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I Dunno…

Meh. It’s summer. This makes me happy. I bonked, halfway through a DoubleX post today that I wNted to write, in fact, told people I would write–three hours later, there I was with the same single paragraph. I can tell you that is not an economically sustainable business model. This makes me unhappy. Rory is having a delightful touch of nighttime regression, refusing to go to sleep, romping about her room, kicking, jumping and building forts until all hours. Unfortunately […]

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When Putting Your Kids on Reality TV is Good for Your Career (and you’re not an actress)

Let’s say you’re the owner of a small but popular bakery and a gifted cake decorator with aspirations to be, say, the next Colette Peters. But how do you get there? Baking celebrity cakes would help. Writing a book, ditto. But somehow you’ve got to get the attention of the celebrities, and publishers insist that a book needs a “platform.” “Who’s going to buy a book by an unknown baker,” they demand, while you’re left moaning “but how do I become a known baker without a book?” Meanwhile, you’re juggling triplets, running the bakery and soothing a husband who’s one–tenth occasional (and subversive) bakery staff and nine-tenths Mr. Mom. You’re at a standstill.

Enter TLC. Read More

Not a Baby

Not a Baby Originally uploaded by kjda In June, I was at the pool and kept hearing, I thought, Rory crying. Again and again I’d look and see … An angry baby, about a year old, making the noise Rory makes when she cries, exactly. And not the noise she makes when she really cries–the noise she makes when she fake cries because she’s angry, or needs attention, or is outraged at the general un fairness of life. I decided […]

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Julia Roberts: Formerly Hot?

Jess, I love that women over 40 are dominating on magazines covers and, even better, in the movie theater. I noticed it too—and I also noticed Laura Linney (46) on the cover of last week’s New York Times Magazine, that More magazine’s circulation is increasing (cover girls have to be over 40; this month’s Kyra Sedgwick is 44), and that the inside of Elle magazine, not just the cover, offers articles clearly aimed at women past the ingenue stage: recovering […]

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One. More. Day.

I’m not exactly ready for school to start. It’s just that, given that it’s going to start, that the inevitable march of time will draw us inexorably onward, I would just as soon things START ALREADY. There’s this whole processing and adjusting and sorting thing coming at us like a freight train, and in my head, I’m already on it. But in reality, of course, I just have to let it spin out. Tonight we nibbled at it. Sam and […]

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Truly Friends Forever

Most of us had friends as kids that we promised, with mixed results, to love forever—but what must a friend from your orphanage, from your foster home, from your past mean to a kid? We adopted Rory at nearly four, and from the first, she’s been asking for “Bethany.” As often as she cried for her foster mother and father, and maybe even more often, she cries over Bethany. She wants to see her. She lingers over the pictures we […]

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No Messing With Heaven

First, let me say that I know from tough questions bubbling up from the back seat. I have already handled, on previous occasions, the question of what war is, an explanation of gay marriage and, regarding racial discrimination, “but that was all a long time ago, right?” And I have fielded, also while driving, a lengthy discussion among all four kids regarding why and how my youngest son, then three, could indeed “get a baby” if he chose to marry […]

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Language As a Second Language

I have to admit I am a little worried about Rory’s language. She isn’t exactly a non-native English speaker. Her foster parents spoke English, and so did she, although it was about on the level of a two year old (we adopted her at almost four). But the nannies and other staff spoke Chinese or dialects, and I imagine the children did a lot of physical communication, since they would have had varying speech abilities. Rory is still behind, and […]

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Lily and I Get Crafty

Lily and I Get Crafty Originally uploaded by kjda In a continuation of the preceding post, this is also the kind of thing that is now possible, on this side of the mountain of the past, oh, nine years. I like this kind of project. Quick and chick. Start, over done, contemplate achievement. I like Gingerbread houses. I like frosted cookies. I like Halloween costumes and cardboard box houses. I will never, ever sew you a dress–too precise. Too time […]

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Fireflies, the Musical Version

I seem to remember someone in some book or another making fun of the way, in musicals, suddenly everyone bursts out singing. This is not, of course, the way of the real world, particularly if you live, as I do, in a pretty deep swamp of cynicism accompanied by a healthy dose of irony. I mean, I might burst out singing, but it would be meta-singing, in which I totally understood how goofy it was to burst out singing. My […]

