• Parenting

    Whirlwind

    The sound of rain against the glass is my companion all morning. The dog barks, pulling me from my work and reminding me the world exists outside of my den. My phone buzzes with the familiar text: Lunch? I text back: Yup The house is quieter than it’s been in months. All six kiddos are back in school and the cats and dogs are as baffled by the silence as I am. We sit quietly at the table munching on our usual lunch fare. Some combination of a sandwich, chips and a few carrots just to be a little healthy. Nick looks up at me and says, “Want to go…

  • Parenting

    I’m a Mama Dragon

    “We are so glad you felt comfortable talking to us. We love you no matter what!” I wasn’t always an ally. I didn’t grow up that way. My understanding and opinions have changed quite a bit though. As an adult, I’ve often stated that I support the LGBTQ community and thought I would easily support any of my children who felt part of the community. Learning about my baby dragons changed what I thought I knew. It changed how easy I thought it would be to be supportive. Fear set in. What if it’s just a phase? What’s the deal with pronouns? What if I’m supporting them wrong? How do…

  • Parenting

    Eye of the Storm

    “How are you?” “Well, I have a ton of work to do. I broke my daughter because consequences are a thing and I’m exhausted.” “What are you doing to take care of yourself?” “Um. After I work all day, I’ll probably finish the Harry Potter castle with my husband.” The therapist smiles and I send my daughter into her office. Some of us were always meant to be in the eye of the storm. We sit, hunkered down while chaos rages. If I close my eyes, I can hear the roar of tornado strength winds. I know that if I let go, I will be caught up and thrown around…

  • Parenting

    Gratitude

    Matthew 6:1-6 Take heed that ye do not your alms before med, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven. Therefore when thou doest [thine] alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth: That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly. And when thou prayest, thou shalt…

  • Lifestyle

    Life Lessons During a Pandemic

    I took most of my babies to school yesterday for the first time since March. We’ve nearly forgotten how to do a morning routine. Thankfully, it’s like riding a bike complete with scrapes and bruises. I sit clicking away on my keyboard in a quiet house. Eerily quiet. The cats wander across my desk confused by the lack of humans and the dog comes in on occasion to make sure I’m still here. All this quiet has me reflecting on the many lessons we’ve learned this year. Life Lesson #1: The size of my pants doesn’t matter as much as I thought it did, but physical activity does. For the…

  • front porch
    Lifestyle

    Mental Health During a Pandemic

    “Are you happy?” My husband asks. I pause and think and finally say, “I don’t know. I’m not sure what that looks like anymore.” Fast forward (or rather slow forward) some months… I sit on my front porch surrounded by dirt and pots and plants. I’m focused on creating a fairy garden because I desperately need a project. Something to distract from months of stress. Months of worry about stressed-out teens. Never-ending months of worry about work and insurance and everyone’s mental health. Anxiety has been my companion for decades, but everyone has been home and inside and the weather refuses to warm up. So I sit and tinker. And…

  • Lifestyle

    Grandpa

    Dear Grandpa, I learned early this morning that you have journeyed on to whatever comes next. I keep trying to focus on work, but I keep thinking about you. I’m not sure I ever truly thanked you for your insistence that I continue to write. I still remember years ago when you encouraged me to start a blog. I thought, “If my grandpa can start a blog, surely I can too.” That little blog turned into a website. My website turned into publications. As I pursued my writing, you were there by my side. You encouraged me every step of the way as I honed my craft and it is…

  • Lifestyle

    Weight, Middle Age, and Birthday Presents

    The number on the scale is wrong. Not wrong in the sense that the scale is broken, wrong in the sense that it really bothers me and I want it to be different. I want it to be younger and less stressed. And lower. I want the number to be lower. I’ve discovered over the last few years that I have an unhealthy relationship with my scale. I’ve let it dictate my worth, my sex appeal (in my own head), and my comfort in my own body. I’ve let it boss me around. I have the same problem with the number on the tag in my pants. And I’m tired…

  • Parenting

    The Sound of Silence

    ‘Knock, knock.’ “Mom, Nick. Are you guys awake?” Blurry eyed, I stumble down to the kitchen pulling my ratty house sweater on and I greet each of my overly awake children with a mumbled ‘Good morning.’ I make coffee through sleep infested eyes, then wander the house looking for my slippers. Found, I make my way to the garage to let the pup out to potty. It’s colder than I thought and I stand shivering on the front porch while the pup takes her dear sweet time sniffing the skiff of snow that fell overnight. I wander back inside and hear the cacophony of sound that is our home when…

  • Parenting

    What Nobody Tells You About Raising Teenagers

    When my kids were all little, I looked forward to their teenage years about as much as I looked forward to a root canal. It’s one thing to make a six-year-old eat his broccoli, but it’s quite another to navigate puberty, high-school drama, and the myriad other minefields that are allsthings raising teenagers into contributing members of society. Remember those What to Expect books? There’s a reason they didn’t write one for teenagers. There’s not much of a manual for small humans, but I could impart various wisdoms on topics such as how the hell to get a kid to not completely destroy the house while you shower. I could…