Monday, September 29, 2008

My Life With Construction, Chapter 2

Today, the lovely men in the fluorescent vests hit a gas line. When I left to take the girls to school, it was a quiet, sunny morning on my road. When I returned, two fire trucks were blocking the street, along with a fleet of police cars, lights flashing. I approached the scene, put down my window and asked, "Officer, that is my house. Is there something going on I should know about?" He guided me to park down an adjacent street and said he'd be down to talk to me:

Officer: "Well, there's a gas leak, but we don't exactly know where yet."
Me: "Can I go in my house?"
Officer: "Sure."
Me: "I would like to put away the orange juice and donuts I just bought-- but are you sure it's safe?"
Officer: "I don't know why not."
I get out of the car, carrying Ben in one arm and the OJ in the other. As I near the gaggle of firefighters and police officers, the same officer stops me.
Officer: "Wait! Don't go in there! The chief says it's too dangerous! You need to evacuate!"

I walked back to car to drink OJ and eat donuts and try to contact my sister before she brought her boys over for me to babysit. I was unable to reach her and a huge mess ensued. We finally got everything sorted out, but I am ready for the digging to cease... Shouldn't be more than six months, now.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Fear of Four

It would be very easy to live a life of fear. I'm afraid of everything: death, disease, war, my kids getting sick or hurt, missing good clearance at Target. Fear can be overwhelming. I've lain awake in the middle of the night, with that tight feeling gripping my chest. And, yes, it's true that the vast majority of things we worry about don’t happen. And, yes, it's true that most of the things we worry about we can’t do anything about. But that doesn’t stop fear.

I try to live each day by conquering fear—and that's much harder. When I catch Benjamin sucking on the shopping cart handle, I tell myself, “Oh, well. He probably will get the stomach flu. We're due, anyway, so bring it on and let's get it over.” But some fears hold on more tightly.

Take the scary idea of having another baby. I've imagined another child, I've wanted another child. Todd has come right out and asked for another child. But, I'm afraid:
*I'm afraid of what our family and friends would think—and say. Some have made it clear that two kids is enough, three is plenty, but four?!
*I'm afraid I would lose the baby. One pregnancy in four ends in miscarriage.
*I'm afraid the baby would be sick. That’s been the case with far too many babies we know and love.
*I'm afraid because I'm getting old—very close to “advanced maternal age.” Would the baby be at greater risk? Would I?
*I'm afraid my attention and our resources would be too divided among four.
*I'm afraid we'd never get out again. It's a lot to ask a grandma or an aunt to watch three children. Now, our babysitter has gone off to college, and we couldn't afford to pay her for four, anyway.
*I'm afraid people would feel obligated to give another baby gift. It must be getting old by now.
*I'm afraid we would get to the fourth child, and I still wouldn't have one I like.

Then, again, I must remind myself God is in control. Well, my mom would say Todd and I are in control, since, by now, we clearly know how this happens. I digress here to quote one of my favorite bloggers, Sardonic Catholic Dad. In response to people asking the father of eleven, “Don't you know what causes that?” he quips, “Yes, and I like it.”

Back to the point at hand: God is ultimately in control. So, nothing seems so scary about having a fourth child. Stupid, maybe, but not so scary. I guess I haven't completely conquered fear, though. Because I'm making the announcement on a blog. And, we've already had our taste of fear—an unexpected complication, and me so sick I've hardly been functioning. But the doctor is monitoring things. For all you geniuses who are thinking, “Ah, I had it figured out weeks ago,” I am not prepared to award your junior detective badges over this one. I've been like walking death for weeks. Either I was pregnant, or it was Ebola. Hey, maybe that’s what we should name the baby…

Friday, September 26, 2008

Get Up and Groove

Benjamin awoke from his nap whimpering. I make it a point to not go in right away when he's whining, because I figure he's still tired, not ready to get up. But this continued for a while, so I entered his room, prepared to see him laying in some uncomfortable position, or notice his blanket on the floor, or smell the stench of a nasty diaper. Finding no evidence of an immediate problem, I asked, "What's the matter, Benny?" He replied, "I need to get up and dance."

