Letter From Quarantine


I wasn’t sure what this column should be about. Then, I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to write it.

Last week, I thought, “Everyone’s writing about the new coronavirus, so perhaps I shouldn’t. Maybe my column can be a refreshing break from the news of the world.” But it quickly became clear that to write about anything other than the COVID-19 pandemic that’s sweeping the world would be to ignore an enormous elephant in the room, as the number of confirmed cases rose across the nation and entered Vermont, and as the first Addison County resident tested positive.

As the COVID-19 numbers climbed higher, our family’s world got smaller each day. Middlebury College, where my husband teaches, began spring break a week early and will recommence classes remotely. Appointments and events were crossed off our calendar until there was nothing left. Our typical movements around town were restricted as restaurants, shops, and the library closed their doors.

At some point, it hit me – as it probably hit all of us – that this was a BIG DEAL. By the end of the week, I was suggesting that my daughters keep journals to record their experiences during what will surely be considered an historic event.

So, although there’s surprisingly little material to write about in being at home with five children – at least, not much material that I haven’t mined already — I decided to try.

Then we got sick, and suddenly I wasn’t sure that I’d be able to write anything for a long time.

Click here to continue reading this week’s “Faith in Vermont” column in The Addison Independent.

Surviving Summer, Parts 1 & 2

Summer seems to be zipping along at such a pace that I realized I’d forgotten to post two recent articles that I wrote for the Minibury website. Both are part of a three-part series on “Surviving Summer,” a seasonal take on my regular “Our Favorite Things” column.

Part 1, which you can read by clicking here, focuses on summer reading, including six of our favorite books/series, which have the distinction of appealing to readers within our family’s 4- to 9-year-old age range.

Click here to read Part 2, in which I recommend some of our favorite games to help pass long summer afternoons indoors — important if you’re having a very rainy summer, as we are here in Vermont.

Happy reading! Happy playing! Happy summer!

Two for One!

Despite what feels like far too long a stretch of grey skies and rain, spring is truly springing in the Green Mountains, with all sorts of green and flowery friends reemerging every day. So I guess it’s appropriate that this has been a productive week for writing: I have not one, but TWO new posts up over the past two days.

Here’s my latest installment of “Our Favorite Things” on the Minibury website, which focuses on tips for gardening with children.

And here’s today’s “Faith in Vermont” column for The Addison Independent, in which I describe three recent experiences in community.

New Minibury Column: Our Favorite Things


Several months ago, a fellow mother and the founder of local family website Minibury asked if I’d be able to provide some content for the site. This opportunity rolled together many of my favorite things: supporting other moms, supporting good community-building ideas, and writing. Today, my first post in the “Our Favorite Things” series is up on the Minibury website. Click here to check it out!

The concept behind “Our Favorite Things” is simple: Each month, I’ll share with your families one of our family’s favorite things. The goal is to highlight things that are simple, inexpensive (or free!), local, and that promote creativity.

Today’s topic: Popsicle sticks!

[For those who, like me, have tired brains and heavy hearts from following recent political developments in our country (and I suspect that’s everyone), a post about popsicle sticks may seem either a welcome diversion, or akin to fiddling while the Titanic sinks. Here is what I tell myself: No matter what may be happening at the moment, we still need to parent our children. In fact, parenting our children is one of the absolute best things we can do at times like this. So, here’s to popsicle sticks!]

Minibury Guest Post: Meet the Parent VI

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Maine Saville is one of those moms I see all the time around town at kid-related activities, but aside from a quick “hello,” or commenting on her very adorable newborn, I’ve never had much opportunity to talk with her. Whenever I do, she always makes me laugh.

Then last month I ran into Maxine at Junebug, and she said she’d been enjoying these “Meet the Parent” profiles; that she’d learned of a mom who’d just moved into her neighborhood through reading one. So I promptly recruited her to be my next profil-ee. (Lesson: Be careful about talking to me!)

I knew I’d made a good choice when Maxine emailed me her responses, prefaced by: I am on my phone in my driveway while kids sleep (ah, peace)! What parent can’t relate?

Click here to continue reading the latest in my “Meet the Parent” guest series for Minibury.

Minibury Guest Post: Meet the Parent IV

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Jennifer McCarty is one of those moms I see often, but with whom I rarely get to talk.  So, I was thrilled when somebody nominated her for a “Meet the Parent” profile. I feel like I’ve found a kindred spirit: a fellow buyer of ginger moose cookies, mediator of Anna/Elsa disputes, and lover of chocolate creemees. In the fourth installment of my guest series for Minibury, meet Jennifer McCarty!

Minibury Guest Post: Meet the Parent III

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Welcome to the third installment of my “Meet the Parent!” guest series for Minibury! There are a couple of reasons why I’m excited about today’s profile:

  1. Jamie Gaucher is a father. Fathers are parents, too, and he’s the first to be featured in “Meet the Parent.” His wife nominated him to be interviewed. I love everything about this!
  1. Jamie and his family are a perfect example of why I wanted to do “Meet the Parent.” I met him and his wife, Elizabeth, when our daughters were in a week-long gymnastics camp together last summer. The Gauchers had recently moved to Vermont, and I wanted to be warm and welcoming. I was also trying to feed a six-week-old baby, contain a two-year-old, and convince my four- and five-year-olds that I was “watching” them do gymnastics. I promptly forgot all the Gauchers’ names, although I continued to see Elizabeth around town and greet her with a vague, “Hi, how are you?” Now, I will never forget their names again!

Click here to meet Jamie Gaucher, a father and Middlebury’s Director of Business and Development and Innovation. (Seems like a good person to get to know, right?)