A brown belt for Big Guy – not that it’s important
Mon, 12/03/12 – 12:49 | Comments Off

It was testing week in karate and, as usual, Big Guy was under the gun. Not as much as he used to be, when he didn’t have a clue and had to frantically cram, but …

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Food

Picky eaters and allergy-safe cooking — the two aren’t necessarily unrelated.

Girl Gone Wonk

From policy to politics, this rant’s for you.

News

The day’s events in a family way — unless something else amuses me.

School days

From preschool to kindergarten — so far

Simple Gifts

Inexpensive homemade gifts, creative parties and low-cost projects, for Christmas and beyond. Many are easy enough for children to help.

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Articles in 9to5to9

An open letter to a bully
Wednesday, 8 Dec, 2010 – 13:07 | One Comment
An open letter to a bully

Dear Punk:
Did you know that’s what the little kids in the neighborhood call you? I bet that doesn’t sit well with your tough-guy self-image, with the you who takes pride in running children out of …

A boy and his dog – or is that the other way around
Tuesday, 7 Dec, 2010 – 14:08 | 3 Comments
A boy and his dog – or is that the other way around

Some boys just need to have a dog. You can tell which ones by the way their faces light up the second they’re around a pup, they way they’ll play together for hours without a …

Deadlines put others first at Christmas
Monday, 6 Dec, 2010 – 14:00 | Comments Off
Deadlines put others first at Christmas

We’d bought the Christmas tree just days after Halloween – a two-footer that took some bending to fit in a box that wouldn’t cost an arm and a leg to ship, but we did it. …

Thanksgiving
Wednesday, 24 Nov, 2010 – 11:41 | Comments Off
Thanksgiving

I am thankful for my family. We are getting a turkey. I am also thanking for after this is Christmas. Thanksgiving is my third favorite holiday. Thanksgiving is the most thankful holiday.

It turns out there was a reason to buy a turkey
Wednesday, 24 Nov, 2010 – 11:30 | One Comment
It turns out there was a reason to buy a turkey

I bought a turkey two weeks ago, and at the time I had no idea why. It was a 13 pounder, because the commissary didn’t have anything smaller, and I had to cram it into …

Are you ready for some football?
Tuesday, 23 Nov, 2010 – 14:34 | Comments Off
Are you ready for some football?

So remember a couple of years ago when I said that I don’t care what the guys do as long as they keep trying to be the best they can be?
I lied. You probably figured …

And then the roof falls in
Monday, 22 Nov, 2010 – 14:39 | Comments Off
And then the roof falls in

You hear the stories about women blasting the water in the shower to hide their weeping, and you think it won’t happen to you. You’re strong. You’re resilient. You can handle this.
And for months on …

Finding a way to help Boots find his way in the world
Friday, 19 Nov, 2010 – 15:11 | Comments Off
Finding a way to help Boots find his way in the world

“It’s a pickle,” Boots said when he came home from school after Mark Kistler’s Imagination Station assembly that promises to teach kids to draw in 3D. It’s no lie either. Even Big Guy’s skills had …

Teeth-cleaning gum? I want it NOW
Friday, 12 Nov, 2010 – 12:47 | 2 Comments
Teeth-cleaning gum? I want it NOW

Teeth-cleaning gum? Oh my God, is this ever the answer to my prayers.
It sounds almost too good to be true and I feared at first that it might be because most Google paths lead back …

A letter to a friend – and to friends I don’t know yet
Thursday, 11 Nov, 2010 – 11:59 | Comments Off
A letter to a friend – and to friends I don’t know yet

Hey, lady!
Let me start with an apology. I’m so sorry I’ve been “too busy” to get together with you lately. Sure, I have the guys’ sports schedules and my volunteer and paid work, but that’s …

Suddenly, Bear comes back
Wednesday, 10 Nov, 2010 – 11:34 | Comments Off
Suddenly, Bear comes back

It’s hard to keep track of the loveys without a scorecard these days.
There’s the always-present El – er, make that the “mostly present” El. Boots’ beloved but tattered friend did leave a few weeks ago …

I need a Knaus in my house
Tuesday, 9 Nov, 2010 – 11:54 | Comments Off
I need a Knaus in my house

Just when I thought Kevin Lehman, who advises that you sometimes “pull the rug out and let the little buzzards tumble,” was the ultimate in reality discipline then along comes someone who makes Lehman look …

Dad’s car, my deployment albatross
Monday, 8 Nov, 2010 – 12:06 | Comments Off
Dad’s car, my deployment albatross

Either Dad has put people on commission or the official at the guys’ basketball games this weekend felt morally obligated to look after our automotive welfare.
“How long’s it been since you started your husband’s car?” …

There is no good time to do homework
Friday, 5 Nov, 2010 – 13:36 | Comments Off
There is no good time to do homework

We’ve tried it first thing after school, hoping that will help keep his head in the game.
We’ve tried it later in the afternoon, hoping that giving him a chance to blow off steam before settling …

When a kid outgrows his reputation
Tuesday, 2 Nov, 2010 – 13:40 | 2 Comments
When a kid outgrows his reputation

Sometimes it’s hard to see your kids as the rest of the world does. Once in a while, you’re lucky enough to have someone come along and open your eyes.
For me it was a substitute …

Army Strong – but what does it mean?
Monday, 1 Nov, 2010 – 13:31 | Comments Off
Army Strong – but what does it mean?

