Friday, June 28, 2013

All Lemoned Out

With the kids off on an adventure with Grandma and Grandpa, it was a good day to catch up on a lot of those tasks that cannot be completed with youngsters running around: filling in Madeline's baby book, writing thank-you notes, cleaning out closets, writing policies for the theater program... But, I did none of those things.  I also didn't finish either of the books I am reading.  Instead, I went grocery shopping and then set out to try some of those recipes all you creative cooking types are always posting on Facebook.

Visitors to my house on Independence Day next week will be the second-round guinea pigs for some of the dishes.  The rhubarb slush should be good and slushy by then.  (It's gonna take a while for all that vodka to freeze; my hand "slipped.")  So far, the real prize-winner is this:

Lemon Bar Muddy Buddies

1 c. white chocolate chips
1/4 c. butter
1/2 c. lemon curd
8 c. Rice Chex
1 1/2 c. powdered sugar

Melt chips and butter over medium heat, stirring constantly.  (Mixture will be lumpy.)  Remove from heat and mix in lemon curd until smooth.  Put cereal in a brown paper shopping bag and drizzle with lemon mixture.  Hold bag shut and shake to coat.  Once evenly coated, open bag and dust with powdered sugar.  Close bag and shake again until evenly covered.  Spread on cookie sheets to dry.

Amanda and her grandma were the taste testers, and my MIL remarked, "Well, that is worth eating!"  (Trust me, that's quite a compliment!)  I ate only what didn't fit in the Tupperware container-- now I cannot walk.  I could have taken a photo of my creation... But decided instead to go with a picture of God's creation:

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Off the Field

Benjamin and his Orange Tigers wrapped up a successful t-ball season this evening.  By "successful," I mean Ben went to play each week, with minimal complaints, and generally seemed to grasp the concept of the game.  Also, he suffered no injuries, which is a huge feat for this child doing any physical activity, and also for this league, where it is typical for bat swings to get a little wild and for seven fielders to pile up on every hit ball.  What's more, the Tigers can claim a big victory tonight: You see, this is Socialist t-ball, so every kid bats and hits and runs all the way around the bases every inning, and, since Ben's team had three more players, it was a landslide!
What do you know-- he got a hit!

In the field, Benjamin played the position of Obstacle.  He basically diverted runners from second base to third.  I don't totally blame him, because it was hot.  (That's the second baseman to one side, and the third baseman to the other, so, technically, I guess Ben was playing shortstop.  The other seven fielders were all piled on top of each other near where the pitcher's mound would be; in t-ball, that position is called Here Where All the Balls Come.  Also, the woman behind Ben is his coach, not a six-year-old with a glandular condition.)

The girls will finish their softball season with a mini-tournament this weekend.  They also played tonight, but I was tired of taking photos by then.  Amanda hit a nice single, and there were three errors in the field, so that is called a Krinkeland Home Run!  That same inning, Elisabeth narrowly escaped having to go up to bat, so she was also thrilled!  This photo is from Monday's game, where no one played particularly well on the field... But Madeline and Grandpa did have a ball playing imaginary Beauty Shop on the sidelines.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Holding Court

This week is Benjamin's turn for basketball camp.  He seems to be having a good time, even if sports are not his first language.  But, what I am enjoying most are our trips to and from the gym.

My sister and other mothers of boys have warned me about how boys don't talk.  They are different from girls; they will not volunteer what is going on in their lives, say what they're thinking and feeling, or describe details about anything.  For the most part, I have to agree that seems true.  When I inquire about his school day, Ben just shrugs.  I only hear about the funny (translation: naughty) things Ben does when I'm not around from teachers or the moms of female classmates.  Whenever I accuse my son of not telling me things, he just lifts his arms in the air, grins and asks, "Whaaat?"

Yet, the A/C vents in the car must be blasting out truth serum, because, on these basketball excursions, the boy talks.  I will look in the rear view mirror to see my boy grinning out the window, and then he starts:

"Coach makes us do this drill where we have to make four baskets in 21 seconds.  It's easy."

