How It’s Done Blog

Back to New York

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Just a Few More Steps, and

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The Full-serve Dilemna

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These Things Do Not Happen to Good Housekeepers

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The cut

The cut, originally uploaded by kjda.


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More Fish Tales (Spoiler alert: the fish dies. Again.)

Remember Kissy, ?-February 13, 2007 She (well, whatever) was Lily’s special fish, the only one she had picked out and, with encouragement from Sam, named. When she died (again, whatever), we went the honesty death route. She died, I told Lily. Why? She was sick–very very sick, fish sick. Why? I don’t know. Where is she? She couldn’t swim anymore, and she couldn’t breathe, and she died. Why? I don’t know, but she’s gone. The next day, Lily said sadly […]

We’re having a party Saturday

We’re having a party Saturday Originally uploaded by kjda. KJ

Country living with raspberries

Country living with raspberries Originally uploaded by kjda. KJ


Haircuts! Originally uploaded by kjda. KJ

Breakfast at lou’s

Breakfast at lou’s Originally uploaded by kjda. This was our reward for a morning of shoveling snow. School was delayed…but they were late anyway!

An easter tragedy

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

Lily Dresses Wyatt and Takes Him Out

Lily Dresses Wyatt and Takes Him Out Originally uploaded by kjda. KJ Dell’Antonia (Please attribute any drastic spelling and punctuation errors to my poor thumb-typing and creative autocorrect.)

Perfect haircuts

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

Wyatt found a Sharpie.

Wyatt found a Sharpie. 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. At our house. KJ Dell’Antonia

Lest you think we did not use the batman mask…

Lest you think we did not use the batman mask… Originally uploaded by kjda. KJ Dell’Antonia


Ok, nobody but another China adopting parent will know what that means. Suffice it to say it’s big news. It means our paperwork has been through the mill. There are no questions, there are no issues, and now we are just waiting for our permission to travel–which is a pretty standard and predictable process. This was fast. This is good. (This is real!)

Best. Shoes. Ever.

Best. Shoes. Ever. Originally uploaded by kjda Dear Donald Pliner Thank you so much for the lovely comfy shoes. I walked. I danced. I did the horah carrying Wyatt. I picked up Lily and danced some more. And not one time all evening did my feet hurt at all. You rock, Donald Pliner. KJ Dell’Antonia sent from my iPhone

Welcome to Quarantine, post one

It all started with a phone call. Just a little phone call. A situation had arisen that the authorities needed to discuss with us. It ends with us as the Hyatt’s most loyal customers ever. To make a long story short, mostly because tomorrow I’ll have acres of time to tell you more than you want to know about it, we’re quarantined in China. The people seated behind us on the plane have the flu. As in, really have it, […]

No Gmail Here

Just fyi, Google’s off completely here tonight. So no gmail. I don’t know why. Dad, in particular, I was about to email you…if it’s still a problem tomorrow I’ll find a way around it. Yahoo’s fine.

A Day in Fuzhou

So we’ve agreed: Fuzhou, not set up for tourists. On the other hand, we are seeing a real China city, and not just one like Beijing that’s sort of set up to show itself off in the same way that Manhattan is–there are clearly tons of Chinese tourists–although once we let the guide start taking us places, we saw Western tourists too. I can tell you that Fuzhou-ers, rightly, do NOT go out between noon and three. I don’t know […]

See What I Mean?

See What I Mean? Originally uploaded by kjda KJ Dell’Antonia sent from my iPhone

Actually playing together.

Actually playing together. Originally uploaded by kjda KJ Dell’Antonia sent from my iPhone

The Pack Swims

The Pack Swims Originally uploaded by kjda Lots of togetherness today at the pool by the fearsome foursome. And if you’re far enough away, you can’t hear the happiness level–but it sure looks good! KJ Dell’Antonia sent from my iPhone

Taking Beauty Very Seriously

Taking Beauty Very Seriously Originally uploaded by kjda KJ Dell’Antonia sent from my iPhone

The Right Choice for the (formerly, kinda) Tardy Mom

I have a piece in Parenting this month copping to my perennially tardy nature and the struggles I’ve had overcoming it–and let me say, it’s still a struggle, a big one, I just refuse to believe, for example, that it can take 1/2 an hour to drive to ballet, because that’s just not right. But. So last year, experts were consulted (including my mom), and changes were made, and I undertook to be an on-time person for the first time […]

Interested in Writing for Double X?

