Tag Archives: World’s Best Mom

They Coulda’ Been Great: August 2015

Hard to believe summer is over… “But it is!” I shout joyously as I wave goodbye to that sparkling, golden school bus. Seriously though – I do kind of miss those little rascals. Here is what we did in August. (What is this? All answers are HERE.)


August 2

10:02 a.m.

What? You DON’T wear a jaunty eye patch to the grocery store? #‎ArrrMatey‬


1:33 p.m.

Show is about to start!


1:37 p.m.

Obligatory selfie with Diane and Mickie! Time to turn off the phone and put on my glasses… ‪#‎BookofMormon‬



August 4

2:35 p.m.

Me: George! You can’t always be the victim!

George: I’m NOT being the victim! Oliver’s MAKING me the victim!

I think he just broke my brain.

8:32 p.m.

I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned this here – but I’m not overly fond of being touched. Not much of a hugger… Please don’t play with my hair… Your “getting a massage” is my “getting manhandled.” Apparently Oliver takes after me. Chris (who loves being manhandled) just asked him if he’d like a back scratch. Oliver gave him a wary look, scooted a few inches away and said, “I have no itch.” Exactly Oliver! I have no itch. Ever. There is a reason why I feel so comfortable socializing online… #‎MaintainthePerimeter‬


August 5

1:15 p.m.

George (about the cover of the Chasing Fireflies catalog): Those are the creepiest dolls I’ve ever seen!

Eleanor: they’re real people.

George: Well they’re really creepy as dolls.



August 6

10:37 a.m.

In the doctor’s waiting room (after the nurse handed the kids paper gowns to bring in when the exam room is ready)…

Eleanor: Why do we have to wear a paper gown at our check up?

Oliver: I don’t want to wear this. Can I keep my shirt on under this?

Me: (to Oliver) No. (to Eleanor) it’s for your personal comfort, so you don’t have to sit around naked.

George: I like like being naked!

Eleanor: Yeah – and I don’t wear pajamas to bed.

George: I sit in the window naked every morning.

Now Eleanor is practicing the splits, George is shredding the paper gown he’s holding and Oliver is trying to flag down everyone who passes to ask if he can keep his shirt on.



August 7

3:29 p.m.

“All I’m saying is that I don’t want to see ANY body parts in the drain pipe!”



August 8

1:39 p.m.

Kids and I are on our way to Oregon to visit my parents. Made it to our gate at Dulles with just enough time to buy some water bottles. Flight to Denver was bad. A lot of turbulence. At one point George thought we were going down. Other passengers were made aware of his distress. Arrived in Denver for a 40 minute layover. Just enough time to procure more water bottles and candy (because okayfineyoucanhaveit) AND with 15 minutes before boarding I figured we had JUUUSSST enough time to drop by the wine bar for MY nerve calming treat. During that time, my three kids got turned away from the bar (their first choice seats while I was selecting my glass of St. Francis Cabernet – did I mention that I’m a nervous flyer?) and were directed to the “restaurant” seating five inches from the bar; George announced our home address to everyone there when the bartender asked us “where we’re from in VA”; I took a phone call from Chris who is SUPER bummed to be left behind for a week; two women came over to tell me how great they think it is that I dragged three children into a wine bar at 11:30 am (said I looked like I needed it); and I was able drink a lovely glass of red and reflect upon my questionable parenting choices. When I saw that boarding had been in full swing for close to 10 minutes, I signed the check and hustled my group to the gate…where they appeared to be closing the doors. WHAT?! Upon our hasty arrival, I was informed the they close the gate “10 minutes before departure” (HELLO! It was way more than 10 min before departure but I don’t argue when positioned in front of a half closed door…). Apparently we were lucky that “the pilot had to use the bathroom.” (Chalking this up to small planes….) When we finally arrived at our seats (which had changed due to our tardiness) and sat down, agreeing that we were pretty lucky to have made it, George admonished me in his best public speaking voice, “yeah Mom! You shouldn’t have stopped for wine!”


4:29 p.m.

We arrived in Medford! Got our checked bag (after standing directly in front of where they come out so George could say “no…no…no…” as each suitcase that wasn’t ours emerged), met Grandpa and are on our way to Klamath Falls! Ten minutes in, Eleanor gasps, “where’s my backpack!?” Aaaaand back to baggage claim….


August 9

12:51 p.m.

Our sweet ride for a tour of the Running Y. Kids had never been on a convertible before!




August 11

3:34 p.m.

George: Hey Mom – I I have a really good idea.

Me: What’s that?

George: Well. If you give me your phone, I can take it into the boys’ bathroom and take pictures so you can see what it looks like.

Me: Why would I want to see the boys’ bathroom?

George: Oh – you know. So you can see what a urinal looks like.

Eleanor: We’ve already seen a urinal before.

George: Well you could see what some other ones look like, and all the other stuff in the boys’ bathroom. So Mom – do you want me to do that?

Me: You know – that’s a good plan, but the truth is, I’ve never been all that curious about the boys’ bathroom.

Eleanor: I have.

One more reason to say no when Eleanor asks for a cell phone…

9:30 p.m.

Big day.


Sleepy boys


Got my passed out roomie into bed.



August 12

12:24 p.m.



August 13

10:13 a.m.

If this isn’t the definition of “Grandpa of the Year” then I don’t know what is. #‎ButI’mStillLittle‬


3:46 p.m.

That moment when you realize that the “potentially decent” radio station you found is Christian rock.


August 14

4:40 p.m.

When the Klondike bar becomes a handful of ice cream. ‪#‎August‬



August 15

10:19 p.m.

Portrait of three children who have been waiting in baggage claim for over 30 minutes. #‎WhereIsOurSuitcase‬



August 19

10:42 a.m.

Me to five year old neighbor I’m babysitting: Hey – for our morning walk, we could take bikes and scooters up to Dunkin’ Donuts as a special treat. What do you think?

Five year old neighbor: YAY!!!! Well actually – could we drive?


8:03 p.m.

“So Mom. There are three different kinds of smoking that can kill you: cigarettes, cigars and smokeweed.”

-George Hood, age 8

(And yes – I made him repeat this several times to make sure I heard him right.)


8:15 p.m.

Chris: So you guys – want to hear something cool? The U.S. and Japan are building robots that are going to fight each other.

