I’m thoroughly enjoying Mary Roach’s most recent book, Packing for Mars. I am a huge fan of her quirky, humorous take on science writing — she makes everything more interesting and at times, just downright hilarious. This one is about space exploration and the bizarre things that happen to human beings who have made the amazing adventure. One interesting fact: did you know that on top of all the crazy qualifications to becoming an astronaut, among them are personal traits that you may have no control over? For example, if you snore or have bad breath, you will not qualify for space travel. Which makes sense — think of the close quarters with which they must share their lives for months on end — bad breath would be enough to literally drive your partner crazy.

Among other explorations in the book — the effects of isolation and inactivity, the tricky problem of waste elimination (poop, people), and what to do if you vomit in your helmet while on a spacewalk? I can hardly put this book down.


The next book is a recommendation from Milo and Oliver: Greek Myths for Young Children, by Marcia Williams. Although, I will venture to say that no Greek Myths are really for young children — those stories are so brutal! Consider yourself warned: there’s plenty of death and jealousy, suicide and vanity, and just all things intense. But that’s probably why Milo and Oliver love this book. It’s presented in comic book form, with strips of action to follow along with the storyline. DSC_0012DSC_0014DSC_0001DSC_0003Oliver has been intently studying every page, every day for the past two weeks. When I told him it was due at the library soon, he openly cried. So, of course, I renewed it. We may have to buy this one!

Dress That Mama


Oh, drat. You know that New Year’s resolution to add a bit more interest to my wardrobe? Well, yeah. That hasn’t really happened yet. In fact, if I’m being completely honest here, lately I’ve been dressing more and more like a guy — relaxed jeans, denim shirt, gray men’s scarf, and lace-up flat boots. This has been my January uniform.


Some days I feel most comfortable blending into the background— disappearing into a nameless, genderless, quiet being reading pop science in the corner of the coffee shop. Isn’t that what it comes to during the winter months?

Have a quiet, relaxing Wednesday.

Weekend Shenanigans


Saturday morning started with one thing going wrong after another. I awoke in a foul mood and no matter how I tried to shake it, the little things kept building and building — Emil disappearing to make messes upstairs instead of getting dressed, coming downstairs with a t-shirt and completely naked otherwise while Oliver and Milo wrestled and squealed near the front door, seemingly deaf to my polite requests to get out the front door. The dog threw up on the floor while I packed apple slices and yogurt and cold pizza into the lunch bag and Emil returned downstairs with a t-shirt and one sock on, completely naked otherwise. Coffee helped, but the entire cup of hot chocolate dropped right outside the door onto the sidewalk did not. Nearly running out of gas and hoping we were heading in the right direction, hoping not to be stranded on the side of a country road at 8:30am with Andrew out of town while Oliver whined about how he wanted to go to the playground, not to the nature reserve… none of that helped.

But 40 minutes later, fresh cool air and warm sunshine, fields of golden grass and ponds of shining ice surrounded us and the entire morning took a pleasant turn for the better. Like magic.


We were the first people there, racing across fields to the iced-over pond, ice-skating on a puddle and trying to break the pond ice with larger and larger stones thrown high into the air across the pond. The sun grew warmer and warmer until we no longer had to continue moving to keep warm. DSC_0044DSC_0061DSC_0063DSC_0065DSC_0069DSC_0074DSC_0080DSC_0082

We wandered and explored for hours, bird-watching and crossing logs and climbing, running, jumping, and building. DSC_0084DSC_0100DSC_0103DSC_0108DSC_0110DSC_0114DSC_0141DSC_0152DSC_0157DSC_0164DSC_0166DSC_0170DSC_0188DSC_0172

We met a wild turkey and collected feathers. We ate snacks and headed back down to the ice, and I found a seat on a sun-warmed stone near the boys when they found their task: making an “ice factory” by breaking up the thick chunks of ice with a long strong stick, passing the chunk to the next brother by sliding it across the icy pond, then passing it on the the brother closest to shore, who would pick up the ice and carry each chunk to the collecting stone, where the pile grew and grew until the factory’s business was booming.


This was the point when I was very aware of the push to keep moving. There was a lot we had yet to see in the reserve, yet it was clear how engaged and happy the boys were to stay and continue their game. I kept my mouth closed and tried to blend into the background so they could stay and continue on, letting the sun warm my face and just enjoying the beauty of the day. It was so wonderful. DSC_0124And it wasn’t until two hours later, when Emil accidentally stepped right into the icy water up to his knee that we had to move on, but this time content and absolutely nature-high from our much-needed time outside. On the drive home, with windows cracked and country-air flowing into the van, from the back, “Mama, this was the best day of my life.”

Happy Friday!


Hope you have some good plans (even if they include simply relaxing) this weekend! I’m planning to fully enjoy every minute of Saturday outdoors — it’s supposed to get up to 54 here in St. Louis! Also looking forward to having the boys home on Monday and spending some time with a friend and her girls.

Totally unrelated, but wanted to share — my grandfather is about to turn 98 years old! He has been eating an avocado every day for years now… I’m convinced he’s onto something, so I’m trying to get on board. This week I had avocado on toast with sea salt and crushed red pepper and it was so satisfying (and delicious).

Also on my mind, this article by the Post on a highly thoughtful couple of parents who found themselves being investigated for child neglect for letting their children walk home from the local playground. Definitely worth a read.

Have a wonderful weekend!