"Mom, my friend at school, she has a hummingbird feeder that holds three gallons!  And she has to help mix the sugar water and help fill it."

"I'm so glad you got that Rave for your birthday, Mom, and it is kind of my birthday present, too, because I will share my boat with you."

"Mom, my friend just moved to a farm, and the people who used to live there left their family a donkey!"

"I change the pass code on the iPad and I am going to make Maddy pay rent to play it."

"Mom, S. came to school and said, 'My baby sister smiled at me this morning.  That means she farted!"

"Mom, K. is my number two girlfriend, and L. is my number one girlfriend."

I wish I was recording this stuff.  Oh, wait-- I just did.

Friday, June 21, 2013

A Vacation from Vacation Bible School

I'm glad the week of Vacation Bible School is over, because it doesn't feel much like "vacation" when the kids and I have had to be up and out of the house earlier than on school days.  But, I am also so glad we took part in the week of VBS; particularly, I am glad Madeline had the opportunity to attend.  This was a good preview to her upcoming preschool experience.  While she was a little droopy and clingy on the first day, Maddy eventually warmed up to her young group leaders and joined in on all the activities. 

Madeline is near the center of this photo, in her "church shoes" and red party hat.

Throughout the week, Madeline would break out in VBS songs.  Each group also learned a cheer, and Maddy joyously repeated what she thought hers said: "One! Two! Three! Bless-ed Chim-i-ney!"  I could tell she was really thinking spiritual things, too, which, I guess, should be the point of VBS.  One day in the car, she told me with a big sigh, "Mom, I really don't GET Jesus... or Superman."

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Through a Different Lens

Oh, where, oh, where has my little girl gone?
Oh, where, oh, where can she be?
With her hair cut short and her glasses gone,
Oh, where, oh, where can she be?
Yep, Amanda is giving contact lenses a try.  Just a few, disposable, trial pairs for now-- only for softball, swimming, and stage, she says... But, we'll see.  I've been there, done that enough to know.

The ophthalmology tech said my girl was "a really good girl" and "the most mature rookie" she had ever met.  "Amanda nailed it!" she exclaimed.  And then, one of the contacts mysteriously fell out of Amanda's eye on the car ride home.  So, yes, we will see.

She will see.

I am feeling as though 11 is the new 16.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Too Stressed to Act Blessed

When I declared a "low-key summer," this week apparently did not get the memo.  The kids and I spent the whole morning at vacation bible school, followed by an afternoon of back-to-back basketball camp sessions, and simultaneously scheduled softball practice, t-ball game and birthday party in the evening.  Even with this beautiful weather, it's enough to stress a mama out.  And, I confess, stress out I did.  I actually did this today:

I followed it up with a bedtime threat to "open a can of whoop-a$$" on anyone who did not immediately lie down and go to sleep.  I am not sure where that line came from; I can only assume I was channeling my former life as an actor in some funny but raunchy, 1980s, b-movie.  I gotta go now, and pray to be a better mother... or for some of tomorrow's activities to get canceled.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Hard Ball

Elisabeth remarked this noon, "Basketball camp is really HARD!"  Then, she bounded upstairs to change into her basketball clothes.  Basketball camp seems hard.  It is run by the high school coach.  Many of the other girls in attendance play extended-season, traveling basketball.  The sessions are long and the gymnasium is hot.  

She does it, anyway.  So does her sister.

That is one of those times when I think I must be doing something right as a parent: It gives me hope for the future to know my child can deem something difficult and do it, anyway.  Much of the child development/education research these days suggests persistence is a better indicator of future success than natural talent or intelligence.  I believe that.  

How unstoppable will these children be if they are faced with challenges and obstacles and they still press on, work hard, drive?  I cannot wait to find out.

Amanda (in black) doing one-on-one drills with sixth graders

Libby (in pigtails) spreading out with friends for a dribbling drill

Monday, June 17, 2013


We are experiencing an exciting season of "firsts" here in Krinkeland that began with Benjamin learning to ride a bike without training wheels.

