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A Rory-ism

A Rory-ism Originally uploaded by kjda "I got see that." "I got look." "Let me see!" Rory never believes us. There’s no more, we say, as in no more chips in the bowl or no more tea in the pot. No yogurt in the fridge. No chocolate milk. She never, ever takes our word for it. She trusts us in every other way: dress her, lift her down from the counter, jump into our arms from a brick wall, but […]

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Sigh.

Long day here. Lots of shuttling and shuffling, a little dose of art camp, the brilliant idea to take all kids to the beading store. All of which went fine, it was just–after all my happy post yesterday, I have to say I felt overwhelmed. The day started with me breaking yet another glass milk bottle, this time in the garage, just as we were leaving to pick up our poor carpool-ee. Got that cleaned up, forgot Sam’s bike for […]

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Kids on Bikes

Kids on Bikes Originally uploaded by kjda KJ Dell’Antonia sent from my iPhone —

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Water, Water Everywhere

Country living is batting 1 for three today. On the one hand, the kids spent yesterday’s rainy afternoon, romping, looking for frogs, walking in the puddles on the dirt road from a neighbor’s house. On the other, we have three floods in the basement (unfinished and full of crap, but still) and the bottom of our driveway washed out–it’s still passable, but not by much. The rain seems to have passed, the clouds are hanging a little more lightly over […]

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Triangulation

We adopted out of birth order. This is a sin against the standard advice regarding adoption, I know, and one we committed utterly blithely. But he’s a baby, we said of the baby. He’ll always be the baby, and so birth order will be preserved! Of course, our youngest was three—no baby—when we adopted his also 3-year-old sister, 6 months older than he. When she turned four he felt betrayed. Not good. But that passed. He’s the baby now, demands […]

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Be My, Be My Baby

Last week, inspired by lots of things–one parenting guru (Vicki Hoefle, of Parenting on Track, whose cult I am totally joining), one excellent book that purports to be about parenting the ADHD child, but is really about examining your parenting style in the middle of your kid’s childhood and figuring out who you really want to be as your grade schooler turns into a teen (that would be Katherine Ellison’s Buzz: A Year of Paying Attention), my feeling of relative […]

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As Others See Us

We had school conferences tonight. Or rather, Rob had school conferences, since he unilaterally changed Rory and Wy’s conferences to a time I couldn’t make, and then, because they filled, couldn’t change them back–but then, he couldn’t make the time I’d chosen, so who am I to talk? In any case, Rob, armed with my questions, went. My questions boiled down to: “is Wyatt interested enough?” And “is Rory managing to learn anything?” My perception being that Wyatt, who does […]

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Independent Packing

What does it say about me that up until now, for every trip, I have made myself insane completing every last detail of every bit of the packing? As in, I charge their Nintendos. I pack their carry-ons. I make sure each kid has just the right workbook or crayons, or every member of the mini SuperWhy team. I put carefully distributed snacks in them. I pack their clothes, matched, clean, suitable. Etc. I micro-manage the whole process, and it […]

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How the Crazy Person Bikes

How the Crazy Person Bikes Originally uploaded by kjda I don’t know what we were complaining about–it’s 32 degrees, and technically above freezing. KJ Dell’Antonia sent from my iPhone —

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Happy Easter, Part two

Happy Easter, Part two Originally uploaded by kjda Things I did right this year: Four sets dye, four sets cups, LOTS of eggs. (although Rory just said "I need more egg. She never really quite gets the idea of enjoying the process–for her, it’s a race to speed-dye the eggs, or frost the cookies, or whatever.) Bought white eggs in the next (bigger) town over. New England hens lay brown eggs, which dye more, well, subtly. Took this picture before […]

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The Real Reason My Kids Will Learn to Be Responsible

The Real Reason My Kids Will Learn to Be Responsible Originally uploaded by kjda This is Rory wearing Lily’s shorts for soccer. Rory is wearing Lily’s shorts for soccer because although I noticed this morning that she was wearing long pants, I promptly forgot, and although I brought everyone’s shirts and shin guards and cleats, I forgot to bring her shorts, and I also forgot all three soccer balls. In theory, they should pack for soccer themselves. But I have […]

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Ice Cream and Coffee

We went to an outdoor cafe today, and the kids ordered ice creams–like, Dove Bar kind of stuff-and Espresso. And the waitress was all seriously? And I said, oh yeah. Really, they mean it. Espresso. And she brought it, with one sugar each, and disappeared, and that’s how they drank it. Except that they dipped their ice cream bars in. Affrogato on a stick. Why not? It’s summer, after all….