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What I Wish I’d Done All Along

This morning before school some incident occurred upstairs, and a wailing sobbing Rory came down. “Wyatt pushed me in the belly,” was the complaint, and I tried to offer the best sincere sympathy I’m capable of before coffee, but didn’t meet the second part of any such issue: addressing the culprit and demanding that he not do whatever it was again. And I didn’t hug for very long. Morning isn’t my best time. Sympathy isn’t my best thing. Rob clearly […]

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Because My Day Wasn’t Complicated Enough

Because My Day Wasn’t Complicated Enough Originally uploaded by kjda This is my car. My car with the spare on it. Because yesterday, at some point, I drove over what appears to be a giant staple. This was not good for my tire. Flat tires are an annual ritual of "spring"’ around here (I put that in quotes because it’s supposed to snow a foot tomorrow). The roads rut and they dump rocky fill into the ruts, and a sharp […]

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Should You Need to Ask for What You Want?

Should You Need to Ask for What You Want? Originally uploaded by kjda "Ball!" Rory’s tennis ball ice cream has rolled away, under my feet. "Ball! Bally!" "Yep," I agree. "Bally." Rory sighs. "Please can you get my ball?" "Sure." I roll it back. We repeat a variation on this about every other hour. She will sit in the public restroom, grunting "uumph! Uumph!" if she can’t reach the toilet paper. Ditto for too high paper towels. Struggle with an […]

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Stomp STOMP Stomp STOMP STOMP Thud!

Every night, right around this time, we hear it. Stomp stomp STOMP STOMP STOMP Click-squeak-slam! STOMP STOMP STOMP. Pause. Stomp stomp STOMP STOMP STOMP Slam- squeak-click! STOMP STOMP STOMP. It’s Rory, getting up to go to the bathroom, slamming open the bedroom door, then returning and slamming it shut. She doesn’t need or want help. She feels fully confident in making her own way on this. Doesn’t turn on a light. Her siblings could sleep through anything, and they sleep […]

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Open to the Unexpected: La Famile Qui Vont en Velo Ensemble

More from France: The bike shop in St. Chinian where we rent our bikes is a very small bike shop. And in France, they take their biking very seriously. So it is a small and serious bike shop. Which means we were able to rent bikes for me, Rob and—barely—for Sam, but not for anyone else. This is what comes of vacationing in a place where, at least from the place’s perspective, no one in her right mind would vacation, […]

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Cheerio Art

Cheerio Art Originally uploaded by kjda Both entertainment options and the dining situation on the Island have palled a bit. KJ Dell’Antonia sent from my iPhone —

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The Unexpected Dividends of Switching It Up

On this rainy Labor Day, books were read, games were played, video games were played, Lego models were built and various and sundry this and thats and whatnots occurred, and suddenly it was 5:30 and no plan had been made for dinner (which, of course, really means that I hadn’t thought about dinner.) There were boxes of fondue in the fridge, and already sliced fondue bread in the freezer (from a party that took place last November, but it’s the […]

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Come visit me at Motherlode

For today, I offer you two topics: School lunches: Fix ’em from the top down, or the bottom up? And: Middle School locker bling: a harmless outshoot of too much igloo decorating on Club Penguin, or consumerism run amuck?

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Shoul I Prep, or Just Let This Happen?

If you’re visiting a friend or child with a handicap that is noticeable but not necessarily something that will bother your kids, do you bring it up? I blew this a few weeks ago, when we went to see a family member who is being treated for cancer. I thought she’d wear a wig, and that the kids wouldn’t notice, and I didn’t want them to pester her with a lot of questions. Instead, she had a little soft cover […]

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It Looks Like Such a LEETLE Rock.

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 3 of 4

Delicious Nutritious Chocolate Cereal Pretzel Mix Part 3 Originally uploaded by kjda One large bowl: filled twice to allow room to stir, with half of all the ingredients. Don’t stress over equal chocolate distribution, it all works out in the end. I spread parchment on the counter to spread the mix out on to cool and harden. Overnight is best, but that really depends on where your cat sleeps. So, why is this so good for me? Keep reading. KJ […]

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Full Cappelletti (or Ravioli) Recipe from Motherlode

Full video and recipe for making my family’s not-so-secret cappelletti and ravioli.

