Connecting the Dots

The Softness Continues

By KJ / Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Two weeks. They say it takes thirty days to make a habit, but I’m just going to shoot for two weeks. Two weeks of soft. Two weeks of not reacting, of giving, of opening. Two weeks. (I might really be trying to actually change, but shhh…don’t tell me!) For two weeks I will try to give all the kids the me they need when they need me, instead of demanding and battling or just rigidly resisting. It’s obvious that’s going […]

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Best Ferry Ride Ever

By KJ / Thursday, March 31, 2011

Best Ferry Ride Ever Originally uploaded by kjda Only ferry ride ever! KJ Dell’Antonia sent from my iPhone —

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I Am So Not the Person I Wish I Was

By KJ / Thursday, May 5, 2011

I Am So Not the Person I Wish I Was Originally uploaded by kjda I am so mad at them. I am so mad at me. And I would just like to say right now that this is stupid, stupid, stupid. Wyatt and Rory each brought a pop tart in the car on the way to Lily’s after school lacrosse. For Sam and Lily, I brought Oreos. (for those of you who thought we ate some fantastic, snotty organic diet, […]

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When You Need A Special Shirt

By KJ / Thursday, June 9, 2011

Tomorrow is “field day” at Sam and Lily’s school. Lily broke down when she found that she was on the “yellow” team. She did not, she felt, know anyone on the yellow team! Or have a yellow shirt! After some digging it developed that because tomorrow is also her birthday, she wanted to wear something special. Which would not be an old yellow t-shirt, or even a new yellow t-shirt. I wish, she finally said, I had a shirt like […]

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I Hate Being Enlightened

By KJ / Friday, July 8, 2011

A post most emphatically NOT from France (as you’ve probably gathered, I wasn’t posting directly from vacation, due to technical difficulties). The whole point of the last two years plus of my life has been to realize that I control both everything–and nothing. Nothing, in that what happens outside of me–external career stuff, traffic, other people’s emotions, quarantine, illness–I can’t control any of that and I never will. Everything, in that what I do control, completely, is my own reaction […]

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By KJ / Tuesday, August 16, 2011

First we went to the Cape. This we shall universally regard as having been a good idea. Rob and I actually had a relaxing vacation. Periodically he would turn to me and say “you know what I really love? The sound of crying babies.” And I would sigh blissfully back “And screaming toddlers…” And he would reach his hand out from his pool lounge chair and take mine, and we would listen to other people’s babies and toddlers while our […]

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My New Secret Weapon in the Tantrum Wars

By KJ / Thursday, September 8, 2011

Let me just go right ahead and quote from yesterday’s post: …every day he will shout “I hate school! I don’t want to go!” and then when I pick him up he will shout “NO! I am NOT READY TO GO HOME!” Wyatt does poorly with transitions. But for a blissful 7 hours a day (which really seems like rather a lot) that will be someone else’s problem. Today, oh sin of sins, I was early. And it was popcorn […]

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Not the Day He Meant to Have

By KJ / Monday, October 10, 2011

Sam is grumpy, and I know why. He had the day off school, and he really didn’t do anything. Which is partly down to him: he didn’t try to do anything, didn’t look for a friend or set out to build a LavaMaster 5000 or anything like that, and partly down to me. He is ten, after all, much of the really fun stuff he gets to comes from me planning really fun stuff, and today, I didn’t. I was […]

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Motherlode: Does Flying With Kids HAVE to Be That Bad?

By KJ / Sunday, November 6, 2011

After a decade of flying with small children, I’ve learned that what makes the biggest difference isn’t the airline or the other passengers: it’s me. Please, come read more as I return to Motherlode at the New York Times for another week. And comment! Think coffee klatch and start talking’.

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It Looks Like Such a LEETLE Rock.

