When Dad Goes Shopping

Yesterday, I felt like I was run over by a garbage truck.
I got this wonderful illness from my husband, who has spent the last week with laryngitis and tonsilitis, drinking up my lemon tea and using every Dayquil and Ricola in the house.

So he made a WalMart run after bedtime.

shopping bag Text: when dad goes shopping

If you didn’t already know, the shopping completed by the full-time parent looks much different than the shopping done by the wage-earning parent.

I asked him to pick up:
Lemon tea

He came back with:
Dayquil and Nyquil packaged together (I can’t take Nyquil)
A box of lemon tea, but also another box of some other “medicinal” tea I’ve never bought before
Two bags of Ricola, one of which he opened and stole half of
Two ramen packets for me, but also two “Siracha Chicken” which are definitely for him
Three GIANT bottles of Drain-o?
A GIANT box of garbage bags
A bunch of bananas (despite the bunch of bananas already on the counter)
A GIANT bag of chocolate chips

… what?

The point here is, my husband is crazy and has no idea how to go to WalMart for four simple things.


(Well, he might be crazy.  But I like that about him!)

The point here really is, my wage-earning other half really stepped in for me.  After feeding the kids and giving them baths and tucking them in, he decided to make a WalMart run.  He asked me zero follow-up questions about the shopping because I was barely able to speak.  He went and fetched me things to try and make me feel better, even though he should have been sleeping so he could get up early for work today.  He got some extra things that I bet he thought we needed, probably trying to save me a trip later in the week.

And chocolate chips.

This morning, he was up  at 4:45 as usual, made himself some weird medicinal tea, unloaded and reloaded the dishwasher, and went to work.

Even if things aren’t done “your way,” what has your work-outside-the-home partner done lately that was thoughtful and self-sacrificing?

My Messy Desk

For a split second this morning, I was appalled and ashamed of the state of my desk.

That quickly changed into appreciating the mess.

My messy desk tells the story of my week.  And it’s a great one.

a very messy desktop

It’s like an I Spy book, right? I Spy meets Week in Review.

To the left, you’ll see the stack of books and journals and binders that I haven’t been getting to much, lately.

And a little pile of toys I’ve had to take away from the boys for misusing / taking bites out of them.

My sewing kit (it’s brown, hard to see) from fitting costumes for the school musical.  Three weeks left!

And an Easter hat.  It was Easter this past weekend!  What a great holiday.

And then a chucks pad (absorbent things they lay down in nursing homes and hospitals, I own them for dog house-training) and a sweatshirt. My coauthor here on the blog, Deb, had her baby over the weekend, and I was privileged to be her doula.  I was prepared for both an overnight stay and a car baby.  We almost had the second!  (I’ll let her share her birth story if she wants.  Not mine to tell!)

In the middle, some things the kids have grown out of – their milestones booklet from our old pediatrician, a pair of pants too small for even the smaller kid, some diapers from two sizes ago that I found somewhere, lurking.  Underneath those are probably things I need to repair (normal spot for that.)

Then a computer, buried under some spring town-wide mailing (it’s spring! for real!) and an Easter gift.

Then a stack of kids’ activities that I pulled out of my purse.  Because Lent is (finally) over, and I no longer have to wrangle two crabby little boys through a naptime church service singlehandedly.  Hooray!

I had to get that stuff out of my bag because I actually had a career gig the other day – I gave a presentation about the Camp that I’m on the board of directors for (check here if you’re intrigued!) then I substitute taught for my husband.  Flexed some old muscles, there!  It’s the first time I’ve presented or taught since I started staying home two years ago – it was great!

On the left, a stack of forsaken mail.  The paper clutter monster is getting the better of me, again… must recommit to my KonMari paper control methods!  (Must recommit to my KonMari methods in general… )

Yesterday’s coffee cup.  Dishes are not getting priority, either, right now.

Our Q&A: 3-Year Journal for 2 People.  I talked about this in a recent favorites video – we’ve still been using it every day (or every few days) and we’re still enjoying it!  It sits out on my desk to remind us both to do it.

A graham cracker.  First breakfast, while I work early in the morning.  (This morning, that was all of 5 minutes before someone joined me.  Mom life!)

There you have it!  I’ve always been committed to authenticity. This is my desk.  This is normal for the end of a week, if not a little messier.  But it’s been a heck of a week!  A baby being born, a high holiday, lots of travel and family, musical practices, presenting, subbing.

What grace to carry us through all of those events.

What a blessing to live them.

What crazy items are living on your workspace today?  Happy Friday!

