A Letter to My Mini-Van

Dear Mini-Van,

It’s been over a year since you first joined our family, and I can’t imagine life without you now. It’s true that I didn’t want you in the beginning.  I clearly remember promising myself that I would never drive a mini-van. I certainly wouldn’t have chosen you, which makes me all the more grateful that you were gifted to us. But now I am proud to say, “MINI-VANS ARE AWESOME!”

Who else can transport three young children around peacefully because they are sitting far enough apart that they can’t touch each other?

Who else can taxi seven people and their luggage for a week to the airport?

Who else can fit an entire roll of paper towels in the console?

Who else has backseats that fold down flat to allow for hauling large items or sleeping in the truest sense of the term “car camping”?

Not only do you do all of those things, but you do it while consuming much less gas than any SUV with comparable seating capacity.

So as I’m sitting in your comfy bucket seat, my husband in the captain’s chair, my three kiddos spread far apart in the back, bikes in the trunk, I want to say thank you. Thank you for reminding me not to judge. Thank you for reminding me to be willing to change my mind. I’m sorry I didn’t want you. Thank you for being you in spite of me.

With love and respect,

A grateful mom



Today I am Thankful for…

Today I am thankful for…

  • morning bike rides to my son’s school.
  • kisses blown my way as I go out the door.
  • needing my sunglasses on my drive to work.
  • day-old donuts from yesterday’s staff appreciation breakfast.
  • confirmation from my principal that my coaching position will exist next year.
  • a child-free dinner with my best friend.
  • lemon tiramisu eaten at the beach.
  • coming home to a peaceful house.
  • snuggles under the old red and blue quilt with my children.
  • Little Critter bedtime stories.
  • quiet time with my husband.


If you look up the definition of “hangry” in a dictionary, you will probably find a picture of my husband and children next to it.  Long before I was a mom I always carried snacks around in my purse in an effort to avoid hangry encounters with my husband.  As someone who does not suffer from hanger, it was amazing to me to see how a normally calm and rational individual can become belligerent over the course of just a few minutes and then almost instantly transform back to normal after ingesting some calories.  The other mind-boggling aspect to this disease is that the afflicted individual doesn’t notice that s/he is hungry or think, “Hey, I’m acting a little crazy and this has happened before.  Maybe I should eat something and see if I feel better.”  No, instead they are completely dependent on someone who knows them to recognize what is going on and tell them, “Eat!”

Unfortunately, this trait seems to be hereditary and all three of my children also suffer from hanger.  The most stressful part of my day is the thirty minutes between when I walk in the door from work and when we sit down at the table for dinner.  Tonight was no exception: my son was firing Magnatile missiles at his sister who was roaring back at him like a lion while their other sister was sprawled across the kitchen floor crying because I couldn’t hold her and cook at the same time and my husband was grumbling aloud about having too many kids.

Somehow dinner got done.  Somehow I got everyone to the table.  And then, like a miracle, everyone started eating and transformed back into the family I love.  My kids  played together happily most of the night.  My husband was cheerful and talkative.  I was left considering how things went from bad to good so quickly, although I knew the answer: food.

So tomorrow, please, eat a snack before I get home so we don’t have to do that again!


Missing Teeth

“Oh, I see it! Just a little bit coming through!” I told my son as he brushed his teeth tonight.  First grade has been the year of loose teeth for my son.  He is currently missing two teeth on the bottom as well as both of his top front teeth.  The top one that is just pushing through fell out way back in December; the other fell out just a few days ago.

“Don’t let that tooth fall out!” I had warned him playfully that morning.  “If it does, I’ll have to make all of your food into milkshakes to drink.  You’ll have to have a meatloaf milkshake for dinner tonight.”

“Mom!” C laughed.

“I know,” I continued, “I’ll glue it in to keep it in place.” I went to the kitchen and came back with the bottle of Elmer’s school glue.  “Open up!”

“Mo-om! No way!” He laughed, rolling around on the couch.

Later that evening we were headed towards the beach for a pizza picnic dinner when C suddenly asked for a napkin.  Glancing in the rearview mirror, I saw a trail of blood on his chin and fingers.

“Did your tooth fall out?”

He nodded and flashed a toothless smile at me.  “I guess my tooth didn’t obey you!”

The next night we were eating corn on the cob for dinner, one of C’s favorites.  I had gone into the kitchen to get some more napkins when I heard him exclaim, “What?! I can’t even eat this!”

