19 Random Photos From My Phone from 2012

And now, a random selection of pictures I took with my phone in 2012:


1. Shock gIn February I saw Digital Underground on a work trip to Las Vegas. This
is Shock G. He's 50 and he still looks great and the band is as tight as







Cool wall indiaLater in February I went to India for a project for business school. This was a wall in the lobby of one of the hospitals I was working with.






Ultrasound sign indiaI snapped this shot quickly (that's why it's blurry) as I walked past an ultrasound room in that hospital in India.







PillowsI picked out the fabrics, and my mom sewed these throw pillows for me.





HaircastI adore the local news out of Detroit, and this is why. This weathercaster has a "haircast" every night.







Apappas drawingMy grandfather did this line-and-ink drawing of a corner of downtown Toledo back when streetcars weere still running. When my grandmother moved into assisted living I got the drawing.






CostumeA friend of mine did a charity fashion show and I got to wear this Renaissance dress. It was gorgeous, but the corset was fully boned and I think I bruised some ribs wearing it.

















Mackinac bridgeOn the way to summer camp my kids and I crossed the Mackinac Bridge.


















Si ves algoI went to NYC in July and took this in the subway.







CukesWhen I got home, a friend gave me all these gorgeous cucumbers from her garden.









Electric boltI ran in a 5K in which they gave every finisher this cute medal. I wore mine around the house for a few days.









StudyingI was back in NYC, at my old favorite cafe, but I had to study for an exam for school.






Shopping listI dictated the shopping list to my 7-year-old, and this is what he wrote for himself.








Chiro signI was driving home one night and saw this sign at the chiropractor's office. Before this I'd never thought about the fact that "spine" and "penis" are anagrams for each other. They changed the slogan the next morning.







Blossom in a boxMy dopey cat Blossom in a box.






Flaming treeI ran past this gorgeous flaming tree in my neighborhood for a few weeks until the leaves fell.








Owl earsI do not know what I did to deserve this look from my cat Alex, but you can tell he wasn't pleased with me.








Jesus sushiI took this picture in the parking lot of my church one Sunday morning. It made me howl with laughter.








FamilyI'm not really sure this means what they think it means. This made my whole family laugh on Christmas Eve.







And there you go. My random year. I'm hoping to get better at taking pictures in 2013 so I may have a more interesting recap for you next year.

Goals and Dreams for 2013 and Clear Vision

I've got some throat thing, so I'm holed up on my couch watching old soccer games and listening to the soundtrack to "Les Miserables." And I'm planning. I'm planning planning planning for 2013.

It feels to me like for the last couple of years I've been very much in a "get it done" mode, in which I make a goal and then make a straight line to that goal. And I know why–I was asleep for so long, just trying to maintain, so being able to actually take action was a big deal. But now I have this sense that there's way more that I can do, that's not just utilitarian but is actually good for me and has some room for fun and delight. Enter Leonie Dawson's 2013 Create Your Incredible Year Workbook and Planner.

I don't know if any of you read Leonie. She's an Australian business coach and she's super woo-woo, way extremely woo-woo. About as woo-woo as I am cynical, honestly. But she and I are looking for the same thing: movement and freedom. She gets there with rainbows and glitter and I get there with cynicism and coffee, but we're both looking for something more, for ourselves and for the people who read what we write and who work with us. And we both like structure that leaves room for movement.

And I was just having this feeling that I could do more this year and somehow my regular one-page list of goals wasn't going to do it, and right them Leonie's bright pink and purple glittery superfantastical planning tool landed right in my inbox. So I bought it, and it is no joke. No. Joke. I spent yesterday doing her "closing out 2012" section and shed some tears. She moves you through the big ideas in a way that seems natural and kind. And now I'm moving into the planning for 2013 section, and something about this workbook is really sparking me to think big.

I'm loving them (the Life Edition and the Business edition) so much that I'm recommending them to you. You should buy them. Each one on its own is only $9.95, or you can get the pack of two for $17.90. You buy them and get access immediately and print them out on your own so you can start right now. Full disclosure: this is my affiliate link, so when you click through and buy them I get a little kickback, just like when you buy something from Amazon through this site: 2013 Create Your Incredible Year Workbook and Planner. (Does anyone else remember that "I liked it so much I bought the company" commercial? That's how I feel.)

