Thursday, May 29, 2014

A Son, a Sunny Day, a Sunfish, and a Bacon Donut

A group of friends and I have held this massive garage sale for the past two days. It was a ton of work for very little profit... but we also got a bunch of stuff shipped off to charity, after enjoying a couple of fun days in the sun with each other.  Now, I am tired.  But I cannot go to bed without posting these cute photos of a boy, his fish, and his maple bacon donut:

This son is so blessed.  Many people in his life love him, cheer him and help him to succeed.  Apart from his father and me, one of Benjamin's greatest and most beloved cheerleaders is the photographer and planner of this morning's fishing-and-donuts excursion, adaptive physical education teacher Pam. Ben chose fishing for his end-of-the-year fun time; Pam brought the leeches and the long johns. They are one awesome combination.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Graduation Day

Our youngest child "graduated" from preschool this morning. I am going to spare us all the rant on how  graduating from preschool is not a real thing and should actually not be acknowledged because these fake accomplishments feed the undercurrent of self-aggrandizement that buoys our youngsters from one fabricated achievement to the next.  She is our baby and we love her, and, right or wrong, we do celebrate every successful zipper job and bemoan every hangnail.  She is our baby.

My BIL took this gorgeous snapshot of Madeline just the other day, at another occasion for pretend pomp and circumstance, my nephew Oliver's kindergarten "graduation."  We'll call this photo Maddy's preschool graduation portrait, and use it in place of any I took today because, in most of those, she is flashing her panties.

This morning's program and little scholar send-off was a bit emotional for me.  That is partly because they are all so stinkin' cute.

It's also because I like being Mommy of Little Ones. That's how I have identified myself for the past dozen years. Mommy of School-Aged Children feels foreign and treacherous. I seek the grace to embrace the next stage and the joys that will undoubtedly accompany it. Meanwhile, I will try to savor the small moments with my still somewhat small people now.

Maybe it's no coincidence that famed author and modern philosopher Maya Angelou died today.  She has graced Americans with many memorable quotes. This one seems to fit my mood tonight:

"My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style."  - Maya Angelou via Facebook 2011

Saturday, May 24, 2014

They're Gonna Miss Me When I'm Gone

The two little kids are supposed to be getting ready for bed.  They aren't, of course, and I am growing weary of hounding them.  After multiple attempts, I finally sat down in a dark corner to wait them out. Just moments later,  Madeline came looking for me, sort of.

M: "Mom? Mom? MOM?!"
M: "Ben, where is Mom?"
(No reply.)
M: "Mom?  MOM?!"
M: "Ben, Mom is dead.  I called and called but she did not answer.  We are on our own now."
(Ben still does not reply. Continues playing Hay Day on the iPad.)
M: "Well, we might as well go to bed now. But first, you better wipe up that bath water on the floor, because I could really hurt myself."
(Ben sighs.)
M: "I'm kinda sad Mom is gone. I'm gonna miss her."

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

True Love Walks the Plank

"Mom, Johnathan is my boyfriend for real! He stood up in class today and told everyone that I am his girlfriend and he wants to get married!"
"So, what did you say?"
"Uuuhhh, I said YES because I LOVE HIM!"
"Oh. What did the teacher say?"
"She said, 'You can't get married because we're all being pirates right now.'"

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Amazing Godson Makes First Communion

This boy received First Eucharist today, as witnessed by the World's Most Amazing Godparents.  Congratulations, Solomon Terrell, child of God and one really cool kid.  We feel blessed to have spent this day with you.  God has great things in store for Solomon! 

Friday, May 16, 2014

Farm Girl for the Afternoon

I accompanied Baby Girl, 49 other preschoolers, 49 other parents, and four teachers on a field trip today to the Oliver Kelley Farm.

 It was a fun and educational experience, but, what I learned more than anything is why my daughter will never become a farmer.

First of all, Madeline's fashion sense doesn't really fit with farm life.

Then, she was nearly useless in the kitchen. Uninterested in building the fire for the cook stove, kneading or rolling cracker dough, Maddy was content to remain at the dried-bean sorting station.

She didn't mind petting the hen, but she didn't get nearly as excited as her classmates when it surprisingly laid an egg.

The opportunity to plant in the fields was completely lost on Madeline.  She declared to the bulbs in her hand that she "never did like onions, anyway," and she had a total hissy fit about dirt getting caught under her fingernails.

She conspired with Johnathan to ignore Farmer Tom's instructions and sneak in a few pats on Clover the Cow's belly.

Madeline's favorite part of the field trip, by far, was the bus ride.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Spell It Out

I went to visit someone in the hospital, and I spent a lot of time studying this poster hung on the wall of the room.  I just couldn't get over the title of the group, particularly once I boiled it down to its acronym.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Found Letters

The kids and I are slowly but surely cleaning out the basement.  Well, I am cleaning out the basement... along with some sporadic help from Elisabeth... while one kid watches television and two others drag stuff out of boxes and deposit it all over the house.  It's a slow process.

Our basement is unfinished and has been a huge storage mess since we moved into this house seven years ago.  I would like that to change, at some point, but we cannot even start until we clear out the crap.  Much of it is packed boxes that were moved into the basement when the home was built.  If we haven't needed it in seven years, WE DO NOT NEED IT.  

