Monday, September 30, 2013

A Pressing Lesson


I asked Todd this evening to give our oldest daughter a lesson in ironing her uniform pants.  A number of factors led to this request:
*Child insists her most comfortable khakis are the cheapies from Target that come out of the dryer looking really worse for the wear.
*Child leaves for school one hour earlier than she has in previous years.
*We have been working on adding and implementing chores that reflect personal responsibility.
*I hate to iron.

Todd has ironing skills.  Maybe it came from being largely raised in a home with three women, though his father is also quite meticulous.  I am also sure he has honed his pressing practices by doing all his own ironing over the years.  When Todd and I were first married, I did all the ironing.  We also sent dress shirts to the laundry, but that's when we both had to wear suits to work and when we had nothing better on which to spend money.  

Anyway, Mr. Particular would sometimes redo my ironing, or jusay, "That's not the way my grandma taught me to iron-- let me show you."  I'm sure I wasn't very good at ironing.  It wasn't because my mother never taught me properly; it was because I didn't care.  I still don't care about ironing.  What I did care about, as a 22-year-old bride, was being told I didn't measure up to Grandma.  So, I gave up ironing.  Over the years, Todd has become accustomed to doing his own ironing (and he's gotten really smart about buying non-iron apparel from Brooks Brothers.)  If one of the children needs something ironed, whichever of us has time does it.  If I need something ironed, I find something else to wear.

So, Todd set up the ironing board and iron, explained about the different settings and steaming with distilled water, and laid out Amanda's pants for pressing.  Elisabeth soon joined in, grabbing a pair of her own pants and claiming she, too, wanted to learn to iron.  I suspect she really just did not want to get ready for bed, but, regardless, her tactic worked.

One thing everyone should know about my husband is he is an excellent teacher.  I look forward to him teaching the children how to do other things, like drive, because he is so patient.  He explains things clearly and thoroughly.  Soon, the ironing lesson was full of catchphrases like, "Don't increase the crease" and "Slide the setting for synthetics."  He also taught the girls how to properly hang up pants after ironing them.  Well done.

Amanda remarked, "I suppose the next pair of pants I will have to iron on my own."  Daddy replied, "Well, yes, that is the whole point."  But Libby said, "I hope you don't expect me to iron on my own anytime soon."  And Daddy replied, "I agree that would be unwise."

All around, I am imPRESSed.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Baby-Saving Sign

I have just returned from the annual state Birthright conference or, "Mom is off saving babies," as my dear husband is always saying.  We turned it into a longer weekend, with Todd and the kids coming to join me at the end of the conference for an overnight adventure... And we turned it into an early birthday celebration by bringing along almost-birthday-boy Grandpa and Grandma R.  

I have photos and stories to share, but I am tired and nearly suffocating under dirty laundry, so, tonight, I am going to share just one story, and it's not written by me, but it is a good one-- and, since I met the players this weekend and heard their emotional retelling with many more details than are written here, I feel comfortable saying it's ALL TRUE.  The mother says, "It was a sign":

The alarm clock rang at 5:00 that morning, but it didn't need to.  I was already up.  I tossed and turned all night long and cried most of the night away.  Today was a very scary day for me.  I had an appointment at the Midwest Health Center for Women in Minneapolis.  To me, abortion was the only option.  We had four young children at home already.  How could we afford another?  How could I divide my love, attention, and patience yet another time?  I was already spread so thin.  It would not be fair to my other children to have this baby.  That's what my mind was saying, but my heart was telling me something completely different.

I spent the entire long drive that morning crying my eyes out and asking God for a sign that I was making the right decision.  Somewhere, along the highway between Akeley and Motley, He answered my prayers.  Just as I came around a sharp curve in the road, there it stood-- a huge billboard sign that said "Birthright" and underneath it was Birthright's toll free number.  I can still picture it in my mind.  It was white with black writing and it almost appeared to be illuminated.  I called the 800 number and they connected me to the Brainerd Birthright, where I spoke with a volunteer, Karen.  She and I talked for a long time.  We discussed my decision and how I had other options and she also let me know what Birthright could do to help me.  Although she had not convinced me to change my mind by the end of our conversation, she had planted a seed.