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Construct This, Buddy

There is a big water/sewer/road construction project going on along our street. I will not even attempt to rail against the timing, scope and breadth of this project. Suffice it to say, most city leaders and neighbors agree it is necessary. Up until today, the most annoying thing about the construction has been our home's hookup to a temporary water supply, with pipes and hoses strung across our driveway and down our lawn and poor water pressure throughout the house. Related to that, every so often-- but always during Ben's nap-- some Schmo rings the doorbell, repeatedly, to ask me to do something: "Uh, can you go in your basement and turn off the main water shutoff to your house? That way, I don't have to come in with my boots on."

Today, no one rang the doorbell to inform me of their latest plot to inconvenience and annoy me. We stayed home all morning, waiting for rainstorms to pass and putting off a necessary trip to the grocery store. Finally, at noon, I decided we could procrastinate no longer. When I left, there was nothing doing. When I returned 90 minutes later, there was a caravan of big rigs parked across our driveway and our entire yard, extending to the neighbors' properties on both the north and the south. There was a pumper truck, a semi-trailer and a DitchWitch.

I parked across the street and walked across to my mailbox, got the mail and stood and waited. The DitchWitch-er looked up and I waved. He waved, too, and went back to work. I got closer and started yelling. He had to turn off the massive machine to hear me explain that I had a carload of melting groceries and a melting-down toddler in need of a nap and so I needed to get to my house. He said, "Yeah, I figured this would happen." He signaled another guy who came over and said, "Yeah, I figured this would happen. We were looking for you." Well, guys, you didn't look very hard... and now you found me. They muttered something about moving one of the trucks (you think?) while I walked back to my car and turned it around.

Then, a third guy meandered over. He was clearly the boss, with his weathered face, smoker's cough, and remaining three teeth. He tried to sweet talk me: "How can we make this work for you?" I said they could let me into my driveway. He said, "This project is going to be going on for a long time. Tomorrow, do you think we could get you to move your car and park somewhere else really early?" Yes, I said, tomorrow you can. Today, you could have, if you had asked in advance. But, you didn't, and now I want into my house. Could they carry my groceries across the street for me? No. Would I park in a neighbor's driveway? No.

By this time, I was just completely annoyed with all of them, and I was prepared to be obstinate on all fronts. Finally, Boss Man Schmo directed me to drive across the neighbor's yard (to which I agreed only because they aren't around) and ours so I could get into the garage. "I'll do it this one time, but I won't be happy about it," I called out the window. "And I might accidentally hit you with my car!" Boy, watch your back.

At 3:30, I went back outside to assess the situation and figure out where I should try to meet Amanda's bus, since she usually gets dropped at the end of the driveway. Surprise, surprise... the guys were already gone for the day.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

There Should Be an Alarm On That Thing

I walked around town for two hours this morning with my barn door open. Finally, while waiting to pick up Elisabeth at preschool, another mother crossed the hall to whisper in my ear. I suspect she actually wanted to get close enough to see if she could detect liquor on my breath. After she told me, and I zipped up, and thanked her, I thought back and realized, "Crap. I stopped to pee way back at Target. After that, I got gas, went to the bank, and then toured Wal-Mart. How many people caught a panty peek and had a nice giggle? And why didn't anyone say anything earlier?"

Then, it came to me: At Wal-Mart, I probably fit right in. On any given trip to Wal-Mart, I see dads in tank tops cursing in front of their preschoolers, overtired toddlers terrorizing the aisles long past bedtime, grown men vigorously picking their noses, the elderly jockeying for prime spots around the day-old bakery rack. (And some of those fogies have mighty pointy elbows, I tell you.) So, a fly-wide mommy with flip-flops and an overgrown mullet, pushing a shopping cart carrying a sticky-faced son... (How does he get so dirty eating raisins, anyway?) I guess I'm among my people.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Ad Assault

Who's tired of political ads? I'm tired of political ads. They're really messing up my TV viewing. Luckily, I usually record and watch later, so I can fast-forward through most. From my days in television I understand about equal time laws, blah, blah, blah, so I also know why we see so many, and see so much ping-ponging between the parties and their candidates. It's still annoying. Plus, I live with a political ad, so, even when they TV isn't on, I get an earful.

