Tag Archives: I think about these things…

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!

IMG_7822

 

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.

skates

 

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.

IMG_7888

 

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…

IMG_7892

 

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!)

IMG_7902

 

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…

IMG_7908

 

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…

IMG_7927

 

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.

Me: 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.

#boys

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?

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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.

Abomination.

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…

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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.

THE CARE AND KEEPING OF MAGIC

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.

FIVE DOLLARS for ONE TOOTH.

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.

Someday.

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…

 

You Don’t Have My Permission

Okay – I’m just going to say it. I’m so tired of all of these overly dramatic, “YOU CAN DO IT!” calls to action from… Oh god – pretty much anyone who wants to give them, I guess. Oprah’s life gurus…blogging “celebrities”…the writer of today’s viral link… You name it – these people have THE ANSWERS.

It doesn’t really bother me that they have ideas for how to be a better person or live a better life. Truly, anyone can hand you unexpected wisdom. And because of this, I will always stop and listen when someone says, “this is important – please think about it.” Or even, “hey – you should do this.” Sure – I’ll think about it. And yes – I may actually do it. But not if you believe that it’s your job to give me permission. Psst! I know I can do it. If I want to – I will.

I’m a grown woman with three children and my own share of personal crap to deal with on a daily basis. It would be fair to say that I have been (somewhat) successfully navigating my life thus far. And I haven’t needed anyone’s permission to do so.

This may seem touchy, right? Nit picking even…not taking encouragement in the spirit with which it was given? But I’m being really specific about who’s getting on my nerves here. Not enthusiastic people with ideas and hope and a desire to help others. And definitely not people who are making a plea for kindness, understanding or acceptance. I’m talking about the self proclaimed experts who have decided that you NEED their ideas – their wisdom.

They’re not always so obvious about it. They claim to be struggling too – just as flawed as anyone else. But their life or work experience has given them wisdom and they have answers! The theme is always the same… They had a thought or experience, did some more thinking on it, had an epiphany, and are now sharing it with YOU. But no – not only that, they are INVITING YOU to join them on this journey of enlightenment. They are telling you that IT’S OKAY – you can do it too! And in all of this supportive We Are The Champions pontificating, they are giving you permission to make your life better.

The ideas they have may be solid gold. But I can’t see past the bedazzled cover of proselytizing. People set up big white tents in fields for this kind of thing.

These inspirational diatribes often include words like “real” and “honest” and “authentic.” You know who I find authentic? People who have a thought provoking story to tell or a really great idea, and then just tell you their story or explain their idea. I’m a pretty smart cookie. I can find the wisdom without any hand holding. I can think it through on my own and decide what I want to do with it. I don’t need a call to action. I don’t need permission.

I KNOW! Everyone is different. I personally, don’t seek out leaders. It’s not that I have any particular interest in being the leader, I just kind of resent being treated like a follower. On the other hand, someone else may appreciate the encouragement – the message that they are part of something bigger. We all like our wisdom served up in different ways…shaken, not stirred…straight up…with a flirty paper umbrella garnish… So in the midst of my grumpy huffing, I have to admit that I am really only speaking for myself.

Unless.

If those of you who find a leader’s call to action inspiring would be so kind as to lend ME your ear for minute… I have an idea.  Not looking to provide any guidance here…not even a story…just an idea. No bedazzling.

You don’t need a call to action. Or a leader.

Wisdom is everywhere. You don’t need a guru or a virtual life coach to find it. You just need wide open eyes and ears.

Listen to what other people have to say – their stories and ideas. Even the ones who desire to lead you (as annoying as they may be, their ideas are often pretty good). Watch the people you love strive and care and try. Observe the world around you at your own pace. Take time to form your own ideas and opinions.

Then, when you’re ready – do something. Or not. Whatever feels right.

That’s it. That’s my idea. That’s what I’m going to do.

And you can too.

But you don’t have my permission. Because you don’t need it.

They Coulda’ Been Great – January 2014

Our January bits and bobs via Facebook… (What is this? All answers are HERE.)


January 1

2:55 p.m.

A few days ago I expressed surprise at how violated my husband felt by my decision to purchase cheap toilet paper.

Well. I am currently sitting at an auto repair shop where the very unremarkable bathroom off the lobby offers super deluxe toilet paper, so soft that it that may possibly be made with woven unicorn hair. Not a woman in sight, my friends.

So it seems my first significant observation in 2014 is about toilet paper. [Champagne cork pops!]


January 2

2:00 p.m.

Sitting in a therapy waiting room. A little boy just walked out with his OT and announced to his father, “I did amazing.” This is the kind of thing that makes me LOVE kids. Next time I complete a task, I’m telling the first person I see, “I did amazing.” Okay – maybe I’ll just do that in my head…but they will be able to SEE IN MY EYES just how amazing I did.


January 3

2:29 p.m.

Seeing children with icicles poised at lips…

Did you pull those off the car? Never put anything you pull off the car IN YOUR MOUTH.”

Does motherhood automatically make you wise? Because I’m like a freaking sage around here…

9:00 p.m.

Eleanor is reading me her new Frozen book…

Eleanor: “In a grassy valley next to a deep f…” What is that word?

Me: Fjord

Eleanor: What’s a fjord?

Me: [Bluffs knowing the answer to this question without having to look it up.]

Eleanor: That’s hard to pronounce. I’ll just say “the F word” when I see it.

Me: [Tries to decide whether I should explain what "the F word" means or just assume that she won't encounter the word "fjord" again in the next five years...]

10:20 p.m.

Continuation of last post…

Me: Tells Chris the funny story about Eleanor reading Frozen and asking what “fjord” means, and me not really knowing the definition, and her deciding to just call it “the F word” when she sees it.

Chris: [thinking...] “Fjord”…a sea-valley created by ice…

Me: [thinking: "Chris"...a giant know-it-all who would rather define "fjord" than laugh at my funny story... That's hard to pronounce. I'll just say "the A-word" when I see him.]

Seriously though – I’m super excited to know that it won’t be ME sitting up all night, helping them write their eighth grade geography reports.


January 4

8:29 p.m.

Right after taking a shower, I noticed that my forehead looked really smooth. I mean, the usual “fine lines” were still there…but just barely. As I stared in the mirror admiring myself, I wondered what I’ve been doing differently. I HAVE been better about applying the anti-aging cream every night and staying hydrated… Maybe consistency is the answer! Then I felt the towel on my head tugging at my hairline. And as soon as I removed it the lines were deeper. So apparently the ANSWER is just a good old fashioned facelift. OR? Really heavy turbans….

Liz Turban
January 6

8:27 a.m.

I thought having an appliance repair man come to fix our refrigerator was going to be today’s inconvenience. I was mistaken.