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Best $8 I Ever Spent

Best $8 I Ever Spent Originally uploaded by kjda Rory is in love. His name is Sea, or possibly Fast. If you let go of him, he “run away” in the wind over the pool, and you have to swim after him. You can wear him to jump in. You can wear him to climb out. And he is only for Rory. She saw another little girl in one at the pool today and asked, just oh so very nicely. […]

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The Respected House

Two weeks ago or so, I posted about how we (I) cleaned an organized our hall/entry/mudroom to get ready for school starting. This past Sunday, with all of us trapped at home staying out of hurricane range, I called Rob into the playroom/family room. How, I asked, do you think the sofa would look turned sideways? Well, he said, let’s try it. Yes! Sam shouted. I demurred. If we moved the sofa we had to move the train table. Move […]

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Always the Mom Who’s Behind

Tonight was “open school night” or “back to school” night or something like that at Sam and Lily’s school. No kids, just parents in the classroom. Don’t tell Lily, but because we’ve been second grade parents before, we defaulted more towards Sam’s class, although Rob went to her teacher’s main presentation, and I rolled in for the tail end and to ask a key question. In Sam’s class, though, I focused. I listened to the lovely, lovely teacher. I copied […]

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Carving the Pumpkin Harvest

Wyatt was super excited. “Let’s carve penguins!” I was all, dude, that’s going to be so messy. But frankly the pumpkins were messy enough. As usual, my eyes were bigger than my carving stomach. We had a TON of pumpkins to carve. Fortunately Sam turned out to enjoy gutting them nearly as much as he did carving the faces. And like so many things, pumpkin carving is easier but still not precisely idyllic when your youngest kid is five. They […]

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Wyatt in a tree

Wyatt in a tree Originally uploaded by kjda KJ Dell’Antonia sent from my iPhone

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Cause That’s Just How We Roll

Cause That’s Just How We Roll Originally uploaded by kjda Yeah yeah yeah, they’re late.

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Farewell, Mystery Twitter Dude (Plus, How to Have a Good Birthday Party)

My dad just alerted me to the fact that my Twitter widget was broadcasting someone else–I changed my handle, but not the widget code, a few weeks ago and apparently this is the inevitable result: whoops! He looked like he had a very interesting life and an entirely different twitter audience than me… Today was Lily’s actual birthday, and I’m proud to say that after last year’s, which could have been used as the MTV video for “It’s My Birthday […]

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One Big Happy Conference

K Howdy from Mom 2.0. I’m listening to Julie Zhuo at Facebook talk to three women who started Facebook groups that grew like crazy (Jessie Lorenz, Tahemeem Shaik, Thorunn Magnisdottir), after walking through halls of women and media companies and brands. Overheard: “the people who really love what I’m doing have followed me there” “what are your goals for the conference?” “If we build it that way it will really attract a broad audience” and a hundred other comments from […]

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The Richest Months

I love spring and I love summer—and I ADORE Halloween—but the coming season is the real meat of the year.

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You want to give experiences, not things—but that’s not as easy as it sounds. 

Ok, you know the drill. I know the drill. The best gifts, for our over-indulged children and our cluttered homes and the simple lifestyle we aspire to in the post-Kondo world are experiences, not things. Got it. But that’s a hard standard to live up to, right? Experiences take time and effort. Having given them, you, too, often must experience them. And as much as I don’t feel the need to add more Lego to our collection, I also don’t really […]

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Back to School: Friend or Foe?

I wasn’t ready for summer to end, or kids to go back to school, until suddenly I was.

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You Are the Parent I Wish I Was.

We’re all doing what we think is important, and we’re all doubting, wondering if another road is smoother or more likely to include a bus stop for success.

