Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Dating

Well, we held off as long as we could, but, the girls are dating.

It began with Grandpa P. calling Amanda to ask her for a "date." She is very interested in basketball. (We'll see what happens after she starts playing on a kindergarten-first grade girls' team next month.) So, Grandpa decided to take her to a college basketball game, which was a huge hit:

"Grandpa ate two hot dogs!"
"There were boy cheerleaders and they could hold up the girls with one hand!"
"Do you know Goldy Gopher?"
"Some guys behind us kept talking naughty words, but I just ignored them."
"I did NOT sleep all the way home. I just closed my eyes for about 10 seconds."

My heart did stop momentarily before she left-- when Elisabeth called up the stairs, "Amanda, your DATE is here!"







Then, Daddy decided to take the girls on a skiing date. They met up with Terry and Kazmer at a local ski area, had their first lesson, and hit the bunny hill. Todd said he hadn't expected to have that much fun-- he didn't even ski-- just watching, taking photos, and helping the kids with the tow rope and t-bar. The girls took turns whining about the cold, sore feet, and difficulty staying upright... But breaks for hot cocoa and doughnuts helped. And they all say they can't wait to go again.

Today, I believe Amanda has talked Grandma and Grandpa R. into taking all the kids to the movies. Todd and I are going on our own "date" to see a matinee show of the touring company of "Grease-- the Musical." How will we ever get back to regular old life?

The Game of Life


Many evenings after supper, Todd and the kids play a game. Lots of Uno, lots of Sorry... until they all got some new games for Christmas. The other night, Todd suggested, "Let's play Life." After 45 minutes of punching out the little plastic pieces, assembling the game board, and reading the directions, I was ready for bed. But, Daddy and the girls hung on (Ben just drove his little orange car full of tiny plastic people all over the board) so I had to keep playing, too.

The game box said Life was for ages nine and up and I remembered the game took a long time, so I was surprised at how much of the concept the girls "got." Sure, Elisabeth fried Todd by insisting she wanted the teacher career instead of the lawyer at double the salary. And, it was both fitting and problematic that Amanda became our police officer. Every time she looked at her career card, she insisted her pay was $40,000 a day. But, we had fun, explaining how they didn't have the funds to buy the big fancy houses and reminding them to pay taxes-- sharing the pain, I guess you'd say.

Finally, we got to the end of the game, and I remembered why it's dumb: The "winner" at the Game of Life is simply the one who has the most money. But, also, I think we all learned the truth about life-- the longer it goes on, the more exhausted we all get.

Nailed

I lined all the kids up to cut their fingernails and toenails-- certainly one of a mother's top 10 worst jobs. They all fight it, as though I'm permanently maiming them, which hardly ever happens. Elisabeth argued with me, "But why can't I have long, pretty fingernails like Grandma P. does?" I answered, "Because Grandma takes care of her fingernails, she cleans them and makes sure there's not any dirt or food stuck under them. Also, she would never use her long fingernails to scratch her sister or brother." Libby retorted, "Well, that's just because she doesn't live with her sister and brother."

Monday, December 29, 2008

Wardrobe Confessions

Sad, but true: When I get dressed these days, I contemplate the choice between "good" yoga pants (still black in color, elastic waistband intact, too short but at least not too long) and "stay-at-home" yoga pants (faded gray with bleach spots down one leg, elastic is shot, so long they drag on the floor.) Oh, and I've never actually done yoga.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Merry Christmas to All!



We are taking it easy at home between Christmas celebrations... There is still more to come! In the meantime, Daddy has some time off, and plans to spend the next nine days helping Amanda assemble the 1,000-piece Star Wars Lego ship.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

All Jacked Up and Jolly

My oldest child is so excited for Christmas she hasn't slept in a week. Both girls were up before dawn this morning, cheering, "Merry Christmas!" Daddy had to give the explanation about Christmas Eve versus Christmas Day, and the whole reason for the season, blah, blah, blah. It went in one ear and out the other. However, a day or two ago, I got a heartfelt soliloquy from Amanda that went something like this:

"Mom, do you know what my favorite thing about Christmas is? It's sitting down to Christmas dinner with my family." (Amanda proceeded to run down the planned menus for meals at both grandmas' houses, and how both women are cooking things she loooves. Good thing no one is serving fish.) "I just love being able to spend time with my family, talking and sharing. That's the best part about Christmas. And, Mommy, do you know what my second favorite thing about Christmas is? It's after dinner, when we all sit around the fire and get to know each other. And, my third favorite thing about Christmas is the presents." Yeah, right.