I saw a commercial this morning that accused U.S. Senate candidate Al Franken of promoting rape and physical assault. Do I like Al Franken? No. Do I care for some of his views? No. Do I believe he's a felonious thug? Come on.

Monday, September 22, 2008

The Bee Sting and How My Day Got Weirder

I got stung by a bee this morning. Ben and his physical therapist were working outside. So, I thought I would keep one eye on them, while putting my hands to work pulling weeds on the beach. My other eye did not notice a bee crawling up my shirt sleeve and implanting itself in my arm. I can't recall ever before being stung by a bee. It really hurt.

AFTERNOON UPDATE: Moments after my morning post, the telephone started ringing. Because the computer is so far from the nearest phone, I didn't get there in time. Because my cell phone was still in the car from the morning preschool run, I also didn't get the next set of rings. Because I didn't answer either telephone, my mother began calling my sister, expressing her worry over me and my bee sting. I am fine, Mom. I can still type. I can still work the remote control. I am not having an allergic reaction. I'm sure there's some other reason why my throat feels tight and I'm having trouble breathing... Just kidding, Ma.

So, I inadvertently incited panic in the bee-sting-fearing-mother community. But that's not the only weird thing that's happened today. I overheard Benjamin having a conversation with the toy kitchen. He would press a button and an electronic voice would ask, "What would you like to eat?"
Benjamin: "A hamburger."
Kitchen voice: "What would you like to eat?"
Benjamin: "A hamburger!"
Kitchen voice: "What would you like to eat?"
Benjamin: "A HAMBURGER!"
(pause, silence)
Kitchen voice: (sound of water running) "Time to clean up."
Benjamin: "I still hungry."

Then, there was the random question from the back seat of the car. I love those. We were driving along in peaceful silence, when suddenly Libby demanded, "I need to know what a garbage compactor is-- NOW!"

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Weathering the Fall

With this beautiful summer-fall we've been experiencing, we've been trying to get outside a lot more to enjoy it. The kids have been riding bikes, even swimming some-- though the lake is NOT as warm as the air. I'm trying to soak it all up, because I DO NOT LIKE WINTER, and I know it will be here before I know it. Yesterday, we made the trek to visit my grandma and go to lunch. Today, we hit the fall festival at church and then the kids had a lemonade stand at Grandma and Grandpa's.

One of the fun things we did this week was to visit an apple orchard. In years past, a friend and I have always taken all our kids to one of those larger, more commercial orchards-- one with a big gift shop, a bakery, wagon rides that you pay extra for, and really expensive apples. Well, we hadn't gotten around to planning that excursion yet this year when a fellow preschool mom suggested another spot. This was a very different experience-- less polish and commercialism, lots more mom-and-pop friendliness and charm. Fall Harvest Orchard is a working hobby farm, so the kids got to feed the goats, hold the chicks, and chase the cats. Naturally, we picked apples, too, and even brought a picnic lunch. It was a great way to spend the day with animal-loving-- and apple-loving-- kids like mine, especially when the weather was so nice.

Now that I've talked it up, I would love to post photos, but I still don't know why I can't seem to do that. I'll have to have my IT guy take a look.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Maestros and Meat-Eaters

Elisabeth had her first piano lesson. She was nervous going in: "What do I need this notebook for?" "I don't want to go first." But she was thrilled coming out, telling me, "Mommy, I need to practice right when I get home. I need to practice every day." She also sang quietly to herself, "I'm so excited. I'm so excited." Very cute.

