Tag Archives: I’m Really a Lovely Person

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!

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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.

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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.

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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…

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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!)

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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…

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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…

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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!

Boughs of Folly

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The holidays are all about extremes. Peace on earth! Goodwill to men! Black Friday mobs! Road Rage over hour-long back ups!

But that’s life, right? Every high is balanced by a low. And over the holidays, I combine the two like that last cocktail you didn’t really need…shaken or stirred…mixed or mingled…blended or beaten within an inch of its life… While I love this season-long celebration, I’ve never been very good at knowing when to leave the party.

When we were first together, Chris and I would host an annual holiday party AND attend many others as guests – often several in one night! Now, we are lucky if we can take turns dropping by a “grownup” party held within our own neighborhood. Holiday parties are fun and festive (HIGH!)…but beware the corresponding low… At one such event last year, holiday cheer (and far too many Moscow Mules) moved me to sing along with my favorite tunes on the host’s playlist. Really – you haven’t lived until you’ve heard me sing Little Feat at the top of my lungs. If you’ll be my Dixie Chicken, I will BE your Tennessee Lamb.

You know you have arrived as an adult when your day-after memories of a super fun-night out are less “SUPER FUN!” and more “I did WHAT?

Then, of course there are the annual photos in front of the Christmas tree. Each year I line up my children, marvel at how beautiful they are – how much they’ve grown – and then start barking at them like a Hollywood director about to lose the evening light. “Look happy!” “Move closer!” “Stop making that face!” “You’re DOING it wrong!” …All things that have come out of my mouth while arranging a joyous holiday tableau.

Both of this year’s attempts – first in front of the kids’ tree the day after Thanksgiving, and then in front of my tree on Christmas eve – ended in either tears or injury. Actually, the latter ended in both.

There was a lot of this going on…

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…and everyone was having a great time…

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…then I finally got this shot…

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…which was okay… But I thought I could do better. Sadly, three seconds later, Oliver decided to squeeze the twins to his chest and accidentally gave them an impressive head knock. Poor kid – he really doesn’t understand how strong he is and was more surprised and upset than they were. Though it was hard to tell with all of the wailing and “Oliver did that ON PURPOSE!” accusations. It’s clear that we have officially entered “The Lenny Years” and will have to keep a more serious eye on the roughhousing.

But don’t worry! Everyone was fine ten minutes later when I announced that they could all open a present. And I was only mildly thrown by the unexpected drama since I’m currently walking through life in a constant state of damage control.

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A more recent addition to our holiday traditions is Charlie, our Elf on the Shelf. The kids love that elf and charge out of bed the second they wake up to see WHERE he will be today!

As someone who regularly forgets to follow up on Tooth Fairy duties, I’m a bit less enthused about the elf. Sure, it’s very convenient to point out that “Charlie is watching,” when someone (George) is being particularly bad. But that in no way compensates for those mornings when I have to use my best roller derby moves to elbow past my kids on the stairs before they find the elf we forgot to move.

By December 15th we’re usually scraping the bottom of the barrel when it comes to identifying new perching spots. One night Chris actually suggested doing something creative with props and I thought my head would explode, “What are you thinking!? Then they’ll start expecting ANOTHER one of those scenes the next day…and the next. Don’t raise the bar! NEVER raise the bar!” It’s like a universal truth of parenthood – always consider how your actions will impact the future. Charlie sticks to high cabinets and chandeliers – end of story.

I breathed a sigh of relief on Christmas eve when it was time for our elf to fly back to the North Pole. Though Alice seemed a little reluctant to let him go.

Charlie and Alice

Sorry Charlie!

But anyone who has been reading this blog long enough knows where things really get ugly. I’m a horrible person when it comes to “my tree.”

I have written at length about my Christmas trees and the difficulty I’ve had in relinquishing sole custody of the decorating process. First, I imagined an unpleasant future of haphazard ornament placement, heavy on the preschool projects. The following year, I compromised and gave the kids their own tree. Then the pressure was on, and I had to be very strategic about keeping “my tree” to myself.

Last year, I had a love/hate relationship with our tree. As soon as it was set up, we could see that it was undeniably crooked. This is a risk that accompanies Chris’ tradition of taking one of our children to pick out a tree each year – I have NO control over the selection (just a long list of requirements and deal breakers).

And I had such high hopes for Eleanor! My color-within-the-lines girl was the perfect candidate to find a “perfect” tree. At first glance, it seemed she did. But no matter how many times we tried to fix the obvious leaning, there was always something off.

Eventually, I just put on the lights since that takes at least an hour (well, for ME it does). Then after getting the kids to bed, I decided there must be a way to make it appear straighter. Obviously, I assumed Chris would be 100% on board with this additional adjusting – so imagine my surprise when he announced that it was “good enough” and turned in for the night. I would have agreed if good enough meant leaning at a 45 degree angle…but I felt his perception of Christmas tree adequacy was a few notches lower than mine.

He may have been willing to concede symmetrical defeat, but I stayed up to fight the good fight. And I only spent a few minutes feeling annoyed with him. The truth is, he was holding me back anyway.

That tree almost fell on me at least three times. And it’s a miracle that my children didn’t find me trapped underneath it the next morning. But I couldn’t let that happen. I mean, SOMEONE had to move the elf to a new location.

After I got the tree looking marginally better than it did when Chris gave up, I decided that I had reached my own “good enough.” The secret to my success involved stuffing the tree stand with some plastic cups and emptied prescription bottles (which make surprisingly good wedges!) Feel free to pin that tip.

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Before tidying up, I went into the kitchen to wash my hands (both of sap and the entire fiasco), and when I returned, I found that half the lights had blown out.

Then I dragged the damn thing outside and beat it to death with a snow shovel.

Of course I didn’t do that! For one thing, we don’t own a snow shovel. But more importantly, I had put way too much time into that tree to give up. Instead, I took a deep breath and set about checking each strand. Luckily, there were only two that had to be removed and I was able to replace them with a couple of spares. TOTALLY worth another 30 minutes of time that could be spent sleeping.

In the end, we had a lovely, only slightly crooked tree.

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This year, it was George who picked out the tree, and he surprised us all by selecting a SMALL one. Well – not exactly small, but much smaller than the six to eight foot trees his siblings were bringing home. Apparently, he told the tree guy that “size doesn’t matter as long as it’s fat.” Oh George…

So small and fat arrived, and most decidedly did not fit into our tree stand. The trunk was too short, so I sent Chris out to get a smaller stand.

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And starting right there, the smallest tree we’ve ever had became the BIGGEST pain in the ass.

It was next to impossible to get it to stay up straight in the new stand. And beyond that, it was never really secure regardless of how much we tightened the screws. This should have been the first sign of impending calamity. But Chris declared it good enough, and I could at least adjust it to look straight… So on went the lights!

This all happened after the kids were in bed and it was pretty late when I finished, but I decided to try to power through and do the ornaments too. That way the tree would be done before little, grasping hands had a chance to manhandle the boxes of holiday decor. I could even tell them that Charlie did it! How could they object to Santa’s snitch not letting them help? You better not pout indeed!

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It was a good idea, but a bit ambitious. I gave up around midnight and went to bed. So the following morning was flooded with enthusiastic offers of help and ornament retrieval assembly lines. I have never been so happy to see the school bus.

That Monday was “early dismissal day” so I only had a few hours alone. And right before my children were due home, I stepped back to bask in the glory of the sweetest little Christmas tree I had ever seen. George chose well – it was possibly my favorite tree yet. Absolutely perfect. Perfect and…moving? Just like that, everything switched to slow motion as I watched the stand sliiiiide forward and the angel drop back out of sight. CRASH! The entire thing hit the floor in a crunch of breakable ornaments (my favorite kind!)

If I were a more emotive person, I would have screamed. Instead, I stood frozen in horror. Wondering what I did wrong…was it possible that I overdid it on the ornaments?…or perhaps this was some kind of punishment for extreme Christmas tree hubris… Either way – I had children to collect from the bus and a play date to host. So I propped my now disheveled little tree up against the wall and resigned myself to figuring it out later.

Luckily, the damage was minimal and only a few of my heirloom ornaments were broken. And come on – even I knew there were FAR worse problems to have. I just practiced some deep breathing and tried to restrain my snarling when children came too close to my wounded baby.

Much later, when the kids were in bed, I came downstairs with the intention of getting Chris to help me figure out what happened and how we could fix it. But before I had a chance to ask, he informed me that, “the tree fell again.”

I must have blacked out at this point, as I have no memory of the next 20 minutes. BUT it all worked out in the end.