It took me driving all the way to the abortion clinic, registering, and even getting lab work done before that seed blossomed and I thought about what Karen had told me.  I walked out of that clinic that day with the biggest smile on my face, a huge sense of relief and not one but two babies on board!  I wanted to run up and down the streets screaming, "I saved my babies!"  I was so proud of the decision I had just made and I couldn't I wait to call Karen back and let her know she convinced me to choose life.

The girls from the Brainerd Birthright held true to their promise and were there for me through my entire pregnancy and beyond.  Karen and Dorothy have mothered me and grandmothered my children.  We have felt their love and sensed their prayers.

To all the Birthright volunteers and supporters reading this-- keep up your hard work and know you are making a difference.  Birthright is saving lives, one baby at a time, or in my case two babies at a time.  My twins are living proof of that.

As for that Birthright sign I saw along the highway, it has yet to be seen again.  I have looked for it and others have looked for it as well, with no luck.  Guess it was just made for me that day.  --Kathy

Friday, September 27, 2013

The Preschool Name Game

M: "Mom, I see baby cows in the field. Look at the baby cows! Do you see the baby cows?"
M: "I do.  Do you know what a baby cow is called?"
M: "No, what?"
M: "A calf. A baby cow is called a calf."
M: "A CAT?! No!"
M: "No, no, not a cat... a calf."
M: "Oh, a calf. I know that name-- there is a boy in my class named 'Calf.'  Isn't that silly?!"
M: "No, no, honey. The boy in your class is named 'Cash.' That's silly enough."

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Not the Grandest Idea

So, Madeline does this really funny thing where she says, "I have a GRAND idea!"  And then follows that statement with something interesting, or ridiculous, or dumb, but never grand.  It's so cute and it makes me giggle... I am sure she got it from some television show, the same one that spurred her to declare, "If I am a real princess, then I'll need an amulet."

Tonight, shortly after tucking her into bed, I heard, "Mommy!  Mommy!" with whimpering that sounded somewhat serious, even scared.  I dashed across the hall to see what was the matter.  Benjamin was there, too: "She had a 'grand idea' and she tied herself to the bucket!" Maddy's brother declared.  What?!  I flipped on the bedside lamp to find that, sure enough, Madeline had repeatedly knotted a thick shoelace around the neck and sleeve of her pajama top, and tied the other end to the handle of a decorative, galvanized pail that holds her treasures.

Maddy wasn't in any danger, she just looked really stupid.  I mean, if she had moved, the bucket would have simply toppled over.  But I was dumbfounded, and, after a really long day, I was not sure if I would laugh or cry.  Madeline sensed this and tearfully declared, "I know, I know-- I didn't fink it frew!"

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Soured

For reasons I will not go into (OK, the reasons are: 1. If you are close enough to the situation, you already know; and 2. If you are not, then you probably don't care) our family has been working on a number of dietary changes.  These changes are necessary for the health of two of our four children, but they are not BAD changes for anyone's diet... just hard... and, in Krinkeland, we do hard together, so, all aboard who's going aboard.  Mostly right now, the kids are in the process of inhaling everything they can from our well-stocked pantry, and attempting to hoard what they cannot consume, because I have issued the when-it's-gone-it's-gone warning concerning:
*boxed cereal
*individual packets of sweetened oatmeal
*Pop-Tarts
*fruit snacks
*jelly and jam
*all pre-packaged baked goods
*regular pasta
*pretty much anything processed and packaged

Now, you can find in our massive refrigerator greater quantities of:
*probiotic supplements
*kefir
*kale and spinach
*other things kids hate

Anyway, I said I wasn't getting into all that...