A little further on the ride home from piano lessons, the conversation shifted gears to what we should have for supper (since no one was home to cook it.) Libby started listing what she doesn't like to eat (pretty much everything) and the talk trended vegetarian... with a little two-year-old rationale thrown in for humor:

Amanda: "I know why Libby doesn't like steak anymore. She doesn't like steak because now she knows where it comes from."
Elisabeth: "Yeah, I don't like where meat comes from."
Amanda: "All meat comes from pigs, right?"
Mom: "No, all meat comes from animals... but not only pigs. Steak and hamburger come from cows, and chicken comes from, well, chickens."
Amanda: "But pork chops come from pigs, right?"
Mom: "Yes, pork chops come from pigs. So does ham, and bacon..."
Amanda: "And hot dogs?"
Mom: "Well, hot dogs come from a number of sources, but the ones I buy are beef, so, cows."
Elisabeth: "What about sausage?"
Mom: "Pork sausage is from pigs."
Ben: "Pancakes are from pigs!"
Mom: "No, Ben, pancakes come from... pancake batter."
Ben: "NO-- SYRUP!"

No Lip

Anyone who has ever spent time with two-year-olds knows about their affinity for the word, "No." The beloved, but lippy, Benjamin has taken his power assertion to a new level. Instead of saying-- or screaming-- "No!" to basically everything, he spells it out: "N-O, Mommy! N-O!" Cute, huh?

Thursday, September 18, 2008

On the Road Again

As all of us in this neck of the woods know, the new Interstate 35W bridge over the Mississippi River opened this morning:

Honking their horns and stirring up faint clouds of post-construction dust, hundreds of drivers helped open the new Interstate 35W bridge this morning just a few minutes after 5 a.m.

Just a few moments for reflection... The collapse of the bridge last August was one of those events we will always remember. I, in no way, put myself near the categories of those who were killed or injured in the bridge collapse, or those who lost loved ones. I simply mean, in the same vein as remembering where we were on 9/11 or remembering what we were doing when President Kennedy was shot, that is an unfortunate event I will never forget.

Todd had just gotten home from work when the phone rang. It was my dad, checking to make sure Todd wasn't on "the bridge to nowhere." We didn't know what he was talking about, so we turned on the television. Immediately, we started calling everyone we could think of who might possibly, possibly have been in that area when the collapse occurred, to make sure everyone was safe. Todd's mom called, saying they couldn't yet locate some cousins who live just minutes from the bridge. (They were later found safe, at Home Depot, I believe.) I called my sister-in-law, Kristin, who goes to school in the city. When she picked up, I said, "Just checking."

Selfish and silly as it is, what I remember most about that evening was not being at work. Not having a work to go to. As a former television news producer, it's impossible to shed the news junkie persona. I had trained my body and my mind-- when something happens, anything happens, good or bad, just go to work. I sat in the control room for 12 hours straight the day terrorists struck. I holed up in hotel rooms near the station whenever there were big snowstorms. I came in on the weekends to cover the Northwest Airlines strike, and a natural gas explosion in a central Minnesota town, and the Red Lake school shooting. On my day off, I did a phone interview because I happened to be at an amusement park in the path of a tornado.

When the bridge fell, I was well into the throes of mommyhood, and that news life was no more. All I could do is watch from the couch, while shielding the kids from the images. It's a different view of life to be on the receiving end of the news, instead of the transmission end.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Making Memories

This is one of those postings that falls under the category, "For Posterity." It's not that I expect the rest of you to find it as cute as I do... It's just that I want to save it to remember it. For Todd's birthday earlier this week, the girls choreographed a "birthday show," complete with pretty dresses, songs, dances, and even a feather boa for the Birthday Dad:

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Foiled Again

All you mothers know you do this-- whether you admit it or not is another matter. I'm talking about eating off your kids' plates. I do it for two reasons: one, I don't like to see food go to waste; and, two, sometimes the process of preparing a meal for them is so involved, I just don't have the energy to make something for myself, too.

