To My Daughter on Her 10th Birthday

To My Daughter on Her 10th Birthday

This morning I am making you a cake, per your request like I do every year. This time you asked for something so simple, I almost prod you for more. How about raspberry jam filling? Chocolate shavings? Rainbow layers? But no, all you want is a lemon cake, leaving the icing up to me. You give me that closed mouth smile that means you’re happy but a little hesitant, like you’re … [Read more...]

How Does it Feel When Your Oldest Child Graduates from High School?

when your baby graduates high school

I have friends who have kids older than mine, heck even Karol's kids are older than mine.  Her kids graduated in 2011 and 2013.  I didn't attend Katarina's graduation, but I went to Brandon's.  I cried.  I cheered, I got emotional.  I was so happy for him, but in my experience there is a slight difference between the love for bio kids and step kids (at least in my experience), … [Read more...]

6 Tips to Balancing Family Connection and Fun Screen Time

6 ways to unplug and connect this summer

Oh Delicious Summertime Remember last summer? You started out strong with fantasies straight from your ‘80’s memories of yummy giggling connection, nourishing sunshine, fresh fruit, and dusty barefoot tree climbing. But then there were closets to sort, kids to feed, and socks to wash . . . Everybody kind of drifted off, positioning themselves in front of their screens. When … [Read more...]

The Passenger’s Seat

when you're in the passenger seat with your teen

I pulled into the rocky driveway of the boys' school and waited a minute or two before I saw them bounding down the back ramp to enter the minivan so we could make our way home.  Their teacher smiled and motioned for me to roll down the window as she followed them, so we chatted for a few minutes and I had my back turned from what was going on as the kids entered the van. We … [Read more...]

I Can’t Complain, But Sometimes I Still Do

the joe walsh school of parenting

“I Can’t Complain, But Sometimes I Still Do” (Me And Joe Walsh) If you get a few minutes between your busy life and your dedicated blog-reading, you should check out the CDC’s 511 page report on the state of Americans’ health. There’s no telling how much this research cost taxpayers, so we owe it to ourselves to give it a look. If the fact that you funded this report isn’t … [Read more...]

Tips For Having The “Other Talk” With Your Daughter


When I was about twenty weeks into my third pregnancy, an ultrasound revealed that we would soon be welcoming our third daughter. As we drove home and let the information sink in, I had this conversation with my husband. Husband: "When you shared that apartment in college with three other girls, didn't you all end up on the same menstrual cycle? Doesn't that happen when a … [Read more...]

When Your Son Comes Home with a Green Mohican

embracing your teens colorful side

When your son comes home with a green Mohican you think 'What the f**k!" whilst saying "Wow, that's a surprise, what's going on?" When your son comes home with a green Mohican you wonder whether the Alzheimer's has kicked in early and you missed the fact that it's Halloween. When your son comes home with a green Mohican you want to murder the predatory alien who kidnapped … [Read more...]

Trust Your Parenting Decisions


As we get closer to summertime, I am seeing more posts on social media and blog posts about what to do with the kids over the summer.  Some parents put them in day camp, some parents leave them home, some parents have friends watch them, some parents have no idea what to do..... And, unfortunately, when I hear parents talk about what they are doing with their kids, be it … [Read more...]

12 Things Your Son Needs You to Understand About Him

12 things your son needs you to know about him

I wrote about teen girls before, so it’s time to give boys their turn. I was raised in a family of all girls, and other than one family, I think I only babysat for girls, too. When I found out I was expecting my first son, I will admit that I was scared. I didn’t know the first thing about boys, and I am glad we found out at the ultrasound since I needed the four months … [Read more...]

“Take The Money And Run!” (Me and The Steve Miller Band)


One of the most perplexing things for me when I was a new mother, was when people told me, "Trust your instincts!" I often wondered, 'If I have a feeling of foreboding, is that my gut telling me there really is something wrong?' When you're inclined to worry about everything, it's very hard to distinguish the difference and follow your instincts Thankfully, the further down … [Read more...]

