"My once smooth, leather-bound lifeline has been entombed in a crack, crash and catastrophe-resistant case that the nice clerk at the local electronics box store told me is the exact same one soldiers use in combat. Except I’m pretty sure the battle-tested tablets the military uses get dropped, dripped on and dragged less than that poor shell of a processor my kids have absconded from my bedside table."

"There is a disconnect somewhere between my daughter’s language skills and her comprehension ability," wrote one mom. "I call this disconnect 'orneriness,' otherwise known as her stubborn unwillingness to understand."

Teachers can be as nervous about the first day of school as their students. We interviewed a few, who told us their first-day stories, what they did on their summer vacation and tips for getting students ready to return to school.

"What more do I have to sacrifice so one of my babies has some small resemblance of me? I waddled around carrying them, bore hemorrhoids for them and drank coconut water for them — and, frankly, coconut water makes me gag a little," wrote Anna Lind Thomas. "And for my sacrifice, I don’t even get an eye color? Eye shape? Hair color? Skin color? ANYTHING?"

"My legs are not my favorite thing. They aren't toned or tan; they're scarred by an ACL repair and ancient mosquito bites, and polka-dotted with bruises that broadcast my general clumsiness," wrote on Omaha mom. "When I was pregnant with Emilia, spider veins accumulated around my ankles, building webs that have only gotten more permanent and complex with each new baby." Still, she's wearing them anyway, and having a ton of fun with her kids while doing so.

"There are no competitions and therefore no rewards for keeping our house running as smoothly as possible. We don’t list out chores and mark our names next to each one. We don’t keep track of meals made, loads of laundry done, butts wiped or diapers changed. We don’t sulk and hold grudges when one of us has to do a little extra work."

Smart homes offer convenience, safety and a little bit of fun — not to mention some serious wow factor. But they are also incredibly handy for families, changing the way parents and kids spend time together. Here is a look at some of the ways you can put the power of the smart home to use for your family.

Thanks to her kids, Molly Cavanaugh is reliving the endless mystery and magic when she hears certain words.

"Take 'mystery' and 'magic' for example," she wrote. "Think back to a time when a mystery wasn’t where the spare house key disappeared to or how that “Dateline” episode you were watching — but fell asleep during — ends."

Making smart choices for kids with smart technology is something every parent needs to know how to do. With all of the tech options at our disposal, pre-owned options are often a forgotten-about resource. Here are three pieces of advice for parents who are going the pre-owned technology route for their kids.

I call it “Vitamin N.” It is the word children need to hear most, but it is currently the word children hear least. It is arguably the most character-building word in the English language, but then helping children achieve great things (or creating the illusion that they are achieving great things) has eclipsed helping children build strong character. That is unfortunate indeed because high achievement alone does not produce solid character, but a person with solid character will always do his or her best.

Teachers can be as nervous about the first day of school as their students. We interviewed a few, who told us their first-day stories, what they did on their summer vacation and tips for getting students ready to return to school.

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