Tag Archives: That Man of Mine

They Coulda’ Been Great: February-March 2014

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

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

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

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

February 1

10:07 a.m.

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

IMG_7822

 

February 2

1:32 p.m.

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

 

February 5

8:44 a.m.

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

5:09 p.m.

Doing homework with Oliver…

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

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

Yeah – that too.

 

February 8

9:30 p.m.

Earlier this evening, Eleanor was looking through Netflix options…

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

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

 

February 9

11:22 a.m.

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

5:52 p.m.

Watching ice skating in the Olympics…

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

George: Yeah.

Of course he can.

7:55 p.m.

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

 

February 10

2:56 p.m.

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

 

February 11

11:27 a.m.

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

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

 

February 12

3:16 p.m.

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

6:31 p.m.

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

7:55 p.m.

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

 

February 13

3:37 p.m.

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

 

February 14

7:38 p.m.

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

 

February 16

6:02 p.m.

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

 

February 17

7:45 a.m.

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

12:57 p.m.

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

 

February 18

8:20 a.m.

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

 

February 19

11:22 p.m.

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

skates

 

February 20

11:55 a.m.

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

IMG_785110:49 p.m.

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

 

February 22

2:50 p.m.

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

 

February 23

7:50 p.m.

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

George: I want to come too.

Eleanor: No.

George: I can help carry the boxes.

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

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

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

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

 

February 24

3:45 p.m.

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

7:39 p.m.

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

10:55 p.m.

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

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

 

 

February 28

8:52 p.m.

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

 

March 1

5:19 p.m.

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

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

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

 

March 2

6:49 p.m.

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

9:00 p.m.

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

9:08 p.m.

Chris: Harrison Ford has never won an Oscar??

Me: They said “nominated.”

Chris: But he’s HAN SOLO!

If regular guys were in charge…

 

March 3

8:31 p.m.

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

IMG_7888

 

March 4

7:45 p.m.

No more running around with dog bones!

Directives that make sense to the people in my house.

7:58 p.m.

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

10:08 p.m.

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

 

March 5

9:32 a.m.

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

3:17 p.m.

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

5:36 p.m.

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

6:44 p.m.

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

I love my little heathens.

7:35 p.m.

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

IMG_7892

 

March 6

8:40 a.m.

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

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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…

IMG_7927

 

March 19

11:48 a.m.

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

yuck3:56 p.m.

In the car…

George: Mom do the front wheels steer?

Me: Of the car? Why?

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

Me: Why are we shooting at cars?

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

Me: You’re not?

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

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

George: You mean when I’m a teenager?

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

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

Me: Who told you that? Ben?

George: Ben’s dad.

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

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

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

George: Except for when we had the villain.

Me: The VILLAIN?

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

Me: What?

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

Me: Well, that IS convenient…

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

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

#boys

7:51 p.m.

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

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

 

March 20

5:43 p.m.

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

ants7:35 p.m.

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

This says so many things about my son….

 

March 22

9:04 a.m.

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

 

March 25

6:30 p.m.

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

IMG_8037

 

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…

IMG_8049

 

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!

The Care and Keeping of Magic

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

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

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

THE CARE AND KEEPING OF MAGIC

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

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

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

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

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

FIVE DOLLARS for ONE TOOTH.

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

Being the Tooth Fairy exhausts me.

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

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

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

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

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

Eleanor wants to believe just a little bit longer.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I am the keeper of magic in my house.

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

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

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

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

Someday.

But not today.

****

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

Listen to Your Mother DC 2012

Listen to Your Mother DC 2013

Listen to Your Mother DC 2014

Coming soon…

 

They Coulda’ Been Great – December 2013

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


December 2

8:59 a.m.

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

Seriously – I just went there.

3:40 p.m.

Oliver: Mom, can I have some ice cream?

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

Oliver: CHRISTMAS?!

Me: NO – dinner!

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


December 3

7:12 p.m.

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

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

George: Okay! OR something else.

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


December 4

8:18 a.m.

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


December 5

8:19 a.m.

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

4:38 p.m.

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

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

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

Me: Oh – okay.

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

Also? I had to google how to spell dreidel.

#goyim

5:57 p.m.

Career aspirations

career aspirations

6:44 p.m.

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


December 7

6:51 p.m.