Then, Elisabeth exerted her independence by signing up for a Junior Master Gardeners class-- an interest that is uniquely hers within our family.
It was definitely a first for Libby to actually attend the class on her own, with no backup, and she loved it!  The first week held many firsts for Libby the Gardener, including garden planning, learning to plant both seeds and seedlings, and finding out how to water and keep plants healthy and growing.
That same day, the local newspaper came out, and I am pretty sure this is the first time some of my littlest nephews and nieces have appeared in the press!

Libby also finished up her first year on a dance team, with a park performance that was part of our town's annual celebration.

And, today, Madeline had her first Vacation Bible School class.  I was volunteering and did not have time to take photos at the actual event, but, it was just as well, as the babe was much more clingy and long-face than I would have expected.  Once home, she took a good, three-hour nap!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

A Day to Celebrate

It's Father's Day and my mom's birthday!  It was a beautiful day to celebrate!

Here's wishing a blessed, blessed day to the fathers who were with us, and also my FILs who were not.  You are loved!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

We Love a Parade

It was a beautiful evening for a parade and, luckily, our town was having one!  Amongst the highlights:
*Amanda calling out to each city's queen/princesses, "You look beautimous!"
*Dragging out the gory details of godson Solomon's eye injury from the tough boy.
*Rambunctious kids encroaching on our blanket in anticipation of candy, and out pack banding together to roar, "Step off!"

*Nephew Elias loving basically everything.

"Nephew Kazmer demonstrating perfect drum major form as each of the 10 bands performed.

*Cheese curds!

*From the school float to the community theater float, seeing friends everywhere!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Requests for Prayer

Please pray for my FIL Harlan, after tests this week showed something that may be nothing, or may be the start of a new leg in his cancer adventure:

Please pray for our daughter, as she continues to wrestle with troubling and uncomfortable upper GI symptoms; pray for her doctors and for the answers they, and we, seek.

Please pray for some dear friends of ours, for their foster daughter, and for strength and guidance into the uncertain future.

Please pray for all those in challenging and unhappy career paths, that the way may be lighted for them.

Please pray for Andrew and Maria, and Chase and Kailee, as they prepare for marriage.

Please pray for volunteers who feel stressed and stretched, overworked and under-appreciated.  May others step up to share the load.

Please pray for a coworker of Todd's and his family as they embark this week upon an exciting adoption journey.

For these, and for all the prayers of our hearts, we ask the Lord's tender care.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Dumb, Duh, Dumb, Dumb

So, I am not exactly a card-carrying MENSA member, but, in the intelligence department, I think I fare well.  Does that make it sound as though I look down my nose and folks less smarty-pantsy than me?  Well, I sure hope not, because using a term like "smarty-pantsy" probably makes me appear none-the-brighter.  Still, I can rest tonight, assured that I am smarter than at least two people I encountered today:

I told a restaurant worker taking my order that I would like my sandwich without beef (an odd request, I know, but a habit I developed in my vegetarian years). She asked, "Oh, is that one of those gluten-free things?"

A medical student reviewing my daughter's vital statistics at her annual physical exam suddenly exclaimed, "Oh, but you have a fever!  Do you feel sick?"  Flabbergasted, my child and I looked at each other and then shook our heads in her direction.  She re-read the paper and corrected herself: "Oh, wait-- that number is your weight."

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Mobile Clothesline

If I could predict just what would make a child smile, laugh or say, "cool," I am fairly certain I could turn that into a lucrative career.  But, I do not have that secret formula.  Sometimes, I just get lucky.

We were running late, as, it seems, we always are.  I had misjudged the amount of time I needed to complete a task and get to the next place, as, it seems, always happens.  The net result was: jerseys got washed after being soiled in last night's game, but were not dry when it was time to leave for tonight's game.

