Friday, April 29, 2011

Four

Todd was ranting about something this evening and I said, "Todd, I don't know the answer to that, but I can tell you this: We have four children; I'm sure one of them is to blame. Save the lecture for the kids." Oddly enough, even though I have been aware of that fact for a couple years now, the number still caught in my throat. Sometimes I still shake my head in that dazed-and-confused fashion: How did I become the mother of FOUR children?!

It's a good number. It's the right number. It's a number of which I am proud. And, as I am constantly reminded in our society, it's a BOLD number. Even in these rural, Midwestern, Christian parts where we live, four is considered a lot of children. Three? Totally acceptable. Four? Total insanity. It's fascinating, people's perceptions.

I have a number of friends who also have four children. On breaks from school, we've occasionally met for group activities, at the pool or the park, and sometimes we go out to lunch. It never takes long for some stranger to approach us and ask, "Are you running a daycare?" or "Are all these your children?" We all usually paste smiles onto our faces, someone makes a fakey comeback, and then that same person mutters a snide comment under her breath. But we're used to it... and we're in it together.

Hey, have as many children as you both want, as many as you can handle, as many as God gives you, I always say. I'm pro-life, aren't I? Still, there are a few families in my life who are expecting or who have recently welcomed their fourth child. And, I can't help thinking it, too: Oooh, do you know what you're in for? As I so often joke, and am totally kidding in a serious way, four is way too many children. But I like them all too much to get rid of anyone. Most of the time.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Outlook

Oh, how I wish I could handle change and surprise in life with the grace and enthusiasm of my nine-year-old.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

F-f-f-f-for Real?

When I called the girls inside for dinner, they bid the neighbor girl "Merry Christmas!" Silly girls, I thought, setting food on the table. Benjamin glanced over my shoulder and pointed to the front window: "What is that falling from the sky, anyway?!" Yeah, big, fat snowflakes-- on April 27. I could make a crack about global warming here... but I'm too cold.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

No Diving-- The Gene Pool Is Very Shallow

OK, so I just looked again at the photos from Easter Sunday. Is it any wonder these people are related?




Purell Has Nothin' On Us

Following the school's attendance policy, Elisabeth will be staying home tomorrow. You see, after getting off the bus this afternoon, Libby complained her throat hurt, so I took her to the pediatrician's office, where she tested positive again for strep. It has been approximately three days since she finished her last round of antibiotics. I'll be sure to keep her home, so she can't spread the bacteria... as she did all day today.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Putting It Mildly

I bought these olives from Costco. They're in a plastic tub, different varieties of green and black olives-- all pitted, with chunks of feta cheese, and all kids of herbs, floating in olive oil. The olives are goood, and Todd and I have been eating a lot of them.

This past weekend, during an olive snack, Todd suggested it might be really yummy to chop together the olives and cheese and oil into a kind of rough tapenade and to spread it on small slices of bread to make a kind of Mediterranean bruschetta. So, this evening, as a side dish for supper, that's what I did. It was good-- good enough that Todd and I cleaned the serving plate.

Before we did, the plate was placed next to Benjamin at the table, and he kept glancing over and commenting, "Eeewww. Gross. What is that?" Ben made other really lovely remarks, including "poop on a plate." Finally, Amanda got up, walked around to the plate, examined the toasts and said, "I think I'm going to try one." Ben stopped remarking and said, "OK. If you do, I will, too." Amanda selected a piece of bread spread with olives, held it daintily between two fingers and took the smallest possible bite. During this time, Ben was still choosing his piece.

Amanda chewed and chewed, while making the most distressed face. Finally, when she could again speak, she asked, "Ben, why don't you just have mine?" And she handed over the remainder of her slice. Then, Amanda turned to me and said, "Well, that certainly has a robust flavor." The girl has a future in politics-- I'm sure of it.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Easter Push

I awoke this morning to the sounds of banging and slamming, whispering and hissing. The children were cleaning and arguing. It could have been worse: often I wake to just arguing.