If anyone's local to me, a few of us are going to be at Fraser's Pub on Packard at 6 pm on January 3rd to work on the workbooks, and you're invited. Show up with your printouts and pens.

Clear Vision: If anyone has FSA money you need to use by Monday, and you wear glasses, I'd like to recommend WarbyParker.com. You send them your prescription and pick out the glasses you want, and they send you the entire pair (frames and lenses) for $95 AND they donate a pair of glasses to people in areas without access to vision care. The glasses are excellent, and I'm wearing a pair as I type this. (The green pair in my banner photo on my Facebook page.) I have two pairs of their regular glasses and one pair of their precription sunglasses and am pleased with all of them. If they had an affiliate program I'd totally join it, because I do use their glasses happily every day, but they don't. I'm just a happy customer recommending the glasses I love. (Their customer service is excellent, too, especially Colleen.)


And now back to tea and the workbook and SKy Sports News.

Q&A: Having a third baby?

Krissy writes:

"For over a year – OVER A YEAR – I’ve been in the middle of a baby-crazed bout of indecision.  I didn’t think I wanted a third child.  Two was always the plan.  Then suddenly, a girlfriend and I have dinner and she spends an hour convincing me that I SHOULD want a 3rd (likely because she is having a 3rd) and then suddenly all I’ve thought about for a year and one-half is having a third baby.

Biologically, my body is craving a third baby.  But do I really really WANT one?

Here’s how this plays out: I see a pregnant woman and become consumed with envy.  Then I see a mother of a newborn and feel so GLAD that I am not her.  Then I see a family with 3 older children at the beach and my craving for another becomes utterly intense.  And
when one of my children do something wonderful—be it small (saying
“thank you, mommy”) after dinner, or big (sleep for 12 uninterrupted
hours, wahoo!) I WANT ANOTHER.

when my almost-3-year-old is throwing one of his epic fits, or my 5.5
year-old has trouble with a friend, I think “how could I possibly DO
this again?  All over again.  I can't!”  And I don’t think I can.

husband needed some convincing, but now he's in the "if it's something
you want, let's do it!  I'm on board."  But realistically, he'd be a-ok
with 2 children instead of 3.  So here we are not trying but we’re not NOT trying.  So every month I feel both relieved and disappointed when I get my period.  If I want another baby I’m at the age where I need to hurry up and do it.

Can I handle a 3rd—diapers, and drool, and bottles, and leaky breasts and all?  But can I imagine my Thanksgiving table WITHOUT a third? I’m consumed with doubt, indecision, and a little bit of panic.  Advice?  My window's about to close, here."

Well, don't panic. Here's what I see here:

1. Your girlfriend was having some sort of pregnancy-induced temporary unsolicited advice syndrome by trying to convince you to have a third kid. Seriously. Why would she do that? (Answer: hormones and fear of being alone.) I get that she wanted company, but now you're in a tailspin and you would have been fine had she not brought it up.

2. Now that the horse is out of the corral, you have to separate out what you really want. It seems pretty clear to me form this email that you don't really want another baby, and you really super don't want a toddler (I get that, for sure). But you might want another child.

3. Are you willing to do the baby and toddler and preschooler stuff again for the joy of having another child? That's what this boils down to. If it's going to break you (or even just make you more uncomfortable than you want to be) or stress your relationship for a few years, is it worth it? I would not look at the moms of three little kids, because you know that's temporary. I'd look at the people with a 16-year-old, a 14-year-old, and a 10-year-old: is THAT what you want?

Readers? If you did it, how do you feel about it? If you didn't do it, how do you feel about it?

Vent here safely

I'm putting up two posts for December 24 and 25. There's one for funny stories under this. This one is for people who need to vent anything that's happening, whether it's loneliness, or anger at relatives, or frustration at food that came out wrong, or despair at people who don't treat you correctly, or annoyance at your children's behavior, or whatever's negative that you need to get out.

No misery poker, and there's enough sympathy to go around. If you want to post anonymously, put a fake email address in the email box and a fake URL in the URL box (we like fake@fake.com and www.fake.com).

