Tag Archives: World’s Best Mom

They Coulda’ Been Great: February-March 2014

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

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

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

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

February 1

10:07 a.m.

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

IMG_7822

 

February 2

1:32 p.m.

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

 

February 5

8:44 a.m.

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

5:09 p.m.

Doing homework with Oliver…

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

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

Yeah – that too.

 

February 8

9:30 p.m.

Earlier this evening, Eleanor was looking through Netflix options…

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

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

 

February 9

11:22 a.m.

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

5:52 p.m.

Watching ice skating in the Olympics…

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

George: Yeah.

Of course he can.

7:55 p.m.

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

 

February 10

2:56 p.m.

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

 

February 11

11:27 a.m.

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

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

 

February 12

3:16 p.m.

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

6:31 p.m.

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

7:55 p.m.

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

 

February 13

3:37 p.m.

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

 

February 14

7:38 p.m.

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

 

February 16

6:02 p.m.

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

 

February 17

7:45 a.m.

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

12:57 p.m.

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

 

February 18

8:20 a.m.

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

 

February 19

11:22 p.m.

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

skates

 

February 20

11:55 a.m.

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

IMG_785110:49 p.m.

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

 

February 22

2:50 p.m.

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

 

February 23

7:50 p.m.

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

George: I want to come too.

Eleanor: No.

George: I can help carry the boxes.

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

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

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

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

 

February 24

3:45 p.m.

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

7:39 p.m.

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

10:55 p.m.

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

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

 

 

February 28

8:52 p.m.

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

 

March 1

5:19 p.m.

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

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

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

 

March 2

6:49 p.m.

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

9:00 p.m.

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

9:08 p.m.

Chris: Harrison Ford has never won an Oscar??

Me: They said “nominated.”

Chris: But he’s HAN SOLO!

If regular guys were in charge…

 

March 3

8:31 p.m.

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

IMG_7888

 

March 4

7:45 p.m.

No more running around with dog bones!

Directives that make sense to the people in my house.

7:58 p.m.

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

10:08 p.m.

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

 

March 5

9:32 a.m.

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

3:17 p.m.

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

5:36 p.m.

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

6:44 p.m.

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

I love my little heathens.

7:35 p.m.

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

IMG_7892

 

March 6

8:40 a.m.

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

IMG_7902

 

March 8

3:54 p.m.

Hooray for spring daylight savings! That time of year when the clock in my car is no longer one hour ahead.

 

March 10

6:19 p.m.

I’m cutting vegetables and Oliver is standing next to me, doing a voice over of screaming noises. Sometimes he takes the personification too far.

 

March 12

2:34 p.m.

“Where is my [insert object that someone in my family cannot find here]?”

There are two constants to every incarnation of this scenario:
1. They haven’t actually looked for it.
2. I know where it is.

Hard to complain when I do myself no favors…

7:25 p.m.

George’s 1st grade homework required that he find similarities and differences between two books. So obviously…

IMG_7908

 

March 13

10:30 p.m.

Chris and I have finally started watching House of Cards. And yes – it is amazing. But I just have to get this out of my system. HOLLYWOOD! Fortheloveofgod PLEASE stop putting brownstones in DC. We have brick townhouses painted in a rainbow of different colors. Bay windows abound. Lots of uneven brick sidewalks. Build a set or something. This shouldn’t be so hard.

 

March 15

3:34 p.m.

About to revisit my youth. Taking Eleanor to a roller skating party.

 

March 16

3:28 p.m.

Dear every hair stylist and barber to have ever touched George’s head… PLEASE explain WHY all the hair gel? He is my only child to ALWAYS leave haircuts with fistfuls of styling gel in his bangs. The main problem with this is that product is inevitably applied when my attention is diverted, and it’s only later at home that I discover he now has Buster Brown bangs. Never thought I’d have to add “no styling gel” to instructions for a seven year old boy’s haircut…

IMG_7927

 

March 19

11:48 a.m.

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

yuck3:56 p.m.

In the car…

George: Mom do the front wheels steer?

Me: Of the car? Why?

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

Me: Why are we shooting at cars?

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

Me: You’re not?

