Category Archives: parenting

The Summer Reading War and a Few Great 3rd and 4th Grade Titles

The Summer Reading War and a Few Great 3rd and 4th Grade Titles

ShareTweet Last year my summer reading strategy was simple. Bribery. Big reading goals tied to one big prize per kid: 10 books. 2 oral reports. 1 final prize. Judge me if you want. I don’t care. Last summer’s bribery success justified its questionable moral platform. The kids devoured their books, we had great discussions about them,Continue Reading

A Summer Sign

ShareTweet Three days into summer break and I’m deep under water, drowning in the tedium of car pools and whiny complaints of boredom. I’d kept the week clear of camps and activities to leave room for adventure, but doctor’s appointments, playdates, and car pools crept in instead. Next week, all the camps begin and theContinue Reading

Healing through Breathing and Simplification

Healing through Breathing and Simplification

ShareTweet Grief is overwhelming, not only in its emotional toll, but also its physical manifestations. I expected the tears, the void, the sadness, but I didn’t expect the panic, the racing heart, and the sleepless nights. Two things have gotten me through: the communal breath of yoga and simplification. Breathe in deep and exhale itContinue Reading

One Goal: a Tribute on Ice

One Goal: a Tribute on Ice

ShareTweet Caring for an ailing parent while mothering four children puts you in the middle of a tug of war of responsibilities, a difficult middle place of two identities: mother and daughter. The Middle Place is a term that Kelly Corrigan captured eloquently in her memoir of the same name, a beautiful tribute to herContinue Reading

The Choppy Waters of Middle School

The Choppy Waters of Middle School

ShareTweet Fifth grade means the start of middle school in our town. That’s a lot of new experiences for a 10-year old to tackle. Six teachers instead of one. Assignments read and submitted on a glitchy iPad instead of paper. Lockers. The popular crowd. Instagram. A loud cafeteria filled with kids of all ages, includingContinue Reading

And We Danced…

And We Danced…

ShareTweet The dancing began before the dinner tables were cleared. Since our construction began, our family’s level of chaos and disconnect has grown, as if, like atoms, being forced into  smaller space simply increased our collective manic energy. Or maybe it’s just that the fighting echoes louder in the open ducts and cavernous work area.Continue Reading

Date Night Now by Sittercity: Weekend Babysitting Made Easy

Date Night Now by Sittercity: Weekend Babysitting Made Easy

ShareTweet I was an early adopter of the Sittercity service. Close to a decade ago, as a new mother of two, I raved about Sittercity both online and offline. Finding a babysitter to have a few hours alone with Steve on a Saturday night was no longer a word of mouth searching exercise. Sittercity gaveContinue Reading

A Weekend in France in Pictures

A Weekend in France in Pictures

ShareTweet We love our life in Chicago, but our family is far, far away. Weekends together are carefully organized, and involve a lot more than a quick car ride. Sometimes, the call of family is so strong that you have to put a stop to everything and just jump on a plane. For no specialContinue Reading

Apple Jelly and a Nebulous Sense of Home

Apple Jelly and a Nebulous Sense of Home

ShareTweet Our suburb is near Chicago, less than a 20 minute drive without traffic, but it has the feel of a small town, with many families who have lived here for generations. It’s the kind of place that beckons people home after college, and many of my kids’ friends were high school sweethearts, right hereContinue Reading

Baby Curl Tears

Baby Curl Tears

ShareTweet Once I had a little girl with curls that haloed around her head. At bedtime those curls caressed my face. I lingered, agreeing to one more book after another. I was addicted to Juju’s curls, their soft feather kisses, like a drug. Then, one spring day, her brother cut them, with dull kindergarten safe scissors. TheyContinue Reading

I Remember: Sharing 9/11 Stories

ShareTweet Today my Facebook feed is filled with 9/11 memory stories. Some were in New York, others far away, but everyone remembers that moment when we ushered in the era of terror at home. It seems fitting to honor this day with our personal memories, a national shared memory. My kids never tire of anchoringContinue Reading

Losing the Swearing Battle

Losing the Swearing Battle

ShareTweet With four kids, things tend to slide over time. Rules once considered essential become more lax. Daily baths become once every few days. Yearly check ups have six month delays. And the definition of a swear goes from cute to street. At the beginning, I used to worry a lot about swearing. Hate was a swear word. SoContinue Reading

Tennis Tough Love

Tennis Tough Love

ShareTweet I like to think of myself as a pretty tough mom. I beat my kids at Candyland, telling them they need to learn how to lose graciously. I’m militant about having them say thank you. And when they get in trouble? I sentence them to trash duty, which includes cleaning the garbage cans. FistContinue Reading

Summer Growth for Moms Too

Summer Growth for Moms Too

ShareTweet Three years ago, drowning with the loss of my routine to my children’s summer needs, I made myself a promise: Next summer, my kids won’t be the only ones to go to camp. I’ll carve out some summer time for myself to grow. Learning and growing gave me the room I needed to breathe, between campContinue Reading

The Joys of the Open Road with Kids in Tow

The Joys of the Open Road with Kids in Tow

ShareTweet After college graduation, I drove cross-country and back again with my ex-boyfriend. The trip was planned before our relationship ended, and the lure of our planned adventure was stronger than any lingering bad feelings. We had 26 days to get to California and back in time to start work and our adult lives. NotContinue Reading

The Bottle Fairy

The Bottle Fairy

ShareTweet My littlest may only be two and a half, but she has no doubt about her place in the world. She is the center of our family, adored by her big siblings, our undisputed princess, and she recently set our pediatrician straight when she dared to question Sophie’s world order. “Sophie,” said the doctor, “you’reContinue Reading

So Lucky – Lessons from a Car Crash

So Lucky – Lessons from a Car Crash

ShareTweet The driver pulled out without paying attention, smacking into my boys in their candy red mini. Smacking them so hard that they spun around and plowed into a parked car. Time slows down in an accident. Steve saw him coming, knew the crash was about to happen, but had no time to do anythingContinue Reading

All For Schools: a Convenient New School Fundraising Option

All For Schools: a Convenient New School Fundraising Option

ShareTweet How does your school handle their fundraising? Do you have a school auction or do smaller campaigns all year round? Having been pressured one too many times to bid on something I didn’t really want, I prefer the fundraising opportunities that are woven in my life, the private ones that no one has toContinue Reading

Escape from Winter Hell

Escape from Winter Hell

ShareTweet The world is brushed with shades of gray, dirty snow, hidden ice, and smears of crusted salt. Frost is not only on the outside of the car, but also inside. Scraped, it falls on the dashboard, another dusting of frozen snow. Half-asleep, hunched and cramped uncomfortably from the pervasive chill in the air, IContinue Reading

Family Friendly Tech: Lenovo Flex Series All In One Desktops

Family Friendly Tech: Lenovo Flex Series All In One Desktops

ShareTweet Do you have a family computer? Or does everyone in your house have their own tech device? Although there are many tablets floating around in our house, we also have a family computer that lives in the heart of our kitchen clutter, on hand for homework, YouTube fun, and even toddler explorations. When BellaContinue Reading