I can’t even believe that I’m saying this but there is a bat trapped in our storm window. AGAIN!

UPDATE #1 10:05 a.m.

Left a message for the bat lady!

UPDATE #2 11:59 a.m.

A volunteer is going to try to come to save the bat today…the bat lady reminded me that I should probably do something about that storm window…the bat is huddled in a ball in the corner of the window so [my bat-squeamish friends] do not have to fear pictures on my timeline…the bat lady confirmed that he is probably comfortable next to my warm window so my bat-loving friends don’t need to worry about him…AND yes – it’s most likely the same bat.

UPDATE #3 6:54 p.m.

The bat lady (another bat lady) came to rescue our bat. He’s out! Amazing how UNdramatic today’s experience was in comparison to last year. Even took a couple of videos for posterity. The storm window is now firmly shut!

7:19 p.m.

Eleanor: [making lots of excited squawking noises about winning something in a "very hard" game she was playing on the computer]

Me: Wait – what?

Eleanor: [elaborate explanation about the game that I didn't actually hear because even though I asked, I wasn't listening]

Chris: What is this game?

Eleanor: It’s on americangirl.com.

Chris: You were playing an American Girl Doll video game?!

Me: What is it?

Eleanor: You know Temple Run?

Me: Isn’t that a game for grownups??

Eleanor: No [Chris nods his head, yes.]

Me: Is that like Tomb Raider?

Eleanor: What? [Chris nods his head, yes.]

Introducing the 2014 “Girl of the Year”: Laura Croft!

8:07 p.m.

Okay! This is for those of you who love bats. Everyone else – avert your eyes…. [PLEASE don't judge the filthy - and very old - windows...the inside of my house is not filthy or old.]

10:07 p.m.

Help – Wisconsin friends! Chris wanted a deep fryer for Christmas, so my first thought was FRIED CHEESE CURDS. I have always wanted to try this (I think ever since I saw a video Ann Imig and Amy Windsor made years ago called “The Wurst Mothers” – and I am NOT kidding). We now have a fryer! I found an actual bag of cheese curds from Wisconsin! We followed the recipe – put it in the fryer – and…big mess. WHO has a really good fried cheese curds recipe? I’m feeling very cheated and frowny face about this… [Epilogue: NO ONE I know in the Midwest has ever made fried cheese curds before. But all claim to really enjoy eating them at the Wisconsin State Fair. NOT helpful.]

10:18 p.m.

Chris is explaining the Rose Bowl to me and I think I now understand how he feels when I talk about musicals.


January 7

10:34 a.m.

Here’s the problem with kids: they don’t know how to lie to the dentist about flossing.


January 9

6:28 p.m.

You know you are a bad mom when most of your ideas about dinner for the kids involve peanut butter on a rice cake.

7:46 p.m.

Exactly what publishing company decided that I have a free subscription to Women’s Health?? As I type, Chris is reading up on how I can have “the best butt ever” and…OH NOW we’re perusing “The Hot-Sex Bucket List.” Like I need this in my life.


January 12

1:29 p.m.

“I am a grownup and I can sing of I want to!”

When will my children learn that I am immune to their wailing protests? And they’re gonna hear me Roar.

7:20 p.m.

“It’s dinner time not doughnut time!”

It’s hard to be a parent. You have to say so many things that you barely believe yourself.


January 15

7:18 p.m.

I just Marge Simpson growled at my children. I believe I have “arrived.”

7:51 p.m.

Helping George fill out his reading log for the week…

Me: You can also include Cowboy and Octopus. We read that all the time.

George: Did we read it this week?

Me: Sure – why not.

Never too early to start on resume writing skills…

8:13 p.m.

Oliver: Mom… I don’t want you to die…because I don’t want to grew up.

Me: I’m not going to die.

Oliver: And I’m not going to grew up.

Me: So that’s decided then.

Oliver: And you’ll never go on the boat…

Damn you Frozen!


January 17

11:38 p.m.

If it wasn’t for that Oscar Meyer song, I would never remember how to spell “bologna.” And yes, I do pause and sing B-O-L-O-G-N-A in my head before typing it. Every time.


January 18

6:10 p.m.

Recently read a tweet from @tomandlorenzo that said “Let It Go” from Frozen is a total drag queen song – which makes me like it EVEN MORE.


January 21

8:58 a.m.

Waiting for Godot – I MEAN the snow…


January 22

1:28 p.m.

Oh just make yourself at home Alice – it’s not like I’m picky about the pillow arrangement on my NEWLY MADE BED or anything…

Alice
January 22

5:48 p.m.

You know this one is sick when he falls asleep mid-popcorn…

Oliver sick
January 23

12:47 p.m.

MEMO

TO: Alice (my dog)
FROM: THE MANAGEMENT (me)

Effective immediately: Capering while on leash is no longer permitted. It is annoying and sometimes dangerous. While this family places great value on happiness and encourages both human AND canine expressions of such, every member MUST adhere to certain rules. This includes a zero tolerance policy regarding boisterous physical activity while tethered to another. Neglecting to comply will result in a behavioral assessment and possible termination. From the family, not life itself – we’re not monsters. We’re also not kidding. Thank you.

1012026_10202218872448072_779215483_n3:38 p.m.

The great thing about a big pile of unfolded clean laundry on your living room couch is that you don’t have to run upstairs to get clothes for your kids. You can easily find whatever you need by just shuffling through the pile! Except for the fact that this is never true…


January 24

10:43 a.m.

Having a radio-only option in your car means that you may find yourself in the school kiss-and-ride line with 4 kids aged 5-8 listening to Marvin Gaye’s Let’s Get It On.


January 25

12:44 p.m.

Let’s Hear It For the Boy just came on the radio and Oliver is already telling me to stop singing. Like he thinks I have any control over that!


January 26

9:08 p.m.

I wish I started every day the way Cora Crawley does on Downton Abbey. With the same china service and dressing gown.

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January 28

8:21 p.m.

Reading a book in which most of the characters are prudes or snobs (or both) and feeling mildly uncomfortable by how strongly I identify with them…


January 31

12:11 p.m.

Eleanor: Mom! I can’t find my beads. Did you move them?

Me: I think I moved them into the living room – check next to the piano.

Eleanor: [after leaving for minute to go look] They’re not THERE!

Me: They weren’t next to the piano?

Eleanor: NOOO! Can you help me?

Me: Sigh. Why am I the only one who can ever find anything around here?

Eleanor: Because you’re the only one who actually looks.

Right before my head exploded, I appreciated this acknowledgment.

10:07 p.m.

Channel surfing score! Caught the last 20 minutes of Hot Tub Time Machine. Only regret is missing Craig Robinson singing Let’s Get it Started.