Just as I started collecting plastic cups and prescription pill bottles to wedge around the trunk, Chris decided that the top heavy tree really did need a sturdier stand. The solution was to saw off the lower branches (something I hadn’t even considered since the tree was already on the small side) and make it fit into our bigger stand.

Then there was sawing, lifting, near misses with pine needle blindings, multiple attempts at tree straightening and screw tightening…and  just a little bit of swearing.

Finally we stepped back to see a very straight, very secure, slightly smaller Christmas tree. We could also see that the branch removal effectively made what I decorated as “the front” of the tree a better candidate for “the back.” I employed more deep breathing and big picture priority checking to get myself to as serene a state of mind as I could manage…then I removed ALL of the ornaments and redid the WHOLE ‘EFFING TREE!

Done! Finished! No more lesson-learned moments thank-you-very-much! I had officially exceeded my limit for Christmas tree decorating mania.

Which of course, meant it was time for Christmas tree PHOTOGRAPHING mania!

PicMonkey Collage

I think I have more pictures of this tree than I do of my own children on Christmas… I’m not kidding. Wonder how many people unfriended/unfollowed me after the Christmas tree reign of terror I inflicted over social media…

Next year, we’re going as a family to pick out our tree. It’s time for a new tradition. The kids are old enough now to work as a group and compromise on something they ALL like. AND to know that from now on, we’re getting the tree that I want.

WISHING YOU ALL THE BEST IN 2014!

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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They Coulda’ Been Great: August 2013

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


August 3

7:43 p.m.

I like to do like this…makes me look old.”

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August 4

8:22 a.m.

So chronic lower back pain seems to be part of my life now… Feels like just yesterday my worst “getting old” complaint was a wrinkled face. I’m nothing short of nostalgic for those golden 20something years spent crying about my big butt.

1:03 p.m.

Ages 7-14 my ass! Try Ages 7-41 Lego.

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August 5

1:53 p.m.

Me: Eleanor, can you do me a favor? Give Oliver this underwear and tell him to put it ON.

Eleanor: [put upon sigh] OKAY. But I’m just going to throw them at him.

It’s all about compromise.


August 7

8:04 p.m.

Weirdest bruise ever. Going up? Or going down?

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August 8

10:08 a.m.

At the farm, in “the sheep’s lair.” Oliver makes up for his delayed language skills with a creative vocabulary.

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3:47 p.m.

You know how they say that people who crave power and a position of authority often wind up in law enforcement? Wonder if the same could be said of school crossing guards… I’m guessing puppet masters, every one of them. “You go! You stay! Now YOU go! But you still stay! Stay there… Don’t moooove…”

6:12 p.m.

Me: Hey – there’s the mailman. He’s getting here LATE.

Eleanor: Maybe he’s getting married.

Me: You think he’s late because he’s getting MARRIED?

George: He already IS married.

Me: How do you know he’s married?

George: Because he’s old.

Logic.


August 9

9:26 a.m.

One minute of a car ride with George…

George: Hey mom! Your brain is electric. That’s why your forehead is hot.

Me: Really?

George: Yeah…And mom? How old are you, is how long you are living, right?

Me: Yes – that’s true.

George: Hey mom! I made up this song [We Are Young by FUN.] in my head before it was REAL.

Me: You did?

George: Yeah – when I was a baby watching fireworks. Hey! I see some fog!

I will NEVER tire of this.


August 10

10:00 a.m.

If there is anything in the world cuter than baby chicks, I can’t name it. At the farm again…

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2:36 p.m.

I often think that I don’t have the three most inquisitive children in the world… Possibly because from the time they could talk and ask questions like, “what’s that mommy?” my first reaction response has inevitably been “don’t touch it!

Kate Hood. Squashing curiosity since 2005

7:31 p.m.

After spending an extensive amount of time watching Sponge Bob, Oliver has perfected a flawless Squidward impression. Of course, he usually does this in public places…seemingly for his own entertainment… But talent is TALENT.


August 11

4:19 p.m.

Eleanor got two nasty bee stings today. Or wasp or hornet…some really vicious breed of bee – they literally chased her home. But not to worry. Chris found the hive/nest (getting stung 8 times in the process) and set it on fire. I’ve always said that if there really is a Zombie Apocalypse, I have one bad ass husband to keep us safe.


August 12

6:31 p.m.

On the walk home from a play date…

Oliver: Mom, Annoying Orange told a [I then heard him say] nice story.

Me: Really? A NICE story?

Oliver: No. A [I then heard him say] KNIGHT story.

Me: OH! A Knight story.

Oliver: NO! A [he really said] KNIFE story.

Me: …

I’m sorry – am I supposed to be monitoring what he’s viewing online? Dammit! That baby-owner’s manual mentioned NOTHING about this…


August 13

9:18 a.m.

If your six year old twins ever decide to have a screaming match in the back seat during your morning commute, blast Play that Funky Music White Boy on the radio and sing along as loudly and enthusiastically as possible. Chair dancing is also a nice bonus. They will be so distracted and/or horrified that they will completely forget that they were fighting in the first place. You’re welcome.


August 14

8:17 a.m.

I just had to walk Alice around the block for a full 15 minutes before she would finally do her business. Not like we don’t have to leave for camp or anything… Then I found two little boys in underwear waiting for me at our open front door with VERY IMPORTANT information to impart!

Oliver: Mom! Eleanor broke my Shellraiser (Ninja Turtle Lego vehicle) but it’s okay because it was just an accident!

George: Mom! We have Jello AND pudding!

Then we had to convince Eleanor to come out of her room where she was inexplicably upset and hiding even though no one was mad about the freaking Shellraiser (which I will have the pleasure of “fixing” later today).

Everyone just PUT ON YOUR PANTS and let’s GO.

7:14 p.m.

Right now, Eleanor is “teaching Oliver gymnastics” and asked me to come observe. His last “move” ended with pulling off his underwear. Eleanor’s assessment: “that is totally NOT part of gymnastics!

I don’t know about you, but I smell a brother-sister talent show act…

9:13 p.m.

I just apologized to a La La Loopsy doll. Eleanor and her friends painted it head to toe in green sparkly nail polish this afternoon. Is it just me, or was anyone else scarred for life by the Toy Story movies?


August 15

7:26 p.m.

George: Mom, what day it is?

Chris: What day “IS IT.”

Shut up Chris.

Seriously – the cuteness only lasts so long…

7:55 p.m.

Me: Eleanor, time to go upstairs and brush your teeth.

Eleanor: But my legs are TOO TIRED to walk upstairs.

Me: Well, sometimes we have to do things even when we’re tired.

Eleanor: No REALLY. I CAN’T. I’m TOO TIRED.

Me: Eleanor, if I put a cupcake at the top of the stairs and told you that you could eat it if you made it up there by the time I counted to three, YOU would muster up enough energy to do it.

Eleanor: But there ISN’T a cupcake at the top of the stairs!

Me: Exactly. Welcome to the rest of your life.

Tough love.


August 16

9:13 p.m.

No more whining! It’s now time to be silent and enjoy Dexy’s Midnight Runners with me!

Morning commute radio.


August 17

12:23 p.m.

I think it says a lot about my personal maintenance this summer that my three year old neighbor has a better pedicure than me.

1:05 p.m.

“Wait! Chew. Swallow. THEN make the motorboat noise.”

I’m such a micro-manager…

5:31 p.m.

George just walked up, put his hand on my stomach, and observed, “it looks like the baby is about to come out.” what is he trying to say? #sowrong

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6:07 p.m.

First rule of Moon Bounce: Never talk about Moon Bounce. #EpicBirthdayParty

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August 18

4:33 p.m.

Eleanor (who is SIX): Do you have Aster’s phone number?

Me: Yes – why?

Eleanor: Oh – in case I want to call her for a play date.

Me: I have it – so we can call her if that comes up.

Eleanor: OR I can call her since I’m getting a phone for Christmas.

Me: You’re getting a PHONE for Christmas?

Eleanor: Yeah.

Me: Who decided THAT?

Eleanor: Me.

Of course


August 20

6:30 p.m.

Had a fun, spur of the moment dinner party here with friends last night. Sadly, it did have to end. This happened when the soon-to-be first graders came up from the basement to announce that the two year old pooped. “But just a little one.” They knew this because they were having a naked party (what?!) But my favorite part was when six year old Lucy informed me that she took care of it – and handed me the Candy Land card she used to “scoop it up.” Why our parties don’t get mentioned in the Society pages, I will NEVER KNOW…


August 21

8:28 p.m.

Right now, I am figuring out fall premiere dates for all of my favorite TV shows. I will probably watch most of them real time.

Also? I miss the TV Guide.

Categorized under: things I have in common with your grandparents.


August 22

11:25 a.m.

