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Ready, set, read

Perhaps my favorite yearly assignment in writing for Alpha Mom is the chance to do a summer reading round-up—nothing makes a bookworm happier than talking books, after all, except maybe talking books that are shaping the next generation of bookworms.

[Aside: I am so glad my kids love to read. I'm also glad they've developed such excellent taste in books that I find myself reading their picks more often than not. It's like having a couple of librarians in-house, albeit somewhat cranky and messy librarians.]

Without further ado, I’m pleased to offer up this year’s summer reading round-up for teens, with thanks to my kids for letting me borrow their books. Also, endless thanks to the Powers That Be that I don’t have to contend with anyone reading Twilight or anything else that would just make me sad.

Come on over and tell us what you and your kids are reading, too. We’re always happy to have more recommendations!

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Kind of like real grown-ups

I went to Mom 2.0 this past weekend, and it was a verrrry interesting trip for me. In 10 years (!!) of blogging and freelancing and working for various clients, this is the first time I’ve gone to a conference as a representative of my employer rather than as just a freelancer looking for work, and that was very different. I’m still adjusting to this new phase of my career and still kind of looking around and going, “Is this my life? Are you SURE?” It’s all awesome, but I don’t know if you’ve maybe noticed that I’m not always so good with change…? Shocking, I know. It’s a secret. Don’t tell.

Anyway. In addition to the work weirdness of it all, Otto was busy being SuperDad (er, SuperStepDad?) here at home, which made my job about 10000% easier. The kids even seemed to still like him when I returned, so I feel confident in declaring him to have magical powers. And of course, I wrote about it for Alpha Mom, too.

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The best-laid plans

Or, Things I did wrong recently.

Or, Life is hard because I am dumb.

Or, Allow me to make you feel better about your life choices.

I keep telling myself that I should just come over here and post some dog pictures and call it a day—after all, who needs content when you have furballs, right?—but it hasn’t happened and now all of that procrastination has paid off, because it turns out that while no one day has been blog-worthy, lately, taken in sum total I have a veritable epic of life-and-how-to-do-it-wrong to share.

Every day is a new opportunity to do something else stupid, as I always say. (I never say that. I should, though.) Without further ado, various illustrations of my suitability (or lack thereof) as a functional adult: (more…)

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Something of a crossroads

When we last spoke (I know, I know; we don’t really speak so much as I type and sometimes you comment, but “when we last spoke” feels more mellifluous than “the last time I bothered to post something”), nearly a week ago, I was a few days in to the latest Germfest, which continued to permeate every corner of our family and house at an alarming rate. Yesterday I still felt like my death might be imminent, but I dragged myself around the house Cleaning Everything (again!) and washing sheets and opening doors (it was a beautiful day, not that it matters when you’re busy trying not to die) and praying for a general restoration of health here at Casa Mir.

At the same time I was having myself a jolly little existential crisis about work and life and my children and my marriage—when I have a crisis, I like to do it up, after all—and thus have I arrived at this particular Monday morning: tired, still sick, about five pounds lighter than I was last week, and panicked about… pretty much everything.

Here let us pause while I assure you that everything is fine. Mostly. Kind of. As my father loves to remind me, my life is never boring. And our challenges often feel unsurmountable, sure, but in the grand scheme of what is truly bearable in a life, I should not complain. I know this. (more…)

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Happy post-Thanksgiving!

Black Friday is my day to get up wayyyyy too early and dish out the deals all day long over at Want Not. Just picture me in a long, flowing cape (I mean, I’m wearing my polka-dotted robe, and that’s practically the same thing…), bravely saving humanity from having to go out into the world to join the shopping madness, today. It’s a public service, really.

Our Thanksgiving was lovely. We had good friends, good food, and I was curious to see how Duncan would do with a houseful of people. As it was, we ate in the dining room while both dogs paced around the table, ever vigilant and hopeful. It was rather like being stalked by two small, furry sharks. Only more adorable and less terrifying.

While I’m busy shopping, you could head over to Alpha Mom to see what you should be doing with your Thanksgiving leftovers. I have an ulterior motive, really; I want some new recipes, and I suspect that will cause at least a few of you to offer up some goodies. Come lay it on me.

