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I Don’t Wanna Hafta

I’m grumpy. I have no good reason to be grumpy, exactly. I just spent three nights–THREE–with just Sam at a hockey tournament, where I cooked nothing, cleaned little (our room was knee hockey headquarters for a while, so some cleaning was necessary) and put up with very little in the way of whining or complaint. (They lost. Lots. But we expected to, it was in MA and while we here in Hanover take our hockey way too seriously, we look […]

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Hello New York!

Hello New York! Originally uploaded by kjda KJ Dell’Antonia sent from my iPhone –

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Oops

Oops Originally uploaded by kjda Apparently, some time in the past few weeks I missed a memo from the school. KJ Dell’Antonia sent from my iPhone

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I Am a Purple T-Shirt

If I was trying to punish him for not telling me he needed a purple shirt, I failed miserably. (Happily, I wasn’t.) Because apparently it was a big hit.

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The All-Lily All-Year School Work Review

Do you, at the end of the school year, when all the binders and the art and the whatnot come home in the various bags, do anything appropriate with them? I’m trying to make sure that Sam and Lily understand that their school work is VERY IMPORTANT to us. But those piles have been sitting in the hall for weeks. So this weekend I piled them up on the dining room table, and tonight Lily seized on hers and sat […]

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The Pattern Trap

I’ve been re-reading some old blog and journal entries from our first weeks home with Rory. Mostly, I’m seeing how amazingly far we’ve come (and how painful it was to get there). But then there was this, taken from an incident just two months after we came home from China. (Because of her foster home, Rory spoke some basic English when she first arrived.) I decided to make Rice Krispie Treats with Wyatt. I read Rory a book first. When […]

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Get Up! Get Up!

It really bothers my children to see me sit on the sofa. This may be because for many years, I did not have any opportunity to sit down. I kept us so busy that we were rarely home, in part because I was a little afraid to be alone with all of these kids, who might want me to play Candyland. I hate Candyland. And then when we were home, it was all very active. We were baking! We were […]

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Snot and the Yogi

I really don’t think we talk enough about snot. That’s by way of a warning that if you don’t actually WANT to talk about snot, I highly recommend you head over to Motherlode (http://parenting.blogs.nytimes.com/), where I am not writing about snot, and I would love to see you (I am particularly proud of today’s post: http://parenting.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/10/12/putting-down-the-ipad-so-my-kids-can-see-me-read/ ). But this is about snot. After a week and a half of no exercise, thanks to the kind of sinus infection that causes […]

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Panic!

Panic! Originally uploaded by kjda

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Who Needs a Nutcracker

Who Needs a Nutcracker Originally uploaded by kjda Apparently not us. The blurs are rocks. My kids have gone prehistoric on me.

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Delicious Nutritious Chocolate Cereal Pretzel Mix Part 1 of 4

Delicious Nutritious Chocolate Cereal Pretzel Mix Part 1 Originally uploaded by kjda You know you want some. I just made TONS. My special gift to me. Recipe below. KJ

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Behind the Scenes at Motherlode: Sam’s Sugared Cranberries

I refer to this recipe in a post on Wednesday, November 21, 2012–and I’m packing them up for the trip to Fairfax County/DC right now. Sam’s Sugared Cranberries 1 lb fresh cranberries, picked over 2 cups sugar 2 cups superfine sugar, for rolling Make simple syrup: combine 2 cups sugar with 2 cups boiling water and stir until sugar is dissolved. Let cool. (Let COOL. LET COOL. If you pour it over the cranberries now, they will burst.) Divide cranberries […]

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Use It Up, Wear It Out: why we should quit saving stuff for later

So I bought these charcoal exfoliating wipes at Sephora. They’re really quite fantastic. One side cleans, and the other is all nubbly and exfoliating (thus the name). I’m delighted with them. I’m trying to fade a brown spot on the side of my face, and I think they will speed the process along. There is only one problem. I used one yesterday. And I used one tonight. And there are only 25 in the package. So there are only 23 […]

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One-Day Writers Retreat, an Incoherent Series of Thoughts Thereupon.

