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Bumpkin City

Bumpkin City Originally uploaded by kjda I have spent my entire adult life in either Manhattan, Chicago or a small town. The result is that in any fast food chain other than Starbucks, I gaze at the menu like I’ve never seen it before, desperately interpreting. Happily, Panera Bread was not crowded, and my Dr. Pepper and blueberry muffin are bringing my feeling-a-little- better self much joy. KJ Dell’Antonia sent from my iPhone

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Great Accomplishments

Today I shall accomplish great things, many many great things. And in honor of those things, I will post them here, to share, as the day goes by. I have already accomplished the first: Laundry Basket Reclamation. When we returned from China, in July, I put all the things we acquired there into a laundry basket and sat it on the dog crate in our bedroom (which, as you can gather from that statement, is a very relaxing and well-designed […]

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Planet of the Helicopter Parents

You MUST go read this Choose Your Own Adventure parody by Marjorie Ingall, or I will never forgive you. Seriously, you deserve this big a laugh today.

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Rory, Anxious but Coping

We’re visiting my parents, much loved by all kids including Rory–but she’s never been to their house before. And we haven’t stayed overnight anywhere besides our house since we went to the Cape last summer–a place which offers many, many consolation prizes for not being home, and where Rob was with us. Here, no pool, and no Rob either. Rory is doing really well–too well, some of the time, tearing around shrieking and jumping on the sofa–but she’s also sucking […]

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Will They Appreciate That We Never Ran Errands?

We are not big home maintenance types around here. I do not like to grocery shop, don’t dig shopping anymore, and have the house at a stage where most of the crap can at least be pushed aside into manageable piles. There are hioe and errand-type things that I wish would just happen (for example, i just realized that we’ve completely outgrown our stroller collection, and I really wish the fairies would just come get it). But generally, on weekdays, […]

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Easter Bunny Questions

It’s such a beautiful weekend…the Easter Bunny would like to hide the baskets and eggs outside! (The Easter Bunny is mischievous in our house, a tradition that dates back to the time my mother forgot to put out my basket, but left it where she’d hidden it from me originally, which I think was on top of the china cabinet, and then claimed that the Easter Bunny MUST have hidden it (good save Mom, esp. at 6 am!).) Anyway, the […]

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I Don’t Want to Be Anybody I Am Today

I was reading a little snippet of Ayelet Waldman’d Bad Mother today. She was talking about her mother-in-law, and how wonderful she was once Waldman realized it. She described her as serene, and talked about how nice it must be to grow up in a house with a serene mother, adding that she’d grown up with temperamental, explosive mother and that she was that kind of mother herself, and so she knew all too well its disadvantages, and I thought, […]

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See Below.

See Below. Originally uploaded by kjda Can’t last, tho. KJ Dell’Antonia sent from my iPhone

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Kate Plus Eight Plus Chickens

The Gosselins have been another of my guilty pleasures ever since my husband, flicking channels one night after a day of moving house with a six-month old, a two-year-old and a five-year-old, came across Jon attempting to put all six toddlers into ski suits and we settled in for a good bout of schadenfreude. I resisted their pull last season as the marriage imploded (just too prurient) but I can watch Kate parent her eight on her own with only […]

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How We Spent Our Day

How We Spent Our Day Originally uploaded by kjda The other half is equally impressive. Sam helped willingly for 5 hours. We did say we would pay him, but we never said how much…and he seriously never once griped. And it was HOT. I am so proud. Plus, holy crap, look at the garage. Of course I didn’t take a picture of the dumpster pile. Yesterday was my birthday, and I got some lovely gifts (silverware and a shirt from […]

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What Really Intellectual Familes

What Really Intellectual Familes Originally uploaded by kjda Do on Vacation

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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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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?