Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Oral Outing

Well, it turned out the antibiotic did not take care of the infection in Benjamin's tooth. After a few good weeks, a couple of days ago he again began complaining his jaw hurt. I called the dentist, and he sent Ben straight to the oral surgeon's office.

Ben was a little clingy and a little gaggy through the check-in, consultation and x-rays, and I got really anxious about how things were going to go. But the surgeon and his staff were wonderful with Ben, and I was able to slip out with the promise of nitrous oxide (laughing gas.) A half-hour later, we were on our way home. 

He is still a little swollen and sore, taking pain meds and eating soft foods tonight, but I expect a quick recovery. This poor kid and his mouth!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

When Others Express My Thoughts

This is a bald eagle sitting on its eggs on a nest in Pennsylvania. The eagle didn't budge, obviously, even through a snowstorm. I like to think of myself as that kind of parent.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Why Is This a Debate?

HOW and WHY has this become a debate in our society, much less within a parochial high school?

I just, I just... I mean, read what some of the parents/critics/detractors have said:

Where does one find the viewpoint, fuel and purpose to argue that s/he supports a daughter in dressing inappropriately? Where have the standards gone, or what is the point of creating them if people are going to buck them, anyway? Above all, where is the BENEFIT in permitting, even encouraging, girls (or boys, or boys) to dress immodestly? WHO WINS FROM THAT?

I'm sorry, but this kind of news item sends me into panic mode. Earlier this week, I was lambasted on Facebook for supporting a mommy-writer's blog post that criticized tween girls' clothing store Justice. Ugh. I already feel as though I am fighting a losing battle, and we are a long way off from the prom in Krinkeland. What, with their love of Harry Potter and cape-wearing, maybe this will be a non-existent issue. I pray.

Monday, March 23, 2015

If It's Not Something, It's Something Else

Here's a good story we may laugh about some day:

It all began when the lights went out. Literally, in Sunday mass yesterday morning, as Father was saying the communion rite, the power went out. It was kind of weird and knocked everyone off-kilter for a minute, but things continued, without electricity. A couple minutes later, a nurse-friend who is also a Eucharistic minister began gesturing wildly to me from the door of the sacristy. I began going through my mental Rolodex of wiring expertise and left my pew to walk her way. But she wasn't summoning me for my power skills at all. When I entered the sacristy, I saw two other nurse-friends bent over a child laid out on the floor.

In the darkness, we had not even noticed, but our Amanda, who had been at the altar serving mass, had passed out. Though this has never happened before, Amanda sensed something was wrong and thought she was going to be sick, so she tried to leave the front of church. She collapsed at the doorway to the sacristy, but our priest had followed her and kind of caught her as she dropped and lowered her to the floor before leaving her with the nurse and returning to continue mass. 

Amanda was very pale and clammy, said she felt hot, and complained of black spots, headache and chest tightness before she fainted. We gave her time to recover and then took her home. She seemed OK throughout the day, but not great. Amanda, Elisabeth and I had tentative plans to attend a Maroon 5 concert tonight, but I told Amanda I thought a crowded, noisy, hot arena where she would have to stand all night and stay up late would be a bad idea. She was disappointed but halfheartedly agreed.

She said she was feeling better this morning, so I took her to school and she was fine all day. After school, I had scheduled an appointment with our family doctor, just to make sure Amanda checked out all right. The doctor examined her and said she was not at all concerned about the fainting spell. She saw no cardiac indications or anything else, and said it was a classic example of lack of blood flow due to the kneeling-standing routine for which we Catholics are so famous, combined with hot lights and the excitement of the power outage, etc. The doc did warn Amanda may be more prone to fainting in the future, and said the next time Amanda begins to "feel weird" she should immediately sit down and put her head down or lie flat on the floor. I sense a lot of floor time in her future.

While we were in clinic, Amanda (my favorite, young hypochondriac) told the doctor she had some other things to ask her about:
"My dad said this mole on my neck looks weird."
"I see nothing weird about it. Has it been there a long time? It's just a part of who you are."

"I have this really rough skin on my arms and face."
"Yes, you have keratosis pilaris. You know this. If you would remember to use the special lotion morning and night, your skin condition would improve."

"I get nosebleeds-- sometimes when I'm working out and sometimes when I'm sleeping. They're always from this one nostril and they stop pretty quickly, but they're annoying and gross."
"I suspect you have a blood vessel that's very close to the surface of your skin. Put a humidifier in your room at night, and put Vaseline in that nostril. That should take care of it. If not, we can cauterize that vessel."