The tension in the air was frantic; things were feverish. It was barely 7 a.m. and Krinkeland was in full-swing. It was clear Elisabeth was leading the charge. WHAT THE HECK WAS GOING ON?!

I sighed, closed my eyes, and strained to listen. Libby was bossing, Benjamin was following. Obviously, Amanda was somewhere in the mix, too:

"Come on, you guys. We gotta get this whole toy room picked up. We gotta get this whole house picked up. You know Mom's gonna say we have to pick up today. Tomorrow is Easter! I mean, Easter is about Jesus. It really is. Jesus died on the cross for all of us. To save us from our sins. So we can go to heaven someday. Even if we don't want Jesus to save us-- HE DID, ANYWAY! So, Jesus really is the most important thing about Easter. BUUUT... If we don't have all our toys picked up, THE EASTER BUNNY WON'T COME!"

Friday, April 22, 2011

Good Friday, Earth Day, Cutest Girl's 2nd Birthday

Yes, this is one full square on the calendar! And, yes, I know Good Friday is important-- REALLY important, Jesus, I get it-- but today in Krinkeland we also celebrated Madeline Kate's Second Birthday! She knew exactly what she wanted to do today, or so her older siblings told us. (If they speak "Madeline," they should write a dictionary to share with us.) In addition to going to church (Good Friday) and cleaning up junk that washed up on our beach (Earth Day,) we were sure to have some fun two-year-old-style:

I'm not too weepy about my baby turning two. I am excited to see what a big girl she is becoming. I must admit, my favorite part of the day was when I was cleaning up the kitchen after supper and birthday cupcakes: I got out the Swiffer Sweeper Vac to attack the sprinkles that had accumulated under the table. Madeline saw it, dropped her new toys in the living room, ran to me, ripped the stick vacuum from my hands, turned it on, ran it around the kitchen floor, turned it off, took it back to the closet, plugged it in to recharge and closed the closet door. How great is two?!

Happy, happy birthday, Baby Girl! God loves you, and Mommy does, too.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Myopic

The results were as anticipated: Amanda is nearsighted. For those who are still confused about this terminology (like my husband,) that means she can see near, but things blur at a distance. The doctor noted her impairment was significant, and seemed surprised Amanda had not started complaining earlier. It took a lot of trial at a few different optical shops, but eyeglasses are on the way.

One of my friends asked Amanda, "Are you bummed about having to get glasses?" Amanda replied, "No, I'm not upset. I mean, I'm not thrilled either... but I'm just cool with 'em."

One other note, from the "Weird Things About My Kids" realm (I'm contemplating renaming this blog:) During the eye exam, when those tinted drops are in and the black light is shining to assess the health of the surface of the eye and whatever else, I noticed the doctor repeatedly telling Amanda, "Blink. Blink again. Close your eyes slowly. Squeeze your eyes shut tightly." These eyelid calisthenics were unfamiliar to me... and I've had eyesight issues since childhood.

The doctor did not wait for me to ask. She appears to fall into the camp of Too-Much-Information-Is-A-Good-Thing. After informing me Amanda had more optic nerve fiber in one eye than the other-- BUT her eyes are "perfectly healthy" (so who cares?!?!)-- she told me Amanda's eyelids turn inward slightly. She thinks this is just the way Amanda's eyes were made, and there's no cause for concern, EXCEPT the turning in can actually cause the eyelashes to rub against the surfaces of the eyes.

She noted Amanda has a few scratches on her right cornea. Anyone who's ever suffered a scratched cornea knows how painful and problematic that can be. But, Amanda was emphatic her eyes do not hurt and have never hurt. So, the doctor said, "Oh, well. I guess that's just something to watch, then."

I could write a book entitled, "Weird Crap Doctors Discover About Your Kids That Freaks You Out But Is Actually Pointless." Who's buying?