*****

So it seems my LAST significant observation in JANUARY 2014 is that I LOVE the movie, Hot Tub Time Machine. No secrets here my friends…loud and proud…

Tune In Next Time… (Alternatively Titled: I Miss The Cosbys)

Scene: High school cafeteria  – Lunch

Nice group of sitcoms is sitting at a long table, eating.

Raucous group of reality TV arrives in a cloud of overpowering cologne.

Reality TV: Um… This is where WE eat lunch?

Sitcoms: But we’ve been eating lunch here for over 50 years.

Reality TV: Wow. You’re OLD.

Sitcoms: There’s plenty of room over there [gestures to empty tables].

Reality TV: I’m sorry – do you know who we are?

Sitcoms: Not really…

Reality TV: You TOTALLY have to watch our shows. We’re awesome! Pretend “real people” cry and embarrass themselves and make tons of money acting like complete assholes. What do you do?

Sitcoms: We make people laugh.

Reality TV: How?

Sitcoms: Being funny?

Reality TV: Have you ever even SEEN a tanning bed?

Sitcoms: Well, what do you do?

Reality TV: WE make people laugh.

Sitcoms: How?

Reality TV: Duh! By featuring pretend “real people” who cry and embarrass themselves. Did you know that you can make a ton of money acting like a complete asshole on TV? It’s awesome.

Sitcoms: So you’re really just scripted like us?

Reality TV: Totally!

Sitcoms: But you pretend to be “real?”

Reality TV: We’re bored. Can you move now?

Sitcoms: No.

Reality TV: Okay fine. A few of you can stay… You nerdy science guys over there – we can laugh at you. Aaaand…the really attractive families – we won’t mind looking at you while you’re “being funny.” Hmmm….just ONE more…  OH! The two men and the younger guy in that “family friendly” show with all of the sexual innuendo. You guys are actually pretty cool. So…yeah. The rest of you can go. Bye!

Sticoms: If you don’t leave us alone, we’re going on Facebook and telling everyone that you’re a big bunch of fakes!

Reality TV: Um… like – they already know that? And? They don’t care.

Sitcoms:

Reality TV: Yeah. So you can move now? And don’t forget your tagalong reruns. Nobody watches them anymore.

Sorry sitcoms… I’ll keep watching as long as you are around.  I’ll sign your petitions and attend your anti-bullying rallies. You have my vote for school president! But mean girls find power in numbers, and there are so many pretend real people acting like assholes on TV right now…  

They Coulda’ Been Great – December 2013

Our December sound bites, etc. via Facebook… (What is this? All answers are HERE.)


December 2

8:59 a.m.

Santa doesn’t like it when kids are late for school!

Seriously – I just went there.

3:40 p.m.

Oliver: Mom, can I have some ice cream?

Me: Oliver! You JUST had popcorn, and in a couple of hours it will be…

Oliver: CHRISTMAS?!

Me: NO – dinner!

And then suddenly, it was all so clear. Oliver IS Buddy the Elf.


December 3

7:12 p.m.

George: Mom? What does L-I-K-E spell?

Me: George – I think we need to do some more reading practice together. Let’s spend some extra time on that tomorrow, okay?

George: Okay! OR something else.

Not really getting my point…but I’m just happy that he’s still young enough to like the idea of spending time with me.


December 4

8:18 a.m.

It just occurred to me that while George is constantly losing his lunch bag and water bottle, those Pokemon cards make it home EVERYDAMNDAY. Think we need to discuss his priorities…


December 5

8:19 a.m.

Chris has gotten Easter and the Elf on the Shelf confused. It was his turn to move Charlie last night, and when Eleanor asked me to help her find him I COULDN’T. Finally, George found him wedged between the piano and the wall, behind a picture frame. Not at 6 a.m. Chris…let’s stick to the top of cabinets and chandeliers, okay?

4:38 p.m.

George: Mom! I got a dreidel at school today! And it’s yellow!

Me: Cool! [starts singing an inaccurate version of the dreidel song with great enthusiasm]

George: But DON’T LOOK! Because it’s your Christmas present.

Me: Oh – okay.

Then our five-year-old neighbor came over with the red dreidel he got at school and all of the kids played a rousing dreidel game that requires screaming, “ONE. TWO. THREE. LET ‘ER RIP!!

Also? I had to google how to spell dreidel.

#goyim

5:57 p.m.

Career aspirations

career aspirations

6:44 p.m.

And NOW they are playing a game where one person throws the dreidel and the other tries to catch it in a half empty Kleenex box. Is this creative or blasphemous? Jewish friends – please let me know if I need to shut that down. Either way, I’m not allowed to watch since the dreidel is my Christmas present and they don’t want to “spoil the surprise.”


December 7

6:51 p.m.

If I had to guess, I’d say George “fake falls” approximately 125 times a day. #boys


December 8

5:57 p.m.

“I give up” moment of the past week… Hearing suspicious shrieks of laughter over something that George was apparently doing in the basement, I decided to go inquire.

Me: George! What are you doing down there?

George: I’m just pretending that I have a giant penis.

Of course.

#boys


December 10

9:36 a.m.

Another snow day…

IMG_7711

4:47 p.m.

Oliver has officially earned his “helpful male” merit badge. I asked him if he could grab a pair of pants for Eleanor before coming downstairs. Two seconds later, he handed me her ballet leotard from two years ago.

Apparently, he’s learned “if you don’t do it right the first time, they probably won’t ask you to do it again.” And he’s ONLY EIGHT! #soproud


December 11

7:59 p.m.

Eleanor is going to be selling Girl Scout cookies and asked George to help her practice…

Eleanor: [pretends to knock on door]

George: Hello?

Eleanor: Hello. My name is Eleanor. I am in Troop 237 and I am selling Girl Scout cookies. Would you like to buy some?

George: YES!

He’s really making her work for this… Epilogue: He purchased 100 boxes.


December 15

1:00 p.m.

You either get over it and go to Dairy Queen, or you can stay home and cry. You can’t do both.”

This applies to about 99% of my parenting strategies. Including the Dairy Queen part.

4:18 p.m.

When you stare daggers at your dog, and Desperate Housewives gasp, “you….BITCH.” I don’t even want to talk about what she did in my basement while we were out…


December 16

1:23 p.m.

Surprise gift from my fab jewelry designer friend, Kiran Kairab Ferrandino. Love Simply Om.

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4:33 p.m.

My fitness plan in haiku form:

Put on workout clothes
They weren’t very flattering
Made nachos instead

9:47 p.m.

Stealth decorating “my tree” while the kids sleep and just came up with a great excuse for not letting them help: OUR ELF did it! They can’t take issue with the guy who reports to Santa…[villainous cackle of victory] Totally worth the coal in my stocking.

IMG_7741


December 17

3:56 p.m.

