Where Did I Go Wrong Today?

Was it agreeing to move the piano lesson from 8 am (painful) to noon, interrupting my work time and necessitating that Lily and Sam, instead of being with the sitter until 1:30 and the scheduled birthday party (which I wanted to attend) had to be picked up and transported various places starting at 11:30? Was it in deciding to go to the party at all (I really wanted to, but in glorious retrospect, today probably should have been a work […]

Do Working Moms Really Still Need to Justify Themselves?

At the NYT’s Motherlode blog, Lisa Belkin is reporting a follow up to a study that came out several years ago reporting that the children of working mothers were “cognitively delayed” compared to those of stay-at-home moms. Five years on, those same researchers followed those same kids and found those slight delays in some areas were outweighed by benefits in others, meaning that “the overall effect of first-year maternal employment on child development is neutral.” (No word on whether the […]


We have hit our stride. Rory has been home for almost 14 months, and it’s time to call it good. And oh, it is such a relief. The past year been like hitting my head against a wall, in that it’s so much better now that it’s stopped. I’ve never, ever been so glad that a year was over, and I would repeat sixth grade before I’d live through the first six months again. Of course, we had our beautiful […]

Tour de Taste

Tour de Taste Originally uploaded by kjda Better pic! KJ Dell’Antonia sent from my iPhone —

One is better than two

One is better than two Originally uploaded by kjda The cookie in front is an orange kiss. The one Rory is eating is chocolate chip. The choice was two small kisses or one big chocolate chip. Wyatt loves the kisses. In fact, they are why we are here. Rory chose two kisses over one chocolate chip. She didn’t like the kisses. I knew she wouldn’t, but it wasn’t worth arguing. Lily does, so I saved them for her and went […]

Clean Up Payoff

The playmobil and the puzzles are back. One can take things off the shelves in the playroom and return them. There is some suggestion that there might be a place for everything and that everything might go into its place. And I am frozen. Inertia, whatnot, and I haven’t cleaned a thing today. Blech.

Gingerbread, Advent Calendars and Delayed Gratification

If you’ve read one single word of this blog before, you know that Rory loves candy. Rory loves candy. Have I mentioned that Rory loves candy? For her birthday this year, we gave up on having one coherent theme and just had, well, candy. And yes, we made a gingerbread house. Still are, really. Sam and I have planned a Kit Kat fence to finish it off. So it sits, covered in candy, on the dining room table, next to […]

How Old Are You Now?

When we set out to adopt, we initially thought of a baby. Not an infant–our thought was that there were many, many parents out there who wanted, even needed a baby. A baby, we figured, didn’t need us. Plus, we’d had babies: three of them. We didn’t need the neediness, the sleepless nights, the crying, the helplessness. Didn’t want it. Anyone who’s already been through this is already laughing We thought we would adopt an older baby , a toddler […]

Pure joy.

Pure joy. Originally uploaded by kjda KJ Dell’Antonia

Sorry, Mommy.

There was this snack. If you get in the car, i said, to go pick up Sam and Lily (and then drive Lily half an hour to her dance class and then come fifteen minutes back to pick up the cookies for Sam’s Japan benefit tomorrow and then go back to pick up Lily and then drive half an hour home … sigh …) then you can have a snack. But what is it? Rory demanded. I’m not telling you. […]

Spring “Break”

I know, I mentioned it in passing yesterday…but it is Spring Break, and we have gone to Disneyworld, had our fantastic time, and returned home…and I am tired. Everyone needs something from me, and I am not finding as much in me as there usually is. We are keeping it very quiet here at home, very little major activity, none of the usual cooking and baking and certainly none of the cleaning (that I HAVE TO get to tomorrow), but […]

Iced Coffee: The Life-Giving Specialty of the House

I love iced coffee. I am so not a coffee person otherwise, in that I really can’t distinguish good coffee from bad (although a really great cup might catch my attention), don’t care how it’s brewed, won’t notice if you stew it for a while and really, really can’t tell where you got your beans or how and when they were ground. When it comes to hot coffee, I’m a philistine, and I drink it with plenty of milk and […]

Who, Exactly, Makes Me Mad?