"And the side of my right foot hurts, here, where I have a little lump. I told my mom and dad but they just rubbed it and said I was fine. It started hurting when I was playing in the state basketball tournament about two weeks ago and it really hurt when I was dancing in the musical last weekend, and now it hurts when you push on it!"
"Hmmm, that is right where a fifth metatarsal break occurs. Maybe we should take an x-ray just to check..."

The doctor said she would call me after the x-ray was read, and I drove home thinking maybe we would go to the concert, after all. Then, the doctor called: Amanda's foot is broken! There was some dispute between those who first looked at the images over whether this was a standard fifth metarsal break (coincidentally, something Todd experienced a couple years ago) or a more involved Jones fracture. She recommended next-day follow-up with an orthopedist. I called Todd who was immediately making connections with his orthopod buddies, and they recommended we go to a speciality walk/limp/roll-in center (think Urgent Care for injuries.)

So, off we went. Concert plans definitely canceled. Then, Amanda literally danced into the clinic and we looked like the World's Stupidest Parents, but that's not the first time that has happened, nor will it be the last. The on-call orthopedist there ordered more x-rays and then reviewed them with Todd, agreeing the injury was difficult to categorize. With the information Amanda provided, he suspected she had rolled her ankle in a basketball game, which probably hurt but not enough to take her down at the time. It may be a fracture of that bone on the side of her foot, or it may be a separation of the growth plate there; either would be considered a "broken foot," but the latter would heal much more quickly.

No full pressure, running, jumping, etc. for the next two weeks, and then we will reassess. In the meantime, Amanda gets a lovely boot. I predict the novelty wears off by end of day tomorrow. Thanks, as always, for your prayers and shared chuckles over this latest bump in the road. Amanda appears to be handling things in style and, yes, in a cape. Unfortunately, I could not persuade her to pose for any photos.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Tying One On

When my first child went to kindergarten, I drilled that girl and drilled that girl about learning to tie her tennis shoes. It did not work. For months, she obstinately refused to learn the art of shoe-tying. We would practice at home, frequently, but for very brief periods of time because shoelaces are among the many things for which the good Lord did not give me patience. Eventually, well into her kindergarten career, Amanda came home one day and displayed for me near-perfect lace-looping. I jumped for joy and kissed her. I asked her how she finally mastered the task, and she said the classroom mom who was volunteering taught her. I called that woman right up and thanked her profusely. I'm pretty sure she's still talking about me.

When my second child went to kindergarten, she could already tie her shoes. She is stubborn and always wants to do everything her big sister does, so Elisabeth taught herself.

When my third child went to kindergarten, he had no interest in tying his shoes and I had no interest in teaching him. I still am not certain Benjamin can tie his own shoelaces.

When my fourth child went to kindergarten, I didn't even think about teaching her to tie her shoes, nor did I care. A couple days ago, I was talking to my daughter at school and she knelt down and tied her shoe. I asked her when and how she learned to do that and she shrugged. So, I shrugged back. Today, Madeline came home with a dollar and said her teacher had rewarded her for learning to tie her shoes.

I didn't even take a picture.

The end.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Love Is In the Air

It must be spring fever around these parts. The big girls are talking every day about who is "going out" with who (whatever that means-- they don't even know.) I cannot even share the story about my biggest girl, because she's 13 now, and has probably earned the right to tell some of her own stories, if she so wishes. I will, however, share one about the littlest girl:

A fellow kindergarten mom sent me this today, with the *wink, wink* message, "We have to talk." I replied that her son is adorable and it's so sweet how he shares his feelings. She replied, "My son says Maddy drew the picture for him!" She went on to say I should have known because the people in the window look like me and Todd. Nope, I didn't catch that-- just read the headline... It should have been an indicator, however, that the artist spelled the boy's name wrong. 

I asked Madeline about the picture and she immediately thought she was in trouble: "I meant love as a FRIEND, Mom!"

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Staying Home a "Luxury"?

This blog post hit a nerve with me today. 

Now, neither my in-laws nor my parents have ever said anything of the sort, but plenty of other people have (including, on unpleasant occasion, my husband.) My staying at home to raise our children is a determined choice Todd and I made, planned out over years. We saved one entire income and lived off the other. We bought used cars and drove them into the ground. Our travel was mostly restricted to work. We did home repairs and home improvement on our own. Once I was expecting, we put off for years a move and other major purchases.