I know there are far worse problems to have and I’ll figure it out… But I was just finishing up my tree when it came crashing down, smashing several ornaments (including a few that have been in my family since the 1940s). If I were a more emotive person, I’d scream. #notfestive

10:55 p.m.

Listening to holiday music as I redo the WHOLE EFFING TREE…

Me: Wouldn’t it be fun to be able to sing like Ella Fitzgerald?

Chris: Uh…yeah?

SOULMATES!


December 19

5:40 p.m.

Three weeks after seeing Frozen, Oliver is STILL talking about the part where the king and queen leave for a trip (and then never come back)…”Mom, you’ll stay with me? You won’t leave?

I doubt that boy will ever let me set foot on a boat. And to think my main worry about this movie was that he’d get bored with all the singing!

7:18 p.m.

George has a great deal of diversity in his class this year. So many holidays to celebrate… “Christmas…Kwanzaa…Diwali…Harmonica…”

9:32 p.m.

I’m writing a “12 Days of Binging” song and Chris isn’t supporting my use of “peppermint bark.” Some conservative nonsense about matching syllables…

NOT SOULMATES


December 21

10:07 a.m.

At what point do kids put 2 and 2 together, noticing that most of the stuff Santa brings is available at Target?


December 22

7:29 a.m.

Hark! Let’s do this thing.

angel

9:25 a.m.

Seriously. We are ready! And by “we” I mean three candy cane junkies who wake me up at the crack of dawn to search for an elf.

IMG_7757


December 23

8:04 a.m.

First round of presents! If you haven’t noticed…I’m not that into my tree…

IMG_7760

8:55 a.m.

Oliver likes to sneak up and give me surprise bear hugs. This would be cute if he wasn’t outlandishly strong. I’m not kidding – he could give a full grown man the Heimlich maneuver – no problem. Of course, he FEELS like a “little guy” and has no idea what damage he can do. I’m calling this new era, “the Lenny years.” Also? I think we need a safe word.

10:48 a.m.

I just had an entire conversation with a celebrity who was seated next to me on a plane. In my head. While I folded laundry. That’s a thing, right?

11:07 a.m.

Me to my 3 children and the 5 year old neighbor I’m watching: Who wants to get lunch at Chik-Fil-A? Actually…we might have to hit Target first…

5 year old: Yeah – I was going to try to get to Target later today.

11:16 a.m.

Okay – It was Matthew Perry. I had some questions about how his drug addiction affected his relationships with women (which never seemed very successful…) But really, I spent most of the flight talking about myself. What? You think I ever get seated next to major movie stars in my imagination? Girl, please. Though I’m pretty sure I did have the opportunity to personally declare myself Team Jennifer at some point…


December 24

8:03 a.m.

Blue isn’t exactly the most “Christmasy” of colors, but I love my wreaths this year.

wreaths

8:08 a.m.

Just waiting for Santa to add his… Would it be weird to have a year-round tree? I could decorate it with hearts on Valentines day…flags on Memorial day…

waiting for santa

10:30 a.m.

Officially changing, “that’s not an appropriate word,” to “that’s not an appropriate word for kids.” This is for the sake of my husband, as I may have to kill him if I hear, “but DAD says it,” one more time…

8:58 p.m.

Ah December 24th…the one night a year that children who celebrate Christmas WANT to fall asleep.


December 25

1:11 p.m.

No holiday card this year (didn’t pull it together LAST YEAR either!) Pretend you just received this “good enough” picture of all three kids NOT looking deranged in the mail with a big “HAPPY HOLIDAYS from the Hoods!” Chris would also like to add a note to all of our neighbors: “keep your blinds shut – George now has a telescope.”

DSC_0313


December 28

11:32 a.m.

Look what just came in the mail! This is MY Brave.

brave


December 29

5:08 p.m.

Apparently, there is much dissatisfaction in my house over the cheap toilet paper I bought. If I remember my scene props correctly, didn’t the Little House on the Prairie crowd use actual PAPER? And I’m fairly certain early man made do with leaves… When did we get so soft?! (Unlike the the toilet paper I bought.)

6:49 p.m.

I don’t want lighter fluid on mahogany!” I just said that to my husband about the can of lighter fluid he set on an end table.

And earlier, I told my kids, “no one is allowed to say ‘penis’ when we’re in Target.”

I should have one of those “Family Rules” samplers made for our wall. Send me your favorite needlepoint artists on Etsy!


December 30

10:24 a.m.

Nothing has changed. He’s still David Larabee and you’re still the chauffeur’s daughter. And you’re still reaching for the moon.

No father. The moon is reaching for me.

Sabrina, 1954

This is the opening quote in my Dad’s book. Ladies and gentlemen, may I present Terry Coveny, the ONLY straight man in America who quotes from SABRINA!

10:35 a.m.

The light bulb in our microwave is out and I’m at a total loss. I have to keep opening the door to see if the cheese on my nachos is melting. How did Fred Flinstone live like this?!

5;47 p.m.

George is fascinated by Eleanor’s girl scout cookie sales. Especially how, “everyone wants THINAMINS.”


December 31

6:01 p.m.

Do you have a girl scout in your house? Are you hosting a New Year’s Eve party? WELL. This would be an excellent time to put that cookie order sheet on the counter… Drunk people are always happy to put their names on lists and buy stuff. As a general rule, drunk people are “joiners.” Unfortunately for Eleanor, we are not having a party. She’ll just have to count on tomorrow’s hangovers to boost her sales.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

They Coulda’ Been Great: November 2013

November highlights via Facebook… (What is this? All answers are HERE.)


November 1

5:09 p.m.

Overheard at a play date…

Six year old: Mom! We need you to open our scooters!

Mother: Excuse me?

Six year old: WE NEED you to open our scooters!

Mother: What is missing from your request?

Six year old: I don’t know! Open our scooters!

Mother: What’s the magic word?

Six year old: DAD!

Exactly.


November 3

12:56 p.m.

Two kids out at friends’ houses and one playing happily by himself. The perfect time to get some cleaning done! So of course, I’m looking at Kate Spade bracelets on Ebay.

5:03 p.m.

Halloween is over – but if a child dropped a Jolly Rancher within a 2-mile radius, my dog will find it.

5:36 p.m.

George: [coming inside after his father went out to tell him it was getting dark and it's time to come in] MOM! I was just about to do something fun and you RUINED it!

Me: [to Chris] I guess you told him that “Mom” said it was getting too dark for him to be outside? [to George] George – it’s too dark for you to be outside without a grownup.

Chris: People are still outside watching the game. [yes - my neighbors set up a TV and a fire pit]

Me: [to George] WELL, Daddy doesn’t want to watch football outside – so you have to come in now.

George: DAD!?!

Two can play that game.


