My New Plan to Kill the To Do List

My parents and in-laws occasionally take the kids for a few days so that we can, well, not have our kids for a few days. When this happens, I do crazy things like watch HBO at 8 am, and grocery shop without scolding, and yell across the house “Do you want ice cream?” at some moment after 8 pm. So to translate, if you are in your pre-child, DINK, or adult children phase of...


The 5 Kids You Meet at Kindergarten Drop Off

It’s that time of year—herds of tearful parents, armed with cameras phones, will soon be shepherding their 4-foot-tall humans to the doors of a school that the kids will remember forever as bigger than life itself. It seems like only yesterday that they donned preschool cardboard graduation caps and celebrated the successful learning of their ABCs without biting, spitting, or mooning the...


The Sacrifice of Motherhood: Where I am a Phoenix, and Then I Choke on Black Beans

Last spring, we had super fun at an improv show. One of the castmembers was Kristin Wigg-ish, with characters that totally cracked us to pieces. She was around 20 weeks pregnant and doing improv, which is an incredible feat considering the ability of a fetus to drink up all your brain power, with wit being among the pre-brain dinner cocktails—one of the first things to go. A few days afterward...


5 Tips for Pretend Play: A Survivor's Guide

I am gathering the last few things we need for the morning of errands—snacks, water, a sucker for a bribe—and my daughter, slight pixie fairy surfer girl with her sweet, sweet curls hanging down her back wearing a full Spiderman suit makes herself as tall as possible (up to my waist) and stands in my path. “Can we play Beanie Boos?” she asks, her already high bubble voice...


When Caterpillars Become Butterflies: That Time We Mail-Ordered Bugs

Every time a kid’s birthday party approaches, my sister-in-law LizE asks what they would like, and usually I instruct, “You just do you.” Because she just happens to be the best gift giver on the planet. When my kids were babies, I suspected this was because of her career as an occupational therapist, where she helps kids develop their motor and fine motor skills. Because of...


Go Big or Go Home: Some Thoughts about Family Identity

A few years ago, we got the family together to go to a Slugs and Bugs Concert for kids at our church. The Slugs and Bugs guy was a writer for VeggieTales, and now he goes around singing concerts for kids with cute, catchy tunes and moves. It was one of those events where beforehand, you picture your kids enraptured, zoned into the music, maybe dancing in the aisles and glancing over at you with...


Adventures in Nervous Twitches: Wally Takes the Stage

Last week I got a text from the Children’s Pastor at our church. He was presenting a children’s sermon at church that Sunday and wanted to interview a few kids during it. He wanted to know if Wally could be one of the kids. Wally would just have to answer a few questions about an experience he had setting up pads for the PADS ministry at our church. I read the text over and took a...


9 Reasons Why I Know We Are Done Having Kids

We have two kids: one boy and one girl. After one kid, my body bounced back to nearly pre-child conditions. After my second, it was similar, except one thing. Where I used to gain all my weight in my cheeks and hips, I now gain all my weight in my uterus. So I am constantly walking around looking like I am just about to make a big announcement. I never wanted to be, but I am now one of those...


Advent Series: On Joy, and the Meet the Otts Family Christmas Card 2015

The Otts are huge fans of Christmas. We are carols-in-early-November sort of people. We are tree-up-before-Thanksgiving crazies. We are Christmas-movie-watching, time-off-work-taking, family-party-going, cookie-and-hot-chocolate-with candy cane devouring elves. I mean it about the family parties—this year we have 6 days in a row of family Christmas parties, and we look forward to it all. Read...


Advent Series: Peace, or Thoughts Inspired by Kung Fu Panda

A few months ago, out of the blue, Wally Ben said, “Mom, what’s inner peace?” “Did you hear about that in Sunday School?” I answered. “No, Mom. Kung Fu Panda!” I don’t know exactly how to describe inner peace, maybe because I don’t often feel it myself. I am constantly thinking hard about something, working out the world’s and the...