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


December 8

5:57 p.m.

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

Me: George! What are you doing down there?

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

Of course.

#boys


December 10

9:36 a.m.

Another snow day…

IMG_7711

4:47 p.m.

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

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


December 11

7:59 p.m.

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

Eleanor: [pretends to knock on door]

George: Hello?

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

George: YES!

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


December 15

1:00 p.m.

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

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

4:18 p.m.

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


December 16

1:23 p.m.

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

IMG_7736

4:33 p.m.

My fitness plan in haiku form:

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

9:47 p.m.

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

IMG_7741


December 17

3:56 p.m.

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

10:55 p.m.

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

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

Chris: Uh…yeah?

SOULMATES!


December 19

5:40 p.m.

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

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

7:18 p.m.

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

9:32 p.m.

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

NOT SOULMATES


December 21

10:07 a.m.

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


December 22

7:29 a.m.

Hark! Let’s do this thing.

angel

9:25 a.m.

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

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December 23

8:04 a.m.

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

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8:55 a.m.

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

10:48 a.m.

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

11:07 a.m.

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

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

11:16 a.m.

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


December 24

8:03 a.m.

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

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8:08 a.m.

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

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10:30 a.m.

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

8:58 p.m.

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


December 25

1:11 p.m.

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

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December 28

11:32 a.m.

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

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December 29

5:08 p.m.

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

6:49 p.m.

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

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

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


December 30

10:24 a.m.

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

No father. The moon is reaching for me.

Sabrina, 1954

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

10:35 a.m.

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

5;47 p.m.

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


December 31

6:01 p.m.

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

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

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!

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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: July 2013

Another month has passed and exactly 0 blog posts have been written. Some good Facebook activity of course! So here are the “coulda’ been’s” (no idea what I’m talking about? Explanation HERE.)

July 1

3:30 p.m.

Earlier at the pediatrician, Eleanor suggested that doctors look in your ears so they could see your brain. I explained that they wanted to see your eardrums and the other parts that helped you hear. George enthusiastically agreed, “yeah – that’s why they’re called HEARdrums, because they help you HEAR!” then he asked me when they would take us to the teleportation room. What?!

July 3

9:00 a.m.

For everyone who asked about what I got at Zoe Boutique yesterday… Alice & Trixie top (on sale!) and Red Engine boot cut jeans. Necklace and earrings from my own “collection” (i.e. junk).

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July 3

6:50 p.m.

Diane Cooper Gould just explained the difference between pole dancer outfits and stripper outfits to me.

Uh huh.


July 4

9:10 a.m.

Eleanor on her fear of fireworks: “I wish there was a different way to celebrate the earth!”

She thinks the Fourth of July is Earth Day. Another nail in the coffin of my homeschooling potential…

5:32 p.m.

Inconvenient? Yes. Frustrating? Totally. Yet. There is something very freeing about the camera battery dying.


July 6

3:50 p.m.

First French braid! Obviously by a mother who doesn’t “do hair…”

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8:10 p.m.

Did you know that in “Swimbabwe” Africa, there are giant spiders? This is true. George told me.


July 7

4:40 p.m.

Me: No running! You can run in the gym, but not in the hallway.

Eleanor: Can we skip?

I love kids.


July 8

8:25 a.m.

Poor Oliver starts summer school today. We’re calling it “camp school.” He’s not buying what we’re selling…

3:20 p.m.

If your daughter gets a bloody nose in the car, and you don’t have any tissues, napkins or any other forms of paper products, what do you hand her as an emergency substitute? A tampon. Obviously.

10:10 p.m.

Reading the first book of Game of Thrones and it makes me feel like I’m a teenager who has hours to lie on my stomach on my bed, ankles crossed, until I feel like rolling onto my back and reaching for a chocolate chip cookie. To think that I used to consider that time, “being bored.” I miss 14.


July 9

7:30 p.m.

My kids just got their first official chain letter in the mail. I know – the mail?! Who the hell communicates via U.S. Postal Service anymore (other than lawyers and grandma of course)? Well if the chain letter involves mailing stickers to friends, then snail mail it is! And if I was thinking of possibly stashing the letter in in the trash before the kids had a chance to see it…here is the last line: “Please take the time for this quick project. It is worth it to see the smile on your child’s face when they open their mail.” Thanks for the emotional black[chain]mail [letter] Lita! Enjoy neighbors!

