Our revolutionary, best-selling parenting book: How Not to Get Eaten Alive

My husband and I are currently in what we refer to as “the good years” of parenting. At ages 8 and 10 our little cherubs are becoming self-sufficient, funny, great travelers and are often downright delightful. Though life certainly isn’t perfect, we’re holding fast to these fleeting  moments because we know the granddaddy of them all will soon be upon us: teenagers.  Sure, we’re seeing hormonal, irrational glimpses of our future but as of yet, they’re nothing compared to the toddler years. I remember shortly after my daughter Hadley turned 3 she went through a phrase I called The Tyrant. When I offered suggestions for a snack, I braced myself for the unleashing of how dare I even suggest something so unthinkable as apples. When I pretended to t...

Dance Mom Fails and Dreaming the Impossible Dream

One of the most rewarding parts of parenthood is seeing your children wade through the wall of clutter to discover their talents and passions. We tried it all–soccer, gymnastics, swim team and upside-down basket weaving. She had marginal successes but there was one activity that was a complete flop: dancing. You see, my daughter Hadley has inherited my lack of rhythm. Instead, she has a raw, aggressive athleticism that makes her adept at climbing mountains, careening down a ski slope, scaling large buildings and reducing her competition to tears at any sign of weakness. When she was three years old, she had her first – and last – dance recital. We invited the entire family out for the occasion, an event we knew would go down as yet one more painful chapter in the Johnson ...

Date night: a comparison of before and after kids

My husband and I waited for our dinner and had a glass of wine. After a few bits and pieces of conversation, he whispered to me: “Look at those people. They’re here with their kids, it’s so late.” It was 8:30 in the evening.

Baking with Altitude: A Fluffy Obsession

I know thin has always been in but, when it comes to cookies, I want them fat and fluffy. Baking at a higher altitude has complicated that for me. Since moving to Colorado, things are happening that high school chemistry didn’t prepare me for. I’ve had cookies so crumbly that they were barely being held together by a wish and a dream. Sure, I’ve tried adjusting ingredients. I’ve added, subtracted, multiplied, and divided, but my cookies are never fluffy.   I shouldn’t need to understand the restrictions of mass and external forces required for space exploration. These are cookies. At the same time, I feel like I’m in chemistry class all again trying to figure out what ingredients and how many to replace before something explodes in my oven.   It’s become an obsession ...

New Year resolutions: resolving to realistically resolute for 2015

I’ve never been good at New Year resolutions because I never follow through. So, an effective resolution for me would be to make a list of things I’ll never get around to doing. Only then would I ever succeed.

Deck the Halls With Hopeless Holiday Photos

I stood looking at the holiday photos of my friend’s children. They were sitting still with perfect smiles. Not a single hair was out of place. Their clothes were on. I wondered how they did that. Maybe the children in the photo weren’t real.

Thankful Things for Thanksgiving

It’s that time of year again where we all declare what we’re thankful for. And though most of us will stop along the year to reflect on things or moments, it’s this time of year that really brings the giving and goodness out in people. Unless, of course, you’re shopping during any Black Friday sales. Then, it’s every person for themselves.

Trunk or Treat FAIL

Last year I took my kids to a Trunk-or-Treat at a nearby high school. The event had been advertised for almost a month and promised treats, fun and games. I naturally assumed it would be a good fit for my two-year-old. A nice introduction to understanding the rewards for having to wear itchy ladybug antennae. For those of you unfamiliar with Trunk-or-Treating, it’s exactly what it sounds like: Going from car to car to get candy. Where your biggest disappointment is how many accidental lug nuts end up in your child’s goodie bag. It’s supposed to be a one-stop-shop for Halloween carnival and trick-or-treating. This Trunk-or-Treat had none of those things, unless you consider rain, cold and no indoor backup plan part of fun and games. It, for a lack of a better term, sucked. So, to those high...

Preschool: A Transition from ABC to X+Y=Z

Preschool started for us a couple weeks ago. By “us,” I mean my kids started school—obviously I’m not in preschool. If I was, it wouldn’t be so bad. Because it’s preschool. Right now, school is all about rules and boundaries and fine motor skills. But, soon it’ll be about geography and geometry, which have no place in our home except for the shape of things. Really, how often do you have to figure out the area of your dining room table mirror?

A potty training descent into hell and the realization I am not above bribing a mouse

I could write volumes upon volumes of books about potty training the most stubborn kid on the planet. I’m a few years removed from the trauma but believe me,  it was bad. As in we-went-to-seminars-at-the-Colorado-Children’s-Hospital-and-later-to-a-specialist kind of bad. (Read about our descent into hell here). My friend’s recent announcement of how thrilled she was her son was finally potty trained and she only had one in diapers brought back my potty-training-induced anxiety attacks. I would rather sludge through a thousand hours of homework than go back to those dark, dark days. But it wasn’t always dark. In fact, in the beginning potty training was a rather hopeful activity. Sure, we had some failed jump-starts where my daughter demonstrated she was perfect...

10 Silly Rules My Kids Follow For the Sandbox

My children both have a very odd way of interacting with their sandbox. I’m not sure if this is something they’ve discussed behind closed doors, or how each of them came to behave exactly the same around it. There’s clearly a set of predetermined rules they both follow:

Kids: You Say You Want a Revolution?

I’m beginning to understand why ideas and education are the first things to be controlled in oppressive regimes. Education leads to…thoughts. Ideas. Connections. Expression. Discussion. And yes, Revolution. I, being the Head Mama around here, am in a position of Exalted and Sovereignly Great Dictator. Especially when the playroom and bedrooms look like they’ve been ransacked by a bunch of gremlins with a penchant for making cardboard box civilizations and scattering the contents of every toy container to the four corners. Today is particularly oppressive for the kids, as I am leaving to take care of some business for a few days, and Head Daddy is large and in charge when I’m gone. He needs a clean and tidy house like I need Dove Chocolate and Cherry Coke. I have them on a...

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