We are headed out on the first of three family celebrations. Merry Christmas to all, and, may the two-year-old make it through church without once yelling out, "Poopy!" It would be a Christmas miracle.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Crying Over Spilled Milk


One of the worst kid spills to clean up has to be spilled milk. This morning, Amanda sloshed her cereal bowl into puddles on the table, the kitchen floor, and herself. Last week, I walked back and forth in front of the refrigerator trying to figure out what was so sticky and smudgy on the floor. Finally, the girls confessed-- one had spilled milk and the other had attempted to clean it up. Even with a sippy cup, Benjamin regularly splashes his CHOCOLATE milk all over his corner of the kitchen, including on the walls and patio door windows. I'd say, on average, we have at least one milk spill every 48 hours in our kitchen.

I remember one summer day coming home from the grocery store and somehow a jug of milk fell off the seat and broke, leaking all over the car upholstery and carpeting. I pulled into the driveway, unloaded the rest of the groceries, put the kids down for naps and returned to assess the damage. The mess was already starting to stink, and I had to take apart my whole car on the front lawn, even pull out the rugs and shampoo them. One of the neighbor guys enjoyed watching me, and, as I finally put the van back together, he pulled his car into my driveway and asked what I charged for detailing.

I know there's no use crying over spilled milk, but, this morning, I had to restrain myself from screaming over it. Amanda hangs her head like a puppy and mumbles her apologies over how "clumsy" she is. And, she is. So am I. But I will take any tips you can offer on how to clean up spilled milk so it is actually cleaned up. It's very frustrating when I've mopped and wiped and dried and still see dull, sticky spots. My mom gave me some hot advice one time about putting salt over the top of the mess to make it easier to clean up raw egg dropped on the floor. I tried it, and it helped, but much better advice is to not let Ben help make breakfast.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

So Much Christmas Cheer I Could Bust a Bulb

I've been falling down on my blogging duties, because I've been out falling down in the snow and ice, getting to all the kids' holiday festivities:



Each of the kids sat with Santa (or watched from a distance) at Grandma's school Christmas party.

We were warned by the performer to "sit in the back" for Kazmer's preschool Christmas program this year, but I still snuck in the middle, and Grandma, not being one to take orders from a four-year-old, parked herself right up front. Kaz really sang! However, audience member Elisabeth commented, "Our class can sing way louder than his." Judge for yourself, below.

Yes, that's our little sheep on the right. I don't believe I've ever heard such a musical manger scene. (I know this one is longer, but stick with it for the break-out moves at the end.)


Today, we had a wonderful visit with friends Erik, Alicia, and Annie. The kids got to open the first of their Christmas gifts... Let the fun begin!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Boy Joys

In the time it took me to write out envelopes for two old-address Christmas cards, Benjamin got hold of a Sharpie and decorated his forehead, his hands, his pajamas and socks (and, therefore, the skin underneath,) the computer keyboard and mouse, and the table on which they sit in permanent, purple marker. How festive.

As I was searching for God-knows-which cleaning product to help, Ben brought me a book of postage stamps and asked, "Pretty stickers, Mommy?" It's going to be one of those days.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Two Hours Down, Three Hours Back


Mix up a dangerous cocktail of dumb drivers, snow, and black ice, and you get a commute that's tough for Todd-- and the rest of us-- to swallow. Five hours on the road, on top of an already long work day, doesn't make for happy campers on the home front, either.

Not that I'd switch places with him. I may be the Queen of Krinkeland, but I am also Road Rage Royalty. However, I know my limits. If you can't drive in winter weather conditions (I can't;) if you don't have any patience (I don't;) if you are a bad judge of space and distance (I am--) THEN STAY OFF THE ROADS AND LET MY HUSBAND GET HOME TO HIS FAMILY. Todd called me at one point last evening and said, "My speedometer has not gone above five miles per hour. At this rate, I should be home in about 10 hours." That, by the way, would have been about an hour before he would have had to leave home for work this morning.

Tonight's not looking much more promising. Since I believe I have more than put in my time with the kids, I've punched out and parked myself at the computer. Let them fend for themselves. Happy winter.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Stinker


The two-year-old has taken a major detour on the road to potty training. This time of year, I seem unable or unwilling to devote the time and energy into getting him back on track. However, his sisters are still trying.