November 4

7:14 p.m.

I’m obsessed with Paperless Post tonight (yes – looking up possibilities for the Simply Om trunk show). I’ve already found exactly what I need – but I CAN’T STOP looking at all of the pretty, pretty options. Chinese lanterns! What could I possibly do with this? No idea – but look at the pretty, pretty lanterns!

lanterns


November 5

2:55 p.m.

Eleanor: Pluto used to be a planet, but now it’s a star.

Me: I think Pluto was always a star – we just THOUGHT it was a planet.

Eleanor: No. It USED TO be a planet, but then scientists changed it into a star.

George: EVIL scientists!

Sometimes I think HE’S actually from Pluto…

*Yes – it has been pointed out to me that Pluto is not a star, but a plutoid or something…whatever – there’s a reason I don’t home school.


November 6

11:15 p.m.

When you can’t find your best tweezers. Forty-something world problems…


November 7

4:29 p.m.

Homework is hard. It makes my brain dizzy.”

Oliver on not wanting to do homework. I think he nailed it.

5:53 p.m.

Either I’m unusually irritable this evening or my children are unusually irritating. Most likely a combination of the two.


November 8

8:46 a.m.

Leaving the house to walk the kids to school and Eleanor just started singing, “I know a song that never ever ends – and this how it goooes!” So this should be fun.


November 9

12:49 p.m.

Yes – of course it’s okay to scratch your leg… Just not straight down the front of your pants, in public.”

Added to the list of things I’ve actually had to say to people. #motherhood

3:23 p.m.

Oliver won’t let me sing along with Taylor Swift on the radio. But dammit – I’m Feelin’ Twenty-Two. And I’m not letting some 8 year old take that away from me.

9:16 p.m.

Oliver: Mom – keep your eyes peeled!

Me: Will do!

Oliver: And keep your ears peeled.

Me: Ha! You got it.

Oliver: And keep your nose peeled.

Me: Um…sure.

Oliver: And keep your mouth peeled.

Me: …

Oliver: And keep your hair peeled.

Me: Hair?!?

Oliver: Yeah – and keep your HANDS peeled.

Me: OKAY! Let’s just assume that I’ve got it covered.

Wondering if this is somehow related to how I can never find my keys…


November 10

10:31 a.m.

Not doing the daily grateful thing this month – but VERY grateful for a friend’s #1 visitor rule: “you can always be late – but you can never be early.” #lateforbrunch

7:55 p.m.

Fun afternoon at a corn maze! It’s a thing.

DSC_0160 blog

7:59 p.m.

Children of the Corn Maze.

DSC_0107 blog

DSC_0110 blog

DSC_0118 blog

DSC_0123 blog


November 11

9:24 a.m.

There are two kinds of people in a corn maze. The ones who hit dead end after dead end and say, “I will find my way out of this if it kills me!” and the ones who make jokes and take family pictures as they follow behind. Apparently, I am in the latter group.

1:48 p.m.

This may just be one of my favorite things I’ve ever read. Oliver’s school OT sent me an e-mail telling me that he’s now officially able to tie his shoes (sent a pair in for them to practice a while back):

Good Morning, Kate!

Oliver is wearing his tie-shoes home today!!! Every time for the last 2 weeks he has been successful on the first attempt tying each shoe  :)

He got a little teary-eyed about his old sneakers…he said they are very sad. So, we wrote them a little note & you’ll find that note in the Ziploc Bag with the sneakers.

Oliver seemed to feel much better after writing the note & reading it to the sneakers – the sneakers felt better, too :) I am so happy with his commitment to this & the great progress he made…his efforts really paid off!

IMG_7581


November 12

4:14 p.m.

George just got off the school bus wearing his fleece pull over PULLED OVER his winter coat. Why? Because it’s “toasty.” Obviously.

IMG_7594


November 13

6:19 p.m.

Update on Oliver’s school picture. Just got this e-mail from his SPED teacher:

“Good Evening,

The school pictures are headed home tomorrow, but I wanted to give you a heads up. Oliver took a very nice picture!

Take Care!”

I take it this mean he smiled for the camera (in some fashion at least…) So I’m already thrilled.

9:35 p.m.

You know those “family style” portions they serve at Italian restaurants? Well – left to my own devices? I AM that family.


November 14

12:25 p.m.

While I do appreciate the lack of crowds at the mall during the week, I spend twice as much time finding stores in my efforts to avoid those Dead Sea skin care kiosks. The sales people terrify me. They are relentless and always manage to get me in their clutches. I’ve been complimented, shamed, and everything in between by them, and only manage to escape without purchase by the skin of my teeth. Once I was THISCLOSE to getting into line for Santa when no alternate routes were available. True story.

5:27 p.m.

Picture day miracle.

picture day miracle

6:11 p.m.

And just in case anyone who saw my last post thinks I’m acting like some picture day Tiger Mom…just take a look at this comparison between Oliver fake smiling through tears of fury in 2012 and Oliver actually smiling in anticipation of a VERY good bribe in 2013. Can you really blame me for throwing a little confetti?

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November 20

4:45 p.m.

Me: Oliver! Does it look like she just got hurt?

Oliver: Yes.

Me: Do you think it’s time for the black crayon to STOP talking to her?

Oliver: Okay

This makes complete sense to us….

5:34 p.m.

Oliver has decided to boycott the “th” sound while reading. Have you ever listened to someone who boycotts “th” read aloud for 20 minutes? Every time he reads the word “the” he mutters “hmph – I don’t want to say ‘the’…” EVERY time.

Unrelated: he spends an equal amount of time making pencils talk to each other as he does writing with them.

Also? I love Oliver.


November 21

12:54 p.m.

Leaving the school book fair, I heard the unmistakable shrieks of 5th or 6th graders playing something like kickball. I then experienced what must have been a visceral sense memory of complete panic. It was only a second but extremely unpleasant. PE PTSD?

6:18 p.m.

Oliver had the hiccups during his 20 minutes of reading aloud to me this evening. Recently, he started doing this thing where he smacks his mouth each time he hiccups. So I got to sit there for 20 minutes listening to him say “I don’t want to say the” every time he read the word “the” and smacking his mouth every time he hiccuped.

Wonder what he’ll add tomorrow… Perhaps a little interpretive dance number every time he turns a page?

6:22 p.m.

I spend 85% of the time I’m with my children feeling like Bob Newhart.


November 22

10:13 a.m.

Rage reading the Sundance catalog with my friend Diane and actually had the opportunity to quote, “it’s not even leathah!” #WorkingGirl


November 24

4:08 p.m.

After a painful month of waiting (due to postponement as a “consequence” of general being-really-bad-ness in school this October), George FINALLY had his laser tag birthday party. And you know what that means… I have to come up with a new empty threat. Also – he’s about to lose a front tooth. The very last baby smile in my house bites the dust – sob.

