Sunday, July 26, 2015

Krinkeland Updates

Well, we have been so busy lately, being "stars" of the local stage... But last evening was the final performance of the community theater's summer musical "Oliver!" Today, we helped strike set and return costumes, and we will commence reentry into "normal" life. So, here are some important updates:

The "freaky, killer" moth that lurked in the big girls' bedroom for days has died, apparently of natural causes.

Todd made me call DirecTV to complain about our service because he somehow knew I was going to get the rep who sighed more than I did and kept muttering things like, "Really, computer?! Come on!" One hour, 36 minutes later, that call had taken five years off my life. My blood pressure was palpably raised. I finally stomped and threatened my way to a free service call, but only after a "supervisor" made the astounding revelation: "It's technology-- technology breaks!"

Jones is the worst kayak passenger ever, abandoning ship at the slightest wave, doggy-paddling to shore and then crying until the captain returned for him. Then, he jumped back in the kayak and whined some more.

Madeline has discovered she enjoys flossing her teeth with the wider, tape-style floss her dad uses because "it makes a cool, squeaky sound."

Amanda wrote a book. Yep, just casually mentioned it to her mere mother... A book.

Thursday, July 23, 2015


At tonight's performance of "Oliver!" just before we all went on for the finale, Madeline turned to me and said, "I don't think it's fair that I don't have a name." I didn't know what she was talking about and pointed out she does have a name-- Madeline. "Nooo," she whined, "I mean in the play. Everyone has a name except me. You are 'Old Annie' and some other stuff, and Daddy is 'The Doctor' and we are all in the chorus, but I don't get to have a name." 

I reminded her of an earlier stage in the rehearsal process, when the director encouraged all of us to fabricate backstories for our characters, including-- if the script did not designate them-- names. Then, I asked Maddy what she wanted her character to be called. Without hesitation, she stated, "Allison." "Very good," I said, and I turned to the other little girl who is always on stage with me and Maddy in the crowd scenes; the costumer even dressed us in coordinating outfits. "Madeline here says her character in this play is 'Allison,' so I am going to call her that from now on. Who do you want to be?" The little girl, also unwaveringly, said, "Annabelle."

We have two performances left, starring Allison and Annabelle. They are something.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015


Every so often, Benjamin wistfully talks about how nice it would be to have a brother. I feel his pain, I really do. This henhouse is enough to drive anyone cuckoo most days. Since he does not have a brother, I am most grateful when his auntie and uncle can provide him with a brotherhood of cousins. He is off tonight on a belated birthday celebration, and it looks pretty awesome. And boyish. All boy.

Friday, July 17, 2015


I am not sure why this didn't post on July 13, the day out Benjamin turned nine, but we will try again...

A day home with Dad repairing storm damage, a taco lunch out, plenty of quadcopter play time and dress rehearsal with treats for all! It was a day as wonderful as our boy! 

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Snack Attack

We are in dress rehearsals for the community theater show "Oliver!" which opens this weekend. The early call requires us to eat an early supper before heading to the theater, and we have not been getting out of there until 10:00 most nights, so, I have been bringing snacks for all the kids. I mean, just grabbing a bag of pretzels, a bag of kettle corn, a package of cookies, a jug of water, and the like, for my four, young actors and anyone else who has the munchies. 

My children started getting particular, or just tired of sharing, and they asked me if they could each select their own snack and bring it just for her/himself. I said that was fine, and told them to go to the kitchen and choose their snacks to pack for the evening. I am still giggling about what they each chose, as I scratch my head over what their choices might mean:

Madeline: pre-made peanut butter and jelly sandwich
Benjamin: apple
Elisabeth: full-sized bag of Goldfish crackers
Amanda: peppermint Hershey's Kisses

Sunday, July 12, 2015

The Broken Lamp

He stood outside, sobbing-- no, wailing-- "Mommy, mommy, MOMMY!" I had just shut the door to my room (something I very rarely do) and sat down, tired and achy from busy times and just needing a few minutes to regroup, but my son sounded so upset... He sounded hurt. I opened the door. "Mommy," Benjamin hiccuped, "I'm SO sorry! I broke your lamp! I'm so sorry."

Scenes began playing out in my mind: kickball in the living room, a shoving match between siblings, an all-house Nerf gun war, torturing the dog by throwing his ball out of reach. The house was so quiet now. What had been unfolding moments before when I had retreated? I couldn't remember. I took a deep breath and reminded myself this was a child, my child. 

I gave my son a hug and kissed the top of his head. "Are you OK?" I gently asked. "Is anyone else hurt?" "No," Ben said. "No, Mom, but I broke the lamp!" Visions of that Berenstein Bears book flashed through my head.
It's a good one, but clearly not applicable here. Benjamin was telling the truth, not blaming some soccer-ball-camouflaged bird.

Before I could ask, "What happened?" Ben offered it up: "I wasn't screwing around, Mom. We weren't playing in the house. I just didn't see the cord and I tripped." OK, it happens. I was determined not to let my blood pressure creep up and make my head pound more... I wanted to be a gentle, understanding mom, to model forgiveness.