Boots was bent on sniveling his way through the airport the night we went to pick up Dad for the start of R&R when I decided I’d heard enough.
“I know you’re tired, babes. But you …

Because pumpkin guts is a man’s work
Saturday, 30 Oct, 2010 – 11:26 | Comments Off
Because pumpkin guts is a man’s work

I hadn’t planned on carving a pumpkin this year. I just wasn’t up to it.
And no, this isn’t another one of those grating “waah, he’s not here on special days” whines, though pumpkin carving is …

When mom goes for glam instead of gore
Friday, 29 Oct, 2010 – 14:16 | Comments Off
When mom goes for glam instead of gore

Big Guy couldn’t conceal his disdain when he ripped open the package that had just landed on the front stoop.
“What’s this?” he asked in a tone usually reserved for finding dog poo on his shoes.
“It’s …

The age of the defiant “why”
Thursday, 28 Oct, 2010 – 12:45 | Comments Off
The age of the defiant “why”

Used to be, the guys’ “whys” were mainly sweet, innocent and curious.
“Why isn’t the moon cut?” Big Guy would ask on the nights that it was full. When you think about it,the moon is “cut” …

Cure for insomnia? Let me sleep on that
Wednesday, 27 Oct, 2010 – 13:53 | Comments Off
Cure for insomnia? Let me sleep on that

The final alarm starts going off at 5:30, but it takes me another hour to drag, bleary-eyed, out of bed.
It’s my third notice. Most mornings Alarms Nos. 1 and 2 barely register when they go …

Do movie ratings work? Heck no.
Tuesday, 26 Oct, 2010 – 22:07 | Comments Off
Do movie ratings work? Heck no.

I thought I had merely run into a strange one last winter when a mom was fine with her pre-teen daughter watching a movie about a force so demonic that even an exorcist was scared …

The last time the Giants were in the World Series …
Tuesday, 26 Oct, 2010 – 12:59 | One Comment
The last time the Giants were in the World Series …

It was 2002. That’s not so long ago considering that my beloved Reds haven’t made it since 1990, but it terms of life-changing events the eight years since San Francisco has been in the fall …

One man’s deployment is another’s day at the race
Monday, 25 Oct, 2010 – 13:24 | Comments Off
One man’s deployment is another’s day at the race

He’d bought two tickets for a male-bonding weekend with his brother, who’d planned to fly in out-of-state for the race in California.
She’d bought only three tickets, because her husband’s deployment had effectively blocked his participation …

Lovey’s leaving?
Friday, 22 Oct, 2010 – 13:46 | 3 Comments
Lovey’s leaving?

“Mom, I need you to take a picture of El and me tomorrow morning,” Boots said right before bedtime last night. “No, take two of them. One for him, and one for me.”
OK, I said. …

This ain’t your mother’s parent-teacher conference
Thursday, 21 Oct, 2010 – 14:23 | One Comment
This ain’t your mother’s parent-teacher conference

Back in the day when we had to walk four miles up hill both ways to school, Mom used to sneak out a few evenings a year for this mysterious thing called a “parent-teacher conference.”
Convinced …

Lovey lost – and found
Wednesday, 20 Oct, 2010 – 12:05 | Comments Off
Lovey lost – and found

He has little tiny black eyes about this big, Boots explained, holding his thumb and index finger about a quarter inch apart. He’s about this tall, he continued, stretching his arms to span a foot …

Homeschool not for the faint of heart – or me either
Monday, 18 Oct, 2010 – 12:49 | 2 Comments
Homeschool not for the faint of heart – or me either

The relentlessly cheery among us never have problems. Instead, they experience “challenges” or “opportunities.” It’s a “chance for growth.”
So, in that spirit let me thank our school system for giving me the “opportunity” to put …

THIS is second-grade math?
Friday, 1 Oct, 2010 – 13:17 | 2 Comments
THIS is second-grade math?

Rhonda, Tom, Liz and Miguel all have 4 shells. If they each find 1 more shell, does the mode change? If so, what is the new mode? – Page 64, Macmillan/McGraw-Hill “California Mathematics,” Second Grade.
Big …