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

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

George: You mean when I’m a teenager?

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

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

Me: Who told you that? Ben?

George: Ben’s dad.

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

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

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

George: Except for when we had the villain.

Me: The VILLAIN?

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

Me: What?

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

Me: Well, that IS convenient…

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

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

#boys

7:51 p.m.

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

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

 

March 20

5:43 p.m.

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

ants7:35 p.m.

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

This says so many things about my son….

 

March 22

9:04 a.m.

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

 

March 25

6:30 p.m.

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

IMG_8037

 

March 26

1:59 p.m.

At the dentist with Oliver, and he’s cracking me up. Last time we were here, there was an unfortunate incident involving the removal of a spacer that got embedded in one of his gums. Very traumatic. So from the minute we arrived, he’s been adamantly informing everyone (front desk, dental hygienist, dentist, other parents, babies…) that there will be “no silver teeth today!” I think this bodes well for self advocating in his future!

2:49 p.m.

Abomination.

abomination7:30 p.m.

Eleanor: Mom…do you ever feel like crying but you don’t know why?

Um – once a month…for a week straight. Jesus! She’s only seven. Far too young to be so melancholy…or hormonal.

 

March 28

7:37 a.m.

Impromptu morning Rainbow Loom lesson requested by Oliver. George shared, Eleanor taught and Oliver actually made a bracelet! Stuff of miracles…

IMG_8049

 

March 31

9:23 p.m.

This one turned nine yesterday. Though he’s pretty adamant that birthday aside, he’s still eight. As 42 looms, I can’t say I don’t understand…

DSC_0444BCheck back in a few days for April/May!

LTYM 2014 Videos Are Now Online!

The 2014 LTYM videos are finally here! This year’s DC show was fantastic and we couldn’t be more excited to share it with everyone who couldn’t be in the audience on May 4.

I would LOVE for you to watch our show (and the other LTYM shows held across the country) – which can be found on the LTYM YouTube Channel. But in the meantime, here is my reading, “The Care and Keeping of Magic.”


Already starting to think about 2015…hope to see you there!

The Care and Keeping of Magic

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

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

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

THE CARE AND KEEPING OF MAGIC

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

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

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

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

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

FIVE DOLLARS for ONE TOOTH.

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

Being the Tooth Fairy exhausts me.

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

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

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

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

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

Eleanor wants to believe just a little bit longer.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I am the keeper of magic in my house.

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

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

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

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

Someday.

But not today.

****

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

Listen to Your Mother DC 2012

Listen to Your Mother DC 2013

Listen to Your Mother DC 2014

Coming soon…

 

They Coulda’ Been Great – January 2014

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


January 1

2:55 p.m.

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

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

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


January 2

2:00 p.m.

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


January 3

2:29 p.m.

Seeing children with icicles poised at lips…

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

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

9:00 p.m.

Eleanor is reading me her new Frozen book…

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

Me: Fjord

Eleanor: What’s a fjord?

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

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

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

10:20 p.m.

Continuation of last post…

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

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

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

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


January 4

8:29 p.m.

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

Liz Turban
January 6

8:27 a.m.

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

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

UPDATE #1 10:05 a.m.

Left a message for the bat lady!

UPDATE #2 11:59 a.m.

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

UPDATE #3 6:54 p.m.

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

7:19 p.m.

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

Me: Wait – what?

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

Chris: What is this game?

Eleanor: It’s on americangirl.com.

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

Me: What is it?

Eleanor: You know Temple Run?

Me: Isn’t that a game for grownups??

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

Me: Is that like Tomb Raider?

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

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

8:07 p.m.

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

10:07 p.m.

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

10:18 p.m.

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


January 7

10:34 a.m.

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


January 9

6:28 p.m.

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

7:46 p.m.

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


January 12

1:29 p.m.

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

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

7:20 p.m.

“It’s dinner time not doughnut time!”

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


January 15

7:18 p.m.

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

7:51 p.m.

Helping George fill out his reading log for the week…

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

George: Did we read it this week?

Me: Sure – why not.

Never too early to start on resume writing skills…

8:13 p.m.

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

Me: I’m not going to die.

