Friday, April 17, 2015

Friday Favorites, April 17

Friday! It's one week until the Austin Listen To Your Mother show, and I'm so proud of this cast. They are brave and strong and bonding like mad over shoes and dresses backstage before their big moment. Please send them all of your good vibes from wherever you are.

And also, if you're in Austin, I'm helping to run the fourth annual Touch-a-Truck to benefit the Austin Children's Shelter in a few weeks, and it's looking like it's going to be HUGE.  We have at least 20 trucks coming for kids to climb on and get inside, and we have almost $50K in sponsorships. Helping these kids is worth all of the work.  

On to my favorite posts of the week:

Let's begin with some ridiculously adorable photos of babies dressed in awesome costumes. 
Gloriously geeky newborns

And these photos of kids playing in Jamaica. Sunshine and beauty. 

I could see how this tactic from Rachel Cox at BonBon Break could work for both spouses and kids.

Taya Dunn Johnson's story about parenting when it doesn't go according to plan is poignant and raw:
Peanut butter and jelly

Man, teaching your kids to stand up for themselves is hard. (Essay by Carter Gaddis at The Mid)

Pink is a rock star in more ways than one. I love the way she addresses her critics.

This post, Banks Staples Pecht's first published piece, is stunningly good. Her twins were a tiny, tiny one and a half pounds when they were born, and this is their survival story.

When others frustrate you, these tips from Leo Babauta are worth repeating.

This post from Wendy Wisner really resonated with me - mixing social media, friendship, and motherhood can result in conflicting feelings. She summed it up so well.

Kim Simon is one of my favorite writers, because she is honest and real and straight up. I appreciate what she is saying at The Mid about teaching her sons about sex.

My friend and Listen To Your Mother co-producer Leigh Ann Torres has a funny post at BonBon Break on passing the time while simultaneously attending an online defensive driving class and parenting three young kids.

Sarah Bunton had a high-risk pregnancy: she has Central Nervous System Lupus, Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome Type III Hypermobility, scoliosis and mitral valve prolapse. Her story at XOJane is harrowing but empowering.

* *  *
My big, big news this week is that I was chosen to be a BlogHer/SheKnows Voice of the Year for the second year in a row. This year's honored piece of writing is called The Four Letter Words I'm Teaching My Son, which debuted at Scary Mommy last year. I will be attending the BlogHer annual conference in NYC in July - let me know if you'll be there!

P.S.  BIG thanks are owed to my Listen To Your Mother Austin sponsors: Con'Olio (I can't cook without their 18-year balsamic and delicious olive oils), Book People, AHD Video, Casey Chapman Ross Photography (she is so fantastically talented), Molly Austin realty, Free Fun in Austin, LiveMom, and Special Addition.

Love, Kristin

Friday, April 10, 2015

Friday Favorites, April 10

In case you missed it:

This week, I debuted at The Mid for the first time, and if you haven't started reading The Mid and you're about my age, check it out! There is so much I relate to on that site. My essay is about realizing that I will never again hold my own newborn baby in my arms in this lifetime, and figuring out what else I have to look forward to instead.
What I think about when I see a pregnant woman

LiveMom asked me to cover my family's trip to Florida in a wrapup post on how to plan a MLB spring training trip. This one was really fun.

More reading for your enjoyment below.


These photos on the Today Show site are gorgeous, showing girls in all of their power and strength.

"I have a dream that everyone will look for the good side in each other." Sarah's heart and her kids' hearts are wonderful.

Amanda Magee has incredible writing talent and puts words together in ways I find gorgeous. Read this one at Medium, and then read more of her work at

One of my friends has been missing in action, and I have known her since we were 16, so I have been messaging her periodically to check on her. I finally heard from her this week, and she has been in a tough place. Tears streamed down my cheeks as I read her words and missed her. This is a beautiful expression of love to friends far away at The Mid. 

This essay at Brain, Child does not have a pretty bow tied around it, and it is a tough read, in many ways. But it's perfectly honest and written very well. 