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November 25

8:36 a.m.

I’m going to let this soak,” is Chris’ code for, “if I leave this dirty pan in the sink long enough, Kate will clean it.” I don’t know why I even bother with the dirty pan standoff…we all know how this ends.

10:35 a.m.

Clearly I am avoiding the ridiculous amount of house cleaning that must be done before my in-laws arrive tomorrow… But George lost that front tooth, and I think commemorating the end of the era of baby teeth smiles in my house on Facebook is far more important that scrubbing toilets. Yes?

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2:58 p.m.

George: MOM! My tooth is GONE! I DROPPED it. I LOST it!

Me: Well why were you playing with it? I told you that wasn’t a good idea…

George: [general flailing and unintelligible wailing]

Me: I’m sure we can find it. Where were you when you dropped it?

George: Over here on the couch!

Me: Okay – so you were right here when…

George: …it DROPPED and rolled down there in the back.

Me: So it’s probably just under the cushion [feeling around for it....still looking...] Huh. You were right HERE?

George: Yes.

Me: And you had it in your hand right HERE?

George: No.

Me: Then where were you holding it?

George: In my mouth.

Me: …

George: I was just “pretending.”

Remember how I said my kids make me feel like Bob Newhart? This was one of our “I’m Larry, this is my brother Darryl, and this is my other brother Darryl,” moments.

5:49 p.m.

Eleanor: Mom, how do you spell the letter A?

Me: The letter A?!?

George: Oh that’s EASY! Wait – do you mean in lowercase?

I walked away. Obviously, George had that one covered.

7:39 p.m.

Eleanor: [reading over my shoulder as I type]: “…entertained me for whores.”

What I actually typed: “…entertained me for hours.”

It’s like non-stop tonight. I need run mics through our house and just hit “record.”


November 30

3:48 p.m.

At Safeway…

Oliver: [coming out of the restroom] Mom! I need your help.

Me: With what?

Oliver: Finding the Mysterious Burglar.

Ah – shopping with Oliver… Epilogue: it turned out that I AM the Mysterious Burglar.

Also – going to the store for ice cream and wine is a thing, right?

6:07 p.m.

Traditional day-after-Thanksgiving “kids’ tree” decorating party. The real – I mean MY – tree decorating party will take place in a couple of weeks while THEY are at school. That is, if several hours alone, tying a thousand ornament ribbons and swearing over lights that short out counts as a party…I CAN’T WAIT! And yes – I did notice the FOUR Hello Kitty ornaments arranged above Eleanor’s head. There is a reason they aren’t invited to my party.

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8:45 p.m.

Eleanor: [literally CRAWLING up the stairs] MOM! I’m tired. Can I just go to bed without brushing my teeth?

Me: No honey – it’s important – I’ll help. [LYING! I totally let her go to bed without.]

George: MOM! My feet itch! Why do my feet itch?!

Me: Because you’ve been wearing those socks for the past three days?

Oliver: MOM! Can I use the electric?

Me: NO! Wait – you mean “toothbrush”? Then yes – yes you can.”

Goodnight November!

They Coulda’ Been Great: October 2013

October highlights via Facebook… (What is this? All answers are HERE.)

October 1

5:52 p.m.

Aaaaaand third verse, same as the first (or second, since it’s Mr. Robinson again). George wrote ANOTHER apology letter tonight: “Der Mistr Ropsin, I em sore fr beying rood ad idrubing [and interrupting]. I em going to be god [good]. Frum, George” I can’t even…

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October 4

8:06 a.m.

Last night when I got back from the Scary Mommy event…

Me: You know how this is one of my favorite tops?

Chris: No. When did you get that?

Me: I’ve had it for years – wear it all the time. Anyway – tonight when I put it on, I realized that it might be getting outdated… Have you ever put on a favorite shirt and thought it looked different?

Chris: No.

Me: Well it’s disconcerting. Normally, I put this on and think, “oh, I LOVE this top.” But tonight it was more like, “wow – that’s A LOT of ruffles.” Ruffles were really popular for a while, but now that they’re not, the ruffles on this collar seem less “pretty detail” and more “Queen Elizabeth’s Court.” Like even though I still LIKE this top, it doesn’t look the same to me anymore. Like something is off. I feel a little sad about that.

Chris: …..

It’s nice to have a partner in life with whom I can process these things…

10:00 a.m.

Just  few of my gorgeous new bracelets from Simply Om. My favorite is the pink jade.

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4:36 p.m.

My mother just had to get off the phone with me because my father can’t find Great Grandma Ruth’s leather-bound journal. He remembers packing it, but doesn’t remember UNpacking it when they moved into the new house and it’s very important that Mom helps him look for it THIS VERY MINUTE. #RetiredPeople or more accurately #MyParents


October 5

12:31 p.m.

So sitting in front of a rec center, waiting for a police officer so I can give him the KNIFE I just found on our neighborhood trail is not quite how I envisioned spending my Saturday afternoon…

8:10 p.m.

Conversation in the car on the way home from a dinner date with first grader Eleanor…

Eleanor: Mom – you want to hear something crazy?

Me: Sure.

Eleanor: Blake has a crush on someone!

Me: Is it you?

Eleanor: No!

Me: Is it someone at your table?

Eleanor: No.

Me: Is it someone in your class?

Eleanor: No.

Me: Is it someone I know?!

Eleanor: No – it’s a third grader.

Me: Really? Ambitious.

Eleanor: Well…Blake has a lot of dates.

Fast crowd at Yellow Table this year…


October 6

6:33 p.m.

Me: (following Eleanor outside) There’s George…can you find Oliver for me?

Eleanor: (looking down the block) He’s over there.

Me: (can’t see that far with my bad eyesight) Where?

Eleanor: Playing with the other kids.

Me: You mean George?

Eleanor: No – Oliver is there too.

Five year old neighbor: He’s making “chalk smoke.”

Me: Oh – then that’s definitely him.


October 8

2:58 p.m.

I think that the toy companies once had a big meeting with the paper product companies where they all went in on a profit sharing deal, stipulating that the toy companies would package toys in anything BUT a six-sided box as often as possible without raising suspicion. End game: parents would start spending THOUSANDS of dollars on $2.50+ gift bags and the required tissue paper. In popular Disney character prints of course (because you KNOW that group was in on it). They could feel fairly confident in their success since NO ONE in their right mind wants to waste time trying to wrap something with approximately 36 different angles!


October 10

5:03 p.m.

I have noticed a direct correlation between my children being really happy and really annoying. We all want our children to be “happy” but I’m wondering if “content” is an adequate compromise… Related: we are now leaving Target.

6:13 p.m.

