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Are Girl Power Camps Really Good for Girls?

Any mother who wasn’t at the top of the social pyramid growing up (and maybe even those who were) has meditated about what we’d like to tell our own daughters as they head into middle school and beyond. Don’t make everything a drama. Act confident, and people will be happy to be around you. Relax. Say what you mean, don’t apologize, don’t back down. We know, of course, that those aren’t lessons that can be taught by your mother, but […]

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Strike

I am on strike. Dinner has been provided; it was tasty. Children have been suitably entertained all afternoon and are now semi-appropriately occupied (2 children coloring: check. One child legos: check. Child making repeated thumping noises, followed again and again by by “ouch” from the playroom I am not so sure about, but hey, she’s not bothering me). Dinner has not been cleaned up. The kitchen, likewise, is a horrendous mess. Atrocious. Apparently someone failed to clean it last night […]

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We’ve thought about adopting!

This is a common complaint among adoptive parents–we hear that phrase all the time. Oh, we’ve thought about doing that! I usually take it as being a way of identifying with our family, and a nice thing–a sort of way of saying, hey, we get you and we don’t think you’re weird and crazy. (Which is of course wrong, but we like to hear it just the same.) But sometimes it’s frustrating. Because you could, you know. I suck at […]

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Don’t Let KJ Draw the Pigeon

Don’t Let KJ Draw the Pigeonbrought to you by Livescribe To really enjoy this, go to “full screen” and, at the bottom of the screen as it starts, click the bottom wavy line which will “hide preview.” That lets the drawing appear from nothing. You can then go back to the blog (icon in top right corner) any time and it will stay that way.

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Happy Hanukah!

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

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Volunteer

Somehow, through a series of events that’s a little hard to explain, I ended up running the administrative part of one of our local ski programs. Well, co- running it. On the one hand, certainly I am better off running it than I am at teaching kids to ski–I don’t mind coaching them at Nordic skiing, but I refuse to ride a ski lift with any child I’m not related to–but primarily, I’m deeply aware of what a huge mistake […]

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Hello from Great Wolf Lodge

Hello from Great Wolf Lodge Originally uploaded by kjda KJ Dell’Antonia sent from my iPhone

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Monster Cake!

Monster Cake! Originally uploaded by kjda KJ Dell’Antonia sent from my iPhone — KJ Dell’Antonia

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Exhausted

Yes, even though it has been a long day home with all of you and we have made paper mâché and so on and endless so forth, I will read Ramona the Pest to you. Spring “break.”

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Quality Time: Or Not

I’m a big fan of Laura Vanderkam’s 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think–a time management book with the premise that most of us do have time for the things we actually WANT to do. It changed my life in at least one way: I almost never say I “just don’t have time” for things anymore. Instead, I say (at least to myself) “I don’t want to give my time to that.” Because that’s nearly always the truth. […]

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Fairness, Part Two

We were at Sam and Lily’s “Move Up” ceremony when the next utterly unfair event took place. Rory, ten minutes into the event, says “lappy.” I say, no way. You’re a wiggling, squiggling ball of pointy bones that kick, and there is no way I’m holding you on my lap for however long this is. And it is long. Not really, in the grand scheme of things, but long enough. Rob is seated one row in front of us and […]

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Grilling the Pizza!

There was much confusion surrounding my new version of make-your-own-pizza night. We’ve been into make your own pizza every since I spent an evening standing in my buddy Jess‘s kitchen while she rolled out pizzas and I ate all her pepperoni while thinking, “this is a really good idea for dinner.” I think we’d had pizza weekly since, BUT (and it’s a big but) we have no air conditioning. You really can’t cook pizza in your oven with no a/c […]

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Admitted

Admitted Originally uploaded by kjda I love Lily’s new shoes so much, I checked to see if they come in my size. KJ Dell’Antonia sent from my iPhone —

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Plastic Wrap, Socks and the Good Life

Look! It’s my plastic wrap! I love my plastic wrap. My mother gave it to me for my birthday. In, um, 2010. I finally get to use it, because we finally used up our old plastic wrap. We don’t use much plastic wrap, especially if it doesn’t really stick, and I have, as I invariably do, punched it open wrong and it doesn’t want to cut. So it took us more than a year to go through the box and […]

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Rebel Without a Cause, or Wine, or Cheese

I did some serious gunning for parent of the year tonight. Tonight was the school’s annual “wine and cheese” party. Babysitting was provided by the middle school students, and after a full day of work and two hours “coaching” Sam’s lego league team, I grabbed Rory and Wyatt from the actual babysitter and prepared to transfer them to the middle school team. (Lily came separately, with a friend’s mom.) I promised them a bouncy house. There was none. I delivered […]

