Be The Encouraging Stranger

Lesson learned.

Never underestimate the power of a stranger’s words.

I just went running.

I run because it’s the only kind of exercise I’ve managed to consistently fit into a life with five kids.  I don’t have to get gear together or drive to a gym or buy special clothes.  I don’t have to wear a swimsuit, or watch myself dance in front of a wall of mirrors. (My running shoe is off to you, Leanne!) ...  read more

And The Winner Is…


You Dutch people can get out the vote!  Way to represent.

Carina, congratulations.

The Giant’s Shoe pictured here with your kids Koen and Roos is our contest winner.  (Send your snail mail address to me at, and I have a little something to send you.)

For anyone who wants to know more about the Netherlands, I’m about to educate you with my vast (read: limited and wikipedia-based) knowledge.  Prepare to read corrections in the comments section as my credibility isn’t very, well, credible. ...  read more

Contest Finale Draws Near

Get your votes in for the Photo Contest!

Keep the votes coming until 9:00pm PST on Friday, January 21st.  (For those of you fabulous folks in the Netherlands, that’s 6:00am on Saturday, January 22nd… does that mean you have an edge with more time? ;))

If you’re a contender, make sure you’re co-opting your friends and stuffing the ballot box.  It’s fun seeing new commentors on here.  (Quick question: Why is my spell-check correcting commentor?  Should you be commentators?  Really?  I like commentor.  I’m sticking with that.) ...  read more

Dog Breath

Totally gross post here.  Consider this fair warning.


I’ve heard of dog breath, but…

Today Cael asked me if all dogs’ penises smell bad.

Me: Why do you think dogs’ penises smell bad, Cael?

Cael: Our dog’s penis smells bad.

I don’t want to know.

I really, really don’t.

I think I’ll just go apologize to our dog, and we’ll move on. ...  read more

They’re Here: Photo Contest Contenders!

Thank you, thank you for sending your vacation photos.

I had a fabulous time viewing them and reading your stories.

This excerpt from Carina reminds me of SO many of our family vacations it made me giggle all the way through:

It was time to make a decision which two (seriously, only two???) pictures were most suitable of telling the story of our ‘roadtrip of a lifetime’… Was it going to be a picture of the French sea gull who harassed us right before entering the ferry to England? Or maybe one of the 50 pictures of my kids glued to a British ‘telly’ (yes, they are seriously addicted, is there a 12-step programme for that?), Or maybe a picture of us sitting in a hospital awaiting the doctor’s verdict on Roos’ weird rash (which turned out to be scarlet fever), oh wait, I didn’t take any pictures then because I was just too freakin’ worried!…  Or a picture of Hein, our baby, who kept massaging his gums with his tongue, because (as we found out halfway through our trip) he was having his first tooth (which was also why he didn’t want his pacifier anymore AND kept crying all of the night, every night…) Decisions, decisions, decisions… ...  read more

Freshly Squeezed

When we took Abby (12) to her birth country of Vietnam two years ago, I introduced her to Vietnamese coffee.

Vietnamese coffee is thick, potent, and laced with sweetened condensed milk.  It’s a hit of caffeine and sugar that’ll strip the enamel off your teeth and make the dead sit up and bark — all in one fell swoop.

It’ll even allow a 10 year old kid to keep moving all day in a time zone opposite her own. ...  read more


The problem with big kids is that they can read.

Oh, sure.  Tell me that’s a good thing.  Tell me that literacy is important.  Tell me it’s a bedrock of society.

Then take my big kids to Disneyland with signs abounding.



Ice Cream!

Add in my daughter’s spiritual gift of manipulation,

and the fact that I regularly cave under pressure, ...  read more