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I’m Harriet M. Welsch (like all names in my blog, a pseudonym), a mother, a musicologist, a Ph.D. student trying to finish an endless dissertation, a writer and editor on mostly musical topics, a musician and former girl spy. Things got complicated in 2011 when I got a job at the Toy Factory in New York City (Hint: It’s not really a toy factory. Its pseudonym was inspired by my friend Julia‘s blogonym for her former place of employment, “The Candy Factory.” Hint: she did not work for a Candy Factory either.). After a year of commuting from Illinois, where I lived with my husband (a writer and lifetime Chicagoan) and son (a now 12-year-old kid), to Manhattan, the Spy family finally moved halfway across the country to Brooklyn. Now we’re all trying to remember how to live in a city. You can read the backstory at my previous address, also called spynotes.

A few recurring characters (mostly from our time in Illinois — we’re not very sociable people in NY).

Yoga Mom: My next door neighbor in Illinois who also taught one of my yoga classes

The Girl Next Door [TGND]: Yoga Mom’s daughter and AJ’s friend since they started preschool at age 2. They moved next door to us a couple of years ago. She’s the quintessential girl with the curl: When she is good, she is very, very good. But when she is bad, she is horrid. AJ’s kindergarten teacher said of them that “TGND and AJ are just like an old married couple.” If by that she means they are inseparable but they almost never stop squabbling, then she pretty much summed it up.

TGND’s brother: Her brother, four years older.

The Boy Across the Street [TBATS]: Another kid in AJ’s grade.. A slightly odd and somewhat destructive child, whom AJ plays next to but never really with

TBATS’s sister: A smiley kid who wears pink cowboy boots wherever she goes.

M.: Another of AJ’s school friends from the neighborhood. He’s athletic and easygoing except when TGND fights AJ for him

Ben Franklin Boy [BFB]: Another of AJ’s school friends from the neighborhood. He got his name because the first time we had a conversation with us (in preschool), he told us all kinds of facts about Ben Franklin, including the fact that he and Ben had the same birthday. He’s a little obsessed. He was the only kindergartner at the Halloween parade dressed as Abraham Lincoln. An interesting and quirky kid.

Cranky Friends since college and now, since moving to Brooklyn, neighbors. Her daughter J (Formerly Baby J, now big Girl J) makes regular appearances here.

Denizens of the Toy Factory: my coworkers.

12 Comments leave one →
  1. June 16, 2008 2:59 pm

    Harriet, if you send me your email address I’d be happy to give you that recipe!

  2. duffy permalink
    December 25, 2008 6:30 am

    “Mr. Spy: This is a serious message! I’m warning you, with peace and love…”

    sorry for the randomness.. but i had heard this quote somewhere and did a google search which led me to this website.. is this line from something? if you have any information, please let me know! it is literally (figuratively) killing* me! *(mildly annoying me)

    thank you!!!

  3. December 26, 2008 3:11 pm

    The original source is Ringo Starr’s press conference announcing that he will no longer answer fan mail. The video from which it comes is up in this post. The Mr. Spy part is not from the video, but from the comments on that post.

  4. January 15, 2009 2:53 pm

    Would like to connect with you
    I enjoyed your blog, I have my own blog I would love to add you to my blog roll and hope you will do the same – let me know your thoughts. I am also part of you should check it out and add your profile, it’s a great way to promote your business and blog.

    I look forward to connecting with you and continuing to read your blog.


  5. February 28, 2009 7:32 pm

    Oh, would you please just email me? Pretty please, with sugar on top? There are matters of national importance which we must discuss.

  6. searoom permalink
    March 24, 2009 12:14 am

    Hey, miss–

    New site, same old me.

  7. September 16, 2009 9:29 pm

    Hi Harriet,

    I’m Julie, the editor of “Mamapedia Voices”, and we feature guest bloggers on Mamapedia, a site for Moms all across the country. I’ve just found your blog, and would like to invite you write a piece which could be featured on our site.

    Though Mamapedia Voices has just started out, it is already receiving a lot of attention, both on our site, on our guest bloggers’ sites, and beyond. We promote our featured guest bloggers through emails, Twitter, Facebook and more. It’s a wonderful opportunity to grow your audience!

    If you would like to participate, please take a look at Mamapedia Voices. Next, sign up here to be on the blogger roster, and then you will be able to see the complete (and easy) instructions for submitting a piece for consideration.

    Also, because we like your blog, please download a recognition badge from us- there are many fun designs to choose from here:

    If you have our badge on your blog, you’ll be entered into a drawing to win $100 for your favorite women’s, children’s or family charity! And you’ll be listed on our blog roll.

    Thank you, and I look forward to reading more of your work!

    Best wishes,
    Julie D’Agostino
    Editor, Mamapedia Voices

  8. September 21, 2009 3:37 pm

    My name is Tamie Wills and I work for R
    Super Foods, a Pittsburgh based company that specializes in fortified baked goods. Our products have been in school systems for over 20 years
    and in the past couple of years we have made our way into the retail market in two cities, Pittsburgh and Chicago. I was hoping R Super Foods could get involved with the Chicago Moms Blog in some way. Let me tell you about our products and what we do so you can get a better idea if a partnership or sponsorship may be of interest. Another idea is just a review of our products on your blog, we would supply the products for free.

    We have two products in the retail marketplace in Chicago at Jewel, Super Donut and Super Bun. The Super Donut is our most popular, it is an all natural cake donut that is fortified with 14 Minerals and
    Vitamins plus Protein. The Super Bun is fortified and all natural as well but it is a cinnamon bun. Both of our products are cooked in a balanced Canola Oil Blend which has a healthy ratio of Omega 6 to Omega 3 fatty acids.

    Another unique characteristic of our products is the NFL player we have on our box, it is known as our Super MVP Program. Super MVP, at R Super
    Foods, means “Most Valuable Player.” We put a player on the box because of what he does in the community, this year it is Roberto Garza of the Chicago Bears. We feature Roberto’s picture along with a story of his
    commitment to the community on the back of the box and a portion of the proceeds is donated to Los Amigos de Roberto.

    Mothers in Chicago are one of our main target markets and I am searching for new and exciting ways to reach them and educate them on our products. If this seems of something of interest to you please let me
    know. I truly appreciate your time.


    Tamie Wills
    Marketing Associate
    R Super Foods

  9. bunbytes permalink
    June 2, 2010 7:40 am

    When I saw the name of your blog, I was so delighted because it reminded me of a little song I learned in early elementary school (I’m 57). Here are the lyrics:

    White coral bells upon a slender stock
    Lilies of the valley deck my garden walk
    Oh, don’t you wish that you could hear the ring?
    That will happen only when the fairies sing.

    Thanks for the trip down memory lane!

  10. June 2, 2010 2:48 pm

    Bunbytes, I learned that song when I was small from my mother who learned it from her mother when she was small. I sing it to myself every spring when I walk down the path into the wooded part of my yard, which is lined with coral bells and lily-of-the-valley. Thanks for stopping by!

  11. Kathleen Hubert permalink
    April 27, 2011 10:20 pm


    I was wondering if you accept guest post for your blog. If you do, I would like to submit a few. I’m a recent college graduate, with an English major, looking to build out my portfolio. I can write on a wide variety of topics and am sure you would be happy with the quality. Please email me back if you are interested. Thank you for your time.

    – Kathleen Hubert


  1. First grade’s first grades « spynotes

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