I have officially reached the point in summer vacation where I feel like we’re camping in our own house. Really looking forward to school starting after Labor Day…

8:14 p.m.

Eleanor just turned on the TV. It’s the beginning of UP. The minute I heard the music, I almost burst into tears. Now sniffling and secretly dabbing at eyes. Damn you UP! And you too, Tracy Chapman with your Fast Car. I don’t do “poignant” prettily.


August 24

10:40 a.m.

I’m 99% sure the Costco card checker guy just hit on me.

Suburban mom thought of the morning.

7:19 p.m.

Me: [making note that as Chris is about to take the dog for a walk, he has to pour himself a small glass of wine] You always have to have a drink when you walk Alice in the evening.

Chris: It’s my “dog walking drink.”

Me: You certainly do have your affectations…

Chris: I have my things.

Me: You mean your affectations?

Chris: I have my things.

Whatever. Think I may start having a “dog walking drink” when I take Alice out at 6:00 a.m. I, also have my things…

7:44 p.m.

And THEN my neighbor who isn’t even on Facebook texted me, “can I borrow a glass of wine? Stuck here with a play date.” Next thing you know, new moms on the block are going to start asking me if I can bring over mimosas on the odd Tuesday morning. Concerned about how we are perceived…


August 26

2:20 p.m.

George: Mom! Did you know that Venjamin’s name ISN’T Venjamin?

Me: It’s not?

George: NO! It’s BENjamin.

I’ll have to “fermember” that….


August 27

4:46 p.m.

The good news: Found out that 100% of the procedure required to repair my deviated septum will be covered by insurance!

The bad news: That amazing “you but better” pitch I got from the plastic surgeon who will perform the procedure was a waste of everyone’s time. Insurance will cover 0% of the thousands of dollars required to make me look like me but better. I’ll just have to look like me. Oh well – I guess being able to breath at night without 20 pillows is still pretty cool.


August 29

10:25 a.m.

Waiting for The Great Zucchini, every kid in DC’s favorite comedian, to start the show. Let the toilet paper jokes commence!

5:29 p.m.

George: Mom. “Hot” is not a ‘propriate word for kids right?

Me: No – it’s not appropriate for kids.

George: And “Sweet Mama!” That’s not ‘propriate either.

I can’t even.


August 30

9:21 a.m.

Oliver: MOM! I want to COLLECT THEM ALL!

So yes – my children may be watching just a leeeetle bit too much TV this summer….


August 31

7:32 p.m.

Honored to participate in a major milestone for a friend’s daughter today. Yes – you guessed it. She got her first American Girl doll. Embrace the the ostentatious consumerism Diane Cooper-Gould. One of us…One of us…
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8:19 p.m.

George: Mom! You know snow? Is really cloud POOP.

Guess we’re ready for winter? See ya August!

They Coulda’ Been Great: 2012

8/21/13

I know… A “They Coulda’ Been Great” post for ALL of 2012. ALLOFIT. Oh – there’s not that much of it – I was a sporadic poster that year.

I’ve had so much fun looking back at the silliness evidenced in my 2013 Facebook status updates, that I decided to stroll down memory lane in 2012 (totally worth it if you post funny stories about your kids). Anyway – I dumped it all in a Word doc and decided to post the whole damn thing here.

Yes – I posted it retroactively for December 31, 2012… But I have a thing for chronological order. If this is the first time you are seeing anything about this, my first “They Coulda’ Been Great” post was for January 2013. It explains everything. The impact of social media on blogging, writing, community… Whatever – I write some funny stuff on Facebook and then I post it all on my blog. It’s my new thing. Hope you enjoy it.

Here is 2012 (yes – all of it – allofit, even)!


February 3

7:05 p.m.

Look what just arrived! Thank you to Eleanor who took the picture and suggested a little lip gloss (though she neglected to mention a much needed push up bra…) Stephanie Dulli and I are now READY for those Listen to Your Mother DC auditions. Should we wear our new shirts? Oh – I think so…

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February 4

12:00 p.m.

Eleanor just held something out for me to see, saying, “George thinks this is a tooth.” And…George is right. Half right…as it is HALF a tooth. Must be one of Oliver’s baby teeth that they all played with and LOST before it could be placed under a pillow for the Tooth Fairy. Eleanor’s reaction to this revelation: Gingerly handed it to me, and wrinkling her nose in an excellent “Mom” impersonation said, “well…I don’t think we need it anymore.”


February 16

4:55 p.m.

So….holiday binge eating lasts roughly from Thanksgiving through Valentine’s Day, right? Or is it St. Patrick’s Day? I can never remember…


March 19

1:50 p.m.

Great pictures from the St. Patrick’s Day celebration at the Reston Town Center! But this one reminds me of what a disaster Eleanor was last night… She was beside herself about her face paint washing off in the tub. Cried (SOBBED) for an hour straight. By the end, I was ready to take a permanent marker to her face and call it a day!

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April 9

5:00 p.m.

Out of all of my annoyed demands that they just smile for the camera, already!…of course, this is the kind of picture I like best.

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April 17

4:40 p.m.

First of all! That is NOT our trash can! Second of all – we NEVER play in trash cans! Life in the suburbs…


April 18

2:15 p.m.

I just spent the last hour mesmerized by the Saturday Night Fever Glee. I think I like Disco a little too much…


April 19

7:40 p.m.

I was totally congratulating myself on FINALLY having kids old enough that I don’t have to supervise them when they wake up at the crack of dawn. Then today, I noticed that Oliver has been getting into the ice cream… So much for sleeping in.


April 21

10:05 a.m.

I’m getting really excited for my 40th birthday next week since it means I will be biologically TOO OLD for teenager-like acne breakouts. Right? Right?!?!

6:50 p.m.

Eleanor lost her first tooth! This is always the most awkward shot…trying to see a gap in the BOTTOM teeth…

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April 22

8:30 a.m.

This is Eleanor’s new Barbie. She’s a “horse doctor.” Like a female James Herriott…in satin hot pants.

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April 24

10:35 a.m.

Filed under things that happen when 5-year-olds in hospital gowns have to wait over 30 minutes for their doctor.

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11:15 a.m.

And in a shocking turn of events…We discovered that somewhere in the midst of all of the twins’ sick visits to the doctor, I forgot to schedule their 2011 well check. Mother of the year! Let’s celebrate with extra inoculations all around! I’m mortified…


April 29

4:20 p.m.

I have 3 children and the oldest just turned 7. How is it possible that today is FIRST day that I ever removed a splinter for one of them? Eleanor had one in her finger. Twenty minutes of wailing and running away from me – then a two-second removal with tweezers. With all of the screaming she did, I wonder if our neighbors thought I was removing her fingernail!


April 30

8:50 a.m.

Eleanor: Mama can I have some breakfast?

Me: Sure – what do you want?

Eleanor: I don’t know – what are the offers.

Let me check today’s circulars…


May 4

1:30 a.m.

A middle of the night thought: Is it still possible to invent a new emoticon? Or has every possible combination of symbols now been used?

Related: I hate emoticons.

Also: I now use ” :) ” regularly because I worry about people thinking I’m being serious when I’m kidding and assuming that I’m mad or just really bitchy.

Either way, I always feel like a sell out.

:)


May 5

12:45 p.m.

Know what’s awesome about my mother and mother in law? They come into my disorganized house with its layers of dust and grimy surfaces, and they don’t judge or pointedly scrub counters in front of me. The downside? No free cleaning services.


May 6

11:01 p.m.

I’m exhausted – and I can’t believe the show is over. Though I expect my friends will be thrilled to see my months of shameless self promotion come to an end… Anyway – I want to say thank you to our incandescent Director, Stephanie Dulli and our brave and beautiful Listen to Your Mother DC cast (listed below as “with” since even FB thinks my LTYM reign of terror needs to end and therefore refuses to let me tag more than a few people at a time…) Couldn’t include our first reader (and theme inspiration), Cindy Green since she has of yet to accept my friend request – humph! But seriously – I am in awe of these women and the stories they have to tell. It was an honor to share a stage with them.

11:40 p.m.

On last thing before I stagger off to bed, Stephanie’s husband Zach tweeted this picture of me at the podium during my reading. Is it me, or do I actually look like a giant Oscar award?

LTYM pic


May 7

2:45 p.m.

Eleanor is cracking me up! A relative gave her this paper doll fashion show thing, and after spending the morning coloring them all in, she’s now stationing the dolls around the house in their “homes.” One lives on the dining room table, one on the kitchen counter, one on a living room chair…

And now apparently, ALL the dolls are abuzz with news about a fashion show taking place in HERNDON. Every time I hear her gasp, “OH! You’re going to the fashion show in Herndon too?!” I die laughing. Then one of the dolls exclaimed, “Herndon? That’s really far for me – I’ll have to drive.” So I interjected, “really? Herndon is far for her?” To this Eleanor gave me a quizzical look and said, “well yes. She lives all the way at the refrigerator.”