We live comfortably now, a blessed life. But it comes with more planning, work, and sacrifice. I am beyond grateful for my husband's steady, good-paying job that allows him to provide for all of us. We decided this was what we wanted for our family, and we are sticking to it. Luxurious? No. Lucky? Definitely.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Biker Babe

So, my big girl called me at the end of the school day and asked whether it would be OK if she arranged a bike trip into town with her friends to hang out and eat an early supper. Amanda typically volunteers in the kindergarten classrooms on Mondays, but I figured she was still looking to unwind after the long weekend of musical performances. I said it was all right with me and we could discuss specifics when she got off the school bus in an hour.

Since this was the first time getting her bike out this season, there was plenty to discuss: watching traffic, locking your bike, where you're going, when you'll be home, remembering a jacket, having enough of your own money... But, the one specific I neglected to discuss was just WHO from amongst her friends was going with Amanda on this bike trip. And, so it was that I did not learn until she returned home nearly three hours later that Amanda had gone into town to hang out with seven boys. Boys. Seven.

"Wait a minute-- I thought you said you were meeting up with all your friends. Where were the girls?" Amanda told me the first two girls she asked were unable to go; the next two thought the plans were "stupid;" "so, Mom, then we quit asking."

Sounds like the kind of thing I need to start asking.

But Amanda assures me they had SO MUCH FUN. That's what worries me.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Giving Glory

Tonight was the opening performance of this year's Saints on Stage production "Godspell Jr." Amanda, Elisabeth and Benjamin are all in the cast (along with 101 fellow students) and both girls are featured on songs. The show was quite an undertaking, as it always is, but I couldn't be more proud of my actors!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Pint-Sized Passions

I love this school bulletin board featuring Madeline's kindergarten class.

Here's our Mads with her aspiration. (It appears she's been listening to Daddy.)

This is her beloved, little friend.

And, here's the much-talked-about boy.

Monday, March 9, 2015

There Is A Balm

Suffering the effects of a cold and dry winter, combined with this new workout program that incorporates weightlifting, my hands are in really bad shape-- cracked fingertips, peeling skin, callouses and blisters that get shredded and hardened.  Here is what's helping:

Nexcare 3M Skin Crack Care-- but I have to paint it on multiple times a day (others have advised regular, old Super Glue works just as well or better, and it's a lot cheaper.) Luckily, my mom gave me a whole bottle, so I am good for a while.

Winnie's Rip Fix-- My coach shares this with me, and we put it right on my "rips" (callouses that have broken away from my hand) before covering the wounds with tape that he applies in this way:

Burt's Bees Hand Salve-- I'm using this all day long, like regular lotion, even though I think it smells funny. I also slather my hands with it at bedtime and then put on gloves. It really does help, but I don't like how slimy-wrinkly they get by morning.

Curad Extreme Hold bandages-- these look tough but don't actually stick any better than regular Band-Aids.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Teenager In the House

It's true-- today our firstborn became an official TEENAGER! It's inconceivable, appalling and exciting!  There is so much I could say to her on this momentous occasion, but also so much I want for her to figure out for herself. For now, I will just say it has been a wonderful day celebrating Amanda. I pray she thinks so, too.

In the midst of a flash snowstorm this morning, we headed out to Moon Donuts to pick up treats for her class. I was volunteering at school at lunchtime, and overheard the entire middle school serenade Amanda in the lunch room. After school was musical rehearsal (they open next week) with more treats for the cast. Amanda, Elisabeth and Dad caught an afternoon CrossFit workout, and worked up an appetite for supper.

After dinner, she finally got to open her gifts. It was really fun to see what her siblings chose for her. (Elisabeth spent her own money on the World's Coolest Harry Potter Knee-High Socks; Benjamin and Madeline both went the squirty whipped cream route. Yep, it was on the Weird One's list.)

We had cake and ice cream cake, after singing the traditional jingle.

Grandpa and Grandma R. and Auntie Lisa came over. We celebrated with the Paukerts over the weekend.

Amanda's gift from us was a high-tech-but-old-school boom box, so, naturally we ended the night with a dance party. This is Krinkeland, after all.

Krinkeland, Now With Teenager!