How It’s Done Blog

Upgrade in Progress

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On Gratitude, the Media, and Michael Jackson

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Three Shots (and

It was Sam’s annual check-up today, an event he’s been preparing for by reading Blue’s Check-up and conducting mock doctor’s appointments for months. He enjoyed himself vastly as they checked his vision and his hearing , weighed him, measured him and produced, as promised, an otoscope and a stethoscope. He was most pleased, and reasonably charming. Until the medical student and doctor exited, and the nurses arrived. They tried to be nice. One, a gregarious, gigantic guy named Kevin, was […]

All Manuscripts MUST…

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The bribe

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“Just one stomach virus away from my goal weight!”

The best things about the past 24 hours: We weren’t, like certain friends of ours, camping out overnight in an unheated cabin. Good news anytime, but if most of the family is going to spend the night hunched over the toilet, it’s definitely a plus that there IS a toilet. I wasn’t pregnant, so I didn’t have to both barf and panic; I could concentrate on the barfing. No one threw up on anything that couldn’t be cleaned with relative […]

Losing the Baby Weight, Secrets of (Don’t Expect Too Much)

I can say, I think, even though we don’t own a scale (well, I think we must, but I don’t know where it is or whether we have batteries for it), that I have finally lost the baby weight. From all three babies. In fact, I’m a pnts size smaller than when I had Sam–which I suspect means nothing more than that pants sizing has changed, because I know what I was like then and what I’m like now, and […]

And an elf.

And an elf. Originally uploaded by kjda. KJ

Now I am Dangerously Cheesy

Now I am Dangerously Cheesy Originally uploaded by kjda. Comic created with Comic Life from plasq –

The cross country ski “polar bears”

The cross country ski "polar bears" Originally uploaded by kjda. KJ Dell’Antonia (Please attribute any drastic spelling and punctuation errors to my poor thumb-typing and creative autocorrect.)

A Spring Song (By Sam)

Spring is here Spring is here The ice is off the river The snow is kind of deep The mud is on the driveway And also on the land And that is spring in New England Spring is different here

A very confused caterpillar

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

Wyatt’s newly short hair

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

Tunnbridge Worlds Fair

Tunnbridge Worlds Fair Originally uploaded by kjda. If only you could see the rain… KJ Dell’Antonia (Please attribute any drastic spelling and punctuation errors to my poor thumb-typing and creative autocorrect.)

Deceptively simple

Deceptively simple Originally uploaded by kjda. Thank you, Martha Stewart. This looked easy… And it wasn’t exactly hard, but I wouldn’t call it easy, either! KJ Dell’Antonia

Snow angels

Snow angels Originally uploaded by kjda. KJ Dell’Antonia

Goin’ Local

I’ve got about 1/2 an hour this morning before I go relieve Rob at TMO (Wyatt’s pre-preschool, where somebody has to be the parent volunteer). He’s #3 to go through it, and we–along with the five other families in the class with #3–finally figured out (or maybe that should be I finally figured out) that if you split the morning it’s actually kind of fun. Anyway, I popped in for my treat of the week: one Lou’s chocolate cruller. It […]

Pre ring bearing

Pre ring bearing Originally uploaded by kjda KJ Dell’Antonia sent from my iPhone

Mob Scene in the Forbidden City

Here’s a phrase you may want to learn if you’re going to bring a lot of small, blonde children to China: Ta-men pu yao. That’s “They don’t want it.” Ta pu yao is “He doesn’t want it.” The smog today was palpable, settling down in the Forbidden City to the point where you felt like you needed to clean your glasses, even though you weren’t wearing any. It was muggy, cloudy and oppressive. While we walked to the Forbidden City […]

Lessons Not Learned

I was hoping we might all learn a little gratitude for much we have and a little understanding of how little we need from this, but my five-year-old is having a tantrum because there is no ice for her coffee.

So. Tired.