When I got back to the table I laughed at the sight of him unsuccessfully trying to eat his corn with the side of his mouth. “Do you want me to cut it off for you?”

“Yeah, I guess so!”  So C ate his corn on the cob off the cob, declaring, “I wish my tooth had obeyed you!”

I’m glad that tooth is starting to come in.  I was getting a little worried since it has been three months.  I can’t wait to see his new smile when the giant permanent teeth take their place in his little six-year-old mouth!


Why won’t you go to bed tonight?

  • I’m not tired yet.
  • I just need to finish this thing I’m building.
  • I’m hungry.
  • I’m thirsty.
  • I have to go potty.
  • You need to cut my fingernails.
  • We haven’t read a book yet.
  • I want to take a bath.
  • I want Little Kitty from Daddy’s car.
  • I have to go potty, again.

Please go to sleep.  I need some me time.  PLEASE!

BMX Toddler Style

“Where are we going today?” Little Girl P asked me this morning, just like she asks me every morning that I don’t go to work.

“I don’t know, somewhere outside,” I replied. It was already promising to be the nicest day of the year so far, bright sun in a brilliant sapphire sky.  It was the first morning I wasn’t cold as I biked with my son to his school at 7:45 a.m.

“Let’s go to the BMX track and ride bikes like Bubby!” she exclaimed.  My three-year-old twin girls have spent many weekends watching their big brother bike his way to two BMX state championships by the ripe old age of six, so it’s no wonder that they want to be just like him.  In addition, my husband is a fanatic of all types of bicycles, and it seems that the bike-gene is a pretty dominant one.

An hour later we pulled up to the BMX track.  My husband got the Strider bikes out of the the trunk while I got the girls out of the car and helped them buckle their helmets.  They hopped on their balance bikes and took off towards the track, their feet pumping as fast as they could, smiles from ear to ear.

I followed P up to the middle of the track where they like to start riding. “Say ‘riders ready” Mommy!” she begged, another thing she’s learned from watching her brother’s races.

“Okay,” I agreed. “Riders ready. Watch the gate. GO!”IMG_0922

P pushed off the hill, her legs sticking straight out to the sides, her curls blowing behind her as she rode the up and downs of the rhythm section of the track.  At the top of her lungs she was singing Moana’s, “I wish I could be the perfect daughter, but I come back to the water, no matter how hard I try!”

Laughter floated out of me as I watched her ride.  The warmth of the sun warmed my skin and the joy of my daughter warmed my soul.  It was a perfect way to enjoy the nicest day of the year so far.


I noticed the box sitting in my parents’ kitchen when we went over there for dinner this afternoon.  The donuts dancing across the sides beckoned me and the scrolling letters across the top tempted me.  You deserve a donut.  But we were about to eat one of my favorite dinners, my mom’s lasagna, and as much as I love donuts, I didn’t want to ruin my appetite.  So I didn’t even peek in the box and soon forgot about it all together.image

After dinner I was rounding up the kiddos, making sure everyone had their shoes on  to go to my son’s baseball practice, when I noticed the box again.  This time, my dad was handing the box to my husband for us to bring home.  But I stopped myself from getting too excited, figuring there were probably just a couple of donuts in there for the kids.  By the time the van was loaded up, we were running late as usual, and I forgot about the box again.

When baseball practic finally ended, I once again found myself herding my offspring into the van, this time to head home.  As they settled into their seats, one of them noticed the donut box.  Pretty soon, a chorus of, “Donuts! Donuts!” filled the van.

“You might as well let them eat it now so that we can get into bed when we get home,” I told my husband.  He opened the box, took out a sugar twist, and broke it into three parts for the kids.  And that was when I saw that there were more than just a couple of donuts.  In fact, all my favorite were waiting for me in the beautiful brown and white box: old fashioned, chocolate glaze, apple fritter, sprinkles.  My mouth started watering just thinking about which one I would savor after everyone was in bed.

All through the bedtime routine, I had one thing on my mind.  While I layed quietly next to my girls as they fell asleep, I had one thing on my mind.  And as soon as I finish writing this story, I’ll be rewarded with the round, delicious delicacy known as a donut.  The only problem is, which one do I choose?