Eleanor paper dolls

8:05 p.m.

Typical conversation pattern between Chris and me:

Chris: So Cathy Trocchia said she DID go to the show.

Me: Yes – she sent me a message. But I don’t know if Jamie Seifert made it.

Chris: No – Jamie didn’t go.

Me: Oh really? Why – did something come up?

Chris: [shrug – “why are you asking me insane questions” face] I don’t know.

Me: What do you mean, “I don’t know?”

Chris: [more “why the interrogation?” faces] I just don’t. WHY would I know that?

Me: Because you know that she didn’t come – which means either she or Cathy told you that she didn’t come or wasn’t going to be able to come. And women don’t just say “I’m not going” or “I didn’t go” – they give each other reasons. In my world, we tell each other “WHY” we do or don’t do things.

Chris: [“you are crazy” look]

The End

Editor’s note: This was a Mars/Venus anecdote about my incredulity over how Chris always reports “what” information and never “why.” Not about my friend Jamie who obviously had something come up yesterday. She is darling and always answers questions with WHY information, like a good female.


May 14

9:15 a.m.

So I just discovered a major perk to turning 40. I no longer agonize over what to call my mother in law’s friends in thank you notes. Paula or Mrs. Garlick? I’m freaking 40 years old – I think I can just go with Paula!

Now I’m looking forward to turning 50. Because THEN I will no longer feel required to write thank you notes.


May 17

8:00 p.m.

Typical almost-3:00 p.m. scene: I have to get to preschool pick up right now! But I can’t find my keys…where are they?…searching…searching…not in my purse…not in the kitchen…not on the bed…not in the bathroom…not in the refrigerator (yes – I’m checking everywhere)…where can they be?! Now I’m late! No more time to look…where is that spare key?…Excellent! Right where it should be. I’m not THAT late…just a few minutes. No one will even notice. Out the front door! Make sure it’s locked! Wait – what’s that? Oh. … The key.

Note to self: first place to look for my keys would be IN the front door.

Also? This happens frequently.


May 23

8:25 p.m.

I have been so much better about FB lately… But I’ve been offline for a few days due to THIS! Meet Alice – a 5 month old rescue puppy that Chris brought home while I was at Christy Wood’s wedding reception in NYC. Chris and Oliver picked her out and I have to admit – she’s perfect for our family. She doesn’t chew shoes – but keep an eye on your Hungry Hungry Hippos marbles….

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May 25

8:20 p.m.

I think I may be the dumbest person on the planet. Just today, I realized that some of the AMAZING photographers I see on Twitter and FB, are capturing those images of a crystal clear face amidst a blur of people, flowers, toys…what have you, using INSTAGRAM! Side note: I just started using Instagram!

8:28 p.m.

Also, remember when I wrote I’m Shy Every Day? WELL – today was the twins’ preschool graduation and all of the kids got up and said what they wanted to be when they grew up (George said sky diver and Eleanor said horse rider). But little miss “I’m shy every day” herself made my day/week/year when she faced the crowd and answered “Rock Star.” I almost cried – it was just that AWESOME.


May 27

7:35 p.m.

Am I a bad pet owner if I find his annoying? I am so tired… I would happily lie down on the floor if I thought I could get away with it. Now that it’s 7:30 p.m., I’m pretty sure that I missed the Sunday nap window. Yet Chris always manages to catch both (yes – there are two). And this dog…she mocks my fatigue with her spontaneous snoozing.

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June 2

5:00 p.m.

Eleanor: Mama – what should I draw?

Me: The sun.

Eleanor: And what?

Me: And….flowers growing.

Eleanor: OR! How about people sitting under mushrooms – GIANT mushrooms – because it’s so hot?

Why does she even ask me?


June 12

5:25 p.m.

Our boring, rainy day inside has just hit a new low. The twins are now taking turns whacking each other with a package of cookie dough (the old school roll kind).


July 8

10:55 a.m.

Between the kids and the puppy, I sometimes feel like my whole life smells like pee pee.

Unrelated: everything is always sticky.


July 9

8:10 p.m.

Me: Oliver – go downstairs and get your ice cream bowl.

Oliver: [coming back upstairs – without the bowl] Gross! Alice [the dog] was licking it!

Me: Are you serious? You have touched some of the most disgusting…YOU have touched AT LEAST five dead animals. Go get that bowl!

Epilogue: the dishwasher is running and the licked ice cream bowl is still downstairs.


July 13

4:45 p.m.

Favorite moment of the week: running down to the basement to get something and finding my tiny 5-year-old, George dancing his heart out to Just Dance II (which my kids call “Dance Party”). The song: It’s Raining Men.

5:00 p.m.

Actual conversation I just had with my five year old daughter:

[sound of kids playing a loud/rambunctious game involving stuffed animals.]

Eleanor: [enters the dining room looking very pouty and put out about something] Mommy, Oliver is only doing the other animals and he won’t do my hippo.

Me: [yelling into the other room] OLIVER! Do Eleanor’s hippo. Right now!

My life is weird.


July 14

11:45 a.m.

I love listening to Oliver’s chatter these days. The combination of his communication delays, fast growing vocabulary and exposure to television makes for many moments of hilarity.

Oliver: [telling me something about Cars 2] And then Professor Z told his fugs…

Me: Fugs?

Oliver: Yeah – fugs.

Me: What are fugs?

Oliver: [perplexed by my ignorance] They’re trouble making villains.


July 17

7:10 p.m.

When you open a bag of ramen noodles and little noodle shards fly everywhere.


July 18

11:10 a.m.

After watching many episodes of The Dog Whisperer, we’ve concluded that we really need to meet with a dog trainer to discuss Alice’s “issues.” So of course the kids keep referring to the guy coming on Saturday as “The Dog Whisperer.” Wonder how disappointed they’ll be when Cesar Millan doesn’t show up on our doorstep…


July 21

7:30 p.m.

Am I the only one who finds the FB default to “top stories” sort annoying? Who is deciding what is a top story? Is this some kind of Netflix-like, “based on your recent selections” thing? Just show me the most recent status updates so I’m not commenting on things that happened two days ago, okay? Or at least default to most recent because I’m FB-challenged and never remember to manually select that.

Guess I should check settings or something to see if I can change this.

Listed under “things I have in common with your parents.”


July 22

4:35 p.m.

My neighbor and I had a twinsies moment today when we both walked out wearing the same Target tank top. Same style – same color – probably the same size. Ah – suburbia… I would say it was all very Stepford wife – but you know…Target. Cathy – in our next life, let’s reenact that scene in something a bit more upmarket.


July 25

11:55 a.m.

So, fun drive to the twins’ first day of camp. Since parking would be feet away from check in, I went ahead and brought the dog. Halfway there, she jumped up next to me and I said, “PEE-YEW Alice. You smell like dog food.” Then George yelled, “Gross! Alice puked!” I looked back and sure enough – two huge piles – one on the back seat next to George and one of the floor. And then – THEN – she leaned over and puked on my leg.

Seriously. HOW do people live without pets.


August 1

2:30 p.m.

I had no idea that black and white hides wrinkles so well. I’ll never go back to color!

BW


August 9

8:45 p.m.

I see Oliver taking chalk down to the basement. And I ask “what are you doing with the chalk.” He says “I’m going to draw a picture,” as he scampers out of sight. Then I frantically yell after him, “on the chalkboard? ON THE CHALKBOARD?!

It’s a legitimate question…


August 16

5:50 p.m.

So Alice is a total money pit… I feel like I’m at the vet with her weekly. Today’s reason: tail biting. Seriously? Here is a pic of her cone head. A dog rite of passage she’s not enjoying one little bit.

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August 22

8:00 p.m.

Eleanor REALLY doesn’t like the movie Spy Kids. Her (dramatic) review: “It’s like a kid horror movie…it’s really scary…and pretty cruel.” I remember seeing previews…and that was not my take…but I guess we’re all entitled to our opinions.


August 24

5:50 p.m.

The twins had afternoon camp this week, so Oliver had me all to himself. Since this NEVER happens (he’s always getting pushed aside with all of their grabby neediness), I thought I’d do something fun with him every day. We went to the farm, the zoo…miniature golf…a WATER PARK. But here’s the problem: I’m intrinsically not very fun. And I would never choose to do any of those things without the incentive of making my son happy. It was taxing…but boy does he look happy, right?

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August 31

9:30 a.m.

