Grand Canyon’s quieter east entrance

10 October 2016
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My parents avoided the crowds and tension of cities, so we rarely traveled to urban areas on family vacations, unless we did the Asian thing and stopped for a college tour. To their immigrant eyes, the wonders of America were not in cities but in the immense protected landscape of the country, unusual in a […]

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Summer hack: fruit stain removal

1 June 2016
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June is freaking me out. I’m a week away from being the parent of a high schooler. The two minor graduations we have next week – middle school and elementary – are reminders that in four years our household count will start shrinking. My heart hurts just thinking about it. It sounds silly that end […]

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The greatest city

12 May 2016
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I’ve spent more years living in California than New York, but because I was in Manhattan for my first independent decade – the years between leaving my childhood home to having children myself – New York City is where I feel most free and alive. I went to college there, built a career there, met […]

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When you get there

12 January 2015
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Across the finish line, I’m a little unsteady on my feet in the silence. The youngest of my kids started kindergarten, and the oldest just entered his teens. Our endless house project is at last over, three and a half years after it began. I thought the decade of my 20s was the rat race […]

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Outdoor school

20 October 2014
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I realize school can’t be fresh and different every day – goodness knows work and home aren’t either. But every once in a while the kids get a golden day – a break from routine to do something exceptional – and it reminds them how fun learning can be and recharges them for the regular […]

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Why I let my kids eat all the Halloween candy they want

31 October 2011
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Am I crazy? Or crazy like a fox? Here’s why I let my kids eat all the Halloween candy they want: Kids get way too much Halloween candy, and this is my way of getting rid of it early. If I doled out one or two pieces at a time, they’d still be hoarding a […]

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Pioneer day

8 June 2011
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From my elementary school days in California, I remember panning for gold-painted pebbles and taking a field trip to a local Spanish mission, where we learned about making adobe bricks from clay and marveled at how small the Spanish padres must have been to fit into such tiny beds. But for my school kids in […]

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David Brooks: It’s not about you

2 June 2011
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My oldest niece is graduating from high school. She thinks it’s a big deal, but the adults in the family know how much bigger it is than she thinks. Wonderful times are in store for her, and tough times; eye-opening discoveries and hard lessons. I remember how confident I was at her age and marvel […]

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Sentimental value

9 May 2011
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Pangs of guilt go into my paper recycling bin. I look fondly at the doodles on school worksheets, the evolving handwriting and kid-logical spellings, but after four children I know I can’t save it all. Knowing that even the most special items I hold onto get faded and tired as the years pass, I’ve learned […]

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Celebrating springtime: Easter tree and gifts

15 April 2011
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It’s finally spring in Ohio. Grass is green, leaves are budding, and the sunlight is blessedly warm. Winter’s brittle ice tree is now a jauntily swaying festivity of rainbow eggs. My clever friend Jenny conjured up this surprise for the kids. It’s like a Christmas tree but better – easy, fun, inexpensive – and best […]

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