Easter Traditions and Activities (besides”Meeting the Easter bunny”)

Looking for some Easter traditions you could start for your family, or activities to do with your children?  Here you are, just in time!

(These are mainly aimed at small children, and people who like simple, easy-to-execute, inexpensive fun.  Because that’s what I know!)

basket of easter eggs in the grass. Text: simple, quick, inexpensive Easter traditions

If you’re curious about why “Take your kids to meet the Easter bunny” isn’t on this list, you’ve got some more reading to do!

Photo Ideas (If your kids are game!)

  1. Bunny ears headband.
  2. Newborn sleeping in a large Easter basket
  3. Children surrounded by plastic Easter eggs
  4. Oversized Easter stuffed animals or other oversized seasonal props
  5. Kids hunting for eggs outside
  6. Kids holding or sniffing flowers

Cooking & Baking

  1. Rice Krispie bars, cut into seasonal shapes.  Maybe even break out the seasonal sprinkles.
  2. Meringues.  These are actually traditional – the empty air pocket inside is reminiscent of Christ’s empty tomb. (My husband makes them from his grandmother’s recipe every year.  Since they sit in the oven overnight, he makes them Saturday evening and they’re “empty” Easter Sunday morning!)
  3. Toss some pretzel sticks in some melted chocolate and make little nests (to put candy eggs or jellybeans in.)


  1. Egg hunt!  Most communities have one, many put on by parks departments or local churches.  If you don’t have one, gather the neighbor kids or cousins and have your own!  (Simply, of course… toss some candy in some plastic eggs.  Send a teen to scatter them around the yard.  BYOB (Bring Your Own Basket).  Done!)
  2. Flower hunt.  Check out a local botanical garden, park with flower beds, or your own yard for the first blooms of the season.  (This is great for pictures, too!)
  3. Easter Vigil random acts of kindness.  (The Saturday between Good Friday and Easter Sunday is sometimes called Easter Vigil.)  Leaving a cut flower under the windshield wipers of some cars, leaving some treats on a neighbor’s doorstep, tagging a friend’s sidewalk with an Easter greeting.  It’s warm in the evenings, and what a lovely surprise to add to the beauty of Easter morning.
  4. Animal petting.  Some communities run a petting zoo, or an exhibition of prize-winning rabbits and ducks, or a baby animals meet ‘n’ greet.  Or, again, find a friend who farms or raises small animals and take your kids to pet them.  (More cute photo ops here!)

Old fashioned traditions

Don’t forget about the traditions of the past generations – perhaps a new dressy outfit for Easter.   Reading Peter Rabbit or another spring/rabbit book together.   (I’m a big proponent of reading to/with children!)  A specific special treat in the hidden Easter basket.  (My grandparents always gave us fancy decorated fudgy eggs from the local bakery!  Yum!)  Religious services during the week.  Gathering with family for a special brunch on Easter morning.

These things have a longer impact (even the clothes – you can wear those for birthdays and church and weddings all summer!) and some deeper meaning than a stuffed rabbit.  They are about relationships, family culture, neighborhood friendships,  a sense of wonder and anticipation to the most important holiday of the year.  And are possibly much more enjoyable and low stress than waiting in a line with a child who might just scream for a photo with a stranger.

Whatever you do in your home – have a blessed Holy Week preparation.  Love on your kiddos.  Impress upon them the eternal importance of what we’re celebrating.  How that looks in practice is up to you.

If you have simple Easter traditions of your own, feel free to leave them in the comments!  I’m sure there are great ideas I didn’t think of.

Rethinking “Meeting the Easter Bunny”

I’m becoming convinced many parents should stop.

white rabbit in grass. Text: Rethinking "Meeting the Easter Bunny" (For those of you outside the US, it is a common tradition to take small children to a mall or other public place to have their picture taken with someone dressed up as the Easter bunny.)

If the child you are taking ASKS to meet the Easter bunny – if they feel about the Easter bunny like they’d feel about meeting a favorite cartoon character – then wonderful!  I’m glad that’s easily accessible for your child, and I love seeing photos of happy kids on social media.

This is about the rest of our kids.

Every year it begins around this time.


The photos of hysterical babies and toddlers “meeting the Easter bunny.”  And people laugh and talk about how cute the crying child is, and how silly it is to be afraid of the Easter bunny.  And then they take the child the next year, and the child still cries.

I actually saw this unfold on my own Facebook newsfeed just the other day.  An acquaintance of mind posted a photo of her little guy, dressed in his fancy Easter clothes, with a big grin on his face, and a caption like, “I promise I won’t cry this year, mom!”  And a few hours later, a photo where, lo and behold, he was freaking out trying to get away from the Easter bunny.

