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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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Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder

Rob and I are in North Carolina, a two night trip, the first time we’ve been away from home since adopting Rory. She seems fine–we talked to her on the phone, and she’s enjoying the time with her beloved babysitter (who’s been known to be much nicer than her beloved mommy). It was the first time we’d talked on the phone, and she was very pleased–this mommy? this our mommy? It’s mommy! It’s good to be here. I have nothing […]

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Jingle Bells Rules

It is now time, approximately seven minutes into the holiday season, to establish a set of rules regarding the song “Jingle Bells,” which shall be as follows: No version of “Jingle Bells” involving either Batman or sledding accidents shall be sung in my presence at any time. No one shall attempt to work out devious ways to get around rule one. The singing of songs involving “Catman” or replacing the names of Batman and Robin with those of your siblings […]

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Among other things, I need a new agent

Yesterday was a day so filled with blogging fodder that I decided to clean out the tupperware drawers instead of sitting down to the keyboard. Actually, I decided to go to bed, but I had to pack lunches first, and I was hating it, and I thought about what it was that I hated about packing lunches so much, and one thing was that I can never find lids to the adorable lunch tupperware. (Because we cannot use baggies anymore, […]

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One Sparkly Day

One Sparkly Day Originally uploaded by kjda You probably can’t tell, but Rory is wearing both a full snowsuit AND a ski jacket. I do not think she was cold.

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Off to Dallas

Off to Dallas Originally uploaded by kjda KJ Dell’Antonia sent from my iPhone

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Dear Lily,

You must stay in bed. You have been up six times since I put you to bed 20 minutes ago, and you must stay in bed.  Your daddy is out of town. For the third–no, fourth–night this week. And every single night this week, without exception, a dog, a child, or 100 mile an hour winds, or all of the above, has woken me up more than once. And on two days this week, a school has woken me up […]

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Us on AOL’s Kitchen Daily

I think everyone will get a small giggle out of my quarantine story for AOL’s Kitchen Daily. Especially you, mom! Ah, those were the days.

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Explaining “I Did Not Love My Adopted Child” to My Very Real, Very Loved Daughter

In the the wake of the Torry Hanson case, I wrote a piece for Slate Magazine (where I’m a regular contributor to the DoubleX section) that my editors there titled “I Did Not Love My Adopted Child,” or, if you came to it from the first page, “I Didn’t Love My Foreign Adopted Kid at First, Either.” I liked the second title better–and actually proposed changing the first; I wanted to call it “Adoption Sucks–But that’s No Reason Not to Do It.” […]

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Guess What Day It Is?

Guess What Day It Is? Originally uploaded by kjda KJ Dell’Antonia sent from my iPhone

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Wyatt needed one too.

Wyatt needed one too. Originally uploaded by kjda KJ Dell’Antonia sent from my iPhone

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When to Nix the 5-Second Rule (and When You’re Good to Chew)

Do I even have to define the 5-second rule for you? Of course not. It’s long since passed from winking mom commentary into the national vernacular. In fact, it’s moved from folk lore to science: there are actually multiple studies on when the “rule,” beloved of parents whose kids have dropped their only teething biscuit to the sidewalk, applies. So, does the 5-second rule stand up to science? Sometimes. Read more on Babble. There’s no great back story to this […]

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Thank God for Wine

Rory is standing in the garage screaming. Right now, live action, I am live-blogging the screaming. How cool am I? She is welcome to come in at any time. The doors are open. We can all hear the sobbing, stomping and beating on the wall (next to the open door). Rory is in the garage screaming because she broke a known rule, one that everyone is careful about, one that she herself has been careful about many times. She sat […]

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First we drilled

First we drilled Originally uploaded by kjda Well, first we went and bought a couple of things, like hinges, at our friend Seth’s hardware store. But this is why I am more fun than Daddy. I let sam do all the drilling.

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Caterpillar Poop

Caterpillar Poop Originally uploaded by kjda It’s not a new cuss phrase. It’s what we do around here in playdates. These are our caterpillars. We found them last Friday. They were all the size of that tiny one. We put them in jars, because that is what you do here in late fall; if no one in your family is not in some way involved with the life cycle of the Monarch, then you are not having a full Upper […]

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Less lush butterfly quarters

Less lush butterfly quarters Originally uploaded by kjda It was a thing sheets came in. The one that hatched is the cocoon we had given up on, it fell-the monarch looks pretty stunted. Then the one rolled up in the leaf is about to hatch. I think the third one has a few days to go. Sam wants to take them to school. He says they will tag them. I have no idea how. KJ Dell’Antonia sent from my iPhone […]

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Delegate.