So, there it was-- the seemingly untouched triangle of sandwich on Benjamin's tray. He'd done well with the first half, but then lost interest, and was busy demanding a banana, yogurt, and cereal. I thought I'd just take the PB&J, since I really wasn't very hungry, and that quarter-sandwich would probably tide me over. I bit into the corner and, "Crunch!" I got a mouthful of Lucky Charms, craftily hidden between the layers of bread and goo. Yep, peanut butter, jelly, and Lucky Charms-- only the cereal pieces, of course, as in, "I'm not giving you any more Lucky Charms because you just eat the marshmallows and leave the cereal." Showed me.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Happy Birthday, Mr. President

It's Todd's birthday. Much as I like to complain and criticize, there must be some things I like about him... Otherwise, how would I have chosen him from among the throng of suitors who pursued me? So, today, in honor of my husband's 36th birthday, I diverge from my never-to-be-mushy self. Here are 36 Things I Love About Todd:

1. Goes to work for us every day, and never complains.
2. Genuinely likes all members of the human race.
3. Has conviction.
4. Great teacher of arithmetic and bicycle riding.
5. Always cleans up after himself in the bathroom.
6. Can create or repair anything.
7. Is a great patriot.
8. Knows what he likes.
9. Plays board games with the kids.
10. Does his own ironing.
11. Never hogs my side of the bed.
12. Can play short segments of two songs very well on the piano.
13. Loves to learn.
14. Is a loyal friend.
15. Doesn't mind taking care of puking kids.
16. Watching a movie is a physical experience.
17. Kisses dogs and cuddles cats.
18. For the sake of the family, puts last his needs and wants.
19. Likes show tunes.
20. Has patience beyond measure.
21. Asks, "Your what hurts?" whenever he didn't understand what you said.
22. Loves roller coasters.
23. Can find the highest quality at the best price.
24. Sings in the shower.
25. Shares his side of the bed with kid who kicks.
26. Always has some new idea.
27. Secretly likes to watch soap operas.
28. Never gets mad when I shop too much.
29. Has great hair.
30. Always says, "Thank you for supper."
31. Really good at washing windows.
32. Can go to bed mad, but wakes up ready to start anew.
33. Makes delicious pancakes.
34. Never holds grudges.
35. Has never said, "No" to ice cream.
36. Is proud of his family.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

A Great Time Was Had By All

Elisabeth celebrated her first birthday party with friends this weekend. She chose to invite her sister, her cousin, and one friend to ride rides at Nickelodeon Universe at Mall of America. I much preferred this option to Amanda's fifth birthday party, which involved her entire preschool class and other assorted friends pulling at a pinata in our basement. These children couldn't get enough of the rides (neither could Daddy) and we all had a really fun day.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Childhood 911

I think one of a mother's biggest fears is causing pain to her child. I mean, it's our job to watch over them and to protect them, but, still, we are, from time to time, implicit in the pain-causing, as well. I had to hold down Elisabeth for vaccinations at yesterday's checkup. I don't think she's holding that against me, but, still, I feel a pang of guilt whenever she complains her thigh still hurts.

The other day, I had to pick Benjamin's nose. Not only did he look disgustingly unkempt, but I was sure he could not breathe easily. Well, his nose started to bleed a little bit, and he complained, "Ow, Mommy!" He got an extra packet of fruit snacks to assuage my guilt on that Mommy blunder.

I still remember a coworker telling the story of his wife caring for their newborn son. This was obviously long before I had kids, so all things child-related were bizarre and foreign to me. Anyway, this little baby had scratched himself with one of those long fingernails the babes manage to grow. So, Mommy grabbed her trusty baby fingernail clipper and went to town. I tell all you non-parents out there, this is no simple task. Sure enough, she nicked the skin on one of the baby's fingers and it started to bleed. My friend, the dad, came home to find his son's entire hand wrapped and bandaged, and his wife in tears.

