Kyle’s Graduation (7 Months Ago)

I only get to see my brother Kyle a couple times a year. He lives in San Francisco where he’s a transportation planner with the San Francisco County Transportation Authority. He was in town for the holidays. As a child, it never occurred to me that someday, the chance for me and my siblings to all be together would be something special rather than ordinary. Sometimes I ache for the ordinary. He’s gone again, as is my sister and her family, as is what happens when holidays end.

This May he graduated from Rutgers University after earning a Master of City and Regional Planning, and Transportation Policy and Planning degree. My parents gifted my sister, Katy, and I plane tickets so that we could see him graduate.

all dressed up

the quilted map wall hanging my mom made for Kyle



Kyle and his grad school friends

me, Mom and Katy

Kyle and Christine



Rutgers in the spring

walking the High Line in NYC on Mother’s Day

street musician

Brooklyn Bridge Park

Kyle misses New York City—we miss visiting him there. But San Francisco isn’t too shabby. Today I booked a plane ticket to visit him on the other coast, over a long weekend in February.

I can’t wait.

“A sibling may be the keeper of one’s identity, the only person with the keys to one’s unfettered, more fundamental self.” —Marian Sandmaier

Three Kids Under 4 On a Plane

Early June Andy’s parents gifted us a wonderful vacation with them in St. Petersburg, Fla. The trip included five plane tickets, which I was both very grateful for (it’s a long drive) and terrified of (the boys have never flown). Confession: Worst case, though, I thought whatever happened would make a good blog post.

Fortunately, unfortunately, I have nothing super exciting to post here.

I prepared. Sophie has a backpack. I bought the boys backpacks. And filled them with things they don’t normally get—fruit strips, fruit snacks, Teddy Grahams, cheese crackers, these fantastic activity books, diapers for the boys, an extra pair of panties for Sophie, wipes for everyone, sunglasses for everyone, flash cards and empty Thermos drink containers.

Now you would think such excess would have kept them occupied for a flight to Paris. But after putting all the stickers all over themselves …

and eating all their treats much too quickly …

and going through the flash cards 10 times …

we resorted to letting them turn the overhead lights on and off, on and off. Thankfully, the flight was packed with kids (as it was going from Cincinnati to Tampa in the summer) and everyone seemed to agree that a flickering overhead light was better than a crying child.

It went well. Really well. Andy’s parents flew with us on the way out, helping us when needed. Owen kept saying “airplane” over and over. Sophie was beside herself with the idea of fruit snacks in the morning.


“Airplane travel is nature’s way of making you look like your passport photo.” —Al Gore