How It’s Done Blog

Really, Though, it’s Everybody

I pin stuff on Rory–and why not, she’s the most interesting of the lot right now, and the one for whom I get to come up with all of these reasons for her behavior…but really, all three “littles” make me crazy, and all three of them have some of the same issues, which are probably–somehow–my issues. And so I ask. with passionate interest–why do they always want me? Truly, Rob is a MUCH nicer person than I am. Way more […]

Perfectly Happy

Perfectly Happy Originally uploaded by kjda At least until the ride home! That’s Lily playing soccer, very happily, in the rain. Today was a big deal for her–although she’s played hockey for two years, it’s always been overshadowed by Sam’s play. He doesn’t do soccer, and today, the whole family had to load up and go–for her sake, not his. We have attended so many games and practices and pick ups–it’s always come on! we have to take Sam! We […]

Somebody Else’s Elegant Last Day Picnic

Somebody Else’s Elegant Last Day Picnic Originally uploaded by kjda KJ Dell’Antonia sent from my iPhone

I Want Go Back China!

As you can probably tell from the syntax, that’s Rory talking. Earlier this week, Lily had a friend over, and Wy went to said friend’s house to play with her brother, leaving Rory at somewhat of a loose end. At least she thought so. I was working on a promised Strollerderby post at the kitchen counter. She came and lay under my barstool. She crawled up and sat in the stool next to me, fingering the fruit in the bowl. […]

Sam’s Lunch Today

Sam’s Lunch Today Originally uploaded by kjda I am either the worst or the best mom ever. KJ Dell’Antonia sent from my iPhone

Annals of Useless Gadgets

Annals of Useless Gadgets Originally uploaded by kjda Makes breakfast effortless! KJ Dell’Antonia sent from my iPhone —

Today we rocked.

Today we rocked. Originally uploaded by kjda I have been wanting a garden gate, instead of a flap of deer fence, all year. KJ Dell’Antonia sent from my iPhone —

Gettin’ the Skates On

It’s fall. You’ve probably noticed…not that the weather feels particularly fallish, and not that the leaves are changing, etc., but once the kids go back to school it’s fall, and the last of my kids goes back to school Wednesday. And I am once again realizing that as they go back, I go back too. Not back to work–I’ve been working all summer, in a failing effort to do every bit as much as I did during the school year […]

Tonight We Brushed Krypto

Tonight We Brushed Krypto Originally uploaded by kjda Seriously. KJ Dell’Antonia sent from my iPhone

Rory, Still a Little Dubious

My bad tonight–letting all four kids take ice cream in the car. Not cones, cups, and in Lily and Sam’s case, more like milkshakes (FriendZs, to be exact). I don’t usually even let them EAT in the car. But circs prevailed in a not particularly interesting way, and the ice cream was successfully eaten, until (you knew there was an until, right?)… Rory announced that she was done. At this point we were at the hockey rink picking up Sam, […]

Looking Up Auditory Processing

Thanks everyone! I appreciate the comments a lot. I was hoping for help! We do, we just have a bunch of things that don’t add up. Auditory processing sounds very worth researching. She literally does not process much of our speech beyond the first words or commands. Does the expected thing in any situation (brushes her teeth and puts on pjs when told, near bedtime, to go up and get a towel and her pajamas and come back down for […]

Tis the Season to Organize

Just in case you don’t remember what my office looks like, let me post a small refresher photo: It’s probably worse now. I’ve added a small collection of office-related Christmas gifts, a couple of children’s book publishers catalogs, Rosetta Stone: French and a jar of peanut butter. And an unused pull-up—pretty sure that wasn’t here before—and assorted additional bits of paper. I have lots of assorted bits of paper. And an empty cookie box and a box of gallon-sized zip […]

New Office Cleaning Technique

A little office cleaning, as I’ve said before, is clearly in order: It is more than a little hard to type on this laptop. New plan: Step one: clear everything off the desk! Step two: Enjoy new work surface. Step three: Don’t turn around. New Office Cleaning Technique

Off Track

“No!” Wyatt stood in our hallway, feet in his socks firmly planted on the floor. “No. I’m not going anywhere. I’m going to stay here!” Yesterday, I brought Rory and Wyatt home for about an hour before picking Lily and Sam up from school. I’d meant for us to stay out–but they were so awful, so whiny and obnoxious to me and to one another, that we ran one errand, abandoned the plan for coffee and treats (with a rousing […]

Nothing for Me!

When next I post, it will no doubt be a picture–and it will surely be a happy picture, because we are off to the Happiest Place On Earth ™! Actually, is that right? We’re going to Disneyworld, anyway. The Happiest Place On Earth ™ might be Disneyland. Or somewhere else. I forget. But we’re off to Orlando. And I do expect there will be plenty of happiness, although I’m not fool enough to expect nonstop joy or even a day […]

And You Let Them Drink Coke?

