Monday, April 29, 2013


We own three iPads, one desktop and three laptops. Each room in our house has a TV. We have two portable DVD players. And two iPhones -- for the adults, not the kids. Excessive? Probably. Disruptive to our kids? Au contraire.

It's so fancy to say you limit your kids TV time. And while I agree that most littles probably don't need to sit in front of the telly for hours upon hours each day, there's nothing wrong with a bit of technology. iPads are awesome travel tools. The games and apps are educational, entertaining and fun. And every time our oldest watches his fellow Star Wars afficionados assemble a new Lego set he usually ensues, building cities and forts and ships for display in his room.

Thinking through the pros and cons of do's and don'ts this weekend, I remember the savvy and brilliant advice of the best pediatrician we ever had. He always recommended 'feeding on demand,' and finally one day, exhausted after months of only 90-minute boob and bottle breaks, we asked: "when does this stop?"

He replied, without skipping a beat: "When they turn 18."

So as I talk to moms about how much computer/TV/technology time we allow our kids, I am instantly reminded of Dr. Zucker's fantastic advice, and how it, too, translates here.

If you give your kids an inch, they don't always take a mile. And if you let them explore, invent and be themselves, you might just find they'll go back to tried-and-true forms of entertainment.

Exhibit A: the egg race!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Lies. Little Ones.

Presenting them with a giant bowl of soy-sauce covered quinoa, I declared to the kids: "It's just rice!" And they ate it. Almost all of it. And the edamame beans at the bottom. And the corn kernels peppered throughout.

When prompted for orange soda -- a household item recently purchased to discourage pull-up-poop and incent toilet-poop -- I came up with a long-winded story culminating in: "all the bubbles in there will bubble in your belly and make it hurt."

Yes. I lied.

Moments later, my independent 5-year-old emerges from the bathroom, claiming to have washed his hands. 

"Are you sure?" I ask.

"Yes," he replies, smiling guiltily.

Being the little liar that I am, I try again: "You have one second to tell me the truth."

"I did!" he insists.

"OK," I say, relying on my own subtle technique to play truth masterminder, "If I go in and check the sink and it's not wet, no TV tonight."

At which point he darts to the bathroom, scrubbing, slathering and sudd-ifying the floor.

"Told you I did it," he casually smiles, emerging moments later, calm, cool and collected.

Just like his Mamma.

Monday, April 22, 2013


To the TSA agent scanning our bags at Sky Harbor International Airport: really? Was it necessary to sigh so unappealingly-loudly at the sight of our one measly sippy cup filled to the brim with orange juice? Was it so exhausting to pick up your hand, wave to one of your colleagues and have them perform the ever-important "liquid bomb test on child container" while two pairs of little eyes followed your every move? Might be time to pick up your trusted manual which clearly spells out that we're allowed to bring a beverage for a three-year-old. PS: seriously consider laying off the donuts and free Coke refills at the snack bar.

To the Southwest Airlines flight attendant who stuck a 10-foot-long piece of toilet paper in his pants just to make the kids laugh during taxi, only to top it off with a rubber chicken oxygen mask prop: thank you. Thank for your understanding that little things matter. And that tiny passengers strapped in for what seems like "forever" completely appreciate your attempt at humor.

And finally, to the perfectly-sized pool in the middle of Scottsdale: you rule. It's amazing what six foam noodles, two pair of goggles, and four brightly colored dive-squid can create for the five-and-under crowd. Memories. Laughter. And fearless, chlorine-filled, fun.

Thursday, April 18, 2013


Perspective hits you at 10:30pm when your 3-year-old is rambling about which cars are his favorite and how he can't wait to get on that airplane and could he please have some cereal in a bowl in his bed with a cheese stick. It sneaks back sometime around 2am when you're debating if it's worthwhile to attempt crawling into your own bed, and his little tiny hand grabs onto your cheek -- checking to make sure you're still there.

The news, quite frankly, should sometimes be banned.

Burning buildings, injured children and lives forever changed. Certainly a world-wide-event, but also so not possible to comprehend, distill or compartmentalize when you're refilling chocolate milk sippy cups and rationalizing why eating gummies for breakfast is not the healthiest kick-start to the day.

It's funny how in these weird moments everything is juxtaposed: our little ones end up showing us the way. And we follow, knowing that their tiny world is still intact and perfect, decisions as simple as which rock will skip best on the lake or whether it's too windy for a favorite hat.

So today, I will follow their lead. Take the path they choose. And just revel in that.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The Post

For the past 11 years, I've abided by the unspoken mantra: never blog about your employer. And although I'm less than enthralled with the home of the yodel, I have no desire to spew forth negativity directed at not my fellow nose-to-the-grind-ers, but more appropriately, those with natural light offices and super-fancy triple-booked calendars.

Nope. Not doing that.

Instead, I've been thinking a lot about focus. Strength. Meaning. And pinecones. Because when unappealingness finds its way to your cozy little nook, it's much more productive to consider the benefits. The reasons. The little nuances that most VPs, CEOs and others who've devoted their beings to the market most likely don't have the luxury to remember.

We created our own little slice of Paradise almost seven years ago. We uprooted, we left behind, and we loved. We waved good-bye to "shoulds" and "woulds" and instead embraced the freedom inherent in living in a smallish town with actual neighborly neighbors, miles upon miles of forest service land at our fingertips and late afternoons and weekends devoted only to outdoor adventures and -- gasp -- life.

With that departure from city-life, Starbucks and Whole Foods-populated neighborhoods also came the knowledge that we were removing ourselves from the ins and outs associated with the quest for climbing the corporate ladder. We considered that -- for about two minutes.

And then we raised our glasses on our ever-quiet back deck, glimpsed the sun setting through the pinetrees, and discussed the best approach to tricking the woodpeckers into thinking our house was less edible.

Fast forward to now. Today. This life we have. These kids we adore. And the world we are so excited to share and live and love with them.

It doesn't involve commuting. Or car-pooling. Or early morning alarm clocks and rushing out the door. We have time to play outside in the morning. To run down the bike path to the lake after school. And on those lovely Spring and Summer evenings, an after-dinner treasure-search hike is what we know and love.

So. Dear Yahoo!: Thank you for the past. Now, if you'll excuse me, my future awaits.

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Three Years Ago

We didn't think it would be possible to love another little being as much as your big brother. We had no idea how a tiny infant would fit into our Batman-costume-filled afternoons and superhero-stunt mornings.

But then we met. It was 10:45am and I knew in that very instant that unless you, my darling Axel, made an appearance in the next 20 seconds, I was going to get up, crawl out of St. Mary's and be the only woman in history to cancel birth during labor.

And then you cried. And we cried. Well, Pappa almost fainted -- as he did when Curtis arrived -- but I was prepared for that the second time around.

Fast forward through Yo Gabba Gabba fetishes, sleepless nights and a persistence perseverance of the love of OJ and here we are, just days before your third birthday.

Now you're tall and funny, sweet and loving and always adoring of your big brother. You love your scooter, the battery-powered Thomas ride-along and any pants that can be labeled as "cozy." You're admirably addicted to dressing yourself, even if it means spending long minutes wrestling with your outfit before it agrees to be pulled on. You still have your "babies" in a corner of your room, but it's been months since you've truly played that game.

Now it's more about being faster and best and bestest. About keeping up with Curtis during backyard bughunts, emulating any iPad games so effortlessly played by big brother, and -- through it all -- staying forever loyal and true to Apa and Mimi, although the latter is saved for bedtime snuggles.

My most favorite little baby brother, Axel: happy delicious birthday. And thank you for adding a little empathy, coziness and three-year-old smarts to our every day.