Easy DIY photo strip valentines

Valentines Cards 2019

Valentine’s Day has never made my list of favorite holidays, but since having kids it feels like an excellent excuse for thematic crafting. For the past couple of years I’ve picked up some pre-cut hearts and loads of stickers and sequins and markers and let the kids go to town and drop whatever chaos they ended up creating into their classmates’ paper-bag mailboxes. This year the holiday coincided with an irrepressible urge to take on a creative project, so I decided to co-opt their valentines entirely. Continue reading

Late January winter chaos

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The last two weeks have brought some of the most extreme winter weather Kalamazoo has seen in a very long time. Of the last ten school days, eight have been snow/cold/ice days. It was thrilling at first: wondering the night before if school would be called off (it’s worth noting that this is easier for us because when they call school Kristin is at home to watch the kids), waking throughout the night to peek outside and revise your guess for the morning. We had so little snow in December and early January that I was really hoping we’d get enough for some serious sledding, but this was more than I’d anticipated. Continue reading

This is 40

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I turned 40 last week, and I feel really good about it. I still vividly remember when my mom threw my dad an epic 40th birthday party, and someone brought my sister and I to the club she’d rented out for the surprise party so that we could be there to surprise him too. It feels odd to have that vivid memory and to have arrived here personally, because I still feel young in so many ways, but by now I’ve learned that you never feel nearly as much like an adult as younger people might perceive you to be. Continue reading

How do you raise kids to find joy in the ordinary?

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This morning when I dropped Jonah off, he told me that he doesn’t like school. It was the first time this year that I can recall him having said so, and it made me sad. He’s had a surprisingly positive experience in kindergarten so far (and I say “surprisingly” only because I had my doubts about the worksheet- and testing-centric culture of today’s public schools). I asked him what he didn’t like and he told me that it’s too hard (which is also surprising, since he’s whizzing through everything they’re teaching). I assured him that he’s doing great in school and that he can do hard things, which is when he took a turn for the existential and told me that most of the time he can’t find anything fun to do. I inquired as to whether we were still talking about school, but no, now he was talking about life in general. Continue reading

Jonah turns six

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Jonah was born the Saturday after Thanksgiving, exactly a week past his due date. So this year, the year that he turns six, was the first year since that his birthday has fallen on a Saturday.  For some reason that felt meaningful to me this year, though I can’t say why exactly. Every year I feel completely unprepared for our children to suddenly become a year older than they were. I know; it isn’t sudden, it’s a one-day-at-a-time sort of thing.  But it always feels abrupt. Continue reading

Mudroom / Craft Room Renovation

First, can I just say that I really love our house? When I think back to the agony of our long-distance house-hunt, I vaguely remember thinking that it would be amazing to have a mudroom, even just a tiny hallway that could serve as one, but I don’t think that I ever believed that it was likely enough to make it to our formal “wish list.” We were incredibly lucky to find this place, and one of the rooms that has held a lot of promise but mostly felt like a disappointment for the last two years is what the previous owners called the breezeway (despite the fact that it’s a fully indoor, four-seasons room). It’s a remarkably large breezeway, at 10′ x 18′, and I believe the previous owners used it as an office. It connects the garage to the rest of the house, with doors to both the great room and the kitchen.

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Halloween 2019: Space Men & a Mermaid

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Halloween was yesterday and today I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting on some of the quirky and challenging things that make me me. In particular the things that come out in high-stakes situations that I value deeply. It’s no secret that I love Halloween. It’s second only to Christmas (and when I was a child it might have actually been first). My mom poured love into every homemade costume, my dad took us trick-or-treating from block to block until late into the night (it always felt like 9:00 or 10:00 p.m. but maybe times have changed? Or maybe 8:00 feels a lot like 10:00 at the end of October when you’re a kid).  Continue reading