It's a lot of crap.  But I cannot just throw out all the boxes without looking because there could, could be some good stuff, too.  Some of the stuff I come across makes me think of my mother, and how I suspect the happiest day of her life was not her wedding day, or my birth, or either of my siblings' births or graduations or weddings, but, rather, it was the day Todd and I moved into our first home, so she could start shipping over all the crap I had accumulated and then abandoned at her house.

Today, the kids found our high school letter jackets.

It's kind of funny, actually, because at a recent book club gathering, a friend with a high-school-aged daughter asked about the letter jacket tradition, one with which she was unfamiliar.  Other mothers with older kids gave a wide range of opinions, which kind of surprised me.  Apparently, today, earning, getting, and wearing a letter jacket is not all it was cracked up to be back when Todd and I pedaled our Fred Flinstone cars to school, went home only to light candles and warn others the British were coming, and carried our lunches in towel-covered milk pails.

I thought it was pretty cool to have a letter jacket, even mine, the silly girl style, which was not nearly as cool as the boy jacket.  (Now, there's pretty much only one.)  No matter.  I got plenty of experience wearing the cooler model on loan from the other gender.  

Todd and I really did not know one another when we were students, though we attended the same high school, with him graduating just ahead of me.  Our girls noted that my jacket had more patches, definitely more bars, but Todd assured them in the most gentlemanly manner that "Mom mostly got letters for nerdy book sports-- not actually 'real' letters, at all." I mercifully permitted him the fantasy that he had been the "jock" he proclaimed to have been.

Then, one of the girls noticed there was some stuff in the pocket of my jacket:

Yes, that's crumpled Kleenex, a long-expired Benadryl, the wrapper from Extra chewing gum, my swimming letter pin without its back, a ticket stub from the boys' state high school basketball tournament after I graduated (guessing I went to watch my brother play and wore the hometown colors) and part of a bowling scorecard with my sister's name at the top (no guess.)  Oh, and the two-inch pencil... The girls were dazzled by this pencil stub. I am thinking they were expecting a quill, maybe?

I put the stuff back in the pocket.  Todd advised the children to leave the "ancient artifacts" alone.  I put the jackets over the chair in our bedroom, until I figure out where to store them next.  Maybe I'll wear mine tomorrow.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Charity and Enmity

Couldn't sleep, so I am up early with my morning prayers.  I am still thinking on the meaning behind the message, but these are nagging at me from my devotional:

"Charity includes everything. With fresh needs it invents new means. "
-- St. Eugene de Mazenod

"The Christians are right: it is Pride which has been the chief cause of misery in every nation and every family since the world began. Other vices may sometimes bring people together: you may find good fellowship and jokes and friendliness among drunken people or unchaste people. But pride always means enmity- it is enmity. And not only enmity between man and man, but enmity to God."
-- C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
a feeling or condition of hostility; hatred; ill will; animosity; antagonism.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Ah, Motherhood

Happy Mother's Day to my mother, my grandmother, my MIL, my other MIL, my sister, my SIL and every amazing mom I know (which is every last one of you!) As for me and my family, I couldn't have asked for a nicer day... And, though I do not have a favorite child, I did get a favorite card:

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Contraband Camp Shot

All I can say is: Thank heaven for parent volunteers who do not heed the no-electronics policy!  I can see with my own eyes that, apart from consuming worms, my baby is doing just fine at camp.

It's a good thing, too... Severe weather rolling across this state could make a mama wear out her rosary beads.  It's also nice to see she's getting some wear out of that stylish, if pricey, new raincoat.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Things I Don't Get

*Why the kidnapped girls in Nigeria are not getting more press coverage and, as an expected result, more action

*How business owners operate with that offensive philosophy of, "I am just going to do the work and charge you because you didn't formally contact me and tell me not to do it."

*Where the blue streaks are coming from in my washing machine

*Why some people can roll their Rs and some people can make tongue tacos, but it seems few can do both

*How prom dresses can keep getting sexier, more revealing, less appealing year after year

*Why someone cannot invent a drink box that can be opened and operated by a young drinker

*How to actually win at Rock, Paper, Scissors, even after reading this article:
(Sorry about the blog title-- I didn't create it.)

Monday, May 5, 2014

Happy Camper

Well, our big girl is off on a five-day field trip with her sixth-grade class to Camp Foley Environmental Center in Pine River, MN.  As evidenced in the photo below, Amanda was very weepy and distraught about leaving:

I have no trouble confessing it was hard for me and for Daddy to pack her up and send her off.  I mean, we will appreciate the quiet and the lack of eye-rolling, but we will miss our girl.  She brings sunshine to any day.  I was a bit surprised, however, by Amanda's siblings.  All three of the younger-- Elisabeth, in particular-- are absolutely distraught over the big sister's departure.  They all insisted on getting dressed and getting in the car an hour before their school time to drop off Amanda for her trip.  It was so sweet.

No tears were shed, but it was a heartfelt goodbye.  And I will be counting down the hours.  I struggle to send off Amanda with Grandma and Grandpa... Now, this time, it was the phy. ed. teacher.

Everyone in Krinkeland, again, particularly Amanda's roommate, had a tough time settling down at bedtime.   I hope things are going smoothly for my baby at sleep-away camp.  

Prayers and good wishes for a week full of bonding, learning, and growing.