This has never happened to me before, and I’m so happy that it waited until I was ready. Last night, Guo Ji Mama and I were at her son’s lacrosse game on our local fields. We ate a picnic from the Mexican place, left most of our respective broods happily playing in the park and sauntered over to sort of semi-watch the game. After a while, a largish blonde woman approached. “Are zose your kids alone in ze playground?” she […]

Everything in a Name

What’s in a name? Everything. Every thought your parents had about who you might be. A goodly dose of who your father’s family was, and possibly, depending on your circumstances, your mother’s as well. If you’re adopted, what’s in a name? Maybe everything, maybe nothing. Casually (as in the non-legal name you’d give, say, a gymnastics class), Rory’s name says nothing much about her except that she’s the child of two people who liked the name Rory. Her name is […]

Do Not Take If You Get Nervous, Dizzy or Sleepless.

I have a really awful cough. It’s a really awful contagious cough, because Lily had it first, and now I have it. But it’s worse for me, because I have given birth four times (once things went very badly), and when I cough… well, let’s just say I really don’t like to cough. Every night for the past couple of nights, I’ve been taking this Mucinex stuff to loosen things up, with a cough suppressant too, so I don’t wake […]

Can Your Adopted Child Name that Fruit?

I need help. Rory has been with us now for two years and two months. And she came speaking English–about 2-year-old English. Her language is still behind in some expected ways–she struggles with “he” and “she” and verb tenses–and that’s cool. She gets speech therapy for that, and for leaving off the final consonants of all her words (speech therapy doubles as ESL in her case, since its not really her second language–they know the history and work with it). […]

Chase Me! Don’t Chase Me! Chase Me!

Who doesn’t like to be pursued and desirable? No one! Pay attention to me! Chase me! Want me! I just wish my children wouldn’t take it so literally. Wyatt has a friend over–actually, it would be more accurate to say that both Wyatt and Rory have a friend over. A very good friend. Always a success. Rory wants him to chase her. When he does chase her, she will run and shriek NO! NO! She will dodge. She may even […]

The Ritual of the Flu Shot

This weekend, our family of six will load up, head to the medical center, and wait in line for our flu shots. It will be at least our sixth annual such journey, and a funny thing has happened along the way: the kids have embraced the whole thing. Not just because they don’t want to get the flu. I’m obviously a believer in the shot, even understanding its limitations. The vaccine’s effectiveness depends on the match between the influenza viruses […]

Motherlode: More Screen Time? Homeschooling Anarchists? Good Teachers When Kids Fail.

On Motherlode at the end of this week: I was thinking that my idea to allow kids more “screen time” on the computer if they were doing creative things instead of just playing, as one commenter said, was a good one–but most people are still arguing for full limits or none. And what I liked best about the New York Times Magazine’s “Homeschooling Anarchist Parents” article this week was the mother’s unabashed embracing of a parenting style I thought […]

New Family Members

New Family Members Originally uploaded by kjda The lady I got our kitten from assured me, a novice cat owner, that all kittens come with a free companion poodle. In retrospect I can see that this must not be true, but here we are. So far, it’s the calmest transition our house has ever seen… but then, we’ve been through some doozies.

Of COURSE I Can Interview Anne Lamott i/f/o the Whole Times Newsroom

I’m beyond thrilled about the Motherlode Book Club reading Anne and Sam Lamott’s Some Assembly Required, and ditto for the opportunity to interview them both, for a short video to be posted on the Motherlode blog. I’ve always loved Anne Lamott’s work. This follow-up to Operating Instructions is fascinating: her son had a son. At nineteen. There are so many questions to ask them both about that that the mind boggles. (The mind also notes repeated use of that in […]

8 Things We Have Learned about Having a Pool

1. It’s an excellent way to acquire beach towels. 2. Ditto assorted children’s clothing and swimwear. 3. Bleach and Borax are cheaper than pool chemicals. 4. Apply before pool party, not after. 5. I don’t know where your goggles are. I don’t know where anyone’s goggles are. 6. Mmmm, pool water beats toilet water any day (that’s from our dogs). 7. Bacardi piña coladas are the way to go. 8. Am never leaving my house again. At least not this […]

Choose Your Own Verb: Are You Where You Need, Want or Are Meant to Be?

Do you do what you need to, what you choose to, or what you’re meant to—and does the difference matter?

You Know You Need a Great New Read (November, 2016)

Here are the books I read and liked, and why, in no particular order, for November.

Before You Limit Your Kids’ Screen Time, Should You Look at Your Own?

New research has parents of kids 8-18 reporting an astonishing 7.5 hours of personal screen time a day. If that’s true, how can we help our kids learn to limit themselves?

Carefree, Ad-busted (or new fashion trend?)