Woods walk feather

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September 5

6:55 p.m.

George: The inside of my body is very hot, right?

Me: Yes, it’s warm inside our bodies.

George: But the outside of our bodies is very COLD!

Me: No…not cold. The outside of our bodies would be cooler than the inside though.

George: OH! so only when it’s WINDY.

Me: …

[five minutes later]

George: [holds up an arm] Mom – I’m not skinny anymore!

Me: Well…you’re still pretty slim…

George: So just a little skinny.

Me: Just a little.

George: But Eleanor isn’t as skinny.

Me: She’s just a little skinny too.

George: Mom – do you know what your boobs are for?

Me: WHAT?!

George: Do you know what your…

Me: Yes – I heard you the first time. And I’m dying to know – what do YOU think they are for?

George: For breathing!

Of course.

This is George’s idea of pleasant dinner conversation. What did you discuss this evening?


September 13

3:00 p.m.

Just remembered something I meant to tell you yesterday… I was driving home from the store with the windows down since it was GORGEOUS outside. And as I’m driving 50 MPH down a fairly busy street something fell through the window and into my lap. My first thought was that it was an acorn since the local squirrels like to throw them down at people (why not cars?) But I wasn’t near any trees. So I then assumed it must have been some kind of debris blowing back off a truck that had just passed me. Either way – it had fallen right between my legs and rolled down, almost under me. I then had to reach, well…you know where, to try to retrieve this mystery object while keeping my eyes on the road. And as I brought it up in my cupped hand to take a look, I discovered that it was a GIANT BUMBLEBEE. So I screamed, threw it out the window and indulged in a moment of silent gratitude for not getting into an accident.

So how about you? How was your day?


September 19

9:05 p.m.

My son, Oliver is so weird…

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September 26

7:25 a.m.

An important reminder for my little girl who likes lunch notes and has so little confidence sometimes…

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7:50 a.m.

Are ladybugs lucky? And if so, does the luck increase with the number of spots? Let me know, because a ladybug with 20 spots is sitting on a kid-made vase on my bedside table. And I could really use some luck…

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October 7

2:55 p.m.

Group Effort

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October 24

9:15 p.m.

It’s the World Series and my poor husband is stuck watching it with ME. My level of interest is reflected by insights such as “that guy looks like Luke Wilson.” [Justin Verlander] I’ve also spotted players who remind me of Justin Timberlake and Antonio Banderas. Epilogue: I brought a book.


November 11

6:00 p.m.

Hierarchy

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November 7

10:25 a.m.

Post election morning banter at my house:

Me: George – get dressed. You have to wear pants to Kindergarten.

George: [slamming his tiny body into my legs for the 10th time in 10 seconds] I put my penis on you!

Me: Don’t put your penis on people. It’s not polite.

George: AND it’s no use.

Me: Usually.


November 13

5:20 p.m.

George: Mom – your self can control yourself, right?

Me: One would hope.


November 14

7:50 a.m.

Sometimes when I find myself battling the dog for bed space, I have to wonder how it came to this…


November 19

6:50 p.m.

Listening to Kung Fu Fighting, Car Wash, Fire, Flashlight… I have to say, that Pure Funk CD may have been my very best purchase of the ’90s


November 22

8:35 p.m.

Hand turkeys waving goodbye. See you next Thanksgiving!

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November 28

2:35 p.m.

What was life like before chocolate chips…? Leaner I think – but perhaps a bit soulless…


December 1

2:00 p.m.

Started a shopping list and had to stop when I suspected that I may currently be possessed by Buddy the Elf.

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December 2

11:50 p.m.

Is it just me – or do other people say “Pierce Brosnan” when they really mean “Bronson Pinchot”? Maybe it’s just me…


December 6

9:30 a.m.

Exciting morning! We were running late for the school bus – so I decided to drive the kids to school. George was ready first, so I told him to just get in the car. When the rest of us left the house several minutes later – he was nowhere to be found. Eleanor ran up to the bus stop to check and see if he was there (it’s happened before). Not there. Not in front of the house – not behind the house – not IN the house. Now I’m worried and drive the others (and the dog) up to the bus stop to look around there. Not there. Leave all in the locked car while I run back toward our house and call the school. They put me on hold to look for George and I continue to call his name, wondering if a neighbor could have thought he was left behind and taken him to school. Then a neighbor hears me and tells me that he GOT ON THE BUS (which must have been running late). Ran back to car to console crying siblings and drive them to school, where I stayed for a while to have a talk with Mr. George. Side note: this is about the 10th time I’ve spent more than 5 minutes running around my neighborhood calling frantically for one of my lost little boys. Epilogue: I am at Starbucks ordering coffee.


December 8

1:00 p.m.

George: Mom, remember a long, long time ago…we were demons.

Me: What?

George: No, I mean we were those guys from a long, long time ago and then we turned into Pilgrims.

Me: We did?

George: Yeah and then we turned into animals and then we turned into this place.

Me: What’s that?

George: Well, first we were in a tummy and then we got bigger and then we were two years old and then older and older and nine years old…

Me: So wait, first we were demons?

George: And you know what’s even badder than the devil?

Me: What?

George: DEMONS! Because they are huge.

I’m totally lost.


December 10

12:40 p.m.

Working on a database. Forgot how entertaining long lists of names can be. “Sarah Fawcett.” Subtle – but still cracks me up.


December 11

7:05 p.m.

I have now clocked enough hours in proximity of children’s shows on the TV that I can hear a character’s voice in an unknown cartoon and say, “hey that sounds like Quincy [Little Einsteins].” This is not the first time I’ve identified cartoon voice overs. If there was a game show for this I’d win big.


December 15

10:35 a.m.

It’s hard to not feel sad today… But I try to remind myself that everything is fine until it’s not. And when everything in your own life is fine, you have to go with it. Because when it’s not, you never really get fine back.

As much as my heart breaks for everyone who has ever lost a child, today I’m going to put all of my energy into making sure my own children who are so very HERE right now, know just how much they are loved. I’ll feel sad on my time – not theirs.


December 16

3:55 p.m.

Decided to take the dog out for a long walk. But only just now, one mile out did I remember letting Eleanor put makeup on me. Like an hour ago. And I should note that she’s not a light touch with the eye shadow…


December 17

6:05 p.m.

After a visit to the dentist…

Eleanor: Mom – look at my new toothbrush!

Me: Very nice. Why don’t you put it in the bathroom – we can get rid of your old one.

Eleanor: [back from the bathroom and showing me her old toothbrush] What should we do with it?

Me: Throw it out.

Eleanor: Gasp! Throw it out?? Why don’t we just sell it or something?

I don’t know…what do you guys think? Ebay or Craig’s List?

9:25 p.m.

By the way – if you have an Elf on the Shelf and hear the cynical observation: “he can’t be real – he has a TAG…like toys in the toy store.” Give your kids a conspiratorial look and say, “he’s in disguise. The tag is part of the whole ‘toy by day’ thing.” Makes your kids think they’re in on the subterfuge.


December 19

4:40 p.m.

Now THAT’S an old recipe!

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7:00 p.m.

George: Mom! Overblah in French means “bye!” Always fermember it!

Not sure how much of that is misunderstanding French or how much is misunderstanding English….

7:40 p.m.

Chris was explaining Hanukah to George, who is now talking about the big battle between the Cereals and the Macabeans.


December 21

3:40 p.m.

Yesterday, I discovered that my kids were wrapping random objects from our house as presents for their grandparents. As much as I know my mother would love her roll of silver wire ribbon from Michael’s…I had to shut that down before they got into the good china.


December 27

4:40 p.m.

PSA for future parents: As you are considering the number of children you hope to have in your family, figure in the number of shoes and coats you would like to have strewn across your floor at any given time. (Note to the ladies: include your husband’s coat and shoes in your calculations.)

Annual Christmas Tree Report (Alternatively Titled: The Grinch’s Small Tree Grew Three Sizes That Day)

Every year I write about my Christmas tree.

I know – other people write touching annual posts in honor of their children on their birthdays. But not me. I write annual taunts about how my Christmas tree kicks your Christmas tree’s ass.

Because tree decorating is my thing.

I won’t re-write my Christmas Tree Nazi post, but if you didn’t read that and don’t feel so inclined as to link over – just understand that I take my tree very seriously. Maybe a little too seriously. Okay – maybe A LOT too seriously. But you know how it is when someone has a problem: they need to want to get better before you can help them. And I have no interest in getting better. All I want is a perfect tree.

Last year was the first time that my kids really expressed a desire to participate in tree decorating. So being the good mother that I am, I put aside my perfectionist attitude…and bought them their very own fake tree from Target. I even let them believe that theirs was much better than mine (as if!)

