The book I really want to finish

There’s a book on my nightstand right now, waiting for me, highlighter at the ready. I was so excited when I first heard about the book that I pre-ordered it months before it even hit bookshelves. Now it’s been here for almost a week, bathed in that wonderful “new book smell,” but I find myself avoiding it for the worst reasons. The name of the book is Finish: Give Yourself the Gift of Done, by New York Times-bestselling author Jon Acuff. I’ve been following this author’s blog and books for years now, so I know it’s going to be good. The quality of his writing is possibly outmatched only by the experience of seeing him bring his work to life [...]

When technology gets pushy…

Last week, while shopping at a department store, I visited the ladies room. It was one of those rare times when the restroom was totally silent and empty, except for me. As I was tucking in my shirt and refastening my belt, I nearly jumped out of my jeans when I heard what sounded like a bomb go off behind me. I spun around, my hands shooting up instinctively to shield my face from whatever attack was surely coming. I peered through my fingers and realized that the “bomb” was simply the automatic flushing toilet – which, for the record, sounded more like a plane taking off than a toilet flushing. I fled the stall and headed for the safety [...]

The Hulk needs sleep

Remember the television show called “The Incredible Hulk”? It was on TV from 1978 to 1982, and my parents watched it faithfully on Friday nights. My mom usually had a basket of laundry she’d be folding on the sofa while she watched, and I’d hide my eyes behind that basket when the scary music came on because that meant someone had really ticked off Dr. David Banner, a mild-mannered physician and scientist, and he was about to turn into a raging green hulk of a monster with ripped denim shorts and neon green eyes. I was only about 9 during the last year the Hulk was on television, and I usually had to go to bed as soon as it [...]

Hot tots, Good times

When Tom and I decided to see a nutritionist and get serious about losing a few pounds gained during our 18 years of marriage and baby-raising, we promised to do it together. We knew it would be hard to follow through if one of us picked at a salad while the other one picked up a pizza. We also knew, based on impressive results one of our friends recently had, that following a nutritionist’s advice can really work. So we went to the appointment, learned about the meal plan and promised to make a list of what we eat and how much we exercise. During the first few days, we were perfect. We dutifully recorded our meals in the calorie [...]

Back to school and back in time

This year, when the kids went back to school, I thought about the first time it happened 14 years ago. Our baby was about a year and a half old when I decided that taking him to a half-day Mother’s Day Out program once per week might be good for both of us. The parenting books said he needed “socialization” with other toddlers, and I knew for sure I needed a chance to go to the bathroom and the grocery store by myself at least once a week. But I didn’t realize how hard it would be to separate until the moment came for me to hand that baby over to the nice ladies at the Mother’s Day Out program [...]

A new baby in the house

There’s a new baby in the Rockwood house. Born on May 20th, he weighs in at six and a half pounds and is 18 inches long. He’s got two big ears, four short legs and 20 toenails that make a rapid clicking sound when he trots across the kitchen floor. His name is Cooper, and he’s a Corgi puppy. It’s funny how quickly my “protect the baby” instincts have returned, even though it has been a decade since we had a newborn in the house. I find myself shushing Tom and the kids so they won’t wake the puppy. “He’s cranky when he doesn’t get a good nap,” I whisper as I tiptoe around the crate where he’s sleeping. And [...]

Dear Lady at Target

Dear Lady at Target, Here’s how it happened. As with most mistakes, it began because I was in a rush. It was Taco Tuesday, and my parents were coming over for dinner. But first I needed to run to Target. I took our 10-year-old daughter with me because she wanted to get the cute back-to-school notebooks before they were gone. So we dashed in, grabbed a cart, and then zipped around tossing in what we needed – soap, dog treats, granola bars, etc. When we made it to the back of the store where the school supplies were, we split up to make the hunting and gathering go quicker. “You get the colored pencils. I’ll grab the glue sticks,” I [...]

Taste of the Big Apple

In our family, we have a tradition. When one of the kids turns 13, he or she gets to take a trip to any city in the continental U.S. with Tom and me, while the siblings stay home with grandparents. When our oldest son turned 13, he chose Washington, D.C. because American history is one of his favorite subjects. But his younger brother had a different idea this year when he turned 13. “I want to go someplace known for the best food,” he said. “Let’s go to New York.” So, we booked the tickets and asked friends to recommend fun things to do and great places to eat in the city. As far as food goes, we did incredibly [...]

Sensible chic? Or old lady shoes?

I think I’m going through a transition – from the ankles down. I’m not sure how I feel about it, but one of the following two theories is probably true: Either I’ve acquired an affinity for comfy shoes I once thought of as “old lady shoes,” or… old ladies are wearing cuter shoes than they used to. My vanity hopes it’s the latter. When I was a teenager and went shopping with my mother, she’d always hold up a shoe and say something tragically practical like, “Why don’t you try this one? It looks like it would be comfortable.” And I would roll my eyes (in the oh-so-charming way teenagers do) and say something snarky like “Mom, those are totally [...]

Dog escaping fence requires unique solution

Our Beagle Charlie has forced our hand. Lately he has taken the art of breaking out of the backyard fence to a whole new level, so we had to get creative. This mission to keep Charlie at home has been going on a long time. After we adopted him five years ago, we asked a dog trainer to help us teach him to obey commands. Overall, the training went well. He learned to sit, shake hands and to high five with his paw. The only command that didn’t stick? “Stay.” The trainer warned us it would be difficult. Even though Charlie understands what we want him to do when we say “stay,” ultimately he obeys the wishes of his bossy [...]