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The two things I learned about chores that made a difference

Okay, one of these just kind of sucks. And the other actually helps. Here is perhaps the biggest takeaway from the chores chapter of How to Be a Happier Parent: kids will do chores. Seriously. They’re all capable. The only difference between a kid who doesn’t do chores and the 5-year-old in Peru’s Amazon region hauling “logs bigger than her legs” to help build a fire is (I hate this, I really do): Us. Man, that blows. But there really […]

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#AmWriting NaNoWriMo Countdown: 7 Weeks and Starting a New Project from Scratch

Nanmowrimo (National Novel Writing Month, held annually in November and challenging writers to draft a 50,000 word novel in a month–that’s 1666.66 words a day) is exactly 7 weeks away as I write. 49 days. And I need a new story. My agent has a draft of the novel I wrote over the course of NaNoWriMo last year (I’d estimate that about 10K words of that draft remained in the final draft, which went through another 5-6 iterations and benefited […]

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At the Bike Races

My house is cleaned, when it is cleaned, by three fabulous women. I believe this is for the best, because it’s not really a job for a single individual, particularly not one who is easily daunted. It is certainly not a job for me. Last week, these women went on vacation. All together, along with the other four women that make up this cleaning company. Packed their bags and headed to Disney. Before they left, Lori (who’s in charge, at […]

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Forecast: Mild Depression, with Possible Sloughs of Dispond

It’s raining here today. It also rained yesterday, and the day before that. The Day before that the sun was out for a bit in the morning, and then it…rained. Tomorrow we’re expecting rain, followed by clouds, which will be accompanied by rain. Oh, and then it’s going to rain. But not to worry, because the day after that, it’s going to rain. And, just in case you were a bit worried about drought, this weekend we’re expecting rain. I’m […]

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Tact for the Pregnant

Tonight at book club I sat next to a girl, somewhat younger than me, about four weeks away from having her second baby and more than ready. We were talking about how weird those last few days were, when you know it’s going to happen, but you don’t know when. “I really realized it when I bought milk with an expiration date that was past my due date,” she said. “I felt like it was sort of a cross between […]

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How Are You Feeling?

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War, Satelites and Gravity

Those are some of the subjects I discussed with Sam today. Yes, I explained war to my almost five-year-old as he sat in the “way back” of the minivan.(I’m not sure whether to thank NPR or the president, but I really can’t listen to Dan Zanes all the time.) I got to bellow it, because it’s a little hard to hear back there, and he kept asking me to repeat myself. Apparently I wasn’t making any sense, and it took […]

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Sleep…They

Wyatt is in that must pull up, must stand, must get tooth or something phase. Lily is in the “lie down with me” phase. They don’t sleep, or not for long. I had to take a break from writing this post to put Lily back to bed. If it were just one or the other, we could tag team, retrain, something… but it is both, and we are just barely treading water. And again. And again. In fact, she’s sitting […]

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Wy’s party

Wy’s party Originally uploaded by kjda. At lily’s school.

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Halloween–and bedtime– came early

Halloween–and bedtime– came early Originally uploaded by kjda. KJ

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Sam’s school

Sam’s school Originally uploaded by kjda.

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Buy Nothing Month(s)

I am not buying anything in January and February except books, food and toilet paper (which really represents the entire category of non-food essentials from toothpaste on but is limited to disposable items one actually does run out of and need. Therefore, lip gloss–which I am unlikely to run out of for several years–would be a no.) Rob’s response was a mystified “Why?” Somebody else asked me to expand on the rules, and when I say “I”, does that include […]

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More on Why Wyatt is Brilliant

Today he hugged Sam, turned to me and said “Sam is taller than me.” Rob has all three kids at the grocery store. He’s known for this: everyone at the Co-op and in fact everyone in town gives him big props for his willingness to do something most parents (let alone dads) will not. He just straps them all into a giant cart and ignores them, if you believe what he says. And I do notice that they don’t give […]

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Sam: the world’s best sport

Sam: the world’s best sport Originally uploaded by kjda. KJ Dell’Antonia (Please attribute any drastic spelling and punctuation errors to my poor thumb-typing and creative autocorrect.)

