24 Hours in Washington D.C. with Kids

Like most things in my life recently, I blame most of this adventure on Wicked. While the girls were watching the 15th anniversary show on television, someone (Idina?) said on camera that the original Elphaba dress was now at the Smithsonian.

Now, every other year we travel down to D.C. to visit family for the Thanksgiving holiday. Hmmm. The girls are getting older, why not go a day early and hit up some museums. We’ll use Elphaba’s dress as the lure. We played up the dress, the ruby slippers, and the monuments to get the girls excited. It all worked like a charm. Right up until we got the information desk and we were told, yeah, that thing on TV? Not quite true.

Here’s how the rest of our 24 hours in D.C. with kids went… Continue Reading

Scenes from Saturday + Mavis Lives!

We learned two things for certain this week. First, despite a lot of trash talking, I can type faster than my wife. Second, Mavis Beacon lives! Sort of.

At this point, even I, as the mildly malevolent task master, am starting to have some sympathy for Cecilia’s daily to-do list. It’s not short, and in the last few weeks we’ve added typing practice. This new addition was actually at her teacher’s request, not mine. See? Mildly malevolent, not madly malevolent.

Like any good modern parent, the first thing I did was do some googling and was I delighted to see that Mavis Beacon was still teaching typing. Or was she? I spent many, many hours looking at her kindly face on the software box as I pounded my way through the home keys. I clicked the link. Who was this? This wasn’t Mavis. Her face and tan power suit are seared into my brain. I know Mavis. Either she had a lot of work done or they swapped in a new Mavis like the Dread Pirate Roberts (RIP, William Goldman). It shook me up for days.

We are only a few weeks into this new life skill practice, but so far there haven’t actually been too many complaints from Ce. Perhaps she recognizes the utility of this skill unlike perhaps the long term usefulness of the Good King Wenceslas.  Continue Reading

8 Crucial Steps to Write Your First Novel

8 crucial steps to write and finish your first novel

November brings National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). If you’ve been secretly harboring a desire to write a novel, here are some lessons that helped me and might help you. It goes without saying that if you want to be a writer you need to write a lot and read a lot. But if you want a little more than that. If you’re like me and want a more actionable plan, these 8 steps can help you get started, keep at it, and most importantly, finish it. Continue Reading

Unique and Useful Gifts for Runners by a Runner

2018 Runner's Gift Guide

One of the best things about running is you don’t need much. Some shoes. Some clothes you don’t mind getting sweaty. And a little time to go out and suffer. That’s pretty much it. 

I don’t run with headphones or music or anything too fancy, so maybe I’m not the best person to write up a gift guide full of stuff, but…if you want to get the runner in your life something that goes beyond boring socks (actually, socks are always welcome for runners), here are a few unique and useful ideas for any of your friends that are constantly talking about training or their next race.

Of course, you could always get them a nice, soft unique new running t-shirt 🙂

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Scenes from Saturday + Leaves & Teeth

When the girls get sick, I get stressed. I will lie in bed and hear one of the girls coughing down the hall and I wonder why we can’t just have a simple, quiet night. Why do I always have to end the day worrying about fevers, coughs, math facts, reading comprehension, screen time, or how to navigate some new, twisted social scenario I never pondered as a kid.

The fact is that we have a lot of quiet nights. They just pile up and slip by unnoticed while Dash warms my feet and I fall asleep reading a book. This past week was a whole string of perfectly banal and quiet days. Math facts were tossed off. Vocab tests were aced. The brassy sound of Hot Cross Buns filled the air. The worst thing that happened was Ally being convinced, despite ample contrary evidence, that the number three really should be written backwards.

Too often I can get lost in the darker corners of the parenting maze. This week I’m celebrating mediocrity. Without the quiet, ordinary weeks, you can’t have the extraordinary ones. Continue Reading

3 Years Later, or How a Chronic Disease Can Mess with Your Mind

Living with addison's disease

At the end of the summer, I passed the three year anniversary of my crazy week in the hospital and subsequent Addison’s diagnosis. It came and went and I didn’t really notice until a week later. If you met me today you’d likely be surprised to learn of my condition. With some management and daily medication, things have returned pretty much to pre-diagnosis normal. Mentally, however, I find it can still get a bit rocky at times. Turns out being suddenly diagnosed with a chronic disease can mess with your mental state a bit.  Continue Reading

Race Recap: Genesis Battlegreen 10k

Genesis Battlegreen Run 10k

What is it about a taper week that brings out the worst self-hating demons? You’d think by this point I’d be used to it, but they get me every time. By Wednesday, I’m feeling achy and diagnosing myself with the flu or some new chronic disease. By Friday, I’m sure those niggling pains are actually torn ligaments or stress fractures. 

This past week Michelle finally put a stop to all the nonsense and asked why I was freaking out that I always got like this before a race. She was right, of course. There were no upper respiratory infections or torn ligaments. It was just a big, hairy goal that was trying to knock down my confidence. I didn’t entirely succeed. Clearly, I still have a lot to learn from Deena.  Continue Reading