Tag Archives: Those Covenys

They Coulda’ Been Great: October 2014

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

October 2

10:36 a.m.

George is having an 80’s moment.

IMG_03626:48 p.m.

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

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

#‎roadtrip‬ ‪#‎MemphisBaby‬!

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October 3

5:17 p.m.

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

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

8:07 p.m.

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

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October 5

11:18 a.m.

Hey! My brother got married yesterday!

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

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

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

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

Eleanor: Yeah – it had a pool.

Oliver: Can we go home now?

I guess we all have our priorities…

4:20 p.m.

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

From the back…

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

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

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

#‎teamwork‬ ‪#‎roadtrip‬

11:13 p.m.

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

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October 7

5:39 p.m.

George: What does that say?

Me: That’s my signature.

George: Is it in French?

Me: No – it’s just hard to read.

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

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

 

October 7

7:57 a.m.

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

 

October 8

4:30 p.m.

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

What would they do without me?

 

October 9

10:03

#TBT Happy eighth birthday to my George and Eleanor!

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98:00 p.m.

Weekday birthdays are the best.

11:04 p.m.

Well that birthday sucked…

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October 10

7:37 p.m.

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

Me: Why?

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

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

George: And toilets.

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

 

October 11

9:05 a.m.

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

Oliver: Mom – can we get doughnuts?

Me: Oliver – I already answered that question.

Oliver: But you didn’t say yes.

#‎persistence‬

1:02 p.m.

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

IMG_0549October 12

8:09 p.m.

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My girl!

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October 13

9:21 a.m.

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

-George Hood, age 8

#‎minecraft‬

9:53 a.m.

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

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

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

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

Chris: I don’t know how she does it…

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

Chris: That’s the title of a book?

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

George: Balancing act? Can I see the video?

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

 

October 16

9:15 a.m.

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

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

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

Me: I know – but it was lifted.

Eleanor: I was afraid there would be a twister.

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

George: And Oklahoma.

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

George: Yeah – and then the planes crash.

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

Then I decided to let Chris’ comment go…

 

October 18

1:54 p.m.

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

#‎IfItWasOnTVItMustBeTrue‬

 

October 19

9:28 a.m.

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

12:28 p.m.

The LITTLEST horses in the land.

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October 21

8:10 p.m.

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

Me: Your montray?

George: Yeah.

Me: What is a montray?

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

Me: OH! Your mantra…

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

Me: In the world?!

George: In minecraft.

Me: Of course I do.

#‎conversationswithGeorge‬

 

October 22

4:45 p.m.

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

“No you can’t have a fog machine.”

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

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

 

October 23

10:00 a.m.

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

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

swing6:15 p.m.

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

 

October 26

7:58 a.m.

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

Hopefully – there will not be a sequel…

7:33 p.m.

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

Me: [holds breath]

George: My brain.

Me: [exhales]

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

George: [big smile]

Me: [cringes]

George: [long considering pause]…My heart!

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

 

October 29

9:14 a.m.

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

October 30

7:40 a.m.

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

 

October 31

8:24 a.m.

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

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

Happy Halloween!

9:05 p.m.

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

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They Coulda’ Been Great: June-July 2014

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

 

June 1

9:21 a.m.

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

5:54 p.m.

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

toe

 

June 2

8:42 p.m.

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

-Eleanor Hood, Age 7 on “acting”

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

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

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

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

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

Aaaaaand….SCENE.

 

June 3

1:15 p.m.

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

DC

 

June 4

12:12 a.m.

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

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June 5

10:10 a.m.

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

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

silver belts4:39 p.m.

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

Smooth move.

6:41 p.m.

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

Just saying what everyone else is thinking….

9:07 p.m.

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

 

June 6

11:06 p.m.

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

 

June 7

10:03 a.m.

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

8:56 p.m.

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

Me: Why?

Eleanor: Because my life is very hard for me.

Sing it sister.

 

June 9

5:57 p.m.

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

June 10

6:06 p.m.

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

6:32 p.m.

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

 

June 12

12:07 a.m.

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

8:24 a.m.

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

2:06 p.m.