Eleanor: Then what?

Chris: Then one of them will win.

Eleanor: Then what?

Chris: Then we’ll know which robot is better!

George: And we’ll win millions of dollars!

Chris: No – no one wins money.

George: Then what do they win?

Chris: Bragging rights!

Eleanor: It would be better to win money…

George: No… It would be better to BE THE ROBOT.

Clearly the these children take after their mother. Except for that being the robot part.


August 24

6:27 p.m.

Just hustled everyone into the car to race to swim class. And I think I actually SAID, “wow – looks like it’s about to pour.” Five minutes into a drive under ominous looking clouds…

Oliver: Mom – did you bring an umbrella?

Me: No. That would have been a good idea, wouldn’t it?

Another item to file under “things my children put up with.” Seriously – they’re lucky I finally stopped forgetting to bring towels (or – on that one humiliating occasion – bathing suits).


August 25

7:31 p.m.

My Alex just got back from her first day, interning at MtoM Consulting and she looks so cute and happy! I told her she should have thrown that hat in the air when she got outside. Obviously, she had no idea what I’m talking about. #‎WellItsYouGirlAndYouShouldKnowIt‬ ‪#‎YoureGonnaMakeItAfterAll‬

11898581_10206365935682061_7098892770725998312_nFor any of my friends under over 35 who didn’t own a TV growing up…


August 26

10:02 a.m.

Words I may need to ban from my 8-10 year olds’ conversations…

1. Actually: As in “ACTUALLY, Mom [insert contradiction of something I just said here].

2. Always: As in “but she ALWAYS [insert something he just did to her, prompting a reprimand from me].

3. Never: As in “but he NEVER [insert something that she failed to do, prompting a reprimand from me].

4. Fair: As in “it’s NOT FAIR.” [see #2-3 above]

5. Bored: As in, “I’m BORED.” [because, ACTUALLY, going to the pool, riding bikes outside, seeing plays, traveling to the west coast TWICE in the past two months and hanging out with neighborhood friends 24/7 isn’t any fun at all.]

Can summer end now?

11:06 a.m.

OH HELLO autumn.



August 28

4:11 p.m.

George: Mom – can we please get Grand Theft Auto 5?

Me: No.

George: WHY?

Me: You don’t need a game about stealing cars.

George: But it’s not just about stealing cars!

Me: It’s not?

George: No! There’s also guns and shooting and stuff.

OH. Well in that case…

They Coulda’ Been Great: May-June 2015

Had to take the blog offline for a couple of months – but now that we’re back up and running… Here is a DOUBLE “They Coulda’ Been Great” for May-June! (What is this? All answers are HERE.)


May 1

5:10 p.m.

Just got this birthday card and I LOVE it!

card 5:21 p.m.

One birthday cake candle for “First Wife.” (Of course I am!) — with Cathy McCarthy Trocchia and Diane Cooper Gould


May 3

9:47 a.m.

Told the kids that I’ll be gone all day for my show (Listen to Your Mother DC) and Oliver keeps referring to it as my “Magic Act.” I think he understands this producer job more than anyone else… #‎LTYM‬


May 4

8:23 p.m.

Motherhood is checking and re-checking the crispness of crinkle cut fries in the oven so they don’t come out too “potato-y”


May 7

5:12 p.m.

Eleanor is trying to show me dance moves she learned at school, and the dog is losing her mind. Alice cannot abide dancing. There will be no “walk it out like granny” on her watch… It’s like freaking Footloose around here.


May 11

5:00 p.m.

Doing homework with a 6 year old…

Me: Okay – #1. What is a word that starts with the sound /sh/?

6yo: Can it be a curse word?

Only in my head, buddy…


May 12

6:38 p.m.

George: I’m more of an indoor person than an outdoor person.

First of all – that’s not even true, let alone healthy for an eight year old. And second of all…what are we, CATS?


May 13

4:41 p.m.

Earlier this morning:

Me: Do you want a bagel?

Chris: No.

Me: No thank you….?


*I should note that he was distracted – looking for one of his shoes at the time. But still – manners, please!

6:45 p.m.

The responsible picky eater remembers to wear safety glasses for dismantling a piece of bread.


May 14

1:42 p.m.

Earlier this morning, Eleanor asked why there are never any female composers featured on Little Einsteins (disclaimer on her behalf: she does NOT actually like Little Einsteins – it just happened to be on TV). I explained that it was rare for women from Mozart’s time to be given the the same opportunities as men, and that they were generally expected to stay home and look after their families. Her expression was solemn and disapproving, so I continued that things are very different for women now.

Eleanor: Yeah. I mean you get to do all kinds of great things now.

Me: [thinking – yes! I used to work full time and I now produce an annual stage show…] You think so?

Eleanor: Oh sure – you can take us all kinds of places. Well…maybe just on the weekends…except for when you took me to get my ears pierced. That was during the week and THAT was awesome.

Me: ….true.

Then about twenty minutes later she comes over to me flipping her hair around and says, “hey Mom – I think this is the best high ponytail you’ve ever given me”

Ooooh – a personal best! She really needs to stop before my head gets too big. If there is anyone in this world who can keep me humble (albeit unwittingly) it’s my daughter.


May 15

6:50 p.m.

“Sorry I peed on your shoe.”

Filed under things my boys have said to me in the bathroom.


May 16

6:16 p.m.

Since this won’t last long…I’ll just enjoy it. At any rate, it takes my mind off the 1,387 Angry Birds stickers I’ll eventually have to scrape off the door.


May 19

6:43 p.m.

“No taping people into boxes.” … Just added to the ever growing list of Hood family rules.

8:02 p.m.

Our neighbors just adopted the cutest kitten on the planet. So of course…

Eleanor: Mom, can we get a kitten?

Me: No. Only one full sized animal at a time in this house [circumventing the inevitable “BUT” by allowing for the wretched hermit crabs that continue to live despite a high degree of unintentional neglect].

Eleanor: What about when Alice [who is only three] dies?

Me: Eleanor! That’s terrible! And besides – you guys might not even be living here anymore when Alice dies.

Eleanor: What?! Don’t dogs live for 20 years?

My daughter is eight…


May 20

6:56 p.m.

“Mom! Don’t throw them away!”