Oliver: And I’m not going to grew up.

Me: So that’s decided then.

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

Damn you Frozen!


January 17

11:38 p.m.

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


January 18

6:10 p.m.

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


January 21

8:58 a.m.

Waiting for Godot – I MEAN the snow…


January 22

1:28 p.m.

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

Alice
January 22

5:48 p.m.

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

Oliver sick
January 23

12:47 p.m.

MEMO

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

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

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


January 24

10:43 a.m.

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


January 25

12:44 p.m.

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


January 26

9:08 p.m.

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

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January 28

8:21 p.m.

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


January 31

12:11 p.m.

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

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

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

Me: They weren’t next to the piano?

Eleanor: NOOO! Can you help me?

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

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

Right before my head exploded, I appreciated this acknowledgment.

10:07 p.m.

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

*****

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

Boughs of Folly

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

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

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

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

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

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

There was a lot of this going on…

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…and everyone was having a great time…

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…then I finally got this shot…

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

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

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

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

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

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

Charlie and Alice

Sorry Charlie!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

WISHING YOU ALL THE BEST IN 2014!

They Coulda’ Been Great: October 2013

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

October 1

5:52 p.m.

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

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October 4

8:06 a.m.

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

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

Chris: No. When did you get that?

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

Chris: No.

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

Chris: …..

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

10:00 a.m.

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

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4:36 p.m.

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


October 5

12:31 p.m.

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

8:10 p.m.

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

Eleanor: Mom – you want to hear something crazy?

Me: Sure.

Eleanor: Blake has a crush on someone!

Me: Is it you?

Eleanor: No!

Me: Is it someone at your table?

Eleanor: No.

Me: Is it someone in your class?

Eleanor: No.

Me: Is it someone I know?!

Eleanor: No – it’s a third grader.

Me: Really? Ambitious.

Eleanor: Well…Blake has a lot of dates.

Fast crowd at Yellow Table this year…


October 6

6:33 p.m.

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

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

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

Eleanor: Playing with the other kids.

Me: You mean George?

Eleanor: No – Oliver is there too.

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

Me: Oh – then that’s definitely him.


October 8

2:58 p.m.

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


October 10

5:03 p.m.

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

6:13 p.m.

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

8:00 p.m.

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

8:12 p.m.

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


October 12

10:23 a.m.

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

7:03 p.m.

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

7:21 p.m.

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

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

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


October 13

12:58 p.m.

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

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


October 14

7:38 p.m.

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

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7:40 p.m.

Clearly George had a terrible time… #BackFromTheBeach

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7:42 p.m.

All cartwheels, all the time. #BackFromTheBeach

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7:46 p.m.

We even brought the dog! #BackFromTheBeach

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7:50 p.m.

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

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October 15

7:58 p.m.

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

Chris: It’s October!

Me: But isn’t baseball over?

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

Me: I’ve heard “The Boys of Summer”…

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

Me: [blank stare]

Chris: The Diamondbacks!

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


October 16

4:51 p.m.

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

5:49 p.m.

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

7:00 p.m.

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

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October 19

10:33 a.m.

Mah culuhs ah blush and bashful.

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11:37 a.m.

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

1:45 p.m.

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

So laundry folding will take twice a long…

3:47 p.m.

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

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October 27

2:43 p.m.

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

paper products


October 28

7:26 p.m.

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


October 31

4:56 p.m.

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

5:14 p.m.

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

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5:16 p.m.

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

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5:18 p.m.

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

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

They Coulda’ Been Great: September 2013

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


September 2

1:12 p.m.

George: Dad, why is juggling free?

Chris: What?

George: Why is juggling free?

Chris: Juggling is what?

George: FREE! Why is juggling FREE?

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

George: Why is juggling FREE balls? WHY FREE?

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


September 3

9:51 a.m.

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

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9:53 a.m.

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

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9:54 a.m.

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

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September 4

12:41 p.m.

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


September 7

9:36 a.m.

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

George has really gotten into genealogy lately.

2:38 p.m.

Shopping at the Gap…

Eleanor: Mommy! You keep running off.

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

3:20 p.m.

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

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8:02 p.m.