Holy, Holy, Holy

With the two older girls in a Christian day school and Benjamin also in a religious-based preschool, these days before Easter are filled with storytelling, discussion and activities surrounding the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Elisabeth's first grade class was part of the annual "Journey Through Holy Week" pageant, in which each class acts out a different segment of Jesus' final days on Earth.

Elisabeth is in the shorter, light blue robe, in the role of "I don't know... one of the Marys."

The following day, all the third graders presented their "Passion Play."

Amanda was one of the narrators of this living version of Stations of the Cross.

Back at home, Benjamin enlightened us all at the supper table with his graphic retelling of Passover, complete with the blood of the Lamb and the Angel of Death passing by each door. Later, Ben tried to reenact his own version of the Passion, with himself as Jesus and the Little Tikes basketball hoop as his cross. I couldn't get any video because I was laughing too hard.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Funny Things My Third Grader Says

When Amanda told me she was having trouble with her vision, she said, "I keep mixing up the letters." I asked her to clarify if she couldn't see clearly to discern different letters of the alphabet, or if it was more like her brain was scrambling the order of the letters. Amanda clarified it was the former, but wanted to know why I asked. I explained I was trying to understand her concern, so we could figure out whether it might be a vision problem or a learning challenge; then, we'd be able to work toward a solution. "Oh, I know I just need glasses... or contacts... something simple like that," Amanda said.

Amanda's grade performed their Passion Play, a kind of living stations of the cross, in which Amanda acted as one of the narrators (more on that tomorrow.) During rehearsals, Amanda came home from school one day complaining about having to learn and practice singing a certain hymn. I asked, "Is your teacher a good singer?" She said she didn't know-- she'd never heard her; the other third grade teacher was teaching the hymns. I asked, "Well, is she a good singer?" Amanda nodded and sounded a little surprised, "Yeah, she really is... I mean, for her age."

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

E... E?

Amanda and Madeline had joint well-child checkups today. No big shockers that I could see, EXCEPT Amanda could not see! She totally failed her vision screening. It was pretty cute to see Maddy toeing the line right next to her big sister, covering one eye and making grunts that kind of sounded like letter names. Amanda, not so much... there were a lot of "O" guesses-- and not a lot of "Os" on the chart.

For the record, Amanda had remarked to me a couple of times recently that she was having trouble reading street signs and the like. However, no teacher or other child care professional had mentioned anything, and, since one of her closest friends has gotten eyeglasses, I kind of wondered whether Amanda was playing "Me, Too." I guess not.

Also for the record, I had already made an ophthalmology appointment for Amanda, and one for Elisabeth, too. But I wanted them to see the same pediatric specialist Benjamin had seen, because I really liked her. To get in, I had to book the appointments for the end of May; I made the appointments before Amanda began to complain about her vision, and made them only because another mother in passing coversation asked me, "You mean you've never had your kids see an eye doctor?!" I mean, come on-- isn't that what Health Screening Day at school is for? There goes my Mother of the Year Award... again.

Finally for the record, I got eyeglasses when I was just a year older than Amanda, in fourth grade. All my friends were getting glasses, it seemed, and I thought it was the coolest thing. I was theee coolest thing... I should really find a photo.

Monday, April 18, 2011

The Easter Story Cookies

Maybe some of you have seen this, but I hadn't... A friend forwarded on this chain email and I thought it sounded like a great way to help teach little ones about the meaning of Easter. Will I actually do it with my kids? Probably not-- but you are all much more faithful, motivated, dedicated, patient people than I am.

THE EASTER STORY COOKIES
To be made the evening before Easter

Ingredients:
1 cup whole pecans
1 tsp. vinegar
3 egg whites
pinch salt
1 cup sugar
zipper baggie
heavy wooden spoon
tape
Bible

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. This is important! Don't wait until you're half done with the recipe!