It’s a Christmas Miracle!

I'm putting up two posts for December 24 and 25. This one is going to be silly, and the other one is going to be a safe space to vent bad feelings. If you feel like you've got anything to give these two days, please stop over there and say something kind to someone who's feeling bad.

Over here, we can share some dopey stories. I know I've shared before about how my family has a tradition of calling things "Christmas miracles" and then telling the stories year after year. Here are the two we tell the most:

The Christmas Box of Socks Miracle: My grandfather was newly married to my grandmother, and it was Christmas Eve, and he'd had a bit too much to drink and had been sent out to go walk it off a bit and go to the store to get something. As he was walking, a car came speeding down the street and the window rolled down and he heard someone yell, "And all you got me was SOCKS!" and then a box flew out the window and landed at his feet as the car sped away. Of course my grandfather picked up the box, took it back home with him, and when he opened it there were pairs and pairs of new socks, all his size. IT WAS A CHRISTMAS MIRACLE.

The Slivovitz Miracle: My dad likes to drink slivovitz (plum brandy) at Christmas. My brother had given him a big bottle the previous year, but after having only about two shots' worth out of the bottle, it had disappeared. So when my brother gave my dad a bottle of it the next year, we were hoping the same thing wouldn't happen. Not only did it not disappear, but when my dad went to the cabinet in which he keeps the shotglasses he only uses at Christmas time, he found the bottle of slivovitz from the previous year! It hadn't disappeared after all, and now he had TWO bottles of slivovitz. IT WAS A CHRISTMAS MIRACLE.

Now you go: What ridiculous stories does your family tell or what crazy traditions do you have?

Q&A: Not wiping!

Beth writes:

"My daughter is 3.75 and has been potty trained since about 2.5. She's super independent about using the bathroom — can get on the toilet by herself, get her own toilet paper, wash her hands afterward, and so on. But the past several weeks, she's been acting really weird. When she poops, she will use the potty, then come out of the bathroom half-naked without having wiped her bottom or washed her hands. She acts like it's funny. When we direct her back into the bathroom to finish the job, she resists. When we tell her to wash her hands before touching anything, she rubs her hands on everything. When we're firm with her, it only escalates things, but explaining gently doesn't work either. We've even tried explaining consequences — such as that her bum will hurt or itch if she doesn't clean up — but it doesn't have any impact.

I get that she's at the age where she's severely testing boundaries, but this is obviously a non-negotiable issue. We've asked (in non-potty moments) why she isn't carrying through the poop routine like she used to, but she can't explain what she wants, if anything. It's getting really frustrating, not to mention unhygienic. Would love any suggestions from folks whose kids may have done this behavior."

I really basically have not much, as potty training is a bullet I dodged for the most part. But if I recall correctly, my kids couldn't consistently and adequately wipe themselves until closer to age 5, so it isn't something I'd have trusted them to do at this age anyway.

So my reaction would probably to be to put this in the camp of "You have no choice" along with holding my hand to cross the street, and I would wipe for her until she was willing to wipe herself. And she wouldn't like it, but a 3.75-year-old has a lot of choices available so hygiene isn't negotiable.

But there's probably someone out there who went through this who has some way of making it fun, and who had an early wiper like your daughter. Anyone?

Divorce, 2012 Holiday Edition

Download this as a PDF.

Divorce, 2012 Holiday Edition

Once upon a time, I told my then-husband I wanted a divorce
a few days after Thanksgiving. That first December was hard. This is what I’ve
learned since then about the first post-split holiday season, and I offer it to

1. Let yourself be
  This time of year is chock full
of bullshit about being filled with the wonder of the season at every second.
You’re allowed to be sad, and you have a reason to be sad. Maybe you didn’t
like this time of year anyway, even before the divorce happened. Maybe you
always liked it before. If you liked it before, you’ll like it again. Just not
this year. This year sucks, and it’s ok to be sad. You’re feeling just what you
need to be feeling right now.

2. Look realistically
at what you feel like your kids are missing.
If this is the first year
without their parents together for the holidays, your kids are going to feel
sad, and they’re going to feel like something’s missing. (No matter how many
toys you buy them.) That’s normal and ok. Next year will be better for them,
because by then it will be regular and not scary to be with each parent
separately. But this year they’ll need extra hugs. This is the part that hurts
in order to feel better.