By KJ / Friday, December 2, 2011

It Looks Like Such a LEETLE Rock. Originally uploaded by kjda KJ Dell’Antonia sent from my iPhone

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Delicious Nutritious Chocolate Cereal Pretzel Mix Part 2 of 4

By KJ / Monday, February 6, 2012

Delicious Nutritious Chocolate Cereal Pretzel Mix Part 2 Originally uploaded by kjda The ingredients and the caloric markup: 1 box Crispix: 1330 calories 2/3 box Wheat Chex 1100 36 g fiber 2/3 box Multi-grain Chex ditto 1 bag Spelt Pretzels 840 calories 38 g fiber 2 bags scharfenberger bittersweet choco baking chunks 680 calories 11g fiber (1360 22) 1 bag scharfenberger semisweet baking chunks 770 calories 11 g fiber 2 squares 280 calories 8 g fiber Sea salt: caloric contribution […]

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Clutter-free (almost) and Happier: Check

By KJ / Sunday, September 30, 2012

I didn’t want to have the toothpaste- crusted, sloppy house that i remembered visiting with dismay growing up. I wanted my mother’s pleasant, clutter- and toothpaste-stain free sanctuary.

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Six Signs Your Parent Is Over-scheduled

By KJ / Monday, September 12, 2016

Look out, kids. Over-schedule your parents, and you might just find yesterday’s lunch trash in today’s lunch.

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When the Wind Blows in Better Weather

By KJ / Wednesday, November 2, 2016

When things are tumultuous, I tend to expect them to get worse, not better. But I’ve realized I’m often wrong.

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Win a Book to Change How You Think About “Busy”

By KJ / Thursday, January 12, 2017

I’ve changed the way I think about time thanks to Laura Vanderkam’s work—and now I’m giving away two copies of her book (and a fun copper bracelet). Read why, and enter.

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September Book Recommendations, Part 2

By KJ / Friday, September 8, 2017

This week, Mary Laura Philpott was a guest on the #AmWriting podcast. Our topic: #Youandyourbookstore, on writers forming relationships with the bookstores we love. I’ve done this before, but Mary Laura convinced me to go all in, and from now on the links to books in this email will be to Indiebound. Click, and you can get the book ordered from your local—or any—independent bookstore. It’s been a good week for reading. Here’s why:       To Siri with Love is Judith Newman’s […]

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Guest Room, or Bedroom?

By KJ / Monday, January 22, 2018

Ok, I’m torn. Here’s the issue: we live in a 4 bedroom house. That’s a nice big house, right? One bedroom is mine and my husband’s (that would be non-negotiable). Our two sons sleep in one, our two daughters in the other, and the third (much the smallest, but with a bathroom) is a guest room. There have been complaints. My daughters are very different people, and they would much prefer not to share a room. So one concocted a plan. […]

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How to have a happier family vacation

Do something fun on your vacation (even if it’s not fun for your kids)

By KJ / Friday, July 13, 2018

It does kids good to do what you want to do—and not just once in a while. Who’s in charge on your family vacation—you, or your kids? Here’s something I learned while researching How to Be a Happier Parent: well over half of parents who travel with kids say they make their children’s happiness the first priority on vacation. And here’s something else: happier parents don’t do that. Instead, they plan trips (among other things) around everyone’s interests, and (within […]

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For Happier Family Holidays, Recite This: Not My Circus, Not My Monkeys

By KJ / Wednesday, November 14, 2018

  Bracing yourself for family visits and family travel over the holidays? Me, too–and I’m prepping my kids as well. Happier family holidays means balancing expectations and planning for, well, pretty much whatever went wrong last year and then some. My tips, below (with my favorite bits highlighted in red). Know why you’re going Not everything about a family holiday trip might be precisely a dream vacation for parents or teens, but if we hold our reason for going close to […]

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It Worked for Virgina

By KJ / Wednesday, February 9, 2005

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The West Wing Finale (Finally)

By KJ / Tuesday, April 12, 2005

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Happy Sprinkle Day to Sam

By KJ / Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Sam’s birthday, his “actual birthday with all the stuff”. His party was a minor comedy of errors: it was supposed to be a construction party, to honor all the work we’re doing on the patio with an outdoor dirt pile and a special sand pile. It rained. Oh, how it rained. But I refused to jettison, because the hourly forecast suggestede that it would STOP raining. I hid all the treats outside, and then the rain came down. The rice […]

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13 Things Hanging Off My Refrigerator

By KJ / Thursday, January 5, 2006

1…. An Emergency contact list for the babysitter. If you look behind it (please don’t) you’ll find information about what to do in the event of both my and my husband’s horrible demises (demeese?) because once we took a plane trip without the kids, and, well, that’s just the way I am. 2. An Olivia the Pig magnet. 3. Anti-W New Yorker cartoon mocking the heartland. (I was born in the heartland, I can mock it.) 4. A toy that, […]

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By KJ / Thursday, April 20, 2006

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Still Out to Lunch

By KJ / Monday, July 24, 2006

Getting this place in shape to show has me reeling and dealing…I’m not writing, I’m not reading, I’m just clean clean cleaning along. I really hope to be back soon!america loan motorcycleloan one financing finance car americaproblem unsecured america loantitle loans car americanequity loans home american dreammaximum amount va loanloan $1000 cash$40,000 loan personal Map

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Toss the Kid a Donut and Have Done with it!

