What a Bad Mother Eats for Lunch

What a Bad Mother Eats for Lunch, originally uploaded by kjda. Can you see the telltale Easter Egg dye on the sides? In my defense–my totally excellent babysitter was inspired to dye Easter Eggs with the kids Saturday. On the plus side: Now I don’t have to do it! On the well this is kind of a benefit side: a fridge FULL of hard-boiled eggs. The good kind, the kind that come from a local farm. Three dozen of ’em, […]

Wyatt takes his hair VERY seriously

Wyatt takes his hair VERY seriously Originally uploaded by kjda KJ Dell’Antonia sent from my iPhone

Paper Dolls in Action

RIght now Rory, Lily, Wyatt and Sam are jumping off the Great Wall on their way to tennis lessons. Or something. It’s a little unclear… No, Rory didn’t make a surprise appearance. She’s represented by a cardboard paper doll wearing magnetic clothing and played by Lily’s friend Kate. We’ve gone through a lot of ramifications with China travel lately. Wyatt took a bad fall off a swing and came up sobbing “I don’t want to go to China, I want […]

Fwd: Lunch at hospital

Fwd: Lunch at hospital Originally uploaded by kjda

A Quarantine Gallery

We did, indeed, get out of quarantine today. Fancy certificates, flowers and everything. TIme has nearly healed the wounds already (that and a couple of really, really good meals). Looking these over, it’s clear that once we were out of the hospital and that first awful couple of rooms, China did well by us. Considering. And the people we talked to in Q seemed to feel that the government was “doing the responsible thing” and that cooperating was a civic […]

The Power of a (semi) Good night’s Sleep

Was Friday a low? I don’t know. We’ll have to get a lot further along in life to see where the lows are…But Friday was not a good day. Today, on the other hand, was and is. Everyone got a mostly good night’s sleep, although not necessarily in their own beds. We rode the 20 mile route in the Prouty (the shortest, and not what we’d planned to do, but we haven’t been on our bikes in a month!) Rory […]

A Morning Post (Upward Swing!)

I tend to feel so different in the morning that I think maybe I ought to look into lithium. Or possibly electric shock therapy. Today’s plan is to let Wyatt and Rory duke it out. I have tried punishing him every time he touches her, and it doesn’t work–and the truth is, most of the time, he’s not actually doing anything he doesn’t do to Lily 62 times a day. It’s jsut that Rory has this deeply, deeply annoying screechy […]

At the pond

At the pond Originally uploaded by kjda I forgot my swimsuit and Sam isn’t in yet, so inevitably someone is going to go out to far and get scared…can I use a rake to haul them in, or is that too heartless? Our friends, the owners of the pond, are also the possessors of an enormous water trampoline that Sam and Joey are pouting because I will not get out…it just seems too difficult and painful, and once it’s out, […]

A “Camp” Milestone

Tonight we sent all four kids to the kids’ dinner at the hotel where we’re staying on Cape Cod. All together, all in their matching striped shirts. Lily and Sam went when we were here once before, so they were into it–Lily especially–and that brought Wyatt along, and Rory just know of got swept up. I’m honestly not a hundred percent sure that she understood that Rob and I wouldn’t go too. But she went. We sat on the veranda […]

Help another Adoptive Family

Send a letter, help a family: Friends over at Guo Ji Famiglia have been working to bring their little girl home from Guatemala for over three years now (yes, you read that right). She’s legally theirs, and in every way–they’ve been taking care of her from afar for years. Guatemala has been all over the case, and the biological mother has come to court to say, in person, that yes–she wants her daughter to be adopted by this family. A […]

Double X, again

I posted about an acquaintance whose life changed on 9/11. . I’ve never written about it before–it’s her story–but today it finally came out right.

Happy Birthday Rory!