7:43 p.m.

Also – I had to explain chain mail that doesn’t happen via e-mail to my 21 year old babysitter. Feeling old…


July 11

9:55 a.m.

Just caught a vicious mosquito in my bare hand. Torn between revulsion and triumph.


July 14

4:45 p.m.

Nothing like listening to your six year old daughter singing Daft Punk in the back seat: “We’re up all night to get lucky…”

8:45 p.m.

Oliver: I’m going upstairs to play with my string.

Did I mention my son is a kitty cat?


July 16

7:57 p.m.

“Just keep on doing it! Then you’ll did it!”

Wise words from George.


July 17

8:22 p.m.

It just occurred to me that Danny, Uncle Jessie and Uncle Joey in season one of Full House are probably a full decade younger than I am now.

That’s depressing…


July 21

8:02 a.m.

Went to the Simply Om launch party last night and have now picked out birthday presents for the next 10 years. Wonder if Kiran does registries…

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simply om necklace

11:19 a.m.

Woods walk with a friend. And jazz hands…

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2:43 p.m.

Just hurt my back vacuuming. Officially old.


July 23

9:17 a.m.

On the walk to camp this morning…

George: This used to be England right?

Me: No – England “claimed” this land but this was never actually England.

George: OH right – so the English guys had a war and then they won and then they had freedom.

Me: Hmmm. That’s mixing a few things up… But you know who was here first?

George: Who?

Me: The Indians. Remember? England “discovered” this land and claimed it, but there were already people living here and THEY thought it was THEIR land. And in all honesty, they were right.

Eleanor: But that was a long time ago – so it’s not our fault. We can’t do anything about it now.

Me: Nope. We just have to live with the aftermath.

George: And the CURSE.

Where does he get this stuff?! Though he’s probably right…


July 24

9:51 a.m.

Just heard a Cranberries song on the radio and thought, “wow it’s been almost 10 years since that came out.” THEN I thought, “no – wait…it’s been almost TWENTY years since that came out.”

Feeling ancient.

And I don’t want to even talk about the Tracy Chapman song that’s on now…

8:13 p.m.

As I sat on the front steps “furminating” Alice:

George: Look at all of the mosquitoes!

Me: You’re right – can you run inside and get the bug spray for me? It’s in the pool bag.

George: Okay – I’ll get it right now!

[five minutes later...]

George: Mom! I can’t find the bug spray! It’s not in the pool bag!

Me: [resigned to a night of itching] That’s okay – I’ll live.

George: Yeah! You’ll live! Because you’ve got millions of blood!

Epilogue: I lived. But just barely.


July 25

6:29 p.m.

George: Mom! In Minecraft – when zombies eat the villager babies…

Me: WAIT! You play a game where zombies eat villager babies?

George: Yeah. In Minecraft. And when the zombies eat the villager babies…

Well – no one ever called me a Helicopter Mom.


July 27

3:57 p.m.

DON’T eat things off the floor! It’s like a grocery store RULE.

I can’t believe I actually have to say these things.


July 28

9:30 p.m.

The last two times we’ve grilled, Oliver has “helped” Chris by lighting the match. And now he LOVES lighting matches.

So I’ll basically never sleep again.

Dads.


July 29

8:36 a.m.

George: There are a lot of dead bugs in the world.

Eleanor: Especially at the pool.

Morning observations.


July 30

8:18 p.m.

The kids are watching Full House.

Chris: I wonder how much they drank on that set… Especially THAT one (Uncle Joey).


July 31

8:19 p.m.

Again – the kids are watching Full House. Some young intern at Danny’s TV station guessed that he “must be 27 or 28.”

Eleanor looks at me and says, “he’s younger than you.”

So I clarified, “he’s not really 28. He’s in his thirties.”

Eleanor: But you’re in your forties. So you’re still older.

Me: Yes – thank you for pointing that out.

Eleanor: But…the thirties are NEXT TO the forties…so I guess it’s not that bad.

Me: We can stop talking about this now.