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

Eleanor: And can I have some water?

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

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

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

That’s my girl!


September 9

9:48 p.m.

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

10:09 p.m.

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


September 11

4:44 p.m.

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


September 12

1:57 p.m.

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


September 14

9:41 p.m.

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

Until tonight.

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

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


September 16

6:51 p.m.

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

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September 17

12:52 p.m.

In a parking garage…

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

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

Me: We’ll BOTH go down the stairs.

AS IF!

4:33 p.m.

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

5:56 p.m.

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

9:53 p.m.

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

George: Mom!

Me: What is it honey?

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

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

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

Me: George – you are very special to me.

George: So’s you.

I love my boys.


September 20

7:21 p.m.

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

10:17 p.m.

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

SOMEECARDS1


September 21

12:11 p.m.

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

SOMEECARDS2


September 22

6:13 p.m.

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

SOMEECARDS3

6:54 p.m.

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


September 26

3:24 p.m.

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

7:24 p.m.

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

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

On the upside, it was good timing.


September 27

8:16 p.m.

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

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September 28

8:47 p.m.

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

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9:54 p.m.

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

10:35 p.m.

Is there anything more precious than a sleeping child?

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They Coulda’ Been Great: July 2013

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

July 1

3:30 p.m.

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

July 3

9:00 a.m.

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

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July 3

6:50 p.m.

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

Uh huh.


July 4

9:10 a.m.

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

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

5:32 p.m.

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


July 6

3:50 p.m.

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

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8:10 p.m.

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


July 7

4:40 p.m.

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

Eleanor: Can we skip?

I love kids.


July 8

8:25 a.m.

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

3:20 p.m.

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

10:10 p.m.

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


July 9

7:30 p.m.

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

7:43 p.m.

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


July 11

9:55 a.m.

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


July 14

4:45 p.m.

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

8:45 p.m.

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

Did I mention my son is a kitty cat?


July 16

7:57 p.m.

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

Wise words from George.


July 17

8:22 p.m.

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

That’s depressing…


July 21

8:02 a.m.

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

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simply om necklace

11:19 a.m.

Woods walk with a friend. And jazz hands…

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2:43 p.m.

Just hurt my back vacuuming. Officially old.


July 23

9:17 a.m.

On the walk to camp this morning…

George: This used to be England right?

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

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

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

George: Who?

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

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

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

George: And the CURSE.

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


July 24

9:51 a.m.

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

Feeling ancient.

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

8:13 p.m.

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

George: Look at all of the mosquitoes!

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

George: Okay – I’ll get it right now!

[five minutes later...]

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

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

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

Epilogue: I lived. But just barely.


July 25

6:29 p.m.

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

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

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

Well – no one ever called me a Helicopter Mom.


July 27

3:57 p.m.

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

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


July 28

9:30 p.m.

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

So I’ll basically never sleep again.

Dads.


July 29

8:36 a.m.

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

Eleanor: Especially at the pool.

Morning observations.


July 30

8:18 p.m.

The kids are watching Full House.

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


July 31

8:19 p.m.

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

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

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

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

Me: Yes – thank you for pointing that out.

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

Me: We can stop talking about this now.

Turn Signals

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

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

Probably not the most realistic of long term plans.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Okay Mom. I’ll check.”

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

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

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

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

I put the phone down.

“Mom. I’m putting you on speaker.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

All mothers visit Crazy Town every once in a while.

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

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

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

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

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

Just in case.

TAP2

They Coulda’ Been Great: 2012

8/21/13

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

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

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

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


February 3

7:05 p.m.

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

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February 4

12:00 p.m.

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


February 16

4:55 p.m.

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


March 19

1:50 p.m.

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

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April 9

5:00 p.m.

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

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April 17

4:40 p.m.

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


April 18

2:15 p.m.

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


April 19

7:40 p.m.

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


April 21

10:05 a.m.

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

6:50 p.m.

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

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April 22

8:30 a.m.

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

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April 24

10:35 a.m.

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

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11:15 a.m.

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


April 29

4:20 p.m.

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


April 30

8:50 a.m.

Eleanor: Mama can I have some breakfast?