One of the important-- and, thankfully, sweet-- things the kids can and should consume is yogurt.  Lots and lots of yogurt.  My husband and I, along with three of our children, LOVE yogurt.  The one who does not like it is the one who needs it the most.  Fun.

Over the years and months, we have purchased and tried pretty much every brand of yogurt on the market.  For the record, in my terribly biased opinion, this one is the best: Greek Gods Honey Strawberry Yogurt.  And, even though this has a smooth texture and "no chunks" of fruit and tastes more like dessert than something remotely good for you, that stubborn girl will not eat it.  I was thinking of this kid and the yogurt dilemma while end-cap trolling at my second home, and that's when I spotted this yogurt maker

Problem solved, right?  We can do whatever it takes to find a formula for a yogurt she will like!  I was really drawn in by the "probiotic" pull on the box.  Plus, PLUS, I was attracted to the orange sticker: it was on clearance!

Now, I don't mind cooking, and I am even not so bad at making some things after a whole lot of practice, but I have no idea what goes into yogurt creation.  It's a dairy product is pretty much all I can tell you.  Before making the investment, and since the store also sells groceries, I figured I better dig out the directions and figure out what ingredients we would need before I made my purchase.

Can I get an "AMEN" for using the brain God gave me for once?

The instruction booklet was only about eight pages long, so I figured it would not be too complicated to run the yogurt maker.  But the "Shopping List" on page four stopped me in my tracks.  The main ingredient in every recipe to make my own yogurt: plain probiotic yogurt.  Yep, all I needed to do to make my own yogurt was buy this machine and buy already made yogurt.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Need a Laugh?

I was trying to decide on which of a number of very serious topics to blog tonight... Seriously, news and life is kind of heavy right now... But I got sidetracked reading my most recent blogger distraction: It Just Gets Stranger (www.itjustgetsstranger.com).  I curse the friend who turned me onto this one, and, I thank her, too, because it's my kind of humor and I really needed a laugh.  Click here for a link to one of my favorite posts.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Posted

OK, so the thing about "social media"-- Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, this very blog, and all the actual cool interactive sites I know nothing about-- I mean, the reason all these things exist is because people want to feel connected, want to (over-)share and because everyone seems to think their day-to-day lives are a heck of a lot more interesting than they really are.  Isn't that right?

I have to admit, however, that sometimes I get sucked in.  OK, OFTEN I get sucked in.  I read some inane post that someone else wrote and then I read all the related comments.  I notice a name and think, "I didn't know that person knew this other person.  Let me figure out how they are both linked to me."  Or, I spy the name of a person I haven't thought of in years and go searching for a photo to see whether that person is now fatter than I am.

I figure out who I need to pray for this way.  I make social plans this way.  I stay caught up on the gossip this way.

But sometimes, sometimes, I just read and let myself be entertained.  I mean, some of my friends and relatives are as funny as I am.  Sometimes, they try too hard... but, other times, they really crack me up.  Then, there is the occasion when someone is not trying too hard to be funny, but rather is just being him-/herself, and that can be most humorous of all.  This actual, serious post from one of my Facebook "friends" this week takes the cake:

How is a Thursday evening, maybe just before dusk- so 6:30 7 ish until after dark at 8p to gather and walk my labyrinth? fire and drumming option after that? with or without wine and stuff. that part is extra, but fun. and if you want to take home acorns, that can happily be arranged as well. bring rocks if able, the size of grapefruit or softballs are best. plain rocks.

As already stated, I am a real-life acquaintance of the person who wrote this, and she is dead serious.  She is a lovely woman doing positive things in the world... she just walks a road less traveled.  I find myself coming back again and again to this post.  It amuses me.  And, since this is kind of an open invitation, and I am thinking about attending the event, expanding my horizons a little.

Never mind the drumming and the wine (Krinkeland staples) but what about the big rocks?  And the take-home acorns?  I have a burning desire to know.