This morning, Benjamin was standing in his own stench, hollering, "My butt hurts! Change me!" Amanda approached him in her equally adorable and annoying Mommy voice: "You need to put your poopy in the potty chair, Ben. Then, you'll get M&Ms." Ben looked her square in the eyes and replied, "You're not making any sense."

Later, Elisabeth helped him take off his pants and climb up onto the toilet so he could wrap up the "project" begun earlier in the morning. However, I pointed out to Ben that this method would probably not fly in corporate America.

Trimming Limbs Off the Family Tree


"But why can't cousins get married?" It's one of Elisabeth's favorite questions, asked so often I sometimes just have to ignore it. Mostly, though, I try to think like a five-year-old and reply, "You can't marry your cousin because he's already in our family." Libby, naturally, argues, "That's why I want to marry Kazmer. I already know him." I don't have the heart to tell her it's a moot point, anyway, because I think my sister plans on Kaz becoming a priest. There is no chance Libby will become a nun, unless someone can point us in the direction of the Fabulous Sisters of Sequins and Cigars.

Monday, December 15, 2008

You Got Me, Babe

Warning: This is going to be one of those posts where you read it (if you choose to go any further) and think to yourself, "What the h-e-double-toothpicks is she talking about?" But, since this is my blog, and not yours, I'm taking the liberty, anyway...

The past couple months have been rough for me. I feel silly when I go back and reread that-- I mean, I should be so gleeful and grateful that my family is intact, my children are healthy, my husband has a job, and nobody complains if supper is just frozen pizza once in a while. But certain issues, some within me, some without, are weighing heavily on me. My husband says, "You have to let it go." Easier said than done. And, people who live in glass houses shouldn't stay up till 4 a.m. tossing and turning about appealing to the city council for a screened porch variance.

So, that cryptic lead-in brings me to this past weekend. We went to dinner and attended my brother-in-law's concert with some of our dearest friends. As we talked and caught up, all I could think was, "They get me." Of course, my husband holds top honors in that department... I do believe my parents and siblings, along with my in-laws, also "get me." I'm not saying they always agree with me. I'm not even saying they always like me. I'm just saying they understand me. And they don't try to change me. And they don't get angry or upset when I do and say the kinds of things I would typically do or say. Get it?

This is such a relief and a comfort. I know, if you think about it, all of you, too, have people who "get you." Be thankful for that.

Friday, December 12, 2008

The Name Game

Now that we're past the halfway mark, I'm starting to think about baby names. Not that Todd and I will actually decide on anything before the baby is born... we never have. But, it's one of the fun parts about having a baby-- coming up with a label, for better or for worse.

Obviously, I'm a fan of longer, traditional names that can be shortened to reasonable nicknames. I like the formality for adulthood... But I sometimes think all those syllables are a lot to saddle a young child. We call our daughter "Elisabeth" and "Libby" with about equal frequency, along with all the other silly nicknames in our house, and she has begun to prefer "Libby." When someone new asks her name, that's how she responds, and that's generally the name she puts on her papers at preschool.

I have a very good friend named "Elizabeth," called "Beth" by everyone when we were kids. I remember her going through college and entering the workforce and making a pointed effort to call herself "Elizabeth." These years later, I think pretty much everyone calls her "Elizabeth," but I still habitually write to and call for "Beth." I think I remember asking her about it once... And I think she told me it was OK... But, now, I'm starting to wonder...

This past week, it just so happened I was chatting with two women who have longer first names. They started asking me about baby names, and offering their suggestions. Then, they broke off into a discussion between themselves, where they both revealed they had shorter, cuter nicknames as kids, but they fought hard to shed those in adulthood. Both women said they are really bothered when old friends, even family members, call them by their childhood names.

I do not have the energy or brain cells to properly devote to this issue. I also cannot change the names of my first three children. We will have to navigate the short name/long name pitfalls as they emerge. Yet, I am thinking about changing my tactic for the naming of this fourth child: How about "Ralph?"

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Red-Faced and Baby-Faced

I always knew I would be very good at embarrassing my children, but I didn't expect it to start this early. Where do kids learn that reaction? I ask because I know they didn't observe it from me... I'm pretty much impossible to embarrass. Want to talk hemorrhoids at the dinner table? Fine. Care to see my National Graphic boobies? Take a gander. Think I smell bad? Yes, please tell me; it will improve conditions for both of us. Make a racially or otherwise socially inappropriate comment? I'll verbally kick your butt with my retort, and I'll do it loudly.