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If you need some distractions

Yep, I know what today is. Nope, not gonna talk about it. There are plenty of places you can go to get that, today.

What I’m offering, instead, is two different distractions if you need ‘em. Because YAY, shiny and less-depressing things!

First: My latest post at Alpha Mom is all about teaching teens to think about money, even though mostly what my teens think about money is, “Mom should give us more of it.”

Second: I’ve been given the privilege of doing some collaboration with the National Center for Learning Disabilities, which does all sorts of awesome things (and I would say that even if I wasn’t working with them). I think that when you say “learning disability” most people think “dyslexia,” even though there’s a plethora of learning differences which includes things like ADHD, Autism Spectrum disorders, and more. The NCLD is interested in hearing more from other parents. If you have a child with a learning difference, what types of resources would you find most helpful in making sure your child receives the best education possible? Everything shared here will be passed along to the NCLD to assist them in improving their offerings. (Please share this feedback opportunity with others who might have something to say, too, even if they’re not blog readers. All input welcome!)

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It’s important to smell good

It’s always fun to have to fulfill a work assignment dealing with parenting tips during a time period when I’ve become completely convinced that the only parenting tip I’m qualified to offer anyone is, “Don’t have children.” That’s my FAVORITE! (As my kids would say: hey, it’s Opposite Day!)

So when I was thinking about my topic for Alpha Mom this week, I ended up feeling confident about… well, the fact that my kids are clean. Yes. I’m 15.5 years into this parenting thing and that’s the kindest parenting-related congrats I can offer myself right now. There’s plenty of other awesome things about the kids—don’t get me wrong—but I feel I can only take CREDIT for the fact that they smell pretty good most of the time.

Hey, I’ll take what I can get. I’m not proud. Meanwhile, my teens are free to express themselves in various ways, as long as they shower first.

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Oh, how I wish I could draw

While everyone else in the world is returning from BlogHer and waxing poetic about the people and the city and the knowledge and the experience, I am just wishing I had some—any, really—artistic ability. The two things I wish to share with you really require visual aids, but lord knows I can’t even draw a straight line. So instead I will have to try that whole PAINT THE PICTURE WITH WORDS thing even though I suspect it will be insufficient.

The first thing I need to tell you about is how excited I get when I go somewhere that requires pretty shoes. We all know I like pretty shoes, yes? And yet here at home I mostly wear… no shoes at all. (I’m a conundrum, inside an enigma, wrapped up in lazy.) I do have a few (ahem) pairs of good-looking fancy-schmancy heels, though, and I love wearing them when the opportunity presents itself. I brought two pairs of platform heels and commenced wearing them.

I looked great. (Also: modest!) Let’s face it, everyone looks good with their feet bent in such a way that the attached calves look thinner and stronger and also somewhat magical for continuing to work given the angle of the ankle. Whatever. (more…)

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Beauty for the delicate flower

I don’t really wear makeup. This is because:
1) I work from home, and prefer hiding in my office to interacting with people,
and
2) I am exceedingly lazy.

On a day when I’m working from home (most weekdays) or just puttering around the house (most weekends), I wear jeans and t-shirts and my hair is unruly and wet all day and I wear my glasses and the only thing that goes on my face is maybe a little moisturizer. Fancy!

On a day when I have to do Official Work Things Among People, I wear pretty clothes and expensive shoes and I straighten my hair and make it SUPER SHINY and put in my contacts and put on makeup.

Basically, I’m Batman. But, you know, like the Batman of freelancers. No one would ever see flip-flop-wearing, crazy-haired, naked-face me at the supermarket and suspect that I clean up to look like a reasonable professional. I mean, I guess I could look that put together all the time, but, uh, see item 2 above.

Given this information, a Beauty Crisis sounds unlikely, and yet… I have them every couple of years. I’m having one RIGHT NOW. (more…)

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Oh, look! Something shiny (and yummy)

This week seems determined to flatten me and suck out my will to live, and it’s only Tuesday. This does not bode well, I’m thinking.

While I go try to find my mojo (have you seen it? I think I dropped it somewhere yesterday), feel free to head on over to Alpha Mom to read all about how we carnivores found mealtime happiness with the rogue vegetarian in the house. Not gonna lie; it helps that said vegetarian is very cute.

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