They Coulda’ Been Great! May-June 2013

Hi Mom, Chris, Nancy and the other 98% of my family (and a few of my best friends who aren’t on Facebook)! You know how you never check my blog anymore because I NEVER post anything anymore? And how I always say it’s because I’m so busy and that’s only 50% true because the other half of the reason is that so many of what would have once been great blog posts ended up as Facebook one-liners instead? Well this is for you. And also for me so I can still call myself a blogger.

For further explanation, click HERE.

Heeeere’s May and June!

May 1

8:20 a.m.

The twins are watching the Disney Channel and something regarding a hot air balloon race must be happening on TV…

Eleanor: That’s not true!

Me: What?

Eleanor: George said that when people go on a honeymoon they get into a balloon and float into space.

Me: Daddy and I went to Spain.

George: OR Greenland! You could go to Greenland.

Me: Well, that’s another option…

6:30 p.m.

Exactly who decided that “dinner” has to be a thing? If I could just have wine and cheese every night, I’d be so happy…

May 3

3:30 p.m.

I think I just replaced about 80% of the light bulbs in our house. It was getting very Little House on the Prairie around here… On the upside, I have now decided that I may survive an additional 3 weeks in a post apocalyptic world.

May 5

3:00 p.m.

Thankfully, it didn’t break. [Note: they were wearing helmets because they were riding bikes at the time - NOT for the horse.]

May 5

May 6

5:50 p.m.

This may be my favorite picture anyone has taken of me EVER. And yes I did notice that it’s not a close up. I’m 41 yo. Thank you Amanda!

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May 7

11:30 p.m.

I love it when a “regular guy” gets to be the hero. Just hanging out, eatin’ his McDonald’s and BAM! – suddenly he’s saving women being held captive in his neighbor’s house. LOVE IT.


May 9

7:25 a.m.

I think Eleanor has a Man Cold. Is that even possible?

5:15 p.m.

Oliver does this stuttering thing a lot, and every time he says, “because, because, because,” I want to sing, “because, BECAUSE! Because of the wonderful things he does!” But I don’t because (because, because, because, BECAUSE) none of my kids have seen The Wizard of Oz yet (scary flying monkeys) and my husband hates musicals. So no one would get it. And the dog would attack me because she can’t handle singing and dancing. YAY – life is fun! By the way, I’m drinking wine – CHEERS!

May 10

8:00 a.m.

George: Is it Mother’s Day on Sunday?

Me: YES! And Daddy is going to clean the whole house as my present!

Eleanor: [SNORT!]

I love my daughter.

May 12

11:00 a.m.

Because everyone should have a picture of her daughter on a stripper pole. HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!

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12:50 p.m.

My friend Diane and I are getting Mother’s Day pedicures. Our color choices say a lot about our personalities…

pedicure with Diane

May 14

6:50 p.m.

Every night we have a variation of this conversation:

Oliver: Mom, can I have some ice cream?

Me: No honey – it’s a little early for dessert. We’ll do that in 15 minutes.

George: I’M SOOOOO HUNGRY for ice cream!

Me: There is no such thing as being “hungry” for ice cream – just “wanting” ice cream, and you can wait 15 minutes.

Eleanor: But that’s a LONG time.

George: I’m SOOOOO HUNGRY!

Oliver: Can I have some ice cream?

Me: If you are hungry, I’m happy to to whip up some vegetables. And THEN, after you eat them, you can have some ice cream. Or you can wait 15 minutes.

And every night they make the same decision.

May 18

11:35 a.m.

Apparently, there is no direction, explanation, or threat that will make Oliver understand that he may NOT point to people with gray or balding hair and say, “Look! An old man!” (or when applicable “An old woman!”)

This is a huge source of embarrassment for me lately and I have to be vigilant about who he interacts with when we are out in public.

Unfortunately, I sometimes lose him in a crowd. As we left Costco five minutes ago, I saw him chatting with someone “not young;” and when I caught up with him, he delightedly pointed and said, “Look mom! An old man!” The best part? It was an old woman.

Awesome.

May 20

3:00 p.m.

First dripping ice cream cone seems like an official start of summer.

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May 22

10:20 a.m.

If you are sitting in bumper to bumper traffic and Oh What a Night comes on the radio, do you sing along at the top of your lungs without any regard for what the other drivers think? Keep in mind that you get extra points for posting about it on FB…

11:05 a.m.

So first it was Oh What a Night. Then it was Glamorous Life and THEN it was You Are the Sun, You Are the Rain. And THAT is why I listen to the radio.

