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  My daughter hates it when my husband kisses me. Or hugs me. Or dances with me in the kitchen. She huffs in exasperation and always tries to climb between us, saying, "No! My Mommy!" She pushes us apart, rolling her eyes, and is completely disgusted by our physical affection. We think it's hilarious. (So naturally we do it on purpose and make sure she's watching.) I hope it's always like this, with her trying to weasel her way between us as we snuggle and pretending to vomit when we kiss. I'm not sure there's much more I want her to remember from her childhood than that the adults in her house loved each other greatly. My daughter is a child of divorce, and I worry so much about how it will affect her. She was small when it happened, and she and her brother have been incredibly resilient so far. She doesn't remember much from when her dad and I were married, but she's going to remember everything about her stepdad and me. So we're doing all we can to make her memories good ones - including grossing her out when we kiss. I didn't grow up in a demonstrably affectionate family, and I want my kids to...


  In my house live a stubbornly independent 11 year old and a precociously rambunctious 10 year old. Add in two set-in-their-way 30-somethings, and you have a delightful recipe for some conflict. We’ve moved past the days of children flinging their food on the floor and splashing in the toilet for fun, and they’ve learned not to hit and bite, but they’re still kids. And that means occasional disobedience, rowdiness, and talking back. The kids act like kids sometimes, so that means they misbehave. And when they do, I feel exhausted and depleted. I feel defeated and ineffective, and I feel like I still - 11 years later - don’t have a clue what I’m doing. (Don’t ask me where I got the idea that raising children would be picturesque and easy - I grew up in a house with four children, and our lives were never reminiscent of Mary Poppins. I guess I thought my unrivaled mothering skills would raise children who were practically perfect in every way.) On the days my children do and say things I’d rather them not, this is what goes through my mind: Um, for real? Have they not lived here their entire lives? Do they think the rules...


  When the clock strikes midnight on December 31st, I will have read the entire Bible from beginning to end this year. I made the commitment to stick to it no matter what, and if the last few days of 2016 don't throw me a crazy curve ball, I will have done it. I'm not some kind of super-Christian, and every day hasn't been a gloriously amazing experience where I heard angelic choirs singing as I read. Some days, I wanted to skip it. In some books (Leviticus anyone?), I wanted to pull my hair out. I seriously looked at my husband some days and said things like, "I cannot read one more genealogy. I don't care who begat whom. Why do I need to know the dimensions of this building? How do you pronounce Beninu?" There were days I got frustrated. Times I began to daydream. Moments when I questioned if there was any application to my life. But now that I'm nearly finished, I'm so glad I stuck to the task. Here are some things I learned while reading the entire Bible this year: It's not like reading any other book. Duh, I know, but the app I used skipped around sometimes, and there...


  I tell myself I'm a really bad mom because:   I don't make homemade bread for my children's lunches. I didn't deliver my children naturally or without drugs. I don't feed them only organic food. I don't use only natural cleaning products in our home. I let them watch TV so I can have a moment's peace. When they ask if they can have a silly string fight, I say no because I don't want to clean up the mess. When they ask if they can have ice cream after school and before supper, I say yes because I'm too tired to care. I don't force them to make their beds every morning. I make them wear the same pants two days in a row because I forget to turn on the dryer sometimes. I sit on the couch and ask them to bring me a drink. I forget to move the stupid elf. I make them clean their own toilets. I don't give them an allowance. I don't check their homework unless they ask for help. I only breastfed 50% of them. I let them sleep on their bellies as babies. I let my son stay up past his bedtime to...