Oliver’s loyalty to inanimate objects is OUTOFCONTROL. We have this conversation about every pair of shoes he destroys. He never wants to throw anything away. I’m STILL hearing about the old black truck and giant 80’s TV we got rid of last year. #FutureHoarder #NoManLeftBehind


May 21

8:32 a.m.

You know when your child comes home from school with a little Dixie cup filled with dirt and a tiny sprig of green, and begs to plant it in the yard (and in our case, there is only a FRONT yard)? Well – meet our new GINORMOUS ornamental cabbage plant. #We‘reAllAbouttheCurbAppeal #Don’tMindtheWeeds

cabbage5:43 p.m.

Sometimes I think that growing older is a gift. And sometimes I look in a mirror and wish I had a gift receipt because this age does NOT fit!

10:29 p.m.

Chris just referred to Matt Dillon as “that Rumble Fish guy.” I don’t even know what to do with that.


May 22

11:37 a.m.

Great Moments In Parenting!

That time I stepped on something sharp and realized it was a tooth I had stuck in my back pocket the night before, while playing tooth fairy. The best part? I actually stuck TWO teeth in my back pocket so tooth #2 is still at large.

And no – I don’t immediately transfer teeth to plastic bags carefully labeled with my children’s names. Because I just can’t bring myself to own “bags of teeth.” Aside from the fact that I forget that I put them in pockets, of course…


May 23

1:50 p.m.

Oliver: That sounds like music to my ears Mom.

Me: What sounds like music?

Oliver: The music.

Me: Where is the music?

Oliver: On the radio.

Me: Where is the radio?

Oliver: In my brain.



May 24

8:35 a.m.

Eleanor just picked up my 21-Day Fix DVD and as she was looking at it, Chris joked, “that’s what Mom is going to look like in 21 days.”

Me: No – Eleanor and I have already discussed the fact that people who look like that exercise for a living. I’m not not making exercise my job – I just want to feel healthy and strong. Expecting to look like that after 21 days would be an unrealistic expectation for me.

Eleanor: Yeah – and at your age…

I love her.


May 27

8:48 a.m.

Oliver is suddenly very anxious about summer (transitions are hard for him – but this is unusual…) I asked him why he was suddenly so worried about summer. His response: “Because I don’t like the season of the summer.”

While I’m endlessly charmed by his ESL-esque patois, I’m also keenly reminded of something his first special needs preschool teacher said to me: “sometimes it’s hard to be Oliver.” This kind of applies to everyone, right?

To Do List:
*Be more patient with Oliver. Sometimes it’s hard to be him.
*Be more patient with everyone else. Sometimes it’s hard to be them.
*Be more patient with myself. Sometimes it’s hard to be me.

8:48 p.m.

While standing at the mirror, brushing teeth…

George: Mom – want to see my nose hair?

Me: I don’t see any.

George: No – look. See it in there?

Me: Oh – way back in there…I see it. But I wouldn’t have if you didn’t point it out. I don’t think children have visible nose hair.

George: I can see yours really well.

Good to know.


May 28

4:57 p.m.

Warning: when you ask your very large 10 year old for a “big hug,” you may be body slammed and crushed within an inch of your life. #lovehurts


May 29

5:01 p.m.

On the way to the pool…

Me: IN GENERAL keep arms and legs…and hands and feet…and heads IN the car!

George: What about butts?


May 30

2:09 p.m.

Standing in line at Dairy Queen with Oliver, it occurs to me that he’s still wearing the shirt he had on yesterday. It’s 2:00 pm. Even better? What tipped me off was the dried Cheeto crumbs stuck to his sleeve. #raisedbywolves


June 1

9:55 a.m.

Chris and Oliver made bread yesterday. Oliver felt it prudent to wear protective head gear. #SafetyFirst

11024794_10205772958177994_8198718031973867779_n6:21 p.m.

Over the weekend, a friend invited George to come with his family to the father’s work event on a lake. They kayaked and canoed and George had the time of his life. In fact, my son had SUCH good time that he just invited all of us to come with him next year.

And that pretty much says it all about George.


June 2

8:23 a.m.

“And no pretend swearing either!”

It’s a thing.


June 3

9:07 a.m.

Exercise instructor is all, “yeah baby – it’s LEG DAY!!!” And I’m all “I miss ice cream.” #notsoulmates


June 4

4:35 p.m.

Why was George in the Quiet Zone today?

“At art I was jking arand and being on the flore.”

Sounds about right.


June 9

9:19 a.m.

So when the kids got up at the crack of dawn this morning, I noticed that Oliver was wearing the same orange shirt and tan shorts he had on yesterday. I put a a clean outfit on a chair and told him that he needed to change. Two hours of breakfast serving, lunch packing, homework finishing, trash removing, teeth brushing, justalittlebitofworkonthecomputer sneaking, kitchen cleaning, bed making, schoolbus rushing and dog walking later…I walk into the house and notice this. Good job mom! The tone of the day has officially been set. “But I tried” is truly the theme of my life.


June 10

8:24 a.m.

Chasing the recycling truck with two bags of glass bottles counts as exercise for the day, right?


June 16

6:43 p.m.

George just got a haircut that seems to have involved A LOT of gel. Fingers crossed that it looks like what I asked for when un-sculpted… Here is a picture of him holding up his “hair sample.” What? Doesn’t everyone request hair sample keepsakes?



June 20

12:52 p.m.

Heading to the beach for the afternoon with Chris, the kids and my in laws. Made sure to pack my book. Because it’s a nice fantasy…


June 24

10:07 a.m.

In the car…

George: Look – another “port-ee-potty”!

Eleanor: It’s “port-AH-potty.”

George: Don’t correct me Eleanor – it’s cute!

Eleanor: It’s CUTE??

George: Yeah – that’s what mom always says.

Damn straight G.


June 28

4:20 p.m.

And I thought I wasn’t a boat person…


5:09 p.m.

When I give no fucks about my wrinkles in pictures.



Those last two pictures were taken in San Diego. I didn’t want to post about being “in California” while our house was empty for 10 days…so no fun vacation pictures on Facebook. But don’t worry – we have about 5,000 of them for our own personal enjoyment. And thanks to selfies – I am in approximately four.

They Coulda’ Been Great: April 2015

Maybe it was all of the Listen to Your Mother Show madness (DON’T worry – I will not include all one million posts related to that here) but April was a blur. Good thing I have Facebook to remind me of what I actually did last month…here are the highlights! (What is this? All answers are HERE.)