Place pecans in zipper baggie and let children beat them with the wooden spoon to break into small pieces. Explain that after Jesus was arrested, He was beaten by the Roman soldiers.
Read John 19:1-3.

Let each child smell the vinegar. Put 1 tsp. vinegar into mixing bowl. Explain that when Jesus was thirsty on the cross, He was given vinegar to drink.
Read John 19:28-30.

Add egg whites to vinegar. Eggs represent life. Explain that Jesus gave His life to give us eternal life.
Read John 10:10-11.

Sprinkle a little salt into each child's hand. Let them taste it and brush the rest into the bowl. Explain that this represents the salty tears shed by Jesus' followers, and the bitterness of our own sin.
Read Luke 23:27.

So far, the ingredients are not very appetizing. Add 1 cup sugar. Explain that the sweetest part of the story is that Jesus died because He loves us. He wants us to know and belong to Him.
Read Ps. 34:8 and John 3:16.

Beat with a mixer on high speed for 12 to 15 minutes until stiff peaks are formed. Explain that the color white represents the purity in God's eyes of those whose sins have been cleansed by Jesus.
Read Isa. 1:18 and John 3:1-3.

Fold in broken nuts. Drop by teaspoons onto wax paper covered cookie sheet. Explain that each mound represents the rocky tomb where Jesus' body was laid.
Read Matt. 27:57-60.

Put the cookie sheet in the oven, close the door and turn the oven OFF.
Give each child a piece of tape and seal the oven door. Explain that Jesus' tomb was sealed.
Read Matt. 27:65-66.

NOW GO TO BED! Explain that they may feel sad to leave the cookies in the oven overnight. Jesus' followers were in despair when the tomb was sealed.
Read John 16:20 and 22.

On Easter morning, open the oven and give everyone a cookie. Notice the cracked surface and take a bite. The cookies are hollow! On the first Easter, Jesus' followers were amazed to find the tomb open and empty.
Read Matt. 28:1-9

Have a great and blessed Holy Week!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Palm Sunday

Palm Sunday is typically the day we celebrate Easter-- a week early-- with Grandma and Grandpa R. and Auntie Lisa. Even though Todd was in Europe, the festivities went on d without him. It is always a day in which we thank Jesus for his ultimate sacrifice... and eat a lot, color eggs, and play at the park.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

On My Mind

*a one-year-old this week diagnosed with stage four neuroblastoma, and his family uprooting instantly to traverse half the world for treatment

*a busy, active, health-conscious wife and mother, my age, facing her third health crisis in two years

*a preemie baby preparing to undergo heart surgery, and his parents

*book: Unplanned by Abby Johnson

*the Until Abortion Ends movement

*book: Two Kisses for Maddy by Matthew Logelin

*school theater program plans for next year

*how pitifully incompetent I am as a single parent-- When does Todd return, again? (Oh, his plane hasn't even landed in Germany.)

*what my girls are supposed to wear to church this incredibly-late-yet-unbearably-cold Easter season

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Tumbling Teddies

Benjamin and Madeline started a new gymnastics class together this morning. It's kind of funny the way it all came about: Even though Maddy is so young (two next week, people!) she seems to me to be extremely active and really loves any kind of physical activity. I'm sure she's no different from most toddlers, but, since Ben was different from most toddlers, it is kind of shock to my system. Anyway, I looked into this program run by a woman out of one of the health clubs in town. I know I've blogged about it before, because all the kids have now taken classes with her at one time or another. This is high-energy, theme-driven fun! (Form and formal instruction, not so much-- but who cares?!)

Anyway, during the winter session, she offered a beginner's class for combined ages with optional parent participation. I figured that would work for both little ones... but the instructor didn't get any other takers, so we were left out. It was the same situation for this spring session, but the teacher suggested I just bring along Madeline to the next level class, which is age-appropriate for Ben, and see how she does. If we're not happy, we don't have to pay, don't have to come back.