2:50 p.m.

Just drove down M street in G-town traffic ON PURPOSE so I could see what’s changed and what’s stayed the same (a lot and not much) and miss living in DC (’cause I’m a masochist like that).

5:40 p.m.

Go get your underwear, and then we’re going home.” I just said that to one of my children. At the playground.

6:20 p.m.

I was so happy with my chin length haircut until it got humid. Now I just look like one of Marge Simpson’s sisters…

May 23

12:00 p.m.

So if you are me, and you’re in need of a totally humiliating experience, I highly recommend trying on skinny jeans. Trust me – it will NOT disappoint.

May 25

3:45 p.m.

Went shopping today and my kids BEGGED for Trix in the cereal aisle (because they’re “for kids” of course – the obsession with commercials continues…) Then at home, they BEGGED to try some since they’ve NEVER had it before. They HAD to see what that silly rabbit was going on about. Eleanor popped one in her mouth and then huffed, “they just taste like Fruit Loops.” Very disappointing moment. So young and so unimpressed. Sad to see my worldly daughter peak at the tender age of six.

May 26

7:45 p.m.

Anyone else get one of those sponsored posts about a pharmaceutical lawsuit including a drug called YAZ, and immediately think “looking from the window above, it’s like a story of love…” ?

 May 27

1:00 p.m.

70 degrees, overcast and a freezing-cold, just-opened-for-the-season pool. These two are in it to win it. George and I are conscientious objectors.

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2:50 p.m.

Me: Eleanor, you have the best eyelashes.

Eleanor: I do?

Me: Yes! They’re so long, and they actually curl.

Eleanor: Don’t all eyelashes curl?

Me: Mine don’t.

Eleanor: [looking at me] You’re right, they don’t…and they’re really short.

Me: Thanks.

Eleanor: Do you cut them?

There is such a thing as too much honesty…

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May 29

9:30 a.m.

After catching an unwelcome glimpse upper arm skin “jiggle” a moment ago, it occurred to me that getting old is much like mountain climbing: as a general rule of thumb, it’s always best to not look down.

June 4

5:00 p.m.

I took Alice to the vet today and was informed that she is overweight. Then I ate an entire Toblerone in indignation on her behalf.

June 6

8:50 a.m.

This morning, George crawled into bed with me. We talked about this and that and suddenly, it was long past time to get up. I said to him, “okay buddy – we need to go get our day started.” So he hopped down, and in his odd little George patois, said, “that’s what what I gon’ do.” Then he purposefully walked out the door muttering, “gon’ go get my day started.” I wish I could start every day like that.

June 9

3:20 p.m.

So Justin Timberlake just came on the radio, and George says, “this is Alvin and the Chipmunks!” Did the Chipmunks do a JT cover? So out of touch with the rock scene…

June 12

9:30 a.m.

Guess we won’t be hauling that broken grill to the dump this summer…

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June 13

2:05 p.m.

Exactly when did I become the “go to” person for things people can’t find around here? They don’t even LOOK – they just ask, “where is my…?

I swear if the dog could talk, she’d be all, “where is my bone? No, the RAWHIDE bone. No, not THAT rawhide bone – the one that’s half chewed. No, the one that’s HALF chewed – not the one that’s 3/4 chewed. I DID check my room [lie] – it isn’t there...”

Then I have to acknowledge that I did bring this upon myself by always knowing where everything is. Even the bones.

June 14

9:40 a.m.

Just found out that my 2012 Listen to Your Mother DC reading, “Stupid” was featured on Upworthy.com yesterday! This kind of thing NEVER happens to me – so I’m just a teeny tiny (!!) bit excited about that.


June 15

10:10 a.m.

So I no longer have to worry about losing Oliver at Target. Now when we get separated, he just has me paged.

4:30 p.m.

Post “pool” party

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June 16

10:25 a.m.

Father’s Day at our house means that Dad gets to sleep as long as he likes, get served breakfast in bed with presents, and then spend the day relaxing – which generally involves a nap or two. So basically, it’s like any other Sunday with breakfast in bed and presents.

2:55 p.m.

Just heard Chris say something to Eleanor in Spanish and then explain what it means. Which is weird since he likes to speak to me in Spanish when he doesn’t want the kids to know what he’s saying – like it’s our secret code language. Which is also weird since I don’t speak Spanish…

8:00 p.m.