April 2

1:37 p.m.

Perfect day to vacuum the car.


April 3

7:43 p.m.

You know what’s really fun? Trying to do a new exercise video while your eight year old son watches:

“Wow – you’re really sweaty.”

“Why does it look so easy for them and you’re all [huffing puffing]”

“I just heard something crack.”


April 9

6:48 p.m.

If stopping to grab a coffee on my way to pick my daughter up at gymnastics WHILE WEARING SLIPPERS is wrong…I don’t want to be right. The suburbs have officially won.


April 11

2:08 p.m.

Put some lilac fragrance on in the car a little while ago. Oliver asked, “what’s that smell?” I told him it was me, “I just put on a little perfume – do you like it?” He said, “yeah – you smell like the mall.” Exactly what I was going for…


April 12

2:44 p.m.

Took the kids to the farm to see baby animals. Here is my main complaint about the farm: it smells like the farm. ‪#‎StillACityPerson‬


April 15

3:07 p.m.

Who me? Oh…just bending the universe to my will. You know – the usual. Now I have to go steam clean a carpet that smells like dog pee. Some things cannot be accomplished by will alone…

6:56 p.m.

Oliver just walked past wearing his Dracula cape…

Me: Oliver – why are you wearing a cape?

Oliver: So I’ll look like a moray eel.



April 18

12:11 p.m.

Thank god for spray bottle sun block. There is NO WAY Oliver’s hair will get sunburned today.


April 19

12:23 p.m.

George: Mom – I think it’s hard to be you.

Me: Why?

George: Oh – you know…all the stuff you have to do…driving…serving us…

So I guess George really “gets” parenthood.

4:45 p.m.

Eleanor and I are talking about presidents (which – if you know me – is HILARIOUS) and the possibility of our next president being a woman. We agreed that it would be pretty cool. Then she told me that some girls in her class still want a “boy president.” I have no idea how this ever came up (or what that hell is wrong with those girls), but Eleanor has a very practical attitude: “I don’t care about gesture – I just want a good president.” With that settled…now we just have to work on her vocabulary…


April 21

5:56 p.m.

I don’t know what it is about me doing an exercise video that makes my children want to “keep me company.” I already told you about my experience with George’s observations (“wow – you’re really sweaty,” etc….)

Then the next week, Oliver decided to watch. I don’t know what was worse – George’s critique or Oliver’s hysterical laughter. I’m going to say Oliver wins since he also insisted on periodically wiping the sweat from my brow with a dish towel that (from the smell of it) I’d been using to wipe kitchen counters all week.

I have to say though – the rock bottom moment of humiliation came courtesy of Eleanor. She graced me with HER presence yesterday. And when Jillian Michaels assured, “if you stay with this, you’ll REALLY start to see results,” my daughter looked at me, wrinkled her pert little nose and asked, “do you think you’re seeing results?”

Well – no one ever told me that having kids would be good for my ego…


April 23

9:02 p.m.

Earlier today in the car we saw a minor accident by the side of the road…

George: Uh oh. Looks like a bumper accident.

Me: You mean a fender bender?

George: Yeah – that’s what I meant – a thunder bender.

Life must be so much more interesting when viewed from inside George’s brain…


April 24

10:34 a.m.

At my local 7-11 making note that if I ever need a last minute cowgirl hat, they have me covered.



April 25

2:40 p.m.

How we’re accessorizing the living room coffee table these days…


4:48 p.m.

A fairly accurate representation of what I’m like (at least on the inside) the week prior to Listen to Your Mother DC. “I’ve got a medical condition alright – it’s called CARING TOO MUCH!” Everyone going to my 25th high school reunion tonight should be afraid. Very afraid.

Parks & Rec: Crazy Craig [sorry – no embedding allowed]


April 26

5:47 p.m.

Some of my closest friends from high school right there – and I swear, not one of us has aged a day. Right now six inner 18-year-olds are screaming in revulsion because, “Eewwww! So old!” But screw them. We look fab.


10:16 p.m.

Listening to my 20-something (I could have been her teen mom) honorary daughter, Alex Tudor explain to Chris what a “crop top” is. I have no idea what he was doing in the 80s… We’ve come full circle in fashion trends and he’s still clueless? (disclaimer: Alex does not wear crop tops)


April 27

4:17 p.m.

George: Mom! Jack and I just did science!

Me: [with great trepidation] What…?

George: We tested bouncing – which bed is bouncier: mine, Oliver’s, Eleanor’s, yours or the mattress [air mattress]!

Me: Which was bounciest?

George: MINE!

Of course it was.


April 28

9:05 p.m.

Thank you for all of the birthday wishes! It made “a regular Monday” feel a lot more festive.

The kids were horrified that I made them go to swim lessons even though it was my birthday (I mean – it wasn’t THEIR birthday) but forgave me when I asked Chris to have an ice cream cake waiting at home. Before I blew out my big #3 candle (the only candle he could find) I opened my present. It was a pretty summer dress that Chris spent “at least 15 minutes” picking out for me at Ann Taylor. When I held it up and asked Eleanor what what she thought, Miss Honesty said, “looks a little small.” You know I love that stuff – best laugh of the day. Her backpedaling made it even funnier. I never got any cake since we actually WENT OUT (thank you Alex Tudor!) for a lovely dinner. When we came home, Alex was like, “you’re already back??” because she is in her early twenties and doesn’t understand that people in their forties eat a lovely dinner and then come home. I think I was asleep by 10:00. And it was glorious.

Now I’m back to the reality of OMG I have SO much to do for Listen to Your Mother on Sunday! Are you local and want to give me the BEST belated birthday present ever? Then you will forgive me for these last few days of blatant self promotion AND come see me at the show – and afterward at Edgar Bar at the Mayflower where I will probably drink A LOT.


April 29

7:33 p.m.

Right now, Oliver is playing outside and wearing what looks to be a large sheet of dry cleaner plastic, poncho-style because obviously he’s a jellyfish. And yes it did occur to me that my child is running around the neighborhood wearing garbage…

Whatever. You do you, Oliver. You just do you.


They Coulda’ Been Great: March 2015

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

March 1

10:26 a.m.

Eleanor: So yeah – Jade got her ears pierced.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Me: What do you call it?

