A Preschoolers’ Guide to the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History

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The Smithsonian Museum of Natural History – a national treasure full of priceless specimens and engaging exhibits. But the perspective looks a whole lot different through the eyes of a preschooler, for better or worse. Living near Washington D.C., we make a trip to the museum at least once a year, typically in the coldest doldrums of winter.

Here’s a breakdown of the best and worst of several of the major exhibits, from a preschooler’s and a preschooler’s parent’s points of view:

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My Top Five Parenting Posts of 2016

2017 is in full swing, but it’s worth looking back on the good times of 2016. (Yes, there were some!) As part of a group of parenting bloggers, I’m participating in a round-up summarizing our most popular parenting posts of 2016.


Admittedly, almost none of mine are “tips.” Unless you count “don’t bring a three-year-old to a wedding when it’s a zillion degrees outside.”

So what was popular in 2016? It was all over the place, from getting outdoors to contemplating the personal in the political. One caveat – a lot of my popular posts in 2016 were actually from my archives. I’m leaving those out and just including the ones that I originally posted last year.

  1. A Holiday Gift Guide for Outdoor Families: Even though Christmas is past, this is still a great list of gifts for your outdoor-loving kid!
  2. Green Kids: A Toddler’s Guide to Starting Seeds: I’m hoping to order my seeds this weekend, so I’ll be looking back on this soon to see how our experience this year is different from the last.
  3. Weddings, Threenagers and Grace: People love a good story about bratty three-year-olds.
  4. To My Children Upon the Election of Donald Trump : I stand by every word.
  5. The Agony and Ecstasy of the Third Trimester: It’s not all bad, especially when it’s three and one-half weeks shorter than it’s supposed to be.

For more bloggers’ top parenting posts from the year, be sure to check out The Most Popular Parenting Posts of 2016 on The Jenny Evolution!


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6 More Things My Baby Reminds Me of that are not Babies

6 More Things My Baby Reminds Me of that are not Babies.png

My younger son has a remarkable ability to inspire comparisons to non-human creatures. While his smile is quite human – and adorable to boot – the noises and gestures he makes often aren’t.

As he’s moved from a newborn who arrived nearly a month early to a very mobile baby, here are six more things Little Bird reminds me of:

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Marching for the Future: The Women’s March on Washington


“Tell us what democracy looks like – this is what democracy looks like!” chanted by countless voices rang through the National Mall. I and two of my friends were in the middle of the Women’s March on Washington yesterday, along with about a million other people. From creative signs to the chants, the crowd was seriously pissed off. At the same time, there was a serious sense of solidarity and dare I say – hope.

As Dave Engledow, the photographer of the World’s Best Father set of photos, says, it felt like the scene in The Grinch Stole Christmas when all of the Whos in Whoville sing together despite the Grinch trying to ruin everything.

Maybe democracy doesn’t come from a store – perhaps democracy means just a little bit more!

A few of my highlights from the day:

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What I’ve Been Reading

Butterflies at the Smithsonian Natural History museum

Look at these beautiful butterflies instead of any inauguration nonsense. 

Is there something going on tomorrow? Instead of watching any hoopla on T.V. and contributing to the normalization of autocracy, check out these great articles. This week, there’s posts on mom climate activists, girls in the justice system, camping with toddlers, alternatives to the typical praises, and other challenges of modern parenting.

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The Challenge and Beauty of Being an Activist Mom

Photo: Photo of a husband and wife dressed in winter clothes hugging with the wife holding a Forward on Climate sign; Text: "The Challenges and Beauty of Being an Activist Mom / We'll Eat You Up, We Love You So"

Standing on the National Mall in the  February cold, I stomped my feet and tried to ignore how sore my lower back felt. Watching the stage, I strained to listen to the speakers, from Silicon Valley billionaires to Native American activists. I was at one of the biggest climate change protests ever, focused on defeating the Keystone XL oil pipeline. While it attracted 12,000 people, it’s unlikely that many were in the same situation as I was: five months pregnant.

Despite the cold and a serious lack of bathrooms, I marched in hopes of shifting the tide against climate change. Now, with the election of Donald Trump for president and the Republican domination of Congress, I find it more important than ever before to be an activist mom.

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What Elmo Can Teach Us About Dealing with Donald Trump

Photo: Photos of Donald Trump and Elmo side-by-side; text: What Elmo Can Teach Us About Dealing with Donald Trump

Of all of the think pieces I’ve read on dealing with Donald Trump’s presidency, there is one small, furry voice that we haven’t heard from: Elmo.

What on earth would innocent Elmo have anything to do with our soon-to-be President, who brags about groping women and lies through his teeth? He’s actually dealt with Trump before – or at least a puppet version of him. In a Sesame Street parody of the Apprentice back in 2005, Elmo is a contestant in a contest to be Donald Grump’s assistant. As the other Grouches (including Oscar) say, “Donald Grump has all the garbage!”

All of us looking to get through the next four years with our sanity intact can learn from what Elmo does in the sketch:

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