By KJ / Friday, February 23, 2007

My friend over at Three Little Girls is talking about natural childbirth today–or at least, intervention free childbirth. When it comes to intervention, she’s against it. Too high a c-section rate in this country, etc. She pulled off her births without epidurals, too–great if it works for you, and maybe marginally safer, but you don’t get a gold star to wear around afterwards. I know; I’ve done it both ways. You really should get a star–in fact, you should get […]

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. . .

By KJ / Monday, May 7, 2007

. . . Originally uploaded by kjda.

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Raspberry picking (with Billy Idol)

By KJ / Saturday, October 13, 2007

Raspberry picking (with Billy Idol) Originally uploaded by kjda. KJ

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In the leaves

By KJ / Wednesday, October 31, 2007

In the leaves Originally uploaded by kjda. KJ

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Lily in the snow

By KJ / Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Lily in the snow 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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I Have SKILLS! (OK, one skill)

By KJ / Monday, March 17, 2008

Ok, so recently I was having, yanno, a bad day. One of THOSE days. And during the course of it, the dog swallowed a candy necklace, which I thought little of, being awfully busy yelling at small people and tripping over small people and muttering unkind things under my breath about the small people and all, plus the dishwasher and the laundry and lunch, oh, lunch, can’t I have chocolate milk with my lunch? And after a bit I noticed […]

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Not at Starbucks, But Not Lost, Either

By KJ / Friday, April 18, 2008

Not at Starbucks, But Not Lost, Either Originally uploaded by kjda. Where in the world is KJ? The Mad Hatter Cafe, Durham, NC. Rob very carefully showed me how to get here last night, but…let’s just sat its A good thing the iPhone has a little button you can push to figure out where you are, or I would be in Georgia by now.

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A summer tea party

By KJ / Tuesday, July 8, 2008

A summer tea party 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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I Like Rain

By KJ / Tuesday, September 9, 2008

I Like Rain Originally uploaded by kjda. Especially thunderstorms. Always have. I can remember starting a new school on a stormy day and knowing I would be “on”, that this one would be good, and it was. Thunderstorms fill me with energy. I want to do things, things I have been meaning to do, a Facebook page, a game with Sam, everything. Of course writing this, I am procrastinating the work I actually NEED to do…

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Spider eats damsel

By KJ / Saturday, October 25, 2008

Spider eats damsel Originally uploaded by kjda. KJ Dell’Antonia

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All dressed and ready to go

By KJ / Tuesday, January 20, 2009

All dressed and ready to go Originally uploaded by kjda. KJ Dell’Antonia

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Maybe Jews aren’t early risers (and maybe they’re onto something)

By KJ / Sunday, April 12, 2009

There has been a lot of discussion in our household lately about the history of the two major religions that intersect here. Twice a year, sometimes three times, these things come up more often than they usually do. There was a time when there was some acrimony, with Rob blaming me for the ubiquity of Christmas and me demanding, shrieking even, to know why Sephardic Jews can eat rice during Passover but Ashkenazi Jews cannot, thus leaving us with 10 […]

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Bride, Groom and Wee attendants

By KJ / Sunday, May 24, 2009

Bride, Groom and Wee attendants Originally uploaded by kjda Lily is sick and one not top happy flower girl. Sam at least is enjoying himself! KJ Dell’Antonia sent from my iPhone

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Best Pool in Beijing

By KJ / Wednesday, June 17, 2009

We’re here, at the Grand Hyatt in Beijing. The pool, I’m told, looks “just like Ariel’s castle” and was a huge hit. We only managed a few hours of sleep on the plane, and tried to do a little too much when we got here (even though it wasn’t much at all). We thought a swim would tire them out, and it did–so much so that they all fell asleep at dinner, which we tried to do right around the […]