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

6:13 p.m.

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

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

So many teachable moments…

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

 

June 13

11:36 a.m.

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

I love this on so many levels.

12:22 p.m.

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

5:49 p.m.

Me: Oliver, I love you to death.

Oliver: Yeah – like the death to me.

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

Oliver: More than anything like death.

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

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

7:06 p.m.

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

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June 14

8:14 a.m.

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

Said to Oliver, who just ate a chocolate doughnut.

3:36 p.m.

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

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June 15

6:15 p.m.

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

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June 17

8:38 p.m.

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

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June 18

1:59 p.m.

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

3:38 p.m.

My kids write each other the sweetest love notes!

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June 19

7:19 p.m.

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

 

June 23

5:04 p.m.

I think you guys need a safe word.”

Said to my children. No irony.

6:35 p.m.

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

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

 

June 24

4:27 p.m.

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

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

#bizarrestatementoftheday

 

June 25

6:23 p.m.

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

JUST KIDDING! Skydiving only takes up one afternoon.

9:23 p.m.

summer

 

June 28

3:03 p.m.

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

 

June 30

3:50 p.m.

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

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July 1

8:54 a.m.

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

Me: Really?

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

#Geography

11:20 a.m.

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

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10:01 p.m.

Watching Sunday’s episode of 24: Live Another Day

Chris: Benjamin Bratt is dick.

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

Chris: Who is America’s sweetheart?

Me: Julia Roberts. What generation are you from?

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

 

July 2

5:43 a.m.

Life with an intense child…

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

 

July 3

12:14 p.m.

Me: Don’t eat your shoes!

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

OH – well, carry on then.

 

July 4

1:49 p.m

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

 

July 5

7:47 a.m.

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

IMG_88401:34 p.m.

Me: So what was your favorite firework last night.

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

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

We are fully embracing our gender roles today…

4:31 p.m.

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

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

IMG_88447:52 p.m.

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

 

July 7

12:13 p.m.

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

IMG_88918:51 p.m.

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

 

July 8

3:44 p.m.

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

6:46 p.m.

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

11:26 p.m.

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

 

July 10

7:06 a.m.

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

IMG_89211:36 p.m.

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

8:17 p.m.

Earlier at Target…

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

Oliver: Toys?

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

8:36 p.m.

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

-George Hood, age 7

 

July 11

12:40 p.m.

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

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

IMG_8937

 

July 15

3:25 p.m.

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

Me: On the SOAP?

George: Yeah! On the soap. Seasoned salt!

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

Oliver: Uh….

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

Never a dull moment…

 

July 16

5:18 p.m.

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

Eleanor: What’s that?

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

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

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

 

July 17

1:06 p.m.

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

6:07 p.m.

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

Kate Christmas 27:58 p.m.

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

Kate Christmas 68:01 p.m.

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

Kate snow 3

 

July 18

8:15 a.m.

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

 

July 19

9:13 a.m.

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

IMG_89879:30 a.m.

In Fredericksburg…

Chris: We’re going to a battlefield now.

George: YAY!

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

George: And dead guys!

Me: No dead guys.

George: Explosions?

Me: No explosions

George: Michael Jackson’s leg?

Chris: Stonewall Jackson’s arm – and YES.

#boys

10:50 a.m.

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

IMG_90246:43 p.m.

Apparently he has my eyes AND my freckles. #minime

DSC_0789

 

July 20

7:51 a.m.

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

12:51 p.m.

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

IMG_90401:05 p.m.

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

3:17 p.m.

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

4:09 p.m.

Exploring the beach house…

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

Me: What?!

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

Me: What is that?

George: I don’t know!

SCORE!

7:24 p.m.

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

IMG_9057

 

July 21

7:36 p.m.

IMG_9157

 

July 22

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

 

July 25

8:12 p.m.

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

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

Also – looks like George is ready for prom.

IMG_1525

 

July 27

6:06 p.m.

DSC_0378

 

July 29

9:22 a.m.

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

1907736_10203460248921708_7899334841841564450_n

 

July 30

10:54 p.m.

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

 

July 31

10:17 a.m.

