Deep thoughts and life lessons from an ant infestation

It’s probably a bad sign when a household ant infestation feels like a metaphor for your life.

A few times a year since we moved into our house, tiny sugar ants appear. They swarm on crumbs and march in lines along room perimeters. After a while—and usually more rigorous housecleaning—they go back to whatever outside home they have.

This time is different. I keep fighting the ants, and, predictably, more show up. And they are spreading. They have found the bathroom, a room they’ve never infiltrated before. And I just can’t keep up.

Perhaps it’s not shocking that this particularly bad ant infestation mirrors a time in my life that also feels like every time I turn around, I have more to-do items that tickle me, nagging thoughts that won’t get lost and worries that swarm my distracted mind.

When my home had an ant infestation, the bugs—surprisingly—taught me some good parenting (and life) advice. Ten Thousand Hour Mama Read more

Nevertheless, she persisted: A lesson for my daughters

On Tuesday, as Senator Elizabeth Warren was reading a letter from Coretta Scott King in opposition to the appointment of Senator Jeff Sessions as U.S. attorney general, senate majority leader Mitch McConnell invoked an obscure rule to silence her. “She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted,” McConnell later said. Democrats were outraged; Senator Warren continued reading the letter on Facebook live, which has been watched by more than 11.6 million people (and counting).

The phrase “Nevertheless, she persisted” became a feminist rallying cry overnight.

Nevertheless, she persisted: Lessons for my daughters from Elizabeth Warren on grit, persistence and justice. Ten Thousand Hour Mama
Observers can’t help but notice that Senator Warren was silenced, but majority leaders allowed democratic senator from Oregon Jeff Merkley—a man—finish it uninterrupted. And although Warren was silenced on the Senate floor, she persisted.

Her persistence—her grit—should be admirable to anyone on either side of the aisle. I sure hope my girls will look to examples like hers as a role model of persevering in the face of opposition, whether it be sexism, oppression or just the everyday difficulties that make us stumble. Read more

If I can wash my kid’s hair, I can do ANYTHING

Oh, the screaming.

I shudder to imagine what the neighbors thought was going on at our house. But it was just bath time.

Over the last six months or so, when it came time to wash my kid’s hair, Peeper would disappear and a panicked, sobbing, shrieking beast took her place.

It was torture, apparently, for her, and it was no fun for us parents, either.

But what I ended up learning helped make all the screaming, the crying and the frustration a little more worth the struggle.

Learning parenting lessons is hard. When I finally was able to wash my kid's hair, it felt like such a win! Ten Thousand Hour Mama Read more

Kids volunteering at home: Little Loving Hands

I received a free craft kit from Little Loving Hands to try out. As always, all opinions here are my own.


My Peeper, she has one of the kindest, most empathetic hearts I’ve ever known. She brings Kiwi’s favorite toys to her when Little Sister is crying. She covers me in kisses if I stub my toe (including the time a few weeks ago when I’m pretty sure I broke my pinkie toe—ouch!). She gets choked up if a character in a book is sad.

So it’s natural that she wants to help others.

Volunteering with kids at home is as easy as making crafts for homeless children. Ten Thousand Hour Mama

Volunteering opportunities for preschoolers and younger kids are slim pickings, though. I keep an eye out for children’s volunteering activities but rarely find a way to bring her along.

So we create our own volunteering opportunities at home. We make cards for Meals on Wheels. We do the monthly activities, like cleaning up the nearby park and making bird feeders, sent to us by Giving Families. And recently, we made a craft for a homeless child living in a shelter with the kit from Little Loving Hands. Read more

Family reunion

I recently took my first trip without Peeper. After 16 months of spending every day together, I headed up to Seattle for a business trip. It was a short jaunt—I was gone only one night—but, as I wrote earlier, I worried how she and I would handle the separation.

It felt good to be busy. Between meetings and visiting my sister and brother-in-law, I didn’t have much time to dwell on how much I missed Peeper. When I had a few minutes of down time, I walked around and stumbled across the adorable Once Upon a Time toy store in Queen Anne and of course bought her a little present.

That night, though, as I sat in the quiet hotel room, loneliness threatened to swallow me. The spacious room with its two queen beds, sitting room and kitchen that seemed so luxurious in the day felt yawning and empty in the dark.

The next morning, we videochatted. Seeing Peeper’s smiles filled up the hollow space inside me. Peeper kept peering over the top of the computer on her end, looking for me.

Ten Thousand Hour MamaAs I drove home later that day, I imagined our ecstatic reunion—like the tearful homecomings you see at the airport or veterans seeing their loved ones after coming back from war. (I know, I have a very healthy imagination.) Impatient, I cursed 5pm traffic and watched the clock, predicting what Peeper would be up to at that moment. Read more

A motherhood mulligan

Eric and I have been disc golfing together since we met. When we first started dating, we’d drive to Dexter State Park and play a round, flirting between throws.

Now that we’ve been married for six years and have a toddler, disc golfing looks a little different: I skip most holes because I’m too busy chasing Peeper and preventing her from eating rocks, sticks and hunks of dirt. But one thing hasn’t changed—I still call “mulligan” when I hit a tree with my drive. I don’t keep score anyway, so what’s the harm in a little do-over?Ten Thousand Hour Mama - Champoeg Disc Golf

Ten Thousand Hour Mama - Champoeg disc golfI was recently interviewed by friend and former colleague Lee Walker Helland about motherhood mulligans—the things we wish we could have done differently. Her story, First-Year Do-Overs, just ran in American Baby. (Take a peek to read my interview and hear what other moms would have changed about getting out of the house, accepting help and sleep training.)

I talked, of course, about breastfeeding. If you want to catch up on our BFing journey, you can read about it here, here and here, or just read a good summary here. Thankfully, our story has a good ending: Peeper is still breastfeeding, and I’m so grateful to have been able to nurse her this long on my terms.

Is there anything you would have done differently in parenthood?

Nine months

Peeper has been in the world almost as long as she was inside me. Today she turns nine months old.

The other morning, Peeper and I were snuggling in bed after we’d woken up. We were playing, and I tickled her belly and armpits. Laughing, she threw herself down. She giggled and buried her face in the pillow as if to hide.

My breath caught. She just seemed so. grown. up.

Ok, so she doesn't always look grown-up.
Ok, so she doesn’t always look grown-up.

Read more