The real trouble with the whole quarantine thing is that it sucked a lot of the adventure right out of us. We’re tired. We’ve eaten a lot of things we might not otherwise have eaten. We’ve hung out together. We’ve talked to people. We’ve been stared at. And now we are ready to resume our normally scheduled programming, but we still have a week of travel to go. Rory is adjusting well. She kind of collapsed today and took an […]

How Lucky We Are

How Lucky We Are Originally uploaded by kjda Four kids, so far, is surprisingly not orders of magnitude more difficult than three. (of course, we cheated by not adding a baby). Things I expect to be difficult–like taking two three year olds who are asleep in the car to the grocery store, or taking them all to the pool–so far have underceded my expectations. (Is that a word? It should be.) If the difficult days are yet to come–the teenage […]

Two Months Ago

Two Months Ago Originally uploaded by kjda I sat on this bench, in this museum, with another adoptive parent and her recently at home daughter…and never really thought this would happen. KJ Dell’Antonia sent from my iPhone

Do you Snuggle Post Time-Out?

Ok, so I sent Rory to her room today–probably for a slightly lame reason, but there it is–sometimes I give one or the other the “go to your room” line and then I think, well, that wasn’t really a big deal–but once I’ve said it, there we are. They’re used to it; they march. Rory has marched, but today she didn’t…I had to deliver her. I went up to release her pretty quickly. The point is, unless there’s some dramatic […]

Rory’s first haircut (with us)

Rory’s first haircut (with us) Originally uploaded by kjda And the last time all three littles get their hair cut on the same day. Whew! KJ Dell’Antonia sent from my iPhone

I want you go now, Mommy.

Tonight was the open house at Lily, Wyatt and Rory’s Montessori preschool. Rory was very angry that I refused to leave; this did not comport at all with what she had been told about school, which she clearly has conceived of as a place that she will go and be relieved of my constant supervision and insistence that things be done my way…boy, is she in for a surprise! The teachers have been warned…if they’re not in charge, she will […]

World’s Cutest Card Sharks

World’s Cutest Card Sharks Originally uploaded by kjda KJ Dell’Antonia sent from my iPhone

News Flash: Not Everything is About Rory

Or having four kids instead of three (or two, or one, for that matter). At some point over the weekend I said to myself “Self, you have got to quit this blaming it all on Rory/having four kids business.” I had bad days before we had Rory. I had days when I felt like I would never get out of the house, that the dishes would never be done and the laundry would never be washed (Full disclosure: I have […]

New Hampshire Morning

New Hampshire Morning Originally uploaded by kjda I’m pretty sure she’s saying “WTF?!” KJ Dell’Antonia sent from my iPhone

Because I Love Halloween

Because I Love Halloween Originally uploaded by kjda And because I love Sam. KJ Dell’Antonia sent from my iPhone

Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder

Rob and I are in North Carolina, a two night trip, the first time we’ve been away from home since adopting Rory. She seems fine–we talked to her on the phone, and she’s enjoying the time with her beloved babysitter (who’s been known to be much nicer than her beloved mommy). It was the first time we’d talked on the phone, and she was very pleased–this mommy? this our mommy? It’s mommy! It’s good to be here. I have nothing […]

Jingle Bells Rules

It is now time, approximately seven minutes into the holiday season, to establish a set of rules regarding the song “Jingle Bells,” which shall be as follows: No version of “Jingle Bells” involving either Batman or sledding accidents shall be sung in my presence at any time. No one shall attempt to work out devious ways to get around rule one. The singing of songs involving “Catman” or replacing the names of Batman and Robin with those of your siblings […]

Among other things, I need a new agent

Yesterday was a day so filled with blogging fodder that I decided to clean out the tupperware drawers instead of sitting down to the keyboard. Actually, I decided to go to bed, but I had to pack lunches first, and I was hating it, and I thought about what it was that I hated about packing lunches so much, and one thing was that I can never find lids to the adorable lunch tupperware. (Because we cannot use baggies anymore, […]

One Sparkly Day

One Sparkly Day Originally uploaded by kjda You probably can’t tell, but Rory is wearing both a full snowsuit AND a ski jacket. I do not think she was cold.

Off to Dallas

Off to Dallas Originally uploaded by kjda KJ Dell’Antonia sent from my iPhone

Dear Lily,

You must stay in bed. You have been up six times since I put you to bed 20 minutes ago, and you must stay in bed.  Your daddy is out of town. For the third–no, fourth–night this week. And every single night this week, without exception, a dog, a child, or 100 mile an hour winds, or all of the above, has woken me up more than once. And on two days this week, a school has woken me up […]

Us on AOL’s Kitchen Daily

I think everyone will get a small giggle out of my quarantine story for AOL’s Kitchen Daily. Especially you, mom! Ah, those were the days.

