Green: Stories from a Life Lived without Me

Driving down the lane They will feel the pain Putting up a shot My game is on fire, hot I chant the above—on a whim, mind you…improv style—and when I am done and thoroughly impressed with myself, Wally Ben rolls his eyes. “Good mom,” the sixth grade boy says. “Very good…,” he trails off as he clears his cereal bowl and heads downstairs to pack up. He is not as impressed as I am but very nicely…

Read More


Everything’s Coming Up Roses and Thorns

I was chitter chattering with my kids before school and reacted to something my son Wally said. Vivvi, my nine year old, proceeded to roast me in the most elegant fashion. The girl doesn’t need wit or poetry to take me down to a humble level—just the tools in her toolbox she has been perfecting since birth: expression and imitation. Photo by Jennifer Heim Photography At first when she started…

Read More


Come With Me on a Little Walk in Bryce Canyon

Our trip had been fun, but started with a few disappointments. Our flight the first day was delayed, which meant we landed in Vegas at 2AM—excellent for a bachelorette party, but not so great with an 11 and 9 year old. Our planned time at the pool the next morning was delayed a few hours because another family who braved Sin City with children had let said children leave a deposit in the…

Read More


Watching the Wolves

I am sitting upstairs, looking out the window, and in the distance I can see WallyBen playing catch with his friend. Every time they catch the ball, I feel myself closer and closer to tears. I should back up. Over the course of the last year, Husband Wally and I spent a lot of time discussing one question: If you could fast forward right now to the end of COVID times, would you? His answer was…

Read More


A Sledding Adventure to Remember

When we were in elementary school, my parents introduced my brother, sister and me to what would become one of my forever favorite movies—Princess Bride. I love it, and why wouldn’t you? It has everything a good story has to offer. From the book, “Fencing. Fighting. Torture. Poison. True Love. Hate. Revenge. Giants. Hunters. Bad men. Good men. Beautifulest Ladies. Snakes. Spiders... Pain. Death.…

Read More


A Very Merry Ott Lip Sync 2020

We've dubsmashed our way through Christmas yet again, for the 6th or 7th time—depending on if you count the initial full song lip sync, where we had baby backup vocals and let toddler WallyV play with a razor. It's getting to the point where the kids have become the creative directors. They suggest clips, they pick which ones they want to be in, and they come up with art direction that we all can…

Read More


That Time I Became a Playwright…

In August, the theater my daughter is in made the tough decision to go fully virtual for the rest of the year. While we understood, we were hugely bummed. She’s been in their holiday show the past two years, and it has become a part of our lives already. We knew a virtual show was possible—Vivvi participated in one over the summer where she got a monologue about a girl in quarantine who decides…

Read More


The Lion of Palms: That Time We Made a Life-Sized Lion out of Sand

It was hot at the beach that week. Hot and windy. And we were enjoying every moment of it—lugging a wagonload of stuff to the perfect spot we’d staked out early in the morning, digging holes that we hoped would hold the heavy umbrellas in place for some respite from the heat, and slathering on gobs of sandy sunscreen over our burns from the previous days. It was just like any other summer…

Read More


Dear Enemies, Game for Sale

Dear Enemies, Game for sale. Scratch that. Game for free!!!!! Item: The board game Hedbanz Sidenote: You can remember the "cute" spelling of the game's name because it is exactly how you would spell it if I told you a headband was a torture device. Description: Wear a card on your forehead. Ask Yes or No questions and cry until you guess what the card says. Notes: • This game is really fun! Your…

Read More


A letter to our devoted readers during COVID-19.

Dear Meet the Otts Readers, I just wanted to send this message to let you know how we are handling COVID-19. It has been quite the year-long week of life upsets and changes, and we want you to rest assured that we are handling it all with you in mind. Here are just a few things we are doing to protect you and stay sanitary during this unprecedented crisis. 1. We will not go viral. I assure you,…

Read More