We’re looking for submissions about how a major life event has altered your “religiosity”, and I suspect that many adoptive parents have a story to tell on that. Look here for more info, and feel free to tell any writerly friends.

Lest You Doubt Our Small Town

I just had the following conversation with my husband: Me: Heather says Extreme Home Makeover picked a house in Lyme, and Seth’s hardware store is donating a bunch of stuff, so he’ll be on the show. They’re really excited. Rob:Yeah, everybody was talking about this in the barber shop today. And then they played the theme from the Andy Griffith show, and my wacky neighbor popped in to borrow an egg.

Funny in the Mirror

Tonight we dined out, at an elegant establishment offering free kids meals for members of the Dartmouth athletics kids’ fan club. (Imagine a non-chain Olive Garden.) Afterwards, Rory and Lily stood gazing into a full length mirror together, set at a perfect height for them to admire their little faces, and Lily began to laugh. Rory looks funny in the mirror! Why does she? I didn’t see anything, so I shrugged and went back to trying to persuade Rory to […]

Just in case you wonder why I’m not posting (on my fresh and changing website): Here’s what I’m up to tonight: The Third Annual Spooky Trail! I wrote about it for Wondertime last year if you’d like to check it out.

Why a Camel?

Why a Camel? Originally uploaded by kjda Got me. But it did catch my attention, strolling along at Duke in a gorgeous day that smells oh so faintly of whatever it is that makes North Carolina smell different than anywhere else. It’s probably more interesting unexplained. Off to eat BBQ with a pack of Dukies. These are mostly male Dukies, and mostly a decade and more older than us, because Rob forms part of the young blood they are bringing […]

Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar…

I came in from clearing out the garden for winter a few days ago and found Rory–who’d been outside a few minutes before–sobbing at the top of the stairs. Wailing. I ran up–I thought she was hurt–and she took one look at me and ran away, shouting no! No! Well, that’s never happened before. So I followed her. No! No! I don’t want you! This is dreadful. Did she come in and feel like she couldn’t find us? Did something […]

Holiday Update: Return to one-on-one

Holiday Update: Return to one-on-one Originally uploaded by kjda My folks are here, so we have one adult per kid. Very relaxing–except for the 800 piece Lego train that was part of Santa’s contribution. We may be done by New Year’s. KJ Dell’Antonia sent from my iPhone

One Sparkly Day

One Sparkly Day Originally uploaded by kjda

Texas snow is different.

Texas snow is different. Originally uploaded by kjda KJ Dell’Antonia sent from my iPhone

Wiki Processing

Wiki Processing Originally uploaded by kjda KJ Dell’Antonia sent from my iPhone

Ouchie, Ouchie

Rory is mortally wounded several dozen times a day. Rarely do ten minutes go by before the refrain begins: OUCHIE! OUCHIE! I know, I know that this is more of exactly what I blogged about two days ago. I know this is Rory, who just wants as much of me as she can get, and a true wound is an excellent way to get my full attention. But oh, it is getting old. And hard on Wyatt, giver of all […]

Putting in the peas

Putting in the peas Originally uploaded by kjda We’re probably a little late, but we planted peas and facade beans today. Like our fancy teepees? Also on today’s agenda–cheeseburgers, on the charcoal grill (actually, the charcoal smoker, which I also use as a grill, and in part because it’s supposed to rain this week–good for seeds, bad for grilling). Everyone wanted, for some reason, to put on their own cheese. I’m thinking they may have done this at a friends’ […]

Lily’s Birthday Down, Sam’s To Go.

