If your childhood was anything like mine, you played a lot of board games. My family was especially fond of Trivial Pursuit (we almost never knew the answers), Monopoly (the money eventually disappeared after we’d use it to play “store”), Life (everyone wanted that high salary card!), and Uno.

Recently while I was feeling nostalgic, I introduced my kids to Uno. I wasn’t expecting much. It’s a really simple game, as you’re well aware, so I wasn’t sure if it was going to capture the interest of my admittedly technology-obsessed kids.

Evidently, my worry was unfounded. They love it. They love it a lot. I don’t think it would be an exaggeration to say that they love it more than their Kindles. Guys, THEY LOVE IT MORE THAN THEIR XBOX.

Do you realize how amazing this is?

I can now get them to drop anything they’re doing just to play a hand or two of Uno.

I’ve capitalized on this by including it as the beginning of our bedtime routine. If you’re having trouble with bedtime, I highly recommend doing something like this. It gives them some time to wind down. It provides an amazing opportunity to bond without having to compete with a screen. It’s fun. You can claim it helps with math and color recognition skills. And once the game is over, it’s a definitive moment indicating that it’s time for bed. My kids respond well to clearly defined limits and “end of the game”=”bedtime” really works well for us.

Maybe as they get older, we’ll move on to more complicated games. But I kind of like the idea of playing Uno with my teenagers every night before they go to bed.


Outting the underwear

It’s that time of year, friends. Not back to school, and not jingle all the way. The time of year that my mother used to call the Annual Embarrassment. And while I usually like to think of myself as more modern and a little less ‘embarrassed’ than our older compatriots about such things, it’s still that time of year when we ladies all make the collective “ugh” face and coyly hide our undies and bras in the neatly folded pile on the chair of the gynecologist’s exam room.


It’s absurd, friends. Where she’s going, she isn’t going to give the sight of those unmentionables a second thought. Assuming, naturally, that you had enough time to quickly stuff your unders deep into your neatly folded pants before you hear the tell-tale rattle of the chart on the outside of the door, her soft knock and then suddenly her face is craning into the room.

We’re all unique people, living our unique lives and experiencing our own unique challenges. It’s the trip to the gyn that unites us. All of us, shivering under paper gowns that, yeah, we know, open to the front.

Huddled in that room today, sisters, I went rogue. And I feel free.



Laugh, Cry, or Dig a Hole and Die (of embarassment)

Busy busy busy. But who isn’t?

I have a large calendar, basically an adult trapper keeper (yeah, you know what I’m talking about). It has a red cover and I’d rather lose my wallet than it. I would be lost. Today’s square wasn’t too full. Joe was out of town (actually that changed yesterday but I didn’t erase it), a last minute dentist appointment (I’d rather go to Gitmo), and the orientation at the littles’ preschool. The orientation was just for parents so I couldn’t bring the girls. When Joe was still supposed to be in Chicago I had arranged with the school’s director for her teenagers to babysit my girls at their house.

Never write something on the calendar in pen. It's a bad idea.

Never write something on the calendar in pen. It’s a bad idea.

Luckily Joe’s trip was cancelled so I was able to make the last minute dentist appointment without some serious finagling. He arranged his day to meet me at the dentist (I have to assume he didn’t eat lunch in order to do so…at least his grumpy mood indicated that he was hangry…) and I was able to endure the hell on earth that is a dental cleaning. (I mean, seriously, I HATE the dentist. It probably deserves its own post…but it would just be a string of expletives and angry emojis). When I got home I almost immediately started dinner. We usually eat a little later so Joe can join us, but tonight we needed to leave no later than 6 to drop the kids at the sitters’ and make it to orientation.

Can I just say, this will be our third year (and third child) at this preschool. I feel like I’m *probably* well oriented. The director even gave me a bye when I asked about it. But she also offered her kids as sitters and I am too much of a rule follower not to go when I have the ability to.

So that brings me back to dinner. (I joked with the receptionist at my dentist’s that the only reason I make food is to throw it away…tonight was no exception. One day these kids are going to have to feed themselves and they will regret all this food they were too picky to eat. Or not…at least until they’re parents themselves and in the same situation.) Dinner wrapped up and as we were cleaning up I realized we were running low on time. I started rushing. I yelled at the kids to shoe-up and move out. We hustled into the car. Drove to the sitters’ house. Then I behaved like only a mother of three who’s running late does. With barely a hello, without letting anyone get a word in edgewise, I basically THREW my kids at her. “Here’s some microwave popcorn if they want a snack, diapers, wipes, my phone number, Joe’s..oh and don’t give Elizabeth any dairy. She’s allergic.”

“Um…I am babysitting for you tomorrow.”

“What? Isn’t tonight the… wait, what?”

“Yeah. My mom is getting her hair done right now. Today’s Wednesday? I’m babysitting tomorrow…Thursday? The thing at the school, it’s tomorrow.”

I can’t even. I got nothing. I don’t know how, or why, or when I screwed up my dates so badly. Or how I didn’t realize the mistake sooner. I’m not sure if it’s funny, sad, or embarrassing.

