Three ways to cure a bad day

I knew it was a Monday when Tom woke me up with two words: “We overslept.” We sprang out of bed and flew around the house, rushing three groggy kids to dress for school in record time. Five minutes into the morning chaos, the youngest kid arrived at our bedroom door to announce that she had no pants, triggering a frantic search through jumbled laundry baskets to find a pair. In the end, she settled for leggings and a long sweater. Once downstairs, I groaned at the sink that was still full of last night’s dishes, and the only bread in the kitchen was that weird heel piece no one ever wants. Then the oldest kid, the one who’s supposed [...]

Birthday surprise

Surprised. That’s how I look in my new driver’s license picture. I laughed when the woman at the DMV handed me the new card because that happy yet slightly startled look on my face is exactly how I feel about turning a year older tomorrow. Right before the photo, I reminded myself to smile and open my eyes wider so I wouldn’t look tired in the picture. But I obviously overcompensated because the result looks more like a woman who is middle-aged, shocked and a little bit crazy. As I waited for my mugshot, I thought about my late Aunt Eunice and the last time she stood in line at the DMV. She was 97 at the time, and she [...]

Vacation observation

As I mentioned last week, Tom and I recently drove our three kids 18 hours to the happiest place on Earth where we spent four days vacationing ourselves to the point of exhaustion. Why? Because Disneyworld is not cheap, and therefore “vacation math” must apply. Vacation math states that, if you’ve paid to experience a Disney park but then don’t see it all, you’ve left money on the table. So we laced up our tennis shoes and got an early start each day, determined to soak up as much magic as possible. Even though it wasn’t our first trip to Disney, it was the first one all three kids will remember. Like many parents, we took our kids to Magic [...]

18 hours to go

Eighteen hours. That’s how long it took to drive to the happiest place on Earth. Do you know how much you have to love your kids in order to drive 18 hours so they can experience Disney magic? Answer: A lot. We drove because flying a family of five anywhere costs roughly a zillion dollars. So we decided to take advantage of the cheap gasoline prices and pay instead with 18 hours of mental endurance. We left at the ridiculous hour of 2:30 a.m. and arrived in Orlando about 9:45 p.m. I’m proud to say we made it there without any serious sibling fights and only one or two intense driver conversations about whether or not the iPhone’s GPS instructions [...]

An unromantic Valentine

My husband Tom once accused me of being unromantic. As much as I hate to admit it, I think he might be right. It’s ironic, too, because I’m a sucker for a romantic comedy, even the cheesy ones that get rerun on cable stations. I’ll watch them over and over and enjoy it every time. And a romantic novel? I’ll stay up way too late reading those, too. But when it comes to real life, I’m more practical. One time in college, a friend told me about her date during which the guy sang to her and read a love poem he’d written. The other girls listening to this story swooned over how amazing it must have been. I, on [...]

“It’s about life skills, kids.”

When you bring a baby home from the hospital, all the baby books say you should do something called “tummy time.” It means you should let the baby spend a little time on his tummy when he’s awake. Tummy time helps the baby strengthen the muscles in his neck, shoulders and upper body – muscles he’ll use to sit up on his own one day. There’s only one problem with tummy time: Babies hate it. Because the baby hates it, parents tend to hate it, too. I remember watching my babies the first few times I put them down on their tummies. They’d squirm and struggle to lift their giant heads. They’d turn their face to one side, furrow their [...]

A long winter’s nap

I did something the other day I’m not proud of. I’d just come home from taking the kids to school on one of the coldest mornings of the year. Raindrops from the night before had frozen in mid-drip off the patio table. The sun had called in sick, leaving behind a bleak, gray sky, and the piercing cold seeped directly into my bones. I couldn’t shake it. I crossed my arms and hugged them to my chest to conserve body heat. The heater couldn’t work fast enough on the drafty house. With goosebumps all over, I shook off a shiver and trudged toward my desk to start the day’s work. Halfway there, I had an idea: “I could just get [...]

Down with brown

All I wanted was a new paint color. That’s it. But that one little wish pushed over the first domino in a long line of chore-related dominoes that landed me neck-deep in paperwork. I blame the color brown for all this trouble. My home office, where I’m supposed to be creative and whimsical (on a deadline) was painted a horrible shade of brown. Inside the brown room was a brown desk. The built-in shelving unit on the wall? Brown. And guess what color the carpet is. If you said “brown,” you clearly see why something had to be done, right? I was bombarded by brown, and it was bringing me down. “Honey, we have to paint this room,” I announced [...]

And they call it puppy love

Don’t tell my Beagle, but I’ve fallen in puppy love. My friend Shannon and her family just adopted an 8-week-old puppy from a local shelter, and she is puppy perfection – a fluffy white Lab mix with a touch of butter-colored hair on the tips of her floppy ears. Shannon has been texting me puppy pictures – snapshots that could easily be featured in a “Cutest Puppies of 2016” wall calendar. With her white fur and coal black eyes, she looks like a snow-white baby seal. After some heavy hinting on my part, Shannon’s daughter appointed me as the puppy’s official Godmother. So I went to their house to play with my God-dog, who licked my face, snuggled under my [...]

Dishes and Dollars

As appliances are known to do, my dishwasher quit working on a holiday. Maybe it decided that humans aren’t the only ones who need a few days off work. It ran its last load of dirty dishes on the last day of the year and rang in the New Year by leaking water all over the kitchen floor. Our appliance repairman took New Year’s Day off, too. So for the past three days, I’ve been washing dishes by hand. I’m not complaining, mind you. As problems go, this one is minor, and I’ve got to admit there’s something almost therapeutic about washing dishes, once you surrender to the inevitability of it. While your hands swish through the hot, soapy water, [...]