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Yeah, or I Could Wait Until They Come Home from School and Make Things Worse

I know it’s hard for kids to transition from school. I know coming home to your lame family after a great trip with your friends is tough.  I swear I went into the pick up line excited to get everyone back for a beautiful afternoon. I was thinking swimming,  maybe ice cream I’m not entirely sure I can tell you exactly how it ended up with me declaring that maybe, if they were lucky, something–car accident, terrorist attack–would get their […]

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What If You Just Did One Thing at A Time? Really Just One Thing.

I can really only do one thing at a time. You could call that Unitasking, or Monotasking, or my favorite—being human, since no one can really do more than one thing at a time—but whatever you call it, it’s how I work best.

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#ReadySetGo2: Setting #WriterResolutions for 2017

For me, one of the biggest barriers to setting goals is stopping doing things long enough to decide what I want to do. On Episode 34 of the #AmWriting podcast, Jessica Lahey and I talked writerly goals: specifically, what makes a good goal, and how to set some in honor of this traditionally goal-setting time of the year. For Episode 35, we’re actually setting those goals—which means getting them down on paper. It also means checking in on last year’s […]

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Resistance Is Useless

You’re going to read the bedtime story, make the extra orthodontist appointment or pick up the kid who missed the bus. You might as well do it with grace.  Some days (weeks, months) are frustrating. All anyone wants from you is everything—every spare minute, every ounce of patience, and oh, that sandwich you just made for your own lunch looks good too. Everywhere you look, there’s another octopus, all grabbing arms and suckers, holding you in place until they use […]

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I have a book cover! How to be a Happier Parent arrives for pre-order.

  How to Be a Happier Parent appears for the first time in online bookstores this week! I’m so thrilled. I love the book, and I’m looking forward to sharing it. For now, here’s what my publisher has to say about it: An encouraging guide to helping parents find more happiness in their day-to-day family life, from the former lead editor of the New York Times’ Motherlode blog In all the writing and reporting KJ Dell’Antonia has done on families […]

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A Sibling Fight Survival Guide

Disagreements among brothers and sisters aren’t just inevitable – they’re educational. Angry footsteps upstairs. Screams. “I hate you!” Slam. Fists, on a bedroom door. Then, inevitably, the unified shriek: “MOOOOMMM!” That was the soundtrack of the year when my daughters were 11 and 12, shared a bedroom, and fought like caged tigers. As a parent, I was at a loss. It seemed like every meal or car ride ended in misery, and I was convinced that our family life was […]

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Happier Parents leave wiggle room

  I had an amazing morning today, which can be summed up as follows: got child to doctor’s appointment on time. Let’s back up. Why would that constitute an amazing morning? Because it’s something I rarely achieve. The doctor’s office is a 25-30 minute drive, at the end of which, just as you’re thinking hey, we’re just in time, you encounter the parking garage. The parking garage takes a minimum of ten minutes to navigate, because it’s a narrow structure […]

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Update from the John

tones and ringtones message free In early party line systems this pattern was tones and ringtones message free code letter indicating who should pick up the phone, but today, with individual lines, the only surviving patterns are a single ring and double-ring, originally Morse code letters T and M respectively. banana ringtones Many of these sites are camouflaged to blend with existing environments, particularly in scenic areas. ringtones free mustang 3 billion by November, 2007[9], thus reaching ringtones free mustang […]

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The Triumph of Optimism over Experience (Again)

The most popular jogging route in town runs right past our front door. On a beautiful spring day, you can’t help but look at the people running by and find yourself somehow convinced that they are having fun–that their shins do not hurt and their hearts are not pounding and their lungs are not crying for mercy. Or at least, I can’t. I put Lily into the jog stroller and set out on the 3-mile loop. Is it possible to […]

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Imaginary Money

I love spending imaginary money. Usually I do it in catalogs, but today I took the imaginary money total to new and greater heights than it’s ever been before. It started out with a simple patio. I’ve been wanting a patio since we moved here, and a few weeks ago I decided to actually take a few steps in that direction. So I called Brian, who did a little tractor work for us last spring. Brian was the dream tractor […]

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Watching the build-up the Rose Bowl made me remember one of my favorite techniques for handling the many, and nearly always male, detectives and cops I worked with in the NYC District Attorney’s office. My boyfriend/husband was an ESPN addict, and although I had no trouble tuning out SPorts Night, some of it invariably sunk in–and it went farther to create a rapport than anything I could have done short of growing a penis and turning Irish. If I were […]

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I Have Been Tagged

So, although I’m taking the blog in a new direction (with a new look!) any day now, I will take this opportunity to tell you, as demanded, 6 Weird/Freaky/Embarrassing Things About Me. And then I will tag 6 people. And then they will come back and tell me that they’ve written 6 Weird Things about themselves, and I will go and read them, and snort. But this is my new improved blog about feeding the Devils’ minds and bodies! So, […]

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Hey–What Happened to You?