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Before the wedding

Before the wedding Originally uploaded by kjda. KJ Dell’Antonia (Please attribute any drastic spelling and punctuation errors to my poor thumb-typing and creative autocorrect.)

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Worth it.

Worth it. Originally uploaded by kjda. KJ Dell’Antonia When biking in unknown parts of Vermont, it is best to remember that Vermonters do not use the word “Hill” in road names lightly. As in, Trapp Hill Road. THey don’t use it in a pretty, suburban midwestern isn’t the idea of rolling hills just so pretty kind of way. No, they use it because there is a big, trucks changing gears bear-came-over-it kind of, yanno, hill, and that’s what the road […]

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Of Laundry baskets and bicycles

My fingers are crossed for you about the house. I mean, somebody has to sell houses…Somebody has to be credit-worthy, right? I am glad Dad enjoyed the tale of the flooded stove. That was just par for the course, really. It wasn’t even an unusual day. Today’s big highlight was the purchase of two new laundry baskets. We lost a laundry basket sometime last year. I do not see how tt is possible–no one does–but there it is, it is […]

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Grace in action

Grace in action Originally uploaded by kjda. KJ Dell’Antonia

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“Jumbo” Rice Krispie Treats

"Jumbo" Rice Krispie Treats, originally uploaded by kjda. As in, Rice Krispie Treats (yum!) made from new “jumbo” rice krispies–more fiber! Whole grains! The minute I opened the box I had my doubts. Tasted one, and doubted even more. So I mixed them–half and half–and still. So not worth it. A belated look at the ingredients reveals that Rice Krispies contain: Rice. Malt. Maybe one other thing. The Jumbos–a huge list of all kinds of crap. They taste something like […]

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My Bag of Rocks

My Bag of Rocks, originally uploaded by kjda. Geez, what’s in there, a bag of rocks? Why, yes! It’s a metaphorical bag of rocks, too. I am carrying a lot of baggage, lately.

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First Farmer’s Market on the Green

First Farmer’s Market on the Green Originally uploaded by kjda KJ Dell’Antonia sent from my iPhone

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Good Morning Snaily

Good Morning Snaily Originally uploaded by kjda It is very cool here in the morning. The fountain isn’t on, which the fish seem to prefer. They are swimming around. You can see the dead ones floating around in the water clearly. There are two. There is a couple playing badmitten. They seem to be having fun. I like to imagine them reconnecting, now that they have to spend a week together in quarantine. Maybe the last time they played badmitten […]

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The Pringle Fairy

If asked, I can state with confidence that the maximum number of days one family should spend pretty much cooped up a room together is…6. Not seven. Seven seems to be just that much too much. But we are getting there. They just took our temperature for the last time. We just had our temperatures taken for the last time. We ate our last lunch. We filled out a form that even had a box for “comments about our stay”. […]

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Re-entry: Not Pretty

Some of my publishable thoughts on arriving home: Whoa. We got in at 11:00 night before last and the kids were up until 3. We hauled them through yesterday, even taking Sam and Lily to a tennis lesson and getting the boys a haircut–and put them to bed at a relatively normal time (when Rob and I were nearly asleep standing) but at 1:30 the first of them–Rory–appeared. And this is where the fact that they all sleep in the […]

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And, Again.

I would post, but how many times can I say that this is hard? How many times can I detail the ways I’ve failed today, or the ways I’ve taken my frustration out on my family? How many times can you hear, again, that I have simply got too many small children…too many to take to the bathroom. To many to cut up fruit for, too many to mix chocolate milk for, too many to watch in the swimming pool, […]

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Ok, I Give In, No More Ambien

I have always relied on my ability to sleep. I drop off the minute I hit the pillow, regardless of circumstances, and I sleep solid–even that ever-present alertness that comes with a baby and a monitor only threw me a little off my stride. Until…this. I honestly don’t know if it was Rory, or China. I’d doze, but I couldn’t sleep, not really sleep, not the deep velvety stuff with the dreams you don’t know are dreams, and it was […]

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Resources

I've got Ten Mantras for Happier Parents (based on the research for my book, How to Be a Happier Parent). They've worked for me—want to try them?

Hi, I’m KJ. Can I send you something?