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

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

Finding our sweet spot

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I feel like I’m getting the hang of this solo-parenting weekends thing. We’ve had so many lovely people checking in on us, offering play-dates, asking if we need anything from the grocery store, but to my surprise we never seem to have much aimless down time – those moments in which the minutes seem to crawl by and you’re wondering what on earth to do with the kids now. Somehow our Saturdays and Sundays have felt rather full, in a good way.  Continue reading

The first weekend of solo-parenting

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Have I mentioned before that Kristin is doing a yoga teacher training program in Chicago this fall, and that she’ll be gone for nine weekends? I’ve been incredibly anxious about it, and it kicked off this weekend. To be honest it wasn’t as bad as it could have been. I had plans Friday night and getting ready for the sitter and getting out of the house was much harder on my own, but the days went by fairly easily for the most part, and the weather has been so cool and beautifully fall-like that I was happy to skip the usual weekend field trips and stay home a bit more. Continue reading

Northern Michigan Vacation: 2018

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We just wrapped up our final vacation of the summer and I pretty much hit rock bottom this afternoon. I’m never at my best post-vacation, but somehow today there was a perfect storm: the last-hurrah sadness, Kristin having left this morning for a wedding in North Dakota, feeling a little let down by friends, the start of kindergarten just two-weeks away, wishing that our kids were a little more grateful (despite the fact that I know it’s developmentally appropriate for them not to be), and a giant toy mess in the basement that has been setting me off for weeks each time I go down there to do laundry. I woke up with a to-do list in mind, determined to show this solo-parenting weekend who was boss, and ended up threatening to throw all of the toys away and basically sobbing in the basement while I cleaned after telling the kids that they should probably just find new families because I was done parenting. Given the circumstances, they did a remarkable job of caring for themselves for hours. At one point I came upstairs and found them all painting with watercolor at the art table (I have no idea who got a glass down from the cabinet for paint water), and they played with one another basically without incident all day long. When I’m at my worst as a mom, the thing that I’m most thankful for is that they really do love one another. I’d rather be the bad guy and have them band together than the other way around. Continue reading

Charleston, SC summer road trip

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We just returned last night from the road trip that we almost didn’t take, and I’m so very glad that we made the journey. As I mentioned before, I had all kinds of worries about the drive, the heat, what we would do while we were there, but none of those things posed a problem. The kids were absolute troopers on the drive. Sure, they watched a million movies, but they really were pretty amazing about the whole thing. Continue reading

Long drives and road trips

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We’ve reached that point in the summer when suddenly there seems to be some sort of time vacuum happening. We text with friends to set up casual get-togethers and find that there are virtually no days left before school starts when we’ll all be in town (and we’re in a city where back-to-school doesn’t happen until after Labor Day). Although we’re doing fairly well with our summer bucket list, I started to panic a little last night. Continue reading

Backyard magic

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Over a decade ago, back when I was in New York and the home and family that I wanted was all still a dream, I was talking to a colleague about how much I wanted a house with a yard someday. The only thing that I can remember about that conversation was my colleague telling me that she too remembered wanting one, only to find that once they had one they absolutely never used the yard. I vaguely recall wondering at the time if that would be true for me too; if perhaps this idea of spending time outdoors in a backyard (or front yard) oasis would just turn out to be an annoyance: yard work, insects, humidity, too much sun etc.

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The first weekend of summer

It was the first weekend of summer vacation and I’m exhausted and ready for bed but want to reflect on our weekend a bit before it all drifts away.

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First of all, this boy finished up preschool and I did cry a few times throughout the day. Once as I got back in the car after dropping them off, then later on as I handed off a bunch of garage sale items to a neighbor (including baby clothes and booster seats that we no longer have babies for), and a third time when Kristin and I met with his teacher for his final conference. Continue reading