Elisabeth's class moved back into the newly remodeled preschool room this week. The room really doesn't look much different... just rearranged, and I guess the cabinets and carpeting are new. However, it is located in a part of the church that has undergone major renovation. This morning, Libby told me, "Mom, you just have to see the new bathroom-- you won't believe it!" Well, they went from a one-seater to seven, so I guess that is pretty remarkable. She gave me a good chuckle, but when I relayed her comments to her teacher, Libby turned purple and nearly fell on the floor: "Mooooooooom! I did NOT SAY THAT!"

From the embarrassment angle alone, I cannot wait for the teenage years.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Little Facts


Todd thoroughly enjoyed our ultrasound appointment yesterday. He stood looking over the technician's shoulder, breathing down her neck and asking so many questions the tech finally asked him, "In what specialty did you do your residency?" I couldn't contain myself-- I laughed out loud. I, on the other hand, did not so much love the test, as much as I loved getting it over with and receiving the good report on our baby. Now that I've had a little more time to process the information, I can't stop myself from sharing some fun facts on our little one.

At 21 weeks, s/he:
*weighs 12 ounces (three sticks of butter)
*measures 10 inches long (average carrot)
*has a foot that measures just over one inch from toes to heel (which seems really big compared to a 10-inch body, doesn't it?)
*has a fully developed, four-chamber heart the size of your pinky fingernail, beating at 149 beats per minute
*has delineated areas of the brain, including a clear center line marking the left and right sides
*has a functioning digestive system, evidenced by a stomach full of water
*can kick and punch so it is detectable by me, and sometimes from the outside

No, we didn't find out the gender of the baby. I closed my eyes during the examination of that area. Todd looked, but claims he couldn't really tell. His guess was that the baby is a girl... or a boy endowed to the same extent as our other son.

Toward the end of our appointment, the perinatologist told us, "I am so excited for you. What a beautiful baby. You have so many wonderful things in store." Yes, I'm certain she says that to all the parents-- but isn't it always true?

Monday, December 8, 2008

1-1

Well, we won the big prize today: The level 2 ultrasound showed our baby is healthy and growing well. There were no obvious signs of health issues, and no markers of any problems to watch for. For that, we are most thankful, and I feel as though a weight has been lifted.

On the other front, we braved a snowstorm home from the hospital to arrive in time for our town's planning commission meeting. There, following Todd's thorough Power Point presentation, and only one "That's enough out of you" directed at me by the chairwoman, the commission summarily voted against permitting us to build a screened porch on the lake side of our house. Next week, Todd will take our case to the whole city council. I think I better stay home.

Lord, See Me Through Today

It is nearly 2 a.m. I am up and eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I'm not sure if I'm actually hungry, or just trying to fill the pit in my stomach. Why am I awake?
a) There is a large, loud, lonely owl hooting outside our bedroom window.
b) There is a sniffling, hypocondriacal six-year-old with a cold in our bed.
c) I am anxious about today's level 2 ultrasound.
d) I am anxious about tonight's city planning commission meeting.

Naturally, it's all of the above.

The day ahead is, for me, one of those days we all have to just get through. It's been a scheduling nightmare, where little events and big events all collide in the same calendar square, and it seems none can be rescheduled. It makes my head hurt just to think about all the juggling I've had to do-- and all the help we need from my sister and parents-- just to make this stuff happen.

The higher-level ultrasound was scheduled mainly to ease my anxiety about the baby's health, due to my "advanced maternal age" (Ha! I'll show you advanced maternal age!) and everything we've gone through with Benjamin. Of course, once I actually called the specialists' office to make the appointment, and the nurse walked me through the procedure and explained the required pre- and post- genetic counseling, that's when the real fears kicked in.

Then, there's the ongoing deck/screened porch saga. Those who live close enough to get an earful have heard enough about this already. Suffice it to say I see local politics as a sometimes necessary evil, capable of the occasional act of public good. In this case, we want to make a simple improvement to our property, and are having to spend months of our lives and way too much money to fight to do it. With plans in place since we moved into the house two years ago, tonight will be the first public forum where we can present our side.

Other events, which would make it a normally busy day, include: physical therapy for Benjamin, along with a meeting to review his new Individualized Education Plan (IEP;) getting Elisabeth to and from preschool, so she can sing her heart out in Christmas program rehearsal; and attending a special church celebration. For those of you Catholics, here is your reminder that it is the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. I do think it's pretty cool that the baby's tests just happened to be scheduled on the same day that our church celebrates Mary as the mother of all mothers.

