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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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Lily’s spring concert

Lily’s spring concert 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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Lily and Wyatt at Fratello’s

Lily and Wyatt at Fratello’s Originally uploaded by kjda. The funny thing is that It was Wyatt’s idea. KJ Dell’Antonia (Please attribute any drastic spelling and punctuation errors to my poor thumb-typing and creative autocorrect.)

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Happy Birthday Mom!

I was glad you liked the kids singing. They were so pleased with themselves. And Sam really liked playing his piano into the phone to you. I don’t think that had ever occurred to him before. It was almost like you were here! Rob got everyone into pajamas tonight by sheer force of personality, since he can’t really manhandle them. I find that as exhausting as just sitting on them and doing it myself. Having him able to do it […]

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Après ski nap

Après ski nap Originally uploaded by kjda. KJ Dell’Antonia

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Under the last patch of melting snow..

Under the last patch of melting snow.. Originally uploaded by kjda KJ Dell’Antonia sent from my iPhone

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Big Stuff Afoot!

Wow. So, none of what I planned to get done this afternoon got done, although, oddly, I cleaned part of the vegetable garden. Because, what with packing for Texas, finishing Rebecca’s dvd and package, finishing a pitch for my conference next week, doing a new post for the NHPR site I just started writing for, finishing the article for Parenting I wanted to have done before we left Friday…well, clearly what I really needed to do was work in the […]

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My Bag of Rocks

My Bag of Rocks, originally uploaded by kjda. Geez, what’s in there, a bag of rocks? Why, yes! It’s a metaphorical bag of rocks, too. I am carrying a lot of baggage, lately.

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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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The Pringle Fairy

If asked, I can state with confidence that the maximum number of days one family should spend pretty much cooped up a room together is…6. Not seven. Seven seems to be just that much too much. But we are getting there. They just took our temperature for the last time. We just had our temperatures taken for the last time. We ate our last lunch. We filled out a form that even had a box for “comments about our stay”. […]

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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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Still Not There.

I’m still waiting for the day when life just feels normal. Last night I dreamed that one of our neighbors covered the slopes of their yard with snow somehow, and I walked down the road with Rory, Wy, Lily and Sam and we just happened to stumble across it. It would be Rory’s first time playing in the snow, and I wanted to see her reaction, but she’d wandered off, and somehow we were surrounded by hundreds of families, all […]

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Who is this kid, and what did she do with Rory?

At dinner last night: This good, mommy! Thank you! To Wyatt, instead of a slap: You make me so MAD! (Wyatt: You make me so mad TOO!) This morning, 7 am, standing in our room fully dressed: I ready go school now! I get my shoes on! Tonight, awakened from an accidental post-dinner nap on the way home in the car (I tried to put her to bed, but it was just that much too early) and about to have […]

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Trucking

Trucking Originally uploaded by kjda KJ Dell’Antonia sent from my iPhone

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Rainy Saturday

Rainy Saturday Originally uploaded by kjda KJ Dell’Antonia sent from my iPhone

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Poopyheads R Us

We have a playdate this afternoon, one of our favorite neighbors and a friend of all three. She, Lily and Wyatt are all playing an elaborate game of make-believe. Rory is not; she likes some quiet time after school to do things without, I suspect, teachers coming over to make sure she is doing them in the approved Montessori way (although she loves Montessori; she has a bell and she rings it constantly around the house, saying “Please sa-ye your […]

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A ghost and Blossom, the Powerpuff Girl

A ghost and Blossom, the Powerpuff Girl Originally uploaded by kjda KJ Dell’Antonia sent from my iPhone

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Ready to go

Ready to go Originally uploaded by kjda It must be said that Rory has no idea what she’s getting into here. She’s seen Sam skate, of course, but she has no concept of "ice" except from the freezer. KJ Dell’Antonia sent from my iPhone

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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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Sam’s Magic Inventions, and Musings on Mental Health

Last night Lily announced that her tummy hurt. I muttered an uh-huh, sorry your tummy hurts sort of acknowledgement that we all know means “I don’t believe you,” and Sam asked: Has any one invented–you know how one person feels pain, and the other person can’t know, like, how bad it is–like when you try on hockey skates, and no one but you can tell whether or not they really fit? That was a little incoherent, but I got it, […]

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Texas Hike

Texas Hike Originally uploaded by kjda It’s gorgeous here today! And no one Compared this hike to a "forced march." KJ Dell’Antonia sent from my iPhone

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Fwd: Future scientists dissect cow eyeball.

