Category Archives: Daily Chaos

Coming Down the Mountain


Hello! It’s me… I’m just wondering if after all these years, you’d like to… read. A blog post.

How ARE you? It has been so long. Happy New Year, by the way. Nope, I didn’t make resolutions this year so THAT’S been one less thing at which to fail.

How were the holidays? And yes, I AM including Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday in there, because we did something super fun for the long weekend this year. I mean, aside from an in-depth family discussion about civil rights and Dr. King’s historical contributions.

Me: Nib, do you know anything about Martin Luther King, Jr.?
Nib: Yeah, he was a guy who made people stop doing stuff separately and wanted people to do everything together.
Me: Um, OK, that’s a good start.

We also went skiing in Vermont.

And by “we,” I mean, “not me.”

I do not ski. Despite living in Colorado for a few years. Despite having four siblings who enjoy (to different degrees) sliding down mountains on slippery boards of various sizes. Despite being a very partial owner of a ski house in Vermont, I still don’t ski.

tried to ski. In my memory, the story goes like this:

It was FREEZING the day my sister, Lori, took my Dad and I skiing for the first time. I fell a million times and everything hurt. After minimal instruction, she brought us up a chair lift, which almost killed us, and then on a double black diamond trail. My Dad made a few surprisingly controlled turns before propelling down the mountain in a straight line, quickly gaining speed while heading for trees. The whole time, he was screaming, “I am out of control! I am out of control!” My sister chased after him leaving me stranded and alone on top of a scary mountain without the knowledge or skill required to get down. I MAY have taken my skis off and walked most of the way. Frostbite ensued.

In reality, the story goes like this:

It was beautiful, sunny the day my sister, Lori, took my Dad and I skiing the first time. We spent a good portion of the first day going up that little moving ramp with all the preschoolers and coming down the bunny hill veeeeerrrrrrrrrrrry slooooooooowly. I couldn’t possibly have fallen because I was barely moving. If I WAS on the ground it was because I had slowly lowered myself there to avoid acceleration of any type.

After many, many hours practicing, my sister (half-dead from boredom) decided we were ready for a real trail. She brought us up on a chair lift (which I think really did almost kill us but I’m pretty sure that’s a rite of passage for first timers) and to the designated trail.*

*Now, it’s worth noting that in reality, the degree of difficulty of the trail remains debated to this day. While I doubt it was truly a double black diamond, it was definitely above our skill level. Although to my sister’s defense, any real mountain trail was probably above our skill level. Surprisingly, Dad and I were not naturals. This came as quite the shock to us, given our God-granted athletic prowess.

I remember standing at the top of the trail looking down – and I really was by myself because the part about my Dad careening off and my sister chasing after him really is true – thinking how the hell am I going to get down this thing?

It looked something like this:


And that’s all I remember. Probably because there was so much pain involved in the descent, I blocked it out. I obviously made it down eventually but I can guarantee it wasn’t easy or pretty. And nothing about it made me ever want to ski again.

(Oh and I also tried snowboarding once. Once. And that’s all we need to say about that.)

So, I don’t ski. But as previously mentioned, the majority of my family members do, so it didn’t come as a surprise when the Loud One, after hearing her cousins all talk about their various mountain adventures, wanted to give it a try.

We signed her up for ski school a few years back putting aside our doubts that she would even get the ski boots on her feet, never mind enjoy the sport. (Keep in mind, this was the girl who at the time, wouldn’t even put on basic clothing if it wasn’t super soft, seamless and stretched to the point that hardly any of it touched her body. Ski gear seemed impossible.) But she did it. And she loved it.

Lori and my brother-in-law, Scott, have generously brought her to Vermont a couple of times each winter since then. And now she’s a skier.

Last weekend, our whole family went up to Vermont for the first time in two years. We dropped all three kids at ski school for full day instruction and enthusiastically began our own busy day. Agenda: Leisurely breakfast and coffee, nap, read, more coffee, more leisure, more napping, more reading. I love skiing!

Lori and Scott brought the Loud One and the Nibbit back out after their instruction was over (for, as the Nib called it, “free ski”) and when they were done for the day, they showed me a video of my kids on the mountain.

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Well. I MAY have cried a little bit.

There was my Loud One, easily and dare I say, gracefully, making turns, gliding down what looked to me like a crazy steep hill! And the Nibbit picking up as much speed as he could get away with, stopping with his “pizza wedge,” waving at the camera, loving every minute.

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It felt strange watching that video… I saw that my kids were participating in a world that is so foreign to me. They were learning how to explore mountain tops, travel at high speeds and navigate obstacles. They were learning how to do something and more importantly, how to love something, that had absolutely nothing to do with us, their parents.

They’ll go on to do many things without us, of course… sports, travel, college (although can’t you totally see KJ as the old Dad playing beer pong in the fraternity basement?) but I will always remember watching the ski videos and thinking, “Woah! How the hell did they learn to do that??”

I credit Aunt Lori and Uncle Scott for introducing them to this world – both by convincing me that I should let them try it despite my protests that “… we’re just not a skiing family” and also by literally taking them to the mountain – and I’m so grateful.