Dear Eleanor,

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

With love from your Summer Vacation Cruise Director,
Mom

11:56 a.m.

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

Me: That’s pretty big.

Eleanor: (wide eyed) Uh huh.

Love that guileless honesty… Stay gold Pony Girl.

 

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

They Coulda’ Been Great: April-May 2014

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

 

April 1

8:30 a.m.

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

 

April 2

6:44 p.m.

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

IMG_8060

 

April 6

8:27 p.m.

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

Nailed it.

 

April 7

10:11 a.m.

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

 

April 8

12:18 p.m.

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

7:51 p.m.

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

IMG_8082

 

April 9

10:16 p.m.

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

white

 

April 10

5:04 p.m.

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

brain bleed5:46 p.m.

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

exhaustion7:38 p.m.

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

Matthew

 

April 13

11:58 a.m.

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

E new bike

 

April 16

6:18 p.m.

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

Me: Does he have underwear on his head again?

Just your average Wednesday night…

 

April 17

2:36 p.m.

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

IMG_81233:06 p.m.

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

IMG_8126

 

April 19

9:51 a.m.

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

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

 

April 22

6:47 p.m.

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

Me: What?

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

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

7:16 p.m.

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

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

 

April 25

7:04 p.m.

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

— with Cathy McCarthy Trocchia.

 

April 27

9:32 a.m.

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

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

1:24 p.m.

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

 

April 28

2:41 p.m.

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

I’m such a buzz kill.

5:57 p.m

Me: [to Chris] You snooze you lose.

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

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

7:00 p.m.

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

MC7:05 p.m.

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

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

 

April 29

6:19 p.m.

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

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

 

April 30

9:04 a.m.

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

 

May 2

9:59 p.m.

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

IMG_8214

 

May 3

8:58 a.m.

Me: Eleanor? What are you doing?

Eleanor: Posing.

Of course. Happy Saturday!

 

May 4

6:54 a.m.

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

9:48 a.m.

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

 

May 5

6:04 p.m.

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

 

May 7

9:27 p.m.

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

 

May 8

9:29 a.m.

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

IMG_82217:40 p.m.

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

babies

 

May 11

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

preggers

 

May 12

10:27 a.m.

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

 

May 13

3:56 p.m.

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

14167977352_b03a388df2_o

 

May 14

10:04 a.m.

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

Rare Bird Cover7:51 p.m.

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

 

May 15

7:39 p.m.

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

Me: Tie a tie?

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

Me: You mean like a bow tie?

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

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

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

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

 

May 18

9:29 a.m.

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

Chris: Guess what I got sucked into last night?

Me: What?

Chris: Poltergeist.

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

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

Me: The clown doll?!

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

We’re all scarred for life.

 

May 20

8:14 p.m.

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

list

SOLID

 

May 24

1:26 p.m.

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

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

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

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

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

7:15 p.m.

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

Me: Too fancy?

George: No.

Me: What don’t you like about them?

George: The taste.

Kind of a deal breaker.

 

May 25

1:00 p.m.

SUMMER

 

May 27

8:40 p.m.

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

LTYM journal

 

May 28

7:22 p.m.

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

 

May 29

5:51 p.m.

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

San Fran Oliver

9:09 p.m.

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

Chris Twins

 

May 30

8:37 p.m.

Me: Oliver, I love you.

Oliver: Thanks.

Me: You’re welcome.

#termsofendearment

 

May 31

6:21 p.m.

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

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

 

Coming up next…June & July 2014!

They Coulda’ Been Great – December 2013

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


December 2

8:59 a.m.

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

Seriously – I just went there.

3:40 p.m.

Oliver: Mom, can I have some ice cream?

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

Oliver: CHRISTMAS?!

Me: NO – dinner!

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


December 3

7:12 p.m.

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

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

George: Okay! OR something else.

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


December 4

8:18 a.m.

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


December 5

8:19 a.m.

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

4:38 p.m.

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

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

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

Me: Oh – okay.

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

Also? I had to google how to spell dreidel.

#goyim

5:57 p.m.

Career aspirations

career aspirations

6:44 p.m.