Fwd: Future scientists dissect cow eyeball. Originally uploaded by kjda KJ Dell’Antonia sent from my iPhone Begin forwarded message: >

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KJ on Kids and Branding on Slate

I’ve got a piece on Slate this week on kids and brands (one of my favorite fellow writers asked me what I was branding them with–a Bar Double X, perhaps?) I’d love it if you’d come, read and argue away.

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Not the Bike Ride They Thought Mom was Taking Them On

Not the Bike Ride They Thought Mom was Taking Them On Originally uploaded by kjda KJ Dell’Antonia sent from my iPhone

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I don’t want you to work. I want you to just be home.

Think these words made me sad? Think again. I do work, and I work hard, and I have been struggling, of late, to get everything done and done well. But my writing work is important, and so, on a different level is the fact that I work at all. I want the kids to get that Rob and I both work, that we both worked hard to get to jobs that we enjoy and that help us all to lead […]

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Annals of Guilt-Inducing Parenting Research: Moving

Add this to the list of things that I’m apparently supposed to worry about, to which I don’t think my own parents gave more than a passing thought: Recent research results on moving during childhood show it’s harmful in the long run. Relocating parents of extroverted kids needn’t worry so much, but those who’ve spawned introverts and other “neurotic” types can add another brick to the never-ending load of guilt. With all due respect to the idea that knowing more […]

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Raising Responsible Kids, Presidential Style

I distinctly recall how badly I wanted to make money as a kid. I remember lemonade stands, getting $1 each for ironing my father’s shirts and, later, mowing lawns. I remember the first thing I did with my own money, too: I walked straight to Skaggs Albertson’s, which sold—wait for it—Charlie’s Angels trading cards. I remember once debating between Fruit Stripes gum and a book, and having my mother press me towards the book, which would last longer. I went […]

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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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Stride.

We have hit our stride. Rory has been home for almost 14 months, and it’s time to call it good. And oh, it is such a relief. The past year been like hitting my head against a wall, in that it’s so much better now that it’s stopped. I’ve never, ever been so glad that a year was over, and I would repeat sixth grade before I’d live through the first six months again. Of course, we had our beautiful […]

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Tour de Taste

Tour de Taste Originally uploaded by kjda KJ Dell’Antonia sent from my iPhone — KJ Dell’Antonia Twitter.com/kjda

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Writing About My Little Daughter-of-a Bitch (Not a title Babble would let me use!)

Lily is upset about noodles. This is an understatement, the equivalent of saying that John McEnroe used to get upset at umpires’ calls at Wimbledon. 6-year-old Lily is upset about noodles. I put cold noodles in her lunch, not the hot ones she wanted, and as she picked her lunch up off the counter, the lack of a thermos tipped her off that this (like several other things this morning) has not gone according to plan. She is tired. She […]

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I Have a Dumpster

and I’m not afraid to use it. We are drowning in stuff here, climbing over it in the basement, shoving it into cabinets, packing it into boxes…years of hoarding hand-me-downs and “maybe we will use that someday” have left us with a house that almost cannot be cleaned–all we ever seem to do is move stacks from one spot to another. We’re REALLY trying to change that. Oh, it’s not all environmentally incorrect. Old tech gear goes to Best Buy […]

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Doin’ the Math

I recognize that this is a very corny, wholesome yet pushy activity for a parent to do with her kids, but sometimes—especially when the battling in the car gets to be too much for me to take—we do in car math drills. I call out the questions, taking turns for each kid. Wyatt loves this. He’s definitely a math guy, and I take pride in (and am mildly freaked by) his abilities. But Rory has struggled with this activity, so […]

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Not Quite Yet!