I’m in Durham, North Carolina with my husband, who’s here for some meetings. One day doesn’t seem like much, but since my high school carpool fell through my writing days have been a shortened mess–I HAVE a babysitter to pick my kids up from school, but she is but one human and there are two schools, not close to each other, letting out at the same time. It occurs to me as I write this that I could probably find […]

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#AmWriting’s Tax Tips for Writers Download

Episode 39 of the #AmWriting podcast was all about taxes for writers. Jess stunned me with her organization and then laid out a plan to follow for 2017, and we dished about getting things together and organizing our deductions and whatnot for 2016. To go with it, Jess made a Tax Tips for Writers download, and then I lined it all up so that you guys can get it. Just sign up here, and our Tax Tips for Writers download […]

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School transition bringing out your child’s more challenging side? Slow down, give in, let things go.

It’s happening again. Every year, just as school starts, we find ourselves in a place I thought we’d left behind. The kids on edge, constantly provoking, teasing and pushing one another’s buttons. One child’s skin so thin she might burst. Tantrums, oddities and tics return. What’s up? You’d think something big was going on and—oh. Yeah. School’s started. A new teacher. A new grade. New expectations and old ones that have never been easy. It’s a challenging time for all […]

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Why You Need a ‘Buy It Later’ Button

This is from my weekly email. Normally, I like to have the email essay go only to subscribers, but I had so many requests to share this that I posted it here. If you’d like to get my weekly short essays on How to Be a Happier Parent (even when I’m not), you should subscribe! It’s free and fun and usually cheerful. Except for that one time with the car thing.) Here’s what we did last week: swapped rooms. One […]

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Happier Family Travel: Tech Hasn’t Changed Road Trips as Much as You’d Think

For our family vacation this summer, we drove, with another family, from Phoenix to Las Vegas, hitting assorted national parks and forests and monuments along the way. The trip itself was spectacular, and if you haven’t done it, I recommend it. The road trip aspect of our travels was spectacular too, in a whole different way. It’s been a long time since we’ve packed the four kids into the car and driven for hours through spectacular scenery. They’re older (17, […]

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Sometimes Happier, Sometimes …

If you had your crystal ball handy yesterday, and chose to peek in at me and my three younger kids around 3:30, you would have judged us all pretty harshly. One was on the floor, surrounded by a mess of their own making, kicking another, who was nastily mocking the mess and the sibling and anything else. Another was wildly defending some earlier transgression. As for me, I was yelling mightily at anyone in sight. They were horrible people, all […]

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Upgrade in Progress

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On Gratitude, the Media, and Michael Jackson

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Three Shots (and

It was Sam’s annual check-up today, an event he’s been preparing for by reading Blue’s Check-up and conducting mock doctor’s appointments for months. He enjoyed himself vastly as they checked his vision and his hearing , weighed him, measured him and produced, as promised, an otoscope and a stethoscope. He was most pleased, and reasonably charming. Until the medical student and doctor exited, and the nurses arrived. They tried to be nice. One, a gregarious, gigantic guy named Kevin, was […]

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All Manuscripts MUST…

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The bribe

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“Just one stomach virus away from my goal weight!”

The best things about the past 24 hours: We weren’t, like certain friends of ours, camping out overnight in an unheated cabin. Good news anytime, but if most of the family is going to spend the night hunched over the toilet, it’s definitely a plus that there IS a toilet. I wasn’t pregnant, so I didn’t have to both barf and panic; I could concentrate on the barfing. No one threw up on anything that couldn’t be cleaned with relative […]

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Losing the Baby Weight, Secrets of (Don’t Expect Too Much)

I can say, I think, even though we don’t own a scale (well, I think we must, but I don’t know where it is or whether we have batteries for it), that I have finally lost the baby weight. From all three babies. In fact, I’m a pnts size smaller than when I had Sam–which I suspect means nothing more than that pants sizing has changed, because I know what I was like then and what I’m like now, and […]

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And an elf.

And an elf. Originally uploaded by kjda. KJ

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Now I am Dangerously Cheesy

Now I am Dangerously Cheesy Originally uploaded by kjda. Comic created with Comic Life from plasq – http://plasq.com

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The cross country ski “polar bears”

The cross country ski "polar bears" 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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A Spring Song (By Sam)

Spring is here Spring is here The ice is off the river The snow is kind of deep The mud is on the driveway And also on the land And that is spring in New England Spring is different here

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A very confused caterpillar

A very confused caterpillar 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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Wyatt’s newly short hair

Wyatt’s newly short hair 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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Tunnbridge Worlds Fair

Tunnbridge Worlds Fair Originally uploaded by kjda. If only you could see the rain… KJ Dell’Antonia (Please attribute any drastic spelling and punctuation errors to my poor thumb-typing and creative autocorrect.)