3. Think about what
kind of family you want to be this time next year.
This year is tough
because you’re feeling the sting of not being the family you (thought you) were
before. But next year at this time you’ll be a new family, one that’s honest
and loving and true. Spend some time thinking about what you want next December
to look like with your new improved family, and what you can do to get there
over the next year.

4. Think about what
you’re really missing.
Are you missing the actual relationship? Being in a
relationship in general? Or the Holiday Fantasy Relationship? You might
actually be feeling great not to be with your soon-to-be-ex, but it still hurts
that no one’s going to surprise you with a car with a big red bow on it. Figure
out exactly what you’re missing, and let the parts you’re not missing drift out
of your mind. And see if you can’t get some of the stuff you are missing from
family and friends.

5. Consider
Especially if you haven’t let yourself wallow yet, now might be
the time.

5a. I made you a

6. Accept. Accept
help. Accept invitations. Accept hugs. There are a lot of people who love you.
Let yourself be around them, even if you feel like crappy company. Brush your
teeth and put on a clean shirt and go when someone calls you. Let people be
your friends.

7. Know that next
year will be better.
I know, it’s awfully Pollyanna-ish to say. But it’s
true. Everyone said the first year was hard but the second year was easier. And
they were right. The third year is even easier. And by the fourth year this
will just be a faded Rothko painting in your memories. Except that you’ll be
stronger and better and deeper and softer where it matters.

You can do this. Courage.


If you want help moving through the process with your heart and mind and soul intact, sign up for my Flourish Through Divorce workshop. Registration is open now, and the workshop starts January 13, 2013.

Holiday/Breaktime Bedtimes?

Only a few "normal" days left until Christmas and a school break for kids and perhaps for parents, too. How do you all handle bedtimes when your kids don't have to be out of the house at the same time they usually do?

Post with your kids' age, because I'm guessing this varies a lot by age.

I used to keep bedtimes as close to usual as possible, but now that my kids are what I call "grown-up kids" I let them stay up as late as they want with the understanding that they'd better be able to function the next day, or bedtime gets rolled back the next night.

Bonus question: Do you think excess sugar consumption at holidays affects your kids' sleep and general behavior?

Coaching for Parents

Are you having problems with a transition–into parenting, into a new developmental phase, from or to work, or some other change?

 Are you feeling unsettled or stressed about your own expectations for yourself and how you’re achieving them (or not)?

 Are you feeling tentative or like you second-guess your parenting decisions?



What if you could:

  • Feel confident in your parenting,
  • Make decisions with assurance, and
  • Bring ease and mastery back into your life even in the midst of the whirlwind of parenting?


Coach with me and I will guide you to:

  • Create your own personal framework for decisionmaking
  • Develop a plan to allow yourself to fluidly switch emphasis as your child goes through phases of equlibrium and disequilibrium
  • Forgive yourself to move on easily when things don’t work the first time
  • Know without hesitation that you are the best parent for your child


You’re ready to tranform, and you’ve been reading AskMoxie.org and wishing you could apprentice with me for a little bit. Well, you can! In four months of bite-sized pieces I can show you how I prioritize and analyze, figure out what’s blocking you, and we can design a plan to get you from white-knuckling it to knowing you’re the parent you always wanted to be.

“Magda, it is incredible how much you fit into a short conversation.
Not only was it fun and easy but full of validation and wisdom. I
especially appreciated your personal anecdote that directly related to
my situation because I keep thinking about it as I go about my day. I
hope our paths cross again in the near future.” — Anna N, Phildelphia


Coach with me.

