Murphey’s Law of motherhood states that, “When you are on the first day of a long-anticipated vacation with your husband and you have nothing to do but get a massage and drink martinis as big as your face and your parents are watching your children and they have poor cellphone coverage THAT is when your son will fall on his face at school and the school nurse will call you because he is being monitored for a head injury AND THEN the school’s power will go out and the prinicipal will email you and it will be a shit-show for about 2 hours.”

Or something like that.

Yup. Robb and I got to travel to Portland, Oregon for SIX DAYS by ourselves.

We drank our weight in good beer.


I got suckered into running eight miles when I only wanted to run four. But I had a feeling that this was going to happen so it’s my own fault for agreeing to run behind a crazy person.


I had dinner with two AMAZING friends and laughed my ass off for four hours (thanks Sam and Joanna!)

I did end up getting a massage and I spent some time in a weird old hot springs which reminded me of the movie Cocoon. No really. I expected to see pods in the pool. It was totally bizarro-world.

We went to Hood River and I had to convince Robb that we weren’t going to pack up and move there right that moment because he loves beer and Hood River has the most amazing beer.

We missed the kids (kinda) and they didn’t miss us (at all.)

Here is my dad teaching Nora how to ballroom dance.


It was beautiful. I especially recommend Skamania Lodge (they aren’t paying me to say this-although maybe they should-I’ll get on that) We spent the last couple of days there and Oregon showed itself off.

And then we came back to cuddly kids and tired parents and SNOW. AHHH!

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For a couple of years after my son turned that magical, yet more reasonable age number 4, I remember looking at him warily every time something didn’t go quite his way. I was waiting fearfully for him to lose his ever-loving mind like he did his entire third year. For awhile, we called this Post-Traumatic-Three-Year-Old-Syndrome.

Oh crap! The dog ate his cheese stick! Run and hide, he’s going to blow!

Now that I am in the midst of having my second 3 year-old, I am reminded that there are some perfectly normal every day things that I am now afraid of. Once again.

1. A change in plans. One day, my daughter cheerfully sat in the car in her gymnastics outfit. As I put the car in reverse, I felt something…strange. The car had a flat tire. We were going to MISS GYMNASTICS. The icy fear that suddenly clutched my heart had nothing to do with trying to figure out how to change a tire and everything to do with having to tell my daughter the bad news. She did not take it well.

2. Unfamiliar food. This is especially awkward if you are at someone else’s house. And while I have hope that manners are forthcoming, right now if you serve my 3 year-old an item of food she doesn’t recognize, she is going to give you a piece of her mind and I am going to die of embarrassment.

3. Waking someone up from a nap. Once a week I have to wake my daughter up before she is ready to be up. I go into her room armed with snacks and forced happiness and my voice trembling. I am unable to do anything right in those 15 minutes of my life. I will pick the wrong socks, the wrong snack, the wrong way to breathe. It will all be WRONG.

4. Sticking to your guns. You gotta do this sometimes. I mean, most of the time. But it’s the scariest thing ever, especially when you accidentally say something stupid like, if you don’t put your pajamas on RIGHT NOW and stop screwing around, you aren’t getting your story tonight. They sometimes want to see if you’re serious and then…well…shit gets real.

5. Too much cheerfulness. It’s almost like my daughter is a pendulum that must always swing equally to each side between cheerfulness and crabbiness. If it goes too far into happy land…I’m basically screwed.

6. Something spilling on someone’s favorite shirt. No words can express how frightening that 2 second pause between milk dousing the front of the beloved Rainbow Shirt and my 3 year-old’s realization that she will have to wear SOMETHING DIFFERENT. I’m scared just talking about it.

7. Helping someone when they clearly don’t want to be helped. God help me with soap dispensers that are too hard for her to do by herself. The one at soccer practice has ruined our day more than once.

8. Accidentally laughing at someone when they are being very serious. I try not to do this. I realize that it’s not very nice. But I do have to admit that when a small person is very seriously “telling on daddy” because he wouldn’t sing her a song after she hit him, it’s super hard to keep a straight face.

9. Missing a meal. Ummm. No…just nope. I’ve learned my lesson on that one.

10. Disappointing news. And if you don’t think you could ever be afraid of a 3 year-old? Try telling one that they can’t go to the birthday party that they have been foaming at the mouth about FOR WEEKS because they are sick.

Go for it. I dare you.


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I started dating my husband when we were 19-year-old college students. During our first fight he purposefully flung himself into a snow bank and I started laughing and decided that I loved him.