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Behaving Badly

I didn’t sleep well last night. In fact I’m a few nights down, enough for me to be thinking I jinxed myself by saying on Motherlode last week that for the moment I’l sleeping well without “mother’s little helpers.” In part it’s our dog, who feel he needs to alert us every time something stirs upstairs or outside. Since the porcupine incident, he’s been extra wired. And in part it’s my brain, which feels it needs to alert me every […]

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Four Kids, No Tea

This afternoon Lily wanted tea. I didn’t really object to Lily having tea. I mean, it’s tea. What’s not to like? I’d even boiled the water. (For other purposes.) But if Lily has tea, Wyatt and Rory have to have tea too. And while Lily is kinda sorta capable of cleaning up the sugar she will spill, and putting the mug and spoon in the dishwwaher, Rory and Wyatt are less so. (Actually Rory is really good at the dishwasher. […]

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10 Things Guaranteed to Send You Into a Whirling Death Spiral of Depression

The old guys who sit in the bookstore once a week in the morning are much older than when I used to sit here and work. And some of them are gone. Filling Easter baskets for four children. Buying three small, cheap Easter toys is fun and cute. Buying 12 is a depressing commentary on our disposable society. Any report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation. They do God’s work. Never been sure why God’s work is invariably such a […]

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Do This Now: Favorite Your Best Photos From Last Month

You know how, come December, you really want to make, say, a calendar for next year? This will help.

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Win 10 Fall Books from My September List!

Win all the books from my September books post, and a few more!

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The Voices In My Head Said Not to Write This

Who the hell put an email with the subject line “You can write faster than you think” in my in-box? Go inspire someone else, Jeff Goins. I can’t write at all.

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It’s common, and easy, to relax tech rules for the summer. But what if you didn’t?

There is plenty to do. It’s just not stuff that will easily sate and sedate you.

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You Do Not Have to Go to a Bad Party

That kid who is yelling at you from the kitchen, ranting and angry? He’s throwing a bad party—and you don’t have to go.

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Why Is My Laptop WiFi Default “On?”

I use my laptop, and other digital devices, for a lot of things that don’t require them to be connected to any outside sources. I listen to podcasts, although I sometimes discover to my surprise and dismay that they aren’t actually downloaded. I use a meditation app. I read on Kindle and iBooks. Most importantly, I write books, essays, blog posts, lists and even social media posts and emails–and to write those things, I don’t need the dubious “help” of […]

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How I’m Celebrating the Official Launch of How to Be a Happier Parent

It’s here. Anybody who wants to can just walk into any store or click any link and get How to Be a Happier Parent right now. I’m happy and proud and freaked out all at the same time—which is, I’m told, exactly the state of mind you want to be in before you walk out onto the set of the Today Show. That’s my big news of the day—if you’re reading this before the 8:00 hour of the Today Show, […]

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Optimism

bad auto credit loan fl Those cell phones that do not use bad auto credit loan fl Card have the data programmed in to their memory. loan negative amortization Taking advantage of these features, loan negative amortization loan negative amortization maker trend has emerged. online direct loan servicing site web However, online direct loan servicing site web by the International Agency for Research on Cancer of 4,500 users found a borderline statistically significant link between tumor frequency on the same […]

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Diary of a Thwarted Bicyclist

Noon. I decide to try out the new (to us) double bike trailer in between lunch and the 2:00 arrival of Holly, babysitter extraordinaire. But first, of course, lunch. Lunch is the bane of my existence. While fruit and cheese and maybe a little prociutto or bread seems like enough for me, it does not seem to me to be enough to sustain either Sam or Lily through an active afternoon. Every day, I decide that I must offer them […]

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Choo choo!

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10 Reasons Why I Want to Sell This House and Buy a Different One

1. I firmly believe I will not move any furniture from either Ikea or Jennifer convertibles. This is a triumph of optimism over experience. 2. It will force me to get a dumpster and clean out the basement, which has accumulated an alarming amount of useless stuff we don’t want in just under four years. A new basement will not do this. (Again, optimism bests history.) 3. I can’t decide what color to paint the porch. 4. Baby #3 cannot […]

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Protected: How Not to Be a Novelist

There is no excerpt because this is a protected post.

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Happy hAlloween!

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I think the fish (and I) have turned a corner.