For those who may be wondering, the post was not written by my mom.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Priestly PJs

Driving through town with my four-year-old this morning, I smiled when she exclaimed, "Hey, I can see our church from here!  There's our church!"  It is a nice thing that the steeple stands well above the tree line, and can be seen from quite a distance.  Madeline was on a holy roll: "Mom, does Father H. live at the church?"  I explained that while he is at the church pretty much every day, he actually lives in a house right next door to the church, which is convenient.  I added a cool fact I was sure Maddy did not know: There is actually a tunnel that connects the church and the priest's house.  "Oh, so he has to crawl back and forth to church?"  That gave me the giggles as I envisioned a belly crawl through sewer pipe, but I straightened up enough to say, no, it was a big enough passageway for walking upright.  

Maddy was silent for a couple beats, taking it in.

"Mom, what kind of pajamas does Father H. wear?"  I wasn't sure I had correctly heard the preschool-speech.  "What?"  "I mean, what do you think his pajamas look like?"  I assured Madeline I had no idea what kind of sleepwear the pastor favored, but, in an effort to foster that familiar relationship, I suggested she ask him the next time she sees him.  "No, Mom, I could never do that-- he's too busy.  I just want to know: I mean, do you think his jammies have stripes... or FLAMES?!"

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

98 Years Young

The woman at the end of this photo is the birthday girl:


She is my grandma, my mom's mom, celebrating 98 years on the planet today.  (Sorry, for the blurriness, but I guess that's what you can expect when you ask a server to take a quick picture with a phone.)  As has been previously explained, we call my grandma "Gua," a nickname dubbed decades ago by a cousin.  In recent years, Gua has demanded to be called "Busha" (pretty sure that's her phonetic version) which she claims is the Polish word for Grandma.  Google says otherwise and suggests: babcia, babunia, baba, babka... But we all learned long ago it does no good to argue with the old broad.

Gua is currently in our neck of the woods on a little visit.  She regularly resides in the southern part of the state, in the same small town where she has lived for years, independently in her own apartment.  Of course, the reason why she can live "independently" is because she has my aunt, my cousins and their families to constantly check on her, help her, drive her and care for her.  That is a blessing beyond measure, for her and for us.  

Yet, though each year I figure it can no longer be possible, each year the matriarch becomes more stubborn, more outspoken.  My mom brought her to visit at my kids' school this morning.  That also gave her to meet some of the school staff and parent volunteers who are my friends.  She told them all about going to the movies, going fishing, going out for coffee and donuts (but none is as good as the Glazer at Kwik Trip, which is sometimes on special at 3/$1.00!)  Everyone just smiled, eyes wide and heads shaking.  Later, when we went to lunch, we went buffet-style, because Gua loves it.  Still, couod I help her into the car?  No.  Could I get her some coffee?  Noo.  Could I carry her plate?  Nooo.  She finally told me, "Stop following me around!"

I can't help it.  Part of me just wants to be a courteous granddaughter.  Part of me wants to study the marvel of long-lived quirkiness.  Then again, everyone at the table has a touch of it:



Happy, happy birthday, Gua!  We all have you to thank for our lives.  And we are dazzled by yours.  Jesus loves you, and I do, too.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Advice to Live By

I quote Carl Jung to my family all the time:

Words to live by.

It's the whole actions-speak-louder-than-words thing.  And I was reminded of this way of living again today when I saw this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7s22HX18wDY&sns=em. Just click on the link (or cut and paste) and watch it.  Then, do it.


Sunday, September 15, 2013

Happy Birthday, Honey!

This man is 41 years old today.  As I sat across the lunch table from him, I thought, "41-- not only weird, but seemingly impossible... since I am only 26."  It is so cliche, but so true: I don't know where the time goes.  Even though not every day is sheer perfection, we try to find perfect moments in each day.  And even though there are no perfect people, I cannot imagine a more perfect one for me.  