But what the heck?! I love the living room lamps. They're different from each other and unique to the world. One requires a pretty unusual shape and size shade; I searched high and low to find the perfect one. Now, was there glass all over the living room? Was the lamp still plugged into the wall outlet and was someone at risk of getting shocked? Would I have to vacuum or sweep or drag out the carpet cleaner? Did anyone get the dog out of the way so he wouldn't get into the mess?

I took my son's hand and we made our way downstairs. It was so quiet.

When we reached the living room, his sisters looked up from their work at the table: "Don't worry, Mom." "Don't be sad, Ben." "We fixed the lamp!"

The lamp wasn't actually broken, but the shade was. It was the hard-to-fit, hard-to-find lamp shade, and now the metal frame was all lopsided, misshapen and, well, broken. But, while Ben owned up to what happened, his sisters were trying to help him, and to help me.

Who could be mad about that?

That broken lamp is the best thing that's happened in Krinkeland in a long time.

Friday, July 10, 2015

The Minions Are Here!

We've had July 10 marked on the Krinkeland calendar for months, because that's the oh-so-important date of the "Minions" movie release. The children made a special date with Auntie Lisa.  (Thankfully, they later broadened their invitation to include the rest of us; however, they did still "call" who got to sit on each side of Lisa in the theater.) We are Minion-lovers in this house... And this movie did not disappoint-- silly, clever fun!

Sunday, July 5, 2015


These past few days, and, I am sure, in the days to come, my mind is playing a lot of, "At this time exactly one year ago..."

At this time exactly one year ago, Todd was at our local hospital with his dad and stepmother. We had friends over for the evening and were sitting around the bonfire when Todd's cell phone rang. It was not entirely unexpected, since his dad and been in unstable health in recent years and also because my FIL had seemed unwell in a visit to our home just one day prior. Todd jumped up from the fire, went to find his car keys, and headed out. I tended to our guests as they left, got the bonfire and lake equipment picked up, oversaw the kids' bath- and bedtimes, and was awaiting word from Todd from the hospital when he returned home.

That was at about this time.

He told me his father was doing very poorly, had coded in the emergency room, was now unresponsive and was being transferred to a larger hospital. My parents came to stay with our children,  so I could head into the city with Todd. A long night morphed into two days, Ardy's last two days here. He was never again in a place to speak or interact with us. The children did not get to say goodbye to their grandfather. 

He is missed.

Mother and Daughter

"Mom, will you still be my mom even when you are old?"

1. She wants me to be her mom.

2. She doesn't think I am already old!

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Armed and Sassy

I took Madeline to the doctor today to get her arm checked. Apparently, about ten days ago, there was some kind of playground injury of which I was unaware until about four days ago, when Madeline began loudly and consistently complaining at 15-minute intervals that her arm hurt. She was even up in the night crying about it. Her siblings all corroborated the same extra-hard-shove-and-fall-from-a-jungle-gym-zip-line story. Now, Madeline has still been able to eat, write and practice piano with that arm. She can also participate in swimming lessons, slug her brother, and suck that thumb with gusto, so I really did not think it was a serious injury. 

However, this is from the same mother whose oldest daughter participated in a state basketball tournament, danced in a school musical, and just plain walked around for weeks on end on a broken foot. More than three months later, that foot is still not healed. I am not the most confident in my own judgment these days. 

Maddy followed the typical child script beautifully. About the same time I hung up the phone after making an appointment at the clinic, she declared, "My arm doesn't hurt anymore! It's all better!" We went, anyway.

Now, we are still in the process of wrapping up a year-long transition of switching everyone over to a new family practice doctor. This, after our beloved pediatrician moved to Oregon (or fled us.) The new doctor I chose seems thus far to be equally wonderful; her only flaws being beauty and youth. The children adore her, and she appears to love them-- or at least the guarantee of a steady paycheck because there are so many of us.

By the time we got to the clinic, Madeline was good and warmed up. She told the sweet doctor, "This arm usually hurts, but sometimes it's this one, and these days the pain sometimes travels from this arm up and around my neck and down this other arm. But right now nothing hurts." The doctor examined Maddy carefully, listening as Madeline declared steady and equal pains no matter where on her arm the physician pressed. "Yeah, well, my mom makes us do so many chores! That's probably why my arm hurts so much," Maddy offered. When the doctor said that was because I am a good mom to teach my kids responsibility, Madeline "harrumphed" and was actually quiet, if only for a moment. Conitinuing to shine a light on my Crown of Motherhood, Maddy's doctor also downplayed my self-declared tendency to overlook my children's injuries, urging me to stop beating myself up over Amanda's foot. What would Miss Manners say if I started tipping this woman?

The doctor assured Madeline-- and me-- that the arm was not broken... And was likely just a strain on the flexors (or something medical-sounding like that) and she prescribed a few days of stretching and painkillers. Maddy responded with, "Well, we are having a party this weekend, and our to-do list is FOUR PAGES LONG, so good luck with that!" Then, she skipped off to find the sticker-and-sucker distributor.