Eleanor: “Old.”

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

11:18 a.m.

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

March 2

10:30 a.m.

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

-Eleanor telling me I have three Facebook notifications.

10:39 a.m.

“Emory boards are for nails, not crayons!”

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

2:29 p.m.

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

Me: My cell phone?

V10YOB: Yeah.

Me: Why do you want to use my phone?

V10YOB: To call my mom.

Me: Why do you need to call her?

V10YOB: [whispers] It’s personal.

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

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

Epilogue: He is not using my phone.

7:00 p.m.

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

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

8:12 p.m.

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

I’m sorry – is this news?

March 4

6:06 p.m.

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

7:02 p.m.

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

March 5

2:53 p.m.

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

3:37 p.m.

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

Me: Yes Eleanor – I NOTICED THAT TOO.


March 6

12:14 p.m.

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

March 8

10:04 p.m.

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

March 8

7:39 p.m.

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

March 10

6:05 p.m.

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

Oliver: Do they have candy?

George: I want a tattoo!

So predictable…

9:22 p.m.

We (she) did it!





10:31 p.m.

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


March 11

8:29 p.m.

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

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

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

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


March 12

9:30 a.m.

Earlier this morning…

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

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


7:17 p.m.

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

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


March 14

8:42 p.m.

Harlem Globe Trotters!





March 17

5:45 p.m.

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

Oliver: I ran into a snow drift.

With his back?


March 18

8:26 p.m.

George: Mom – are you bored?

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

George: It’s your first favorite thing?

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

George: What’s your second favorite thing?

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

George: What’s your third favorite thing?

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

George: I know what your last favorite thing is.

Me: What is it?

George: Leaving us.

There aren’t enough hugs for that one.

March 19

5:27 p.m.

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

11073397_10205210724562505_3478249783596976670_nMarch 20

12:09 p.m.

The hubris of buying a cute new doormat for spring…

20720_10205217690576651_6857116212456317947_nMarch 21

8:46 p.m.

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

March 22

5:14 p.m.

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

We’re so fancy.

March 23

11:02 a.m.

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

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

7:27 p.m.

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

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

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

Lady: What do you think?

Eleanor: Pictures of fireworks?

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

Eleanor: Jesus?

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

March 25

11:46 a.m.

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

2:07 p.m.

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


March 26

5:50 p.m.

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

March 29

5:54 p.m.

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


7:52 p.m.

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


March 30

9:27 a.m.

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

baby oliver

boy Oliver

2:47 p.m.

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

March 31

4:27 p.m.

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


My Life is a Mess

This morning I woke up full of anxiety.

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

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

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

Life As a Reflection of Its Priorities
by Terry Coveny

When I grow up…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What of your imperfect existence?

Which of your three choices are you sacrificing?

Choose wisely.


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

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

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

They Coulda’ Been Great: February 2015

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


February 1

7:04 p.m.

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

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

7:58 p.m.

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

Chris: WHAT?!?

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


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


February 3

3:04 p.m.

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

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

4:54 p.m.

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

Me: Wow!

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

SUPER plan…


February 4

7:37 p.m.

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

33 – 18 =

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

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

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

Feeling very vintage…


February 6

6:38 p.m.

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


February 7

4:22 p.m.

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



9:27 p.m.

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

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

George: So you pick brain.

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

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

Nice try.


February 8

7:34 p.m.

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

IMG_13668:04 p.m.

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

LTYM baby

February 17

8:55 a.m.

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

Me: I don’t think so either.

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

Me: The state?

George: Of Virginia.

Me: Where did you come up with that number?

George: I researched it. In my brain.

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

10:47 a.m.

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

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

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


February 18

7:36 a.m.

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

9:42 a.m.

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

Me: No.

George: No – I mean in a “bad way.”

Me: Still no.

George: But MOM…

Me: Fine – what does it mean?

George: Fart.

Me: What is the C word?

George: C-R-A-…

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

1:53 p.m.

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

10:06 p.m.

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


February 19

5:21 p.m.

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

5:51 p.m.

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

Me: you mean cloud formations?

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

Me: You do?

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

Me: That sounds pretty.

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



February 20

9:23 a.m.

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

11:21 a.m.

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

I don’t even want to know…

11:53 a.m.

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

3:18 p.m.

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


February 22

10:42 a.m.

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


February 24

12:45 p.m.

Co-pilot courtesy of Eleanor. #‎ThisCloseToSettingItFree‬

10991163_10205037202664566_2425962767072193292_n5:07 p.m.

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

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

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

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

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


February 26

8:10 a.m.

Oliver: Mom, can I have Girl Scout cookies?

Me: Oh…sure. It’s a snow day.

Oliver: Can I have two?

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


12:52 p.m.

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


February 28

8:10 a.m.

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

3:55 p.m.

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


Boughs of Folly

tree - old

Isn’t that picture magical? It’s an old one – and one of my favorites.

We just got this year’s Christmas tree which looked like this for three days:


It’s big. And it terrified me. Finally, last night I sucked it up and got some lights on it.

And it’s looking like I’m going to have to suck it up again and let the kids help me decorate it tonight. After nine and a half years of motherhood and never letting anyone (even my husband) help me decorate the tree, I think my time is officially up. Unless of course I want to ruin my daughter’s life and hear about it years from now in family therapy.

SO. A new chapter of my tree mania begins. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, I actually combined several years’ worth of tree stories (all blog posts on TBPOC) in one essay that should at some point run in a holiday anthology (currently on hold). In the meantime, I thought I’d post it here to catch everyone up.

A little snippet of last night’s conversation to give you a taste of where this is going…

Chris: You are a psycho about the lights.

Me [lights wrapped around my neck like a Christmas version of Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s…without the up do and cigarette]: No…I’m a psycho about the ornaments.

Happy holidays!


Just so you know? I can decorate the hell out of a Christmas tree.

It’s one of my great talents in life, and every year my home is graced by yet another Christmas tree triumph. You are probably thinking that my family is very lucky to have this kind of genius on their side. But it’s unlikely that they would agree.

I take my tree very seriously. Maybe a little too seriously. Okay – maybe a lot too seriously. But you know how it is when someone has a problem…they need to want to get better before you can help them. And I have no interest in getting better. All I want is a perfect tree.