This year though, I made the mistake of pulling out their tree a week before we bought the “real” one. So they thought they were on round two when the new one came in the door.

In their defense, Chris’ tradition of taking one of them with him to pick out the tree would definitely cloud the whole “ownership” issue. Luckily, they have very short attention spans, and after 10 minutes of watching me hang the lights, everyone got bored and wandered off to watch TV or sled down the stairs in pillow cases. A good move on their part. This year’s light hanging wasn’t pretty. Because our tree? Is HUGE. At least for us, it is.

We live in a tiny townhouse, and typically get a six foot tree. But this year, Chris took Oliver who imprinted on this particular one the minute he saw it. No other tree would do. It was a tree soul mate thing and Chris couldn’t keep them apart. So this year I had two more feet of tree to decorate.

Doesn’t sound like a lot, but that was one beast of a tree trimming project. I swear it kept getting bigger as I circled around it, lacing lights in the branches. Then several strands blew out and I had to search for connections to remove them. And full of joyous holiday spirit, I alternated between internally swearing like a sailor and glaring at an infuriatingly jocular Chris, who was puttering around the kitchen, singing along to Santa Baby.

And of course, the minute I decided that the lights looked as good as they were going to get, the children sensed my hand moving toward the ornament box and came at me like a pack of Christmas-obsessed velociraptors.

I was able to fend them off with some candy canes, but it was a near thing. It seemed prudent to wait until they were in bed before I continued.

This is what I generally do anyway. So I finished the tree later, listening to holiday CDs and sipping wine with Chris. For a second he forgot that he had met me before and tried to hang some ornaments, but I put an end to that. I mean – filler ornaments like that random ceramic chili pepper on the front of the tree?! Do you see what I’m dealing with here?

But when all was said and done, I was able to stand back and look at this:

I think it’s our prettiest tree yet. Admittedly, this larger size could do with a bit more bling than just lights and ornaments… Insert Joan Cusack’s Queens accent for one of her best Working Girl quotes: “It needs some bows ah’ somethin’.” Next time, there will have to be some sort of a garland.

One of these days, I’ll have to get over the “my tree” thing and let them (gulp) help. Then, perhaps schizophrenic ornament placement and ineffectual bow tying will be balanced out by joyful faces and holiday cheer…and a Valium. And an extra bottle of wine. That should do it.

What No One Tells You When You Have a Baby

I think I flush the toilets in my house approximately 25 times a day. And I can count on one hand how many times I do it for myself. It seems like almost every time I walk into a bathroom, I find yet another un-flushed toilet. Often stuffed with the equivalent of an entire roll of toilet paper. All of this toilet activity is messy and inconvenient, and incredibly time consuming.

I now feel lucky if I’m summoned to help with personal hygiene. As unappealing as it may be—at least I’m given some control over how the room is left. Having potty-trained little ones at home has created an entire new category in my housekeeping duties. One that makes me consider adding the position of “janitor” to my professional resume. I think I’ve cleaned more toilets in the last year than I ever did in the previous ten.

Then I remember those years I had all three children in diapers.

Fondly.

I’m serious. For all of the talking people do about getting kids out of diapers, I am sorely disappointed by this much touted milestone. No one ever mentions what happens AFTER potty training. We’re led to believe that once our offspring learn to use the bathroom without M&M incentives, we will be freed from daily involvement with those particular bodily functions.

Not so much. And this is just ONE of the things that more experienced parents let you believe when you’re staggering through the obstacle course of new parent challenges. I guess they know that the idea of a finish line is what helps you get through the day. Keeps hope alive and all that.

But altruistic or not—they still withhold the truth. They let you believe that things will get better sooner as opposed to later. That your baby will be easier as they get older. That you won’t still be talking about poop and lack of sleep when your children enter elementary school….

The sleep thing is huge. I read three books in the two months after my oldest, Oliver, was born. One was a Girlfriend’s Guide to not stealing the closest vehicle and making a run for the Mexican border—or something like that. The other two were tomes as thick as my left thigh devoted to teaching your baby how to sleep through the night.

I often find it funny how we spend around 40 weeks waiting for our babies to be born, and then we spend the next 10+ years waiting for them to go to sleep. Maybe it’s the allure of “free time” to get things done around the house or to eat a meal without having to get up every five seconds…. Or maybe it’s the fact that we have such visceral memories about them not sleeping without a preparatory hour of rocking, shushing, pacing, pleading, bribing, weeping. But when those little eyelids finally do close in slumber, we all break into an internal Hallelujah chorus from Handel’s Messiah.

And in those early months of night feedings and pacifier searches, we yearn for the approaching age when “they’ll sleep through the night.” To which other parents will agree that, yes, it is very freeing to have children who don’t need to be soothed to sleep and to actually get a full eight hours in before the alarm clock buzzes.

Maybe some of them are lucky and they really are telling the truth…. But this hasn’t been my experience. Sure—there was a brief toddler period where they would be so exhausted from the busy day that they would crash at bedtime. And they even slept soundly until at least dawn. But sometime during preschool, I saw a shift.

While they didn’t need to be rocked to sleep, they did require extra books and music and glasses of water and one more good night kiss. They wouldn’t just pass out anymore. They would stand at the top of the stairs calling “MOMMY!” They would declare that there were monsters in the closet and noises outside the window. They would wake at 3:00 a.m. with nightmares. And they would crawl into bed with us.

And so continues our nocturnal life. I live in fear of what the coming night holds in store for me. It is just as common for me to wake up with three children in my bed as it is to wake up alone in one of theirs. You often hear about the “musical beds” game a family plays throughout the night. You never know where you’ll be when the music stops (driving many to musical meds—but that’s another subject altogether).

So just in case you were wondering, no, my children do not sleep through the night (at least, not all at the same time). As a result, neither do I.

Another baby-related issue with which all new parents have to contend is spit up. It’s neverending. Babies spit up after they eat…because they were jostled at bit…as the result of acid reflux…. It’s gross. And it smells. “But not to worry,” parents of older children will assure you, “Once your baby starts sitting up, the spit up will end.”

What they neglect to mention is that babies start sitting up roughly around the time that they start eating more solid food. Not just mushy rice cereal—which incidentally, bears a strong resemblance to spit up—but table food. Cubes of carrot and melon. Peas and tiny bits of meat. And teething cookies! All excellent items to induce gagging.

It takes a while for babies to learn how to eat real food, and no parent will escape that fun-filled learning curve. It usually involves some projectile vomit, or my personal favorite, the lying down puke that ends up on hair and inside ears.

And I most feel for those poor parents of toddlers like my twins, who shove fingers and spoons into their mouths to gag themselves on purpose.

Ever have three children with a stomach flu? Enough said.

No one ever tells you about the vomit.

And the list goes on…

We look forward to getting rid of that cumbersome stroller. But then we have to chase them around shopping malls or beg them to walk faster. Or even worse – carry them.

We long for a day when everyone can put on their own seatbelts. A state of affairs that ushers in an entirely new genre of nagging: “Did you put on your seat belt? Why aren’t you wearing your seatbelt? You ALWAYS wear a seatbelt! NEVER take off your seat belt while I’m driving! Get back into your seat and BUCKLE THAT SEATBELT!

Finally – my own personal favorite, “When they can all dress themselves.” I now spend hours of my week begging people to put on pants or locked in battles of will regarding what classifies as an appropriate outfit: “It’s time to get dressed… Come on, we’re going to be late…Why aren’t you dressed, you’ve been upstairs for twenty minutes… No you can’t wear your party dress to the playground… You can’t go outside without pants… It’s too cold for a tank top… No – tights are NOT pants… WHERE ARE YOUR PANTS?

Before having children who can dress themselves, we see other kids in the grocery store wearing tutus with jeans or layered shirts in the middle of August and we wonder, “What were those parents thinking?!” Well, they were probably thinking, “We’re ten minutes late and you’re no longer nude—let’s go!

No one—not ONE friend ever warned me about these things.

Or maybe they did. Maybe I was just too focused on self-preservation to listen. But if they did try to tell me, they certainly didn’t force the issue.

So I put it all in the same category of non-disclosure. I never got the memo.

With one exception.

But there are some people out there who are more than happy to set you straight.

The most experienced of parents—the ones who have grown children, who have made it through all of the milestones and lived to tell the tale—will break code and provide you with at least one very specific insight into what the future holds.

Without a doubt, each and every one of those parents will tell you, “Just wait until they’re teenagers….”

Originally posted on Health News, HERE.

The Good News and the Bad News (New Writing Opportunity and BlogHer 2011 VOTY)

First, the good!