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


December 7

6:51 p.m.

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


December 8

5:57 p.m.

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

Me: George! What are you doing down there?

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

Of course.

#boys


December 10

9:36 a.m.

Another snow day…

IMG_7711

4:47 p.m.

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

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


December 11

7:59 p.m.

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

Eleanor: [pretends to knock on door]

George: Hello?

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

George: YES!

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


December 15

1:00 p.m.

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

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

4:18 p.m.

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


December 16

1:23 p.m.

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

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4:33 p.m.

My fitness plan in haiku form:

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

9:47 p.m.

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

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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.

wreaths

8:08 a.m.

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

waiting for santa

10:30 a.m.

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

8:58 p.m.

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


December 25

1:11 p.m.

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

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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!!

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…

eyelashes

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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Saying Grace

I’m not a particularly religious person. We stopped going to church when I was very little, and while I was baptized, I can’t even tell you the exact denomination. Protestant? Episcopalian? Something like that.

Then when we moved to DC, my parents made the incongruous decision to enroll my brother and me in private Catholic school. Though as a parent myself now, I think it’s safe to assume this was less random whimsy than the result of research involving tuition, academic ranking and proximity to our new home.

Nevertheless, at age eight I had to learn the Lord’s Prayer, which was recited each morning right after the Pledge of Allegiance. My mother, a lapsed Catholic, anticipated that we might have trouble understanding the exact words of the prayer with its lack of colloquial phrasing. So she made sure to explain that we were to say, “our Father who art in Heaven, hallowed be thy name,” not “Harold be thy name.” Apparently, this caused much confusion in her own childhood.

Outside of school, I spent quite a bit of time in the homes of friends where religious attitudes ranged from well-meaning to strictly devout. Almost all, unlike my own family, bowed their heads to say grace at the dinner table. This is where I learned how to recite another prayer that began, “bless us, oh Lord, for these thy gifts,” and even pop off a nonchalant sign of the cross finale move.

All were rote words and actions for me. I knew that saying grace was a form of giving thanks and asking for continued guidance in the whole “being a good Christian” thing… But I never gave the ritual any serious thought. I chalked it up to one of the many inexplicable have to’s that plagued any given family.

Grace was a nebulous concept for me. In school it was used in religious terminology. In the novels I read, it alluded to fluidity of movement or an innate sense of peacefully navigating the world. Perhaps it was this lack of definition commitment that put grace in the category of words that didn’t hold much power in my life. Too formal or lofty in its religious use and too precious and feminine in everyday conversation – it just didn’t resonate with me.

And quite honestly, it’s not a word that seemed to resonate with the people around me either. Sixteen year old Catholic school girls don’t talk about grace; they talk about boys and clothes and favorite books. I never once heard one of my college friends refer to grace while we were studying for exams or ordering pitchers of beer at the local dive bar. And in our twenties, my Catholic friends were still lying to their parents about going to church every Sunday.

It was almost inappropriate to refer to religion out of context. As if using words like faith or grace would push you into the territory of proselytizing bible thumpers. It just wasn’t done.

Grace, faith, church…just a bunch of have to’s that no one chose to discuss let alone prioritize.

Now at age 41, I can talk about pretty much anything with anyone. And I have a far more diverse assortment of friends and acquaintances. Some of my friends like me, don’t attend church. Others have grown more devout over the years. And no, they’re not all Catholic.

I have friends who feel comfortable referring to God in casual conversation. And that’s fine with me. Because I understand that they consider their faith to be one of the best and most beautiful things in their lives. So if they want to tell me that Jesus was there for them in a time of need, I don’t feel mildly embarrassed and unsure of how to respond. I just accept the words in the spirit they are given – with the best of intentions. By sharing these thoughts with me, they are showing me the best of themselves. They are giving me the best of themselves. How could that be inappropriate?

So it was completely natural for me to sit with a grieving friend and listen to her thoughts about God’s plan in her life. And in the midst of this heartbreaking conversation, she said something that changed everything for me.