When I picked them up from their lessons after the second day, they both reported in about their experience…

The Loud One said, “Mom, it is SO beautiful at the top of the mountain! You should see it… the snow, the trees… it’s so peaceful and amazing.”

And the Nib said, “I was the first in my group to make it down so I won.”

And that just about sums up my skiers perfectly.

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Gratitude Lite 2015


OK, so let’s just get this out of the way. True, you haven’t heard from me since – wait, let me go check the date of my last post – woah, August 28th? That’s a crazy long time ago. And it was a Back-to-School post? Yikes.

So here are my excuses, in no particular order:

1. I’m lazy.

It’s true. I’m so lazy that I’ve stopped working out entirely despite the fact that workouts are the hot water cooler topics where I live. I bump into friends at the grocery store and I’m all, “Did you see Homeland?” and they’re all, “No, I was working out.” And I’m all, “But it’s on Sundays at 9:00pm?” and they’re all “Yeah… and?” And I’m all, “But you can watch it whenever On Demand!” and they’re all “Yeah, I’m ALWAYS working out.”

There’s spinning of course and CrossFit, but there’s like a whole language of workouts out there that I don’t speak: terms like, SUP and CST 50 and Barre and Corelates and Deep Water Running (WTF? Do people have gills now?)… the list goes on and on and on…

I actually have several close friends whose work clothes are ACTUALLY workout clothes. As in, fitness is their career. Do you know what it’s like to be friends with people who WORK OUT for a living? It sucks. Because they’re all like, “I taught four cardio classes today, but then I took it easy and only did Pilates in my spare time.” And I’m all, “I ate ALL of the Cadbury Eggs.”


Moving on.


OK, so it turns out the laziness is really the only reason I haven’t posted since August. I would love to say that things have been SO crazy for the past few months and I simply haven’t had the time… but that would be a lie.

I could tell you that my kids are just really normal and boring now, so I don’t have any material but that whopper would get me immediately struck by lightning.

So lazy, it is.

But today is a new day! I’m motivated by the hints of holidays in the air and the crazy-ass long lines at the grocery store where EVERY single person was buying French’s fried onions.

I thought I would carry on a timeless (OK, three-year old) WNAN? tradition and fill you in on some of the things I’m thankful for this year. Aside from the obvious – family, friends, Starbucks – these are the things bringing me joy these days.

1. Acupuncture.

Wait. Can I count this as a workout? It’s good for my health, improves circulation AND I feel great when I walk out of the gym office. IT COUNTS!

2a. Books. And to be more specific, Barnes & Noble.

Look, I know it’s more PC to shop Mom & Pop and more environmentally- (and budget-) friendly to go to the library but I’m sorry, I love B&N. Here are all the things I like to do at B&N (sub-list alert!):

  • Touch all the covers and imagine what cover texture I would choose if I wrote a book… Glossy? Matte? Metallic?
  • Read the inside flaps
  • Look at all the journals and pens and mini book lights
  • Read all the magazines
  • Starbucks. Duh.
  • Take pictures of the books that I want to buy for my Kindle. (Shhh!)
  • Kids’ section (sub-sub-list alert):
    • Sit on the stage and perform The Day the Crayons Quit (except that we like to change the words and call it The Day the Crayons Bit. It’s just a little thing we do. People love it. Well, the Nib loves it.).
    • Pick out all the age-inappropriate books that I want to read under the guise of “they’re for my daughter.”
    • Skim some of the “Who Was [insert historical figure]?” Kate Boehm Jerome books to improve my knowledge of history.
  • Flip through all of the Adult Coloring books before reminding myself that I already have so many. #EmbarrassedNotEmbarrassed

And last, but not least…


2b. Reading.

You’d think this would be the same as “Books,” but you’d be wrong. Because I don’t actually read all of the books. I read MOST of the books but some don’t look as good when I get home so they get stacked in the “To Be Read [but probably not really]” pile. Which is very different than the “To Be Read [soon!]” pile and the “To Be Read [but not urgently]” pile.

And it’s not just books… it’s magazines, parenting blogs, the odd news article, and of course, HuffPost Good News.

I love reading. Most of my procrastination happens so that I can read. Why would I write when so many other people have already written so much good stuff?

3. Whole Foods Breakfast Bars

These came into my life when I really needed them and have filled a previously enormous breakfast void. That’s all I’ll say about that.

4. All things Star Wars…

… specifically the Lego sets that keep HD busy for hours on end and these Star Wars light saber lollipops, which I put in my 5-year old’s birthday goody bag. TOTALLY appropriate.


5. Jimmy Fallon, Bloodline and Adele’s new album

6. LO’s music teachers

… for tirelessly working with large groups of nine-year olds singing, playing their recorders and new this year, various stringed instruments. After listening to just one of these musicians practice and rehearse at home, I can’t possibly begin to imagine the JOY of listening to 40-75 of them at the same time. Bless you, Music Teachers.

7. Our troops and homeland security people.

Listen, the world is bat shit crazy right now and I’m often freaking out about it. I had the following text exchange with a trusted advisor the other day:


I’m already a fairly anxious person who’s ALWAYS expecting bad news on the other end of the phone (which is why I don’t answer… just TEXT me, people) so the fact that we’re on the brink of World War III is terrifying.