Patchwork pants and a Sonny Bono mustache…the quintessential ’70s man. Thinking about that Dad of mine on Father’s Day. And now thinking about that dress my Mom is wearing and questioning WHY she did not save it for me!

Kate mom and dad 2

June 17

9:00 a.m.

Me: Eleanor, do you want a doughnut?

E: No thanks.

Me: Really?

E: Yeah…I’m just not wild about doughnuts lately.

To be filed under “When 6 year old girls sound like their 41 year old mothers.”

June 18

8:30 p.m.

Today, Oliver and George commemorated the last day of school by giving each other Sharpie mustaches five minutes before we left to meet the bus. Luckily I saw this early enough to erase most of the damage with turpentine. KIDDING about the turpentine (we didn’t have any).

June 20

4:50 p.m.

What is more fun than cleaning? (I know AS IF!) Trying to clean while your dog viciously attacks the vacuum cleaner. YAY PETS!

June 21

8:20 a.m.

At the dermatologist for a weird rash on my ankle. But I really just want to talk about wrinkles.

June 22

4:40 p.m.

I’m almost 7.” Why the rush? You certainly won’t hear, “I’m almost 42,” from me next spring…

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June 23

2:50 p.m.

Switched Oliver from adapted soccer (which he loved) 20 minutes away to adapted basketball FIVE minutes away. How does he feel about this change? “Um, Mom…I think you’re fired.”

June 25

11:00 a.m.

You know when you take your family to one of those kids’ movie showings, and there is that one little boy who is SO LOUD and won’t stop talking and yelling out the “funny” lines he really likes, and you really don’t know if you can make it to the end of the movie without screaming SHUTUPSHUTUPSHUTUP! …?

That would be George.

And we only just finished watching the previews.

June 26

8:30 p.m.

Chris: You always hide things!

Me: You mean put things away?

This explains so much about us…

June 27

4:10 p.m.

The vet put Alice on a pretty strict diet, and the weight has been melting off. Everyone keeps telling me how slim she looks. So I can now cross “feeling envious of my dog” off the bucket list…

June 28

8:00 a.m.

Alert to my neighbors: It is 8:00 a.m. and George is dressed and ready to start knocking on doors. Told him no way due to the early hour and the fact that WE DON’T knock on doors looking for play dates. So he’s just going outside to “check the weather.” Yeah right…

UPDATE: G just came in and I asked if anyone was outside. He said, “just a daddy was outside and he was NOT late for work.” Better sprint to the car this morning – or you may get caught in George’s web of questions and important information to impart.

4:20 p.m.

Of all of my friends, only Diane would (possibly) break her foot “doing a fan kick” while choreographing a routine for a pole dancing competition.

June 29

10:20 a.m.

Just made a New Year’s resolution (what? You don’t make these in June?) to go back to putting birthdays on my calendar. I can no longer rely on Facebook to remind me about birthdays, 1. because I don’t always remember to check for birthdays, and 2. because approximately 2% of my family members are on Facebook. Now I just need to develop a system for remembering if I remembered to wish people a happy birthday when I saw it on the calendar. Birthdays are complicated. Think Jehovah’s Witnesses may have the right idea about this one…

11:40 a.m.

For me, THIS is summer. Which may greatly contribute to the 10 lbs I usually gain by fall…

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June 30

10:00 a.m.

Swim instructor told me that when she said, “Hi Handsome!” to Oliver, he countered, “I’m not Handsome, I’m Crazy Pants.” I’d say more like “Crazy Handsome,” but Crazy Pants suits him well enough.

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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?

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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.)

Six Pack

Hi! My name is Alice and I’m (supposedly) five months old. I’m a rescue dog but I’m (mostly) house broken and only puke once a day. I can’t tell you why I puke every day, but man is it fun to see my owner, Kate freak out over it. Apparently this puke thing is gross. But I have no barometer for gross since I chew on pig ears (yes ACTUAL dried pig ears that are sold at Target in the pet section – isn’t that AWESOME?) I don’t chew shoes, but I strongly suggest that you hide your Hungry Hungry Hippos marbles when I’m around. When I’m not attacking my leash, I enjoy long walks in the woods, stalking the neighbors’ cat and whining at the door for no apparent reason.

