• Family Fun,  How To,  I've Got Mad Skillz,  Jim Has Mad Skillz,  We Are An Awesome Couple

    How To Get Started On A DIY Bathroom Renovation In Thirty Easy Steps

    One of the pros of being a fan of DIY is that you can save lots of money. Another pro is that there is a sense of pride and ownership in what you’re doing: it’s a little like sweat equity (Okay, it’s a lot like sweat equity because it IS sweat equity.). One of the cons is that a DIY bathroom renovation can take lots longer than if you hire a professional. We recently got started on our mostly-DIY bathroom renovation and if you were thinking about doing one in your house, here’s how to get started…in thirty easy steps. 1. Buy a house with which you are completely in…

  • I've Got Mad Skillz,  Jim Has Mad Skillz,  We Are An Awesome Couple

    Mr. and Mrs. DIY

    Even though we love to DIY (or would that be DIO*?) around here, we haven’t done much to our house for about four years. There are a couple of good reasons for that: budget and burnout. The burnout happened because we were going gangbusters on home improvements for a few years and then, after being forced to have our foundation repaired because our house was literally cracking up**, we repaired the giant cracks in the walls, repainted half the house, installed crown mouldings and baseboards in the living room and dining room, had our brand-new family room carpeting (which we put in right shortly before we got the foundation repair…

  • I've Got Mad Skillz,  Jim Has Mad Skillz,  My Kids Have Mad Skillz,  Reflections on Parenting

    Pamela Druckerman’s “Bringing Up Bebe” Stirs The Pot On Parenting

    There’s been another dust-up in the news this week, and this time the big story is how great the French are at parenting. I mentioned it briefly in yesterday’s vlog, and I really need to expand on it because parenting and its various styles is a topic for which I have endless passion. (If you have no idea what I’m talking about, click here to read the Wall Street Journal essay/excerpt by Pamela Druckerman, author of “Bringing Up Bebe: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting”.) First, let me give you the disclaimer: I am not ragging on the author OR the book, which I have not read.…

  • Family Fun,  I've Got Mad Skillz,  Jim Has Mad Skillz

    Mission Accomplished.

    When it comes to the stereotypical teenager-parent relationship, it would seem that there is non-stop eye-rolling, sarcasm, and lying on the teens’ part. On the other side of the coin, parents are “supposed to” enjoy embarrassing their teens on a daily basis, intentionally. Jim and I never fed into that. From the time the boys were very little, we have insisted upon mutual respect. MUTUAL respect. When the boys became tweens (11-12 years old) and were influenced a little more by their friends, they both became a little suspicious of us. It seems as though tweens start to talk with their friends about parents’ motives when it comes to everything,…

  • Best Thing Ever,  Blessings,  Jim Has Mad Skillz,  Proud Moments

    Silver.

    This one’s for Jim. The idea that it has been a whole quarter of a century since we got married in that dusty little office of Norfolk, Virginia’s Justice of the Peace is something I am having trouble absorbing. While clearly it makes sense that twenty five years have passed–what with having lived in six homes in three cities, having raised two nearly-grown boys, and seeing just a *hint* of gray hair on both of our heads–at the same time it feels like I have just blinked a couple of times and, well, here we are. When we got married, I had just turned eighteen and you were almost twenty.…

  • Jim Has Mad Skillz,  Pretty Pictures

    Status Checker

    Have you ever posted a status on Facebook in a hurry and without reading it to check it over you close the tab and go on with your day, not realizing that it may have some problems? I have, probably many times, but most recently last night. You see, it was the second night of Hanukkah and Jim and I exchanged gifts. This year we made a pact that I would buy only one gift for him and vice versa. I’ll show you what I got in a moment but first, the Facebook status I posted, which went something like this: “Jim gave me one of the best gifts EVER…

  • Best Thing Ever,  Family Fun,  Food,  I've Got Mad Skillz,  Jim Has Mad Skillz,  My Sister Has Mad Skillz

    Sometimes It’s Best If You Schedule These Things.

    Confession time: over the past year or so (maybe even eighteen months: I’ve lost track!), Jim and I have been in a rut. I never thought it would happen to us, but it did. We used to have plenty of time, and plenty of desire. In fact, on the nights when I didn’t feel like it, he took charge, and vice versa. As of late, our busy schedules and pure exhaustion at the end of the day turned the tides. When we least expected it, something we used to do almost every single day became an afterthought, a rarity. Of course I’m talking about cooking dinner. We used to have…

  • I've Got Mad Skillz,  Jim Has Mad Skillz,  My Kid Has Mad Skillz,  Proud Moments,  Random Thoughts,  Reflections on Parenting

    Transitions, Part One

    Ahh, life. We’re going through all kinds of changes in this house right now. I’m not typically a fan of changes, but I’m learning to roll with them as they come up. The biggest thing happening this week is D’s imminent departure. He’s going back to college on Monday, to begin his sophomore year. When I think about how worried and emotional I was last year, right before he left us for the first time, I smile a little bit. I wish I had known back then, just one tiny little year ago, that even though things were changing, they were staying the same in so many ways. He had…

  • Best Thing Ever,  Favorite Things,  Jim Has Mad Skillz,  My Kids Have Mad Skillz,  Something That Could Change Your Life

    Even *I* Didn’t See The End Of This Post Coming.

    I have been using the same camera since 2005. It’s an Olympus Camedia C-60 Zoom, which I purchased on sale at Office Depot for, I think, approximately $225. If you asked Jim to describe it, he would say, “It’s a brick.” It is indeed chunky (and heavy) for its size, when you compare with what’s available today. I had a little giggle when I googled it a minute ago and found the 2004 review of it on CNET (click here). Oddly, not one user said, “I anticipate this camera to be the best camera I’ve owned in my life so far, and I bet it’ll last me AT LEAST six…

  • Best Thing Ever,  Confessions,  I've Got Mad Skillz,  Jew Stuff,  Jim Has Mad Skillz,  We Are An Awesome Couple

    When Good Stalking Leads To A Great Marriage

    Once a month, our temple’s Friday night services include Birthday and Anniversary blessings. It’s a really great tradition, and there’s something about having the rabbi and cantor give a blessing for the upcoming year (being witnessed by the congregation, of course!) that makes me feel all warm and fuzzy. Jim and I do our best to, as he says, “Go get our blessing” every year, and we did just that two weeks ago. At this part of the service, the rabbi calls all couples who are celebrating a wedding anniversary up to the bimah. As you can imagine, December is not one of the more popular months for weddings, and…