I told the kids to get the rest of their uniforms, cleats, gloves, etc. and get in the car.  I grabbed the wet shirts and followed.  At the car, I put the back windows down, held a jersey to each open window, and told each girl to slowly press the button to raise the window until the neck of the jersey was stuck at the top.  The shirts were hanging on the outside of the car, covering the windows to the back seat... And, we were off.

The damp shirts flapped against the car and waved in the wind.  The children squealed about how crazy we must look... what the other drivers must think... how it was great "advertising" for their team.  They marveled about how I had come up with such a good idea.  We had a good 15-minute drive to the ball field-- just as effective as an afternoon on the clothesline.  

Amanda did comment this was a wonderful, "green" solution to drying clothes, and, she said, it was free.  Elisabeth piped up, "Well, there is the cost of gas."  Thinkers, those two.  We arrived before game time, in time, for the girls to change into their clean and now-dry jerseys.  And the best part was: the kids declared their mother a hilarious genius.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013


Some days other people do things that are simply more entertaining than anything my family comes up with.  Don't believe me?  Watch "Rocking serenade" on YouTube.

Honestly, people, two of those boys are my nephews-- first- and third-grade boys, y'all!  Have you ever seen or heard anything like it?!  I mean, they should be wearing shirts while performing, even if they are rock stars, but, aside from that, not only did they sing on pitch, there was choreography!  I'm gonna go watch it again...

Monday, June 10, 2013

Some Things Cannot Be Surprises

While riding in the car with my Number One Son, Benjamin began lobbying for a brother.  This is something he does only occasionally, and without much conviction, because I believe he knows the odds are extremely slim.  This time, he did not even ask me to have the baby.  (Refer to above reason):

B: "Mom, why don't we adopt a baby brother?"
M: "That's a nice idea, Ben.  Adoption is a wonderful thing and a great gift for many people, but I am not sure that's where our family is headed at this moment."
B: "Please?"
M: "You are asking very nicely, but that is not a request I can easily fulfill.  Why don't you ask your dad if we can adopt a baby brother and see what he says?"
B: "Why don't we just surprise him?"

Sunday, June 9, 2013


I generally blog from either my iPad or my phone, because those devices are just handier.  However, this afternoon, my IT guy is working on getting photos and videos off the handy devices and onto our home server, so I have resorted to the laptop.  I quit using it a while back, not only for the handiness factor, but because said IT guy introduced a new version of Windows which I have not had the energy to learn how to navigate. 

The opening menu is an array of brightly colored boxes pointing me toward various online destinations.  Right in the middle of the screen is a weather forecast, which today taunted me with:
86 degrees
Hazy sunshine

Unfortunately, the weather at home is:
50 degrees
Depressing rain

School is out.  It's the second week in June.  We elected to not audition for community theater this summer so we could really enjoy some family time on the lake.  This bites.

Thankfully, three of the kids and I did take advantage to the few hours of halfway decent weather this weekend, to meet up with more fam at Lake Maria State Park.  We had a glorious morning!

Even though these were the "nicer" hours, weather-wise, of the weekend, it was still cool.  Don't let the crazy kids' outfits fool you-- I was in jeans and a hoodie.  I cannot tolerate any more jokes about "The Year Without a Summer."  I NEED heat and light.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Showered with Love

The girls and I attended a bridal shower for our dear friend Kailee, in whose wedding the kids will all take part come August.  This spring, they have gotten some experience with wedding and baby showers.  Mostly, the girls find these gatherings boring.  And I get it.  The conversation and the food is adult.  The games are non-existent or above their heads.  The gifts are not for them.  After attending a few showers, these are some general remarks from the girls:
"I thought there would be more to it."
"She never said 'Thank you' for all those gifts."
"How come boys never have to go to these things?"
"It would have been better if we could have played outside."
"Well, I made it as interesting as I could."