The coaching package is $1500 and includes:

  • One one-hour discovery session (by phone or Skype) to find out where you are now, what your struggles are, and to map out a strategy of where you want to go and a written plan
  • Two 30-minute calls (phone or Skype) per month for four months
  • Homework assignments based on your personal plan, focusing on thinking about change, growth, and your own priorities and values, with writing and talking through questions based on models of framing your unique struggles and stuck spots
  • One year of membership in the Ask Moxie secret Facebook group, for participants in coaching and workshops to troubleshoot day-to-day struggles together
  • Unlimited email support from me


FAQ about Coaching:

Isn’t this just therapy? No. I’m not a therapist, licensed or otherwise. (I love going to therapy as a patient because of what I learn about myself, and think everyone should go to therapy for the personal breakthroughs. This is a different process though.) I’m mentoring you and showing you how I create a framework for myself and how you can create one for yourself. I’m more like an exercise buddy than a therapist, if by “exercise” you mean “figuring out how to be true to yourself and a kick-ass parent at the same time.”

That’s a lot of money. Yes, it is. You could buy a lot of self-help books for $1500. But then you’d have to read all of them, instead of having my help putting together a plan just for you about what to focus on and how to get to where you want to be. Plus, it would take some wacky combination of books to combine figuring out who you want to be with who you want to be as a parent and translate that into a model that will grow with you for the rest of your kid’s life. You’re paying for time and focus and knowing the process will fit you.

Do you have a payment plan? Yep. Email me at askmoxie at gmail dot com and I’ll send you the links for the payment plan.

Can’t you just take my kid for a little while? First I’m going to get my plan to train Trained Monkey Assistants up and running. And then I’m working on Universal Nannies from 6-9 am and 6-9 pm every day. After that I may get Toddler Boarding School up and running, in which case yes, I can take your kid. Right after we get accreditation. (Obviously I’m joking. I don’t want any part of training monkeys.)

I really don’t know if I can do this. Yes, you can. Courage.


If you are feeling frustrated and stuck, and are ready for the tools and the plan to gain confidence and ease in your parenting, coaching is for you. If you’re looking for someone to tell you what to do or how to get your child to sleep, this probably isn’t what you’re looking for. But if you want to give yourself the space and time to really consider thoughtfully who you want to be as a parent and then get there, then you’re absolutely in the right place.


Guarantee: If you don’t get to where we planned you’d be at the end of the coaching term, I’ll keep working with you until you get there. For as long as it takes.

Ready to go? Let’s do it.

Ask Moxie Coaching


I am so thrilled that you’re considering coaching, and I’m excited to work with you. If you have any questions, either before or after you sign up, email me at askmoxie at gmail dot com.

MagdaChristmasCard<—Me, silly, with my kids.



MoxieSmall<—Me looking wise and professional.




“Magda strikes just the right balance between knowledge and practical
experience.  Her familiarity with the literature on child psychology and
parenting is extensive, but even more impressive is her ability to
translate all of this information into concrete advice about the
day-to-day challenges of parenting.  She has a non-judgmental, often
humorous approach that made me feeling like I was having a conversation
with a very knowledgeable friend.” Nikki, Ontario


Excellent! I can’t wait to work with you.



Peace #1: If you would like to do something to increase gun control in the United States, please read this post from Moms Rising (thanks for the tip from Holly): Demand the NRA and Congress Stop Blocking Commonsense Regulations That Protect Us All

Also, call your Senators and Representatives along with State Senators and Reps and Governor (that's 6 calls) every day to ask for gun control.

I just called Michigan Governor Rick Snyder to beg him to veto MI Senate Bill 59, which allows concealed weapons in daycares, schools, and churches. Daycares. I called him at 517-373-3400. You can email him at Rick.Snyder@michigan.gov

I you are going to try to argue that there's no need for gun control, don't. What Elana Pate thinks is a good summary of why anti-gun control arguments don't hold water: http://thepoliticalparent.com/2012/12/16/20121216.aspx Please take your arguments someplace else and have respect for those of us who are grieving these kids and educators, and trying to make our communities safe.

Peace #2: Randi Buckley, who has her head wrapped around some ways of honoring yourself when you're feeling fragile, is offering a teleseminar this Thursday night called "Healthy Boundaries for Kind People." It's 90 minutes long, it's only $20, and it can give you some ideas for dealing with the rest of this holiday season if you get told you're "too nice" a lot and are feeling like you're being overwhelmed. Recording sent if you can't make it live. Full info here.

While I am absolutely not too nice, I signed up for it to learn some new strategies and maybe how not to hurt my friends who actually are too nice.