There's really no point to this story... other than to make you feel better if you've inadvertently maimed your children, too. Oh, and I guess it relates back to my theme, or mantra, of parenthood: We're all doing the best we can.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Gimme Five

Today is Elisabeth's fifth birthday, and, coincidentally, the first day of preschool. That combination made for some highs and lows, but, all in all, a pretty good day for one lucky little girl. I will not use this forum to relive the moments of her birth (three hours of pushing!) or to revisit the daily challenges Libby offers ("Wednesday's child is full of woe...") Instead, I thank God for her cleverness, her tenderness, her beauty, and the love she shows me every day. And, I offer you some glimpses into Elisabeth's special day:

sad when it was time for Mommy to leave school

much better when Uncle Teddy returns with birthday treats

setting the table in her birthday crown

lunchtime: a Happy Meal makes her happy

an afternoon of playing babies

practicing dance moves to show Daddy

plenty of help opening presents

the clone trooper helmet is a hit

a big hit

with everyone

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Forget Yourself and Get to Work

I read the saying on another blog today, and it stuck with me. I hope it continues to stick with me. Couldn't we all do a little more of that? "Forget yourself and get to work."

Monday, September 8, 2008

Keeping Me in Stitches

Benjamin's "case worker" accompanied his physical therapist for his session today. They are working on global assessment of his skills and progress for two reasons: (1) We are coming up on one year since his "treatment" began and so he will be due for review; (2) Once he hits age three, he will no longer qualify for county/district services unless he exhibits delays in two or more areas-- the only concern up until this point and continuing forward has been one of gross motor skill.

So, while Margaret had him reaching over his head for objects, playing catch, walking the balance beam, and stepping on and off his box, Camryn was quizzing him in different cognitive skill areas. At one point, she set out a ball, a comb, and a teacup. She asked, "What do you do with a ball?" Ben answered, "Throw it away." She picked up the comb next, and he said, "Pretty hair." Then, Camryn held up the cup and asked Ben, "What do I do with this?" Of course, she was trying to get him to say, "Drink." And that would be considered a higher skill level than if he would have just taken the cup and pantomimed sipping. But, noooooo... Benjamin told her, "First you put ice in it." OK, she said, and asked him what next. "Then, you ask Mommy for orange juice." Guess he gets the cup use concept.

After they left, we went to the grocery store to scope out snack options, since Elisabeth has the snack bucket for this first week of preschool. I asked her what kind of special treat she wanted to bring on her birthday. After a lot of perusing, she pointed out an absolutely enormous full-sized sheet cake. I said I thought that cake would be way too big to feed her small class and she said, "Yeah. I want enough cake to feed an army!"

See-- eating cake, drinking juice-- my kids get it.

Sunday, September 7, 2008


My mom says I shouldn't joke about hitting my kid (I wouldn't,) wishing someone would call the authorities on me (I don't,) or having one too many cocktails while making supper (that rarely happens.) She warns someone is going to take me seriously and report me for real. Well, then, I'd have to turn right around and report them to the can't-take-a-joke police. Because, there's no crime worse than lack of a sense of humor, and no parent of young children could-- or should-- make it through a day without laughter.


Funny how when you have children, even your free time isn't "free." With nothing on the agenda this weekend, and beautiful weather greeting us, Todd and I thought we should do something fun with the kids. Turns out, there was a classic car show in town. Now, I know nothing about cars, Todd knows next to nothing about cars, and neither of us really cares to learn anything about cars. But, oddly enough, all three of our children are mesmerized by old cars. They point them out on the roads (even current model PT Cruisers, which cracks me up,) and ask all kinds of questions which I can't even begin to answer. So, this free time-- or, should I say free-wheeling time-- was for them.

Friday, September 5, 2008

In the Land of Lint

I am avoiding laundry. My mother warned me with the addition of the third child, one of the biggest changes is LAUNDRY. She was right. I passed along the warning to my sister, but she did not heed it... went and got knocked up again, anyway, and now she is in the same detergent-and-fabric-softener predicament. My sister's system is to sort, wash, and dry all the clothes on one day of the week, and to fold on the following day. I would find that kind of pile-up too daunting, and would just NEVER do laundry... maybe throw away all the dirty clothes and start over, instead... So, my system is to do laundry every single day. One dark load, one light load, each of the seven days of the week. 14 loads a week.