Well, I was so impressed with my little Tumbling Teddies! Benjamin has come so far from last year. He jumps on the trampoline, hangs from the bars, and isn't afraid to try anything. Then, there's the other one. Madeline, in comical fashion, jumped right in and followed along with the big kids. I recognize she is just almost-two and has the cognitive understanding and attention span of anyone else her age, but I was amazed at how much of the class she "got!" I think Krinkeland may finally have an athlete in the house:

Bounty of Bacteria

I know there's nothing more annoying (well, I can think of a few things, but this is right up there) than someone whining about sickness. Still, I thought you would be fascinated to know Elisabeth is home from school today with strep throat and a urinary tract infection; I have a kidney infection and a sinus infection. We are keeping antibiotics manufacturers in business.

This is the first time Libby has ever had a "breakthrough" infection, meaning she takes a daily prophylactic antibiotic to keep bugs at bay, but still got an infection. After her latest round of tests, we planned for her to have a surgical procedure to correct the reflux and hopefully cut down on infections, or at least their severity. Though it is not a big deal, I scheduled it for June, so she would not have to miss school. Now, I'm wondering if we'll have to take action sooner.

Am I the only mother who thinks this has been one, dang, long winter? Seems like somebody's always got something-- and we're generally pretty healthy in Krinkeland! I'm just looking on the bright side... Better that the sickness hits now-- Todd doesn't leave for Germany again until Saturday.

Oh, that reminds me-- the upside update: Todd had a recheck with the ENT doctor. The steroids seem to be working. He still has ringing in his ear, but his hearing has come back significantly. So, that is wonderful news... and he no longer has the excuse, "I didn't hear you."

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

A Lexicon Lesson

Call me an old fuddy-duddy, but I can seem to wrap my journalism-degreed-avid-reader-language-loving brain around the fact that my children use the word "ginormous" as an actual adjective. I mean, considering the breadth of my training and vocabulary, I am pretty loosey-goosey on the grammar and style on this blog. Still, I do not write-- or say-- "ginormous." But my kids do.

I did a Google search and discovered there is actually a Facebook group called "Ginormous is NOT a word." But, alas, it is. The word was added to the Merriam-Webster dictionary in 2007: GINORMOUS gi·nor·mousadj \jī-ˈnȯr-məs\ : extremely large : humongous.

My first recollection of hearing the word "ginormous" was in the movie "Elf," when Buddy exclaims, "Hey! Have you seen these toilets? They're ginormous!" But since Will Ferrell's character also eats cotton balls and puts maple syrup on his spaghetti in that movie, I didn't give it a lot of credibility.

Back to Google I went, and I found this website that lists research on the orgin of words and all kinds of things. It says:

A news article about helicopter pilots in the May 13, 1951 issue of the Zanesville Signal in Ohio tells the tale of one Carl Agar...

"...short, tanned, hard bitten operator of Okanagon Air Service of British Columbia...Agar had a new adjective to describe the size of his operations.
'They're ginormous,' he said."

So our thanks to Mr. Agar for coining the word all those years ago, and to Merriam Webster for giving it solid recognition more than 50 years after the fact.

To be perfectly honest, though, Mr. Agar may have had the FirstMention in North America, but he well may have picked up the word from the Brits, perhaps during WWII. The Oxford English Dictionary identifies ginormous as British soldier slang during the war, though I haven't come across any actual uses of it (in print) myself.


Insert *deep sigh* here. I'm still not going to start using the word "ginormous" in daily conversation... and I'm still going to bristle every time it comes out of one of the kids' mouths. But, there's no fighting progress. Change is all around us.

