The best photo of the kids

We went to JC Penney for our annual family portraits. It gets hairier the more kids we have, because we have so many occasions to shoehorn in.In the fall, we have to manage the older kids' "school" photos (I don't think even homeschool kids should be exemptfrom an awkwardly smiling yearly head-and-shoulders shot)and the youngest child's commemoration of turning another year old.We also about this time start thinking we could really use another portraitof all five of us.Oy!So many frames.Add in the fact that my kids areterribleat posing for photos.They don't seem to know you're supposed to look toward the lens.They are incapable of arranging their bodies as instructed.They don't know how to order their muscles into a smile.They just have no earthly idea.Coaching, showing them a mirror, trying to get them to giggle— no dice.I actually enjoy cataloging their awful smilesand know they'll have a laugh looking back at them someday.Anyway, we broke our portrait session into two this time,so we didn't have to manage ALL those poses in one meager day.This meant, too, that if something went awry in one session,we had the next session to try, try again.Enter: The photo of all three brothers together.Getting three kids to look at a camera and look pleasant,all at the same time,is a pip, my friends.And I didn't know, when reviewing the captures of the day,whether we'd miraculously get anything better the next time.So I chose this.Are you ready?You're really ready? I paid cash money for this treasure, my people.Real, actual munz.I transferred my hard-earned carrots to the good folks at JC Penneyin exchange for having a printout of this fine film representationto hang in my home.Because, and let me assure you,it was the best of the roll.Let that sink in,and feel the defeat that swamped my courageous heart that day.Do you want some proof?Here, Alrik is doing the classic face"Trying to Suppress a Fart."And here Alrik is playing the part ofCreepy Groundskeeper in the Woods Who Sneaks Up Behind YouWhile You're Taking Pictures.Lest you think I'm picking on only one child:What? ...more

Read along with us! Little Kunoichi: The Ninja Girl

We're having piratey fun reading this book Little Kunoichi: The Ninja Girl, by Sanae Ishida, a children's picture book about a ninja girl and her samurai friend who learn the value of shugyo (practice & discipline).It's got delightful watercolor illustrations with whimsical details. You and your kids will love the silliness throughout, and the message is one that I think we all need to hear: that being good at something almost always takes practice, practice, practice.Plus, isn't it nice to see a ninja girl? Learn more about Sanae Ishida, a Seattle artist and author, at her page ....more

Brothers by the autumn tree

Every autumn, we take photos in front ofa sweet maple tree outside our homeas the leaves change colors.Karsten: 22 monthsMikko: 9 yearsAlrik: 5 years Comparison with years past: Mikko at 3 Mikko at 4, Alrik at 5 months Halloween superheroes at 5 and 1 6 and 2 At ages 7 and 3 and soon-to-be! First year with all three brothers,ages 8 years, 4 years, and 10 monthsWho's #1?Baby power!Hee hee hee! Thanks for subscribing to Hobo Mama ....more

Do you breastfeed more on the left side?

Breastfeeding on the left side so my right hand is freefor important swiping-related activities. I was curious why button-down shirts tailored to women button right over left whereas men's button left over right, and I came across this article from The Straight Dope by Cecil Adams (emphasis mine): "Buttoning left over right — the man's way — is supposedly easiest for right-handed people. According to legend, women button right over left because in medieval times they were dressed by their right-handed maids ....more

The perfect cat litter for a small space: ARM & HAMMER™ CLUMP & SEAL™ MicroGuard™ Cat Litter + $100 giveaway!

We don't have a lot of space, and we need to fit three litter boxes amidst the chaos of kids' stuff, a home business, and the accoutrements of daily life. We have visitors frequently, so we tried hiding the litter boxes cleverly, but you know who didn't like that? The cats....more

How to manage the mess of renovation in an apartment, condo, or other small indoor space

It's one thing to DIY in a garage or workshop — it's another to paint, sand, saw, and otherwise muck around with no outdoor space to call your own and wall-to-wall beige carpet covering your whole living space.Here's how we've handled doing super-messy and time-consuming projects — painting cabinet interiors and doors, retexturing and painting walls and ceilings, staining and painting furniture, and spray painting hardware — in a second-floor condo with a teensy balcony and no usable uncarpeted area. Tip #1: Choose a less-trafficked area if possible. This might not be possible if your space if super small, but give it a try ....more


I decided Karsten needed his own post of cuteness.Was I right, or was I right? Thanks for subscribing to Hobo Mama. Please feel free to comment on the post & share it with friends! ...more

Family photos in a beach sunset

Every year around Mikko's birthday (usually on),we walk out to the beachfor a special silhouette photo shoot.Here's this year's,with three children standing.Previous years:All five of us For the curious, Alrik decided to color his hair blueto match his YouTube hero, DanTDM.I think it's suits him, don't you?We used a temporary liquid hair chalk,so it was turning aqua by this point.Sun-gildedSweet boysBeautiful sunsetDig in!Deeper…Deeper…Deeper!Yes, this was at Mikko's request.It's all fun and games till a brother shovels sand in your face.(It was an accident.)(He says.)My sweetheart and me,about to celebrate 18 love-filled years of marriageBubbles!Hooray!Throwing rocks with KarstenWhat a lovely beach evening. Thanks for subscribing to Hobo Mama. Please feel free to comment on the post & share it with friends! ...more


The other day, nine-year-old Mikko was intrigued by our returning something to Home Depot. "Are they giving you cash back? Can I have the munz?"I said: "Normally, I'd tell you that it belongs to me, but I'm tempted to now that you've made up a new nickname for money.""Oh, sure, Mama," he said ....more