The terrible twos were not so terrible for my twin girls.  Now that they are three, however, it’s a whole different story.  It’s as if someone told them they missed the terrible twos and they decided to make up for it by having the terrible threes instead.  The passion with which they make their wants and feelings known is impressive, unless you happen to be their poor parents trying to keep your calm in light of a massive melt-down over nothing.  I haven’t taken so many deep breaths in a long time.

Getting out the door with twins is another challenge, and this morning my husband and I were working together to get everyone’s socks, shoes, and jackets on in a reasonable time frame.  Little Girl A happily hopped off her daddy’s lap, her socks and shoes newly in place.  I helped her into her jacket and zipped it up, planting a quick kiss on her cheek, then took her hand and headed to the van.  We were half-way there when she suddenly crumpled at my side.

“There’s a meatball!” she wailed.  Her face contorted into a grimace and she began kicking her leg violently, her foot flailing around out of control. “Meatball!  MEATBALL!” she sobbed.

I took a deep breath. Then another.  Love and empathy, love and empathy, I repeated to myself.

I knelt down next to A used the calmest, most patient voice I could muster.  “Oh, no,” I told her.  “Is there a meatball in your sock again?”

She nodded, tears streaming down her face.

“Okay, let’s get to the car and I will check it out.  Can you walk to the car and get in your seat?”

She nodded again and let me help her to her feet.  She hobbled to the car, climbed in, and immediately started taking off her shoes and socks.

“Let’s find that meatball,” I said.  I peeled the sock off of her foot, turned it inside out, and inspected it.  Even thought there was nothing there, not even a lint ball, I shook it out and made a big scene before turning it back.  “Okay, it’s all good now. Let’s try it again.”  I pulled the sock onto her foot, making sure the seam wasn’t crooked since I expected that was the cause of the terrible meatball this time.  “How’s that feel?”

“No more meatball!” A declared, once again happy.  “Daddy forgot to check for meatballs.  Silly Daddy!”  She laughed out loud, all smiles and giggles, completely opposite of what she had felt two minutes prior.

“Silly Dadd,” I agreed as I put her shoe back on and buckled the car seat.  One thing I’ll say for the terrible threes: as intense as the meltdowns can be, at least joy, happiness, and humor are felt equally as strong.

Impossibly Lucky

My son and I made our way up the long, steep stairs towards the playground at his school, for once not rushing to beat the bell.  It was a brilliant morning, crisp but sunny, and dew sparkled across the hill of clover.  C, in typical first-grade fashion, was walking up the ledge on the side of the stairs, hanging over the railing and scouring the clover for anything unusual.

“There’s a four-leaf clover!” he exclaimed suddenly as we neared the top.  “Right there!”

“Wow!  The leprechaun’s haven’t gotten that one yet,” I replied with faux excitement, because I definitely didn’t see what he was talking about.  To my surprise, though, he didn’t dwell on his find, and we continued on to his classroom hand-in-hand.

Seven hours later I picked C up at the top of those same stairs.  As we started back down, he looked up at me and asked, “Can I get that four leaf-clover I found this morning?”

I gazed across the expansive hill covered in thousands of tiny green clovers and imagined us searching for a non-existent four-leaf version for hours.  I also cringed at the thought of a possible melt-down when the said specimen could not be located.

“Please? I know where it is!”

“Okay,” I agreed with a reluctant sigh.

C happily hopped over the railing and started parting the carpet of clover, kneeling down to inspect each one.  While he began his search, I sat down on the stairs and closed my eyes, ejoying the sun on my face.

Less than two minutes later I was shaken out of my sun-induced daze by C’s excited IMG_0920voice.  “Here it is!”

No way, I thought.  I opened my eyes to see a huge grin spread across his face and a big, green, four-leaf clover in his hand.  No way! I thought again.

“Whoa, that is amazing, Buddy!  I can’t believe you found it!” I laughed, standing up to take a closer look.  Sure enough it was a genuine four-leaf clover.

C shrugged, although he was obviously pleased with himself.  “I had a feeling it was going to be a lucky day when I saw it this morning!”  And then, as if to prove his point, he found a shiny penny at the bottom of the stairs. “See?”



Not Quite Spring

Signs of spring are all around

Daffodils and tulips poke up through the ground

Tiny pink blooms appear on the trees

My kids find worms as they dig on their knees

But today is wet and cold and gray

It feels like winter is here to staypexels-photo-110874.jpeg