Posted in Friends & Family

Sesame Street, Boy Bands, and Other Parts of Growing Up


I can’t remember what year it was, but I first learned about One Direction at the movie theater. They had a documentary/behind-the-music thing coming out and when I saw the trailer, it took quite a while for me to realize it was serious. I thought: mockumentary. I thought: I bet Christopher Guest is playing their manager. (Call Rob Reiner! Make it happen!) But no–these guys are really a “band.” A boy band.

The next time I encountered One Direction was about a couple months ago, when my daughter’s Elmo obsession led us to their appearance on Sesame Street, singing “What Makes U Useful.” I cracked up the whole time we watched it. It is now one of my very favorite videos on YouTube. Continue reading “Sesame Street, Boy Bands, and Other Parts of Growing Up”

Posted in Friends & Family

6 Moms Share Their Magical Morning Routines*


Gloria from Pittsburgh (age 46):

“I wake up each day at five-thirty and go to the garage to scream into a pillow. My kids wake up around six, and I figure the more I’ve screamed before they wake up, the fewer screams I’ll have left inside me, so I won’t scream at them. Especially when I blow out my voice and can only whisper. Sometimes, my screams will trigger my tinnitus and and my ears ring so loudly I can’t hear the kids whining about oatmeal or having ‘nothing to wear.’ It makes the whole breakfast/getting to school ritual a lot smoother.”

Alexandra from Encinitas (age 29):

“I tell my husband I’m going running and then hit the doughnut store while he changes the baby’s diaper and gives her a bottle. By the time I’m back, she’s already dressed and playing with her toys, and I have the energy to deal with her, thanks to one cruller, one chocolate with sprinkles, and two cups of coffee.”

Quin from Post Falls (age 24):

“A little tea, a little yoga, and one magic brownie for breakfast.”

Maria from Austin (age 40):

“We begin each day with feats of strength: moving the furniture, lifting weights, lifting each other. Even my five-year-old gets involved. He can lift our shih tsu over his head and do five presses. It’s a great way to make fitness fun, and it reminds them each day that Mommy is strong enough to lift a bookcase full of books without sweating. You don’t mess with someone who can do that.”

Janelle from Des Moines (age 31):

“There’s a little brook that burbles through our backyard. Each morning after breakfast we place out hands in the water and commune with the lifeblood of our planet. We say a short prayer of gratitude before plunging our hands into the rich soil, where we find beautiful, wriggling worms which we later sell at the local bait and tackle shop.”

Kelly from New York (age 37):

“I begin each day with a scented bubble bath and an egg white omelet with spinach; when I’m done, the children are waiting by the front door in their uniforms, ready for their hugs and kisses before Stefan takes them to school.”



*These women and their stories are purely fictional. Any resemblance to persons living or dead would be really cool or cause for concern, depending on the blurb in question. Also, coincidental. It would be coincidental.


Posted in Friends & Family

Smiley Face+Book+Computer+Playing Card (You Totally Get It)

My husband and I were texting back and forth about the baby, who was napping in her car seat while I sat in the garage waiting for her to wake up. We were discussing her sleep habits, which have been nightmarish lately. Naturally, we used lots of emojis. And when I use lots of emojis, which I imagine were invented to save time in conversation, I am inevitably asked to explain myself. The more I’m asked to explain myself, the more emojis I use, and the more nonsensical they become. Because winking face, poop, unicorn, hamburger, Dutch flag.

You get it.

Anyhow, one of the emojis I had to explain looks a like this:


I used it to indicate that I hoped we’d “hit the jackpot” tonight and she’d actually sleep. Not the diction I’d choose on my own, but scrolling through the emoji options can really inspire my writing. That would be a good exercise, actually: Quick as you can, pick six emojis. Now turn those emojis into a story. Go.

Anyway: the word, “jackpot.” What a weird word, right? Clearly it’s in reference to the “pot” of money the gambler hopes to win. But who’s Jack? I had to know.

Apparently, the jack in question is a playing card. The term was originally used in a form of poker, where the “pot” could not be won until a player could open the bidding with two jacks or better. I learned this by entering two words into Google: jackpot + origin. (I tried to paraphrase the definition but, well, it was pretty straightforward.) It’s amazing how quickly one can get information these days.

Posted in Friends & Family

Texting the Days Away

pet store

Do you text your spouse throughout the day? Lately, my husband has been asking that I send him more pictures of what the kids and I are doing. (I asked that he send pictures of his day, too, and I received several blank-faced shots of him at his desk. Thanks, Hon.)

At first I kind of rolled my eyes. Since he spends most of his day in a cubicle or a meeting room, he seems to idealize our “freedom.” (If you’re a stay-at-home mom of littles like me, you understand the quotation marks.) But as I started sending more photos, I started focusing on the bright spots in even our dullest days, and seeing the humor in some of the darker moments. (Have you ever texted anyone a picture of poop? You can’t help but giggle about it.)

Having spent quite a few days doing this, there is one drawback: sometimes the pictures are quite repetitive from one day to the next. But that just adds to the challenge. I’ve started to look for the silliest things I can send, or the most mundane. He wants pictures, he’s going to get them.

Posted in Friends & Family

The Story of Us, Part Two


For our first date, we went to the movies. Maybe we had dinner, too–I can’t remember. I think we decided not to after filling up on popcorn. I remember we saw a sort of political thriller starring Nicole Kidman. After looking it up, I can tell you it was The Interpreter. I do not remember the plot, but I remember sitting there with my arm on the armrest, my hand conveniently available to be held. It took forever for him to take the hint but eventually, he did. And then afterward, we went driving and talked. He knew some curvy roads in the country and he liked driving his manual transmission. Whenever a field mouse would run into the road, he would swerve to avoid it.

I don’t remember what we talked about, or how long we drove. It’s the field mice I remember most.

About a year ago, my husband sold his old car and bought a new one. I didn’t expect to, but I cried. When he put up the listing on Craigslist, when he got a response, when we waited for the prospective buyers to show up. I sat in the car for a while, trying to remember all the trips it took us on, all the miles, all the times I accidentally stalled its manual transmission. And I remembered, among many other things, the field mice: sitting in the car next to this sweet, sweet boy, who went out of his way to keep even the tiniest of creatures safe from harm.