My Aunt Dorothy commented to me sometime back about something she'd read: that blogging is like journaling, and the writers may actually use it as therapy. I say, "Amen, Sister."

Finally, I would like to use this space to outline my argument for why Benjamin and the new baby should share the nursery, even though we have an empty bedroom down the hall. "You never have any guests," my mom points out. However, "guest room" is a euphemism for "Mommy's-room-when-there's-snoring-and-kicking-and-hooting-going-on-in-her-bed-and-hopefully-she'll-get-some-shut-eye-elsewhere."

Please pray for us today. As always, the updates will appear in Krinkeland... whether you want them or not.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Conversations with Benjamin

There is something that is so fun about talking with a two-year-old. My son's vocabulary, along with his memory and his understanding of the world, is expanding so rapidly. Last evening, Todd was out with the girls, so it was time for Ben and Mommy to talk:

Mom: "Are you done eating?"
Ben: "I done poopy."
Mom: "I don't like that word."
Ben: "OK, poopy."
Mom: "Why are you being so silly?"
Ben: "I be poopy."

One hour later
Mom: "It's time to get ready for bed."
Ben: "No! Not poopy bedtime."
Mom: "Which pajamas would you like to wear?"
Ben: "I wear poopy 'jamas."
Mom: "I told you that's enough of that kind of talk."
Ben: "Poopy, I talk poopy. What you doing, Mommy?"
Mom: "We need to brush your teeth."
Ben: "That poopy."
Mom: "Let's read a book. You pick out one."
Ben: "I pick poopy."
Mom: "Good night. God bless you. I love you."
Ben: "I love you, too, Poopy."

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Starting 'Em Young

Having trouble getting into the holiday spirit? I have the solution: go Christmas "shopping" with a first-grader, two preschoolers, and two toddlers. I noticed on the local newspaper's community calendar that area Girl Scout troops were putting on a "Kids' Holiday Shopping Mall" this morning, and I thought, "What fun!" So, I loaded up all my favorite kids, and went.

I remember doing just this kind of thing when I was a little girl, except I think it was put on by a church organization. The Girl Scouts commandeered the high school cafeteria, set up different displays with items at different price points, and even had a gift-wrapping station. I gave each kid a plastic zipper bag with his/her name on it and my cell phone number (in case of emergencies) and a list of who to shop for (Mom, Grandma...) along with some one-dollar bills. A Girl Scout came and took them in pairs or threes, guided them around the "mall," helped them make their selections and count their money, and then did the wrapping and wrote out gift tags at the end.

It was all a riot. Benjamin and Solomon went in, dragged by their older siblings, and came out a half-hour later covered in candy-cane-stickiness. I think Solomon bought about three different gifts for his mother. Kazmer declared himself "done" after choosing just one gift, and had to be prodded to shop some more. Amanda, in typical form, spent every red cent I gave her. They all came out clutching their purchases and whispering fiercely about the treasures they found. I was proud-- and surprised-- that not one of my children or nephews took the liberty to buy him/herself a present. A mom sitting next to me was going through her four-year-old's shopping bag while the daughter commented, "That's for me. That's for me, too."

Naturally, the most riotous part was the looks I received, walking in with five children, aged two to six, and my pregnant belly before me. Even in the rural, fertile part of the world where I live, I must have been a sight. The stares and the eyebrow raises followed me all morning-- that is, until I treated the kids to a post-shopping lunch. When we all sat down and joined hands to quietly pray over our Happy Meals, the bewildered looks turned to knowing nods: Clearly, I was just a religious zealot, one who shares those wild, disturbing thoughts, like, "All children are a gift from God."

Friday, December 5, 2008

Plug-in-Law


Just a reminder to anyone who reads this, but must otherwise live under a rock, about the Christmas concerts coming up this weekend and next featuring my brother-in-law, Terry. This Saturday's concert is at the Historic Church of St. Michael. Next Saturday, he'll perform at the church where he is also music director, Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, in Maplewood. There is additional information on his family's website, the Beaudry Beat.