But then I just remind myself that there are a LOT of people who are SOOOO much smarter and SOOOO much braver than I am doing a boatload of work to keep our country safe. I’m VERY grateful.


I know it goes without saying, but I’m not really one to “go without saying” anything, so I’d like to add that I’m ALWAYS extremely grateful for my family and friends and the many, many blessings we’ve been given.


And for anybody who’s missing a loved one this year, take a minute tomorrow morning to think of your best, funniest, happiest memories with him or her and smile. And then, do that everyday. It helps.

Happy Thanksgiving! I hope your holiday is warm and delicious and full of laughter and love and carbs. #StretchyPantsForever #ButNOTWorkoutPants


PS. My friend, Smitty and I have decided to launch our new gym. Check out this week’s marketing promotion:

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Happy New [School] Year!


So you know how people are sometimes like, “Oh, teachers are so lucky because they get the whole summer off?” and you’re thinking, “Yeah, weellllll, I’m pretty sure many teachers are actually NOT spending every day of their summer lounging at the beach.” (I mean, if they are, that’s AWESOME because the teachers I know definitely deserve it after dealing with my kids all year.) But a lot of the teachers I know work during the summer… tutoring, running summer camps, teaching classes and most importantly, they’re always planning. They’re thinking about the upcoming year – new lesson plans, new classroom ideas, new projects, etc. They’re always thinking of new ways to inspire our kids. God bless them.

Well, I’m actually a LOT like a teacher. I mean, except for the advanced degrees in teaching and dedication to educating our youth. And except for the tutoring, running summer camps and teaching classes, too. Mostly, I’m a lot like a teacher in that, while it may have LOOKED like I took the whole summer off from writing this blog, you should know that I was always THINKING about it. See? SAME.

To be honest, I’m not sure what happened with this blog this summer. One minute, it was June 18th and I was posting about the Nib graduating from Kindergarten and then school was over and camp began and I started packing backpacks again and emptying sand out of everything and washing 18 bathing suits and towels every damn day and then there was that trip to London and more camp and more bathing suits and towels and avoiding sharks in the Outer Banks and more sand and geez, where did all of our bathing suits go? and planning birthday celebrations and PHEW, now it’s back to school time.

For years, I would hear people talk about how summer “just flew by” and I would think, “Really? Because those July days feel just as long as the ones in October to me…” And then I realized, you know who’s NOT talking about the summer flying by? The moms of babies and toddlers.

When you have kids under three years old, aalllllllll of the days are just one big blur. It’s like one giant, gray, swirl of time where early, early mornings turn into loooong days which turn into sleepless nights and then you start over again and again and in the middle, there’s mushy food and a LOT of mess and so much “No!” But then months and years pass and all of a sudden, there is a LIGHT at the end of the tunnel.

It’s when you can start calculating your consecutive sleep time in hours instead of minutes.

It’s when you don’t have to schedule your days around nap times and stress about a kid falling asleep in the car for seven minutes, which will set bedtime back by four hours.

It’s when the Mommy & Me classes become DROP OFF. Amen, let the choir sing.

Well, this year, I saw the light and I found myself in the “summer just flew by!” group for the first time ever. And these are the reasons why:

1. SLEEP. When our kids were little and woke up between 5:30-6:00, KJ or I had to wake up between 5:30-6:00, as well. You know, to make sure they didn’t set the house or a sibling on fire. But once they learned to fend for themselves (read: turn on the iPad), we were able to sleep later. But this is true ONLY in the summer because APPARENTLY – as I learned YESTERDAY – even nine- and six-year olds cannot be expected to get ready for school and onto the bus by themselves. Huh.

2. SWIM. All of my kids can all swim. Girls say Hallelujah, WOO! No more boring baby pool! Now we can all swim in the big, fun pool or maybe some of us might swim in the big, fun pool while others of us might sit in the big, fun lounge chair and read a book and let those college kid lifeguards earn their beer money.*

*I’m KIDDING. I totally watch my kids when they’re swimming… from over the pages of my book.

3. CAMP. Camp hours are LONGER than school hours. The bus picks them up. They play, swim, run. Camp feeds them lunch. They play, swim, run some more. And then bus brings them home EXHAUSTED. Who invented camp? High five to that guy.

4. COOK, Don’t have to. No one expects you to make dinner in the summer. Hot dogs, hamburgers and fries from the snack bar four times a week is PERFECT. A few slices of cheese and an applesauce pouch is FINE and if they have ice cream after 4:30pm, that can count as the evening meal.


5. HYGIENE. Pool = bathtub/shower. Obvs.

As far as I can tell, the only negatives to summer parenting can be summed up in two words: laundry and sunblock. And I’ll gladly take those in exchange for all of that other good stuff outlined above.

Anyway, the point is that summer is over, and since I’m JUST LIKE A TEACHER, I’m going to get back to work on this blog now.

Please free to bring me new school supplies; I especially like notebooks and pens. I don’t need tissues… save those for the real other teachers.

I hope everyone had a great summer!

Here are some highlights from ours…






(FYI, this is American Ninja Warrior training)



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Pirate Treasure Hunt!




