The Blizzard of 2016 in Emojis

by Abby on January 27, 2016

Surprised EmojiYou may have heard we got some snow here in the Baltimore area. Up to 30 inches, to be precise. But on Friday when they cancelled school I was confused. Because there wasn’t any snow. Yet. So I cleaned my house and invited the neighbors over. Fun!

By Friday evening the snow was falling fast, and by the time we woke up on Saturday it looked like this:

Lots o' snow

Pleased EmojiBut I was happy because we were all warm and cozy and safe inside. I made soup, we ventured out to another neighbor’s house, I snuggled their baby, all was well.

Baby snuggles

Happy emojiOn Sunday, the sun came out and everybody went out to play. Whee! Sledding and sliding and snowballs, oh my! Our neighbors are the best. Everyone was helping each other dig out, sharing homemade baked goods, taking turns watching the kids. That snow sure was heavy to shovel, though. My aching back reminded me the next morning…

Night sledding

Disappointed emoji

I knew schools would be closed on Monday. No big deal. Everyone was still snowed in, anyway. There was still some of that festive blizzard feeling in the air. We were starting to run low on food, though. No eggs, OJ, or bread, sorry kids! Also, my foyer looked like this and the dryer and dishwasher were running around the clock. Thank goodness we didn’t lose power!

Messy foyer

Bummed EmojiBy Tuesday, I was starting to go stir-crazy and the kids were getting on my nerves big time. You just ATE. You can’t be hungry AGAIN! I don’t CARE who hit who first! Can you please stop touching each other and especially me?! I happened to read an article about people in Minn. having “cuddle parties.” Instead of finding this creepy I actually found it hilarious because it is the EXACT OPPOSITE of my life at the moment. I can’t get AWAY from the cuddlers. (Amiright, Sarah Bagley?) They sneak into my bed, steal my blankets, even sneak under my desk when I’m trying to work. Did I mention I still have to work? Because my deadlines were not delayed due to inclement weather. And it’s very hard to concentrate with people barging in and out of your office and demanding snacks constantly. Ah, work-at-home mom life.

Version 2

Throughout all this, I managed to (somewhat) maintain my exercise routine by running on the treadmill in our basement and kept up with my (very short) morning meditation practice amidst the laundry piles. You know how I know that these things actually make a difference? Because it took me until today (Wednesday) to finally lose my mind. In the past I probably would’ve lost it by Sunday. So there you go: progress!!

But if they cancel school again tomorrow, I will be like: Crying Emoji


‘You Might as Well Dance’

by Abby on January 14, 2016

My last living grandparent passed away last weekend, just a couple of weeks after he celebrated his 103rd birthday. I’ve written about my grandfather before. He was a great storyteller. One of my favorites was about the time he ran away from summer camp and supported his solo adventures by entering and winning dance contests. His specialty was the Charleston. I can’t remember if I ever saw him demonstrate this talent. It’s a very athletic dance—just look at all those kicks and knee-bends!

My children never got the opportunity to meet my grandfather, but the news of his passing still made them sad. Or maybe they were simply sad because I was sad. I’ve gotten better about talking to my kids about death, but it’s never easy. The 9yo silently contemplated his own mortality, while the 6yo skipped off to put together this memorial, with a Minions picture frame from his room and some branches from the yard:

memorial to my grandfather

By the end of the day, I was feeling cooped up and emotionally depleted. I needed to get out of the house. I called up our beloved babysitter, who’s watched our kids since they were tiny. She was more than willing to come right over so my husband and I could go out to dinner.

Riley had spent the afternoon researching how to do the Charleston on YouTube and watching “Dancing with the Stars” clips after I’d told the boys about my grandfather’s talents. By the time the sitter arrived, Riley had put together a (somewhat odd) dance costume complete with a “cane” and choreographed his own routine. I don’t know if he’ll win any contests, but the kid’s got heart, I’ll give him that:

Then our babysitter made a shocking revelation: when she was a teen, she too had snuck out of the house against her mother’s wishes, entered and won a dance competition! I was flabbergasted. This sweet, Southern grandmother I’d known for all these years had a wild past! “They announced my name and everything. I felt so important,” she told us, beaming with pride as she recalled her youthful triumph.

That tells you something about the power of storytelling. And dancing. In the span of one day, we’d shared memories of a loved one who was no longer with us, learned something new about an old friend, and inspired a new generation to continue the tradition.

Grampy and me dancing at my wedding

As I was looking for a title for this post, I recalled this quote that fellow blogger Stacey Loscalzo illustrated so beautifully with this photo.

“Let us read, and let us dance; these two amusements will never do any harm to the world.”

I also found these:

“We should consider every day lost on which we have not danced at least once.”
Friedrich Nietzsche

“You look ridiculous if you dance
You look ridiculous if you don’t dance
So you might as well dance.”
Gertrude Stein, Three Lives


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January 6, 2016

I don’t buy many hardback books, let alone the week they come out, not because I don’t like to support authors but mostly because my shelf-space is already overcrowded with the entire Captain Underpants series and a perplexing number of nonfiction books about LEGOs. And also, because I don’t usually re-read books after I’ve read […]

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My Year of Saying Yes

December 29, 2015

Typically, women are told we need to learn how to say no. We do too much, take on too many things. We feel guilty if we don’t, and resentful when we do. Having just run through the holiday party/cookie exchange/teacher gift/charity giving gauntlet, I can certainly understand the importance of saying no. It’s just SO […]

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What’s Your Holiday Face Look Like?

December 14, 2015

Sure, sure, the holidays are the happiest time of the year. For SOME of us, anyway. I mean, when you’re a kid, what’s not to like? There’s candy! And cookies! And presents! Who cares about cavities or credit card bills when you’re a kid? Also, all the presents you ask Santa for are FREE, didn’t […]

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A Thanksgiving to Remember

November 30, 2015

“We’re going to South Carolina for Thanksgiving!” I announced to my surprised but willing family. I’d caught wind that some relatives were gathering at my cousin’s house in Greenville, where he’d recently moved. I hadn’t seen him since his wedding. I thought, “Hmm, I also have this friend in Charleston… might be fun to get […]

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My Superpower

November 18, 2015

I caught the end of an episode of the new “Supergirl” show on CBS the other night. What captured my interest – besides a female superhero, yay! – was Calista Flockhart, who plays fierce media mogul Cat Grant. Ally McBeal is back on TV! Looking as good as ever at 50, I might add. I […]

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Flu Shots and Other Things I’m Bitter About

November 4, 2015

I opted out of school photos this year. I KNOW. I’m such a rebel! Every year, I get guilted into it, thinking, what kind of mother am I if I don’t participate in this timeless childhood tradition and capture every single one of my little ones’ school years with dozens of identical, retro-looking staged photos? […]

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Are We Over Halloween?

October 28, 2015

I have complicated feelings about Halloween. I’m not a fan of the scary stuff or the sugar overload. I mean, I like mini Butterfingers as much as the next gal, but I could do without the fake bloody body parts and 5 lbs. of jumbo Tootsie Rolls. But Halloween is such a big deal when […]

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Micro Home Makeovers and Mouthy Kids

October 20, 2015

How could I not have noticed it before? This glaring eyesore on my kitchen wall? But there it was, plain as day: the switch-plate behind the stove was yellowed, dusty, and splattered with food. Gross! I went to the drawer where I keep various odds and ends and lo and behold, there was a brand-new […]

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