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The Lizard Who Ate Orlando

The Lizard Who Ate Orlando

Sometimes the best thing you can do for your work is get away from it. A week’s vacation did the trick; even though I’m up to my neck in laundry and an overflowing email inbox, I’m refreshed and happy to be back at my computer. I was reminded of a trip we took a few [...]

A Decade of Fatherly Wisdom

A Decade of Fatherly Wisdom

Marriage was a big life change. But I think fatherhood was even bigger. For the first time, I (along with my wife) was totally responsible for every aspect of the well-being of someone who wasn’t me. I’ve been a dad for almost 10 years now. Fatherhood has changed me, and I’ve learned a lot. For [...]

Senior Moments: Advice from the Over 90 Crowd

Senior Moments: Advice from the Over 90 Crowd

A video clip of two 100-year-old best friends, Alice Jensen and Irene Cook, recently bombarded the Internet (youtube.com/watch?v=73ZzBcjVcrk). They’ve known each other for 94 years, can finish each other’s sentences like pros, and are pretty savvy for being centenarians (meaning they are over 100 years old). They know what “selfies” are, and one of them [...]

Nine Apps That Keep Kids Moving

Sixty minutes a day. That’s the minimum amount of physical activity recommended for children, ages 6 to17, by the Centers for Disease Control. Some kids meet that goal effortlessly. They can’t wait to walk the dog, belong to a team that practices every afternoon, or nag their parents to go on long hikes and bike rides. [...]

Sniffle, Sneeze, Scratch: An Allergy Primer

Sniffle, Sneeze, Scratch: An Allergy Primer

For months—no, make that years—Linda Johnson of West Fargo worried about her son’s health. His nose dripped like a leaky faucet. “I don’t think Conner ever had a clean nose,” says Linda. He snored so loudly she could hear him over the television while he slept in his upstairs bedroom. “It was almost like he [...]

Settling the Great Debate: What to do With Your Kids’ Art

Settling the Great Debate: What to do With Your Kids’ Art

Some moms save every scribble which finds its way to paper. Some wait until the cover of darkness and then sneak it, piece by piece, to the recycling bin. It’s a constant debate and tremendous source of second-guessing: Just what’s a mom to do with the mounds of “artwork” generated by her kids? Multiply this [...]

Difficult or Delightful: 6 Reasons to Appreciate Your Mother-in-law

Immediately upon walking out of the church on my wedding day, my mother-in-law burst into tears. While she claimed they were “tears of joy,” I know it was very hard for her to hand over her son to another woman. Mothers-in-law often get a bad rap. Mother-in-law jokes abound, and somewhere right now there’s a [...]

A Letter to My Girls

A Letter to My Girls

If memory serves me, my dad was in Walmart when I called him with the big news. His response was something like, “Are you serious?! Are you serious?!” Indeed, I was serious. Amy and I were expecting twins. I remember the strange suddenness of their arrival. When it was time to leave the hospital, they handed [...]

The Perils of Public Restrooms with Preschoolers

The Perils of Public Restrooms with Preschoolers

“Mommy, I gotta go potty.” Why do those five words, when spoken in public, cause your heart to race and your teeth to clench? Is it because you know to get a preschooler successfully in and out of a public restroom you dash all hopes of completing any errand? And why is meeting such a [...]

Life Lessons at the Grocery Store

Life Lessons at the Grocery Store

Taking kids down the cereal aisle at the grocery store is like being part of your own private Black Friday: the pushing, the crying, the fistfights. And there’s more marketing packed into that stretch of big box real estate than in all of Times Square. I’m not just talking about the cereal manufacturers; I’m talking [...]

Confessions of a Quitter

Confessions of a Quitter

Over the years, my mother let me quit a few things. After several failed attempts at sewing lessons, she accepted that the one and only thing I ever produced was a bath towel wrap with a piece of Velcro sloppily stitched to it. And after a lot of whiny persuasion, she also let me quit [...]

Growing Up Online: How Texting Can Strengthen Relationships

Growing Up Online: How Texting Can Strengthen Relationships

By now, parents of kids with cell phones understand that texting has created new possibilities—and problems. Although research is sparse, a few preliminary studies suggest that, like other forms of communication, texting has the power to bring people closer. Depending on how it is used, it can also create and exacerbate conflict. In one recent, highly publicized [...]

Valentine’s Treats to Make Your Kids’ Day Special

It’s that time of year again when sweet treats abound, and celebrating Valentine’s Day seems to be all about eating chocolate. February is also American Heart Month, designated by the American Heart Association as the time to develop healthy habits for your heart health. Kids, of course, won’t be thinking about their heart health, and, [...]

Born Second, Born Free

Born Second, Born Free

When our first child, Marie, was born, she instantly became the center of our universe. Three years later when Sally came along, she found a much easier job. At 20 months of age, Sally’s life was a carefree whirl. She sang. She danced. She would put a colander on her head and wear it like [...]

The Great Debate

The Great Debate

There’s a lot of Santa speculation around our house this season. The kids are now 11, 8, and 6, and they’re asking much more specific questions about the man in red. I’m both thankful and surprised it hasn’t happened before now. Our goal has always been to extend the mystery as long as possible, especially [...]

Kids Who Curse

Kids Who Curse

My oldest daughter Marie was about 4 when she said her first dirty word. She’d come in from playing with the neighbor kids and said, “Daddy, Heather called Billy an ____.” It was a vulgar term for a well-known bodily orifice. Long ago, a kid who said a word like that would have her mouth [...]

How to Be in the Bee

How to Be in the Bee

There are a few things my oldest boy inherited from me that he’s not crazy about—the smattering of freckles across his nose, pale skin that sunburns when we walk past a running microwave, and feet that stay at subzero temperature. The gene pool can be cruel at times. But perhaps I made up for it [...]

In Defense of the Shy Kids: The Benefits of Raising a Shy Child

In Defense of the Shy Kids: The Benefits of Raising a Shy Child

My nephew can stick 12 French fries up his nose. My daughter’s friend regularly hangs up the phone on her mother, and my son’s buddy refuses to play if he doesn’t win at Mario Kart. But my children seem to raise the most eyebrows. Their issue? They are shy. I have raised four (formerly) shy [...]

Grief: Helping Children Cope

Grief: Helping Children Cope

Thirteen-year-old Ashley Nedrebo was sleeping in her room with her dog, Cody, when he starting whining and woke her up. She got up to let him out, and when she opened the door, she saw her mom and sister and several of her aunts all standing in the hallway crying. “Oh, crap,” she thought to [...]

12 Tips for Handling Toddler Tantrums

12 Tips for Handling Toddler Tantrums

While I was growing up, the pastor of our local congregation went by the title of “Bishop.” One day in church, a little boy about 3 years old started acting up and raising a fuss. The more his parents tried to calm him the louder he got, until his father finally lifted him up and [...]