Happy, happier, happiest birthday, Todd!  I love you.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Apple Surprise

Sometimes-- all the time-- unexpected things happen.  For example, one, puny apple tree in our yard this year produced at least 75, if not 100, decent apples... And we actually got around to picking them before the birds and the bugs did.  

As another example of one of those unexpected events, my husband called at 4:15 to say he would not be home for supper.  That supper was already cooking, but, the absence of a family dinner on the horizon (and the knowledge that the roast could be consumed at any time,) combined with the cool, fall breeze, left the kids and I feeling kind of itchy to do something.  So, we decided to use the aforementioned apples to make apple crisp.  But, when you're already peeling and slicing, why stop at one crisp?


We made a big oven-ful of pans of apple crisp.  "Are you going to freeze them?" my MIL asked.  No, we were going to deliver them.  Hot out of the oven, we loaded the car during most families' supper time, so we could catch our friends in time for dessert.  Then, we drove around town making our stops-- one pan to a grandma who is staying with her grandkids this week... another to a house where there's been a sick kid... another to a family who just lost someone they love... and one for some friends who always do thoughtful things for us.

Amanda and Elisabeth helped make the apple crisp, kind of... though they never tired of telling me how asinine they thought the pastry blender was, and suggesting absurd alternatives for cutting in butter.  Then, they were first in line on the delivery route, too.  I just drove the getaway car; they loved going up to the doors to hand over the warm pans of crisp.  (The two little ones took turns beating on each other in the back seat-- the one totally EXPECTED thing that happened this evening.)  We would tell the recipients fun things like, "We were just thinking about how much we like you" or "God told us to bake you an apple crisp."  The girls were smiling and giggling, saying, "This is fun!  When can we do it again?"

Someone was going to get apple crisp but was not home and missed out.  We couldn't just leave it on the front stoop for the neighborhood dogs to eat.  So, we took that pan home and ate it ourselves!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Holey, Holey

When Elisabeth was four years old, she made a friend in preschool, and this girl was living a life about which Libby could only dream: no siblings, a mom who carefully styled her hair each morning, polka dots painted on her bedroom walls, permission to consume soda pop, tulle skirts and sequined shoes, and, most of all, pierced ears.  She also happened to be a very sweet girl, and a young friendship blossomed and then wilted, as each went on to a different elementary school.  But, our Libby's desire for pierced ears did not die.  That girl lobbied for holes in her head, and lobbied hard, at least once a month for years.  

Finally, when Elisabeth was exactly nine-and-a-half, we consented... for her older sister to have her ears pierced.  Yes, you may remember that was Amanda's gift for her eleventh birthday.  I know Libby has not forgotten, nor has she let us forget that she is the one who really wants pierced ears; she is the one who is so into fashion and jewelry; she is the careful, conscientious one who is extremely capable of ear care; she is the one who ASKED FIRST.

So, we did not make our sparkly girl wait any longer.  Libby's surprise gift for her tenth birthday was ear piercing.  I have not seen a grin this big in a long, long time.


See the live action here: http://youtu.be/2fmFfR4Ek1E

Oh, yeah, there was a crowd... Because that's how we roll here in Krinkeland.  We're like the 21 Musketeers.


The girl is loved.  Bedazzled, and loved.





Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Golden Birthday

Today is my Golden Child's golden birthday: Elisabeth Connie is 10.


Since she had already celebrated with friends, was still getting into the swing of the school schedule, had piano lessons, and was not feeling the greatest, it was a pretty low-key celebration, but Libby was very thankful for the special touches in her day: a lunch visit from Grandpa at school, an extra gift from Auntie at her piano lesson, the most adorable birthday video from her little cousin Lucia, and giant caramel apples for a treat.


You will be hearing more about Libby's birthday gift in tomorrow's post.  For tonight, Elisabeth is our gift.  Being her mom is not easy, but, then again, when have I ever gone the easy route?  Being Elisabeth's mom is a gift, an ongoing party that opens to new surprises every day.  Double-digits will surely bring double the trouble, and make me doubly blessed.  I adore this precious girl, and I am so lucky to be her mom.