Safari Adventure. No, wait, RAINforest safari adventure. Treasure Hunt. Safari Duck Capture. Dangling Wildberries from the wild berry bush. Monkey cake, safari hats ($1 each, totally awesome birthday craft, thanks Oriental Trading Company), one spinning birthday flower sparkler candle straight from China…an ungodly number of happy kids. 10 guests, one birthday girl, many very welcome siblings and a very good chaos. Really, it went fab. And I don’t even have to do it again until….a week from Saturday.

Tonight’s Project

Tonight’s Project Originally uploaded by kjda Lily got the bed for her birthday. A friend made it. Tonight we made the bedding. Glue gun city! I’ve been wanting to sit down with Lily and do this for weeks, ever since the bed came. I mean, a plain bed with no sheets is no fun. Today I blew off a chunk of work and took her to Kmart for the sheets we used as fabric, and then actually sat down and […]

If You Hate Disney, Well Maybe You Just Hate America

Lisa Ray and her family are boycotting Disney. All of it, from ABC to ESPN to Family Fun magazine to the last tiny little Disney princess sticker in the basket at the doctor’s office. Why? Well, she blames Disney for ousting the Center for a Commercial-Free Childhood from its Harvard-based offices after the CCFC successfully pushed Disney to offer refunds to everyone who’d bought Baby Einstein videos from June 2004-September 2009. But really, she just hates Disney, of course. What […]

Is Four the New Two?

Affluent families are having more children. Some working moms have “six, seven, even 14 kids,” according to Forbes. Movie stars like Angelina Jolie? More children. Reality television stars: having more children. Actually, that’s why they’re reality television stars, but you can see the trend. More children. Bigger families. Four is the new two. Why? In the same Forbes piece, David Hacker of the State University of New York at Binghamton says kids are now ” ‘luxury goods’ which people believe […]

What we did today

What we did today Originally uploaded by kjda See below… KJ Dell’Antonia sent from my iPhone — KJ Dell’Antonia

One Year

One year. Actually, one year and 2 months. I didn’t think a year meant that much, once we hit that year. I’m just not feeling the milestone, I said. This is still hard, it still doesn’t feel worthy of some sort of “this-is-how-we-were-meant-to-be” record. I suspect that maybe isn’t my style, anyway…that this is how we are will always be what’s important to me… But thatsnnot my point. We’ve hit our stride, I feel–as I said a few days ago, […]

I Did the Right Thing

A few posts ago, I talked about how I’d decided not to write a letter to Rory’s new teacher singling her out in any way. I felt confident–and underneath it, I felt certain that said new teacher, and new assistant teacher, would already have a pretty full scoop. After all, our last year had been unusual. And it had ended with what I saw as a pretty negative assessment of Rory from one teacher in particular, who said she couldn’t […]

Or Don’t Delegate…

Of course, tonight I ended up making lunches… I have a neighbor, and fellow blogger ( I LOVE reading blogs of people I actually know) who does “Parenting on Track.” I haven’t read up on it, so I only know about the program through her and others’ stories, but I always want to argue with the absolutes that the systems seem to impose. For example, I’m pretty sure you can never, ever pack your kid’s lunch for him or her. […]

Still a work in Progress

Still a work in Progress Originally uploaded by kjda But looking pretty impressive, and with a characteristic touch from everyone. KJ Dell’Antonia sent from my iPhone

In Which Things At Home Go Very Smoothly

Monday am, and I’ve dropped the bigs off at their school and am delivering the littles to theirs. I’ve forgotten the half boosters, so I’m hauling the full doozies out to leave in the entry for their babysitter, who also teaches at the school. There’s a niggling voice in the back of my head. It’s been there for a couple of days, actually. I pin it down. “Why,” it’s asking, “would said babysitter send me a note that says ‘see […]

Sam and Homework, Again

Thanks to everyone with thoughts on Sam’s homework situation last week. I did not make him quit an activity. One things has two practices, and the idea is that he cannot go to the second practice unless any longer term homework projects–as in, the ones that are assigned Monday and due Friday–are complete. Meanwhile, another literature assignment came home Friday, due Weds. And on Saturday I said, are you going to do it? And he said, I’ll do the reading. […]