The Problem with the World Series

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The World Series is high drama here in Houston. With the pressure of Game 7 comes a million different perspectives: Astros vs Dodgers, West Coast vs South, and Kershaw vs Keuchel. But in our house, here’s the battle raging: Late & Long Games vs Reasonable Bedtime for Kids. The struggle is real for moms this month. Our kids are in the sweet (rough?) spot of childhood where there’s not a … [Read more...]

Hergenrader’s Hurricane Harvey Timeline

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  Thursday, August 24 We first paid attention to Harvey on Tuesday this week, as more and more models had it hitting Houston with tons of rain. On Thursday, we bought cases of bottled water and started to pray. With each news report, the hurricane was getting stronger so I drove down to Galveston to button down the beach house. The Gulf was choppy and the beach was so windy. The … [Read more...]

A Fangirl of Mary Karr Learns Grace for Herself

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For so long, I have admired writers and musicians from far away. Very far, in fact. Even though their art has inspired me, I’ve never had the guts to really tell them that. I've never written a single one of them a fan letter. Actually, I’ve also never posted a review of a book or an album—not even for those songs and stories that I’ve committed to memory. I'm a sensitive over thinker, and my … [Read more...]

Not Just Stuff

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As I’m writing this, a bright yellow trash crane is making its way down our neighborhood. It’s finally hauling away the Harvey Heaps from the front of the flooded homes on the other side of our subdivision. The insides of our neighbors’ beautiful homes have been gutted. All of their stuff—the broken cabinets, the bloated books, the waterlogged Christmas wreathes, the crumbling sheetrock—has … [Read more...]

Flooded With Love

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When Hurricane Harvey dumped 50 inches of rain on our Houston suburb of Katy, everything I had secretly feared happened. We didn’t sleep night after night because of tornadoes; we watched with terror as the homes of many (many!) dear friends flooded . . .  and with no flood insurance; our home was in a mandatory evacuation area—yet we were trapped inside by rising water. But in the face of … [Read more...]

Dear Catie…(on your first day of school)

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Dear Catie…. Today starts the end of middle school for you. As everyone said they would, the past three years have gone faster than Reece's in your lunch bag. (Very fast.) You are unique, sweetheart. Your effervescence and joy make you so fun. Yes, you have ALL THE ENERGY ALL THE TIME, which makes you seem so much younger than 13. This also makes you different than the eye-rolling, … [Read more...]

Dear Sam… (on your first day of school)

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Dear Sam.... It's crazy I'm writing your first-day-of-school letter at almost the end of September. This has been such a chaotic start to this school year. Hurricane Harvey has made everything later and backwards and awkward and different. Actually, this might be the perfect way for you to start Fourth Grade. Because, Sam, you love the crazy and chaotic. You are fine with backwards or awkward … [Read more...]

Dear Elisabeth (on your first day of Fourth Grade)…

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My Elisabeth.... I see you, my strong-willed, hard-working, do-gooder daughter. I see how you are the first one up. Your uniform is on before the sun is shining. Your bangs have comb marks in them. I see you, doing your homework before we even pull in the driveway.  I see how you try so hard to do exactly what your teacher wants. I see your eraser smears on your math sheets, the ones you … [Read more...]

Dear Nate….. (On Your First Day of Second Grade)

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Oh, Nate, my dear boy. You are so excited for this year. Daddy and I are excited for you too.  No doubt about it, Nate, Second Grade will be fun. We are so sure that this year will be your best yet--we are simply expecting it. To be honest, I worry that we all expect too much from you We expect you to be good with everything. We  expect you to grow up too fast. Your brother and your … [Read more...]

Family Project: Upcycle Old Jars

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Over the past year, our family has collected two years of empty jars in our pantry. Blame it on our love of salsa, peanut butter, spaghetti sauce, and pickles. Blame it on our German heritage and absolute inability to throw away something we could use again. Blame it on the kids' new understanding of Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. This is the same reason I have over 200 toilet paper cores in our attic. … [Read more...]