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A Letter to Another Graduate


It’s amazing to me that it’s been three years since I wrote this original Letter to the Graduate to the Loud One. It started out as an assignment from her Kindergarten teacher (“Write a letter to your child’s future self, to be read when he/she graduates from high school) and it turned into one of this blog’s most popular posts.

It feels like I wrote it yesterday. It’s like sometimes the fast forward button of life gets pushed and things start whizzing by, making that funny Chipmunks noise. (That sound brings me right back to my childhood bedroom, taping songs off the radio, and then playing them on my pink boom box. I would fast forward to the chorus by holding down the FF button and it would make that noise. I know you did it, too… don’t try to pretend you’re THAT much younger than me.)

Anyway, in a couple of days, I’ll have another Kindergarten graduate.



Although his teacher didn’t give us any assignments, I thought it only fair to keep up the tradition. Here goes…


Dear Nibbit,

If you are, in fact, really graduating from high school, let me first say CONGRATULATIONS! Sitting where I am now, I can’t say that I’m surprised. Even at your current age of 6½, you are extremely focused and driven. I imagine you’ve worked hard and have achieved much during your high school years because of your determination. You’re also just a TINY BIT competitive. OK, a big bit. OK, you’re really, really competitive.

Can you see his face?

Can you see his face?

How do I know? Well, your favorite sentence is “I win.” You turn every trip upstairs into a race. You ALWAYS keep score, no matter what the game or who the players. And you’re constantly asking me who is the best helper in the family… or who is the easiest to put to bed… or who is the funniest… or who I love the most. And when I say, “I don’t know” or “I can’t answer that,” you always say, “I know… it’s me, right?”

You even feel a certain sense of pride in being called The Nibbit, which let’s not forget originates from the expression Nothing But Trouble (NBT). You don’t care. You think it’s cool that you got a nickname that was original and unique, just like you.


This has been a big year for you, Nib. The reading, the writing, the math… you’re a natural student so that part hasn’t been too hard for you. You know which accomplishments make me feel even more proud?

  • The way you’re learning to look a grown-up in the eye when they’re speaking to you and to answer their question(s) politely.
  • The way you’re learning that it doesn’t matter if “all the other kids are doing it;” if it’s wrong or inappropriate, you don’t do it. Period.
  • The way you’re learning that just because the professionals use their elbows and slide tackle on the soccer field does NOT mean it’s OK for you to use those tactics. (This is a work in progress.)
  • The way you’ve learned how to read the score and pitch count yourself during Yankee games so you can FINALLY stop asking Daddy “What’s the score?” a million times.
  • The way you can identify good sportsmanship on the field and USUALLY recognize that it’s more important than winning.


Here’s the thing Bud, you’re competitive spirit and strategic mind are going to serve you well in your lifetime. That combination will open up doors and create opportunities for you that will be extremely valuable.

BUT – now listen up, this is important – it will be your big heart that will bring you happiness.

You get that, right?

It’s your KINDNESS that will be the foundation for all the important relationships in your life and THAT is where the good stuff happens.

Right now I see it with your pursuit of “fairness” for your friends, your inclusion of your little brother when your friends are over, your concern for your sister (except during Wrestle Baby when all bets are off) and your affection for your family (Aunt Lori loves your hugs!). Hold on tight to those things.

I also know that kindness and compassion is not always the easiest path to take… sometimes it’s tempting to join in the laughs at someone’s expense or justify bad behavior. Don’t. It’s simple. Not EASY, but simple. And I know you can do the right thing.


I have NO DOUBT that adventure will find you, baby boy. Work hard, dream big, be kind and always, always be YOU.

Love you to Outer Space and California and back,


Angel Bite


Dear Loud One,

You know how Sunday is Mother’s Day and I wrote “Be extra nice to Mom!” on the calendar? Well, did you ever really think about how YOU actually made me a mother? I wasn’t a Mom until I met you. Now I don’t turn on the sap machine all that often, but it is an inarguable fact that when you came into this world, you changed my life completely and forever.


I didn’t love being pregnant. I hoped I would, but I did not. I felt swollen and sweaty and sick for about 108 months (give or take a few). The ONLY benefit of pregnancy – besides, you know, getting you – was that I could wear fitted t-shirts around my round belly and not feel bad about my round belly… you know, as opposed to the rest of my non-pregnant life. (Not that you should ever feel bad about a round belly, but that’s a whole other blog post.)

I also really missed my Mom. I complained a lot to Daddy and Aunt Lori, but I remember thinking that I would have gotten some real, true sympathy from DiDi. Because that’s what Moms are for, you know?

Since you were born at the end of August, it was a looong, hot summer. Daddy referred to me as “the human furnace.” One day, he came home from work to find me sitting in front of a commercial-strength, air conditioning window unit I had bought online. It was designed to cool an entire giant office and, as you may someday find out, New York City apartments are not that big. I would plant a chair right in front of the unit and just sit there. He would layer sweatshirts and socks and sometimes even a wool hat… and shiver. But not me. I would just sit right in front of that monster AC and STILL complain about the heat.