Well, we lost three more of the total 7 fish that were living in our tank–all three “zippys”. We’ve lost 6 fish so far. There will be no more new fish in this aquarium until all spots are gone and the remaining fish have managed not to die for at least two weeks. BUT…it’s a little too soon to say, but Goldie and Stripey (the original fish) are looking better, and LIghtening, whom I’d long since given up as a […]

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Lily and emily on the “caramel”

Lily and emily on the "caramel" Originally uploaded by kjda. KJ

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Sam and daddy watch their first world series in a bar

Sam and daddy watch their first world series in a bar Originally uploaded by kjda. KJ

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At the Detroit airport

At the Detroit airport Originally uploaded by kjda. KJ Dell’AntoniaI just want to say that Lily has a matching sweater too, but she took it off because she got hot. (Please attribute any drastic spelling and punctuation errors to my poor thumb-typing and creative autocorrect.)

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Just sayin’

It is sleeting something awful, with a little rain thrown in. The driveway is a sheet of ice. I am so glad I don’t have to go outside barefoot to pee. I just let the dog out, did you guess? Oh–and I am SO GLAD that tomorrow I will have my fancy new gas-guzzlin’ SUV that will actually get back up this driveway. Is it a hybrid, you may ask? Nope–because the foolish folks that make the hybrid don’t make […]

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Spring in New England

Spring in New England Originally uploaded by kjda. KJ Dell’Antonia Look! Sand buckets! Bike helmet! We are ready, anyway.

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Before

Before 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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At EAA

At EAA 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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Pure blog

Hi– I’m feeling frustrated tonight–turned a piece in to a new editor and definitely did not hit the ball out of the park. It’s not that it needs revising–of course it needs revising, we’ve never worked together before–it’s that when I reread it, even I can see that it needs revising. I got so caught up in the word count that I seem to have taken out all of the content. Ugh. But I am a professional, and I will […]

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Snowshoeing

Snowshoeing Originally uploaded by kjda. KJ Dell’Antonia

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The incredible changing blog: At Duke!

Well, I’m traveling. With my puny old laptop (which has actually served me very well for many years)… And the blog is looking kinda busted, and I don’t have all of the various codes and backups with me, so the best I can do is pop this old site up for the time being. Makes you want chocolate, doesn’t it? Meanwhile, here we are in North Carolina. Just the two of us. It’s very relaxing. Honestly, the plane ride was […]

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Mini golf course maintenance

Mini golf course maintenance, originally uploaded by kjda. KJ Dell’Antonia sent from my iPhone

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49 Drops of Poop, and Progress

This afternoon and evening I: Cleaned, badly and frantically, 49 drops plus one pile of dog poop in the ten minute interval between when I discovered the poop, and when I had to leave the house with the kids in order to deliver Sam and Lily to their ballet recital rehearsal. (Expect pics tomorrow!) Just fyi, in case you were thinking of getting a dog (and ours are house trained, this is unusual, but still) each and every drop had […]

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The Chinese Hospital Diet Plan

The Chinese Hospital Diet Plan Originally uploaded by kjda I have a feeling it’s going to be very effective. We are all here and, except for Rob, still together. Until someone else gets sick. At this point nothing would surprise me. I have the feeling that anything could happen. And I can’t even guess what will. KJ Dell’Antonia sent from my iPhone

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Fwd: padlocked door.jpg

Fwd: padlocked door.jpg Originally uploaded by kjda If you can zoom in on this picture, you can see that they have the door of the hospital chained and padlocked.

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The Red Couch

What is wrong with that child, you ask? What are you people doing to her? Well, it’s like this. If Rory has one single, stand-out, non-endearing trait, it is (and this is SO PETTY) that she pretty much has to go potty every single solitary second of every day. Is she nervous? Unable to complete, shall we say, with relative strangers? Does she have a UTI? Dunno. Doesn’t, in the context of getting out of China, matter. But there it […]

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Not a, Baby

Adopting a three-year-old is not very much like having a baby, except in the level of shock to the system. One does not, for example, have to nurse, or wake up every three hours, or carry the baby around for hours on end in the hope that it will somehow stop crying. But the wow factor–the shock and awe and the what have we done–that’s there, in spades. Tonight was a wall-punching night for me. I was congratulating myself on […]

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Summertime, and the livin’ is easy

I love summer. WInter is hard, where we live, and it’s long, and it’s cold, and then it’s long, and did I mention it’s long? The sheer amount of gear involved in winter life…I could cry just thinking about it, and I love to ski and ice skate. Sigh… But this is summer. The pool has become easy. The biking is fabulous. There are only three and a half more weeks before Sam stuarts school, and then while the summer […]

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I May Be Worried About the Wrong Control Freak

I was trying to work through Rory’s tantrums last night–well, not the tantrums, but the way I react to them. And I was getting all fancy about her need for control, and how maybe I could understand that, as she’d had no control over being abandoned, and adopted, and yadda, and so I shoudl be more tolerant of her need to choose, say, which of the three potties in the pool bathroom she uses, every single time, and maybe if […]

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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?