However, this week began with a holiday. So, I gave myself a day off from laundry. Then, Tuesday was the first day of school. Much too stressful to do laundry. Wednesday and Thursday I did laundry, but Todd worked late, and I didn't get to the evening rituals of folding, hanging and putting away, because I was too busy being a single parent. So, Happy Friday, Happy Laundry Piles!

A new neighbor stopped over to visit this morning, and I had the ridiculous notion to invite her in. "Just kick your way through the piles!" I cheered. She was probably thinking, "This is one of those garbage houses you hear about on the news." I wouldn't be surprised if she reports me to the authorities. In fact, I'd be relieved.

Now, it is afternoon, and the laundry is still staring me in the face. I have begun a list of things better to do than laundry:
1. Dig thistles out of the yard.
2. Shop for anything on eBay.
3. Make apple crisp.
4. Dust the wood blinds.
5. Watch tennis on TV.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Toddler Tongue Strikes Again

We were having a perfectly fine shopping experience in SuperTarget, when Benjamin started barking orders: "Go down this aisle! GO DOWN THIS AISLE NOW!" I calmly replied, "Stop yelling, Ben. You don't need to be so bossy." He shot back, "You are a really bossy mommy!" I heard a sharp intake of breath from a clerk working behind me. Naturally, I hauled off and hit the mouthy boy.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Some Days, You Just Get Lucky

With the rain and wind yesterday, I decided to go into full fall mode and make broccoli cheese soup for supper. To my surprise, all three of my children ate multiple bowls of the stuff. The girls like to dunk chunks of bread into the cheesy part, and Benjamin mostly fished out just hunks of broccoli, but everyone ate and no one complained! I was further astonished when Elisabeth asked if she could have leftovers for lunch today.

My broccoli soup recipe is possibly the easiest in the land: chicken stock, chopped broccoli, cubed processed American cheese (Velveeta), shredded mild cheddar cheese, milk to desired consistency and freshly ground pepper to taste. For a thicker soup, I make a roux of warm milk and cornstarch and add 10 minutes before serving. I dumped it all in the Crock Pot, which was beneficial because Todd was very late, but you can also make it on the stove top in less time.

I often run out of ideas for dinner, and I'm guessing I'm not alone. If you're wondering what to make tonight... or if you just want to come over and eat with us... here's what's cooking at Krinkeland for the rest of the week:

steaks on the grill
corn on the cob
twice baked mashed potatoes (reuse of baby reds from Monday)
Romaine lettuce salad
dinner rolls

beef and mushroom stroganoff (Crock Pot recipe with cream cheese)
egg noodles
glazed baby carrots
spring mix salad with cranberries and feta (a kit from SuperTarget)
dinner rolls

baked calico beans
cold pea salad

Looking over that menu, it appears as though we eat a lot of red meat. Well, last night, there was no meat. Next week, we'll have to go heavy on the chicken.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Say Goodbye to Summer

Technical difficulties had Krinkeland down for a couple days... But, that's OK, because we were busy whooping up the last few days of summer! The time went too quickly, as it always does for me, but we have nothing to complain about. Rather, looking back on Summer 2008, there's plenty of reason to give thanks: beautiful weather, mini-trips with grandparents, nice days at the lake with friends, Benjamin turning two, lots of time with our two older nephews, a healthy and strong youngest nephew, both girls greatly improving their swimming skills, Amanda learning to ride a bike, just enough trips to Dairy Queen.

And, now, school is back in session. All the school supplies were bought and sent. New uniforms hang in the closet. The lunch menu is on the refrigerator. After some anxious conversations about first grade and the new challenges it will bring, Amanda bounced off the bus this afternoon and announced, "First grade is just as easy as kindergarten!" Of course, she bounced off the WRONG bus... a half-hour late... her clearly numbered bus tag stowed in her backpack... me with cell phone in hand and the bus company on speed dial... But, she's pleased with herself, so we'll celebrate, anyway.