I also threw up a lot. Gross, right? It’s not uncommon to feel sick and throw up when you’re pregnant.

Did you hear that LO, BEING PREGNANT IS MISERABLE. A truly terrible, awful experience. One you want to put-off for a very, very, very long time.

When I hit the 39-week mark (about one week before you were due to be born), my doctor recommended that I be induced because you were “measuring so big.” This means that the doctor was going to try to force you out. It sounds kind of wrong now, but I look back at that time and think, “Well, OF COURSE I agreed…” I was so miserable and the doctor whom I trusted very much was telling me that it was time to have my baby. I was just so excited to meet you! Turns out, you were NOT nearly as excited to meet me.

So I went to the hospital on the night of August 21st and took some drugs that were supposed to get things going. They didn’t. It was a long night of waiting and dozing and waiting and dozing… and nothing else. You were staying put.

Early the following morning, things started progressing veeerrrrrrry slowly.

Now LO, you won’t understand a lot of this medical stuff until you’re much older, but here’s how the story unfolded. I did start to feel a few labor pains and was given an epidural (medicine for the pain). It’s all a bit fuzzy in my mind, but maybe a few hours later, my doctor told me that they were going to give me a drug called Pitocin which was supposed to help get you ready to come out.

Well, you did NOT like that Pitocin. As soon as I received the injection, things started happening very quickly. Monitors started beeping, doctors and nurses started hustling and my doctor said, “Kris, your baby’s heart rate is dropping. We need to do an immediate C-section [a special surgery] to get the baby out as quickly as possible.”

I started to cry and she said something to the effect of, “It’s OK, don’t be upset; a c-section’s not so bad.”

I remember saying, “I’m not crying about the c-section… I’m crying because you said the baby’s heart rate is dropping!” I was so scared, LO. I just wanted you to be safe and healthy and when all the doctors started rushing around like crazy, I was afraid.

At that point, they rushed me into the operating room and gave me more anesthesia for the surgery. Daddy, who had been taken into another room to change into scrubs (doctor clothes), said that the doctor pushing my gurney literally cut right in front of a patient who was being wheeled in for a scheduled c-section! It was like a high-traffic intersection!

I wasn’t very coherent – that means awake and aware – while you were being born. In fact, when the doctor pulled you out and said, “Look at this beautiful baby!” my response was, “What kind is it?”

(I had already strongly suspected you were a girl, so it wasn’t really a surprise to me.)

They took you across the room to clean you up and wrap you in a blanket and Daddy went to see you and said, “Oh Kris, she’s AMAZING!” and we talked about what your name should be and we decided that The Loud One was just the perfect name for you. 🙂

We were so happy to finally meet you!

After it was all over, we were being wheeled into the recovery room and I could hear your soft cries. I groggily asked the doctor, “She’s crying… where is she?” and the doctor said, “She’s on your chest.” My arms were wrapped around your tiny body, but I couldn’t even feel them, or you!

I am swallowing ALL of my vanity by publishing this picture, LO. THAT'S how much I love you.

I am swallowing ALL of my vanity by publishing this picture, LO. THAT’S how much I love you.

Needless to say, this was not was the birthday I had imagined for you. While I was (surprisingly) not the type of person who had typed up a whole birth plan outlining every detail including an iPod playlist (people really do that!), I also hadn’t anticipated having an emergency c-section and being so out-of-it for your arrival.

But you know what, LO? I don’t care. Sure, if I had to do it again, I would probably wait another week before considering induction, because while you WERE a really big baby (8.2 lbs!), maybe you just weren’t quite ready to come out yet. I just didn’t know that then… and remember, I was so hot!

Right or wrong, I still don’t really care that I had a failed induction. Or that I had a c-section (followed up with two more). Or that I was groggy for your actual birth. I don’t care that I didn’t get to experience that natural, blissful birthing experience you will someday read about (by the way, I don’t really think this happens to ANYONE).

Because at the end of those brutal 108 months (slight exaggeration), I gave birth to a healthy, baby girl – I got YOU. And that’s all that’s ever really mattered, you know?

On August 22, 2006, you were born and you turned me into a mother. Magic!

I love you, LO… it doesn’t matter how you got here, only that you’ve been lighting up the world ever since.

Happy Mother’s Day to me.

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PS. There’s one more story from that day that you should hear. A few hours after you were born, you and I were hanging out in the hospital room together and Uncle Tom had come to meet you for the first time. I was holding you when a very serious-looking doctor walked in. He introduced himself as one of the doctors on the pediatric team and when I introduced myself and Uncle Tom, he said, “OH, this is not the father? I have something to discuss with you… may I speak freely?”

Well, my heart dropped down to my still-a-little-bit-numb, still-very-round belly.

Because LO, you never want to hear a very serious-looking doctor say, “May I speak freely?”

But when he started talking, he said, “You may have noticed the small birthmark on your daughter’s nose…” and it became clear to Uncle Tom and me that he wasn’t there to deliver some horrible news about you. PHEW.

He explained the technical term for the birthmark on your nose (I forget what it was… you can Google it) but he told us that they often refer to them as “Angel Bites” because they appear right after birth and then eventually disappear. Did you hear that, LO?