Happy Birthday Rory! Originally uploaded by kjda Rory is four! (Well, in a few hours, anyway, and as best as we know, so there you are.) If you’re thinking “That’s a pretty lame cake for a 4-year-old, KJ,” well, you’re right. It’s also pretty tiny. But just outside the picture are the two plus dozen mini cupcakes she’s taking to school, and the extra cupcakes for breakfast, and still more to share with her babysitter and friends, it looks a […]

Paging Dr. Freud

Yesterday was a rough bonding day, in which I sank into something of a depression, convinced that I was ignoring all kids because I didn’t want to interact with Rory because I was so TIRED (in retrospect, it would have been quite accurate to say I did not want to interact with any kids because I was tired, and poor Rory had nothing to do with it). Anyway, I slumped on my couch, contemplating the impossibility of therapy in a […]

Spreading the Wealth

Periodically, I vow to just tell them what I want them to do, rather than yelling at them for what I DON’T. In the interest of not complaining–or at least not complaining without making an attempt to change things–today I instituted a couple of improvements. Every day I come in with a big pile of things from the car–hats and mittens (so sad, already) and lunch boxes and bits of trash and sundry. Today I took along a single bag […]

Lots of Excellent Reasons for a Happy Blog

You’re all absolutely right. There are many reasons for a rosy blog– picture. One, which no one mentioned but I’ve thought of often, is that sometimes complaining lets a negative attitude fester and breathe, and no one–least of all me–needs that. As for the comments from the peanut gallery–and by that, I mean friends and family, not real commenters–oh, I do get that. I have had to remind a couple of people that the first rule of reading the blog […]

Sudden Harmony

It just suddenly occurred to me in a blinding flash of clarity  that there is absolutely no reason at all for us to own a harmonica. None. So now we don’t.


Ski-Ding Originally uploaded by kjda Who would have ever thought I could take all three littles ice skating (indoors) and then Nordic sanity and then retain enough sanity to blog about it–no, wait, to have actually enjoyed it?To have had a blast, even. I have dreaded, dreaded this winter. The thought of all the boots and mittens and hats and this and that and the other…oof. And who knew how Rory would take it? I do not and never have […]

Winter’s Tales

Winter has started, in ernest, with the onset of our local ski programs. Other places have recreational t-ball, I know, and maybe year-round soccer…we have skiing. Volunteer, parent-run (which up here often means former Olympian parent-run) nordic and alpine skiing, and who wouldn’t want that? So Sam has two days a week of nordic and one of alpine (and that makes us a non-downhill family, by local standards, the kids in the racing program do 4-5 days a week at […]

Trails are in great shape

Trails are in great shape Originally uploaded by kjda More later, but looks great for kids. Lily says let’s do another lap. KJ Dell’Antonia sent from my iPhone

A Day with the GuoJis

We spend an awesome day with the GuoJi famiglia–or at least three of them. Moms bonded over, well, bonding difficulties. Kids bonded over dolls and snow. We actually made dumplings–the first time I’ve done anything yet to “Celebrate Rory’s heritage” because, well, for a while there I think I had Post-traumatic quarantine syndrome. I did not want to even think about China, and that extended to Chinese New Year–but somehow, today, I at least got in a first batch of […]

Love, that Thing That We Talk About

It’s been a long time since I visited the “do you love her yet” question. I’ve loved very few people on sight. Most of my friends turned out to be better after you got to know them some (which, in some cases, means I didn’t like them at all until later, when I did). I didn’t fall in love with Rob when we first met. In fact, it wasn’t until about 2 years later that I looked at him, strewn […]

Talk of the Nation

I am sorry, I cannot bear to post the link to CNN. But it’s on DoubleX if you feel you must. What’s really exciting is that tomorrow I get to be a guest on Talk of the Nation on NPR. It’s one of my fave shows, and I know they just want to let me be a starting point for talking about adoption experiences. I will be on at 3:40.

Control, that thing we all want

Here is a partial list of things I am letting go of: Keeping Rory awake in the car. Any opinion about what clothes are worn outside the house. The sporting of snow boots in all seasons. The amount of cereal poured into a bowl. The amount of milk poured onto the cereal. The size, shape and intended function of the spoon with which the cereal is eaten. The consumption of fruit at breakfast. The requirement that a san dwich form […]


Parrot! Originally uploaded by kjda The Heard museum outside Dallas has, among other cool things, a parrot that says "Hello!" I think, that from Rory’s point of view, it was as if a dog greeted her. KJ Dell’Antonia sent from my iPhone

