Thursday, January 19, 2017

Heat Wave


We have been experiencing a wave of glorious weather this week. It's so lovely, I feel compelled to document it. You know the weather must be nice if I am raving about my least-favorite season. Sun and slightly above freezing temperatures have been doing wonders for moods and activities. Benjamin had a couple friends over after school the other day, and they didn't even want to play video games! It was snowpants and gloves and straight outside. Madeline tagged along to even out the foursome. They rode their plastic Paris sleds down to the lakeshore and then trekked onto the ice. The children of Krinkeland, and their accessories, have no idea how lucky they are!

Monday, January 16, 2017

Love and Peace


It's not that I'm not blogging on purpose... I write daily in my head... but we have had so much going on... Until I find time to sort the madness, please, on this Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, pray for love and peace among people, and for these other prayer requests:

for Baby Henry, as he continues recovering from his heart transplant
for Eddie, and for his future heart donor, and for all who love them
for I&E, for their futures, for all who loved Tammy
for gut healing for Amanda
for support and appreciation among siblings
for all families wrestling with stomach bugs in this season
for patience with and within Benjamin for his state report project
for safe, successful travels for Todd
for all my friends participating in the Do Good, Feel Good Challenge
for all the intentions of the heart

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Overheard from Little One's Mouth

She was badgering Daddy to play a board game and, at the end of a long day, he was not really interested. The line that finally got him: "C'mon, Dad-- who are you, Mom?"

The next day, she sighed to the dog, "Jones, I wish I could train you to play games... and I wish you had hands."

Saturday, January 7, 2017

No Advice Is Good Advice

Elisabeth asked for help with her health homework, which, I am learning with this teacher, actually means there is an element of the assignment that Mom or Dad is expected to complete.  Right now, they are studying all that embarrassing stuff about human reproduction.  Ugh, Libby says!  For this assignment, Elisabeth has to write some account of what she has been told about the day she was born.  Poor girl has heard that miserable story so many times (still the only birth video I have never had the stomach to watch) she should have no trouble completing it...  Then, there was the question I was to answer.  Poor health teacher probably won't know what hit him:

2. Parent/Guardian will write here: As a parent/guardian, what would you like your child to know about parenthood? Please write a paragraph here with detailed ADVICE for your child.

All advice about parenthood is drivel.  The more children I have, the older my children become, and the older I become, the less I know for certain.  You may read on a bumper sticker, “Parenthood is the hardest job you’ll ever love” or “Making the decision to have a child-- it is momentous; it is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body,” and these sentiments are certainly true, but they are not advice and they are not a complete picture of what it means to be a mother or a father.  I do not know how to be a parent.  I learned from the experience of being a child to my parents, and from observing friends and relatives who had children before I did.  Yet, what works for a parent in her twenties may not work for a parent in her forties.  What works in a family of one child may not work in a family of four.  What works with a firstborn daughter may not work with a middle son.  What works on a sunny Monday may not work if there’s meatloaf for supper.  My only words of wisdom are these: Keep going; do not speak in absolutes; follow through on promises and on threats; and, when a child hugs you, never, ever be the first to let go.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

New American


This lovely woman, who is a dear friend and also one of the owner/coaches at the CrossFit box where we belong, earned an amazing title today: AMERICAN!  Giane is a native of Brazil, who came here on her own as a young woman, hardly more than a girl, actually, to create the kind of life she sought and believed she could find in our great nation.  She went through the process slowly, methodically, legally.  Along the way, Giane built that life for herself: She got a job, received training, made friends, forged a career, fell in love, gathered a new family, opened a business, got married, gave birth to an American son, and, this day, became an American herself.  I could not be more proud if I had made this achievement myself... but it is an awesome reminder of just what citizenship means, and the benefits that I often take for granted.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

What Makes Me Laugh

Todd and I saw a movie the other evening, a comedy that wasn't very funny. I should maybe clarify: I did not find the film funny at all, but Todd giggled the whole way through, just like a 12-year-old boy. This makes total sense, because the movie was a two-hour, poop-and-penis punchline. On the drive home, we debated what makes a funny story and whether this movie fit any of the criteria. The talk quickly devolved into "You have no sense of humor!" "No, YOU have no sense of humor."