I’m going to write regularly (twice a month) for a new website, HealthNews. And no – I don’t have any knowledge of or experience in the health industry. Unless you count two maternity ward stays and a hernia repair surgery in the hospital. I haven’t confirmed this, but I actually don’t think that counts… There is a blogger community growing there though – people who write about all things parenting. And I DO have knowledge of and experience in that!

I’m honored to be part of this, and just posted my first article: I Didn’t Know.

Here is the beginning:

I have three children and my oldest, Oliver is six. He is a big boy – tall and strong – and all boy. He climbs trees and hurtles into swimming pools. He loves nothing better than a good patch of dirt. We jokingly call him Pig Pen since he will often return from such a spot, haloed in dust – his clothes emitting puffs of dirt with each step. Ice cream cones are a full body experience. Napkins are a joke. This degree of messiness requires a wash cloth at minimum. His requests to “come look at this,” often involve a worm.

These are some of the qualities and quirks that come to mind when I think of Oliver. They are so defining. And they are almost all related to sensory integration disorder. Which includes auditory processing disorder…which translates into significant language and communication delays. It also affects his motor planning. My amazing son who can walk a balance beam like a gymnast – who taught himself to swim – who can carry a full basket of folded laundry up the stairs…can’t hit a tennis ball. He can’t follow simple directions to touch his left hand to his right ear and his right hand to his left ear. He can’t process that kind of information – hear it, understand it, do it. It gets scrambled. For all of his strength, coordination and love of physical activities – he can’t play sports. Or even tag.

This can change – but it will take time. And hard work. And money. And a label recognized by the public school system.

It’s both encouraging and daunting.

Having a special needs child is not something I ever thought about when I was pregnant with Oliver. Everyone knows that it’s possible, but I think we tend to see that possibility the same way we do car accidents and winning lottery tickets. We know it could happen, but we don’t expect it to happen to us.

And many of us don’t even know that it’s happened to us until our children are long past the early months of worry. The more serious worries over SIDS and their “ability to thrive,” and the less serious (but all consuming) concern about sleep schedules. Oliver was two when we discovered his delays.

Click here to read the rest…

So that’s exciting…

In other news – meaning “the bad” – I got my “thanks for submitting, but…” email from BlogHer for this year’s Voices of the Year today.

And just like most others in the same boat, I find it more disappointing than surprising (if that makes sense). And a small disappointment at that since I saw submitting my work more as an act of self validation than a request for recognition.

You see – I’ve already thought it through. Last year in fact. And I wrote about it then. I’d like to repost (most of) that here so anyone feeling rejected or slighted (or generally shitty about things) might drop by and feel validated by me. For having the courage to put yourself out there. To think you’re worth recognition, and to let others know about it.

Anyway – here it is for what it’s worth:

BlogHer Voices of The Year Were Announced Today! My Reaction: The Good the Bad and the (Sad But True) Ugly

First the good!

When I glanced through the list of finalists this morning, I was thrilled to see that some of my very favorite bloggers (and even friends) will actually present in a couple of weeks at 2010 BlogHer Voices of the Year. I can honestly say that I’ve read pretty much every post from some of these writers (I mean – since I’ve been blogging…their pre-2008 material is before my time), and to think that they have been honored for words that made me laugh and/or cry makes me feel part of something bigger than my own little piece of Internet real estate.

So the very first thing I want to do is congratulate…

[blah blah blah – love her – link – blah blah blah – love her – link…]

I can’t wait to hear them read their words on stage AND to see the art that will be auctioned off reflecting each piece.

[blah blah – friend contributing her photography for the auction – link – blah blah… seriously – I am congratulating my ass off here…]

But what about the bad? What could be bad about that?

Well – here’s the bad.

One of MY nominations that I was so confident would be in the top 15 didn’t get picked. But it’s not all bad…

[blah blah – that friend and some others WERE actually in the top 75 and would be recognized at the reception – blah blah – GO TEAM!]

So yeah – many wonderful blog friends have been recognized in one way or another. I’m really happy for them – and can’t wait to tell them so in person.

But.

There’s the ugly…

I’m sorry – but I’m trying to keep it real here because…well no reason really – I just feel like it today. And lucky you – you get to hear about it!

Before I get into the muck and grime, I’ll start with a little tale about a three year old angel of a girl named Eleanor. Eleanor is a delight. She’s lovely and full of fun (and – cough, cough – my daughter) – and she is at a very impressionable age.

The other week, we were in California on vacation with my in laws who had a fantastic time being a very bad influence on my children. Late night baseball game outings…unlimited snack food that they never get at home…special presents just because they want them… You know – grandparent stuff. And one evening my sweet little girl was lucky enough to have their undivided attention. They played a kids’ bingo game with the odds drastically stacked in Eleanor’s favor.

And then the sh*t talking started.

Mama Sue: Eleanor – we’re not going to let Papa win! YOU’RE going to win.

Eleanor (very much liking this line of thought): Yeah! YOU’RE not going to win Papa. I’M going to win. You CAN’T win!

And so on and so on and so on [insert uproarious indulgent grandparental laughter here].

SO CUTE, right?

I actually thanked them at the time for my own future hell to come when faced with the next preschool gaming situation.

Fast forward a couple of weeks, and we are playing another bingo game at home (what is it with us bingo anyway? We may as well hustle on over to the community center for seniors’ night out this Friday…) Anyway – we were playing a very fair game that included Eleanor, a semi-involved George and a completely disinterested Oliver. Eleanor immediately started in with her “I’m gonna win” talk, even though her brothers couldn’t have cared less. Since no one was getting special treatment, George (who may have been in the kitchen looking for snacks at the time) won.

Chris said, “Hey look! George is the winner!” And…Eleanor fell to pieces. She really believed that she would always win. No one ever talked to her about the reality of losing. So after some piercing glares and and semi-subtle head tilting from me, Chris took Eleanor aside to talk about what it means to lose.

And as I listened, it occurred to me that the bottom line is the same for everyone regardless of age. If you lose – you have to keep trying. Don’t get mad – just try again. It’s not anyone’s favorite answer. In fact, it’s tedious at best…but it’s very simply true. You really can’t win them all. In fact you might lose them all – but you have to try to have a chance.

SO that brings me to the ugly involved in this year’s BlogHer Voices of the Year selections. As much as we are over the moon excited for the winners – it’s unavoidable that some others were very disappointed.

Because you know what? I’m one of them. And I’m hideously embarrassed to admit that.

When a good friend asked if I’d like her to submit anything for me, I honestly hadn’t considered even trying. I mean, I like what I write, and my small circle of friends and readers give me positive feedback – but I’ve never been the one picked out of the crowd. Always a bridesmaid and never a bride and all that… And really that’s been kind of fine with me because I’ve always felt far more comfortable in the faded perimeter of the spotlight.

But just the idea of submitting something of mine gave birth to “what if.” And that is a very powerful concept. So for once I was bold and asked for recognition. I forwarded two links to posts that mean a lot to me – ones that fill me with emotion when I read them – and said “send them in.” Doesn’t sound like much – but it’s a BIG deal for a mild mannered girl such as myself.

Then time passed and my “what if” was put into the proper perspective. It was a “wouldn’t that be nice – but it’s highly unlikely” (the overcompensating, insecure hope of “what if”).

Most of the time, I really didn’t consider it, but every once in a while something would be mentioned about Voices of the Year, and I’d notice that pretty little “what if” sparkling on my right hand ring finger. I’d taken it for granted, but was happy to admire it now and again.

At some point last week, I read that the 75 finalists as well as the 15 winners would be announced today. And I did something previously unthinkable.

I hoped.

I dreamed.

I even planned.

Why not? I typically live so small – what would it hurt to think big for a little while. Even knowing that disappointment was probable, couldn’t I weigh the universe in my favor with my longing? The Secret said it totally works! Ah well…I think we all let our imaginations get the best of us sometimes.

Last night when I was talking to Chris about BlogHer and the agenda (he’s in the conference planning world, so he’s actually interested), I explained how the Voices of the Year session was planned. I mentioned that I had a couple of posts submitted, “but – they’re two out of a thousand – so you know…

His reaction was a little more positive though. He said “why not you?”

And that small part of me that wants to be bigger than I really am thought, “that’s right! Why NOT me?” So for one whole night I believed in myself. Not just “what if” – but “why not?”

Well – I don’t need to give too much detail on the obvious outcome. Even if you’re not familiar with the list of finalists, you can pretty much guess that I wasn’t one of them.

And I was disappointed. Not so much that I wasn’t one of the top 15 (remember – I like the peripheral area of the spotlight), but more so because the words that once poured directly out of my heart weren’t even an almost.

