Christmas Eve Morn?

Without making any general announcement, my partner decided to put a couple of presents aside as “Christmas Eve” presents. Given the thorough inspection that every package put out for Christmas gets from the kids, of course it only took them .04 microseconds to realize that a couple of packages were marked “Christmas Eve Present”, and even less time to figure out that meant they would get to open a present Christmas Eve.

So, of course, [Continue reading]

Christmas Shopping (Finally) Commences!

With the kids finally off quarantine (only one got sick, but the other two were excluded from school just in case) we can get back to the business of daily life, which this time of year means Christmas. Which means shopping.

We don’t give the kids much of an allowance, and usually they haven’t worried too much about Christmas and birthday gifts, especially for each other. Mom or I might get something made at school, [Continue reading]

Quarantine! Redux

The hits keep on rolling at our house. I wrote before about my partner coming down with mumps — a form not indigenous to the US and not included in our immunizations — and while she was never officially quarantined, she’s been out of work for three weeks (so far). Of course, she’s going steadily out of her mind with boredom (though she has gotten a lot of knitting done).

Now the kids are [Continue reading]


Lisa Hendey of Productivity @ Home suggests several ways to encourage thankfulness in children. At the top of the list is “pray together”, and we’re not a praying family at all, but the rest of the tips are good, especialy the fourth, “Remember to thank your children”:

Next time your child brings home a test that falls short of your expectations, why not try genuinely thanking him for his efforts in school prior to launching [Continue reading]

Book Review: “The Neil Gaiman Audio Collection” by Neil Gaiman

I’ve been on a bit of a Neil Gaiman kick lately, since Stardust came out and I read and enjoyed Coraline. Although I’ve been way too busy to read much more (I picked up M is for Magic and another Gaiman book about a month ago) I did have a chance to listen to this single-CD reading of four of Gaiman’s works for children, and was overall pretty impressed.

The Neil Gaiman [Continue reading]


Well, not yet, but on the table. Here’s the story:

My partner works for the division of the health department that monitors and reports infectious outbreaks. Last month, she was sent our to gather samples from several neighboring families of Ethiopian refugees, some of whom had mumps. Since this kind of exposure is part of her job, she receives regular inoculation boosters, and had a mumps booster just a year ago. No problem, right?

So [Continue reading]

Other People’s Kids

Shall I write a post since I’ve been away the last couple of days? OK, here’s a quick one.

Today, my brother and sister-in-law took our kids to the airshow. Every year my sister-in-law’s stepdad, an ex-Navy (I think) flyer and owner of an aerospace company in California comes in to take his grandkids (my nephew and niece) to the airshow. Knowing both my partner and I were busy this weekend, and that the kids [Continue reading]

When Dad Won’t Stay Dad, Part I

About 10 weeks ago now, my two oldest stepkids’ (12-year old boy and 11-year old girl) dad dropped a bomb on them (and us). During their bi-weekly weekend stay-over at his house, he sat them down and told them that him and their stepmother were going to go to a lawyer and file to terminate his relationship with them. The reason: they did not pay him and his wife enough respect.

That’s right — he [Continue reading]

Book Review: “Number the Stars” by Lois Lowry

Last month I reviewed Lois Lowry’s The Giver very positively — it’s an absolutely great novel, for young readers and adult readers alike. So I had high hopes for another novel by Lowry, Number the Stars — hopes which were almost, but not quite, met.

Don’t get me wrong: the Newberry-winning Number the Stars is a quite good book. Set during the German occupation of Denmark in WWII, Number the Stars tells the story of [Continue reading]

Building Confidence

“Always leave on a good note”. This is the advice Lisa Hendry of Productivity @ Home gives in her article Building Confidence in Children.The idea is to always let children finish a project, activity, or whatever with a success, however small — a homework problem done correctly, a goal scored, etc. That way they’ll remember these past successes as they move forward in their lives, rather than a string of failures or disappointments. Seems reasonable [Continue reading]