The One Thing You Can Control About Your Kid

Anyone who writes about parenting knows that baby names are a click-thru gold mine. Parents—and soon-to-be-parents and maybe-parents and wannabe-parents and maybe even nonparents—are endlessly fascinated with the subject of what we can, might and do name our kids. The Huffington Post offered a sneak peak at possible top girl names and boy names of 2010. The ratings aren’t based on what kids are actually named (for that, we have to wait for the annual report from the Social Security […]

How to Argue, Fight, Bicker and Nag

Ok, so no one really needs a how-to manual on any of those activities. But the WSJ’s Bonds columnist, Elizabeth Bernstein, says that fighting can actually be good for your relationship. If you do it right. Couples who argue well are happier. Couples who roll their eyes, criticize each other’s opinions or regularly stalk out of the room in fury? Well, they’re more likely to split, before or after they get married. On the other hand, couples who don’t argue […]

When You Have a Day for a Trip, and No Day Trip

One notable thing about blogging is that people frequently send you things to try out, review, or just read and possibly relay to interested readers. We don’t do much of that at Strollerderby. We’re more scoop than stuff. But then again, it’s not often that someone sends you a link to a website that does exactly what you’d always wished there was a website to do, and tosses in an iPhone app for good measure. A Day’s Outing is the […]

Wiggled world

Wiggled world Originally uploaded by kjda KJ Dell’Antonia sent from my iPhone —

If you’re in New Hampshire, you should vote today

One of the contenders in the Republican primary may well be our next Senator, and I’m willing to bet you care which .


I can’t tell you how many, many, many times I have told Rory not to write on anything with markers other than paper. Not furniture. Not the car. Not her face. Not her brother. Not Sam’s toys. Not her own toys, although I’m a little more tolerant of that. NOT ANYTHING. I have even hauled her around the house pointing at things. Don’t write on the. Don’t write on that. Is this something you write on? No. There has been […]

Not What I Should Be Doing

I am frittering. Oh, and doing laundry, sure, but frittering just the same. I fritter away a mean day, I do. I have Actually done the tutorial for a new piece of software I’m trying out (Scrivener). Found a rawhide for the dog. Done the email thing. More email. Did I mention laundry? I don’t know. I’ve been “working” for five hours, though. 5 hours and 25 minutes, actually. That’s embarrassing. I mean, even with the laundry. Seriously? Frittered away […]

Ski Day

Ski Day Originally uploaded by kjda Enough cannot be said about how out of the woods we are with adoption and toddler-hood, etc. Wyatt is the youngest, at four, and he can: put his own ski gear on, get up when he falls, ride the jbar, get on a slowed down chair lift, and carry his boots and skis, thanks to the magnificent thing that is the boot/helmet backpack. Now, if you don’t ski, this all sounds just crazy. But […]

Sunday Snapshot

I’m new to the Sunday snapshot game. photo.JPG Originally uploaded by kjda KJ Dell’Antonia sent from my iPhone But I thought anyone who’s been following along might wonder what ever happened to our BIG gingerbread mansion. After weeks and weeks of “we we gon’ eat that? When? I wan’ eat that candy but I CAN’T!” eventually, they could. I wouldn’t have, but they did. Although not, I think, nearly as much as they thought they would.

I Don’t Even Want to Control You. Do I?

I’ve been storing up examples of Rory’s need for control, in part to prove to myself that I’m not imagining things, and to gain, of course, additional verification that she is trying to drive me crazy: In a restaurant, I ordered her chicken fingers, and she pitched a fit. “I not want you do that! What they got?” Um, chicken fried steak, meatloaf, smoked chicken and chicken fingers. That’s it. That’s the kind of restaurant it is (and one, I […]

The Family Meeting

The family meeting is a big part of Parenting on Track, and as it happens, it’s a part I really love. But oh, it’s hard to schedule. The idea is to meet once a week, at a regular time, for the following: family “appreciations,” the choosing/handing out of jobs (which ought to be called contributions, but we don’t), problems (which we don’t really do yet, I’m waiting to get really regular with the meeting) and allowance. I think tonight was […]

What, Oh What Was I Thinking?