Naturally, I would always try to promote the endeavors of anyone to whom I am related, and therefore stand to gain some kind of royalty kickback. However, I am especially indebted to Terry this season after he braved the American Girl Store at Mall of America to pick up some Christmas gifts on my behalf. Probably seems weird that there is any place I would not want to shop, but I am so grateful to Terry for finishing my list for me. He did call me from the mayhem and say, "I'm really glad I don't have any daughters."

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Rise Up & Sing Out

Speaking of Christmas carols, I've also been hearing a lot of "Rise Up Shepherds and Follow" bellowed around our house. I gather it is one of the songs Elisabeth's preschool class is doing for their Christmas program. I can't be sure, however, because if I ever ask her about it, she clams up.

Libby's teachers do give me little glimpses into her school life. They told me they so enjoy watching Elisabeth rehearse with the other children, and they called her the best singer in the class. "Really?" I asked. "Yes," one said. "She sings so hard, we're afraid she might hurt herself!" I am so proud.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Ring Those Bells


With at least three radio stations playing Christmas music 'round the clock, that's what the kids and I have been listening to in the car. It's a lot of fun, especially when Benjamin starts hollering, "JINGLE BELLS! JINGLE BELLS! ALL THE WAY!" from his perch in the Target shopping cart, or when he demands of me, "Mommy, sing "Santa Krauz Humming to Town!"

So, I have a running list of my nominations for the best and worst Christmas carols and songs:

Make Rudolph's Nose Light Up
*Go Tell It on the Mountain
*Do You Hear What I Hear?
*Silent Night
*Nuttin' for Christmas
*Away in a Manger (the alternate melody-- the one Todd claims Martin Luther wrote)
*I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus
*Ding Dong Merrily On High
*O Little Town of Bethlehem
*Rise Up Shepherds and Follow
*Baby It's Cold Outside (the James Taylor-Natalie Cole duet is really hot)

Make Needles Fall Off the Tree
*Good King Wenceslas
*The First Noel
*Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer
*Here We Come A-Wassailing
*Hark the Herald Angels Sing
*that one that's always on the radio about the boy buying the shoes for his dying mom
*It Came Upon a Midnight Clear
*God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
*Santa Baby
*The 12 Days of Christmas

I'm open to other opinions.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The Christmas Letter


I mailed the first batch of Christmas cards, so I guess it’s time for one of those lovely and informative annual Christmas letters. If you are not a regular visitor to Krinkeland, you might not know all the ins and outs of our joy-filled daily life. So, here goes:

Yep, I’m pregnant again.

Todd is working his butt off. I’m not sure if that’s the pressure of so many mouths to feed, or if he’s just avoiding us. Although it’s all top secret, I have no doubt Todd is inventing the next marvel of the medical world, and he’s doing it one “business meeting” in Vegas at a time.

The house is still not done.

Amanda is reading like a pro, mostly books about sharks and snakes. She also loves math and Star Wars Legos. She still has no problem passing gas loudly, in public, and she hates to bathe. In January, Amanda is going to play basketball, with Daddy and Grandpa P. as her coaches. If I’m going to have any luck, I guess now is not too early to start looking for her prom date.

Elisabeth changes her clothes 10 times a day. The only item on her Christmas list is lip gloss. Whenever we’re in public, Libby clings to me as though she is made of Velcro, but, at home, she tells me she hates me. She also hits her brother when no one is looking. The preschool teachers assure me she is a delightful child.

Benjamin wowed his pediatrician by making his way back onto the weight chart at his two-year checkup. His neurologist last month also declared him “normal.” So much for science. Ben’s favorite activities include falling on his head and flushing the unflushable. He enjoys screaming and whining, along with changing the water temperature of the shower, while I am in it.

This spring, Todd and I took a wonderful vacation to Puerto Rico. Among the highlights were sleeping all night and not having to cut up anyone else’s food. It was paradise. Then, we had to come home.

In this time of moral, economic, and political uncertainty, we in Krinkeland are counting our blessings. We have so much for which to be thankful, particularly: automated car washes, pre-cooked bacon, and the stomach flu avoiding our house for a whole year. For 2009, I am hoping for peace on earth and maternity pants that do not expose my rear crack.

Jesus is the reason for the season, but shopping also keeps me hopping!

Monday, December 1, 2008

She is a Sheep


My middle child, who never tells me anything and never gets excited about anything, bounded out of her preschool room this morning. "Guess what, Mommy?! For our Christmas program, I get to be a SHEEP!" I was so excited for her because she was so excited. But, I hope this label doesn't stick with her, because, in life, I really don't want any of my kids to be sheep.