She was talking about her feelings of responsibility. How she believed things would have happened differently if her husband had been there to change the course of events. And how grateful she was for the grace he showed her by not looking for someone to blame. She speculated that she may not have been strong enough to do the same.

After a moment of incredulity that she would think blame had any place in such a tragic accident, this one simple word – grace – filled the room. If you think about it, everyone makes this choice on any number of levels, every day. And for a while now, I’ve been giving considerable thought to what I choose. I just never had a name for it. Suddenly, I did, and I could say without hesitation that if put in the same position as her husband, I would choose to show grace.

Not because I’m such a fantastic person of course, but because I’m hopelessly flawed and so often in need of the forgiveness and understanding of others. Aren’t we all… How can she be so selfish? How can he be so cruel? WHY would anyone say something so insensitive? Every day there is a reason to be hurt or insulted or outraged by the words and actions of others. But the concept of other people is subjective. And I remind myself that I have often been the one unintentionally hurting, insulting and causing outrage. Who am I to assume intentions? Why not offer others the benefit of the doubt instead?

Now I don’t have to run through the complicated reasoning behind choosing to forgive or understand or assume good intentions. I just say “grace.” Maybe not with my outside voice…but that one word is a definitive reminder. A declaration. An incantation.

We put up with a lot of have to’s in life and I know that this concept is very much in that category for some. Turn the other cheek…take the high road…give it up to God. There are unlimited personal versions of what is largely considered a trite platitude. But giving it a name and seeing it as a choice has put it in a new context for me. What was once a sigh inducing “have to” is what I now consider to be the best part of me. The best I can give anyone. I can show them grace.

Sure, I get mad or feel offended sometimes. I lash out in anger. I even place blame. But it’s momentary, because at the end of the day, I don’t like feeling that way. I hate the idea of someone carrying the weight of guilt on their shoulders. Life is hard enough – why not cut each other a little slack?

Initial perceptions don’t always match true intentions. And people usually have good intentions. That should count for something, right? Destination notwithstanding, they do make excellent paving stones…. And maybe my choice to see things this way – my grace – can help to reroute that descending road. I’d rather believe the angel on one shoulder than the devil on the other. What the hell – it helps me sleep at night.

One of my favorite movie quotes is in The Big Lebowski. The Dude says, “You’re not wrong Walter. You’re just an asshole.” Sometimes we can get so wrapped up in ideas and principle, that we forget about people. We forget that it’s so easy to stumble over that line we’re so quick to draw in the sand. So easy to say the wrong thing – to do something so incredibly stupid. And to not even be aware of it. Why is it so hard to forgive or understand or just assume that no harm was meant?

Why not be more mindful of this choice? Why not choose to not be an asshole? Give the benefit of the doubt and assume good intentions. Choose kindness over principle and forgiveness over justice. Let people give you the best of themselves, regardless of your personal beliefs or habits. Consider the perspective of others. Consider the fact that to everyone else, you are “other people.”

I’ve always been a bit of a late bloomer, but I don’t think it’s too late to choose happiness. For me, being happy doesn’t come easily. I fight for it. I choose to look for the best in others. I stumble and fall short sometimes, but I choose to get up and try again. I choose to let go of the past. To give second chances. To keep moving forward. To see possibility in the future. To say that today was a good day.

I choose to accept that sometimes I will be an asshole. And to not judge others who make the same mistakes. I choose to say I’m sorry or I forgive you. To say that it’s okayI’ve been there. I understand.

To say that just meaning well still counts. That just being here is a miracle.

To say that I couldn’t do any of this without other people. To say thank you.

To say grace.

Turn Signals

*I read this at DC’s Listen to Your Mother Show, Sunday, April 28. Thought I’d post it here for friends and family who couldn’t come. Since I wrote it for the performance, it may not translate as well on the (virtual) page…but the videos will be online later this summer!

My mother once told me that when she was a new driver, my grandmother plotted out directions for everywhere her daughter could possibly need to go. The purpose of this was to ensure that the recently licensed teenager NEVER had to make a left turn.

Probably not the most realistic of long term plans.

