In my most recent column, I began writing about the weekend getaway my husband and I – and our 22-month-old son – took to Lake Willoughby in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom. This is a continuation of that story.
The weather was unseasonably warm and humid when we arrived at Lake Willoughby, just as it had been for the past week (although I’m not sure what “seasonable” is anymore in this era of climate change). But when we awoke the next morning, we were greeted with a chilly rain that lasted, off and on, for the duration of our stay.
We weren’t deterred. Whenever the rain paused, we set out on...
Last week, thanks to the generosity of my mother- and father-in-law who were visiting us from California, my husband and I had a weekend getaway.
It’s not quite as romantic as it sounds: Our 22-month-old son came along, too. Still, it was the first time in over three years that my husband and I had been away from home — and our four daughters — together. We headed to Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom, one of our favorite idyllic escapes. (For out-of-state friends who visit Addison County to “get away from it all,” yes there are places even more sleepy and remote, and the Northeast Kingdom, nestled...
If you were reading this column back in 2020, you may remember that my “word for the year” — which I chose instead of making a New Year’s resolution — was “THRIVE.”
When 2020 began, our baby boy had just been given the diagnosis of “failure to thrive.” This, combined with a mysterious respiratory virus, resulted in two hospital stays between December 2019 and January 2020, one of which involved the horrific experience of having our two-month-old intubated in the ICU. We needed to help him thrive; not only that, but our entire shaken family needed to figure out how to thrive together.
It’s that time of year again.
Our family has now logged in eight straight weeks of summer vacation. We have spent countless sultry days at the lake, eaten gallons of ice cream, lit sparklers, chased fireflies. Our annual trip to the Maine coast has come and gone. I am tired of weeding the garden. My daughters have stayed up late binge watching “The Clone Wars” so often that it feels routine. “What are we doing today?” they ask each morning, and — although much of what I thought we’d do this summer has been left undone — I am running out of ideas. School remains weeks away.
The dog days: In...
This summer I cut off all my hair.
It’s a long story, which began in the summer of 2019 when my aunt, who was battling cancer, told my daughters and me about wigs. We were together on our family’s annual vacation in Maine, all of us gathered on the sunny front porch. My aunt had begun losing her hair from the treatments, and she described the shop where she’d been able to choose from a wide variety of wigs made from donated human hair.
I had no idea how much this conversation had impacted my children until several months later, when one of my daughters suggested that we all grow out our hair...
The weather never seems to be normal lately: too wet or too dry, too cold or too hot, record this, record that. It could be that there never really was a “normal” — that weather is just prone to dramatic fluctuations from year to year. Or it could be that climate change is ramping up in earnest, like they’ve always said it would. Whatever the reason, it’s probably a good idea to pay attention.
I’m not always good at paying attention to things that aren’t screaming for my attention. But this year, the weather has gotten pretty close to screaming at me through a series of violent storms.
For the past two years, our family has celebrated homeschool graduations. Both years we’ve had daughters who were moving up to middle school — but mostly we just wanted an excuse for a party. My daughters create a yearbook and video of the year’s highlights, we lay out a display of their school projects, we invite grandparents (virtually and in-person), and we serve refreshments.
At our daughters’ request, my husband has delivered the commencement speech at both events. I get it: They have to listen to me, their primary teacher, for hours every day. Plus, my husband has the spiffy robe/hood/...
A friend asked me recently what I do to get a break from the demands of my everyday life: from the constant noise, mess, decision-making, and physical labor involved in parenting (and homeschooling) five children — with a husband and a bunch of animals thrown in, too.
In the past, I would have mentioned rising at dawn for daily quiet time to recharge my spirit, or how my husband sometimes watches our children for a chunk of hours on the weekend to give me a rest, or the occasional two-day retreat (the last of which happened three years ago).
But this time I had a quick response: “I go to work...
I’ve been middle aged for a while now, but it didn’t feel official until last month, when I threw out my back.
My husband, who has spent much of his adult life sitting at desks and working on computers, was throwing out his back and neck on a regular basis long before he hit middle age. Sometimes he’d just roll out of bed the wrong way, and he’d spend the next few days with his head cocked to one side, moaning painfully. But I have spent much of my adult life chasing after children rather than sitting at desks; this was my first experience with severe back pain.
It happened in the least...
The National Guardsman standing by the front door of our town’s rec center had a copy of War and Peace tucked under his arm.
He wouldn’t be able to read his book for some time, because the line of people waiting for temperature checks stretched into the parking lot. I was standing in that line on a sunny April morning, ready to receive my first dose of the Pfizer vaccination against COVID-19.
My fellow vaccine recipients were a diverse group: Judging by appearances, I stood in line with people of numerous races and occupations, ranging from teens to senior citizens. This may have been the...