Happy, happy 10th birthday, Elisabeth!  Mommy loves you, and Jesus does, too.

Monday, September 9, 2013

More Preschool Chatter

"Mom, I'm not gonna be shy today... I'm just gonna go in there and git to playin'!"

On a day that felt heavy, with heat and humidity and many emotions, my Madeline lightened the mood with more of her long-running commentary on preschool:

"There is a bear in our room-- panda bear, actually-- and we each get to take a turn bringing it home.  We have to take it on vacation and bring it back next week.  The bear's name is 'Pancake'-- isn't that crazy?!  The teachers picked the name.  I would have picked 'Waffles.'"

"Maya wouldn't let me play in the kitchen today.  I asked if she would be my friend, but she said, 'No!'  Then, I asked Ava to be my friend, but Maya said, 'No!'"

"We went to the gym today, and we had to hold onto this rope when we walked in the hall.  We had to hold onto the rings.  We were supposed to share, but three kids had their own rings.  One boy would not let anybody share his ring.  No one wanted to share my ring, so I got my own, too."

"We played with balls in the gym.  We could not take them outside because they are inside balls.  Two of the balls are flat, a red one and a green one.  They don't have any air in them, so they can't even bounce, but some of the kids tried to play with them, anyway!"

"All we had for snack today was stupid carrots.  I ate ONE.  And more white milk!  When are we gonna get chocolate milk?!"

Saturday, September 7, 2013

In the Heat of the Moment

Our Saturday started out like this:


...at the Missing GRACE Foundation's Hope & Hearts Run (and Walk) to commemorate my nephew Michael, who skipped out on this crazy bunch and took the fast track to heaven...



Most of us help up pretty well in the heat and humidity, and all our Kids' Fun Dashers even came in first place!  (Their medals said they are all "WINNERS!")  It was a beautiful and sad and important event, a worthwhile way to spend a morning, for sure.  

Things took a different kind of turn by lunchtime, however, when it became apparent at least one member of Team Michael probably should not have run the entire 5K with her cousin... Or at least her mother should have done a better job of monitoring her fluids... And a pre-birthday lunch looked more like this:


When a girl does not feel well enough to look at her birthday gifts, well, that's one big signal, right there.  Daddy packed up our Elisabeth to take her home, but they ended up taking a detour to the emergency room:


This is our girl after three hours and two full bags of fluids, and she looks so incredible, compared to the previous hours, when I was too busy hovering, pestering the nurses, challenging the doctor and loving her up to take photos.  She was not only hot/cold, flushed, vomiting, curled up in the fetal position, and whimpering that her whole body hurt, but she was delirious, and I was pretty scared when my baby squeezed my hand and pleaded, "I want my mommy!"

Shortly after I took this photo, she was discharged and charged with staying cool and drinking more fluids.  She did well for an hour or so and then seemed to slide again.  After drinks of water and cool cloths to help with the low-grade fever, the princess is now sleeping.  Please pray for this one; combined with her other recent health concerns, it feels like a lot.

Maybe you should pray for this one, too:


She avoided most of this drama by hopping onto a last-minute invitation from a friend and her dad to take in the Taylor Swift concert.  Some girls have all the luck!






Friday, September 6, 2013

Preschool Report

One of the best things about having Madeline in preschool is the car-ride conversations the two of us share on the way to and from school.  I admit, I have been drilling her these first couple days, especially after the teachers told another mom her reluctant four-year-old was "just fine" as long as they kept her busy during that first class, but word on the playground is you could hear that girl, all the way down the preschool hallway, screaming out her guts, for pretty much the entire class time.  Anyway, we, too, got the "just fine" report, and, though I expected Maddy to indeed be "just fine," it doesn't hurt to ask.  So, Madeline has been delivering extensive debriefings from the backseat, some plausible and some decidedly not.  A few of her statements even relate to school:

"I didn't make any new friends.  I tried to be friends with this one girl but then her best friend-- that is not me-- took her away from me.  And all the boys are MEAN.  I was trying to make a tower with blocks and those boys knocked it down!"