I also found this funny page on the Merriam-Webster site; the post is in response to the question "What's your favorite word (that's not in the dictionary)?" Oh, and, obviously, it was written prior to 2007:

What a lovely bunch of vocabularians (persons who make up new words) you are! Lasterday (refers to any day before today) we squinched (action required to fit something into a space that is slightly too small) a schmiglet (a small unit of measurement) of your awesomtastic (so wonderful the words just meld in your mouth) one-of-a-kind entries into this space in preparation for our Top Ten reveal. With so many chizzy (awesome, super, happening) creations to choose from, we admit to becoming a bit flusterpated (a state of being flustered that's so intense, one's actions and words become bound up) and fahoodled (confused, esp. when trying to think of too many things at once). We craughed (to cry and laugh simultaneously), we troddled (to wander around without knowing of doing so), and finally decided to use the schwack (a large amount) of multiple entries received as the basis for the Top Ten:

Top Ten Favorite Words (Not in the Dictionary)
1.ginormous (adj): bigger than gigantic and bigger than enormous
2.confuzzled (adj): confused and puzzled at the same time
3.woot (interj): an exclamation of joy or excitement
4.chillax (v): chill out/relax, hang out with friends
5.cognitive displaysia (n): the feeling you have before you even leave the house that you are going to forget something and not remember it until you're on the highway 6.gription (n): the purchase gained by friction: "My car needs new tires because the old ones have lost their gription."
7.phonecrastinate (v): to put off answering the phone until caller ID displays the incoming name and number
8.slickery (adj): having a surface that is wet and icy
9.snirt (n): snow that is dirty, often seen by the side of roads and parking lots that have been plowed
10.lingweenie (n): a person incapable of producing neologisms

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

What is Wallpaper?

As a sign of the times and/or his mother's complete lack of interior design sense, Benjamin asked this morning, "Mom, what is wallpaper?"

40 Days for Life=Results

We are three-quarters of the way through the "40 Days for Life" prayer campaign... and we just may be seeing some results:

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- New restrictions on abortion are advancing in the Minnesota Legislature.

A Senate health panel approved proposals to prohibit abortion starting at 20 weeks gestation and to ban public funding of abortion on Tuesday. The ban on public funding also cleared a House panel.

The climate is different at the Capitol after Republicans took control of both chambers this year. Abortion opponents are energized after years of legislative setbacks when Democrats were in charge.

But the bills are unlikely to become law because Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton supports abortion rights.

The bill banning abortions later in pregnancy makes exceptions to save a woman's life or prevent irreversible physical harm, but not for rape, incest or mental health conditions. The ban on public funding would apply to state-funded public health programs.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

Monday, April 11, 2011

Munchable, Lunchable Lucia

My niece and her mommy came over for a little visit this afternoon. Her mom was holding her, and she's kind of a baby hog-- even with her own baby-- and Lucia was happy, so I left them be, way across the room on the other couch. But I would have really liked to pick up that baby and give her a nice, long squeeze. Sadly, I was so wrapped up in tasks at hand-- getting my kids to nap, working on some school projects, washing dishes-- I neglected to even take a photo of the Luscious Lucia. I missed her when they left. I had to text my SIL and ask her to send me a photo-- I HAD to. This girl is so completely cuddlesome, she could make you melt! (Not that I'm biased or anything...)

Sunday, April 10, 2011

A Colorful Consumer Alert


Trust me, I'm doing you a favor: DO NOT BUY CRAYOLA WASHABLE COLORED BUBBLES. They're tempting, I know... Mommy is tempted, Grandma is tempted, the Easter Bunny will be tempted. And, I'm warning you now because they're on sale this week at Toys R Us (saw it in the ad.) DON'T DO IT!

The bubbles are billed as "washable," as are many Crayola products these days, but I can only assume that term refers to washing off the color from human skin. In the past week, I have seen plenty of green tennis shoes, polka-dotted windbreakers, blue-splattered sidewalks, and dyed dogs-- all with the same explanation. Then, there was this post; you have to scroll down aplenty, and sift through some of his signature cursing to get to the photos, but, oh, they're there.