Why Not

This is, I feel, the height of selfishness, of parents trying to live through their children, of not listening to our children’s hearts.

We are not taking a child to meet a relative or anyone actually life-changing.  It’s just a indeterminate person dressed… disguised in a giant bunny costume with huge unblinking eyes, urging children nonverbally to come sit on his lap amid a bunch of colorful decorations and cameras.

Could that sound a little disturbing to you?

Imagine.  For a child who doesn’t actively love the Easter bunny of his/her own volition,  those are real tears. They’re terrified.  Or at the very least they are not enjoying the activity.

And this activity doesn’t really serve an important purpose. What is motivating us to take a small child to meet the Ester bunny?

For a picture.

Because it’s “a cute thing to do.”

Because it’s a societal norm.

Because “I went as a child,” or “I never got to go as a child.”

It’s not eliciting a sense of childlike wonder for the kids who are scared and crying.

it’s not a fun holiday tradition if your child tries to get away from it every year.

It’s for you, really.  And doing something for your own reasons, when it scares your child… I hope that sounds like a poor idea.

What If

If you want to take them and try it, by all means!  But I really don’t ever feel comfortable seeing a photo of a child crying in the arms of the Easter bunny, because if they were uncomfortable I would hope their parent would have held them, protected them, carried them away, done something else.  Not deposited them in the arms of a stranger and backed away to get out of the photo op.  Then to post the photo for their friends and family to see.  To me, that says, “Look at how uncomfortable/frightened my young child is!  Isn’t it cute? And I’m not even there by them to ease their fears.  I just wanted the photo to look cute!”

I don’t think we would do that in other situations.

I don’t believe the people who dress up as the Easter bunny are inherently scary.  I don’t claim to know everything about your family dynamics. I went to see Santa when I was a child.  My parents were good parents.  You are good parents!  Part of parenting is giving our kids opportunities to experience fun things, to create traditions, to document special days.


But I’m not taking my boys to meet the Easter bunny.  Because  I know they would be scared, and I don’t scare my children on purpose.

And I certainly would hope  someone wouldn’t do it two years in a row.

It’s not worth the picture.  It’s not about us.  Nothing is about us anymore.

What Now?

Looking for some alternate ideas for Easter traditions?  Check this post!

March Favorites

Happy Friday!  My five March favorites:

Style: John’s Crazy Socks!

Beauty: Tony Moly sheet masks

Kids: Activity books

Random #1: Our Q&A: 3 Year Journal for 2 People

Random #2: Locally sourced coffee


*This post contains affiliate links.  That doesn’t impact your online shopping or prices.  If you choose to purchase the items linked, I may receive a small affiliate commission from Amazon.  (Literally something like 5 cents.)

When Your Toddlers Says He Doesn’t Love You

“Do you love Momma?”

“No. Ninus love Daddy.”

crumpled paper. Text: When your toddler says, "I don't love you!"

Well, stab me in the heart, why don’t ya.

First of all, never ask a child that question.  I know this, intellectually, but it just slipped out as part of regular banter with my three-year-old.  And just as quickly and uncalculated came his response.  “No.”

Now, this child has ALWAYS preferred his Daddy.  Since the day he was born, no exaggeration.  When he gets hurt or scared he will run right past me to my husband.  This, I am used to.

But what parent wants to actually hear about it, straight from the tot’s mouth?!

I am deeply familiar with child development.  I know he isn’t actually developmentally capable of understanding “love” as an abstract concept.  To him, it’s the same thing as “like” or “prefer.”  And he is a very honest, transparent child, so of course he answered that way.

He still calls for me from his room in the morning.  He still wants me to read him a book every nap time, and lie with him at bed time and sing songs.  He still wants to sit on my lap (sometimes) and help me cook and follow me around all day.  I can be sure he does love me, because of his actions.

That thought gives me pause.  Is this just the opposite of what we so often do as adults?  We verbally tell our children that we love them, but do our actions prove or disprove that?

My toddler’s actions hold much more weight to me than his words about not loving me.  I bet my actions do the same for him.  A million “I love you, baby!”s are not worth as much as sitting and playing trains (a cluttery activity that makes me impatient) or singing a 27th song at 9:00 pm (when I’m practically asleep myself!) or patiently helping him clean up his messes (no matter how gross… thank you, potty training.)


To summarize:
1) Never ask your toddler if he/she loves you unless you’re prepared for a “No.”
2) Toddlers can remind us that loving actions are far more important than nice words.