We are not “pet people.” Besides the fact that Rich is allergic to pretty much everything that is alive, we just don’t have the desire to add any extra chaos to our five-child home. The idea of having to be home to let the dog out, worrying about what to do with a pet while we are on vacation, or one more body to clean up after just doesn’t work for me at this stage of life. I tell the kids, “You don’t need a pet, you have a baby brother!”

But as a little girl, I desperately wanted a dog. We had a cat (who lived in our garage and outside because my dad is allergic), but I really wanted a dog. In fifth grade, I was having a difficult year socially and felt that I didn’t have any friends. I thought that a cute puppy could be my friend and fill some of the sadness I was feeling in dealing with the mean girls every day.

So after much begging and saving my money, my parents finally allowed me to get a puppy. His name was Skippy, because he was the color of peanut butter. And he had a cute little way of skipping his back feet while he walked if he was especially happy. His mom was a miniature apricot poodle and his dad was a toy apricot poodle, so he was small, curly, and soft. He had a cute brown nose and a smart, cheerful disposition.

Every day when I came home from school, I was happy to see Skippy. He would curl up on my lap while I read, lay under the piano bench while I practiced, and sleep next to me under the covers all night. He was a great little friend when I really needed one. And I was (mostly) true to my word. I saved up my money to pay for his vet bills and I woke up early on Saturday mornings to take him out. Although I hated that part! A couple of times, my younger brother gave me a book of coupons good for taking Skippy outside on Saturday mornings. Those were some of my favorite Christmas presents!

Skippy was a good boy, and lived a long life. When he died, he was sixteen years old. He still had a sweet personality and loved to be with his family. I’m glad my parents gave in to my incessant begging and let me get that puppy!




This post was inspired by Buddy: How a Rooster Made Me a Man a memoir by Brian McGrory. When Brian left his bachelor life to move to suburbia and join his girlfriend with her two young daughters, he had no idea he needed to win over their rooster too. Join From Left to Write on November 21 as we discuss Buddy: How a Rooster Made Me a Man.  As a member, I received a copy of the book for review purposes.


Seeing the world

I have always loved the idea of traveling the world. Just packing up and experiencing all the amazing things that we see on TV all the time. As a kid, our family vacations consisted of driving across country to see the sights…of my grandparents’ houses. Not so thrilling. But we managed to see some quasi-interesting spots in the process. The real Field of Dreams, for one, which is just a baseball diamond…in a field. In the middle of Iowa.

And we also saw Ronald Reagan’s boyhood home several times, as he grew up in Dixon, IL, where my grandparents lived.

My most exotic trip was after I graduated from high school, when my dad took me to London for a week. It was amazing to me, although I had been in New York many times, to experience such a different place. There were people from all nationalities, so many different languages, all in one place. And to experience the places I’d seen only on TV or read about in books felt almost surreal.

As an adult, I have been fortuante to travel to a few (not many) more places. My husband and I went to Rome this summer. Again, I was struck by the historical magnitude of such a place. Walking through the Coliseum was an experince I will never forget.

With five children, I will not have many opportunites to travel. At least not right away. But there are many fascinating places I would like to see someday. And in the meantime, I will read about them as much as I can!

What is the most interesting location you have visited?


This post was inspired by The Cartographer of No Man’s Land by P.S. Duffy. Angus enlists in the Nova Scotia WWI regiment and travels Europe to search for his missing in action best friend and brother-in-law. Along the way Angus discovers more than he ever wanted to know.Join From Left to Write on November 14 as we discuss The Cartographer of No Man’s Land.  As a member, I received a copy of the book for review purposes.

Kids in journalism

This year, Georgia is in fourth grade. A few weeks ago, she came home announcing that she had joined the staff of her elementary school’s newspaper. She was so excited to be a part of this publication, and couldn’t wait to get her first story assignment. As the days went on, I was excited to [...]

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Emotional eating

It’s amazing how much our emotions effect the way we feel, physically. For example, if I’m sad about something, I often start to feel tired and lethargic. When I’m angry, I tend to get very energetic. If I’m nervous, I sometimes get a stomach ache. Our emotions also effect our appetite. Whenever my mom gets [...]

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When my mom was a teenager, my grandfather told her that she could have as many clothes as she wanted, as long as she sewed them herself. A typical teenaged girl, my mom loved clothes. She set her mind to learning to sew, and learned well. She went to college to be a clothing designer, [...]

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What’s it really like?


The other day, I had to laugh. A friend told me that she sees me as a calm mother. While I was flattered, it really made me wonder how on earth she got that idea. Unfortunately, I’m sure my children would have a different attitude about my usual level of calmness. But it really made [...]

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It all begins again

Waiting for the bus

It’s been a whirlwind summer. After Beckett was born in April, we put our house on the market, sold it, bought a new one, and moved to a new school district in July. Today was the girls’ first day of school. Sydney is in first grade, Georgia is starting fourth, and Audrey is headed off [...]

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Parental controls on smartphones

I participated in a campaign for Mom Central Consulting on behalf of Zact. I received a promotional item as a thank you for participating. Just like their mom, my kids love technological devices. They have no problem navigating Rich and my smartphones. Even 3-year-old Joel is able to find the games he wants to play or videos [...]

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Welcome, baby B!

Sweet baby

  We have a new little love! Meet our sweet baby boy. And now, as usual, I need help deciding on his blog name. It was hard enough choosing his real name! As with the other four kids, I need a name that I like but wouldn’t use that starts with the same letter as [...]

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A playgroup is really a mommy support group

An early playgroup. Audrey is the baby at the bottom left.

When I brought tiny Audrey home from the hospital almost 11 years ago, I was completely overwhelmed. I was suddenly responsible for this fragile, precious creature. Somehow I would have to not only keep her alive, but help her learn and grow for the next 18 years! When she was two months old, I knew [...]

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