Revenge of the Girl Scout Cookies

Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the kitchen, they’re baaaaaack. It’s the Girl Scout cookies. There’s a whole gang of them hanging out on our kitchen counter this week, just waiting for some poor unsuspecting schmuck to walk by and fall in love with them – again. It’s not that I don’t like the cookies. Quite the opposite. The problem is that I really like the cookies. And when I really like the cookies, the cookies decide they really like my thighs and want to set up camp there as extra body fat. And that makes me not like the cookies nearly as much anymore. It’s a love hate thing. It gets messy. Ironically, the [...]

The Rockwood Files: Letter to my future daughters-in-law and son-in-law

Dear Future Daughters-in-law and Son-in-law, Even though right now you’re just kids and we haven’t even met, I think about you. Sometimes it happens when I notice how tall one of my sons has grown. Sometimes it happens when my daughter says something that makes her sound less like the 8-year-old that she is and more like a young lady. During those moments, I realize that – long before I’m ready – my babies will grow up, move out and start looking for you. I wonder sometimes how you’ll find each other. Will you bump into each other in a college classroom? Will you meet in the company break room of the first real job after college graduation? Will it [...]

My PG-13 Life

This week’s column, as well as many of the conversations around my house lately, are rated PG-13. Be aware that the following material may not be suitable for children, pre-teens or anyone who’s easily offended. Consider yourself forewarned. For those readers curious enough to move on to this second paragraph, let me explain. Our oldest kid turned 13 two months ago. This milestone, in and of itself, is enough to rattle parents who feel like it was just yesterday that we brought him home from the hospital wrapped up like a baby burrito with nothing but his tiny, blue-capped head peeking out. A lightning-fast 13 years later, our first “baby” is now in middle school, where the traditional three R’s [...]

Bracing myself for orthodontic reality

This week, after taking the second of my three kids to a consultation appointment at the orthodontist’s office, I saw the reality of our situation in black, white and shades of grey when the doctor put two x-rays on the computer screen side by side. One showed an x-ray from a year ago which the doctor said looked pretty normal. The x-ray next to it was the one he’d just taken and it was…a dental disaster. It looked like a cluster of bumper cars all pointing in different directions. The orthodontist pointed at two impacted teeth that had somehow taken a wrong turn at Albuquerque and were now headed in the opposite direction. They’d need to be re-routed first with [...]

Too much and not enough

It happened again yesterday. I went to the store for “just a few things.” An hour and more than a hundred dollars later, I pushed an overly full shopping cart out of the store and stuffed more than a dozen bags into the back of my SUV. As I drove home, I went through a mental checklist of all the things I’d bought: Milk, bread, cereal, lunch meat, laundry detergent. Check, check, check. I had all the essentials plus lots of other things that seemed necessary when I’d cruised through the aisles. But then a maddening question popped into my head: “How is it possible that I have a car full of groceries and still have no idea what to [...]

Why I Don’t Like January

By Gwen Rockwood, newspaper columnist and mama of 3 Even though there’s something comforting about getting back into a normal routine after a hectic holiday period, I don’t like January. It’s the one month of the year that puts me on edge and gives me performance anxiety. My mother once gave me some valuable advice about carpet that also applies nicely to the month of January. She said, “Never buy white carpet.” When I was younger, I liked the idea of white or cream-colored carpet, mostly because it was so different than the dark brown color I’d grown up with. White carpet made rooms look bright and expansive. Fancy luxury hotels had white carpet, and magazine layouts of million-dollar rooms [...]

South Meets North

It pains me to say this, but it’s true: The people who live up North are tougher. There, I said it. It’s hard to admit because my husband Tom grew up in Duluth, Minnesota, and I was born and raised in the South. And we Southerners aren’t wimps. Not at all. I grew up in Southern Arkansas where mosquitoes are roughly the size of single engine planes. They travel in swarms, flashing gang colors and building empires in flooded rice fields. Until recently, I assumed Southerners and Northerners were equally tough. But I’ve just returned from two separate trips up North, and the evidence is overwhelming. Our first trip took us to Fargo for a family wedding. It was my [...]

Twas the Day After Christmas

This poem is featured in the book, “Reporting Live from the Laundry Pile: The Rockwood Files Collection,” which you can find on Amazon. (Available in paperback or Kindle version.) Enjoy! ‘Twas the day after Christmas and all through the house Not a creature was resting, not even a mouse. Crumpled paper and boxes were heaped by the door in hopes that the trash men might take a little more. The children were running and jumping with glee. It was the day after Christmas. They had new toys, you see. And Mom in her sweatshirt she bought at the Gap knew it was highly unlikely the children would nap. When in the guest bathroom there arose such a clatter, we sprang [...]

My Letter to Santa

Dear Santa, I’ll keep this short because I know you’re busy this week — so many things to do, places to go and people to delight. I don’t know how you do it all. I imagine that just managing the naughty and nice lists must be a full-time job, especially with all those Kardashians running around. Even though your job is a big one, I’ve always imagined you as a perfectly happy, serene type of guy. In picture books and paintings, you never look frazzled or overwhelmed. Never distracted or discouraged by the daunting task before you. You’re never seen guzzling a Red Bull or doing shots of espresso. So I’ve been wondering how you can be so calm and [...]

The Wedding Anniversary Voucher

By Gwen Rockwood, newspaper columnist and mama of 3 On my wedding anniversary, the man who made vows to love, honor and cherish me all the days of his life called my cell phone. “Hey, honey,” he said. “Are you still at the airport?” “Yeah, and I’m not going to make it home in time for us to go out for dinner tonight,” he said. “Bad weather in Chicago?” I asked. “Not exactly.” “Is something wrong with the plane?” “No, the plane is taking off right now.” “Then why aren’t you going to be here?” “Well, the flight was overbooked. And the flight attendant asked for a volunteer to get off the plane and take a later flight, but no [...]