So it sounds like George started his group for kids with impulse control issues at school today. I know this because when I asked if he was being good in class, he said: “yes – I’ve been ver’ good – ‘cept for once when someone mistracted me and I forgot.” [forgot to be good?] Then he went on to explain, “we talked about it in my new REpulse group. You know what REpulse means, mom?” His explanation was largely unintelligible, but I gleaned enough from it to confirm that he understands what an impulse is. Diction aside – I’m glad he’s getting help.

8:00 p.m.

I just e-mailed Oliver’s teachers my suggested “action plan” for picture day…the goal being that he NOT refuse to have his picture taken (which he has done for the past two years). Bribes will be involved. Even if he offers the photographer that rictus smile he gives me when I aim the camera at him, I’ll consider it a win. In fact, I’ll FRAME the damn thing. I’m on a mission…

8:12 p.m.

Remember that movie title, “There Will Be Blood”? I’ve decided that my parenting movie title would be, “There Will Be Bribes.”


October 12

10:23 a.m.

Pssst! All of my high school/college friends who excluded “year” from birth date in their FB profile… I know how old you are :)

7:03 p.m.

“Sniffing butts is NOT funny!” As far as ridiculous things I find myself saying to my children go… It’s up there.

7:21 p.m.

Highlights of college football are on TV and I overheard Chris telling the kids that the “Game Cocks” are South Carolina University’s mascot. Then George (who is operating on a particularly nasty combination of too much sugar and “stuck inside on a rainy day”) started chanting “Game focks! Game focks!”

Me: “It’s not ‘focks’ it’s…oh never mind…”

Feeling grateful that their school’s mascot is the “Mustang.”


October 13

12:58 p.m.

Eleanor: Just walk like a robot. Makes you feel better.

I like to think this would apply to pretty much any situation.


October 14

7:38 p.m.

Um – when did my eight year old turn 17? #BackFromTheBeach

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7:40 p.m.

Clearly George had a terrible time… #BackFromTheBeach

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7:42 p.m.

All cartwheels, all the time. #BackFromTheBeach

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7:46 p.m.

We even brought the dog! #BackFromTheBeach

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7:50 p.m.

One more! What DON’T I like about this picture? Oh – about 98 things… What DO I like about it? It looks exactly like me on a day with my kids – no makeup, hair pulled back, “practical clothes,” and all. More importantly, this is probably how my kids think of me, so when they see this picture, they’ll know “this is mom.” And Alice.

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October 15

7:58 p.m.

Me: I’m confused. Why is baseball on? Isn’t it football season?

Chris: It’s October!

Me: But isn’t baseball over?

Chris: Haven’t you heard the term “The Boys of October”?

Me: I’ve heard “The Boys of Summer”…

Chris: The World Series is ALWAYS in October. What is the ONLY team to have won the World Series in NOVEMBER?

Me: [blank stare]

Chris: The Diamondbacks!

When someone asks why baseball is still on in October, do you think they would be able to guess who won the World Series in November? Has he met me?!


October 16

4:51 p.m.

George just wowed our neighbors by demonstrating his best pole dancing moves on the corner sign post. Yes – he said “pole dancing.” Guess I’d better GET ON IT and sew those velocros into his new tear-away outifts… Thanks Diane Cooper Gould!

5:49 p.m.

Finally joining the rest of the human race in worshiping at the alter of Breaking Bad. And I have to say, the 30 minutes I spend doing second grade homework with Oliver each day is eerily similar to watching Walter try to explain chemistry to disinterested high school students…

7:00 p.m.

THIS is how much I believe Oliver WON’T refuse to have his picture taken OR make a face so bizarre that he’ll be “that kid” when his classmates look at their yearbooks 20 years from now. Please send prayers/good vibes/voodoo if you can.

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October 19

10:33 a.m.

Mah culuhs ah blush and bashful.

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11:37 a.m.

It never ceases to amaze me how seriously kids can take their bizarre little games. Like…say…taking turns whacking a pumpkin with a stick. Apparently, shit gets real when one of them steals someone else’s turn. NO CUTSIES!

1:45 p.m.

Three words a busy parent most dreads hearing from small children: “Can I help?

So laundry folding will take twice a long…

3:47 p.m.

Hawking popcorn at the school harvest festival. Total carnie now…sneering at all the norms…

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October 27

2:43 p.m.

Realized I forgot paper products for Eleanor’s birthday party. Asked Chris to run out to buy paper plates and napkins. For a SEVEN YEAR OLD GIRL’S PARTY. So obviously…

paper products


October 28

7:26 p.m.

I kind of love the fact that Eleanor’s barometer for whether she’ll wear something or not is, “can I do a cartwheel in it?


October 31

4:56 p.m.

Just finished taking some Halloween pictures of the kids! You should DEFINITELY hire me as your family photographer…If you want me to yell a lot and tell everyone that they’re “DOING IT WRONG!” I’m all about the fun.

5:14 p.m.

Oliver has been talking about Halloween since June – so he is THRILLED to finally be a “scary vampire” tonight. THIS is the child who refused to wear a costume until he was six. I had to trick him by putting him in superhero pjs. We’ve come a long way baby!

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5:16 p.m.

Eleanor decided to be a witch again so I would only have to worry about costumes for TWO children this year. Okay – maybe that wasn’t her intention…but it didn’t go unappreciated.

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5:18 p.m.

George is going as Rick Grimes “after” – because, you know, it’s only a matter of time… Of course, he just thinks he’s a “Sheriff Zombie.” But the grownups will think it’s funny.

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Next up:
NOVEMBER when Oliver calls PETA on Thanksgiving and the twins make into the Guinness Book of World Records for the number of times they can say “penis” within a 24-hour period. Stay tuned…

They Coulda’ Been Great: September 2013

A little look back at September via Facebook… (What is this? All answers are HERE.)


September 2

1:12 p.m.

George: Dad, why is juggling free?

Chris: What?

George: Why is juggling free?

Chris: Juggling is what?

George: FREE! Why is juggling FREE?

Chris: I have no idea what you are talking about.

George: Why is juggling FREE balls? WHY FREE?

I’m dying. And kind of expecting to hear from the speech therapist at school this year…


September 3

9:51 a.m.

First day of school for Fairfax County. And this is the BEST picture they were willing to give me.

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9:53 a.m.

….but this is all they really wanted to do.

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9:54 a.m.

This of course is my favorite since it looks the most like them.

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September 4

12:41 p.m.

So Alan Thicke has tweeted his dismissive attitude about the outrage over his son Robin and Miley Cyrus giving that controversial performance at the VMAs. But I wonder – am I the only one who really wants to know what Jason Seaver would think of all of this?


September 7

9:36 a.m.

“Dad! I’m half Italian, half Arizona and half American.”

