Spending Summer Together. Bickering, Barriers, and Basketball.

This summer was one of the first in years where we chose not to sign our kids up for camps. In years prior, we preserved our sanity by breaking up the endless together time with 3-4 hours a day where one kid or the other was at least a 10 minute drive away. From that distance, it miraculously became impossible for them to find reasons to bicker.  Don’t get me wrong here—the two occasional…


The Unauthorized Episode of Something Bit Me

Vivvi has always had a dark side. When she was a toddler, she loved her fluffy pink hedgehog stuffy with giant sweet eyes. “Look, mom!” she said as she snuggled him under her chin. “His name is sweetie. He likes cupcakes, and sweet things, and he kills people with his spikes!”  In a study of nature vs. nurture, it’s revealing. WallyBen does not have these instincts at all. Where she is twisty, he…


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…


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…


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…


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.…


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…


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,…


My Spinning Thoughts: A Moment in Time During COVID-19

I am taking control of COVID-19 fears the way I best know how—by reading everything good sources on the Internet have to offer. Every time my husband mentions something about the Coronavirus, I have at least five facts to either support or debunk what he has said from the various things I’ve read that day. I know more about mortality rates and "epi-" vs. "pan-" and the science behind why hand…


Valentines Confessions: My Son Teaches Me Something About Valentines

When I was in elementary school, Valentines Day was one of my favorite school days of the year. I remember picking out my design based on what I liked, what it said about me, and which would elevate my likability to the boys in my class—Lisa Frank, Mickey Mouse, Bugs Bunny. Then, when I got home and opened the selected package, spreading the 4 designs on the table, I would read the messages on…