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Deceptively simple

Deceptively simple Originally uploaded by kjda. Thank you, Martha Stewart. This looked easy… And it wasn’t exactly hard, but I wouldn’t call it easy, either! KJ Dell’Antonia

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Snow angels

Snow angels Originally uploaded by kjda. KJ Dell’Antonia

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Goin’ Local

I’ve got about 1/2 an hour this morning before I go relieve Rob at TMO (Wyatt’s pre-preschool, where somebody has to be the parent volunteer). He’s #3 to go through it, and we–along with the five other families in the class with #3–finally figured out (or maybe that should be I finally figured out) that if you split the morning it’s actually kind of fun. Anyway, I popped in for my treat of the week: one Lou’s chocolate cruller. It […]

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Pre ring bearing

Pre ring bearing Originally uploaded by kjda KJ Dell’Antonia sent from my iPhone

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Mob Scene in the Forbidden City

Here’s a phrase you may want to learn if you’re going to bring a lot of small, blonde children to China: Ta-men pu yao. That’s “They don’t want it.” Ta pu yao is “He doesn’t want it.” The smog today was palpable, settling down in the Forbidden City to the point where you felt like you needed to clean your glasses, even though you weren’t wearing any. It was muggy, cloudy and oppressive. While we walked to the Forbidden City […]

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Lessons Not Learned

I was hoping we might all learn a little gratitude for much we have and a little understanding of how little we need from this, but my five-year-old is having a tantrum because there is no ice for her coffee.

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So. Tired.

The real trouble with the whole quarantine thing is that it sucked a lot of the adventure right out of us. We’re tired. We’ve eaten a lot of things we might not otherwise have eaten. We’ve hung out together. We’ve talked to people. We’ve been stared at. And now we are ready to resume our normally scheduled programming, but we still have a week of travel to go. Rory is adjusting well. She kind of collapsed today and took an […]

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How Lucky We Are

How Lucky We Are Originally uploaded by kjda Four kids, so far, is surprisingly not orders of magnitude more difficult than three. (of course, we cheated by not adding a baby). Things I expect to be difficult–like taking two three year olds who are asleep in the car to the grocery store, or taking them all to the pool–so far have underceded my expectations. (Is that a word? It should be.) If the difficult days are yet to come–the teenage […]

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Two Months Ago

Two Months Ago Originally uploaded by kjda I sat on this bench, in this museum, with another adoptive parent and her recently at home daughter…and never really thought this would happen. KJ Dell’Antonia sent from my iPhone

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Do you Snuggle Post Time-Out?

Ok, so I sent Rory to her room today–probably for a slightly lame reason, but there it is–sometimes I give one or the other the “go to your room” line and then I think, well, that wasn’t really a big deal–but once I’ve said it, there we are. They’re used to it; they march. Rory has marched, but today she didn’t…I had to deliver her. I went up to release her pretty quickly. The point is, unless there’s some dramatic […]

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Rory’s first haircut (with us)

Rory’s first haircut (with us) Originally uploaded by kjda And the last time all three littles get their hair cut on the same day. Whew! KJ Dell’Antonia sent from my iPhone

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I want you go now, Mommy.

Tonight was the open house at Lily, Wyatt and Rory’s Montessori preschool. Rory was very angry that I refused to leave; this did not comport at all with what she had been told about school, which she clearly has conceived of as a place that she will go and be relieved of my constant supervision and insistence that things be done my way…boy, is she in for a surprise! The teachers have been warned…if they’re not in charge, she will […]

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World’s Cutest Card Sharks

World’s Cutest Card Sharks Originally uploaded by kjda KJ Dell’Antonia sent from my iPhone

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News Flash: Not Everything is About Rory

Or having four kids instead of three (or two, or one, for that matter). At some point over the weekend I said to myself “Self, you have got to quit this blaming it all on Rory/having four kids business.” I had bad days before we had Rory. I had days when I felt like I would never get out of the house, that the dishes would never be done and the laundry would never be washed (Full disclosure: I have […]

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New Hampshire Morning

New Hampshire Morning Originally uploaded by kjda I’m pretty sure she’s saying “WTF?!” KJ Dell’Antonia sent from my iPhone

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Because I Love Halloween

Because I Love Halloween Originally uploaded by kjda And because I love Sam. KJ Dell’Antonia sent from my iPhone

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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?