an old marbleized paper box – now it was a treasure box. Then I dug through my jewelry and found a tiny amethyst charm – one that looked like it came from Fairyland. Finally, I wrapped everything in an emerald silk jewelry pouch that my Aunt sent me from one of her trips to Europe.

I tried to make something special out of old, dirty money and forgotten mementoes.

I did this because I am her mother, and I KNEW she needed it. I did it because she is so special and deserves to believe in magic as long as she wants to. I did it because it’s MY JOB.

I am the keeper of magic in my house.

I am a fairy with a tooth fetish and a willingness to trade in cold, hard cash. I am a fat, old man in a red suit who delivers toys you can buy at Target to homes all over the world in one night. I am a mythical bunny who fills baskets with candy and hides colorful hard boiled eggs that nobody ends up eating.

I will give my children as much time as they need to chase rainbows and pretend that shiny quarters come from pots of gold. Because they only get that kind of magic for a few short years.

Someday they will have to dig deep and believe in themselves against all odds. If they don’t believe in magic now? How will they do it then?

Right now they are little and anything seems possible. Someday they will have to grow up. Someday they won’t be so full of wonder. Someday they’ll have to make their own magic without my intervention.


But not today.


No idea what this Listen to Your Mother DC stuff is all about? Check out the videos!

Listen to Your Mother DC 2012

Listen to Your Mother DC 2013

Listen to Your Mother DC 2014

Coming soon…