It should have been a perfect afternoon. Rainy first day out of school, end of last week, but some brilliant parent has scheduled a birthday party, not outside (as suckers like me invariably do for June birthdays) but indoors, at the aquatic center. I figure I am guaranteed happy children, because generally the aquatic center is the biggest of treats for them, and we’ve reached the point where I don’t even have to get in the pool. I’m toting my […]

The Gift of the Matchy Match

The Gift of the Matchy Match Originally uploaded by kjda All the matching stuff is corny. I never thought I’d do it. But they LOVE to match. Even Sam. They all, intentionally, chose the coolest matching shirts they could find on our last trip. They dig through drawers to match. I never ask it any more, except at, say, Disneyworld. It’s all down to them. But it has an unexpected benefit. Matching shirts mean no one ever says "THAT’s your […]

The Kid Who Gets It Wrong

If you don’t try, you don’t get it wrong. If you don’t try to answer the phone, you will never accidentally hang up on your daddy. I felt like I got things wrong today, too. Tactless in a couple of instances, inattentive in others. Not present. Bothered by the echoes of flooding and loss that are all over, here (we’re right on the Connecticut river and unscathed but surrounded). And bothered, as I think I always am, by a beautiful, […]

Happy Birthday Rory!

Rory’s birthday was Friday, actually. (I think I begin to see why that word showed up in my wordle.) And it was also a little bit Saturday, when we skyped with Grandma Jo and opened HER presents, and then it will be a little bit Monday, when we take treats to class because you cannot take treats to class on muffin day, seriously, people, what are you thinking? It’s muffin day. And then even more NEXT Saturday, which is her […]


Dinner Originally uploaded by kjda Let it never be said that Rory’s KFC meal did not include vegetables.

Surprise! The Kitten Would be a SURPRISE!

I always forget I know some of you IRL. So–it’s a Christmas surprise. More anon.

Helping the Dentist Out

Helping the Dentist Out Originally uploaded by kjda KJ Dell’Antonia sent from my iPhone —

The Perils of Hangman With 7-Year-Olds

The Perils of Hangman With 7-Year-Olds Originally uploaded by kjda

Why We Should Schedule an Empty Schedule

Just because the day looks empty certainly doesn’t mean it will be.

Here’s What’s Wrong with the Anti-Helicopter Parent’s Backyard (Hint: He’s Still Hovering)

The parent who created the Playborhood may not be helicoptering, but he’s hovering just the same. Only instead of saying “be careful,” he’s saying “jump.”

The Get Your Butt in the Chair Manifesto: It’s Up to You Whether You Write Today.

I read the Get Your Butt in the Chair Manifesto, below, today on the #AmWriting podcast I do with Jessica Lahey, after a day of cursing out every interruption even as I accepted and, shall we say, enabled them (especially those “interruptions” called Messages, Twitter and Facebook). (You’ll find it in Episode 32.)   I know it’s December. I know things are tough. I know that, quite literally, EVERY SINGLE PERSON I have interviewed this week has at least one […]

Want a happier end to summer? Try this: Sometimes, if you see something, don’t say something.

  Last week, we took out annual summer family vacation: a trip to Cape Cod, where we stay in the same place and do the same things, every year, which still manages to always be just different enough. As we often do, we took a fishing trip. We saw whales. We dropped lines and jigged for mackerel to use as bait. We zoomed at top speed to a place where the striped bass might or might not be—and for the most […]

The Blessing of an Ordinary Week

Soak up the joy of ordinary days, and you build up a reservoir of peace and contentment that keeps you strong when the storms come.

Cheap Amusements, Part 1

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I Get to Go to a PARTY! (Two!)

When we were in NYC, we went out. All the time. Even after Sam was born, we went out after bedtime, we went out with a babysitter, we took him along. He’s slept under more bars than my friend the Hip Big Spender, back in his drinking days. Now, we stay in. Some would blame this on the arrival of baby Lily and the growing up of Sam, but I think not. He was sleeping in his stroller in a […]

I Have to GOOOOO!

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The House that Got Away

Oh, well. Someone willing to pay more for it than we were bought the house we wanted. I’m dejected and disappointed, but we bid the right amount…you know, it probably feels worse to overpay than to not get the house. I’m partly just disappointed because I was revved up for it to HAPPEN. And I hate it when I want something and don’t get it. I’m not good at that at all. I know, a better house will come rolling […]

Lily lets me READ!

I wrote a book about reading to babies–and it’s been months since Lily has really let me read to her. She brings books, yes–but after a page she’s off for another book. She’d rather “read” to herself–and she does, she sits and talks and turns the pages–but like everything else, she just doesn’t want anyone to do it for her. But tonight, ar long last, she let me read. I happened to grab a handful of board books she hadn’t […]

Why We Call Lily Wednesday Now

Music class this week–our last class, my last one ever unless my better nature takes over on Wyatt’s behalf. Of course both kids were flawless, adorable, Lily dancing with her friend and Wyatt showing off his new clapping abilities. I realized, as I never had before, that the real reason to go to these things is to show off how cute and smart your kids are. I should perhaps say that the reason I’ve never spotted that before is that […]

Big Day for Wy

Big Day for Wy Originally uploaded by kjda. Facing forward in a new seat!

New sandbox!