Do you know how special that makes you? Of course, you know who I think the angel was, right? I remember thinking, “I hope her angel bite stays forever.”

Sadly, it’s mostly disappeared now, but sometimes, if you turn your head a certain way and the light is right, I can still see it. Magic!


The New House


About a year and a half ago, Happy Dude started talking about a “New House,” as in “At my New House, [this or that] happens.” He just brought it up casually one day as if it were a given that he had another life outside of the one with which I’m familiar.

For over a year, AMAZING things happened at his New House. He stayed up late there and ate ice cream for breakfast every day. He never had time outs at his New House and he saw a LOT of movies because he “NEVER had to put down the screen.

Whether or not he had family members living there changed depending on his mood. On some days, there were “NO parents and NO brothers and sisters” but on other days, he had “… 100 sisters, but DEFINITELY no brothers” at the New House.

The stories of his New House became so elaborate that I started having a bit of an existential crisis… what if HD really does have this alternate life that’s soooo much better than this one?!?

I mean, it’s easy to laugh off an imaginary friend or two, but this was an elaborately created entire WORLD full of candy, toys and non-stop FUN.

Hell, I wanted to live there.

Endless supply of Legos at his New House

Endless supply of Legos at his New House

So, we just continued to listen to tales of the New House. And then I started documenting some of the details.

For a little over the year, these are just a FEW of the things we heard about HD’s New House. (I promise you, these are direct quotes.)

“Oh, at my New House…

… there are no parents.”

… there is only a Mom, but I call her Ma’am.”

… I have a New Mom. She’s nicer than you, but not as tall.” (what. the. effing. eff?)

… there are brothers and sisters named Gleek, Skeek, Midge, LaLa and listen to this… this is crazy… there’s a baby, named BABY. <cracks up.>”

… there are two dogs that don’t jump. But they eat ALL the stuff.”

… there is a toy store in the basement!”

… I have a treehouse and a beaver was eating it.”

… I have a million pet ducks; 1,000 horses and 15 cows. But then one of the ducks died, so I have [pause for math struggles] not a million anymore.”

Dreaming of a Better Life

Dreaming of a Better Life

Clearly, life was better at the New House… so of course LO and the Nibbit wanted in. Once in a while, they would ask HD if they could visit his New House. He was consistently vague and evasive offering excuses like, “Oh, no one’s home there right now,” or “It’s really only for little kids.

The little punk wasn’t sharing.

Sometimes tales from the New House got extreme. For instance…

“I DID try the broccoli, I tried ALL the vegetables at my NEW HOUSE and I didn’t like any of them.”

“I’m going to a Yankee game with my New Mom and we’re going to cheer for the hippos.”

“I had a driving lesson at my new house. (Me: I didn’t know you were old enough to drive. Are you older at your new house?) Yeah, I’m 8.”

When the Nibbit left a note for the Tooth Fairy recently asking for her name and she responded that her name is Ivy, HD announced, “Oh, my Grandma at my New House’s name is Ivy.

The following was the most elaborate story I heard regarding the New House. (I just typed as he talked so you’ll excuse the grammar/poor sentence structure. I mean, the kid IS only four. Geez.)

“I saw a movie at my New House that you don’t know. It’s called Anachalo. [pronounced Ah-NA-chel-low]. There’s a line in it that says, ‘I don’t know you but I’m going to punch you in the face.’ There’s a bad guy who says that. He’s a penguin. And the good guys are the tigers. The bad guy kept walking and he saw a robot army and they went crazy with <makes crazy noises>. And then he saw snowmans that could not talk so he smashed them. But then he said, ‘Oh. But that’s a dead snake.’ It WAS a dead snake but it actually wasn’t a dead snake; it was a LIVE snake. And it was really one of the bad guys and he comes back to life and then he was like, ‘I don’t like you <crazy noises>.’ And that’s the end of the movie.”

Me: That sounds pretty cool… do you think I can see that movie sometime?

“Well, I could drive all the way there to the New House. I drove there three weeks ago. When we were at Florida… I mean, when I was at Florida with my New Family, I… wait, do you forget the name of the movie? “

Me: I think it was Anachalo, right?

“No. It’s actually called Kitty Cat with a Water Bottle. With Sauce on Her Head.”

There were so many mentions of his New House in daily conversation; I think we all started to kind of believe it was real. Like he would say, “Oh Mom, I saw a squirrel eating an acorn!” and I’d be all, “Oh at your New House?” He’d look at me like I was crazy and say, “Um, no. Here in our backyard.”

If the other kids came home from school and HD wasn’t home, they’d ask, “Is HD at his New House?” I’d remind them that his alternate abode was a figment of his imagination… <nervous giggle>.

And then, as suddenly as it started, it was over.

About a month ago, HD informed us that he doesn’t have a New House anymore. He clarified that the New House is still there but he doesn’t go there anymore. He still references experiences he had there (“Mom, remember? I did that at my New House?”) but it’s just not a part of his life anymore.

I have no idea why exactly HD created this alternate life – maybe he needed a place with more flexibility? or more fun? A place where he had more control? But it clearly served its purpose and he was able to move on. And while the stories about the New House were always entertaining, I will admit that I’m kind of glad he got tired of it.