Lots…so posting is, has been and is likely to be slow. We bought a house…which means cleaning. Big time. The house must appear spacious and full of storage, like a dream from a Pottery Barn catalog. With toys. Maybe a Pottery Barn kids catalog. Which means work, and lots of it. And don’t even get me started on the plans for the new place! There’s not THAT much…but its not nothing. So if you’re wondering where I am… xanax buy […]

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I Don’t Have to Pretend to Like Basketball Anymore! Or Strippers!

Because I have just realized that I am sufficiently cool, just the way i am. Really quite extremely cool. Probably much cooler than you, no matter how much you know about sports or how quickly you can drink a shot. I went to a college (Kansas State) with a decent team, a rivalry, star players, etc. Camped out in line for tickets. Learned the name of the coach. Went to games. Kept up, afterwards, sufficient knowledge to participate in conversations […]

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Wy’s first cone

Wy’s first cone Originally uploaded by kjda.

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The end of the perfect playdate

The end of the perfect playdate Originally uploaded by kjda. KJ

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On Halloween

On Halloween Originally uploaded by kjda. KJ

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Wyatt in the snow

Wyatt 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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Wyatt is Two!

Today is his official birthday, which we marked with a cake from Lou’s, balloons and a few presents–what Lily called “the family party, because nobody else is coming.” He’s a delight, a fabulous kid. In fact, I’m enjoying them all even more than ever, maybe because with the end of skiing season I’ve been able to return to working more, maybe because they’re getting bigger…who knows why, but things are good! And spring is near. Outside play, days without boots, […]

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Just like Lily

Just like Lily 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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“is this the ting-iest?”

"is this the ting-iest?" 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 the top of Holts

At the top of Holts 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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Haircuts!

Haircuts! Originally uploaded by kjda. KJ Dell’Antonia

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Wyatt licks sugar off the counter

Wyatt licks sugar off the counter Originally uploaded by kjda. Sam is home sick. It’s 4:00, and I am just…tired of being in charge. Since I intend to end the day with a full on TV binge, it’s a little early to start. And so things slowly deteriorate…

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Just another classical evening

Tonight Sam and Lily were back in Mandarin class. Rob drew the short straw, so he came home with grumpy Wyatt to put him to bed (I can tell he’s peeved, because he’s on the upstairs computer, not the downstairs), while me and my laptop hung out at the Dartmouth arts building (nice view of the green, comfy chairs, excellent wireless). As I lingered, responding to email, syncing calendars, etc., a student came in to practice on the grand piano. […]

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How to keep flower girls and ring bears happy

How to keep flower girls and ring bears happy Originally uploaded by kjda Last wedding, we were not prepared. In the interval between photos and the ceremony, we dismantled an entire room in a synagogue. After the ceremony and before the food was served, we ate the centerpieces, and the whole thing nearly turned into the Donner Party. This time we were prepared! KJ Dell’Antonia sent from my iPhone

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Somewhere Above Russia….

9 hours into the flight, and Wyatt has slept a little. We tried out the CARES/Kids Fly Safe seat belts. They are vastly easier to transport than a carseat but somewhat less comfy. Bug successes while the kids were awake, but when it came time to curl up in the seat and sleep, the chest strap gets in the way—being little, they don’t really have to stay upright. Overall, I’d call it a good purchase, though. Good for turbulance (we […]

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Our Breakfast Looks Better than Rob’s

Our Breakfast Looks Better than Rob’s Originally uploaded by kjda This morning features a group of about 10 people exercising together. E, R, San, Se they count. I don’t think they would like it if we joined them. One Chinese American joined in, but briefly. These are the famed morning exercises, done at schools, factories, businesses, and they all know the routine, but they applaud their leader anyway. It’s hot today, hot hot hot. When one of the kids runs […]

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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?