Raising Devils

Ready to go

By KJ / Sunday, November 8, 2009

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

By KJ / Tuesday, December 1, 2009

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

By KJ / Sunday, January 3, 2010

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

By KJ / Thursday, January 28, 2010

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

By KJ / Wednesday, February 17, 2010

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.

By KJ / Thursday, March 11, 2010

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

By KJ / Monday, April 5, 2010

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

By KJ / Sunday, May 2, 2010

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.

By KJ / Monday, June 14, 2010

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

By KJ / Monday, July 12, 2010

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

By KJ / Monday, July 26, 2010

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

By KJ / Friday, July 30, 2010

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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By KJ / Wednesday, August 18, 2010

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

By KJ / Sunday, September 12, 2010

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!)

By KJ / Monday, September 27, 2010

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

By KJ / Monday, November 15, 2010

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

By KJ / Friday, December 10, 2010

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!

By KJ / Thursday, January 13, 2011

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

By KJ / Tuesday, February 8, 2011

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

By KJ / Saturday, March 5, 2011

“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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By KJ / Monday, April 11, 2011

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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By KJ / Friday, May 6, 2011

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

By KJ / Tuesday, May 31, 2011

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

By KJ / Saturday, June 11, 2011

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

By KJ / Wednesday, June 29, 2011

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

By KJ / Wednesday, July 20, 2011

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

By KJ / Monday, August 22, 2011

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

By KJ / Monday, September 5, 2011

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

By KJ / Monday, September 26, 2011

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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Carolyn See and the Prisoner of the Book Revision

By KJ / Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Big shout out to Carolyn See, who I have never met (I’d like to!) but who I owe, big time. See, ten days ago today, (that would be a week ago Wednesday) I cleared my decks for what I’d planned to be one big week of book revision. It wasn’t meant to get what I hope will be my next book into any kind of final form, but just to get it into a nice cohesive shape for my agent, […]

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Secret Agent Josephine’s Books Are Here!

By KJ / Monday, November 14, 2011

My longtime internet buddy Secret Agent Josephine has three new books available on Amazon for your Kindle (or better, Kindle app, because you’re gonna want color and graphics for these): Secret Agent Josephine’s ABC’s Secret Agent Josephine’s Colors Secret Agent Josephine’s Numbers She’s a fantastic artist (people used to compete to have her create an avatar for them), a fun writer and deserving of much success. Back in the day, it was kind of all about whether you blogged undercover, […]

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Happy New Year!

By KJ / Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year! Originally uploaded by kjda Peace and tranquility. Temporary, but mighty precious. KJ Dell’Antonia sent from my iPhone —

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Today, Three Years Ago, We Told the Other Kids About Rory.

By KJ / Sunday, March 25, 2012

How do I know? Because three years ago, to the week, if not the day, it was Sam’s “Wild Mites Jamboree” which is a hockey thing, and right before we went to the rink, we lined them up on our bed and produced pictures. They were beyond thrilled. We were happy. Our biggest problem was that we hadn’t printed enough pictures, because all three of them wanted to carry all the pictures around (and they did, too, until the day […]

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8 Things We Have Learned about Having a Pool

By KJ / Sunday, July 6, 2014

1. It’s an excellent way to acquire beach towels. 2. Ditto assorted children’s clothing and swimwear. 3. Bleach and Borax are cheaper than pool chemicals. 4. Apply before pool party, not after. 5. I don’t know where your goggles are. I don’t know where anyone’s goggles are. 6. Mmmm, pool water beats toilet water any day (that’s from our dogs). 7. Bacardi piña coladas are the way to go. 8. Am never leaving my house again. At least not this […]

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You see a sexist jerk, the voice of the Modern Pioneer girl whispered in my head. I see a teaching opportunity.

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