This is Rory’s favorite phrase. Rory, come play with me? Not quite yet! Rory, empty your lunchbox. Not quite yet! Rory, time to go. Not quite yet! Even for good things, it’s not quite yet, not quite yet. I finally tracked down the origin yesterday morning when she asked my husband if she could feed the dogs, and he said: Not quite yet. Not surprisingly, this turned out to mean when I’m ready and possibly never, which is certainly how […]

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Making Valentines and Power Struggles

If you haven’t made Valentines yet, or have rashly promised treats for a classroom party, might I recommend these? It’s a Family Fun recipe and couldn’t possibly be easier. Sam and Wyatt made their own, with just a little help from me spreading it in the pan and cutting it. The results caused the kids to jump around the room shrieking “It’s so good! It’s so good!” and then “I love you! I love you!” So I guess, from a […]

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Off Track

“No!” Wyatt stood in our hallway, feet in his socks firmly planted on the floor. “No. I’m not going anywhere. I’m going to stay here!” Yesterday, I brought Rory and Wyatt home for about an hour before picking Lily and Sam up from school. I’d meant for us to stay out–but they were so awful, so whiny and obnoxious to me and to one another, that we ran one errand, abandoned the plan for coffee and treats (with a rousing […]

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Enough.

Tonight Rory wanted some pineapple in her lunch for tomorrow, which requires that I cut a little off for her. Which I did, and put it in the little box she’d selected, and put the lid on, and presented it to her. “I just gon’ LOOK,” she said, and opened it up. I don’t know why this bothers me, but it does. It bothers me, I’m sorry to say, a lot. And I know I’ve blogged about it before-but I […]

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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 Get My Best Stuff Done When I’m Driving

When I’m driving—which is to say, when I’m stuck in the car, cruising along and unable to do anything other than contemplate the meaning of Sam’s favorite song (“Fireflies,” a song that gives “MacArthur Park” a run for its money in terms of its general air of having a much deeper meaning than anything that’s actually said ) if he has control of the iPod, or belt out a few of my own favorites (I favor “If You’re Gonna Play […]

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The Traditional Birthday Tantrum

First of all, let me say that I angsted over this pinata. I don’t even like pinatas. I mean, I did, when I was little and lived in San Antonio, where some kids had pinatas hanging in their rooms from trips to Nuevo Laredo (in more peaceful times). Me, I had a large ceramic piggy bank I believed was decorated in traditional fashion. No one I knew had ever had a pinata to break, although we had heard of them. […]

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The Birthday that’s Family Day

It’s Sam’s tenth birthday! It was a spectacular one…about which, more, with photos, anon. It’s also Rory’s “family day,” and that’s what I want to talk about. For “family day,” we did nothing. Not that Sam would mind. He wouldn’t, not at all. But I am not, and never have been, sure how to mark the day when Rory both lost and gained her family. I did say something–to her, and to everyone, about it (just to point it out, […]

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I Do What I Do Because I Know What You Do, That You Do That You Do So Well

Something has changed. To hear me blog for the past couple of days, you would think we were right back where we were two years ago ( well, maybe not THAT bad). There’s an excellent reason for that. In my head, I have been reliving that awful, wonderful summer. I’m working on a book about how Rory and adoption and China among themselves kicked my sorry control-freak ass and left me the better for it. I have a fantastic agent; […]

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Reading Material: Good Eggs and Someday My Prince Will Come

Good Eggs: A Memoir by Phoebe Potts My rating: 4 of 5 stars I love a graphic memoir, and I loved this one. I adore how tight and condensed the words of the story become, while the story itself, through the drawings, sprawls out as wide as any story can. I had a hard time putting this down to sleep. If you’re not a graphic novel reader, but you like memoir, you might be surprised how easily and thoroughly you […]

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Monday GoodReads: Sideways on a Scooter

Sideways on a Scooter: Life and Love in India by Miranda Kennedy My rating: 4 of 5 stars The cover of Miranda Kennedy’s Sideways on a Scooter, with its lanky Western woman walking, Abbey Road style, between two women in bright pink traditional Indian dress, suggests the all-India version of Eat, Pray, Love. So does the subtitle: “Life and Love in India.” In fact, there’s a blurb on my copy assuring me that “if you liked Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, […]

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Harry Potter and the Mother Who Kept Her Mouth Shut

I love Harry Potter. I love Harry Potter so much that I am awaiting entrance to Pottermore for both Sam and me. I love it so much that I pre-ordered Book Two from Amazon UK, back when Scholastic didn’t realize you could do that. I was Harry Potter for Halloween before more than a handful of kids knew who that was. But I am VERY FRUSTRATED with Harry Potter just now. (And no, not because we don’t have our “Welcome” […]

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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?