On the Importance of Family Games

Playing games together as a family is important. For kids’ brain development. For math concepts. For social skills.

In fact, I’m here to tell you that if you’re not playing games as a family, you’re probably doing family wrong.

If you are playing games together as a family, though, you already know that it always works out well. Family game playing is all rainbows and unicorns, you guys. It’s like inviting Switzerland and doves over for dinner and then eating s’mores by the campfire. Except not the sticky kind of s’mores that glue your fingers shut and give your daughter marshmallow dreadlocks and first-degree mouth burns. Family game-playing is like the immaculate, imaginary kind of s’mores made out of daydreams and laughter. ...  read more

Massive Preteen Meltdowns: A Preparation Guide

This isn’t really a preparation guide. I lured you here under false pretenses. Kind of like when you buy a parenting book, desperate for a comprehensive, easy-reference handbook on raising children, and then you get, oh, forty-five minutes into the parenting gig and figure out that the “how-to” guides are all crap. And then you’re left picking up the pieces and writing your own manual, except you have to write a different one for each child because God is super funny and makes them all different. Ha ha, God. Good one. ...  read more

A Persuasive Essay by My Kid

You know that preteen kid I have who struggles to strain his words through expressive language disorder?

That kid who has a really rad “Geez, Mom!” holstered but ready for a quick-draw in a frustration shoot-out?

That’s the kid who makes me put on my big girl pants and show up for this Mom job every single day. Because even when I feel scared and alone trying to navigate infinite waters of need, being present right now is the only way I know how to do what love does. ...  read more

Snow Fabulous

photo courtesy of Joel Bock Photography

……….

I love the snow.

I love that it makes our messy world look pristine.

I love it in the early morning hours when it makes everything quiet.

And I love it later when it makes everything loud.

I love the forced reminder to live only in the present moment. Because snow is ethereal. And temporary. And lovely. So we grab it while we can, knowing it’s going to leave sooner than we’d wish it gone. ...  read more

On Fairy Tales and Child’s Play

Every man’s life is a fairy tale written by God’s fingers.
Hans Christian Andersen

Have you ever observed the frenetic play of a toddler? It’s like watching a squirrel hopped up on pixie sticks and speed, jumping and twitching from one harried activity to the next, the physical manifestation of unlimited energy and determination.

As a child grows older, that same unharnessed spirit that pushed the toddler to run faster, climb higher and leap further sends out shoots of joy that find root in the fertile soil of the her mind and her heart. ...  read more

On Bananas, Puzzles and Sequin-clad Circus Monkeys

My son is being a butt nugget.

Also, he’s 12.

Also, that was redundant.

So I wrote this letter to his teacher:

Dear Teacher,

My son is being a butt nugget.

I might have used the word “raging” to describe “butt nugget,” because using butt nugget without a qualifier didn’t fully express the actual level of butt nuggetry.

Also, he’s 12. ...  read more

On Teaching Children to Sit up and Beg

The pasta was boiling over. The dog was barking. Two kids needed help with homework. Another kid needed his butt wiped because “I fink I’m making a big mess, Mom!” The oven was beeping. Something – or someone – went *ker-lunk* and then *CRASH* in the other room. And fourteen of my children were crying.

Yeah, yeah; so I technically only have five children. But you know those moments when it feels like you have 47? It was that moment, just before dinner, when everyone had low blood sugar and Mt. Everest irritability. That crash from the other room? It was my family falling apart. I needed some lightening fast solutions. ...  read more