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Road trip, stolen Cheetos, baby bunnies, and muffin tops (7 Quick Takes)


Last weekend, we hit the road as a family and drove to New York to visit my sister Maureen and her four amazing children. We started planning the trip just a few days before we left, and even then I kept thinking we would have to cancel. Surely someone would get sick, right? What were the chances that all nine of us would be healthy enough to make it happen?

On the morning of our trip, I thought one member of our family seemed a little sniffly. We ran a rapid test, but I didn’t want to lose the 15 minutes waiting for the result, so we jumped in the car and started our trip. We could have turned around if it had turned positive, and I wanted to get ahead of the traffic of a summer Friday.

The trip was fantastic, exceeding all my low expectations—dinner out together, a trip to a used bookstore, loads of games for the kids, homemade nacho night, and endless Frappucinos for Maureen and me.

Can’t wait to see them again, hopefully soon.


During our visit, we had played Telestrations, which is one of my favorite games. It blends Pictionary and Telephone, and it tends to lead to lots of raucous laughter. As we were leaving my sister’s house to drive back to Baltimore, I grabbed a bag of Cheetos off the dining room table. That seemed a little rude, so I stopped to draw a sketch of us stealing the Cheetos as we ran to our van.

John saw me at work on the dry-erase pad and said, “Are you leaving them a thank you note? That’s nice.”

It was a sort of a thank you note, I suppose. They found my drawing—and no Cheetos—later after they came home from church.

The Cheetos fed us as we traveled down the New Jersey Turnpike. I can only hope the sketch lasted as long as the drive home.


We have baby bunnies in our yard, and they are just the sweetest little things. They’re a little bigger every day, and one day they will not be so tiny and cute. But we can’t get enough of them—how they hippity-hop and dash across the yard, how they sit and much on our clover, how they can’t decide whether to jump away from us or freeze in the grass when we get close to them.

We think they live under our deck. I like to imagine a huge rabbit maze under there with multiple rooms and passages.


All the art projects from the year are coming home. I’m enjoying the sketches and paintings and sculptures that are appearing on our dining room table.

My older son told me that the cup he made isn’t nearly as good as the others and that he didn’t make it right.

But I have no comparison and his cup is the only one I care about. It’s beautiful and perfect and made by him.


Blueberries were on sale this week, so I woke up early on Saturday morning to feed the finches and make blueberry muffins. I remembered that my younger son likes the tops the best, so I made some full muffins and some muffin tops.

He was delighted. I can’t wait to see which will disappear first.

My money is on the tops.


When I was measuring the flour for the muffins, I realized that my 2-cup measuring cup has lost its measuring marks. What good is a measuring cup that can’t measure?

It works OK for me since I measure rather vaguely anyway, and I know about where the lines should be.

But there’s something very profound about a measuring cup that loses its lines—and also a little disappointing since this was a gift I just received for Christmas.


Our boys’ school year will end next week, and their summer break will begin. I have this fear that summer will be over before it even starts, but there is so much joy that comes with the end of the school year. There’s also some relief and a tremendous amount of gratitude after this year.

I wrote this piece, “Just the Other Day,” about our older son, who is finishing eighth grade. I can’t read it without getting weepy, but you probably can.

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