George has really gotten into genealogy lately.

2:38 p.m.

Shopping at the Gap…

Eleanor: Mommy! You keep running off.

I’m telling you…take your eyes off me for a second and I’m GONE.

3:20 p.m.

The shoes Eleanor picked out are so hideous, they are kind of awesome. Also? They light up.

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8:02 p.m.

Me: Honey, can you get me a glass of wine?

Eleanor: And can I have some water?

Chris: What – do I look like a waiter to you two?

Me: Oh I’m sorry, I know it must be really hard having to run around doing things for me all day…cleaning up after me…keeping me organized…

Eleanor: That’s not really real. Mommy does all the work.

That’s my girl!


September 9

9:48 p.m.

Some blues singer named Kermit on the Travel channel is cooking roasted raccoon (a Bayou thing?). RACCOON?! I can barely think about what sausage is. “Roasted raccoon” has scarred me for life.

10:09 p.m.

And now Hotel Impossible is on the Travel Channel. Chris hasn’t changed it yet. I just asked, “honey – WHY are you watching hotels? You like cooking, sports and ghosts. Not hotels.” Speaking of ghosts – have you seen The Dead Files with the detective and the medium? OMG! Also – I CAN’T WAIT for The Mindy Project premier next week.


September 11

4:44 p.m.

Last week I reprimanded the kids for not eating the lunches I packed for them. This week, their lunchboxes are coming home suspiciously EMPTY. Hmmmm…


September 12

1:57 p.m.

So I just took Alice out for a quick walk on this hot, sunny day, and we both jumped at the unexpected sound of a LOUD clap of thunder. More accurately, I was slightly startled and Alice jumped out of her skin, turning around in circles all, “WTF was THAT?!” Then I knew I have become one of THOSE dog owners because my first thought was “OMG that’s the cutest thing I’ve ever seen – I have to put that FB.” Okay – maybe I’m not quite there yet…it’s not like I Instagrammed it. And speaking of dogs… If YOU happen to be one of THOSE dog people, I saw that Chicken Soup for the Soul has a new story call out for a book titled, “The Dog Did WHAT?!” If you have a good story – consider submitting an essay! I’m going to skip this one since all I could come up with was that time Alice puked in my lap while I was driving the twins to camp. Don’t think it’s a winner. P.S. There are several other book titles if you don’t have a good dog story (for example, “The Cat Did WHAT?!”)


September 14

9:41 p.m.

For a while now, I’ve jokingly referred to Oliver as “the unintentional vegetarian,” since he doesn’t like meat. Stopped eating it a few years ago – and without any agenda, just finds it unappealing.

Until tonight.

Chris decided to roast a chicken, which we rarely do, and when Oliver saw it on the platter he was horrified. It was only when I noticed a couple of tears rolling down his cheeks that I got concerned. He was VERY upset about us eating “the turkey.” I told him that it wasn’t a turkey, it was a chicken (I know…) and (surprise!) this didn’t help. He said that “chickens are for pecking not for eating.

Not exactly sure where we go from here… But I CAN’T WAIT for Thanksgiving!


September 16

6:51 p.m.

First apology note to a teacher this year! “Der Mis. Datu, I soory foor beying rood. Luv, George

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September 17

12:52 p.m.

In a parking garage…

Me: Oliver – do you want to take the stairs or the elevator?

Oliver: Why don’t I go down the stairs and you can take the…

Me: We’ll BOTH go down the stairs.

AS IF!

4:33 p.m.

Just gave Oliver new shoes. He immediately told me that the right shoe’s name was “Barney.” Then he became very concerned about his old shoes’ feelings on being replaced. God bless his gentle soul…but really, this is taking the personification a bit too far…

5:56 p.m.

So it’s normal to have a glass of wine before back to school night, right? Like last year, I’ll have to be in three different classrooms at the same time… End game: set up back-to-back parent-teacher conference appointments and avoid any volunteer assignments that involve scissors and glue. Wish me luck!

9:53 p.m.

At bedtime, Eleanor usually asks me to lie down with her for a while so she can talk to me about all of her “stuff” – what she wants for her birthday, why she was grumpy this morning, who Alice loves best in the family, how she only wants to have dogs and horses when she grows up because having babies is too much work… As I was leaving her room tonight, the following conversation took place:

George: Mom!

Me: What is it honey?

George: Why do you always spend so much time talking to Eleanor and not to Oliver and me?

Me: (climbing into bed with him) I will ALWAYS talk to you if you want to talk to me. What do you want to talk about?

George: (long pause) You know? Venomous snakes? Have venom in their TEETH!

Me: George – you are very special to me.

George: So’s you.

I love my boys.


September 20

7:21 p.m.

I just said, “I don’t like that language!” to my kids and internally cringed as I heard my pre-teen self respond, “what? ENGLISH?” Sigh.

10:17 p.m.

I just made an someecard! This is what happens when I drink wine and pretend to work…

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September 21

12:11 p.m.

And here is one for those of you who have sons. Warning: this may become my new hobby…

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September 22

6:13 p.m.

For everyone who spent the weekend catering to their children’s needs (I told you. New hobby.)

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6:54 p.m.

I found a small tortoise shell circle on my dog walk today. Handed it to Eleanor and asked if she could find a use for it. She looked it over carefully and then exclaimed, “oh yes! I know exactly what I can do with it!” She ran upstairs for a minute and then came down with a little box, “I’ll just put it in here where I keep itty bitty things.” And THIS is when I know she is MY daughter.


September 26

3:24 p.m.

Waiting at the dermatologist with George for something minor. Luckily, this exam room offers LOTS of informative pamphlets for our entertainment. He found one on acne for me. Also Restylane. Now I get to explain the melanoma removal surgery that’s playing on the video monitor. Awesome.

7:24 p.m.

What a coincidence! When I arrived at school to pick up George for his dermatologist appointment, he was already in the office…because he was acting up in class.

This wasn’t a huge surprise. Just a few hours earlier, the school counselor called to tell me he’d be participating in one of her groups for kids with impulse control issues. Bumping into him as he was marched to the principal’s office was the obvious continuation of that story….

On the upside, it was good timing.


September 27

8:16 p.m.

Second apology note to a teacher this year! Same kid, different teacher. “Der Mistr Robinsin, I em sore beying rood. I wil be betr in klas. Luv, George

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September 28

8:47 p.m.

Chris is watching TV – but this is what I get to experience every night while I’m trying to sleep (emphasis on “trying”).

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9:54 p.m.

Finally watching the Parenthood premier and BEST LINE from new dad, Crosby: “I’m sure you are going to be the best thing that ever happened to me someday, but right now I really hate you.

10:35 p.m.

Is there anything more precious than a sleeping child?

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