When I was learning to drive in my Capitol Hill neighborhood, right turn only routes were a near impossibility. But I doubt Mom would have repeated this same tactic anyway. While she did her best to shelter us from the harsher realities of life, my brother and I were also given a great deal of freedom to make our own decisions. At the very least, we were allowed to turn left.

At the time, I didn’t acknowledge this leniency. Instead, I rolled my eyes as I caught the peripheral movement of her foot pushing down on the passenger side brake that all mothers have. I huffed in exasperation each time I stopped just a liiiittle bit short, and she flung her arm across my body like a back-up seat belt. I stared at her with incredulity when she instructed me to put on my left turn signal as we waited in a left turn lane.

“Mom, don’t you think people know I’m turning left? I mean, the big arrows painted on the road kind of give it away.”

“Well,” she said, “use the signal anyway. Just in case.”

My mother knew we needed to chart our own course in life, but that didn’t mean she wouldn’t worry about us.

Over the past 15 years, Mom has had several recurrences of cancer. And it was our turn to worry about her. Each time, she said she would be FINE. She just knew it. And she was. We’ve been very lucky in that. But nothing is ever simple, and she’s had her fair share of left turns to navigate.

One summer, when my children were still toddlers and preschool age, things got a little weird. It seemed like Mom worried about EVERYTHING.

At the time, she was on a round chemo that was particularly rough and was taking various medications to help with the pain. Through previous treatments, she maintained a positive attitude and was relentless in her insistence that we share it. But now, she was filled with anxiety.

“Kate. I want you to make sure that your new stove is anchored to the wall. Is it anchored to the wall?”

“I don’t think so Mom. They just slid it in…but it’s pretty solid. I can’t imagine how it would tip over.”

“Can you check? Just in case. I’m worried about the children pulling down. You know how they like to climb.”

I looked at my very heavy, very square stove; and the teenager I once was rolllled her eyes and sighed in exasperation.

“Okay Mom. I’ll check.”

I tugged on the edges where it seemed my monkeys might find a hand hold.

“Yeah…I just don’t see how they could tip this thing. It’s pretty wide…”

“What about the top? If they climbed on top of it, could they pull it over that way?”

As my mother waited in anticipation of my answer, I wondered how it had come to this. Exactly how many wrong turns had we made to end up in Crazy Town. Well, I thought, since we’re already here…

I put the phone down.

“Mom. I’m putting you on speaker.”

I then reached over the top of the stove and pulled on the far edge of it. Nothing happened. I bent my knees and really leaned into the pull. Again, nothing. I braced my feet against the bottom of the stove, bowed my back and gritted my teeth, willing that behemoth to fall on top of me!

I broke a sweat, trying to severely injure myself with a kitchen appliance.

And as I held that ridiculous pose I called over to the phone on the counter, “Mom. I am trying to pull this thing down with every scrap of strength I have and it is NOT HAPPENING.”

“Well okay. I guess it’s safe. Thanks for checking.”

As it turned out, there was a reason for my mother’s extreme anxiety that summer. With all of her different medications and dosages, things were a bit confused. And her doctors inadvertently got her addicted to Oxycontin.

So she wasn’t just acting a little crazy. She WAS a little crazy.

Thankfully, this was something that could be fixed, and as my brother so eloquently put it, “we got Mom off the junk.” She went back to being her normal, power-of-positive-thinking self.

But we can’t blame drugs for all of our worries, can we?

I myself, once spent months living with the fear that I might accidentally drop my infant son down our apartment building’s trash chute.

I was too afraid to leave him alone while I walked five doors down to take out the garbage. So I’d bring him with me, and clutch him tightly to my chest the entire time. And yes – I do realize now that there were other options…like putting him the stroller. Or – I don’t know – telling MY HUSBAND to take out the trash!

All mothers visit Crazy Town every once in a while.

But in the end it all comes from the same place – this worry.

We just want to know that it’s going to be okay. And it’s so hard, not knowing.

We all live uncertain lives full of risk. Full of left turns.

So we make maps. And try to pull heavy appliances on top of ourselves. We tell our children that everything will be FINE, even though we know full well that there are no guarantees.  We tell cautionary tales, and laugh and cry and learn. And just live. Live for the moment and assume that all will be well.