So yeah – we have a dog. And up until a few months ago, I would never have expected that this would happen. Our house is not very big, we have three small children, my oldest son has numerous therapy appointments each week and I feel like I spend half my life in the car… But here we are. And it’s okay. Alice is actually a VERY good dog.

I took the twins to a wedding in NYC over the weekend and came home to this new family member. I received the following pictures on my drive home along with the announcement that we are now dog owners.

Chris and Oliver had plans to “look” at dogs, but immediate adoption was not something we discussed. In fact, we were talking about doing this in July when everyone was out of school and the noisiest day of the year (July 4th) was over. But Chris said that he knew Alice was the perfect dog for us. And I guess we couldn’t just put her on a two month hold.

Like everything else in my life, things didn’t happen exactly as I had planned. And as usual, it’s fine – maybe even better this way.

I haven’t owned a dog since the ’80s; and even then, we were terrible pet owners with inconsistent rules and training (hey – sounds a lot like my parenting!) So I’ve been relying heavily on Chris to tell me what I’m supposed to be doing with this animal. And I’m not that bad at it. I can make her sit and stay (most of the time), and when Chris isn’t around, she definitely knows I’m the boss in our house.

With Chris at work and Oliver at school most of the week, the twins and I have been with Alice the most. And they are just as clueless as I am. This is all new to them and I’ve discovered that they think ANYTHING is possible with dogs.

The other day in the car, I said “Alice is the PERFECT dog for our family.” And George agreed, “yes! We should buy her AGAIN!” I’m still not sure how he thinks that would work…

Then later in the day, when I was talking about the various treats that Chris has been putting in her food bowl, I told them “Alice ate an egg last night.” And Eleanor gasped, “Alice LAID AN EGG last night?!

So they’re pretty much ready for anything.

I am too. And I’m taking it day by day. But mainly I’m happy. I love seeing Oliver playing with Alice. He’s the only one of kids brave enough to let her tackle him and gnaw on him with her giant puppy teeth. And Chris has never seemed so relaxed and content. Whether he’s wrestling with Alice or lying on the floor next to her – I swear, she just drains the stress and intensity right out of him.

Also, my house looks great since my mild OCD tendencies make it impossible for me to abide BOTH a dog and a dirty floor. And of course, I’m constantly scrubbing tables and counters to discourage Alice from jumping up to lick them. So that alone helps with my own stress and anxiety.

While the kids already more or less destroyed any sense of perfectionism that I may have harbored in the past, Alice is systematically locating all remaining shreds and grinding them into dust. Even those long walks on the wooded trails behind our house that should be fun for EVERYONE have included numerous bouts of complaining, crying and whining (OH the whining) – with Eleanor in the lead for most annoying participant (which is saying a lot since Alice starts tug of war battles for leash dominance every time I stop for more than two seconds).

Things truly peaked on Wednesday when Eleanor cried and refused to walk any further because her legs hurt. After several minutes of good parenting discussions about behavior and consequences, I gave in and told her to climb on my back. The minute her muddy shoes started staining my khaki pants, Alice lost her mind and lunged at us in an attempt to climb on top of me as well. As we turned the corner in a staggering whirlwind of wailing, yelling, barking, lunging and muddy shoes and paws, we narrowly missed tripping over a turtle that was almost as big as Alice. Perhaps you heard my scream? It was loud. It also stopped the madness and everyone WALKED home without further incident.

And what about Alice? How does she feel about her new home and family?

She seems happy. But I do wonder what she thinks about us – particularly from her own pack animal perspective. Here is my best guess:

Chris: Alpha who likes to play.

Kate: Alpha alternate who likes to take away all smells with spray bottles.

Oliver: Beta #1 who likes to play.

Eleanor: Beta #2 who DOES NOT like to play [Eleanor prefers Alice when she's calm and not so "bitey"].

George: Beta #3 who likes to think he is Alpha.

So that’s our pack now. A family of five plus one. A pack of six. And as I sit here writing in my blog for the first time in weeks, with Oliver at school, Chris as work, the twins playing quietly and Alice snoozing next to my feet, I think that’s pretty perfect.

But feel free to get my opinion on this later when I’m picking up her poop in a plastic bag.