I have definite ideas about where the ornaments should be placed and how the various colors and styles should be distributed. I like things to be symmetrical. The only way to achieve the level of perfection I demand is to be very rigid and controlling, and even strategic about the tree decorating process. And believe me – I’ve got this covered.

Our family tree decorating tradition does not include the sound of laughter, storytelling and favorite Christmas carols. There are no childish squeals of delight when someone finds the perfect spot for that favorite ornament (okay – maybe a few, but only if I’m really excited). And there is no closing ceremony of a tiny hand placing our angel at the top.

Instead, there are two to three hours of lights detail with meticulous care taken to make the tree appear to glow from within. Unlimited time is devoted to the actual ornaments, though I do prefer to limit this to a 24 hour window. By then, I am ready for a final editing process, which if all goes well, takes less than an afternoon.

This is a strictly solo mission. Even my husband, Chris isn’t allowed to help. The first year we had a tree together, I had to linger behind him rearranging his bizarre ornament “clumps.” He may as well be one of the kids.

In our first few years as a family, it was easy enough to put babies in pack n’ plays and toss goldfish crackers at them as I pondered the finer points of mingling new ornaments with the antiques. But soon enough, I had talkers who watched holiday movies, and I was getting requests for tinsel and popcorn to string – neither of which would work with my own holiday aesthetic.

Finally, I just bought a fake tree from Target to suffer their enthusiastic pawing.

One complication to my new two-tree system was that my husband, Chris has a tradition of taking one child with him to the Christmas tree lot. And once they were old enough to want in on the decorating action, this practice began to cloud the whole “ownership issue.” Even after I thought I had appeased them with their very own “kids’ tree,” they’d saw mine come through the door and assumed they were on round two. Luckily, they have very short attention spans and after 10 minutes of watching me drape lights, everyone tends to get bored and wander off.

We live in a small townhouse, and typically get a six foot tree. But one year, our oldest son, Oliver imprinted on an ENORMOUS tree. The six-year old had found his tree soul mate and was adamant that no other tree would do. So I ended up with two extra feet of branches to decorate.

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

The minute I decided that the lights done, the children sensed my hand moving toward the ornament box and came at me like a pack of Christmas-obsessed velociraptors. I was able to fend them off with some candy canes, but it was a close call. Clearly, I had to wait until they were in bed before I continued.

So I finished the tree later, listening to holiday music and sipping wine with Chris. For a second he forgot that he had met me before and tried to help. But I put an end to that. I mean – that random ceramic chili pepper on the front of the tree? Do you see what I’m dealing with here?

The following year, it was my daughter, Eleanor’s turn to accompany Chris. As soon as her tree of choice was set up, we could see that it was undeniably crooked. This of course, is an ever-present risk since I have no control over what is selected (just a long list of requirements and deal breakers). But I had such high hopes for Eleanor! My color-within-the-lines girl was the perfect candidate to find a “perfect” tree. At first glance, it seemed she did. But no matter how many times we tried to fix the obvious leaning, there was always something off.

Once the lights were on and the kids were in bed, I decided there must be a way to make it appear straighter. I assumed Chris would be 100% on board with this additional adjusting, but he announced that it was “good enough” and turned in for the night.

Whatever. He was holding me back anyway. I stayed up to fight the good fight.

That tree almost fell on top of me at least three times, and it’s a miracle that my children didn’t find me trapped underneath it the next morning. But a few hours (and several emptied prescription bottles wedged in the tree stand) later, it looked marginally better. I decided that I had reached my own “good enough.” Before tidying up, I went into the kitchen to wash my hands of sap (and the entire fiasco), and when I returned, I found that half the lights had blown out.

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

Of course I didn’t do that! For one thing, we didn’t own a snow shovel. But more importantly, I had put way too much time into that tree to give up. Instead, I took a deep breath and set about checking each strand. Luckily, there were only two that had to be replaced; and 30 minutes later, we had a very lovely, slightly crooked tree.

This new system of decorating trees in dark of night was exhausting. You would think I’d just give up and let my perfect Christmas trees devolve into chaos like the rest of my house. Not so much.

Last year, it was Eleanor’s twin brother, George who picked out the tree. He surprised us all by selecting a rather small one. Well – not exactly small…but much smaller than the six to eight foot trees his siblings had brought home. Apparently, he told the guy at the tree lot that “size doesn’t matter as long as it’s fat.” Oh George…

So small and fat arrived, and most decidedly did not fit into our tree stand. The trunk was too short, so I sent Chris out to buy a smaller stand. And starting right there, the smallest tree we’ve ever had became the biggest pain in the ass.

It was next to impossible to get it to stand straight and it was never really secure, regardless of how much we tightened the screws. This should have been the first sign of impending calamity. But Chris declared it “good enough,” and I decided I could at least tilt it in such a way that it looked straight…

It was midnight by the time I was done stringing lights, and I had to give up any hope of finishing. Unsurprisingly, the following morning was flooded with high pitched offers of help and ornament retrieval assembly lines. I have never been so happy to see the school bus.

After a busy day of running errands, I didn’t have much time before the children were due home. Luckily, with minutes to spare, I was able to tie the last ribbon and bask in the glory of the sweetest little Christmas tree I had ever seen. George chose well – it was possibly my favorite tree yet. Absolutely perfect. Perfect and…moving? Just like that, everything switched to slow motion as I watched the stand sliiiiide forward and the angel drop back out of sight. CRASH! The entire thing hit the floor in a crunch of breakable ornaments (my favorite kind!)

If I were a more emotive person, I would have screamed. Instead, I stood frozen in horror. Was this some kind of punishment for extreme Christmas tree hubris? No time for self-flagellation – I had children to collect from the bus and a play date to host. So I propped my now disheveled little tree up against the wall and resigned myself to figuring it out later.

“Later” ended up being close to 9:00 p.m. when the kids were sleeping soundly. I came downstairs with the intention of getting Chris to help me fix my injured baby. But before I had a chance to ask, he informed me that, “the tree fell again.” I must have blacked out, as I have no memory of the next 20 minutes.

Eventually, I rallied since failure is not an option. And just as I started collecting prescription pill bottles to wedge around the trunk, Chris decided that the top heavy tree really did need a sturdier stand. The solution was to saw off the lower branches and make it fit into our original, bigger stand.