Matt blogs: (i’ve determined that they are the worst “improvement” of a children’s toy of all time). Really. As though bubbles weren't messy enough as it is. I really don't like bubbles. They're sticky and slimy and messy and completely a one-brief-use activity here in Krinkeland.

But, now that I think of it, this may be an irrational disdain. Bubbles are just soap, right? And I like soap.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Cheater, Cheater

I woke up out of the most vivid dream. In it, my husband was stepping out on me. Hours later, I'm scratching my head and giggling, because anyone who knows Todd, knows us, knows fidelity is not an issue in our relationship. I mean, the boy hardly even had a girlfriend before he met me. I've never had any reason to doubt... or worry... or think... Well, anyway, you'd tell me, right?

It's just that the mind is so weird. I need one of those dream analysts-- except I think they're all full of hooey, anyway. In my dream, I was married to Todd and we had our children, and I was fully aware that he had these other relationships on the side. I wasn't happy about it, but I somehow accepted it. (I tell you, I need to stop watching "Sister Wives.") In my dream, my husband looked like my husband but he acted totally differently: he was more gregarious, needier, and much more of a smooth talker. And these other women-- some were nameless and faceless, others were totally random; one of Todd's other women was a girl I went to high school with, someone I did not know well and someone about whom I have not thought for even a moment since graduation. So weird.

What's weirder still, is another turn the dream took: As I said, I was knowledgeable and accepting of my husband's wanderings, until he told me about his latest-- it was another mom from my kids' school! Again, someone I do not know well and someone about whom I do not spend a lot of time thinking. (And, no, I know you're wondering... she's not a looker!) So, when I woke up, I was ticked off!

I laid in bed and checked email on my phone, and, lo and behold, there was a message from Rico Suave. It stated his flight out of Paris was significantly delayed. A likely story...

Friday, April 8, 2011

Reach Out and Pay Someone

I was just sitting here, checking email, when a message popped up in the inbox: "Account Alert: Payment Received." My husband is a continent away, visiting hospitals, training doctors, and who knows what else... but, oh, he's also taking a moment to log on and pay the American Express bill. Funny.

Crazy thing, this 21st century.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Lost Her Lid

Seems I have a theme of "firsts" in this week's posts. Now, it's the Talented Madeline's turn. Even though she is my fourth child, she continues to teach me, in all the ways she is different from her siblings: she throws a fit every time we go into a store, just about being in the store; she insists on walking everywhere and will not hold my hand; she has completely mastered the playground and doesn't even want me to catch her at the bottom of the curly slide; she doesn't like to sit and read books.

Yes, this child is a stubborn, independent one.

The latest: She unscrews the cap from the sippy cup and dumps juice down her front. I've never seen a child even interested in taking off the lid from the cup. I thought I usually secured it pretty tightly, but apparently not. Who does this? Why? Must be those engineer genes.

The Runaway

I suppose it was only a matter of time... and, frankly, I am surprised only that it took this long for her to plot her escape. Elisabeth packed up and told me she was heading for the hills. "I'm running away from here!" She screamed. "You are the worst mother in the whole world!"

We recently added "no foot stomping" and "no name calling" to Libby's chore chart. I imagine this, in some way, precipitated the running away. Also, I refused when she wanted to invite over the neighbor girl to watch a movie... at 8:30 at night... after they had just played outside together for two hours and bickered for one hour 58 minutes of that time... and Daddy is gone so I am tired... and she has already seen "Tangled" four times this week.

I was getting Madeline settled into bed when Amanda rushed in with a panic-stricken face: "She's really doing it, Mom. Libby is running away!" My next visual was of the Obstinate One, arms full of a fleece blanket bundle containing pajamas, stuffed animals, and the beloved blankie. I calmly but firmly told her to go back down the hall to her room. When my threatening counting got to "eight," she turned and went. (Still makes me giggle how that counting thing works.)