So, with that kind of track record, I was anxious about taking them; but, since it was for Kailee and they looove Kailee, the girls insisted.  They were over-the-top, off-the-wall excited and just plain nuts.  The girls made themselves the center of attention, received special party favors, and got to be models for the toilet paper wedding dress game:
And, they cracked me up with running commentary before, during and after the shower:
"Can we go swimming?" ("No"). "Oh, not until the reception, then?"
"Will there be hedgehogs there?"
"Everyone here is so pretty-- not just us."
"This present is very, very fragile." (banging it on the ground)
"It's a good thing we're the only kids here-- I think it makes us more enjoyable."
"If the shower was this fun, I can't wait for the wedding."
"I'm going to name my (potted plant) Liam."
"Kailee remembered to tell everyone 'Thank you.'"
"Kailee is my best friend."

Friday, June 7, 2013

This Is How It's Thrown

My children are talented in many ways.  (As their mother, I am required to say that).  I am so proud of all the things they do well.  Even when it comes to bad behavior, they rise to the top as the best of the worst.  This is particularly true when it comes to tantrums.  The Krinkeland kids can pitch fits with the best of them.

This obnoxious tendency is not even one I can pin on their father.  Though I am not proud to admit it, I can scream and stomp and throw things like a champ-- a really naughty champ.  Yep, the tantrums are all mine.  Only one of the four kids is a silent sulker like the man I married... And that's a dangerous thing, too, albeit a much more socially acceptable way to behave.

Today, I think Miss Madeline may have set a new record: Watch "Maddy's Fit" on YouTube

That tantrum was sparked when Madeline said she wanted to go outside to play, and I said she certainly could-- just as soon as she got dressed.  That girl raged on for more than a half-hour, I swear.  It's amazing she still has a voice, and that the only damage was the un-making of my bed.

I have gotten pretty adept at ignoring tantrums, but this one was so over-the-top I couldn't help but engage.  She followed me from room to room and level to level in the house as I went about my day.  I repeatedly pointed out how simple it would be for Madeline to get what she wanted... how her pjs could go right into the laundry room... how she did not even have to go to her bedroom to find clothes because I was in the process of folding... But Maddy was so hysterical, she could not hear me, or, at least, could not process my suggestions or act on them.

Then, I made it worse: I laughed.  I mean, 20 minutes in or so, when I have made soothing sounds to calm her and have been assaulted with "I! CAN'T! STOP!" what else could I do?  It got even worse when I couldn't stop laughing.  As I often say with motherhood, "I have to laugh; otherwise, I'd be crying."  Well, this day held plenty of both.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Pedal Power

When we began this first day of summer vacation by spending the morning in our jammies and polishing off an entire loaf of cinnamon toast, I had no idea the day would end on such a momentous note.  There were a couple wheel-y big developments, actually, causing us to wrap up the day with celebratory Oreo milkshakes.

The other day, I casually mentioned to Pam, Benjamin's adaptive Phy. Ed. teacher and all-around favorite person, that we were still having trouble getting Ben going on two wheels.  This afternoon, she came over, bearing a Balance Buddy.  (I have trouble making links when posting from my iPad, so just look it up).  Pam even took off Ben's training wheels and installed the Balance Buddy on the back of his bike! I vowed we would try it out, just as soon as the more patient parent arrived home.

In the meantime, we have also been bicycle shopping for Amanda (a topic I also discussed with Pam, who has a same-aged daughter).  The dilemma is which size to buy-- Amanda is not quite tall enough for a 26" frame, but it seems wasteful to buy a 24" bike and have her outgrow it shortly.  Coincidentally, after Pam's visit, I received an email from my mom: She had purchased for my sister a bike at a garage sale but my sister said it was too small, and might Amanda be able to use it?  Dilemma solved-- smaller, less costly bike for now, with a bigger purchase down the line.

Amanda is thrilled with her new bike.  She scrubbed it up, dubbed it "Breezy," and, after a quick gear-and-hand-brake lesson, she was off!  Her sisters followed (one on a three-wheeler) and that left just the boy.

