The Otts Take Boston: A Family Adventure in Beantown

This summer we decided to get going on our list of places our family wants to vacation before the kids are grown and gone. Because we have a puppy this year, we knew we couldn’t tackle any of the bigger, longer trips on the list, which left some of the cities that felt manageable in 5 days. Because neither of us had ever been, and it was starting to feel stupid that it was so easy to get to and...


Inspired to Travel: How Babies Ruin All the Fun

Our kids had an extra long summer this year because of construction at their school. The summer previous had been a disaster of togetherness—we had just moved and the boxes and lack of neighborhood friends or area activities combined to make me practically shove them on the bus on the first day at their new school. “Have fun, make friends, and don’t come back for at least 7 hours!” we...


A Midsummer with Big Kids

We are in the thick of summer, and it’s going much better than last year. Last June, we had moved to a new town and knew no one and nothing. I thought we’d spend the summer finding kids, meeting neighbors, establishing roots, settling in. I thought summer would be a great time to move, to give that extra few months to make it feel like home. But when pull a picture from my memory file from...


We Represent the Lullaby League from the Bathroom Floor

When you learn about Shakespeare, one of the first things they teach you is how to easily distinguish between a comedy and a tragedy. In order to entertain, both may have jokes or moments that pull at your tears, but the easiest way to distinguish is to stick around to the end. In comedies, the main characters live. In tragedies, they don’t. In high school, I loved theater. I had done...


Organize Your Garbage: In which I Am Done with Social Media Nonsense

Can we say, “enough already”? Is it time? I thought this when I opened my email this morning to find an article called “10 Garage Organization Ideas That Will Change Your Life.” If having a Pinterest worthy garage “changes my life,” my life must suck. Either that, or I’ve entirely lost a grip on reality. Either the garage that holds all my outside stuff and tools just fine, thank you...


The Puppy Monster: In Which a Yeti is Invited to Live with Us

Last year at Disney, one of our favorite rides was Everest. On the ride, you wind around a mountain chased by a Yeti. We affectionately called the ride Yeti, and decided it would make a great dog name. We just needed a dog to go with it. Vivvi and husband Wally had been pining for a dog ever since our golden retriever passed a few years ago. Wally Ben had enjoyed the break—even though he was...


The Soccer Mom: Notes from the Sidelines

We are driving to my son’s soccer game, and my husband eyes him in the rearview mirror. “How many goals are you going to score today?” he asks. He is doing what has become a bit of a pre-game motivating ritual. Usually the answer is bursting from Wally Ben’s lips before the question is done being asked. “2!” he might say. Or on an especially exciting day, maybe when breakfast has...


Let’s Talk about Sex, Babies. About Giving My 6 and 9 Year Olds the Talk

The phone call came in at around 7:45AM. I had just seen my babies off on the bus from my usual spot—a couch in our living room placed in the perfect position to see the corner across the street where they are picked up every day. I usually grab my coffee, sit there, and wave when required (because for some reason, me sitting in a room in my 1st grader’s sight-range makes me a celebrity who...


A Very Ott Merry Christmas: Christmas Dubsmash 2018

  What better way to share Christmas joy than to lipsync it for all to hear? The diva is back, and a new divo (is this the masculine for diva??) is in the house. Wally is up to his elf antics again, and, let’s face it, I am just a little too intense about it all. Add some Ralphie and a few sugar plums, and, well…Merry merry to you and yours! Tell us your favorites, because...


Permission to Play: On my personal best lip sync performance of all time.

I was working at my desk and humming along to the music that was playing from my computer speakers. The music was background, calming, and atmosphere-setting, carrying me along through my work like I was riding a raft along a river on a sunny day. I realized, though, that the song I was listening to and now singing along to full blast was more like rapids—each long note like it’s own waterfall...