We have now been together for 20 years. That is a very long time. We have weathered moments of hating each other’s guts, and door-slamming, mirror-breaking fights. We have weathered moments of laughing so hard that we are falling out of our chairs and wiping tears and snot off of our faces.

We have weathered days of just floating by each other, living our own lives and communicating in pre-coffee grunts. We have weathered moments of helplessness—one time as we watched our littlest one puke again and again after she had hit her head on a rock. We have weathered many first-thing-in-the-morning-tired looks, like, do we have to get up and do it all again?

Through all of these moments, I know that he is my person. My imperfect, sorta bossy, totally genius, loudly burping person.

But there are some things that I didn’t know would be true when I first saw that goofy guy in a red baseball cap standing outside my dorm room with a super soaker and an evil grin:


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It was a beautiful Saturday morning. The sky was bluebird. It was one of those perfect days in the mountains where there is a just a little bite to the air that makes you wish for Fall and cuddling on the couch and making stew. My 8 yo son had a soccer game that morning. I won’t ever forget that morning.

His team played great. Grayson is what I would call an uninspired soccer player. He tries hard, but you can just tell that the fire of competition does not beat strongly in his heart. He would rather be talking about multiplication tables or creating forts or riding his bike. He is willing enough, but one of these years the fire will either grab him, or he will just be done.

After the game, the four of us walked to the car, Grayson, our 3 yo daughter, my husband and me. As we crossed the parking lot to the car, Gray realized that he had dropped his water bottle, so he ran back to the sidewalk to get it. I held his sister’s hand, his Dad was already unlocking the car. The parking lot was empty. We were 20 feet away.

As he stood up to turn around and cross the parking lot, he stopped. As long as I live, I will never forget the look in his eyes right before the enormous white truck drove between us. The truck had no clue that there was a little boy there because Grayson had been crouched down to grab the water bottle. If he would have taken one more step, he would have been crushed. I had no time to shout for him to stop. He made the decision to stop all by himself. He saved his own life.

And I can’t help but think that we had spent his entire life up until that moment to prepare him to stop. To make his own choices. To think for himself. What if we hadn’t made him do things for himself every single day? What if we had placed him out into the world needing to rely on us to make every decision for him? What if we hadn’t given him thousands of struggles; putting on his shoes, getting a glass of water, writing his name, scooping ice cream, playing alone outside, getting himself ready for school, making breakfast? What if he hadn’t experienced that 20 minutes of crying when he was 2 and he climbed on the bar stool and was too afraid to come down on his own, but I made him figure it out and then he was SO PROUD? What if I had done all of these things for him, always, and he didn’t have the skills to THINK. To stop on his own.

I’m glad that we put the power of his life in his hands in small ways so that, when it counts, he will be able to make a choice that might save his life later.


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I am an awesome mom. That’s right, I said it. My kids have told me this and they are terrible liars so I know it’s true.

I am a crap mom. That’s right, I said it. My kids are still too young to tell me this, but it’s coming, I’m sure of it.

I am an awesome mom. My children know they are loved because I tell them this every single day.

I am a crap mom. I get irritated by their singing after 5 minutes, but then I try to hang on until the 6th minute and then I can’t take it anymore.

I am an awesome mom. How they look at me! Like I could win any race and slay any dragon and protect them from every scary passing thought and then make them a ham and cheese sandwich.

I am a crap mom. I get bored very easily while playing dolls and mostly like to pretend that I’m getting tucked in for a nap.

I am an awesome mom. How I look at them! I am literally so fascinated by every facet of their personality that my husband and I talk about them an embarrassing amount of the time


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I was smugly thinking to myself the other day that our 3 yo was in a pretty awesome place.

She had figured out that she liked cracking us up,



she was being just enough of a smart ass that it was cute,


and she was still saying things like, “I wuv you, Mommy.” Adorable.



She’s a month from being four. And I was feeling like I had survived the 3’s once again.

I was dumb.

Because the day I thought those thoughts was the day she turned into an insane person.

It started out innocently enough with her finding her L’s. She was so cute trying to put L’s on everything that she previously put Y’s on. She even said “yummy” like, “lummy” and “yogurt” like, “logurt.” She had her L’s, by damn, and she was going to use them. But I swear that the same day she found her L’s, that she also decided that she hated us. It was as if the L’s were some weird psychotic trigger.

For instance, after we tucked her in at night, she would spend hours dressing up in the dark and making nests on the floor or getting stark naked and pouring all of my expensive toiletries down the bathroom sink. She did most of these things so quietly and stealthily that sometimes we didn’t even know until we went to bed and it looked like there had been a rager outside her room.

She stopped eating anything that wasn’t logurt.