The Cricket and the Starfish

The Cricket and the Starfish

The Cricket and the Starfish When my kids were little, we did all sorts of silly things for fun.  Truth be told, I’m a kid at heart myself, so finding fun ways to see the world and make young children smile has always been very easy for me. They’re only 11 and 14 now, but they’re also much older than you might expect kids their ages to be.  We’re still a goofy lot…  … [Read more...]

Planning a Vacation with Teenagers

how to plan a vacation with teens

Teens and Vacation “Can I bring my Nintendo?” This was my then-14-year-old son’s first question when we announced that we were taking a trip to Malawi, East Africa. Traveling with teenagers is a completely different experience than traveling with children. Sometimes they seem like a whole different species. Yet you undoubtedly love your own teenager, warts and all—or … [Read more...]

10 Things to Know about Parenting Girls

raising teen girls

I was Christmas shopping for my sons at an outlet mall. I have two teen boys and a college-man coed. My store options were Adidas, Under Armour, Nike, and other jock retails. After the first round of purchasing basketball shorts and swoosh t-shirts, I was bored. I slipped into a co-ed fashion shop, gravitating towards things pink and fun. My mind quickly flashed-back ten … [Read more...]

How to Raise a Motivated Child

how to raise a motivated child

I feel one of the most important things we can do for our children is to teach them to develop their own internal sense of motivation. Sure we can impose consequences or correction while they are in our homes to keep them on track, but what about after they leave our homes? Don’t we want them to be hardworking adults who can achieve greatness? Their own personal sense of … [Read more...]

Dear Kids: If I Die, Please DON’T be a Sh** head


Dear Children:  Should I die from heat stroke in hot yoga class I am being forced to take tomorrow by my alleged “friends” here is a list of ten of the most important life lessons I want you to remember. Love Mom 1) DON’T be a sh** head. Don’t be a sh** head is actually the only piece of advice you will ever need in life. A sh** head can best be summed up as a person who … [Read more...]

Six Thousand Goodnights

saying goodnight

I have said goodnight to my children approximately six thousand times. I lay them down in their cribs after kissing the tops of their soft heads, inhaling deeply to catch that delicious sweet baby scent. One night I smelled that scent for the very last time. I don’t remember when my youngest stopped smelling like a baby, or when that last night was. But I do still inhale … [Read more...]

Are You the Perfect Mommy or More Mommy Dearest


With the joyful carefree bike riding days of Spring finally here it’s time for me to come clean. Today I’m sharing a deep and dark McKenzie family secret. I am not perfect mommy. Ouch. Yes my two children have witnessed more than their fair share of their dear mother teetering dangerously close to Joan Crawford land. That of the wickedly evil mommy dearest. Fortunately … [Read more...]

Rejected Reproductive Health Unit Titles

Rejected Reproductive Health Unit Titles

The email from my son's middle school caught my eye. I opened it and read: "You are invited to come preview the lessons and teaching materials for Puberty: The Wonder Years." Puberty: The Wonder Years? What, is Kevin Arnold narrating the videos about the miraculous changes that happen to your body when Winnie Cooper walks by? Gawk! What a terrible title. Puberty and … [Read more...]

Don’t Bring Me Down

when happy meals stop making kids happy

Not to oversimplify the fine art of parenting, (which I typically prefer to over-complicate) But, you can divide all of your offspring in to two distinct developmental categories: - children young enough to be distracted from their woes by a HAPPY MEAL - all the rest I told a couple of my friends at lunch today that “Having 5 kids was unrealistically optimistic!” They … [Read more...]

Happy Mother’s Day from Ten to Twenty!!!

The best we can give you on mothers day

Parenting Tips and Humor from the Moms of Ten to Twenty!! Need some inspiration or tips for raising teens and tweens? We've rounded up some of the best from our very own Moms. Enjoy their wisdom and humor and we hope you have THE best Mother's Day because girls, you sure do deserve it!! Dani Walker: Lisa R. Petty:   Carrie Wible: C Lee … [Read more...]