Me: Sure – what do you want?

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

Let me check today’s circulars…


May 4

1:30 a.m.

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

Related: I hate emoticons.

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

Either way, I always feel like a sell out.

:)


May 5

12:45 p.m.

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


May 6

11:01 p.m.

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

11:40 p.m.

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

LTYM pic


May 7

2:45 p.m.

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

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

Eleanor paper dolls

8:05 p.m.

Typical conversation pattern between Chris and me:

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

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

Chris: No – Jamie didn’t go.

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

Chris: [shrug - "why are you asking me insane questions" face] I don’t know.

Me: What do you mean, “I don’t know?”

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

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

Chris: ["you are crazy" look]

The End

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


May 14

9:15 a.m.

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

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


May 17

8:00 p.m.

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

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

Also? This happens frequently.


May 23

8:25 p.m.

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

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May 25

8:20 p.m.

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

8:28 p.m.

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


May 27

7:35 p.m.

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

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June 2

5:00 p.m.

Eleanor: Mama – what should I draw?

Me: The sun.

Eleanor: And what?

Me: And….flowers growing.

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

Why does she even ask me?


June 12

5:25 p.m.

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


July 8

10:55 a.m.

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

Unrelated: everything is always sticky.


July 9

8:10 p.m.

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

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

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

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


July 13

4:45 p.m.

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

5:00 p.m.

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

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

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

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

My life is weird.


July 14

11:45 a.m.

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

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

Me: Fugs?

Oliver: Yeah – fugs.

Me: What are fugs?

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


July 17

7:10 p.m.

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


July 18

11:10 a.m.

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


July 21

7:30 p.m.

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

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

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


July 22

4:35 p.m.

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


July 25

11:55 a.m.

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

Seriously. HOW do people live without pets.


August 1

2:30 p.m.

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

BW


August 9

8:45 p.m.

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

It’s a legitimate question…


August 16

5:50 p.m.

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

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August 22

8:00 p.m.

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


August 24

5:50 p.m.

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

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August 31

9:30 a.m.

Woods walk feather

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September 5

6:55 p.m.

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

Me: Yes, it’s warm inside our bodies.

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

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

George: OH! so only when it’s WINDY.

Me: …

[five minutes later]

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

Me: Well…you’re still pretty slim…

George: So just a little skinny.

Me: Just a little.

George: But Eleanor isn’t as skinny.

Me: She’s just a little skinny too.

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

Me: WHAT?!

George: Do you know what your…

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

George: For breathing!

Of course.

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


September 13

3:00 p.m.

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

So how about you? How was your day?


September 19

9:05 p.m.

My son, Oliver is so weird…

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September 26

7:25 a.m.

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

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7:50 a.m.

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

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October 7

2:55 p.m.

Group Effort

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October 24

9:15 p.m.

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


November 11

6:00 p.m.

Hierarchy

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November 7

10:25 a.m.

Post election morning banter at my house:

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

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

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

George: AND it’s no use.

Me: Usually.


November 13

5:20 p.m.

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

Me: One would hope.


November 14

7:50 a.m.

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


November 19

6:50 p.m.

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


November 22

8:35 p.m.

Hand turkeys waving goodbye. See you next Thanksgiving!

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November 28

2:35 p.m.

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


December 1

2:00 p.m.

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

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December 2

11:50 p.m.

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


December 6

9:30 a.m.

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


December 8

1:00 p.m.

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

Me: What?

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

Me: We did?

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

Me: What’s that?

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

Me: So wait, first we were demons?

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

Me: What?

George: DEMONS! Because they are huge.

I’m totally lost.


December 10

12:40 p.m.

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


December 11

7:05 p.m.

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


December 15

10:35 a.m.

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

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


December 16

3:55 p.m.

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


December 17

6:05 p.m.

After a visit to the dentist…

Eleanor: Mom – look at my new toothbrush!

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

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

Me: Throw it out.

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

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

9:25 p.m.

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


December 19

4:40 p.m.

Now THAT’S an old recipe!

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7:00 p.m.

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

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

7:40 p.m.

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


December 21

3:40 p.m.

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


December 27

4:40 p.m.

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