After an hour of sawing, lifting, near misses with pine needle-blindings and just a little bit of swearing, we stepped back to see a very straight, very secure, slightly smaller Christmas tree. We could also see that the branch removal effectively made what I decorated as “the front” of the tree a better candidate for “the back.”

I employed some deep breathing exercises and big picture priority checks to get myself to as serene a state of mind as I could possibly manage…then I removed all of the ornaments and redid the WHOLE EFFING TREE! Done! Finished! No more lesson-learned moments thank-you-very-much! That was it. I had officially exceeded my limit for Christmas tree decorating mania.

Of course Christmas is only once a year… And I have every expectation that we will embark on systematically re-enacting the entire process as soon as our Thanksgiving table is cleared.

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


Epilogue: Chris and Eleanor picked out the tree. George didn’t want to leave a friend’s house, I was baking 2,000 cookies and Oliver wouldn’t go without me. So I couldn’t complain too much (out loud) about size. As soon as it’s decorated, I’ll post visuals. Of course.

They Coulda’ Been Great: August-September 2014

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


August 1

9:24 a.m.

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


9:45 a.m.

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

4:19 p.m.

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

6:05 p.m.

Scene: Three mothers are talking while children play upstairs.

They hear dramatic shrieks.

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

Mother #1: Sounds joyous…but possibly dangerous…

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

Mother #1: Continues to drink wine.

End scene.

Pop quiz: Which mother am I?


August 2

12:43 p.m.

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


August 4

5:29 p.m.

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


August 5

8:35 a.m.

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

6:15 p.m.

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

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

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

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

6:54 p.m.

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

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

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


August 6

1:31 p.m.

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

3:54 p.m.

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


August 8

11:24 p.m.

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


August 10

8:59 a.m.

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

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

4:42 p.m.

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


August 11

2:16 p.m.

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

DSC_04504:38 p.m.

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

7:03 p.m.

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


August 13

8:12 a.m.

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

9:21 a.m.

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

11:26 a.m.

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


August 15

9:18 a.m.

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

1:18 p.m.

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


August 16

1:15 p.m.

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

IMG_97863:25 p.m.

Juuuuust cleared that height requirement.



August 17

9:32 a.m.

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

6:00 p.m.

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

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

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

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


August 18

8:59 p.m.

Me: Ready for bed?

George: [YAWN] No.

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

Yes. I noticed.

10:07 p.m.

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

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

Me: That’s an interesting idea…

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

Me: Or that.



August 21

1:47 p.m.

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

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

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

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

George: I could be a friendly teacher?


August 22

12:38 p.m.

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



August 22

5:05 p.m.

It was only a matter of time…



August 23

5:52 p.m.

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

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

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

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


August 24

3:58 p.m.

Ren Fair baby!



August 25

10:03 a.m.

Flying our freak flag high at the grocery store today…



August 26

6:58 p.m.

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


August 28

3:13 p.m.

Walking past a garden on a street with no sidewalk…

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

George: Because they’re poisonous?

Me: No! Because they’re beautiful.


8:26 p.m.

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





August 31

10:30 a.m.

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


September 2

10:20 a.m.

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





September 3

11:23 a.m.

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

7:49 p.m.

I’m not good at explaining sciencey things.”

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


September 4

8:49 a.m.

Eleanor: Hey Jonas! I got George!

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

Me: Yes they do! Thumbs DO count.

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

7:45 p.m.

Eleanor just went outside with Chris to walk the dog…

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

Me: What is it?

Eleanor: A SNAKE SKIN!

George: On our steps?!

Me: [horrified expression]

Eleanor: No.

Me: [relieved expression]

Chris: Well, almost on the steps.

Me: [Thinking, “time to move.”]

Eleanor: I touched it!

Me: [THISCLOSE to passing out.]

I miss the city.


September 5

7:11 p.m.

His lesbian friend totally wrote this for him.”

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


September 7

5:36 p.m.

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


September 11

9:50 p.m.

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





September 12

8:11 a.m.

Me: Oliver, do you need underwear?

Oliver: No thanks.

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

Oliver: Uh….

That’s what I thought.

4:52 p.m.

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


September 15

9:06 a.m.

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



September 15

6:42 p.m.

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


8:39 p.m.

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


September 17

6:56 p.m.

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

George: Mr. Robinson

Me: You have Mr. Robinson again?

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

George: Mr. Robinson!

Me: Why do you like Mr. Robinson better?

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



September 18

10:01 a.m.

#TBT 2010

DSCN22267:37 p.m.

Eleanor is reading a book about horses…

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

Me: Yes…?

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

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

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


September 23

7:24 p.m.

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

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

moon7:53 p.m.

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

So that’s good news…


September 24

6:42 p.m.

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

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



September 25

8:20 a.m.

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

camera 3424:44 p.m.

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



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

-Shel Silverstein


September 27

10:08 a.m.

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

3:31 p.m.

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

Preaching to the choir, George…

3:49 p.m.

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

Me: What?

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

I think someone’s been watching too much TV…


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

They Coulda’ Been Great: June-July 2014

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


June 1

9:21 a.m.

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

5:54 p.m.

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



June 2

8:42 p.m.

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

-Eleanor Hood, Age 7 on “acting”

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

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

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

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

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



June 3

1:15 p.m.

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



June 4

12:12 a.m.

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



June 5

10:10 a.m.

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

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

silver belts4:39 p.m.

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

Smooth move.

6:41 p.m.

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

Just saying what everyone else is thinking….

9:07 p.m.

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


June 6

11:06 p.m.

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


June 7

10:03 a.m.

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

8:56 p.m.

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

Me: Why?

Eleanor: Because my life is very hard for me.

Sing it sister.


June 9

5:57 p.m.

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

June 10

6:06 p.m.

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

6:32 p.m.

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


June 12

12:07 a.m.

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

8:24 a.m.

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

2:06 p.m.

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

6:13 p.m.

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

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

So many teachable moments…

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


June 13

11:36 a.m.

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

I love this on so many levels.

12:22 p.m.

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

5:49 p.m.

Me: Oliver, I love you to death.

Oliver: Yeah – like the death to me.

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

Oliver: More than anything like death.

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

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

7:06 p.m.

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



June 14

8:14 a.m.

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

Said to Oliver, who just ate a chocolate doughnut.

3:36 p.m.

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

mothers day


June 15

6:15 p.m.

