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The Family that Exercises Together Stays Together

When everything shut down due to mandatory social distancing back in March of 2020, I had to find something to do with my active family. We were used to leaving the house every day for one activity or another, but when the libraries, parks, and extracurriculars all closed down for an indeterminate amount of time, we took to the trail. Walking, running and hiking became the one ways our family was able to get out of the house safely. At that time, my kids were nine, two, and nine-months-old. I bought a double stroller so we could all spend time outside exercising together, and we started to frequent the rail trail in our town every afternoon. The double stroller was perfect because the 9-month-old couldn't walk/run yet, and the two-year-old could move as much as she wanted, and then when she got tired she could hop in and be pushed. My oldest proved to be quite the athlete, and often outran me! Being able to be on the trail allowed us a healthy outlet for our cooped up and stressed-
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Why Kids Need Pets

My chickens were my first babies. W e have had chickens since before any of my children were born. I'd always dreamed of farm fresh eggs from backyard hens, and when my husband surprised me one day with a small coop and four chickens, I was elated.  Our family began soon after, and when my daughter was just one week old, we had her out in the yard meeting the chickens. Then when she was old enough to be mobile, she learned how to walk by chasing them around the yard. Those chickens were her first friends, and important members of our family. I know the usual household pets are dogs, cats, maybe a hampster, but the chickens have taught my children so much. They've learned responsibility and care of others, as it is their job to feed, water, and collect the eggs each day. They've also learned appreciation for the life cycle and for other beings.  I love chickens so much because they give the gift of an egg each day! Cats and dogs only gift you with poop you have to pick up! N

Is 5 Little Monkeys Racist?

I’ve seen a lot of Tik Toks debunking children’s nursery rhymes lately. I have two toddlers, so now whenever I hear one of those rhymes, I think about their unsavory origins. But my son loves, loves Five Little Monkeys. He’s just learning to talk, and can almost say it by himself. I’ve thought about telling him to stop singing it since I learned in the original lyrics it’s not monkeys jumping on the bed, but he just gets so much joy from singing it as he jumps up and falls down, I thought... no harm, no foul, right? As long as he thinks the song is about monkeys, it’s ok.  Until my niece came over one day, and the three toddlers were playing on an old mattress we have on the living room floor for them to jump around on. My son asked me to sing 5 Little Monkeys. At first it was cute, because they literally were jumping on the bed, but then I took a good look at the three of them.  My kids are half-Guatemalan but very fair, like I am. Whereas my niece is half-black, and her skin happens

The Story of Our Rainbow Babies

  My pregnancy with my daughter was a miracle.  In 2015, a month after my husband and I began trying, I got pregnant. We were overjoyed and immediately began picturing our new life with a child. Since it was my first pregnancy, I had no idea the risks or complications that were possible, and at that time I didn’t know that 20% of pregnancies end in miscarriage, nor did I ever imagine I would soon be a statistic. But when I started bleeding at 6-weeks pregnant, I knew immediately something was gravely wrong. It took the doctors over two weeks to determine that I had an ectopic pregnancy, and by that time the pregnancy had progressed so far, the course of action had to be surgery. The day before my 29th birthday became the worst day of my life, when I lost both my baby and my left fallopian tube.  As soon as I had recovered from the surgery and with the doctor’s approval, we began trying to get pregnant again, but to no avail. Getting pregnant became my daily hope and prayer, but days tu

A Homage to Homemade Macaroni and Cheese

Neither cinnamon nor cumin, peppermint nor paprika, were scents often smelt in my kitchen growing up. My mom was never a culinary caper — she worked full-time for most of my childhood — but mostly it was because cooking was something she never really learned how to do. “ I just don ’ t know how to season, ” she says. Mom was the product of a single-parent household, back when the Beaver family was still a model home, but microwave dinners were first en vogue. Her widowed mother worked full-time, so ensuring there was food to eat was more important to her than the preparation, and extravagant cooking for just the two of them was unrealistic. Grandma was the product of the depression, where children were taught to eat what they were served and commodities like eggs and butter and milk were treated like delicacies. It is not surprising that when my mother became the head of the household, homemade cooking was not a priority. It is our family joke that when my sister was a baby, she though

Our Family Motto

Our family motto is Growing is hard, and that’s okay. I’ve had it plastered to our fridge since we got married and bought a house in the same weekend in October 2014, and I’ve used it in my ESL classroom since 2011, when I first read Carol Dwek and learned about the idea of a growth mindset. I’m an ESL teacher and I used to start every school year with an inspiration speech to my students. I’d tell them to expect my class to be hard, because it would be a waste of time if it were easy. And that’s how I came up with growing is hard and that’s okay.   Right around that time, a friend of mine posted a photo on Instagram of new life emerging in northern Chile months after a 24-hour flash floor buried seemingly everything in mud. It’s one lone flower poking up between dry, cracked earth and when I saw it, I knew it was the perfect depiction of my motto.    My life motto became our family motto when we started our family in 2014. It is elementary in its simplicity, but that simple phrase re

What I Learned as a Parent during the Pandemic

  Before the mandatory social distance quarantine, our lives were the sum of our activities. Soccer practice and games, mommy and me playgroups, storytime at the public library, trips or the grocery story or the mall, manicures and pedicures and dinner reservations with friends. I had taken a year-long unpaid maternity leave from work to be home with my newborn son and toddler daughter, and we literally went out every single morning for an adventure, so that my daughter would fall asleep on the way home and that would commence nap time.  Once the pandemic hit and all that was immediately stripped away, it felt like my life had lost its meaning. All the days were the same and blended together, passing in a blur of endless zoom classes for my third-grader, cooking breakfast/lunch/dinner for my family of five, and so much cleaning up the messes everyone was making stuck at home! But what I learned from the pandemic was how to slow down and enjoy these moments as a mom. Since we couldn’t g