Gleeful Zumba in the Age of Fat Man Bad Tan

Today started with a particularly white home workout: Holiday Zumba set to the Glee Soundtrack. Yes, Virginia, I am a Suburban Mom.

 One day I will sit my daughter down and explain to her that I used to be cool. I’ll pull out the maps and old plane ticket stubs that prove I was once a Traveler – capital T to emphasize pretentiousness. Of course, by virtue of my reliance on the scrapbooks of yesteryear, she’ll quickly see that my decent into Suburban Stereotype has been a steep one. But fear not, my child! For behold I find myself happy in my new Sperry short boot uniform of the ‘burbs.

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A Little Bit of Lazy Does a Baby Good

And so we come to a time of halt. Where there is nowhere to go and nothing to do but face the daily mundane with pure relish. A million disclaimers aside (which collectively reveal my extreme privilege in a time of unprecedented uncertainty – I know my house will still be mine tomorrow, and I know the paycheck will come at the end of at least this month), I am suddenly left with the delicious treat of time.

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Social Distancing in a time of Social Media

interviewing coronavirus

Well hello there, international pandemic and social media influencer, Coronavirus! Sorry, I meant #coronavirus, or #CoronavirusOutbreak – which do you prefer to go by?

[Laughs nervously.] Umm…whatever. Coronavirus, I guess. Coron.

Well then, Coron, thanks for coming on today. You are just everywhere these days. How does it feel to be the most talked about sensation of the year?

Yeah, I never really anticipated this level of hype. I just thought, you know, I’d be just another ignored disease as long as I stayed in Asia and Africa. But then white people picked me up, and things just went wild.

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We Are Obnoxious Parents


If I could give new parents one piece of advice it’d be this: Shut up. In our quest to fulfill the modern perfect parent mold of sportsmanship awards and never-distressed children, we have become our own worst, overhyped, over-gratifying enemies.

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For One Week Only: Fun Boy and the Friendly Friends are Playing in Grand Rapids!


That’s right! Hurry now to check them out before they’re gone. friends foreverAll the way from Vietnam(ish), it’s Fun Boy and the Friendly Friends!

Hip hip hooray, Interweb! Our mates from Vietnam came to visit us! Although several key(wi and American) pals were missing from the mayhem, four of the core corps missioned to Michigan from New Zealand and Vermont. I wondered how they’d changed in the last two years. I wondered how they’d think we’d changed. I wondered how Julia would react to a crowd of crazies all up in her space. And now that they’ve left, I just wonder how long until we meet again.

Two seconds into their visit, it was as if we were just meeting up for regular Friday beers at the new Da Nang bar – which looked strikingly like my suburban home – and were chatting with the newest expat in town – who looked strikingly like my very own Baby Little. We covered the big life events in one rushed summary and then moved on more important topics, like JD’s impressions of a children’s health video, Andrea’s forever love of the hippity hop girls and the overarching question – could Dan fit into my old squirrel suit? With her insatiable happy attitude, Julia joined right in the fun, never questioning why people with strange accents had suddenly moved in. Her love for them was matched only by their love for her and my heart just ‘bout exploded.

True friendships have a superpower to transcend time and distance. While we each have had many new adventures since our last united hoorah, it’s the similarities of who we are at heart that bind us more than tales of fun or mischief. I am reminded once again of the strength human connections can have.

Go well, Fun Boy and the Friendly Friends. And, until next time, stay away from small stairs and bilious students.

Tips for Flying with a Baby

Julia flies

It’s official: my eight-month old has her act together way more than I.

I realized this on our flight to Africa – the world’s second longest commercial flight (really?! Who takes a baby on that?). In the midst of my restless leg syndrome meltdown, I noticed that my baby was the calm, cool, business class flier I was not. I am thoroughly economy grade. While I complained to my much taller, bigger and justifiably more uncomfortable husband that sociopaths must have designed the seating layout, our daughter was the picture of confidence and poise. When I rolled my eyes at the “nervous flier” behind us who screamed during turbulence (and maybe even said “Snakes!” under my breath just to stir the pot, Julia offered a glance of sympathy.

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Six Month Wisdom


Seeing that I am now a full six months into understanding the art of parenting, let me bestow my words of wisdom to all of you:








Finding Time for Time

baby little

Baby Little has changed my concept of time. In just four and a half months Little has transformed from an itty-bitty bundle of newborn into a strong, plump, cherry cheeked full baby. Already her tiny rosebud mouth has grown into a bigger constant smile. The precious little joke face she made as an infant has given way to a newly found belly laugh. The epic stretches she did throughout her first weeks are no longer necessary to make her comfortable. As she’s moved on from certain newborn-isms, she’s discovered ways to move her body and show off with he-man style ab crunches and impressive locked-knee standing. She’s learned to “talk”, forgotten about it while she focused on sitting up, and come back to it recently with new and improved sounds. Each day Little learns something new, does something different and grabs each minute by the horn. She is the poster baby for living in the present.

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Celebrating Words and Kicking Cows


Oh, the joys of feet!  The mystery of words!  The allure of solid food!  Julia London, aka Little, is in a world of wonder.  Little appreciates the, well, little things in life just as Hallmark movies and cross stitch pillows instruct.  Little needs not Smartphone nor interweb when she has her own fingers to admire.  In contrast to the snarky-funny pessimism so prevalent around us (and often perpetrated by us), Little lives pure happiness.

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Eight Pound Person


We humans love tiny. Leprechauns, elves and fairies captivate with all they contain in just a small space.  Makes sense, then, that my most intriguing, most magical new friend is one very little person.

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