Ben and Daddy went across the road to the vacant street that runs parallel to ours and began the arduous task.  There was just one obstacle to Ben riding a two-wheeler: FEAR.  In the matter of a half-hour or so, he finally decided to get over himself and suck it up.  And I would definitely say the Balance Buddy helped.  I would not yet call him Lightning on Tread-- starting and stopping are a little wobbly-- but Ben is riding: Watch "Benjamin rides" on YouTube!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

End-of-School Sigh

The kids had their last day of school-- a momentous day, indeed.  Benjamin "graduated" from kindergarten and read the greeting/opening prayer at the end-of-school mass.  Elisabeth keeps saying she is so sad to be leaving third grade and her beloved teacher, and I cannot believe she is going to be a fourth grader and will turn 10 years old in the fall.  Amanda served at mass today, and put her elementary years behind her; it's on to middle school now!

Sigh.  Big SIGH.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

A Bright Idea

Only at my house does my request for a light bulb to be changed turn into the following requests by the light bulb changer:
*"rubber tongs"
*a small plunger
*anything with a suction cup

An engineer might blame the 10-foot ceilings as the obstacle; I may blame the engineering mind.  At this point, all I can say is that the light bulb did get changed.  And, to our dear friends Beth and Eric, I believe we do now have a solid "Shark Tank" pitch.

Monday, June 3, 2013

A Few, Brief Messages

Lots on my mind... Plenty to say... Fun stories to share... But, it is late and I am tired, so, instead, you are getting some good images that have stayed with me.

Sunday, June 2, 2013


Busy schedules... Poor weather... Dead battery...

OK, I will stop making excuses about why it is taking so long to get our home ready for summer on the lake.  This evening, finally, the Jet Ski went in the water.

It has become an annual tradition that the men of Krinkeland launch the personal watercraft.  And they always do it with style.
It was COLD, but they took their tour around the lake before setting it on the lift.  It's always such a sweet scene, and it gets me excited about another fun summer on the lake.  

We are so lucky.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Bright and Early

One of the things I pride myself on, as Queen of Krinkeland, as that my kids do not get up so blasted early in the morning as some other kids.  I know, it's not much, but it's all I've got.  I am actually one who doesn't mind getting up early, because I enjoy the morning and I feel much more productive than I do in the afternoon, with one caveat: I enjoy getting up early as long as I've had a good night's sleep.  And, someone, anyone, please tell me how or when that happens with kids?!  So, I have not been too eager to roll out of bed with the birds the last 11 years or so.  King Krinkeland is much worse.  The biggest child in our home never goes to bed at night, and, therefore, never wants to get up in the morning.  And he is very cranky.

With the children, from early on, I "trainied" them, by putting digital clocks in their bedrooms and telling them they could not get out of bed until the first number was a 7.  If it was 6 or 5, they had to close their eyes again and go back to sleep, or at least read books quietly and not come out and make noise till 7.  If it was 8 or 9, they should get up and make me pancakes.  If it was 10 or later, they should get their rears in gear or risk turning out like their father.

This worked really well, until Madeline came along.  At four, she is perfectly able to identify her numbers.  At four, she is in complete defiance of my system.  Sister gets up whenever she wants.  Better yet, she usually wakes her brother.  I have been blasted off my pillow by the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse theme song or screeching over an iPad more times than I care to count.

This morning, I awoke early to both the sounds of the TV and bright daylight streaming through the windows, because someone must have forgotten to close the blinds last night.  It was a really, really beautiful morning.

So, I got up.  I got caught up on emails, did some scheduling things, finished writing some stuff for organizations with which I volunteer.  Then, the two little urchins found me.  They were wearing bathing suits.

I stated clearly there would be NO swimming before 7 a.m. and also NO swimming when the water is not even 60 degrees.  They told me, "We know, Mommy!  We are wearing these just in case Daddy puts in the Jet Ski today and he needs help."  Ready and rarin' to go, I tell you.  And, one fewer thing for me to navigate around and risk backing into in that driveway of ours would be a lovely thing on this beautiful Saturday, for sure.