"Snack is AWFUL.  We had these lemon goldfish crackers, and I do not like that taste of lemon.  Plus, all they have there is white milk-- TERRIBLE!"

"Two of the kids on my class are going to be gone on Friday-- they need a vacation."

"I was pretending I had a really bad dream, but it was a long time ago, when I was 14 year olds."

"Today, we had the most fun going to that room where Jesus is!  We had cards with pictures on and we could not look at each other's or even ourselves, because it was a secret.  Then, we had to do what was on the card.  Mine was lay down.  Some of the kids had a really hard one: hit theirselfs in the face!"

"We went outside today, and I went behind this girl and said, "Boo!" which was scary, but it's OK, because we were all playing pirates."

"One time I saw a dinosaur.  Well, it wasn't a real dinosaur-- it was a toy.  It was at that 'skeleton zoo.'"  (I finally figured out she meant the science museum.)

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Contemplation

It's that odd time of year when we are struggling to get back into the school routine, while still feeling the pull of the lake and all the fun it holds.  While the air is warm and everything is green (or would be if we ever got some rain,) there is still an undeniable feeling of fall.  It makes me contemplative.  This may also be because there is so much weighing on my heart, so many reasons to seek peace in the Lord. Please pray with me:

*for Kristi and Josh and family, upon the death of Kristi's mother Kathy
*for Ali and Jake and family, upon the death of Jake's mother Sandy
*for Michael's family and all who have experienced infant loss, as they prepare for Saturday's memorial walk
*for baby Benedict, who underwent surgery today
*for Bianca and her child, and for all those contemplating abortion
*for my FIL, Teri, Wade, Mrs. F., and all those receiving cancer treatment
*for solutions to medical puzzles involving Benjamin and Elisabeth
*for peace in Syria
*for Maria in her new vocation
*for career uncertainty
*for Madeline and Amanda and all those facing new school situations
*for more volunteers to be called to Saints on Stage
*with thanksgiving for Deb on her birthday


*with thanksgiving for the certainty that Thy will is always done.


Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Another Big, Big Day

Today was just that-- a really big day.  There is so much I could write, from a number of angles, but I am still processing, so we will stick with the headlines for now.

My baby got a life of her own, when she let go of Daddy's hand and walked right into the preschool room.



Madeline was all smiles at pick-up, with just enough enthusiasm to let me know she missed me, but could hardly wait the two days to return to class.

While Little Sister slept off the morning's excitement, I took the boy for an endocrinology follow-up.  No headline here...  We need to focus on weight gain as a means for growth for Ben.  Ben, it turns out, can entertain himself through even the longest and most boring doctor-mommy discussions with only paper clips and a blood pressure cuff.

Then, the evening brought me to a place I could never have envisioned spending time: a gymnastics gym.


Madeline had her first preschool class, where she mostly danced around and spotted the other kids on their forward rolls...


... and Benjamin began an all-boy class called Tramp & Tumble.  (Of course, the boys' class is called "Tramp & Tumble"-- clearly setting them up for future prowess.)

I learned to tolerate the smell of feet... And strangers who strike up conversation while I am reading a book.

Still, it was a good day.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

In the Middle of Firsts

It's another First Day of School for the record books.  Everyone was excited to go-- Benjamin to first grade, Elisabeth to fourth grade and Amanda to sixth grade-- so that is a good thing.  My MIL reminded us this morning that we always take first day photos by the maple tree in the front yard; seems it was just a seedling when our first school girl was just a seedling... Now, everyone and everything has grown so!