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



June 17

8:38 p.m.

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



June 18

1:59 p.m.

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

3:38 p.m.

My kids write each other the sweetest love notes!



June 19

7:19 p.m.

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


June 23

5:04 p.m.

I think you guys need a safe word.”

Said to my children. No irony.

6:35 p.m.

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

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


June 24

4:27 p.m.

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

IMG_86104:36 p.m.

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



June 25

6:23 p.m.

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

JUST KIDDING! Skydiving only takes up one afternoon.

9:23 p.m.



June 28

3:03 p.m.

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


June 30

3:50 p.m.

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



July 1

8:54 a.m.

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

Me: Really?

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


11:20 a.m.

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

podcast image
10:01 p.m.

Watching Sunday’s episode of 24: Live Another Day

Chris: Benjamin Bratt is dick.

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

Chris: Who is America’s sweetheart?

Me: Julia Roberts. What generation are you from?

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


July 2

5:43 a.m.

Life with an intense child…

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


July 3

12:14 p.m.

Me: Don’t eat your shoes!

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

OH – well, carry on then.


July 4

1:49 p.m

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


July 5

7:47 a.m.

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

IMG_88401:34 p.m.

Me: So what was your favorite firework last night.

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

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

We are fully embracing our gender roles today…

4:31 p.m.

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

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

IMG_88447:52 p.m.

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


July 7

12:13 p.m.

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

IMG_88918:51 p.m.

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


July 8

3:44 p.m.

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

6:46 p.m.

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

11:26 p.m.

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


July 10

7:06 a.m.

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

IMG_89211:36 p.m.

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

8:17 p.m.

Earlier at Target…

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

Oliver: Toys?

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

8:36 p.m.

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

-George Hood, age 7


July 11

12:40 p.m.

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

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



July 15

3:25 p.m.

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

Me: On the SOAP?

George: Yeah! On the soap. Seasoned salt!

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

Oliver: Uh….

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

Never a dull moment…


July 16

5:18 p.m.

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

Eleanor: What’s that?

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

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

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


July 17

1:06 p.m.

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

6:07 p.m.

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

Kate Christmas 27:58 p.m.

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

Kate Christmas 68:01 p.m.

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

Kate snow 3


July 18

8:15 a.m.

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


July 19

9:13 a.m.

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

IMG_89879:30 a.m.

In Fredericksburg…

Chris: We’re going to a battlefield now.

George: YAY!

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

George: And dead guys!

Me: No dead guys.

George: Explosions?

Me: No explosions

George: Michael Jackson’s leg?

Chris: Stonewall Jackson’s arm – and YES.


10:50 a.m.

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

IMG_90246:43 p.m.

Apparently he has my eyes AND my freckles. #minime



July 20

7:51 a.m.

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

12:51 p.m.

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

IMG_90401:05 p.m.

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

3:17 p.m.

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

4:09 p.m.

Exploring the beach house…

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

Me: What?!

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

Me: What is that?

George: I don’t know!


7:24 p.m.

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



July 21

7:36 p.m.



July 22

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


July 25

8:12 p.m.

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

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

Also – looks like George is ready for prom.



July 27

6:06 p.m.



July 29

9:22 a.m.

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



July 30

10:54 p.m.

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


July 31

10:17 a.m.

Dear Eleanor,

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

With love from your Summer Vacation Cruise Director,

11:56 a.m.

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

Me: That’s pretty big.

Eleanor: (wide eyed) Uh huh.

Love that guileless honesty… Stay gold Pony Girl.


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

They Coulda’ Been Great: April-May 2014

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


April 1

8:30 a.m.

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


April 2

6:44 p.m.

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



April 6

8:27 p.m.

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

Nailed it.


April 7

10:11 a.m.

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


April 8

12:18 p.m.

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

7:51 p.m.

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



April 9

10:16 p.m.

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



April 10

5:04 p.m.

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

brain bleed5:46 p.m.

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

exhaustion7:38 p.m.

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



April 13

11:58 a.m.

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

E new bike


April 16

6:18 p.m.

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

Me: Does he have underwear on his head again?

Just your average Wednesday night…


April 17

2:36 p.m.

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

IMG_81233:06 p.m.

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



April 19

9:51 a.m.

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

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


April 22

6:47 p.m.

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

Me: What?

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

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

7:16 p.m.

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

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


April 25

7:04 p.m.

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

— with Cathy McCarthy Trocchia.


April 27

9:32 a.m.

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

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

1:24 p.m.

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


April 28

2:41 p.m.

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

I’m such a buzz kill.

5:57 p.m

Me: [to Chris] You snooze you lose.

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

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

7:00 p.m.

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

MC7:05 p.m.

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

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


April 29

6:19 p.m.

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

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


April 30

9:04 a.m.

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


May 2

9:59 p.m.

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



May 3

8:58 a.m.

Me: Eleanor? What are you doing?

Eleanor: Posing.

Of course. Happy Saturday!


May 4

6:54 a.m.

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

9:48 a.m.

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


May 5

6:04 p.m.

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


May 7

9:27 p.m.

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


May 8

9:29 a.m.

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

IMG_82217:40 p.m.

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



May 11

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



May 12

10:27 a.m.

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


May 13

3:56 p.m.

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



May 14

10:04 a.m.

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

Rare Bird Cover7:51 p.m.

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


May 15

7:39 p.m.

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

Me: Tie a tie?

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

Me: You mean like a bow tie?

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

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

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

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


May 18

9:29 a.m.

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

Chris: Guess what I got sucked into last night?

Me: What?

Chris: Poltergeist.

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

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

Me: The clown doll?!

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

We’re all scarred for life.


May 20

8:14 p.m.

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




May 24

1:26 p.m.

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

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

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

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

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

7:15 p.m.

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

Me: Too fancy?

George: No.

Me: What don’t you like about them?

George: The taste.

Kind of a deal breaker.


May 25

1:00 p.m.



May 27

8:40 p.m.

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

LTYM journal


May 28

7:22 p.m.

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


May 29

5:51 p.m.

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

San Fran Oliver

9:09 p.m.

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

Chris Twins


May 30

8:37 p.m.

Me: Oliver, I love you.

Oliver: Thanks.

Me: You’re welcome.



May 31

6:21 p.m.

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

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


Coming up next…June & July 2014!