Summer break: my personal doom

We have reached the end of the season I like to call Death by a Thousand Sign-up Geniuses. Teacher appreciation week, the ice cream social, and zoo field trips are behind us. For ten weeks, we will be free from requests to bring, buy, chaperone, and chip in.

And now I must face my weightiest choice: whether to let my kids spend the summer in front of screens or to let them destroy my house and yard. Do I let them kill brain cells on Netflix or do I allow them to conscript every item we own into “creative” endeavors?

Long experience has shown me that, at least for my children, these are the only two options. If there is no screen, they will not play in a pleasant or organized way. They will proceed immediately to enact outlandish, fantastical scenarios in my previously orderly home.

Continue reading “Summer break: my personal doom”

My kids’ top three “projects” in 2016

My children were as busy as worker bees in 2016. Grand imagination and poor engineering abounded. I’ve examined the photographic evidence and selected their top three “projects” of 2016. Points were awarded for inventive use of materials, realism, and tape quantity. In no particular order, I give you:

Camp Goesch


Do you notice anything about this sign?

Perhaps that the children misspelled their own last name? They had been on summer break for one day at this point. Summer slide is real, people. Continue reading “My kids’ top three “projects” in 2016″

Brawls, big projects, and bad smells (Or our summer)

Our lazy, lovely summer has come to an end. While it was a hard one for our country, it was a rich one for my family. We enjoyed days full of sunscreen and sweat, painters tape and play, grandparents and good friends. Would you indulge me as I do a numeric recap? Let’s not launch into weighty topics just yet.

Exact number of days we had off from school: 80

Hours spent watching the Olympics: 25

Hours spent discussing why Michael Phelps would name his son Boomer: 5

Hours one child spent “supervising” our neighbor’s front walkway project while he snuck math problems into the conversation: 10

Times the kids stole my phone: 27

Times my phone informed me its memory was full because of videos they made: 27 Continue reading “Brawls, big projects, and bad smells (Or our summer)”

Mystery solved: dyslexia

I decided finally to google it. The answer came as a relief. We had been waiting for a teacher to raise the question, but I had grown tired of waiting.

For two years, my twins had struggled to keep pace with their peers in reading. They were thoughtful, clever, often articulate kids—but matching letters on a page to words you said out loud did not come naturally. We had done all the usual things—talked about letters and sounds, gone to pre-school, read books day and night, practiced writing letters and words, read two books every day in the summer between kindergarten and first grade. Continue reading “Mystery solved: dyslexia”

On holiday from sanity

While you were barbecuing and attending parades, Rick and I celebrated Memorial Day weekend by taking a holiday from our sanity.

We let our daughters set up refrigerator boxes in our living room as “houses”—-boxes that they requested and received for Christmas. Since we neither live in a mansion nor have an “open concept living space,” you can imagine the effect:

FullSizeRender-2 copy (1)

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Decorating with amateur art and second-hand finds

I have goals for my home. I want it to be cozy and cheerful for my family, and amiable and restful for guests. I love color, art, and uncluttered design. The challenge is that I do not have money to spend on decor or energy for DIY projects.

Here’s what I do have: a continuous stream of children’s art, ample hand-me-down furniture, lots of photos, and many second-hand stores nearby. These supplies have proven more than sufficient.IMG_3527

Continue reading “Decorating with amateur art and second-hand finds”

Why we let our kids play with Barbies

You may have been wondering. Why do Laura and Rick, usually such clear-headed parents, allow their girls to play with Barbies? Don’t they know that Barbies and princesses foster body image issues? Can’t they see that these dolls teach destructive things about being a woman?

I am aware of these concerns. Yes, Barbie’s proportions trouble me, as does the way these toys suggest that beauty is exclusively defined as tall, thin, white, and blond. For these reasons, we kept Barbie and princesses out of our home for five years. We were able to bar their entrance no longer than that, though. Continue reading “Why we let our kids play with Barbies”

Christmas decorating with imaginative children (and cats)

We decorated our home for Christmas two weeks ago. I have not seen most of the holy family since the moment we opened the boxes. The spot created for them in our living room sits empty while they cavort around the house, doing I know not what.  I recently discovered two members playing in Barbie’s camper.


Given his rugged life, both in Bethlehem and camping with Barbie, it is understandable that Joseph would suffer injuries and even lose a limb.

Continue reading “Christmas decorating with imaginative children (and cats)”

Adventures in painters tape and other Christmas delights

We have reached new heights of engineering in our home. Barbie needed an elevator. Naturally.  In the absence of wire cables and steel, a pulley was constructed of painters tape, Duplo blocks, and a graduation cord.

I can’t speak for Barbie, but I would totally trust my life to such sturdy engineering. Especially with the hedgehog operator on site to manage any crises.  Continue reading “Adventures in painters tape and other Christmas delights”

Exploits of the Imaginative Child (or Why I Need Therapy)

I think I need art therapy.

No, not the kind where I do art in order to explore my feelings. The kind where a professional helps me cope with all the “art” that is created in my home every day. I have plenty of feelings to explore about that.

Why might I need such therapy? For one, I found this art installation on the floor of my office the day after I cleaned it:


Continue reading “Exploits of the Imaginative Child (or Why I Need Therapy)”