Amanda, in particular was so excited about the start of school.  Though she has stayed at the same small, parochial school, as a sixth grader, she is now officially in middle school, and that is a BIG deal-- different schedule, different teachers, different uniforms.  Amanda is thrilled to be a "big fish" in her "little pond" and I heard her making good-hearted jabs along those lines at her siblings.

I have been anticipating the schedule change because it brings Amanda home one hour earlier than Elisabeth and Benjamin.  At that time, Madeline is still typically napping, so, I thought, I will get an hour alone with my first-born.  How wonderful!  Let's start today!

I was watching the clock and waiting for Amanda's school bus to arrive kid-afternoon.  I would go out to meet her; she would be bubbling over with first-day excitement; we would come in and sit down for a snack; she would tell me everything; I would help with her homework.  As I heard the bus pull up, before I could even open the front door, Amanda burst through-- and she wasn't along.  "Hi, Mom!  The bus driver forgot to stop at Mya's house, so I said she could just get off here.  We'll be in my room."  And they were gone.

Eventually, the others returned home and seemed only slightly more interested in talking to me and having me around.  I bribed them with CherryBerry to spend time with me.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Fair Ending to Summer

Our plan was to hang out at home this final day before school begins, cleaning up our messes and going on a leisurely boat ride, BUT... The day dawned chilly and gray... And my sister texted that she was giving away some free tickets... And the kids had been begging for one last summer adventure... So, what else could we do but pack up and head to the Minnesota State Fair?

My husband loves the fair, and so do most of the kids.  I profess to hate it, which I do, for many reasons and in many ways, as I was reminded when the stench and the grit first hit me as I stepped through the entrance gate.  However, attending the Great Minnesota Get-Together also grips me like an unavoidable obligation-- I just wouldn't be a Minnesotan and it just wouldn't be the end of summer if we did not go.

I confess, it was my idea.

We tromped through the Miracle of Birth Center and some of the animal barns in Grandpa R.'s honor.  We also saw creatures at the DNR building and fish pond.  The kids were all about the "free stuff" which they gathered in bags and more bags from the Health Fair, the Education Building and Machinery Hill.  Some of us rode the Skyride, while others took in the beautiful flower displays in the Agriculture Building.  Everyone got their favorite food picks:

Dad: root beer float

Mom: key lime pie on a stick

Amanda: cheese curds

Elisabeth: caramel apple

Benjamin: mini donuts

Madeline: pronto pup, then another pronto pup

I also confess that despite all that grease and sugar, and the cool, somewhat damp weather juxtaposed with the stifling last-day crowds, it was a pretty awesome day.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Last Night of "Vacation"

I reminded the children that tonight was their last night of summer vacation-- tomorrow is a SCHOOL NIGHT-- so they better live it up while they are able.  That led one child to declare, "I am just so excited about school!  I don't know how I'm ever going to sleep!"  And another one pronounced, "In ONE MORE DAY I am going to SCHOOL!"  The other two just rolled their eyes, but I could feel them smiling on the inside.

Mother Nature thwarted our plans for a day of swimming, boating, tubing and bonfire fun; instead, she sent gray clouds, a chilly wind, and one persistent mosquito who bit me on the same elbow at least three times (and that was inside the house.)  It's just as well, though, that we stay inside, as I can hear a neighbor shooting something, somewhere.  The children did make it out earlier in the day for bike rides and Flying Turtle races.  Aah, summer is fleeting.

We had Sunday dinner here with grandparents, auntie, uncle and cousins.  Lovebug Oliver starts kindergarten on Tuesday; I'm as proud of these kiddos as I am of my own.  Madeline invited pretty much everyone present to come to preschool on her first day.  Thankfully, she has no sense of time and told everyone 4:00... The building should be long-empty by then.  Otherwise, that kind of crowd would be really embarrassing-- for her mother.

On with the movie watching, magic trick performing, and Barbie playing, because tomorrow is a SCHOOL NIGHT!  Oh, did I already mention that?