Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Aaaand We're Off!

We are headed out on a big-time family adventure! Don't expect any blog posts for the next 10 days. I would appreciate your prayers, for our health and safety, as well as for my sanity. Wish us luck!

Monday, April 27, 2015

When Tragedy Strikes

I watched this video today on social media, and it struck me:

Maybe it's because my book club in the last year read Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer, which derails another deadly storm that struck near the summit, claiming many hikers' lives ( Of course, when I read that book, I had one prevailing thought throughout: "WHY would anyone do this?!" Yeah, I still wonder that.

Or maybe it's in light of other, more personal tragedies hitting us closer to home. For whatever reason, I am especially thankful to be surrounded by those I love, and I will be sure to tell them so.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Party Times, Excellent

It has been a busy, busy weekend of celebrations.

On Friday, Madeline and her friend Lyla successfully navigated their first birthday sleepover. To listen to the two of them chatter and play is pure joy! Grandma and Grandpa R., Aunt Lisa, Great-Uncle Ron, Great-Aunt Linda, and second cousin Anders all stopped in for dinner, cake and gifts.

Saturday night, my MIL, who is also the volunteer director for Saints on Stage, the extra-curricular musical theater program at the kids' school, hosted a thank-you/wrap-up dinner for our latest production "Godspell Jr." The people involved with SOS are just wonderful folks, so it is always nice to spend time with them, especially outside of the stress of the theater.

Today, the girls and I attended the bridal shower of our CrossFit coach and friend Giane. It was a lovely afternoon of female fellowship, with lots of other little girls running around. I and the opportunity to chat with some of the friends we've made at the gym, and we also met Giane's girlfriends from other areas of her life. We are all looking forward to Giane's and Dean's wedding, which is just more than a month away.

Then, we headed out to Grandma and Grandpa P.'s for one more birthday celebration for Miss Maddy. Our family is so lucky, sharing all the attention and all the love!

Oh, and Madeline got her new glasses today, too! The cutest!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

She Is Six

When you are the fourth child in a busy household and your birthday falls on a weekday, you might have to wait till 7 p.m. for your special birthday dinner, followed by store-bought banana cream pie in place of birthday cake... And you may need to wait even longer for everyone to assemble from their various activities to watch you open your gifts... But it will be worth the wait.

Happy, happy sixth birthday, Madeline Kate! Mommy must love you to give such a ridiculous gift.

(And we await the lightbulb-baked "cookies"...)

So Much for Progress

Sometimes, when my husband comes home, he asks, "What did you do today?" Some days, I want to snap, "I sat on the freaking phone, trying-- unsuccessfully-- to solve problems!" That's today.  Here are two examples of true exchanges I have had this afternoon:

Me: "Hi, I'm calling to follow-up on a rebate we never received after purchasing a phone from you around Christmastime."
He: "OK. Let me take your name and number, and I'll look into it and call you back."
Me: "Well, OK, but the thing is-- I have already called twice on this same issue and you take my name and number and no one ever calls me back."
He: "Yeah, but I have customers standing here looking at me right now."
Me: "Yeah, but I am a customer."
He: "Right, so, let me take your name and number and call you back."

(I was calling to inquire about benefits, after receiving in the mail what seemed like a random $7.40 bill that was somehow related to Amanda's broken foot. I explained I was not complaining about the bill, but, rather, was trying to understand how our benefits must have changed from the previous year. I wanted to be able to make educated decisions regarding seeking care and out-of-pocket costs.)
She: "Yes, in some instances, your coverage for those things is 100%. But, in other, more specialized instances, your policy coverage is 90%."
Me: "So, it depends on where we go to the doctor-- like, if the pediatrician treats her, it's all covered, but if the doctor is a specialist, we have to pay part?"
She: "Not exactly. It's more like, if the diagnostics are routine, you are completely covered, but if it's an injury or accident-related, or something like that, then the lab work or imaging is only covered 90%."
Me: "OK, so if the doctor just decided out of the blue to x-ray my daughter's foot, like at a well-child visit, but didn't actually think it was broken, then I wouldn't have to pay anything?"
She: "Noooo..."
Me: "Oh, you mean that since my daughter's broken foot came from an injury or accident, we have to pay 10%, but if she'd broken it on purpose we wouldn't have to pay anything."
She: "No, that's not what I said."
Me: "It's not? That's what I heard. Please explain it in another way."
She: "Well, it depends on who the provider is. The good news is, the orthopedic group who treated your daughter is in-network, so you only have to pay 10% on top of your specialty copay. Since you saw a participating provider, you are actually saving money by having your insurance through us."
Me: "You're funny."

Thankfully, before I got to the day's phone calls, my dad came over and we rehung photos over one of the walls he painted. I love having my peeps back in place!

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Benjamin's First Communion

What a glorious day for the sonshine of my life!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

What Are Clean Undies Worth to You?

It's so lovely to be valued by someone around here. Surely, I am a valuable asset to Krinkeland for all the time I spend sorting, washing, drying, folding and putting away. Even a kindergartner can appreciate that. However, maybe I should be spending a little less time on clothing maintenance and a little more time on spelling instruction:

Fo sur, I gots mad londre skilz. I duzz londre ev'ry day, bae. Aiht?

