Our family lullabies


{Mag’s constellation globe night-light from Land of Nod}

I’ve sung lullabies to both my kids since they were newborn babies. Now they’re 8 1/2 going on 13 and 5 going on 6, but they still ask for songs every night. “Two songs, mommy,” they say like they’re ordering up two meatball subs. I have a terrible singing voice but they don’t seem to mind.

Greta loves Lullaby by Billy Joel (she calls it “Goodnight My Angel”) and Magnus always asks for Hit the Road to Dreamland (he calls it “the Land of Nod song.”)

Here are some of our other favorites:

  • World’s Greatest by R. Kelly (and covered by Will Oldham)
  • Golden Slumbers by The Beatles
  • In My Life by The Beatles
  • Blackbird by The Beatles
  • You’ve Got a Friend by Carole King
  • Harvest Moon by Neil Young
  • Unknown Legend by Neil Young
  • Baby Mine by Alison Kraus
  • Hush, Little Baby
  • All Night, All Day
  • Twinkle Twinkle Little Star
  • Earth Angel, usually followed by Soldier Boy (a ’50s theme!)
  • The first verse of Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall (I can’t remember the lyrics after that)
  • Beautiful Boy by John Lennon
  • Que Sera Sera by Doris Day
  • Rockabilly Lullaby (Rest My Little Mermaid) from The Backyardigans
  • Angel Dream (No. 4) by Tom Petty
  • (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman by Aretha Franklin (Greta likes when I do the ‘bah-OOP’s)
  • Silent Night
  • The River by Joni Mitchell

Big yawns ensue (usually mine).



I have that awful feeling you get after you eat a gross, cobbled-together dinner you weren’t really hungry for but ate anyway because it was dinnertime.

It usually involves microwaved leftovers dipped in salad dressing.

And now I’m simultaneously stuffed and dissatisfied as I troll online for things to make for dinner tomorrow night, New Year’s Eve. I would love to be the mom that makes Julia Moskin’s easy homemade marinara instead of popping open a jar. Or the fabulous wife that whips up Sam Sifton’s Butter Chicken on weeknights. I printed both recipes from the New York Times’ Cooking section. But something tells me that’s as far as it will go.

In happier news, my kids opened a restaurant in our basement. It’s called FoodGym. Here are the menus:

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The beef jerky is lovely with a can of Sierra Mist.

Mag’s collage art gallery

All this week, when he’s not playing backyard football or Supermario, Magnus has been making these collage art thingy-s at the kitchen counter. Completely unprompted and unhelped by me, he thinks up what he wants to make, cuts it, colors it, and tapes it (I’ve gone through yards of Scotch tape this week). I’m so proud of him.

May I present… Mag’s art gallery:


{Frankenstein, his 1st creation… love the little bolts for ears]




{gumball machine}


{wine bottle}






{cheese pizza and water}


{a little boy}




{football player}



Stay-at-home mom-cation

This morning at 7 a.m., Greta let me know her homework was to decorate a pumpkin to look like a book character. The project is due today. (Mom, remember when I told you one rainy Wednesday evening after you got off work that my grave rubbing project was due the next day? Cut to us huddled in a cemetery at a stranger’s headstone with an umbrella, a towel, a pencil and paper…)

Although I’m not proud that I didn’t inspect her homework assignments until Monday morning, I AM proud that we pulled together a pretty cool looking witch-pumpkin from the book Twisted Sisters in time to catch the bus.

Just one of the two feats I was able to pull off this morning during my “stay-at-home mom-cation” this week, i.e., I’m off work and playing stay at home mom for the week, something I like to do once a year.

If you’re wondering, the other feat was to make Magnus a workman’s breakfast of cheesy scrambled eggs and “jammed toast” as he calls it — something I wouldn’t normally have time for during a regular week.

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Requiem for summer

Although we chose not to take a vacation outside of Ohio this year, we still had a really wonderful summer. We caught butterflies, grew tomatoes, drank cucumber cocktails out of Mason jars, snorkeled at the pool, explored the Ohio Historical Center, conquered Cedar Point and Kings Island, went to art camp, climbed trees, grew fairy gardens, made flag cakes with our cousins, ran ultras (way to go Barrak!), roasted marshmallows and started kindergarten and 2nd grade.

Now that it’s a wrap, here are my favorite moments from the summer that was.

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Staycation 2015: The End

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I’ll save you the suspense: It was one wet weekend.


We headed up to Mohican to check into the lodge and get Barrak ready for his race, a 50-mile trail race through Mohican State Park.


The Amish restaurant, Der Dutchman, is right off the exit so we stopped there for lunch. They have great fried chicken and mashed potatoes.

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The Mohican Lodge is charming but it smells a little like a dry cleaners. There’s heavy, hot dampness but it also smells clean. A little creepy and 197os too, like we were staying at the Overlook Hotel…


…right down the street from Crystal Lake.


Barrak shaved himself a Thomas Magnum mustache to get his racing mojo on.


And Magnus got his first pair of water wings since the pool didn’t have life vests or a shallow end.

Highlights of the evening: after swimming in the over-chlorinated indoor pool, we ate deep-dish pizza on the balcony of the lodge’s restaurant, then Greta puked it all up around 10 p.m. while Magnus watched the last 30 minutes of Thelma & Louise. I don’t think anyone got a good night’s sleep thanks to the AC turning off then roaring back to life every 15 minutes.



Barrak got up at 4 a.m., left the room at 5 a.m., and started his race at 6 a.m.

When the kids and I got up a few hours later, it was pouring. Looking out from the balcony, my heart just sank knowing Barrak was out there running it. Turned out he would be running in that rain until after nightfall.

After a disgusting French toast breakfast that tasted like white packing peanuts drizzled with maple syrup, the kids and I checked out of the lodge, paid for Bucky the stuffed animal deer that had been so helpfully placed in our room, and drove over to try to meet Barrak at the half-way point of the race.


The kids waited so patiently for Barrak at the half-way mark aid station. Under a tree. In the rain. We finally got to see him. Due to the conditions–the trails were like chocolate milkshakes–he was behind his usual pace. I was starting to get worried about a twisted ankle or something. By the time he came through, the kids and I were soaked. I thought he might decide to throw in the towel but he decided to keep going.

After seeing Barrak, we estimated we had another 6 hours to kill, at least. So we toured nearby Malabar Farms, which is the estate once owned by Louis Bromfield, a novelist, screenwriter and farmer. The big claim to fame is that Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall got married in the Big House on the property. The house is preserved with all the furniture, artwork, books, etc. from the ’40s. Greta thought it was neat. Magnus thought it was BORING. I was just proud of myself for finding the damn place.

After that, we went back to the lodge, had lunch, ran into a co-worker in the ladies room (so random!) and hit the indoor pool again (there’s a sauna!)


Finally at 8 p.m. Barrak finished his first 50-miler. The kids ran out to him and crossed the finish line with him. Aside from severe chafing and an iffy toenail, he was in good shape and eager to “get the fuck out of here.” He was just done. So were we.


We celebrated Father’s Day back at home and enjoyed the simple pleasure of wearing dry clothes and having dry hair. And the second season of True Detective premiered. It’s gonna be a good summer.