While there were many things that attracted us to our current house, the house itself was not one of them.
Our house was built in three distinct installments, and it shows. The interior layout is a rambling railroad of rooms. The exterior, when we purchased the house, was covered on three sides with grey vinyl siding and red trim, and on the back side with unfinished wood. Neither vinyl nor wood siding was installed correctly, so water was getting underneath and causing rot.
We bought it anyway, because my husband tends to make decisions based on his vision of what can be, as opposed to what’...
Our families know us best. The people who live with us, who see us first thing in the morning and last thing in the evening, who have front row seats to what bubbles up when we’re squeezed – they’re the ones with the true insights into our character.
This is why, whenever a non-family-member says to me, “Oh, you always seem so patient, so calm, like you have it all together!” I picture my daughters rolling on the floor, laughing. They know the wild-eyed woman who stands in our mudroom, waving her arms frantically and yelling, “Time to go! We’re running late! You should’ve used the bathroom...
THE ALPINE SLIDE at Bromley Mountain is the only such slide in Vermont.
Photo by Faith Gong
Vermont is a small state, so it’s easy to assume that after living here eight years we would be aware of all the attractions Vermont has to offer young families. But a couple of weeks ago, we were surprised when a friend told us about Bromley Mountain’s alpine slide.
I’d never heard of an alpine slide before, and for a good reason: There are only 37 such slides in the world. Alpine slides dot Australia, Europe, and Asia, but the United States’ slides tend to be located out West, and the Bromley slide is the only alpine slide in Vermont.
What is an alpine slide? Picture a long, curving chute...
Our first clue that the appliances were turning against us was when the oven refused to heat up. It happened at the worst possible moment, of course: A night when I was supposed to be going out for a belated birthday dessert with friends, and my husband would be getting home late after picking up our eldest daughter from a class and our youngest from a playdate. Feeling like I had it all together, I’d tossed some food into the oven to cook while I walked the dog and did the poultry chores. Twenty minutes later – just minutes before the other hungry half of our family would arrive expecting...
Our family went back to school the day after Labor Day. The Addison County schools began the week before Labor Day, but since we homeschool I figured: Why be crazy? (My daughters take a great deal of joy in their delayed start; every year they fantasize about appearing on the Mary Hogan School sidewalk on the first day of school in their pajamas, munching doughnuts and waving to their friends as they get off the bus. What prevents them from putting this plan into action is that they’re not even close to awake at that time.)
One of my favorite things about homeschooling is that I feel like I’m...
I’m writing this at the dining room table of my brother- and sister-in-law’s home in Orange County, California, on the final day of a weeklong visit with family on the West Coast. From where I sit, I see the clear blue sky that hasn’t changed all week; the Southern California weather has been perfectly sunny, warm, and dry. I see the red tile roofs of neighboring houses in this suburban development, where nearly every day we’ve walked a few steps across the lawn to the neighborhood pool. I see a row of palm trees; despite having spent five years as a California resident myself, I never get...
Were you to ask me what our family has done this summer, my response would be, “Very little.”
This summer, my daughters decided they wanted to do nothing. With the exception of a handful of brief or sporadic local activities, they shook their heads at any sort of camp or sport. Many of their friends head to sleepaway camp for weeks on end; not one Gong daughter has even a passing interest in such a thing – and, as a former miserably homesick camper myself, I’m not inclined to push it.
Sure, there was the weeklong vacation in Maine. A couple of trips to the lake and the pool. A few outings to...
The 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 lunar landing also happens to be the 17th anniversary of my marriage. Laying the two events side by side, I’m not sure which is the greater miracle: the amount of planning, coordination, brainpower, technology, and skill required to land a man on the moon, or the amount required to pull off our wedding (to say nothing of the ensuing marriage!).
The 17th anniversary is apparently the “furniture anniversary,” so it seems fitting that this week my husband installed a major piece of outdoor “furniture” that allows our family to defy gravity just like those...
On Thursday I received an email from the principal of my daughters’ school. This email was sent to all parents in order to reassure us – and, by extension, our children – that we should not be afraid of clowns. Although reports of clown threats and suspicious clown sightings across the country had been whipping our nation’s population (especially its younger members) into a frenzy of fear, our principal dismissed the uproar as a hoax. No threats, he went on to say, had been made against any school in our district.
Then on Friday, the news broke that Donald Trump, the Republican Presidential...