You cannot do everything, right? I THOUGHT I was keeping that in mind this spring. I swear that I said no to lots of things. No baseball or tball. No gymnastics. No dance. No starting the violin. No art. No basket weaving, or underwater polo, or baking classes, or pottery, or…well, no baseball, anyway. That’s a classic spring sport! And we are not doing it! So it should all be good and work out for me, because I did say […]

I Just Wanted to Give You a Crocodile

I’m not sure what inspired this. Lily loves to create art, and I think she may long for more of an audience for her work. And I’m not sure what teacher could resist it.

The Martyr Effect

A post from France… Ok, I’m making a vow I probably won’t keep in honor of our vacation in France, generally considered a relatively hedonistic country and one where people, and especially women, know how to put themselves first. Have you ever read an old school French feminist on the subject of attachment parenting? It’s, um, refreshing. My vow: I’m going to stop martyring myself in the name of everyone else’s fun. What do I mean? Well, how about yesterday’s […]

Gone Islandin’

We are off–we, as in me and four kids, to one Star Island, a rocky crag off the coast of New Hampshire (New Hampshire’s only island!). I’ll be attending a writer’s conference, while the kids go to a half-day camp. It’s the kind of thing that will either go fantastically, or … not. And it’s the kind of place where there’s very limited mobile phone access. Rugged, back-to-nature sort of stuff. I only hope we have a plug in our […]

Lily’s Project

Lily loves a project. I suppose there are a couple ways in which being so much like me won’t work totally to her disadvantage (although I still think she inherited all of my very worst characteristics), and maybe this is one of them. She had an idea about marshmallow popsicles. Her vision was, I think, that we would melt marshmallow and reshape it into, well, different shapes. I’m not sure how she planned to hold the shapes together, but somehow […]

Good Girls, Sinuses and Antibiotics

This always happens. I go to the doctor, knowing, as I did today, that I have a sinus infection. This one is a whopper, a horrible, painful, miserable, ear-popper. Moving my head is agony. Blowing my nose, worse, and of course I only have to blow my nose oh, every forty-seven seconds. Plus, you really don’t want to have a sinus infection if you’re going to change altitude by 600 feet or so a couple times a day, and here, […]


Halloween Originally uploaded by kjda The hogwarts crew (that is Sirius Black looking nobly off into the distance), Crookshanks (can we have some suspension of disbelief here? I know it looks like a stripper costume) and one Shy Guy. I don’t usually put pics of the kids’ friends on the blog, but somehow I think we’re cool. KJ Dell’Antonia sent from my iPhone —

Dentist! No Dentist! Dentist!

On friday I looked at my iCal and realized–dang, someone has a dentist appointment on Monday! Because I brilliantly failed to categorize it, though, I couldn’t tell who. “It’s all of them,” my husband said. “We got cards in the mail last week.” I thought that seemed funny. I thought it was a little soon, but I didn’t think about it very hard. And then last night, I looked again, and the dentist appointment was at nine. Which couldn’t be […]

Party Clothes New Hampshire Style

Party Clothes New Hampshire Style Originally uploaded by kjda We are invited to a fantastic progressive party tonight. A full meal cooked by some of the best cooks in town. They call it "Howl at the Moon."

“Happier at Home:” Gretchen’s Project, KJ’s Clutter

Getting “happier” about my possessions means more than just clearing clutter—but I’m going to have to clear the clutter first.

Hey, School, Can’t We Just Start Slow?

For some kids, activities that start to early in a new school year are activities they’ll never be ready to join.

Let the Darkness In

The weather has been so glorious. I’ve been on an epic high of good cheer and outdoor adventure. I kind of need it to stop.

The Workout I Actually DO

I don’t even have to make a resolution around exercising this year, because—after years of trying things and failing, I’ve actually found a workout I can do, I will do, and I don’t really mind doing.

August Book Recommendations, Part Two

I’m looking for stories of families who added more unstructured time to their summer this year. If that’s you, I’d love to hear from you. Reply email to this missive will indeed reach me. It’s been a good week for reading. Here’s why: The Outrun, Amy Liptrot A memoir of addiction, to alcohol be even more to the speed of city life, this is the story of Liptrot’s return to the Orkney Islands and a year spent largely in her […]

Feds to Overweight America: Drop Dead.

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