New sandbox! Originally uploaded by kjda. KJ

It’s a little hard to tell, bit the shade of

It’s a little hard to tell, bit the shade of Originally uploaded by kjda. KJ

Happy New Year!

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

Are We There Yet?

Wyatt asked me that 27 times on the way home from dinner tonight, and that’s just after I started COUNTING. And he’s still not two. We are really in for it. More rain, sleet…just when I was thinking we’re close to spring, it won’t be that cold and there’s all this amazing snow. Planning skiing, cross country, finally figuring out a way to put a top on that igloo… Everyone talks about the weather but no one does anything about […]

Off to NYC, Masquerading as DINKS

That would be double income, no kids. A double masquerade, since my income wouldn’t really qualify by New York standards. But part of the goal of the trip is to change hat–I have multiple meetings with editors happening, including a few I’m really excited about. Wondertime,in particular, is my new goal. THey’ve been edging towards edgy for a long time now. I love the way they let the writers’ voices shine through (not that I’ve felt stifled anywhere else, but […]


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

Wyatt at the pool

Wyatt at the pool Originally uploaded by kjda. KJ Dell’Antonia (Please attribute any drastic spelling and punctuation errors to my poor thumb-typing and creative autocorrect.)

Old Friends and Facebook

I was a little bit venting and a little bit just trying to share a little more about my day when I wrote last night than I feel like I usually do. I kind of almost forgot that epistolary conversation is a two-way street! I didn’t get a response from Mom. Lily and I took a walk together today, during Sam’s soccer practice. I think she just needs a regular reminder that Sam’s needs don’t trump hers. Wyatt gets it […]

Wyatt skis

Wyatt skis Originally uploaded by kjda. KJ Dell’Antonia

Where’s the www?

I just figured out why so many people couldn’t get to my blog recently–I reconfigured it so that the address is rather than I didn’t realize I was doing it. But I think I will leave it that way. A look around at other people’s sites reveals that the www appears to be out of date. Most sites redirect. I’ll have to work on that. Ooh, a project! Just what I need.

Wanna Know What I Think about Swine Flu?

You’ll have to head over to Word of Mouth at to hear me still being funny about it! Today I’m feeling less clever, since rumors are spreading that China will close down adoption activity until things sort themselves out one way or another. Rory’s in good hands, though, and if things get worse–well, they get worse. And if they don’t, I’m confident it will pick back up quickly. I’m sticking to my vague June travel plans until forced to […]

Big ‘Ole Black Bear (not metaphorical!)

I’m up early and emailing, and a BIG black bear just loped by our dining room window. He was about 20 feet from the house. The dogs went nuts (good dogs!) and he headed for the woods. Guess it’s time for the annual bear safety lecture!

Where are we now?

Where are we now? Originally uploaded by kjda The guo men hotel. If we walk to the end of the fence and stand by the guard shack, we can see Rob’s hospital, where he is in a 10×10 pen with a metal cot and a specific daily water allotment (for showering, not drinking, it isn’t that bad). It’s a dump. More later. KJ Dell’Antonia sent from my iPhone

Fwd: Nurse in hazmat suit

Fwd: Nurse in hazmat suit Originally uploaded by kjda All staff on the ward are dressed this way. (at the hospital)

You won’t believe this!

You won’t believe this! Originally uploaded by kjda We are delayed…. Because they are quarantining the plane in Shanghai! At least we aren’t on it. How many ice creams do you think my sleepy wants a nap Rory can eat? We are having a really good day, but Wyatt’s growing pains are showing… KJ Dell’Antonia sent from my iPhone

Dear Kittymama and other new parents…

I’ve been thinking lately about one particular internet friend, known online as kittymama, and I’ve been thinking about her because the child she brings home will be her first. And I want her to know, in advance, one thing: You hate them sometimes no matter what. Babies, biological, adopted, I’m guessin’ any way you bring them into the family, they screw things up. And I mean that in the most loving, actually dealing pretty well way. When you have your […]

Just a Good Day

Today’s activities included a chanterelle hunt, an activity that required a high tolerance for mud, bugs and failure, as we certainly didn’t find enough for dinner. The kids petered out early when one required the bathroom, but the dog and I soldiered on, finding…zilch. Our only stroke of luck came early, and each child was able to pick one mushroom. Dinner, though, was mushroom free–it just didn’t seem worth the bother, although in retrospect I could have served the one […]


This may be an exaggeration. It may be wishful thinking. It may be putting too much weight on one good day… But I think we’ve crossed some kind of line. Yesterday was a pretty good day. The parts that weren’t good were mostly in…my head. Today was a totally good day, and I’m looking at Rory with fresh–and more loving–eyes. I’m hearing her differently. Every hug isn’t an attempt to steal my attention away. Her little family recitation–that my Nini, […]