Explaining “I Did Not Love My Adopted Child” to My Very Real, Very Loved Daughter

In the the wake of the Torry Hanson case, I wrote a piece for Slate Magazine (where I’m a regular contributor to the DoubleX section) that my editors there titled “I Did Not Love My Adopted Child,” or, if you came to it from the first page, “I Didn’t Love My Foreign Adopted Kid at First, Either.” I liked the second title better–and actually proposed changing the first; I wanted to call it “Adoption Sucks–But that’s No Reason Not to Do It.” […]

Guess What Day It Is?

Guess What Day It Is? Originally uploaded by kjda KJ Dell’Antonia sent from my iPhone

Wyatt needed one too.

Wyatt needed one too. Originally uploaded by kjda KJ Dell’Antonia sent from my iPhone

When to Nix the 5-Second Rule (and When You’re Good to Chew)

Do I even have to define the 5-second rule for you? Of course not. It’s long since passed from winking mom commentary into the national vernacular. In fact, it’s moved from folk lore to science: there are actually multiple studies on when the “rule,” beloved of parents whose kids have dropped their only teething biscuit to the sidewalk, applies. So, does the 5-second rule stand up to science? Sometimes. Read more on Babble. There’s no great back story to this […]

Thank God for Wine

Rory is standing in the garage screaming. Right now, live action, I am live-blogging the screaming. How cool am I? She is welcome to come in at any time. The doors are open. We can all hear the sobbing, stomping and beating on the wall (next to the open door). Rory is in the garage screaming because she broke a known rule, one that everyone is careful about, one that she herself has been careful about many times. She sat […]

First we drilled

First we drilled Originally uploaded by kjda Well, first we went and bought a couple of things, like hinges, at our friend Seth’s hardware store. But this is why I am more fun than Daddy. I let sam do all the drilling.

Caterpillar Poop

Caterpillar Poop Originally uploaded by kjda It’s not a new cuss phrase. It’s what we do around here in playdates. These are our caterpillars. We found them last Friday. They were all the size of that tiny one. We put them in jars, because that is what you do here in late fall; if no one in your family is not in some way involved with the life cycle of the Monarch, then you are not having a full Upper […]

Less lush butterfly quarters

Less lush butterfly quarters Originally uploaded by kjda It was a thing sheets came in. The one that hatched is the cocoon we had given up on, it fell-the monarch looks pretty stunted. Then the one rolled up in the leaf is about to hatch. I think the third one has a few days to go. Sam wants to take them to school. He says they will tag them. I have no idea how. KJ Dell’Antonia sent from my iPhone […]


Circumstances tonight were grim. Rob was unexpectedly called out of town. He’ll be gone all week. My one and only volunteering effort had a major requirement tonight. I’m still sick. Halloween, with its accompanying glories, is but a week away, and there remains a huge party to be planned and costumes to be created… Last minute help arrived in the form of one of my best friend’s daughters, tenth grade and prime for babysitting, and, because it was us (and […]

Dressing the Part

Dressing the Part Originally uploaded by kjda Some of us like to dress for the season while we decorate our snowy gingerbread house. Then we go sled on the faintly frozen grass. Like it’s not going to be cold enough soon already! KJ Dell’Antonia sent from my iPhone


Game-Changing Originally uploaded by kjda Hit the popular local diner this am. There were actually tables, but the kids wanted to sit at the counter. (the line formed quickly after we sat down–we were up early.) Me, all four. Counter. This is something that would not have been possible few months ago. And it went fine.

What to Do When You Don’t Know What To Do

This afternoon Sam had a hockey game. The three littler ones declared a preference for staying home, which seemed reasonable. They’ve watched a lot of hockey this year. For once, I could stay home. I run the clock for home games, but this was “away” even though it was our home rink. At the last possible minute Wyatt shouted “No, wait, I want to go too!” and raced out the door. Rory barely had time to contemplate his departure….and he […]