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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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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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Jewels and Junkies in British Columbia


Our trip to Canada was not all mountain wilderness.  We were lucky enough to see two great Canadian cities as well, Vancouver and Victoria.  After living amongst the pines for several months, they were the perfect injection of skyscrapers and pedestrians to satisfy our human interaction quota.  Vancouver offered stunning scenery and pop-up-restaurant cool along with a disturbing number of junkies making us wonder where the line between British Columbia and Narcos Colombia was.  Victoria was an absolute gem, plain and simple.  This smaller island city fully delighted and left us scouring real estate listings.

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Encouraging Cozy


Our impromptu spring break trip to Canada took us straight into the romance of the Great White North.  Banff National Park was a peek inside a snow globe that left us truly impressed.

Even for a directionally challenged loon like me there was something off about driving east to reach the great Rocky Mountains; considered Out West when growing up in Michigan.  We drove through never-ending plains of white, past train tracks and tunnels that should have been part of a children’s play set and mountain peaks that looked like Kindergarten renditions of triangle mountains (mad-jestic in JD’s words).

Strangely, I was reminded of Namibia here.  They are alike in their opposite extremes.  There was the same quiet and same sense of smallness that comes from being the only humans for miles.  Although exhilarating, there was also the feeling that we shouldn’t be there, as if we were trespassing on Mother Earth’s hallowed ground.  The land was both too sacred and too brutal for us to cruise though in our temperature-controlled car.

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