Scenes from Saturday + The Golden Egg

Sometimes you make a parental decision in the moment that seems innocuous but actually ends up having far-reaching consequences. You might turn on the ‘Cats’ cast recording as a joke one day in the car. You might let your oldest learn to tell time. You might let your youngest put on their own band-aids. Or you might let them watch one live-action Disney show. All terrible parenting decisions that continue to haunt us to this day.

Here’s one more. Seven years ago we included a rather distinctive ‘golden’ egg in our annual Easter egg hunt. When Ally came along, we couldn’t find a matching golden egg, so we added a silver one. We were nervous about swapping out the golden one and producing awkward questions about the Bunny’s operating procedure that might trickle down to other holidays.

Each year, that golden egg decision rises higher in our worst decisions rankings. They start talking about it soon after St. Patrick’s Day and the trash talking, scheming and strategy only grow more fevered throughout Lent. Who will find it? What will be in it? Where was it last year?

If only Cece put this much thought and effort into her multi-step math problems…. Continue Reading

Quick, Healthyish No-Bake Brownies

easy no-bake fudgy brownies

My youngest, Allison, like most young kids, has a pretty narrow palette on what she likes to eat. We’re lucky because that range includes a few fruits and vegetables. She doesn’t eat widely, but she doesn’t eat that unhealthy, either. Her one exception? Dessert. She is a connoisseur of sweet treats. That girl has a sweet tooth that is going to lead to some major dental bills.

In an effort to provide a (slightly) more healthy treat option than the ubiquitous box mixes, I tried this quick, easy, no-bake brownie recipe loaded with nuts and dates, but still full of fudgy, chocolate flavor that would satisfy a kid’s dessert demands. Continue Reading

Scenes from Saturday + A Rite of Passage

Yesterday was a Saturday for mothers and daughters. A rite of passage that is sure to become a lasting memory. It certainly became clear in talking about it to various people in the last year, that just about every woman has a very clear memory of getting very sharp things pushed through her ear lobes. 

Or, as Ally said, as Ce nervously waited her turn, “It doesn’t look that bad except for the very sharp needle they push through your tender ear.” That girl loves creating drama.

As part of her ninth birthday present, Cecilia has now joined the ranks of the 83% of Americans that have their ears lobes pierced. Let’s all hope it stops there. Or that I never find out about any others. Continue Reading

Gear Review: Trail Running with Kahtoola Microspikes

kahtoola microspikes review

When we moved three years ago, one of the most under-appreciated aspects of our new neighborhood, for me, was the trail access to a local reservation right at the end of our street. Suddenly, I had no excuse not to try trail running. Except for the mud and snow.

Once winter came, I did what I always did and headed down into the basement for a season for running on the treadmill. I actually really don’t mind the treadmill, but it can become monotonous month after month.

It would have been nice to escape onto those trails again, but I was always worried about slipping or pulling something with little traction in the ice or mud.  Continue Reading

How to Become … [Anything]

deliberate practice and patience

I’m often asked how I could possibly find the time to read 50 or 60 books a year with a job, a family, exercise and every day social media distractions. I always tell them the same thing: I don’t try to gulp down books. I don’t set aside time for reading. Or plan to read for an hour after dinner. I just read whenever and wherever I can. Sure, sometimes I do go on hour-long binges, but mostly I read in 5 or 10 minute sips. I read in line. I read in waiting rooms. I read during lunch. It adds up to a lot of books over the course of the year.

I’ve found this small, simple act has become a cornerstone of my life as I get older and appreciate the inevitable and inescapable impact of time. Take one tiny, simple step. Repeat it daily. Have patience and the results will begin to accumulate. That’s it. It’s not new. It’s the debt snowball. Or Seinfeld’s chain. Or Ericsson’s rules for deliberate practice. But it’s no less powerful and I’ve come to appreciate it’s impact.

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Scenes from Saturday + A Little Mischief

I almost snapped in CVS on Friday looking at a display of $4.99 St. Patrick’s Day trinkets (i.e., junk) and scouring the aisles for other household items I could use to create the realistic illusion that a tiny leprechaun had invaded our home and created a mess.

When did St. Patrick’s Day level up? When I was a kid I remember digging into my drawer to find a green shirt. That’s it. The end. There was no leprechaun, no mischief, no tchotkes and no elaborate Rube Goldberg traps.

Allison was almost vibrating with excitement for three days. It was a close second to Christmas morning. No exaggeration. Cecilia was a bit more even keeled. She was just hoping to find some actual gold so she could buy more putty and American Girl doll accessories.

I’ll take Christmas and Easter to 11, even deal with the Elf on the Shelf, but I’ve got to draw the line somewhere. It takes most of my mental and physical stamina each day for math facts, packing lunches, day care runs, homework, piano, bathing and reading time. I can’t end my night on my hands and knees creating leprechaun footprints in glitter.

This grumpy line of thinking may have caused some marital strife late last night as I attempted to get the toilet the right shade of leprechaun pee green. Someone may have been called a miserable old man. See what this “holiday” has done? Continue Reading