Mostly I’m kinda bummed I have to put on real clothes two nights in a row this week because of my mistake.

Throwback Thursday

It’s always a surprise. That moment when a sound or smell takes you back. There are certain things you remember from your childhood and know will make you nostalgic. But the ones that are most visceral, that suddenly sweep you back to a different you…they are always a surprise.

I vividly remember one of the first times it happened. I was teaching seventh grade at the time and came out of the building that spring day to get in my car and go home. The crack of an aluminum bat rang from the baseball field. It might as well have been a sonic boom for how it suddenly popped me to attention. The house I grew up in was behind a middle school, a few houses down from the baseball fields. I didn’t realize that sound was part of my childhood. I never noticed it per se. But the second I heard it that day in my late twenties, I heard it echoing through my youth. It was ever present, just part of the wallpaper. I didn’t hear it, but it was always there. The feeling that grabbed me and brought me back at that moment was crazy.

It happened again tonight. I was making lasagna. I haven’t made it in a while, we just don’t eat a lot of pasta and dairy at home. A friend is having a tough time and I was making it for her. It felt good to be in the kitchen making food. Food has such a warmth about it when made for someone else. And suddenly, there it was. My body was on a different plane. I was pulled back through memories of times I’d made this dish before. In college for friends, with my mom in her kitchen. I don’t know why this dish did it for me the way it did today. I mean, this is a “signature, go to, I make the best lasagna you’ve ever had” meal…so it’s special to me, sure, but why today did I have this response? Maybe because I’m in my “forever” kitchen? We call this our 20 year house. This is where we’re raising our family. This is Established. Maybe because I had kids running underfoot and my brain connected it with my mom at my age? Maybe I have just been pulled in a million directions lately and the process of making a lasagna – the layers, the repetition – maybe it was a kind of meditation that cleared the clutter for a moment.

Whatever it was it felt warm and comfortable, easy and familiar. I felt connected to my life in that way that happens sometimes when you see a bigger picture than just today, tomorrow, to do.

When you know a recipe well enough that you just need a list of ingredients...and not even a complete list at that.

When you know a recipe well enough that you just need a list of ingredients…and not even a complete list at that.


These are the things no one tells you

These are the things no one tells you about getting divorced:

You may find yourself a year later, sitting alone in your living room with the lights turned low, watching a bloody-dirty-messy Game of Thrones marathon, crying.

You won’t be on some amazing date, rock climbing then wine tasting. You won’t be out shaking your ass to the bass, flirting and doing shots and dancing with boys like when you were 25. You won’t be having 50 kinds of dirty sex. At least for this one night, you will be sitting on the couch under a heavy blanket, wiping tears onto your tank top.

Not because you’re sad – because you are in fact incredibly happy.

Not because you’re lonely – because you are in fact surrounded by so much love and laughter and friendship, more than you’ve ever felt before.

Not because you are scared – because you are a warrior and you have embraced all the amazing possibilities of choosing your own life and molding it in your own vision.

But, just, because, you are now only YOU. And you are used to being half of us/them/they/that.

Maybe you have felt a new love, and it has not worked out smoothly, perfectly, like the movies, like your plans. Maybe this love has already torn your heart apart.

Maybe you have not found any love yet, and you fear it will never arrive.

Maybe you are alone in a house that is all yours, with a night and a tomorrow and a next week and a next year that is ALL YOURS, and every decision is all yours – and you aren’t sure what to do with all that powerful YOU.

But I believe, I believe so hard and so strong and with so much force that YOU are enough. You are the most, the best, the goal. You are the very thing that led you here to this place on this night with these tears, and YOU will be the thing that grows wings and soars.

Perhaps no one has ever told you this secret. Perhaps you are just discovering it this very minute, on this very couch, crying these very tears: YOU are the reason.

Isn’t this a relief? You are why.

When Jed was about 4 he started asking about my comparative love of things. “Mom, what do you love more, apples or strawberries? Mom, who do you love more, grandma or grandpa? Mom, who do you love more, me or dad?” One night at bedtime, he asked, “Mom, who do you love more, me or you?” I answered honestly. “I love me first, Jed, then you are right after that.” Tears welled up in his eyes. “Take it back mom! Say it again! You love me first!” I tried to explain that everyone has to love themselves with the first-most-best love, because the love we put into ourselves makes more love to give to everyone else. “Do you understand that, Jed?” “NO!!!!! Say it again the right way!” He was almost sobbing at this point. So I said that yes, indeed, I loved him first and most and kissed him goodnight. He tested me over and over again, “Mom, who do you love more, me or you?” “Do you understand yet?” I’d ask him? “No.” So I’d say, “You Jed, I love you most.” Just recently, two years into our love game, he asked me again. “Hey, mom, who do you love more, me or you?” I looked over, and saw a tiny bit of a smirk forming at his mouth, saw a tiny glimmer of knowledge in his eyes. “Do you understand yet?” I asked. “No, well, a little bit, but say it the way I like you to say it,” he replied. I smiled, happy to know that he will learn this lesson early in life. “I love us both the same,” I replied. “That’s good enough for now,” said Jed.