Dana's post on raising a tween girl and remembering her own tween years is fantastically written and evocative.

My friend Arnebya lays it out in a way that only she can regarding Walter Scott and justice and racism. I'm proud to be her friend.

A 3000-mile road trip... with no iPad? No gadgets? I think I might have relented. But this post is making me think that maybe I should give my son the opportunity to be bored more often, too. 

Honest, raw, and powerful, on those moments of motherhood that are dark and scary, when they come. 

On kids and food allergies: "What I REALLY want you to know is that I could use your help and I need your understanding. I know that inviting my kid to the Birthday party is going to complicate things but please do not leave him out, it’s not his fault, just reach out to me, I make a mean vegan cupcake (no really) and I always bring wine." 

Melissa's "17 things I'd do differently as a parent" made me stop and think. Which one rings true for you?

On Parenting hosts great topics, like this one from Lisa of Grown and Flown: are we asking our kids to commit to a passion before they find it on their own? 


One doctor thinks he has found a major cause of SIDS, and his research could be groundbreaking.

The ingenuity of this community astounds me - the knitting skills of these women must be beyond amazing to be able to provide these tiny heart stents.

* * *

The Listen To Your Mother book is officially released! I am proud to be part of Ann Imig's nationwide team. 

The book Mommie Diarist, by Robyn Lane Books was also released this week, including one of my essays. It's a great week!


Friday, April 3, 2015

Friday Favorites: April 3

Please enjoy my favorite posts on the internet this week: 

A beautiful and always-applicable reminder to be kinder to ourselves, as parents, from Jill Krause at Baby Rabies.

THESE are the kind of friends I have. And that I hope that I am, too. Why women rock

Traveling with your kids this spring break? Great travel games at The Mid. We have been stuck on I Spy, so I like these ideas. 

Evocative and thought-provoking post at the On Parenting blog. It's an awkward question to ask if your child is going on a playdate, but it's an important one to know.

This, by Andrea Jarrell at The Manifest Station is a gorgeous, riveting piece of memoir writing, covering dating, marriage, addiction, and healing.

This post from On Being made me smile: the magic and awe of small children.

Incredibly touching post at The Mighty on raising a child with special needs: "Why I stand quietly beside my daughter."

"Look Sis, I’m speaking to you from the heart. Your spirit and light give loving energy. Honor that. Recharge freely and often." From Imani at BonBon Break.

When I read Jenny Lawson's Let's Pretend This Never Happened, I laughed so hard I was shaking the bed, and I had no idea how to explain her comic genius to my husband. But underneath that hilarity is a huge heart and a ton of compassion. Her new book, Furiously Happy, is coming out soon, and I can't wait to read it.

If you appreciate great writing, and you don't yet read Lindsey Mead, start now.

"Instead of jumping to a particular conclusion, I take a few moments to silence the noise in my head and engage in quiet contemplation before opening my mouth. I try to talk less and listen more. This practice increases my presence and ability to sink into now."  Beautiful reflections from Rudri. 

And finally, "chase the dream... not the competition." David Kipp is one of my mentors and all-around favorite people. I love his words, and they are applicable for writers and people in the corporate world, and life in general. 

* * * 

If you live in Austin, please go to one of the Con'Olio locations and try their olive oils and balsamics. They are a local sponsor for the Austin Listen To Your Mother show, but they are also one of my favorite places to get food supplies and gifts.

Speaking of Listen To Your Mother, the book release date is this week! Check it out.

Lastly, my sweet friend Rachel is releasing her second book very soon, Hands Free Life. I know it's going to be as useful and beautiful as the first one.


Friday, March 27, 2015

Friday favorites

Happy Friday!

Did you know that one of my essays is about to appear in a soon-to-be released collection? It's the third book in which one of my pieces will appear, and I'm very excited about it. It's called Mommie Diarist, and the official release date is April 7.

