“This morning when I had my cereal I patted it down into the milk like Grandma Ruth did.”

This from my oldest, last night at dinner.

I was confused.  Milk?  Who?  Oh.  My mom- Nana- but sometimes “Grandma Ruth” because my oldest never knew her.  A more formal name, maybe, to remind me/us who she’s talking about?

I had forgotten this little thing my mom used to do.  When she said it, a little room in the back of my memory opened up.  Yes- she did do that.  Patted down the cereal into the milk, with the back of her spoon.  Usually a combination of two cereals- one like cardboard and one like cardboard-sweetened-with-honey.  (We never got the good cereals.)

“I must have told you that- what- years ago?  I didn’t even remember that.”

“I think you told me when I was five.”

It was like a gift from my oldest.  A gift that is sweet and hurts at the same time.  It lights up a part of me and hurts me, too.



We have been listening to a lot of Mumford & Sons since we went to their show this weekend.  (We met Mumford!  And a couple of Sons!  They were so kind!).  How (terribly) timely to have watched the video for Beloved earlier that day.  I was already thinking of her- Nana, Grandma Ruth, Mom- and then the cereal comment at dinner.

I took a bath.

Cried a lot.

Went to bed.





hooded jammies

 1.  I’m wondering if any other parent out there has ever found a dead bird in their childs’ room.  Because I have.

2.  When you buy a minivan off Craigslist and inherit all of the running bumper stickers from the previous owner, do you also inherit the bragging rights to those races?

(I also inherited four interior windows’ worth of Dora and “I’ve Been Krogering” stickers.  When I see those vehicles around town, I think those parents have just given up.  There.  I said it.)

3.  A recent conversation topic amongst friends on Marco Polo was naming your superpower.  One of my friends remembers all of our birthdays off the top of her head.  Also my anniversary.  She remembers the birthdays of high school friends, random acquaintances, and so on.  Incredible.

Remember when you used to dial a phone number, and each number had a tone?  Another friend’s superpower was to hear the tones you were dialing and TELL YOU WHO YOU WERE CALLING.  Whaaaaat.  “Oh, you just dialed mom… Will… best friend… neighbor” and so on.

So much talent.

My superpower is getting rid of things.  Like bags of stuff from my kids rooms.  (Like dead birds.  And other things.)  I love it.  Not as good of a party trick as the other two.  But still.

Questions for you:

What’s the best thing you’ve ever found in your kid’s room?  (“Best thing” is obviously a euphemism for grossest or weirdest.)

What’s your superpower?  (I really want to know.)


also found in my kids’ room.  different kid.


Fix What You Can Fix


Unikitty.  Kitticorn.

Here’s a Friday tip for you.

Fix what you can fix.

Remember that there are fixable problems.  We are smart people who can figure out solutions to things that aggravate us.

Except when we can’t.  Like when it involves other people who we, ultimately, cannot control.  Or a task that we just hate and can’t un-hate.  In that case- fix what you can fix.

Here’s my example: my house.  I love it!  Sometimes, though, I resent it because it needs to be cleaned.  I could throw money at it  and hire someone to do it for me, but that’s not really a great week in and week out solution, budget-wise.  So as I sat in my living room this morning it occurred to me to fix what I could fix.

My resentment about cleaning is heightened because the cleaning requires me to move a bunch of crap around to clean under it.  I cannot vacuum until the floor is picked up.  I can’t wipe down the counters until the stuff on them is put away.  See?

Fixing what I can fix meant I went around with two grocery bags and filled one with stuff for Goodwill and one with trash.  I cannot totally fix that I dislike cleaning, but I can fix that the flat surfaces are filled with stuff, and that makes cleaning a hassle.  I’ll never have to clean around that stuff again!  Fix what you can fix.  Cleaning was somewhat more bearable.


Buddy the Elf being creepy

Another example: the morning walk to school.  Our boys go to school a few blocks away and I walk them there three mornings a week.  I had started to dread the walk because my littlest one wanted to come along, which meant herding three kids along the sidewalk to school.  Number two wanted to push number four in the stroller, which meant I was half watching him to make sure he didn’t accidentally go too fast and turn the stroller on its side, or- you know- push her into traffic.  Also I was trying to get number three to hurry because he’s a slow poke walker.  Lastly, the cold temps were killing me.

Fix what you can fix: leave the stroller at home and- magic- number four doesn’t want to come along on the morning walk anymore.  No more stroller monitoring.  Buy a cheap coat that comes down almost to my knees and feel much warmer.

I’m still trying to get number three to walk faster, but I’ve eliminated two other consistent sources of joy-killing.  So it’s not so bad.  I don’t dread the morning walk anymore.

Fix what you can fix.