I sat on the chair while Elisabeth thrashed and wailed on her bed. Her main grievances seem to be:
1. I never let her do what she wants.
2. I yell at her every day, except on her birthday-- and sometimes I even yell then.
3. She doesn't have as many toys as the neighbor girl.
4. She has to share a bedroom with her sister, who falls asleep while Libby is still talking to her.
5. I say everything she wants to do, wear, and say are "inappropriate."
6. We went on a trip without her, and, if we ever do go on a trip with her and the other kids, we bring along too many extended family members. She wants it to be "just us."
7. She wants to be an only child.
8. We never do anything fun.
9. She has to go to bed too early, when she's not even tired.
10. Daddy is nicer to her, but he's gone too much.

Hmmm... sounds to me as though I'm right on track.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Springing



Today is the first day that has really felt like spring to me. The thermometer late this afternoon read 70 degrees, but I don't think it really got that warm. Still, I was soaking up the sunshine, talking about a potential ice-out date, loving life.


Todd celebrated the nice weather by jetting off to Munich. The kids and I met him for ice cream before his flight. Then, I took them to the park to burn off some steam. We played outside some more at home... pushed Big Wheels and bubble cars up the driveway... hung up the swings on the swing set.. picked up sticks in the yard... assessed the messes left under the snow...

It was all good-- until it was time to come in, take a bath, and get ready for bed:

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

A Little Getaway

Did you miss me?

After all the stress and all the sickness in this house, the hubby and I decided to sneak away for a few days. Grandma and Grandpa R. took the kids for the long weekend (many thanks to them, and to Auntie Lisa for all the help!) and we jetted off to NYC!

Yeah, my apologies to all the beloveds who live in Manhattan and the area; we didn't visit anyone. It was just a quick trip... and we wanted to cram in as much as we could, with just the two of us. Though Todd had been there previously, it was my first trip to the Big Apple. I was wowed by the size, grossed out by the filth, annoyed by the crowdedness and dazzled by the talent.

The weather was cold and wet; that made easy the decision between outdoor sight-seeing and indoor show-seeing. In between rushing shows, we did manage to take in one of those double-decker bus tours, a stroll through Central Park, a behind-the-scenes tour of Radio City Music Hall, and a late-night trip to the top of the Empire State Building, along with a little window shopping and sniffing of the Macy's Flower Show. Oh, and we ate a lot of pizza.

In three days' time, we took in five Broadway shows:
"Memphis"-- dazzling
"Born Yesterday"-- wonderful
"Spider-Man Turn Off the Dark"-- bizarre and awful, but fascinating just the same
"Anything Goes"-- incredible
"Chicago"-- tired
(Those are my amateur reviews.)

During the trip, I was suffering from that same nasty cold/congestion that went through the rest of Krinkeland. It was a real bummer and made air travel especially miserable. (And you wouldn't think air travel could get more miserable than the horrible delays caused by combined factors of Delta Airlines and the Newark airport.) Todd, on the other hand, is on these high-dose steroids to help with his hearing problem... so he had no trouble running around Times Square at all hours and taking in post-midnight movies every night. It did set my mind at ease to know I was constantly protected by this totally hopped-up dude... even though neither King Kong nor Godzilla made an appearance.

We did see the Naked Cowboy. And, we sat in the second row of Jim Belushi's new play-- close enough for him to spit on us. We were completely taken by performances from Broadway greats including Joel Grey, Sutton Foster, and Leigh Zimmerman. Oh, and Todd made me stand on a street corner for over an hour, watching a film crew shoot a scene for "New Year's Eve." He claimed it was well worth it when we finally caught a glimpse of Sarah Jessica Parker.

I was so thrilled to see the Statue of Liberty. We were honored to remember the fallen at Ground Zero. I giggled at the off-chance to go with Todd to visit his favorite store ever, B & H Photo Video. Even though neither of us are huge fans, we were sure to sample New York cheesecake at Junior's. And, now, I am tired.
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