It’s not pretty – but it’s the truth. And we’ve all experienced this at some point in our lives, so I’m not afraid to put it out there. I would be very surprised if there was anyone who couldn’t relate to this on some level.

But you know what? I don’t think disappointment or jealousy or envy are so bad. They’re just feelings. And at the very best, they are a sign of trying. Of wanting. Of putting ourselves out there and risking rejection. There is honor in that. And I’m proud of my battle scars.

Envy isn’t a particularly attractive emotion – it’s even classified as a sin (one of the top seven!). But a little green eyed monster never hurts anyone if kept on a short leash (and kenneled as quickly as possible). At worst – it shows our ugly. At best, it keeps us real.

So for anyone else who felt a little “why not me” today (or even “why never me?“), I’d like to honor you for trying. It takes courage to try. You’d be surprised how many people never do.

And in return, I’d like to ask you one thing. Please read my own small attempts:

I Never Thought I’d Wear Sunglasses (Alternatively Titled: Shooting Practice Starts Tomorrow)

I am so proud of those words. This blog is the first real writing that I’ve ever done outside of work documents and personal e-mails. I always lived so small – never tried to be noticed. I had ideas but didn’t bother to recognize their value.

Then I started a blog. A small thing really – but so big in my own cautious little world. Putting words online is literally putting yourself out there. Asking to been seen and heard – and it’s opened my eyes to endless possibility for me.

I may never win anything – but I’ll keep trying. Because “what if” holds far more power then “why bother.”

And what about you? I want to hear your voice too. Did you submit something there or elsewhere? Did you find out that a friend did so for you? OR did you not even try for fear of disappointment or exposure? Send me a link to the words that make you proud, the ones that make you believe in yourself – or should. I will read them.

I still believe in myself. And I’ll probably submit something of my own next year. I hope you do the same.

Have courage. Be bold. Keep trying.

Hey – it worked for Susan Lucci.

So that’s what I had to say about BlogHer VOTY in 2010. It’s how I still feel in 2011.

And you know what? I totally submitted that.

When in Doubt…Gout?

Last week, I had one of those increasingly frequent inexplicable physical ailments that make me think my body is literally falling apart. It’s age right? I’m just getting old. As if wrinkles weren’t enough of a reminder…

This time it was my knee. Not my favorite body part on the best of days, it decided to become even less attractive by swelling up and turning bright red. And it really hurt, which made me worry about injuries to my knee cap. Chris once had a torn meniscus and it took months to heal. There were even crutches involved.

And I’ll tell you right now that I CANNOT be injured like that at the moment. It’s the beginning of summer!

I have to entertain two four year olds and a six year old all day every day, and had planned to do that with trips to the pool, walks in the woods and general avoid the TV at all costs so Oliver won’t pick up any other bizarre cartoon mannerisms that make him look like a mini-mime activities. I was actually mentally preparing myself for this, as I’m not a naturally energetic and playful person.

I’m also not one to make a big deal out of aches and pains (or even swelling), so everyone knew I was serious when I pulled out the ibuprofen and ice packs. I even harassed Chris by demanding an examination and prognosis every ten minutes and detailed descriptions of what a torn meniscus felt like.

I considered going to the ER.

I know – it sounds like a huge overreaction, but I wanted to know exactly what was wrong and what I should be (and shouldn’t be) doing so I could fix it as quickly as possible.

Chris told me that it would probably look better in the morning, and if it didn’t I could see my doctor.

It didn’t. And I did.

Luckily I could get a morning appointment since their Friday hours are shorter. And expecting the actual consultation to be fast, I didn’t bother looking for a last minute sitter for the twins. It wouldn’t scare them to see a doctor poke at my knee, and I wouldn’t have to worry about the TMI aspect of say, an annual internal exam with my gynecologist. So I figured I could just bring them in with me.

We arrived and waited a bit, then FINALLY, a medical professional took a look at my giant, puffy knee cap and said, “huh…”

Apparently, the fact that I was able to walk and stand without excruciating pain ruled out tears or other serious problems with muscle and bone. But the lack of an obvious point of entry (like from a bug bite) or bruise didn’t provide any other answers.

I told her about how I thought I may have banged my knee on the car door a couple of days before, but that it was hard to remember since I do something like that roughly a thousand times a week. That didn’t help to shed any further light on the subject.

I also pointed to what looked like a slightly bluish area next to my knee that could possibly be a bruise. But then she pointed to a soon-to-be varicose vein and said the discoloration was probably connected to that. Talk about insult to injury! Bringing my unsightly old lady leg veins into this…

But wait! It gets better. She started to give me a long technical explanation about what they look for in cases like mine that sounded something like, “blah blah blah swelling blah blah blah point of entry blah blah blah bruise blah blah blah pain blah blah blah blah blah blah gout blah blah blah…”

WAIT a minute! Stop right there. Did she just say GOUT? As in “I may have gout?” Seriously?

Seriously??

Okay – so there may have been a couple of other unintelligible and unmemorable possibilities that were mentioned…but I guess I only have ears for “gout.”

Remember – I just had a hernia repair surgery a few months ago. You can’t give me gout now. What am I? An eighty year old man?!

It’s just wrong…

So after she revived me with smelling salts (just kidding), she handed me two orders for tests. First, blood work upstairs and then an x-ray downstairs. All of which took an additional two hours to complete.

I have to throw in there that my four year old twins were major troopers about the whole thing. On top of their concern that mom might “get dead” (because needles and machines make things seem pretty serious), we spent a lot of time in waiting rooms where they had to sit still and be quiet (epilogue: they did neither).

A few days later (featuring elephant-size doses of ibuprofen every eight hours), the swelling has gone down considerably. And while still sore, it feels more like I have a bad bruise than a leg threatening disease. So I’m no longer concerned about my forced march of an active summer being put at risk.

Still no word on the test results though. I was told it would probably be another day or two before I got a call – and I really don’t think I have gout…but I’ll let you know either way.

The important thing is that I’m feeling better. And that I’ve been humiliated with ANOTHER potential ailment associated with men who are on their third wife and their fourth red Ferrari. Can’t wait to see what comes my way next! Check back in a few months to hear all about how my sciatica has been acting up.

See ya’ around the Senior Center!

Yours, Mine and Never the Twain Shall Meet (Plus a Few Holiday Highlights)


I don’t think it’s possible for me to not post about my Christmas tree. It’s the highlight of my holiday season and a photo shoot inevitably takes place the morning after it’s trimmed (I always decorate at night – much better for testing the lights).

This year was a little bit different as we had two tree trimming parties. One for the kids’ tree and one for mine. Theirs was a raucous party of willy nilly ornament placement and candy cane stealing. Mine was a more sedate OCD party for one.

It was clear to me that this would be the year for two trees. There was just a little too much talk about holiday decorating as the Christmas DVD watching began to rev up after Thanksgiving. Every day I was getting requests for tinsel and popcorn to string – neither of which work with my my own decorating aesthetic. So I saw the writing on the wall – hieroglyphics of children molesting my pretty little tree with their indiscriminate strewing of festive bling – and I bought a Target tree to suffer their enthusiastic pawing.

Here is their tree:





And here is mine:






I know – the security panel behind it is an eyesore – but it’s the best corner for the tree. I just pretend it’s not there.

Don’t worry – I know that some of you (Christy) prefer the colorful kids’ tree to my more conservative one. My feelings aren’t hurt. I’m very open minded when it comes to personal holiday style. To each his own and all.

Which is exactly why we have two trees in our house and I love them equally. Or more accurately – I love how much my kids love their tree as much as I love mine.

Other holiday highlights include going to visit Santa. After waiting in line for an hour fighting with the boys over the fake snow they insisted on flinging at each other, we walked away with one of the worst pictures ever taken of my children. Oh well – at least they were polite to Santa and didn’t cry or pee on him or anything.

I’ve also reveled in the rare treat of watching my daughter dance around the house in a lovely party dress that isn’t pink OR sparkly. The stars aligned and she picked out a Christmas dress that not only didn’t make me cringe, but that I actually would have picked out for her on my own. Isn’t this adorable? And it’s NAVY of all things:



And of course, nostalgia has reigned as we’ve watched all of the movies from my childhood through the eyes of this new generation. With the exception of Oliver’s eyes during the viewing of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. The abominable snowman scared the bejeezus out of him and he wouldn’t come back into the room until it was over. But I did get a good laugh out of Eleanor’s periodic alerts that “It’s not scary Oliver! It’s CUTE!

So this has been quite the merry and messy holiday season. Joy is abundant. Hope prevails. Magic is a given. Hope your December has been as festive (and pink and purple) as ours. Look for our holiday greeting on Saturday and in the meantime, much love to you and yours!