She started bossing me around and actually said, “whatever” when I asked her to pick up her toys one day. I was so shocked when she said this, that my husband accidentally burst out laughing at the look on my face, thereby insuring that she will now say, “whatever” for the rest of her life.

As I am writing this, she just stole her brother’s prized dream-catcher and hung it up her room, saying, “Now it’s my dream catcher!”

And now she just hit him with a barbie doll when he tried to take it back. I should probably go parent.

Okay, little girl, you have an improved vocabulary…that doesn’t mean I need to have a hormonal pre-teen psychopath in my house. That’s right.

I have heard that when kids’ brains are focusing on growing in one area, that other areas become less focused on.

It looks like our 3 yo’s L’s were inversely related to her being a tiny yittle terror.


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Being late is rude. I get that. I have frequently been on the giving and receiving end of lateness, and it feels bad either way.

But I’m going to finally confess something that I think you all need to know: I, myself, am an organized, respectful, timely person who just happens to be raising little people who want to make me look bad in front of others. Yep, it’s true.

Here are the reasons why it’s not my fault when I’m late:

1. My 3-year-old daughter’s greatest desire is to thwart me with her fashion choices. She’s an adorable child who insists on looking like a hot mess every time she walks out the door. And for those of you who say, “You are her mother, you should have control,” well, the only thing I can say is that this one can make a Buddhist monk look indecisive.

2. My 8-year-old son’s greatest desire is to be doing anything besides what he should be doing, including: arguing the many-layered dimensions of sock-wearing, purposely making his sister lose her mind, and hiding and creating detailed vampire maps while he is supposed to be brushing his teeth

3. The pre-activity food refusal. Murphy’s Law of Children states that children are only hungry when miles from any sustenance.

4. My kids move like they have cement in their underpants. And if I say, “Hurry up!” the cement seeps down into their shoes and they just stand there and look at me until I turn that shade of purple that finally frightens them into action.

5. They are very unhelpful people. I would say completely useless. They have no interest in whether or not they make it anywhere on time, and their arms are weak noodles that can’t even carry a grocery bag.


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1. Approximately two hours before you need to get into the car, start prepping your 3 yo for the event of clothes-wearing.

2. Bring out clothes and approach your 3 yo slowly and carefully and make clothes sound like fun.

3. 3 yo remembers that they like to play hide and seek.

4. Remember Love and Logic and give your 3 yo a sensible choice of coming to you to put clothes on nicely or you coming to them and putting clothes on… not nicely?

5. Remember that coming up with viable choices for proper Love and Logic training is why you suck at Love and Logic training.

6. 3 yo suddenly remembers the rainbow band-aid that their brother got three weeks ago.

7. 3 yo searches body frantically for possible owie.

8. 3 yo finds suspect redness on their finger after squeezing their finger very hard.

9. 3 yo declares that they now need a rainbow band-aid on their very injured finger.

10. You remember you inner commitment to being a “reasonable mom” with “firm boundaries” and you say, “You don’t need a band-aid right now.”

11. 3 yo begins the Rainbow Band-aid Campaign. It is loud and persistent and convincing.

12. You lose the feeling in your limbs and possibly your will to live after listening to this campaign.

13. You no longer have any boundaries.

14. Five minutes later, your 3 yo walks proudly out of the bathroom with 15 different band-aids on various places of their body.

15. You convince yourself that this is a cute display of independence and not the signs of a future sociopath.

16. 3 yo remembers that they are now a puppy and they begin to bark.

17. You remember (with excitement) that puppies are obedient! Tell your “puppy” to put on their clothes.

18. 3 yo loves the puppy game and is almost completely dressed when they remember that their shirt is too heavy.

19. Your 3 yo begins to take off all of their clothes.

20. You decide to wrestle your 3 yo into their clothes and you both cry.

21. You have your bag packed and you head towards the stairs.

22. You remember that your  3 yo doesn’t like to hold your hand on the stairs since yesterday.

23. At the top of the stairs, your 3 yo realizes that their legs have stopped working.

24. Your 3 yo is now crying because you aren’t carrying them or holding their hand or even looking in their direction, so you begin to pick them up.

25. 3 yo then remembers how much they like ice cream and their Grandma and that they would like both of these things now, please.

26. You patiently tell them that you don’t eat ice cream for breakfast and that Grandma lives very far away.

27. Your 3 yo tells you that you are in big trouble and that you will have to sit in time out. They are very angry.

28. You feel a little afraid, but then you realize that you only have five minutes left to get into the car and that grown-ups shouldn’t be afraid of 3-year-olds.

