Honeymoon, interrupted

If you met me today, you might take me for a typical minivan-driving Berkeley mom. And I am. But I’m also full of stories. And dreams. Let me start with one of each from ten years ago.

The first date with my future-husband, Alec, was a long one. Four hours in, we were exchanging personal travel stories like trading cards over milkshakes. Alec had been to Kenya and me to Turkey; he had been to Honduras and me to Thailand; he had been to Australia and me to the Czech Republic. We both had been to parts of Western Europe. We unknowingly laid the foundation for our own big journey together.

A year after our first date, I bought a big map. Alec and I circled places on it that we wanted to go. That same map hangs above my oldest son’s homework desk and some of the markings are still visible. Once the circles started to obscure the countries with too many highlights to visit in a year, I made a plan. I took charge and whittled our dream trip down to a manageable six-month round-the-world plane ticket with eight major stopovers plus trains, buses, boats, and cars to get us the rest of the way.

In hindsight, I can’t imagine it any other way, but the trip planning preceded any mention of a wedding. And then we got engaged, so decided to turn the adventure-trip into a honeymoon, making a handshake agreement to also leave the country every year of our marriage. (more…)

Activity #51: Meet your friends out for errands

Shopping is more fun with a friend #rookiemoms challenge

Go on, it’s semi-social, you can bring your baby or toddler, and you can Get Things Done (or GTD in Internet language. Seriously.) Meeting a friend out for shopping is your 51st Rookie Mom challenge! Not ready yet? Pick another challenge. When our firstborns were too little to know the difference between Target and the Children’s Museum, […]

Tutorial: How to make cozy pajama bottoms

By Christmas morning, my two big kiddos had matching plaid flannel pj bottoms, so I would like to say “Booyah!” or “Mission Accomplished”, depending on if I’m in a sporty mood (RIP Stuart Scott) or a geeky political mood. But I’d be lying if I didn’t confess there were a few hiccups along the way […]

Big girl room: Gold polka dot wall decals

Gold dot wall decals from Land of Nod

A peek at the new paint job in Scarlett’s bedroom. My daughter’s bedroom was last painted 11 years ago when I was expecting her older brother, my first baby. I didn’t know what gender he would be, so I painted the room a light green, with a unique accent wall featuring thick circus stripes behind […]

Activity #124: Make ‘em tap


When fellow parenting blogger and amateur fashion designer Mike posted about tap dancing with his daughter Emme, I knew Julian and I had to try it. Mike gives Charlene credit, and she gives someone else credit, but it doesn’t really matter as long as Julian gives ME credit for the idea of taping quarters to […]