Kids live here

I’d like to invite you into my home for a minute. Come on in!

Oh! Those are just milk and orange juice stains on the couch, but if you’d rather sit in one of the chairs, you can move those Legos! (That couch has also been with us through two newborns and two potty-trainings, but I’d never bring this up in front of you, my guest.)

Anyway. Can I get you a glass of water, or maybe a cup of coffee?

The living room floor, as you can see, is a little cluttered—watch out for the stack of library books, the Shopkins “setup” (please don’t touch that), the train whistle, the Magna Doodle, and those Crate & Barrel throw pillows I splurged on a few years ago. (I thought for sure we’d be able to keep them in good shape, but as it turns out they make the perfect lily pads for child-size frogs when the rug is a pond.)

Don’t worry about using a coaster. No, seriously.

Please click here to read the rest of this essay for Kindred Mom’s Cultivating Home series. I’m honored to be a Writer-in-Residence on the Kindred Mom team this fall!

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“Less house, more home” sign in photo above is from Chalk Full of Design.

Just eat something

I don’t like to label my kids, but sometimes you’ve got to call it like you see it, and what I see are a couple of picky eaters.

This doesn’t surprise me much—I’m a picky eater too. In my defense, as an adult I eat a whole lot more than my childhood staples of peanut butter and jelly, macaroni and cheese, buttered noodles, sour cream and onion Pringles, and salad. (I use the term salad loosely, because I’m not 100 percent sure that iceberg lettuce drowned in Hidden Valley Ranch counts.) And for my kids’ part, they both eat foods that as an adult, I still steer clear of.  

Even so, I feel the need to offer a disclaimer: If you’re looking for words of advice or practical tips on getting your kids to broaden their palate horizons, you might need a different essay from a different mom.

I can, however, offer you a fist bump or a high five or a hug, whichever you prefer, and some solidarity if you, too, find yourself dreading dinnertime because feeding little people can be hard.

Please click here to read the rest of this essay for Kindred Mom’s Around the Table series. I’m honored to be a Writer-in-Residence on the Kindred Mom team this fall!

 

The Tooth Fairy Chronicles

My oldest daughter lost her first tooth—bottom front—a little over a week past her sixth birthday. We’d been waiting for that tiny, wiggly thing to fall out for far too long. I went jelly-legged every time she showed me how she could push it all the way forward and back with her tongue. (What is it about loose teeth that makes me feel like I need to put my head between my knees?)

Our excitement and anticipation over the Tooth Fairy’s first visit was palpable.

Did I mention that this child of mine is the queen of bric-a-brac, a collector of Important Items? Recently evicted baby teeth, we were about to learn, were very important…

I’m delighted to be a contributor to the Kindred Mom blog today with a fun little piece about Tooth Fairy correspondence. Please click here to read the rest!

Peace, joy, and cheese balls

This essay first appeared in the November 20, 2017 issue of The Drafting Desk.


Every Thanksgiving Day, my side of the family gathers at the same home we moved into when I was five and participates in one of our most sacred and meaningful holiday traditions.

My four sisters, husband, niece, nephew, and brothers-in-law (and now, my own children too), circle up, lay down some ground rules, and begin… our annual cheese ball competition.

That’s right—not joining hands and going around the table saying what we’re thankful for, not baking pumpkin pie together, not making handprint turkeys with the kids.

No, we commemorate this day of gratitude by lining up to take turns seeing how many cheese balls we can consecutively catch in our mouths. (Three misses, and it’s on to the next player.)

I’ll wait while you pin the idea to your Thanksgiving board on Pinterest. Continue reading

After the storm

What a strange week it’s been.

The scramble and stress of preparing for a hurricane of unprecedented size and strength to make landfall; the waiting (and waiting and waiting) for it to arrive where you live; the terror of sitting in complete darkness through the night listening to howling winds, cracking trees, and thumps on the roof; the feeling of relief washing over as we woke Monday morning to discover daylight had come, we were all ok, and so were our friends and family members.

We stepped outside cautiously that morning to assess damages and marveled with our neighbors at what had fallen where, confirming everyone had fared all right and asking who needed what. Then we all picked up our rakes and chainsaws and got to work, on our own yards and each other’s.

Fallen trees can be cleaned up, busted fences can be replaced, wet stuff will dry, broken things can be fixed. Electricity will be restored… eventually.

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Continue reading

See ya, summer (and a back-to-school prayer)

Last year as summer came to a close, I wrote a bit about my struggles with long breaks from school, those wretched summer bucket lists (if you do them, high five!), and my mixed feelings about sending two little girls off to school.

This year I was a tad more settled and at home in my own summer mom skin. That meant fewer planned activities and more flying by the seat of our pants, and it suited them and me just fine. Our weeks peeled off the calendar so quickly I’m having trouble remembering exactly how we filled the days. There was potty training. (Truly, I counted the summer a smashing success once that week was over. Done! I’m out! To-do list complete!) There were day camps and a handful of playdates. Lots of painting and coloring. TV- and movie-watching (this is real life). A sleepover. Swimming at grandparents’ houses and the community pool, and attempting to swim in the inflatable thing we picked up from Target. One—one!—trip to the beach. A birthday trip to the American Girl store.

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But for the last week or so, fourth grade and preschool have been calling these girls’ names. New lunchboxes have been selected. Class lists have been posted. Both are thrilled that the start of school is now just a few short days away.

So am I. I am excited for them, and frankly, I am excited for me.

Is that okay to publicly acknowledge? I hope so.

But before I shuffle them out the door next week and maybe do a little dance, I want to pray them off. Continue reading

Eggs in a Basket: About Secondary Infertility

“For the next four years I hovered in a confusing place of wondering whether I was even capable of conceiving another child. If it was medically impossible, I didn’t want to know. When you start marking years off the calendar, you begin to assume the worst.

Learning about secondary infertility from an article online was the catalyst for me to let go of my dreams. It was a self-diagnosis, but it was enough. We enrolled Evelyn in preschool; I went back to work. We dipped our toes into adoption research. Life just… moved on.” 

Today I have the honor of sharing a bit of my family’s story as a guest on the Kindred Mom blog. Please click here to read the rest!