Here is an excerpt from the book; I hope you like it.

* * *
It is when I am going through a divorce, ten years later, that I see my mother’s gossamer fragility and steely strength, hand in hand. She is devastated that I am in pain, and she listens to me beg for strength on the other end of the phone, dissolved by tears, hundreds of miles away. Yet she stands up and tells me that I will survive this. She reminds me to remember the happy things in my life. She swears under her breath and calls my soon-to-be ex-husband every bad name in the book in both English and Italian.

And later still, when I remarry and have a child of my own, I realize that I have started bossing my mother around as though I am smarter than she is. I suffer from postpartum anxiety, and in the midst of the struggling, I forget that my mother raised two daughters already, and quite well, thank you. And yet, nothing she does seems to be right when it comes to my son.

“Why are you holding him like that? He doesn’t like that.”

“Please keep your eye on him.”

“Swaddle him like this, not like that.”

I’m not sure why I believe that I am God’s gift to mothering and she doesn’t have any idea what she’s doing. 

My mother and I take a drive to run some errands while I am visiting her in Florida. I am once again telling her what to do and how to do it, and suddenly I stop. I put my hand on hers as she drives and I say, “Why do I do that?”

“Do what?” she asks.

“Tell you what to do as if you are a child,” I say. I am sheepish.

She opens her mouth and a laugh peals out like a bell.  

“I did the same to my mother, too,” she says.

* * * 

Weekend reading

Do you remember what it's like to be in the muck? Christine Organ is right there with you

Allison Slater Tate hits it out of the park again with this simple list of things she wants for her kids in school: The 5 things I wish for my elementary school kids

Leslie Marinelli, a fellow Listen To Your Mother alumna and all-around amazing woman published this post today, and her vulnerability speaks to me. No matter what you're doing as a mom, you're probably going to feel like you're not doing it right. 

I have to admit that we try hard to get all of our thank you notes out on time, but we don't always succeed in completing them. This post from Tracy at Sellabit Mum about teaching your kids how to do it right is spot on.

This slide show from Katie Hurley at Everyday Family is helpful and instructive on anger management for parents.

Adrienne Jones is a beautiful and honest writer, and this essay about learning how to be a stepmom is another example of her fantastic work.

Janelle, of Renegade Mothering, has a straight-up delivery that pulls no punches. This one really made me appreciate my mother, and also, my own way of mothering.

In case you missed it at my Facebook fan page, this essay from Wendy Bradford at The Washington Post is perfectly crafted and real; if you have a child with any kind of special needs, you will appreciate this.

If you have a blog, read this. I saw it on Nina Badzin's wall (and Nina always has excellent content to share) and it reminded me of all of the wonderful things that being in the online community has brought to me. 

This one at Salon about a woman's biological mother finding her was heartbreaking and hopeful at the same time.

Don't open this one in front of your kids, to save yourself from red-face syndrome, but if you have an appreciation for brands and what they do to mitigate potential disaster, this example from Groupon is fantastic.  

* * *

I want to celebrate my friend Rachel's book debut, Hands Free Life. She is one of the nicest, most thoughtful people I have ever met - she really is everything she writes about on her blog; she's the real deal.


Friday, March 20, 2015

Friday favorites: March 20

I'm back! We figured that since my son was still in preschool, it would be a perfect time to take a two-week vacation. My husband has been planning a Major League Baseball spring training trip for two years, and it was everything we had hoped for, visiting six ballparks in 13 days and attending eight games. Our son has loved ball-oriented games since he was a baby, and started using a tee when he was 2; watching his joy at retrieving a foul ball and watching the games was truly rewarding.

I haven't done much writing in the last month, with all of the winter germs rolling through and then vacation, but I'm ready to catch up again.

Happy first day of spring!


If you know Arnebya, you can actually hear her voice as you read this. If you don't, I feel certain you'll still find it hilarious. Watch out for the ruche

 This is why my nails are always unpolished: 10 tips to make your manicure last indefinitely


These images from mothers in Russia are breathtaking. 

