Posts from ‘Parenting’


I love, love, love springtime in Minnesota. Almost as much as fall.

I’ve spent all morning on the patio, listening to the birds, feeling the sunshine and the breeze. Sixty degrees is perfect for lounging in my robe, eating bing cherries and drinking a homemade latte. And working on my laptop finishing my time sheet for last week (#agencylife).

Life has been moving quickly the last couple of months, with the kids preparing for end-of-the-school year projects and finals (we have one graduating!). And we’ve also been trucking along with finishing the final touches on the house renovation. Each weekend we tackle a little something here and there, such as hanging drapes or artwork on the walls. I’ve gotten to the point where I just want it to all be done, where every room is wonderful and just how I want it to be. We’re still a ways off from that, for sure, especially when I only have a little bit of time to think about it each weekend.

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I have a story to share, but I want to be clear about something first. My goal here is not to shame my child publicly. I will not name names… or even use pronouns. Because every child makes mistakes, and hopefully learns from them… and in no way deserves to be shamed online. So that’s not what this is about. Instead, it’s about my role as a parent – and how I found a creative solution in a difficult situation. One that turned out better than I expected, and by sharing, might help someone else.


sad-robotI was at a complete loss. A call from the principal telling me my child caused pain to another child by using very unkind words. I was speechless. It was one of those parenting moments where I didn’t have a single, freaking clue how to handle the situation. A situation that broke my heart and made me question my effectiveness as a parent.

Luckily, I had some time to think it over before I got home from work. I told a couple of close coworkers what happened and watched their faces drop. I called my husband to talk it through and he, too, was speechless. We were both struggling to know what to do. The usual “go-to” punishments didn’t seem at all adequate – taking away screen time, or allowance or foregoing other privileges. No, taking something away didn’t seem right at all. It wouldn’t fix anything and it couldn’t transform the heart of a child who said hurtful words.

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I have something that might help you talk with your children about keeping safe, and it might help them protect themselves. More than a year ago I read this blog post that talked about not keeping secrets and how the author talks to her children about body safety. She had “body safety” rules posted in her kitchen for all to see. I was super impressed.

I adapted the rules a bit (because I can’t help myself from editing, really), printed them out and hung them in my kitchen. My kids and I read through them one by one and talked about them. They asked questions. One time recently, before a sleep over, we read through them again as a reminder. I point out the body safety rules to babysitters and ask them to read through them. Here they are:

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ThankfulA small dry-erase board on the side of our refrigerator sat empty for a few days when we moved into the new house. I’m not one to leave things empty or blank very long. Should we use it for the grocery list? Notes to each other or reminders?

And then it hit me. I could use it for parenting and bringing us together as a family. I could use it to spur discussions about important life lessons that may otherwise feel awkward or forced to bring up. I didn’t talk with anyone about it, I simply wrote: “Word of the Week: Thankful” on the board and left it there.

We gathered around the table that Sunday night, all six of us, to eat dinner. I don’t remember what we were eating, but I do remember what came next. I asked if anyone noticed the Word of the Week and they all said yes and said “Thankful.” We talked about why it’s important to be thankful and what we are thankful for. We talked about the opposite of thankful: ungrateful or entitled.

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engagement photo

Friends, I’m so thrilled to share with you that Jason and I are getting married! Many of you know we’ve been together nearly three years (our anniversary is in January). We (and our kids) spend as much time together as we can and love our {blended} family. Oh yes, and the puppy Ruby loves Jason, too.

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