I do actually have a pretty solid sense of humor. I laugh at myself, at my life, everyday. I don't think course words are generally funny in and of themselves, and I don't know why or how it got to be the standard that sexual escapades and bathroom incidents are so hilarious.  But I love sweet, silly, senseless humor. And I also thoroughly enjoy word humor.

Todd came into the kitchen early this morning and asked, "What has tickled your funny bone?" Because he had heard me laughing from upstairs, and out-loud guffaws are not common for me. I tried to explain something that a fellow journalist had posted on Facebook, but lost him at "neologism"-- twice. I wanted to share this with my daughter (who would totally get it) but some of the stuff is kind of naughty. So, here you go:

Monday, January 2, 2017

Amazing Run


I ask your pardon, in advance, if this post gets long and/or mushy, as I am almost certain it will... but some things are just worth writing about; one of those "things" is our stellar son.  Yes, that snot-faced, goggle-sporting 10-year-old in the photo is quite a character with quite a story.  Yesterday's ski adventure makes a great, new chapter.

Todd took Benjamin and his three sisters skiing at the nearest ski hill, Powder Ridge, where they met three of their cousins and their uncle for some fun on the slopes.  Todd takes the children skiing typically once or twice a winter, so they have a little experience, but not that much.  This was the first year they did not take ski lessons.  This was also the first year that Benjamin and Madeline really seemed to get it.  By this, I mean that with a little coaching and a lot of practice, they were eventually able to put on and take off their skis, use the tow rope and J-bar, get on and off the hill, ski down the hill, stop at the bottom and do it again.  And again.  And again.

I do not ski, for the simple reason that as a child I had a bad fall and I have ever since been too scared to ski.  It is my own problem and something I eventually aim to conquer, but not this week.  I followed my family to the ski resort, to bring the snacks and drinks, and with the plan of taking home any skier who got too cold or too tired.  It turned out I was the only one who got tired and cold.

It was a beautiful afternoon and evening, and, even though I am not made for winter, I spent a lot of time along the bunny hill.  I helped kids (some not my own) on their feet and off again.  I rescued some from near-lift disaster.  Mostly I took photos and videos and I cheered.  The dads were very attentive, particularly to the more novice skiers.  Many times, Uncle Terry would follow one up on the J-bar, where they would meet Dad waiting at the top of the hill.  He would place himself in front of the kiddo and ski down the hill backward, calling out encouragement all the way.  I would wait at the bottom and yell instructions for slowing, stopping, avoiding collisions, and getting back in line.

This was glorious.

Eventually, the younger kids got more comfortable and took off on the small run on their own.  The dads would then go off and ski together or with the older children on the longer runs.  Other times, Todd would just stand with me at the bottom of the hill and watch, and marvel.

We watched a lot of this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wvmjVtV1gfQ

Did you hear him at the end?  When I asked him how his run was, Benjamin answered, "Amazing."  It was AMAZING.

Todd asked me, "Did you ever think he would just be skiing down a hill, on his own, like it was nothing?"  Did I ever think that?  No, I never did.  I did not think that, ever.  It was not because I did not believe our son capable of skiing, or skateboarding (a Christmas gift) or anything else for that matter.  It is because, when Benjamin was younger and frailer, I was just focused on keeping him alive.

That sounds dramatic, I know.  But, you may remember, from the time Ben was an infant, there were numerous concerns about his health.  I didn't have time to think about skiing.  The pediatrician was telling me to think about his late developmental milestones.  The geneticist was telling me to think about his close-set features, his hyper-reflexive joints, his pale coloring, and more.  The gastroenterologist was telling me to think about his dangerously low weight and his active gag reflex.  The neurologist was telling me to think about his large head and his low tone.  The endocrinologist was telling me to think about his small stature and his hormone levels.  The cardiologist was telling me to think about his dilated aortic root and his bicuspid aortic valve.  The ophthalmologist was telling me to think about his pale eye color and risk of optic nerve detachment.  The dentist was telling me to think about his cross bite, his bleeding gums, and his rotten teeth.  The orthotist was telling me to think about his pronation and his weak ankles.  The physical therapist was telling me to think about his exercises, his many, many exercises.