Stories of little boys growing up choke me up. Thanks a lot, Kim.
As he prepares to take flight

Princess movies aren't just for girls. I loved the message in the new Cinderella movie, and this mom's story about how it resonated with her boys is very sweet. 
Cinderella, it's like how life should be

A lovely letter to a first child, on the eve of the birth of her little sister.
You'll always be my first

I found the honesty in this post from Julie of Next Life, No Kids to be both bracing and refreshing. It's real life with small children.I'm judging me enough for the both of us

Andrea, on connecting with her kids: The witching hour

For inspiration on parenting and life, you can't ever go wrong by reading any one of Rachel's posts at Hands Free Mama. Here is her latest. 


Nina is my writing sensei, and I love the inclusive attitude she has here. Great words of wisdom for any writer/ blogger.
The myth of blogging turf

Write, erase, do it over - fantastic insights from the amazing Toni Morrison

Have you considered writing a family mission statement? I hadn't either, until I read this:
Happy families have mission statements


One of my essays was chosen for a new anthology by Robyn Lane Books, based in Dallas, Texas. Mommie Diarist will be released next month!

Do you remember when I told you about the children's book I wrote for a TV show? It's been finished for a while, and we're waiting for (hopefully) the dedication of a whole episode to the book. Stay tuned.

HuffPost Divorce asked me to weigh in on why my second marriage is better than my first, and so that's me at #6.  I don't agree with the title of the post, because I don't think that second marriages are better overall - some people are lucky enough to get it right the first time. I was much luckier on the second one, and while I have certainly struggled with the shame of divorce, I am thankful to be where I am now.



Monday, March 2, 2015

Friday Favorites: February 28, 2015

Photo by Ashley White

Better late than never, right?  Hope you enjoy these posts, some of my favorites on the internet.

This progression through time took my breath away at YouPlus2:
She is almost 11, I am almost 39

Jenny is raising two good men, and it's beautiful to see. 
Are you raising compassionate boys?

Go Team Gunner! You're in our prayers every night, buddy.
Team Gunner kicks leukemia's butt!

This post from Kim at Co-Pilot Mom is about a bread maker. And much more than that:
The bread maker

I found this to be true. Every bit of it.
The parenting myth I've finally stopped falling for

This article was so thought-provoking that it's going to stick with me for a long time. I want my son to enjoy just being a kid; not thinking so far into the future that he can't see the present.
Is your first grader college ready?

Blending families can be difficult. This honest post at Motherlode is worth reading:
He was ready to be a stepdad - was I ready to let him?

Amanda's story about focusing on her husband for a too-rare date night is gorgeously written and honest.
Dismantling the armor of busy

A beautiful post on marriage by Rebecca Woolf of Girl's Gone Child
We drove through, and kept on driving

I very much related to this post from Glennon; brave doesn't always mean doing something scary, sometimes it means not doing it.
The real meaning of brave

Estelle's story about her mother brought tears to my eyes: 
The case for the pregnancy mumuu

About a month ago, a camera was stolen that contained the first and last images of a baby who had died shortly after birth. I heard about the theft, and felt so sad for the family, who had their only memories of their baby stolen. Last week, the memory card was returned to one of the news stations that had aired a story about it, and the images were retrieved. So the camera is gone for good, but at least the thief had enough conscience to hear the story and understand that these precious photos cannot be replaced, and did the right thing.
Photos of family's last moments with infant stolen, then returned

In case you missed it, I was featured at BonBon Break this week with a letter to the woman I thought had ruined my life.
Dear other woman... thank you

Love, Kristin

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Featured at BonBon Break today

I'm honored to be featured at BonBon Break with an original post that I have been working on for quite some time. It has been sitting in my drafts folder for months, waiting to see the light of day.

It's a thank you note to the woman who, at one time, I thought had ruined my life.

In reality, she saved it.

Dear "other woman"... thank you.
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