But no matter what, we’ll always send our children those exasperating – often ridiculous – sometimes CRAZY signals of our love and hopes for them.

Just in case.

TAP2

Personal History (We Move to Pelham)

I’ve been pretty busy with Listen to Your Mother for the past couple of weeks, but I’ve been meaning to post another installment of that personal history I’m writing for our family “ancestor book.” If you’re interested, you can find the ealier posts under “About Me.” Since this would be “Part Three” and I’m barely four years old…I think we’ll skip the numbers – “Part 48″ will sound ridiculous. Here’s were we last left off…

In anticipation of my brother’s birth, my parents moved our little family from a tiny Tudor house in Scarsdale to a larger one in Pelham, NY.

I loved that house with its wisteria covered, wrap-around patio. Set on an incline, the basement was full of light from large arched windows overlooking the backyard. And our hill was excellent for sledding.

We had a swing set, but the main attraction for the kids who visited was rope swing so long and so high, it’s miraculous that no one was ever brained on the tree trunk. You couldn’t pay me enough money to get on that thing now, but at the time it felt like flying.

On the other side of our yard was a house where one of my then four-year-old brother’s first friends lived. He was also named Matthew and had an older teenage brother who taught them to light firecrackers and took them for rides on his motorcycle. I’m not sure how my mother found out about that, but I do remember the waves of frantic anxiety I could feel in her presence whenever the other Matthew and his family were involved.

My best friend was my cousin, Amy. Dad’s older brother, Uncle Dick moved his family to Pelham first. And he and my Aunt Linda had three girls. Kelly was three years older than me, which at that stage of childhood, may as well have been decades. But Kristin and Amy were respectively one year older and younger.

Kristin was a tomboy, often spotted standing on the banana seat of her bike as she raced down the hill. I could never keep up with that. Amy, on the other hand was a more exuberant version of me. We were both giggly and full of imagination, but where I was reserved Amy was a love. Such an affectionate little girl – no one could resist her charms.

She was also a character. Much to my cousin’s dismay, my Aunt Linda insisted on keeping Amy’s wispy blond hair short (something I completely understand now that I have my own daughter with wispy blond hair…) But Amy desperately wanted long hair. So she would pretend to have waist-long tresses by wearing tights on her head. She’d swing the limp, two-legged pony tail from side to side, asking me what I thought of her beautiful new hairstyle. And as clearly as I can remember that part of the story, I have no recollection of what I said in response.

I loved Amy.

To be continued…

Greatness by Association

Did you know that my brother is an artist?

Well he is. And he’s crazy talented – like “his work should be shown in important galleries” talented. And that’s not just the family love talking (okay .01% love – but the rest is strictly objective).

My parents’ shop participates in a Key West event called First Thursday (every first Thursday of the month, shops stay open later and serve refreshments to the patrons). And they always feature a special product or artist.

This month, Style Key West had a little art show for my brother! Here are some pictures my Dad took:

Don’t his paintings look great in the shop? I think they really work with those giant orange sea horses.

Seriously though – I can’t even imagine having that kind of talent… I’m a proud big sister.

Want to see more of Matt’s work? Check out his website.

And happy Valentines Day!

My Childhood in Pictures

There is something about old birthday party pictures that really transport you back. My Dad has been scanning old slides and periodically sends me images – some of which I either don’t remember or have never seen before.

These seem to be from my fifth birthday party:




So “old school birthday party”… Just a bunch of kids sitting around a dining room table eating homemade cake. No theme – no germ encrusted ball pit – just fancy party dresses and dime store presents.

My favorite detail is the floral centerpiece. Only my mother… Though in her defense, it looks like a silk one that was always on the table.

Bonus pictures! Remember the hippity hop?



They’re still around (I believe people call them “hop balls” now?). But not with horse heads!

And check out my brother’s awesome pants. Men’s pants have a serious presence in these old photos… I’m kind of tempted to do a post celebrating my father’s 1970s collection. It was epic.




But I must say, Mom gave him a run for his money now and again…



…and she wins by a hat!