I hated that New Mom.

Happy at home. Real Home.

Happy at home. Real Home.

20+ Questions (I mean… Answers)


Dear Kids,

I love you guys. I do. I really do. I really, really do.


You have GOT to STOP asking the SAME questions OVER and OVER and OVER and OVER… again.

From this point on, please refer to this list of answers when you feel compelled to utter one of your redundant inquiries.

The answers are all right here:

  • No, you may not get a turtle.
  • No, not even if you use your own money.
  • Yes, I DO actually think I am a “crazy head.”
  • No, I do NOT think I am a “crazy head monster mommy poopy pants.”
  • No, you may not have MORE ice cream or cookies.
  • Sure, you can sit on my lap.
  • No, you can’t wear shorts. Because, well, SNOW.
  • Yes, you can wear short-sleeves. Because, well, I’m tired of the saying no.
  • I am 43 years old.
  • I am still 43 years old.
  • Yes, I know how old you are.
  • Nope, you may not have a lizard either.
  • Nope, I am definitely not a huge fan of reptiles.
  • Yes, you have to take the bus today.
  • No, I don’t think a Furby Army would be cool. Because those noises are actually the official Worse Noises in the World.
  • Sure, we can have a dance party.
  • Sure, we can play Uptown Funk. Again.
  • No, I’m not sure what “… funk you up” means.
  • Yes, you have to taste everything on your plate.
  • Yes, even that gross stuff.
  • Yes, you can play on the computer.
  • Yes, you can watch the iPad.
  • Yes, you can play Wii.
  • No, you cannot have five more minutes of screen time. Because you already had a million minutes. 
  • Sure you can sit on my lap but no, I don’t need you to hold my book.
  • Yes, I do love Christmas.
  • No, it is not soon.
  • No, we cannot hang the Christmas Elves up today.
  • No, you don’t have a fever. Only your brother has a fever.
  • No, you don’t have a fever. Only your brother has a fever.
  • No, you can’t stay home from school with him.
  • No, I don’t think he’ll be too lonely without you.
  • No, I did not know that turtles are hypoallergenic.
  • Yes, I can spell that for you.
  • Yes, I will read you that book.
  • No, I will not carry you… everywhere.
  • Sure, you can sit on my lap, but no you may not type my emails for me.
  • Yes, my mom is in heaven.
  • No, I do not know what heaven looks like; I have never been there.
  • Yes, I imagine there are [insert awesome things here] in heaven.
  • Yes, I do miss my mom.
  • No, we can’t visit her and eat ice cream with her.
  • No, we can’t use birds to send her a message. But I love that idea.
  • Yes, I am still 43 years. Although <sigh> I feel a lot older sometimes.

Love you all to the moon and back a million times, or as Happy Dude says, “… the last number of times.” 


On second thought, he probably does get lonely without you.

On second thought, he probably does get lonely without you.

Shhh! Klos ur maf.


This is not a traditional post, but if my goal for this blog is to document occasions that I may otherwise forget, I think some recent “work” done by my boys is worth preserving right here.

First, the Nibbit came home with this masterpiece the other day – an assignment on sequential writing. I’m hoping, based on his spelling, that it’s actually been sitting in his backpack since September but that may be wishful thinking.

OK, take a look (you’ll notice I provided some translation where I thought necessary):



There are so many things wrong with this that I don’t even know where to start!

But I’ll try.

1. The idea that any of my children would write instructional test on “How to Be Quiet” is laughable at best. Also hypocritical and delusional.
2. He’s not even consistent in his butchering of the spelling of “mouth.” First it’s “maf,” then it switches to “malf,” and finally, in the oh-so-critical step 4, it’s back to “maf.”
4. Where exactly does he think the fingers go when one says, “Shhh????” Is that an attempt to say “under your malf?” WHO CAN TELL? (Not him. I asked.)
5. And last but most definitely not least, if you actually followed these directions on “How to Be Qwiyit” through to the end, YOU WOULD FAIL. Because he concludes with OPEN YOUR MOUTH. This possibly explains why my house is SO FREAKIN’ NOISY all the time.

I’m not going to lie; I’m a bit worried.

Second, there’s this. This is one of my many “birthday cards” from Happy Dude, who ALWAYS tells it like it is:



Seven Week Recap


Where have you been?? Do you think you can just walk away from this blog without any notice or explanation?

OK, I forgive you. Let’s catch up.

Here’s a brief recap of what’s been going on with us since early January, here’s our past seven weeks in a school-safe, nut-free-shell.