One night, when Benjamin was a toddler (who was not yet even close to toddling) Todd and I had one of those late-hour-in-the-dark-staring-at-the-ceiling pillow talks, where I asked, "But what if he never walks?"  Todd said, "What if?"  I said, "I mean, if our son never walks, is he enough?"  Todd exhaled, "Oh, yeah, he's enough."

Benjamin is always enough.  Without ever rolling over, without ever sitting up, without ever crawling, without uttering that first word, without picking up a Cheerio from the high chair tray, without taking a step, without running, without jumping off the dock, without throwing a ball, without riding a bike, without singing, without tying his shoes, without learning chess, without assembling a Lego set, without watching YouTube videos on his iPad, without picking up dog doo in the yard, OUR SON IS ENOUGH.  Yet, he does all those things.  So, skiing is amazing.

We forget, you know?  And I'm glad we forget.  He's a healthy, sweet, curious, often naughty boy.  We forget how far Ben has come, and we cannot imagine how far he will go.

I had a glimpse of eternity, just then.  Our Lord will ask our bud, "How was your run, good and faithful servant?"  Benjamin will answer, "It was amazing."

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Ski Bunnies

Following the All Cousins' New Year's Eve Spectacular, our kiddos and three of their cousins went skiing today, and it was awesome!

https://youtu.be/9ZiCLS8bUSY







Happy 2017!





Friday, December 30, 2016

The Best Perspective

I would not wish upon anyone, certainly not myself, the loss of a beloved. Still, I appreciate, honor, and even thirst for this perspective. There is such indescribable, unparalleled grace in being a companion and caregiver in sickness, suffering, and the transition to eternity:

https://youtu.be/SBZ08a6Mgpg

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Big Boy Playdate

Benjamin had a friend come over today to play, a sixth-grade, five-foot-eight friend. Now, before you go raising your eyebrows that it seems a little weird for a middle-schooler to want to play with my boy, I assure you, it was not the big boy's idea. Ben had been begging and begging for this boy to visit because he idolizes him. Since this boy is a good boy (and it probably doesn't hurt that I am friends with his mother) he agreed to come over and play. He and Benjamin mostly played Mario video games. There was also some Lego talk. They had snacks. The older boy taught my son important lessons, such as many fans refer to Michael Jordan as MJ. Neither could believe the afternoon passed so quickly, and, soon, it was time to pack them into the car and take them to basketball practice. (That is one of the blessings of attending a tiny, K-8 school-- fourth graders and sixth graders play on the same team.) As they walked into practice, ear-to-elbow, my son gazed up at his older role model and my heart was so, so full.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Staged

We've been fortunate this week-- and whenever we have the opportunity, for real-- to take in some fun, regional theater. On Christmas Eve, we saw "White Christmas" at the Ordway Theater with Grandma R. and Lisa. It was well done, a beautiful and sweet show. I am apparently the only person anywhere who has never seen the movie, so I especially enjoyed the gift of seeing it. During the finale, when snow finally falls in Vermont, there was an effect making it "snow" on the audience. The kids loved that!







Today, the girls went with Aunt Kristin and their cousins to see "Cinderella" at the Children's Theatre. They had a blast and spent the evening replaying each scene, line and character. I had a nice discussion after the kids returned with my niece Lucia about the many joys of theater. What a glorious life!



Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry, Merry!

It's been a glorious Christmas celebration! Details to come-- following sleep.



















Thursday, December 22, 2016

Recital

Winter Wonderland, Amanda

Fum, Fum, Fum, Elisabeth 

We Three Kings, Benjamin 

We Wish You a Merry Christmas 

Wednesday, December 21, 2016