How my three-year-old niece and I bonded over Medusa

The first time Maggie saw it when she was around two and a half, she asked me, "who's that?" "That's Medusa, Maggie. She has snakes for hair," I explained. She laughed, thinking it was hilarious. This became a constant back and forth nearly every time she saw me — asking about Medusa, laughing at the snake-hair. I quipped one day that it must be really hard for her to brush her hair. Maggie also thought this was hilarious and incorporated it into the routine — "So funny!" she'd say, hands over her mouth as she giggled.

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"Do you want him to be gay?" Musings on gender roles, assumptions, and raising self-aware kids

We spend a lot of time talking about empowering girls to break gender barriers. Which is important — we should. And there is plenty more work to do in that arena. But now I have a boy to raise. And if he wants to play dress-up instead of hockey, or wear his hair long or short, or become a fashion designer or watch HGTV instead of judge shows (fingers crossed), or if he likes girls or boys or nobody at all, I want him to know that it's OK.

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When love becomes thicker than blood

In January of 2012, I chose to become a single mother. I packed what I could I fit into our minivan and left my fiancé of five years, my "son" whom I had raised since he was six-months-old, and an unhealthy partnership. I parked in a parking lot, only blocks from our house and cried. My two sons slept quietly in their car seats.

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Friends are the family I've chosen for myself

There are a couple of clichés that get that way because they’re so damn true. Some that have been true for our family of two is that friends are the gods’ apology for families, friends are the family we choose for ourselves, and friends walk in when everyone else walks out. My patchwork quilt of family is mostly made of beautiful friendships, and I wouldn't have it any other way.

Why we "volunteer travel" as a family

There is no denying that traveling as a family is a bonding experience. Slow travel is another way to experience the world, allowing each family member to immerse themselves into a new culture. But volunteering as a family together adds a whole other dimension to that experience, with countless rewards and growth opportunities.