Just Streetcars: The National Capital Trolley Museum

Photo: A Dutch electric streetcar with a Dutch and American flag on top; Text:

“I love things that drive and move and moons,” Sprout announced to me the other day. When you’ve watched trains and ridden the Metro so many times you’ve lost count, what’s the mom of a transit-loving kid to do? Bring them to the National Capital Trolley Museum in Colesville, MD!

While the D.C. region has a wealth of museums, none of the others have trolleys (aka streetcars) you can actually ride on. If the idea of a 15-minute trolley ride through the woods doesn’t thrill you, this museum probably isn’t for you.

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The Power of a Hug

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I know this is kissing, but we seriously have zero photos of us hugging.

My arms wrapped around him, grasping him, clutching him. I squeezed his sides as hard as I could. His back straightened under my arms. I closed my eyes and pressed my cheek against his chest.

This scene has played out over and over again between my husband and I throughout the 16 years of our relationship.

In a park before a high school make-out session on a picnic table. In my college’s parking lot, just before he drove away for another six weeks. In our kitchen next to a sink piled high with dishes.

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What I’ve Been Reading

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Another day, another several times I scowl at my phone and click the angry or sad face on Facebook. So I’m launching a new feature on my blog’s Facebook page – Kindness Saturday! Each Saturday morning, I’m going to feature a person or a group standing up for the right thing, showing kindness, or otherwise loving their neighbor. When there’s so much that’s depressing, we need to be reminded of the good work people are doing. Come to the page tomorrow for my first one.

In the meantime, here’s some awesome links about what’s really important as a parent, surviving the Trump years, effective discipline, traveling with kids, and more.

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Green Kids: Eating Vegetarian

Text: "Green Kids: Eating Vegetarian" Photo of multi-colored peppers on a checkered cloth

“Come on, try a broccoli tree,” I say, my voice taking on the edge of a whine. Sprout pokes at his broccoli with a finger. Most of the time in this situation, he tries at least one. For a three and a half year old, that’s not too bad. While I love the health benefits of eating your vegetables, I also want to help him love them for the sake of the environment.

Meat and dairy production contribute to 15 percent of the greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change. In addition, many livestock farms also have negative impacts on the air and water in their local areas. Fortunately, you don’t need to go full-on vegetarian or vegan to make a difference. Not eating meat once a week – such as meatless Monday – can reduce your carbon footprint.

Since many kids are resistant to trying anything new, here are some ways we’ve found to make vegetarian food appetizing.

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Being Present in the Dark

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The room is dark and my eyelids flutter. My baby, who is in my arms, squirms and calls out, shrieking, then whimpering. I startle awake and gaze down at him, taking in his round cheeks and elfin nose. His eyes are closed, but out of exhaustion, not relaxation. Cries of pain and discomfort slip from his mouth, no matter how much I hug or rock him. His teeth are coming in and even medicine isn’t quite enough.

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Want to Help Refugees? Win a Picture Book and Donation in Your Name!

It’s often hard to know what we can do in response to national policy, like the recent ban on immigration and refugees from several predominantly Muslim countries. Between the seemingly prejudiced way those countries were chosen, the terrible implementation, and the many people suffering as a result, it’s easy to feel helpless.

But I hope to make helping a little easier. While I almost never run giveaways, I want to raise awareness on this issue. To help parents talk to kids about refugees, I’m giving away one book from this list of picture books about refugees. The specific book will be the winner’s choice, depending on their child’s age and interests. I’ll also make a donation of school supplies to the International Rescue Committee in the winner’s name.

To win, you just need to like my Facebook page as well as “like” the specific Facebook post about the contest. Next Friday, February 10, I’ll randomly select one person to receive the package.

This is not a sponsored giveaway – I’m just doing it because I think it’s important. Immigration is a huge part of my family story. I want other families to have the same opportunities that my ancestors did. Teaching our children how refugees are like them and providing refugee kids with tools to help them heal is one small way to do so. Resistance takes a lot of forms, but I want all of mine to be driven by love.

For more on my thoughts on refugees and immigrants, read my post Refugees and Other Families Looking for a Better Life

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7 Ways My Three-Year-Old is Already Too Clever

Text: "7 Ways My Three-Year-Old is Already Too Clever / We'll Eat You Up, We Love You So" Picture: A brain with arms lifting weights

“What’s that?” my son said, pointing into the bathroom. As I looked to see what he was talking about, he ran in the opposite direction. At that moment, I realized that my son, at the tender age of three, had pulled one of the oldest tricks in the book.

I’m not the type of parent to brag about my child being “gifted.” But I do suspect that with a mom who often thought she was smarter-than-thou as a child (yes, me) and a father who’s an unrepentant wiseass, Sprout is already more clever than I am. Here are just a few of the ways:

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