Circumstances tonight were grim. Rob was unexpectedly called out of town. He’ll be gone all week. My one and only volunteering effort had a major requirement tonight. I’m still sick. Halloween, with its accompanying glories, is but a week away, and there remains a huge party to be planned and costumes to be created… Last minute help arrived in the form of one of my best friend’s daughters, tenth grade and prime for babysitting, and, because it was us (and […]

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Dressing the Part

Dressing the Part Originally uploaded by kjda Some of us like to dress for the season while we decorate our snowy gingerbread house. Then we go sled on the faintly frozen grass. Like it’s not going to be cold enough soon already! KJ Dell’Antonia sent from my iPhone

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Game-Changing

Game-Changing Originally uploaded by kjda Hit the popular local diner this am. There were actually tables, but the kids wanted to sit at the counter. (the line formed quickly after we sat down–we were up early.) Me, all four. Counter. This is something that would not have been possible few months ago. And it went fine.

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What to Do When You Don’t Know What To Do

This afternoon Sam had a hockey game. The three littler ones declared a preference for staying home, which seemed reasonable. They’ve watched a lot of hockey this year. For once, I could stay home. I run the clock for home games, but this was “away” even though it was our home rink. At the last possible minute Wyatt shouted “No, wait, I want to go too!” and raced out the door. Rory barely had time to contemplate his departure….and he […]

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Ten Pounds Ago

It was one of those afternoons. Babysitter’s car got stuck in the driveway, had to threaten to send Sam’s friend home if they didn’t do their homework as promised, forgot to make the pizza dough for dinner (but silver lining: check out this no-rise pizza dough recipe link to follow). Make-your own pizzas for five in a freshly cleaned kitchen…dumb idea. I was edgy. (http://amysfinerthings.com/no-rise-pizza-crust) More than that, it had been a natter, natter natter afternoon. Take that in the […]

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The View from Lake Placid

The View from Lake Placid Originally uploaded by kjda Two minutes into the ride, my mobile rings and rings and rings. Three calls in I finally answer. Sam’s team picture is RIGHT NOW in front of the arena. Sam says "oh, I guess I should have told you." They waited. KJ Dell’Antonia sent from my iPhone —

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A Cleaner Car = a Better Life

Let me just say: actual adults could now ride in every single seat of my car. Rob’s boss’s wife. Your mother. Martha Stewart. (I would let any of them ride in the passenger seat. Of course. But say they were ALL in the car.) Now they could ride. I would not have to say “Oh, my God, I am SO SORRY.” Or “I have a towel. Do you want a towel? Seriously, take the towel.” Or “Shit, I don’t know […]

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You Never Walk Alone

You Never Walk Alone Originally uploaded by kjda There’s an audience for everything in our family. KJ Dell’Antonia sent from my iPhone —

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Can I Sit By You?

Can I Sit By You? Originally uploaded by kjda KJ Dell’Antonia sent from my iPhone — It happens at every meal we eat out. We enter. All is calm. Approach the table with a small, preliminary flurry of activity. There is, perhaps, a little jockeying for position and then: “Can I sit by you?” If nothing else, this post should convince you that no child in his or her right mind should WANT to sit by me. Because I don’t […]

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A Stompin’ Flickerin’ Good Time

I’ve written before about how loudly Rory walks. My theory is that she’s afraid if she can’t hear herself move, no one knows she exists. Like a lonely tree on the forest or something. Tonight she stomped so loudly across the upstairs that the lights downstairs flickered. This surely says something about our wiring, but that aside, I need this to at least ease up–so I have an evil plan. No, it’s not the destompinator (that may be next). I’m […]

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Annals of Lily Jekyll, Lily Hyde: Lily Lies.

This morning Lily looked straight at Rob, and lied. Not about anything big. Rob said, “Did you do breakfast hokey?” (One of her jobs this week, running the hokey over the rug tiles under the bar where they eat breakfast.) And she said, “yes.” And she hadn’t. I knew she hadn’t. I knew it by the half smile, and by the fact that I’d been in the kitchen all morning. Rob said, “really?” And Lily said “yes,” again. “She’s lying,” […]

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Where’s the Phone?