  • All three of the kids continue to do basketball clinics on Sundays. Let’s just say that some of them have minimal natural-born coordination but make up for it with their enthusiasm. Some of them think they’re a tiny bit better than they really are. And some of them just spend the whole time spinning in circles and saying, “Woah, woah, I’m dizzy!”
  • The temperature dropped and it snowed. The kids had a snow day on a Monday.
  • In some kind of warped, alternate universe, the Nibbit had a birthday party at an art studio where he got to be dreamy and creative and the Loud One had a party at a Parkour place where she got to hurl herself off, over and around things ON THE SAME DAY. They talked about switching places, but I explain to them that they are not the Parent Trap twins and would not be able to get away with that.
  • Then, it was Martin Luther King, Jr Day and the kids had a day off on a Monday.
  • We moved our new Wii up to the playroom and we didn’t see the Nibbit for three days. I THINK he went to school but I can’t be sure.
  • Weekend: basketball, birthday parties.
  • We saw the WEIRDEST kids’ movie ever made, aptly called Strange Magic. It had fairies and princes and gnomes and Kristen Chenowith and greatest hits from the 60s and 70s and maybe a little bit of racism, but I’m not 100% sure about that.
  • It snowed again and the kids had a half-snow-day on a Monday.
  • The kids continue their ice skating lessons (which we had to call “hockey skating” to convince the Nib to do it) and every week we go to a nearby restaurant afterwards for dinner, where we convince ourselves that Brussel Sprouts made with tons of bacon and something sweet are still quite healthy. Spoiler alert: they’re not.
  • Parenthood ended. I’m still very, very sad.
  • KJ and I attempted to recreate a bit of our youth by going to see Dave Mason (Traffic) in concert. It was terrible and a rude reminder that usually staying home and watching Walking Dead (him) or Nashville (me) is more fun than trying to recreate our youth.
  • Weekend: basketball, birthday parties.
  • It snowed again and the kids had another effing snow day on a Monday.
  • KJ spent three days in Chicago and Happy Dude took that opportunity to get a stomach bug and throw up all over the hallway at 3:00am that night. He was feeling better and back to sleep by 4:00 but I, of course, stayed wide awake just waiting for the vomiting to begin again.
    • Side note: A kid’s first stomach bug is always super fun, right? I remember when the Nibbit threw up for the first time – Exorcist-style, spinning 360° and splattering every square inch of his bedroom carpet and most of the furniture – he just kept screaming, “WHAT. IS. HAPPENING????” HD was more subdued… he just quietly whimpered, “I’m sick and I don’t like this.” And I was all, “You don’t say? And me neither.”
  • Weekend: basketball, birthday parties.
  • It snowed again and the kids had a snow day on a Monday.
  • Then we spent the last week in Florida with my family. The kids went roller skating, skateboarding, rode a bucking shark, learned how to be circus performers, had a scavenger hunt, raced go carts, watched a real-life circus performance, built and launched the “Dozen Cousins” lemonade stand, got their faces painted, swam, played a lot of Minecraft, biked and played a LOT basketball.



  • I read two books.
  • We came home. It snowed. And they didn’t have school on Monday. (I’m cheating on that one… it was staff development day.) 


  • Which brings us to today… back to the cold, back to school, back to routine and maybe… just maybe… they’ll have a full five-day school week next week.

What’s up with you?


Some Weeks, You Just Need a Straw


Let me tell you about my week. I think you’ll really, really like it. In a mean-spirited, evil kind of way.

So the Loud One stepped on a fire ant mound (hive? nest?) last week in Florida and was bitten all over her feet. On Monday, her feet swelled up and became very red, hot and painful.

A visit to the doctor confirmed that she was having an Acute Delayed Allergic Reaction to the bites and was to be treated with massive amounts of antihistamines.

We got it under control on Wednesday, just in time to find out that we had lice.

Yup, lice. All those jokes I’ve made coming back to bite me in the … well, scalp.

We were literally dealing with bugs from head to toe.

(I have been waiting all week to make that joke in a semi-public forum.)

Treatment, laundry, combing, laundry, yada yada yada. Now granted, lice is not as big a deal the SECOND time around, but it still sucks.

So we’ve alternated between chugging Zyrtec or Benadryl while applying mass amounts of Cortisone to open wounds and shampooing/combing/oiling for the past few days. It’s been super fun.

This afternoon, the Nibbit poked himself in the eye with a pencil (eraser-side, thank GOD) and cried. A lot.

I thought we could cheer everyone up by going to Aunt Lori’s for dinner but HD ended up having a massive meltdown over broccoli.

So while LO and I enjoyed a delicious homemade dinner, the Nibbit nursed his eyeball wound on the couch and HD continued to writhe on the floor. BEST DINNER GUESTS EVER!

I had to carry HD to the car kicking and screaming – literally – and then had to ask LO to physically hold him back while I locked him inside the minivan. (Not my proudest parenting moment, but I truly believe there were no other options. I had to get those kids home and to bed asap so that this week CAN DIE.)

HD refused to sit in his seat so I drove the 1/4 mile home with him standing in the back. Do. Not. Judge. Me. (Or do… whatever… I’ll never know.)

The entire time we were driving (2-3 minutes), all three of them were SCREAMING on the top of their lungs:




We made it home safely, I gave HD a yogurt AFTER he apologized to all of us and they all went to bed at 7:15. I’m drinking now.

Did I mention KJ has been in Miami all week?

(He’s working, thank GOD because if he was on vacation, I’d have to actually kill him when he got home tonight. This way, his life is spared so he can wake up with the kids tomorrow and I can spend the whole day somewhere where my kids are not.)

So that’s been the week.

Why do I tell you these things?

Because I’m a giver.

And a drinker. Tonight, I’m also a drinker.