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Just a Few More Steps, and

I have seen the new food pyramid, and the news is good–apparently, if you run up just a few steps a day, you can eat anything you want at the top of the pyramid! At least, that’s what I heard someone on NPR say. She seemed worried that all of us graphic sign-people would take xanax buy pharmacy phentermine On the 20 March 2008 xanax buy pharmacy phentermine flight was the first time voice calls have been allowed in-flight on […]

9:30 a.m. Amount of patience remaining: 0 Number of times children woke in the night and required tending by an adult: 3 Number of times yelled at Sam in last 3 hours: unk. Number of adults currently watching children:0 Most irritating conversation held with Sam, while still in possession of patience: “Mommy, look what I can do!” (moving shoes from one shelf to another. “mmm hmm.” “Do you want me to move these?” “No, thank you.” “But do you want […]


I was at a party over the weekend, an actual, honest to god, here’s a loud band and some food and some drink party (dancing to 60’s and 70’s standards under the stuffed heads of decapitated animals, an unexpected party from the pov of me in my twenties but a fun one just the same). The band took a break, and my friend L sidled up to me and hissed “hey, let’s slip outside for a cigarette.” For jsut a […]

The glamourous result

The glamourous result, originally uploaded by kjda. Incidentally, her brother is wearing the same shirt today–but with him it’s a little less generally apt.payday 9 payday loanadvance loan money paydayalaska company loan home100 financing loans1st time buyer loanloans plan advantages 401kadvance loan colorado cashalaska mortgage refinance loan Mapringtones 3gforfree countryringtones generation 4 cellphonespanasonic ringtone gd 55mobile 6010 ringtone tsprint 6700 ppc ringtoneringtone 7100i nextelto how ringtone 8125ringtone 911 69999 Map


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A Little Test. Oh, and the Fish Dies Again.

Reddy #2 died. Full disclosure to Lily, who flushed him herself and agreed to adopt Sam’s dramatic looking swordtail, which he agreed to if he was allowed to help name it. So, Lightening, who’s been alive in the tank for nearly a week now, becomes Lily’s special fish. He’ll probably be belly-up tomorrow. So bedtime rolled around with excruciating slowness after a very long day. Lily’s been making bedtime a thing of misery and threats for weeks now, and tonight […]

Sam is on the job.

Sam is on the job. Originally uploaded by kjda. KJ

The top of Holt’s Ledge

The top of Holt’s Ledge Originally uploaded by kjda. KJ

Putting my skates on…

Rob is out of town for half the week, so it’s pretty much a race with decent SAG stops for me. Get up! Get dressed! Get your coat on ! Get your boots on! Where’s your lunch? Why aren’t your boots on? Let’s go! [interval of school and babysitter and work] get in the car! We’ve got to go get someone else! Got to drop them off! Got to get home! Run! And this is just my inner monologue….

A New Kind of Bad Influence

Lily had a ski lesson today, and while she was on the mountain with her instructor she ran into a friend. Apparently (according to the instructor) she had been beautifully following along until she saw…J. Who was going fast. And making no turns. And generally having a lovely time. And that was the end of nice cooperative Lily. Oh well. I had to get an earful about parents who let their little kids zip down the mountain, in the fall […]

An Easter Tragedy

An Easter Tragedy Originally uploaded by kjda. KJ Dell’Antonia It’s hard to see–look at the next picture below–but Lily’s chocolate Easter bunny was left in a stream of spring sunshine and imploded. It’s face melted clear away. And it’s still only 19 degrees here. Farenheit, in case you had any doubt. Her suggestion was to write the Easter bunny a letter and ask him not to leave it in the sun next year, although the bunny really can’t be blamed, […]

Apparently lily has been taking pictures

Apparently lily has been taking pictures Originally uploaded by kjda. KJ Dell’Antonia (Please attribute any drastic spelling and punctuation errors to my poor thumb-typing and creative autocorrect.)

50 miles!

50 miles! Originally uploaded by kjda. KJ Dell’Antonia (Please attribute any drastic spelling and punctuation errors to my poor thumb-typing and creative autocorrect.)

New bed!

New bed! Originally uploaded by kjda. KJ Dell’Antonia (Please attribute any drastic spelling and punctuation errors to my poor thumb-typing and creative autocorrect.)

Good Morning New Hampshire

Good Morning New Hampshire Originally uploaded by kjda. Downtown… KJ Dell’Antonia

What we really did today…

What we really did today… Originally uploaded by kjda. KJ Dell’Antonia

My First Contribution to NHPR

I’m contributing/blogging for Word of Mouth. A good gig!

Things I saw poop today

Things I saw poop today Originally uploaded by kjda This is a greater yellowlegs, and is actually the least interesting of the things I saw poop today, which also included a sea anemone and a giant octopus. Jealous, aren’t you?

6 people, one room, Day One

It’s a lovely day here for staying in and not going to the Great Wall. Really, we’re all feeling quite festive about it. After that first phone call yesterday, we were quietly encouraged to get the kids down to the pool while Rob met with officials. When they called us back up, they swabbed our throats (just about the only thing that could have made Wyatt less thrilled in general about the Chinese people as a whole was one of […]

Cicadas, lessons, card-playing

We woke up frustrated today. as a group. Last night was hot, hot, hot–it’s cooled off every other night, but not last night. There was tossing, there was turning, and two of the three of us in my room fell out of bed at least once. We woke up itchy and ready to crawl out of our skins, and with no appetite for another huge Guo-men breakfast. The troops were rebelling. And, of course, there was nothing my mom and […]


Regrouping Originally uploaded by kjda The easiest number of children to deal with is always one fewer than what you have. It’s been true every time and it’s true again. Rory had to go get her tb test read, so I had breakfast at the buffet with just these two, which last week I would have considered a chore. But they know what they want to eat. They know to walk to the table. They can be left eating by […]