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How it all works

By KJ / Wednesday, June 24, 2009

I’ve realized that it’s not really all that clear to everyone exactly how we got here, so I’ll try to explain. The people seated behind Rob and the boys on the plane did NOT have a fever when we got off the flight. But once they felt sick, they called the authorities (and we don’t know how sick they are, so we will forgive them for that), and two of them tested positive for H1n1. So they came for us, […]

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By KJ / Monday, June 29, 2009

We are one sleepy family–what a day. Rory came to the hotel with three women she’d never met before today, and no one from her foster home. When we came in she was wailing–in English–I want to go home! I knelt down and started whispering in her ear–I knew her foster mother had told her that this was ok, that she could go with us and we would take good care of her, and she let me pick her up, […]

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Warming up–to our babysitter!

By KJ / Tuesday, July 14, 2009

We’re discovering a pattern, and it’s a good one. Once something happens once–she meets someone, we go somewhere, someone leaves the house and comes back–and nothing dramatic happens, then it’s ok. It’s worthy of interest, and possibly comment. One thing that’s important is that I notice what’s happening. Mama, come see. Come see Heather. Come see Eli’s daddy. Once I’ve seen—Yes, it’s Heather! Hi Heather! Big deal greeting…. Then we can all go on, somewhat hesitantly. Today is the third […]

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The Mother You Get (and also, a little background)

By KJ / Tuesday, July 28, 2009

When I think about it, all of my kids have had a totally different mother. They all had certain traits in common–overwhelmed, low on patience, mildly irritable–but in terms of permissiveness, we–the four mothers I have been–have run the gamut. When I was Sam’s mother, and only Sam’s mother, I made all of his baby food. I can tell you precisely when he had his first lollipop (Easter 2002–thanks mom!). Salty snacks were limited, and fell into the faux-good-for-you category. […]

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Everyone enjoys themselves in their own way

By KJ / Thursday, August 6, 2009

Everyone enjoys themselves in their own way Originally uploaded by kjda KJ Dell’Antonia sent from my iPhone

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Tomorrow’s dinner!

By KJ / Monday, August 17, 2009

Tomorrow’s dinner! Originally uploaded by kjda KJ Dell’Antonia sent from my iPhone

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This Rory I Like

By KJ / Saturday, September 5, 2009

She’s getting used to us. I have judged her harshly these past weeks, this girl. I have a personal problem, which is that I invariably believe that whatever is happening right now must and will continue to happen exactly like this, world without end, forever and ever, etc. This applies with kids–Lily will always be unreasonable about the blue plate, therefore I should go buy all blue plates and just end this issue now (so last month)–and in other ways–I […]

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Nietzsche and Adoption

By KJ / Thursday, September 17, 2009

I don’t know about you, but I worry about my pampered bio kids sometimes. I moved and changed schools multiple times as a kid. I hated it; it was awful. My mom worked and, much as she did for me, there wasn’t anybody to bring me my lunch if I forgot it. As I got older, I had more responsibilities, and a few more baddish things to live through, etc. So I had my (small compared to, say, Jeannette Walls) […]

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Meeting the Guo Jis

By KJ / Sunday, September 27, 2009

We met up with the Guo Jis today. Much, much bonding. Among those adults crazed enough to adopt themselves into biggish although not huge families–or possibly those women crazy enough to come up with it, and those men crazy enough to marry said women. But no, let us admit that we are all crazy, and that that craziness seems to spread into other attitudes–about life, mountain biking and its importance, many although not all general child-rearing practices and, I suspect, […]

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Happy Halloween!

By KJ / Monday, October 12, 2009

Happy Halloween! Originally uploaded by kjda KJ Dell’Antonia sent from my iPhone

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Playing Family

By KJ / Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Lily, Rory and Wyatt are devotedly and cooperatively playing an enthusiastic game of family with Rory’s doll house. (“Special for me!” but she lets them play. Sometimes.) So far I’ve heard the children go for an airplane ride, someone prepare dinner and ask how a school day was, a very convincing crying baby (that caused Rob to worriedly consider a rescue, but I was pretty sure it was faux, and I was right) and now, some kind of building. The […]

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