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Privilege

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We recently moved to a very "urban" part of town, and I am constantly struck by how privileged I was growing up. It has been hitting me more and more, which is one of the reasons we wanted to raise our kids in the big city -- they need to see something other than middle-class white their whole lives. The process has been difficult in ways, and uncomfortable, but I think the benefits outweigh the struggle. First, homelessness is rampant in Los Angeles. Tents are everywhere and our kids ask about them. "Are they camping in the park?" they ask. "They live there," I respond, prompting a gratefulness for our cozy apartment with a solid roof over our heads. At a recent trip to the DMV , a homeless man walked right up to the trashcan and pulled out a quarter-eaten hot dog, taking a few bites before walking away. I can't imagine that being a reality in my life, but it is to a lot of people, and we need to know that and relate to them in some way. Second,

How to Take Your Kids to the DMV

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One of the most difficult parts of stay-at-home life is taking your kids on normal errands. Going to the grocery store or Target are big productions, as opposed to single life, when you just went when you wanted, ran in and got out before your meter ran out of time. Now it takes about 15-20 minutes just to get the kids in the car, making sure you have water, snacks and diapers. You search for that cool shopping cart that looks like a race car and has two seats for both kids, otherwise one has to walk, which is another thing to think about while shopping. You pray the whole time that no one has to go to the bathroom, because that is not only an interruption, but getting a shopping cart in the stall and keeping your youngest from playing with the toilets are no easy task... And so you can imagine that a more difficult task, something arduous for even a single person with loads of time on his or her hands, is nearly impossible with kids. Well, recently we moved to a new state and had t

How (Not) to Move Across the Country

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Life is kind of funny sometimes, you know? I grew up never wanting to leave the South, thinking I would end somewhere in the Blue Ridge Mountains. But California called for  school , and I was elated to check it out. I didn't like LA though, and so I came back after the semester was over, only to miss it so much that I moved back a year later. Seven years after that, we missed our family and needed help with our second child, and so we came back east, only to again long for California. That brings us to this year, where we decided to move back...again. That's five cross-country drives and three moves under our belt. Each one was in a different life circumstance, and various lessons were learned, but this most recent was a real challenge. Now, as we are settling in to our new place, I thought it would be fun to share that story here. As you can tell, California must really want us, despite our best efforts to stay away. And since we arrived in South Carolina two years ago, we

Who Do You Represent?

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Not too long ago I wrote a piece on my dad , who has inspired me in tons of ways. Well, tonight I went to work and there was a new guy. As I introduced myself, he asked what my last name was and immediately connected that he had worked with my dad for about eight years before he (semi)retired. It was a cool connection and fun to hear about my dad in his work life, which I seldom got to experience as a kid. But as we worked, something struck me: I found myself very aware of this new guy's proximity to me, and how hard I was working when I was near him. I wanted him to think I was a good worker because he knew my dad, and my dad's reputation would inevitably transfer to me. Not that I am not a hard worker when no one is looking, but I was trying extra hard to appear engaged and focused on my tasks when this guy was around. And I don't feel like this was a bad thing to experience, honestly, but it got me thinking...who is it that you work for? Whose reputation do you carry o