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

In Search Of: Buffalo

Instead of continuing with chemotherapy, its nasty side effects and minimal successes, my dear FIL Harlan has chosen time-- time to feel good and be with people he loves. He and my MIL Connie have begun a mission that is so them: They are planning short trips around the state of Minnesota to view unusual, cement statues and other interesting roadside attractions. Of you haven't heard about this or had a chance to get in on the action, check out this site:

They've taken outstate adventures the past two weekends. Today, on a whim, the sun was shining, everyone was feeling well, and no one had plans that completely packed the day, so Harlan and Connie drove over and we decided to check out all the cool statues around our town. What a fun, easy, impromptu, way to bond! We saw some really cool things, which reminds me we never take the time to check out the sites right in our own backyards. We also made up road trip songs, ate too much, laughed a lot, and enjoyed each other's company. Amen.

Monday, April 13, 2015


When we were kids, my brother and I relentlessly teased our little sister. We did it just to do it, and we were horrid. We goaded her and told her lies, just to try to make her look foolish, so we could laugh at her. Even when I was in the middle of it, I thought it was so stupid, but I did it, anyway, because children are jerk faces. 

I remember, in particular, when we would take long car rides to visit our grandparents, Ted and I reveled in telling Ellen some exotic creature or another was riding on the roof of the car. "It's a lion!" I'd fib. "Look-- it's stretching its paw over the window!" And when our little sister turned her head toward the window, my brother would chime in, "Oh, you were too slow. It moved its paw back up." It was so dumb... And my sister wasn't. She never actually believed us; she was just going along to be part of the club. And we kept on to feed into our false sense of superiority, as well as to amuse ourselves in a confined space.

I thought of all this tonight at the dinner table when the three older children began telling the baby that I had grown the asparagus in a hydroponic farm I tended in the basement while they were at school. Jerk faces.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Moral Bucket List

Ooh, I like this:

This guy talks about this topic, too, if you prefer listening to reading:

We all know this kind of person and we treasure each one in our lives. I think most of us strive to be this kind of person. My favorite part is where he says this way of being is learned over time... Gives me great hope for my children.

Wishing for the Sound of Silence

Someone is always singing in this house. Always. Someone. Sometimes, that voice is so sweet, I nearly cannot stand it. I think about grabbing my phone and taking a video of the sweet singing, so I can have it to listen for always. But I never do, because I don't want to ruin the moment, break the spell.

Other times, it is not so sweet, and I just have to close the play room door:

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Of Loss and Love, and Found Friendship

Today is the second anniversary of the day my sister and BIL received their son Michael, who died in utero. Michael is forever missed and endlessly adored by his auntie. Sometimes, I cannot believe it has been two years since we lost him, nor can I fully fathom all that has happened with our family in the time since. But mostly what has happened is love, and for that, for Michael's life, I am grateful.

I am also so grateful to have something new to celebrate this April 9. Todd and I, Amanda and Elisabeth began attending a new CrossFit gym at the beginning of this year, and its owner, our coach, celebrated a milestone birthday today. Dean is 30 years old. Yeah, I know, who remembers 30?! He is a wonderful man and a dedicated trainer, who has also become a dear friend. I was blessed to share some joy with him, his fiancée Giane, and all our friends from the morning class.

We awoke this morning to total ice out... So, Deano decided to celebrate his big birthday with a really, chilly dip! He ran back up on the beach singing, "I'm 30 years old, and still crazy! Still stupid!"

Wednesday, April 8, 2015


I Googled this author, whose name I had only heard but whose work I had never read, and I decided from my incomplete and totally untrustworthy Internet research that she and I probably have little in common in terms of our lifestyle and political beliefs, life choices, circles of friends, and so on. We are also different ages and therefore at somewhat different places on our life paths. None of that matters, however, because this is so true:

Monday, April 6, 2015

Too Big For His Britches

My son and I had an accidental date today, after all his sisters were invited away on last-minute babysitting jobs and play dates. I was happy about it. Benjamin plays well on his own when we are at home, and doesn't mind going along on errands. He seems to enjoy having my undivided attention, and we have great talks in the car that usually begin with Ben asking, "Remember that time...?"

We had lunch with Grandma and Grandpa R. and chatted with them for a while. Benjamin entertained them with Easter tales and excitement over upcoming plans. Then, I had to make boring stops like the post office. Ben asked if we could go shopping, and, since I had a return and an exchange to make, anyway, it sounded OK to me. 

But soon after, I realized I wasn't with my "little" boy anymore.

First, he asked to go to stores that I didn't know he knew about, much less that he was interested in what they sold. He also had his own money, burning a hole in his nylon-and-Velcro wallet... So we had some heated discussions about what would constitute a sensible expenditure. Then, he asked to go to the toy store, which was actually a welcome request, since I was still wondering why my baby boy was shopping for things like athletic clothing and cases for electronic devices. Yet, when we got to the toy store, Ben pushed right past all the colorful, kiddy displays and headed straight for the big-boy remote control vehicles. (Yes, I mean the kind on which grown-- I use the term loosely-- men spend hundreds and thousands of dollars to race on dirt tracks in their spare time.)

Where, oh, where has my little boy gone?

The final straw was when we stopped at the grocery store and I dug into my wallet to find a penny or two for the mechanical horse ride in the front entry. Ben snatched up the coins and was off. I stood back, grinning like a fool and watching my baby ride the horsey, until I realized he was mocking me, whipping his arm in the air and riding rodeo-style and then looking at his wrist, as though an imaginary watch would tick off the seconds of boredom. I guess eight-and-a-half is the new fifteen.