Where’s the Phone? Originally uploaded by kjda I’ve figured out why we can never find a phone when it rings. (there’s even one hung up in the background.) I may have yours. KJ Dell’Antonia sent from my iPhone

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Motherlode: Lies! Sexual Harassment! Fat Babies!

So, shameless self-promotion is the mark of the successful modern writer, and in particular the successful modern blogger. I definitely want to succeed at my second week at the helm of the New York Times’ Motherlode blog, and so I’m inviting everyone: please drop by, read, comment, argue and engage! If you’ve ever wanted to discuss parenting styles with New York Times readers from New England to California and far beyond, or even just to take issue with mine, now’s […]

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Three Unrelated Thoughts. And a Bonus Fourth.

1. I am now the proud possessor of about 1/2 lb of chestnuts, officially roasted over an open fire, by me and various kids. We ate some. Thoughts? If we reheat them in an oven, do we have to change the song? 2. I can now, finally, begin opening holiday cards–because I finally ordered ours. Yesterday. I find that the guilt about not mailing them comes later. 3. I bought Lily (7) the BEST PRESENT EVER. I love it when […]

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Behind the Scenes at Motherlode, 3/4

Ah, Sunday. The week always looks so CLEAN on Sunday! SO much time! So much glorious room to fill in the blog, so many great guest posts that I will so easily get to… I probably shouldn’t hold my breath, time being the slippery beast it is… Tomorrow I’ll be posting about a really interesting survey about exactly that. I interviewed Kristin van Ogtrop (whose book I love) about an upcoming story of their about women and time, and it […]

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Favor Effectiveness over Efficiency

Laura Vanderkam pointed me towards an article today that came at exactly the right time: Chasing Efficiency? You’re Wasting Your Time A few choice quotes: Nobody other than perhaps you really cares how efficient you are, but everyone cares how effective you are. Sometimes the least efficient thing can lead to the most productive outcome. A great example of this would be carving out time in your already too busy schedule to mentor someone in your organization. Clearly this endeavor […]

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You Know You Need Something New to Read

2 novels. 2 memoirs. 4 nonfiction. If you’re looking for a good read, look no further.

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Shouldn’t FB Be Showing Me My Crap Memories, Too?

I know I’ve shared some rotten moments on Facebook since I joined. So why are my “memories” all hazy scenes of family happiness?

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Before You Limit Your Kids’ Screen Time, Should You Look at Your Own?

New research has parents of kids 8-18 reporting an astonishing 7.5 hours of personal screen time a day. If that’s true, how can we help our kids learn to limit themselves?

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September Book Recommendations, Part 3

  I was so thrilled to find this memoir of a young German woman’s experience as an immigrant and newbie farmer in Vermont in the 1940’s. It’s both a classic city slicker in the big country story (love those) and a glorious, contemporaneous depiction of another time, with party lines and pony carts and train travel. I’m treasuring every page.         Gretchen Rubin’s four tendencies framework won’t fully explain you or everyone around you, but once you’re […]

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So I wrote this mantra

I wrote ten mantras, actually, and I dubbed them Ten Mantras for Happier Parents. (Ten secrets? Ten sayings? Aphorisms, mottos, truisms? Sometimes thesaurus.com is not your friend.)  Number seven has been giving me a really hard time of late. Here it is: You can be happy when your children aren’t. I’ve been struggling to live that lately. One of my kids has been unhappy, for reasons biggish but not catastrophic, and it’s been bringing me, and all of us, down. […]

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Why Pre-ordering Books is Great for Authors and Readers (and makes a great birthday gift). Plus, Pre-order Bonuses!

Happy Birthday to me! It really is my birthday. And—my personal celebration—I’m finally actually asking you to pre-order my book, How to Be a Happier Parent. I love it, and I think you will too—it’s a practical, thoroughly researched guide to bringing more joy into our everyday family life, not by doing more (please, no) but by doing things differently. I’m also telling you why pre-ordering the book matters, and what I’ve come up with to make those pre-orders fun […]

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Happier Parent Mantra: What you want now isn’t always what you’ll want later

This one is really biting me in the butt lately.   What you want now isn’t always what you’ll want later.   That’s one of my 10 Mantras for Happier Parents*, and it is killing me.   Honestly, I’d really rather just give in and make my child happy right now—on whatever it is. Lately, it’s been biggish stuff (hello, report card season), but it’s also been a pile up of all the stuff. Come back here and put your […]

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