Clothing advice for tweens?

Holly and Mary1

So, we have established that we don't want a "sweet and sassy" girl, but does anyone have any suggestions for better tween fashion options? My oldest daughter is 9, but quite tall, so she wears a size 10 or 12. For school she can wear khakis or jeans and a cute top, it's still pretty easy to shop at Old Navy or Land's End for her casual clothes, but she needs some outfits or dresses for mass and other dressier times. This summer, she wore little cotton Lilly Pulitzer shifts (bought super on sale … [Read more...]

Surviving Survival Mode

Our school year routine is beginning this week, and it has made me realize that I am totally out of practice.  It has been three years since we had a baby in this home school, and we had moved so far out of survival mode that we do not have the habits required to get through this very intense time with sanity intact.  After a messy couple of days, here are some of the things that I will be working on:1. Stick to the schedule - get up on time, serve meals on time, go to bed on time.  If ne … [Read more...]

When I’m gone…

Here is an interesting test of parenting:  My daughter would like me to learn to do this with her.  This involves her dropping her school work to practice it, and my dropping, well, everything else.  But it is so, so cool.  And also, true to the lyrics, I know that one day my daughter will have a ticket for the long way round, and I am going to miss her when she's gone.  She won't always want me to do something with her.  So I am trying to be patient, and engaged, and have fun while I'm at it.  F … [Read more...]

Morning Routines

As we begin to think about school routines, I really like this post about a morning routine -- note that it happens AFTER breakfast.  That would be a huge help for us, making it more likely that we can do our family breakfast and then have a good start to the day.  It is always a tough thing to have the kids actually dressed and pressed in time to eat before Dad has to leave.  Also, checklists will go a long way in lessening my nags. … [Read more...]

The View From Where I Sit


We are guests at a lake house while our daughter is at camp nearby.  Next week I will be back to a reality like Tex's - I have to take 7 children along with me to a doctor appointment - but for right now my life actually is "picture perfect!" … [Read more...]

Work the List


I have a lot to do this week, and by Tuesday I was handling myself well -- that was until MY DRYER CAUGHT FIRE!  Then the anxiety of that minor and embarrassing emergency (two trucks, the chief and the fire inspector, along with the village police) seemed to ooze into the rest of my life.  Are you like that?  I am, especially when I am hormonal.  My mother calls it "leaky emotions."  Anyway, I was starting to get worried about just about everything including, but not limited to, how I was going t … [Read more...]

My Mealtime Solutions for a busy family…in the Motherlode!

I am so excited to join the parenting conversation at The New York Times Motherlode blog. Do you make time for family dinner? Read what we do, and share your thoughts in the I am editing to add a link to a great website that I came across through the comments on that post, The Family Dinner Project.  Check it out!  I like the games and activities suggestions, we like to play games when we are waiting for a ( … [Read more...]

Worth It!


I feel like you all have been with me on a crazy journey this summer as I planned to let my kids fully participate in our neighborhood swim team even though I was going to have a baby on the very first day of the season. That baby is one month old today, and we had the last regular meet. As you know from my last post, our routines fell apart, and it was a groan to the finish line, but we made it, and I am so happy for my children, and, frankly, proud of myself for getting through it all with a … [Read more...]

Cleaning House

As a family, we are heavily dependent on our systems.  I am not organized by nature and can barely find my own glasses when I wake up in the morning, so without good systems in place, this busy household of 9 people would fall apart very quickly.  An organized pantry means I can see in a second if we are almost out of peanut butter.  If the swim towel bin in the laundry room is empty I know that towels must be washed and dried before morning practice.  The children can get their own snacks org … [Read more...]

The Fireworks Are For Him

Birthday Breakfast -- Red White and Blue Pancakes!

My husband was born on the Fourth of July.  As a small child, he really thought that the fireworks were for his birthday each year.  That leaves a lot to live up to in the celebrating department.  He is also an extrovert who loves to be surrounded by people and at the center of attention, so his birthday is his second favorite day of the year.  (His absolute favorite is Christmas Eve).Usually we are at the beach on the 4th, but this year, with a 2 week old, we decided we had better stay put … [Read more...]