29. You begin to pick your 3 yo up to carry them down the stairs, when your 3 yo remembers that the feeling of your arms is actually like thousands of independence-killing knives stabbing into their soul.

30. 3 yo ends up walking to the car, all by themselves, indignantly.

31. 3 yo wants to climb into the car, all by themselves.

32. The car is muddy so you are required to pick up your screaming, thrashing 3 yo and strap them into their car seat, while desperately trying to avoid their flailing limbs.

33. By the time you have made it to the driver’s seat, your 3 yo has stopped crying.

34. 3 yo realizes that they are a Baby Mermaid. They insist that you tell them how cute they are and how shiny their tail is and how mermaids get to eat a lot of candy.

35. Your 3 yo would now like to know how cats work.

36. Your 3 yo now feels like the sun coming through the window is blinding their eyes forever.

37. Your 3 yo would now like you to sing, “The Wheels on The Bus.”

38. You begin to sing “The Wheels on The Bus” and your 3 yo immediately tells you to stop singing. They are very angry.

39. You place your head on the steering wheel and feel your fragile mom psyche crack just a tiny bit.

40. And when you finally feel like you have climbed a thousand mountains, swum oceans, negotiated with terrorists, and have been trying to reason with someone who is tripping balls…that is when you know that you have made it into a car with your 3 yo.

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Categories: Kids


If you have kids, you will at one time or another have this irrational creature living in your house called a toddler. They are hilarious and cute and very easily annoyed. Here are just some of the many ways that you can annoy a toddler…

1. Put jeans on them.

2. Hold them too tight or too loose.

3. Put salad on their plate.

4. Display affection for any of the other children in your house.

5. Don’t let them ride you like a horsey while you are attempting to do Granny push-ups on the floor.

6. Not stare into their eyes with complete focus while they are learning to use the potty.

7. Try to stand at the end of the one slide at the park that will launch them ten feet into the air, because clearly you didn’t stand there for their brother so you won’t be standing there for them, either.

8. Try to ever wear your new fancy shoes because you made the mistake of letting them try the shoes on once, so now the shoes are theirs.

9. Look sternly in their direction.

10. Don’t let them push those tiny carts in the grocery store when you just can’t bring yourself to deal with the drama that day.

11. Let the other kids in the house get on the bus to go to school.

12. Don’t let them talk to Grandma on the phone. For hours. And by talking I mean staring at the phone and smiling while Grandma and you both try desperately to get one word out of them.

13. Don’t let them look at themselves on your phone while you are trying to take a picture of them.

14. Not kiss the exact right spot where they injured themselves. Even if it’s their butt.

15. Suggest that it’s almost time to go to bed or put clothes on or eat lunch. Suggest anything, really.

16. Don’t let them drink out of every water fountain in every library and every airport on the planet.

17. Hold a baby.

18. Give them food besides yogurt or crackers or noodles.

19. Go to a different room in the house without taking them with you. Or even warning them that this was about to happen.

20. Forget that they need to sit on your lap all day on Wednesdays.

21. Try to teach them how to zip a zipper.

22. Strap them into their carseat on Tuesdays.

23. Say mean things to them, like, you need to wear shoes or you can’t go outside.

24. Forget that, since you allowed them to help push the buttons on the washer that one time, this is now their job and you must never touch the buttons again.

And finally….

25. Not help them when they specifically asked you not to help and now they are irreversibly stuck in their sweatshirt or underpants.

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Warning: Satire approaching, please do not actually follow these steps.

Do you want to become a helicopter parent? Have your lovelies by your side and in your home for the rest of your life because they are unable to function in society? I have created an easy-to-follow list to make sure your children will rely on you … FOREVER.

Step 1: Don’t allow your children to do anything by themselves, ever. Get off your butt and keep tying those shoes, Mama! Why do they need to learn how to pour their own milk? Or even find their own employment? You are going to be doing it for them, always.

Step 2: Insert yourself into their lives at any, and I mean ANY, opportunity. Involve yourself in all social interactions and take control when things don’t go your (I mean your kids’) way. And when they go to college and get a B on a test? You call that professor right up on the phone and offer inappropriate things to get that kid an A. That’s not weird or stalkerish at all.

Step 3: Give them everything they want, always. Nothing is enough for your darlings. They are the fruit of your precious womb and it’s very important that they experience all of the physical joys of this world. Just ask Veruca Salt.

Step 4: Believe that your children should never fail. What does failure teach you? Nothing! Only success teaches you how to be more successful. So, if it appears that your child will fail at something – cleaning their room, writing a high school essay, or even forming a relationship – just do it for them! They will really appreciate you texting their boyfriend behind their back to get things back on track for them.


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