Saturday, February 27, 2016

Who's Your Mama? That's My Girl!

"Mom, why don't you ever leave out cookies for Santa?"
"Oh, I don't know... We stay up late on Christmas Eve, so we know he doesn't get to our house till really late... I guess I figure he's all cookied out by the time he gets here."
"Come on, Mom, really?"
"Yeah, I mean, plus, he gets cookies at Grandma's house and lots of other places. Have you seen that guy? He clearly doesn't need any more cookies."
"Mom, Santa is supposed to get cookies at every, single house. At least leave him a carrot!"
"OK, if you want to-- you leave him a carrot next Christmas."
"No, Mom... Why don't you leave anything for Santa?"
"Why should I? Santa doesn't bring me gifts, anyway."
"Yeah, why doesn't he?"
"I don't know. Maybe I was a naughty girl."
"Don't you mean WOMAN?!"

Friday, February 26, 2016


Madeline missed some school this week because she was sick. I took her into the clinic, where Maddy's strep test quickly came back positive. The doctor had to look back quite a way in Madeline's chart-- I think she's only had strep throat one other time-- and then discussed with the six-year-old her treatment options: pills (can't) and shot in the rear (won't,) so that left a liquid antibiotic. Maddy asked if the medicine would be banana-split-flavored, which was pretty funny since she has no more experience with fancy sundaes than she does with medications.

We went to the pharmacy to pick up Maddy's liquid medicine, and I told her I wanted her to take it right away, so she would be able to get back to school the following day. She took that full day's dose in the syringe and squirted it down the hatch. Didn't even blink. With a couple of the kids, they had such aversions to taking liquid medicine that I developed a practice of administering it over the toilet. So, it is sweet relief to have Maddy take hers so easily.

Madeline spent much of the rest of the day talking about how good her medicine tastes, and asking when she could take it again. I suppose I should be concerned about her future as a drug seeker... But, since amoxicillin is not addictive, right now, I'll take it.

Maddy also declared at the end of her sick time, "This has been the BEST DAY EVER! I got to stay home from school for the WHOLE DAY, and I didn't even have to puke!"

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Good Stuff

Good news! I am not alone in the struggle of middle school life, nor am I the only one who does not wish to struggle through middle school life! After yesterday's post, you may be wondering about me and my offspring, but I can assure you my kids are awesome, and I want to continue to support them in letting their awesomeness shine. (Also, I want to not broadcast how awesome my kids indeed are because who really wants to be around a mom like that? Aaaaand, how does it benefit already fawned-over, self-important offspring to hear stuff like that? It doesn't. But, I digress.

A friend and fellow middle-school survivalist shared this on social media today, and I liked it:

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Going With Conscience

There is a phrase I have adopted here in Krinkeland. It's unfortunate I have had two occasions in which to use it-- different situations, each with a different kind-- but I hope it is effective. I find the statement to be basic and powerful:

You are asking me to go against my conscience.

I am uncertain at what age children begin to grasp this concept, but I believe it is an idea we must all embrace: Never pressure another human to go against that little voice in her head, her very soul, that says, "This is wrong."

My book club friends and I were this evening talking about evolutions in parenting, and how, these days, it seems children demand so much explanation, so much reasoning, and then they use all that information to argue a case against us. It's sad, really, and kind of silly. What happened to the days of "Because I said so?"

To me, this conscience rationale is very basic and it gets to the root of our human relationships. I believe we are here on this Earth, in this life, to help one another. We are here to do things, hard things, the right things. We learn to love God by loving each other. We are working every day to guide one another to heaven.

Yet, we make decisions all the time that go against our most basic mission. We deny what's right in favor of what's popular, what's fun, what's easy, what will get us affection or attention. I have been known to go against my conscience, to do something I felt in my gut was wrong. Those decisions never turned out OK.

I want better for myself and for my family, for my children. I want them to know Mom always tried to make the best decisions and to be a good example. They will see when I went against my conscience, I suffered for it, either personally or socially. I carried guilt. I carried grudges. I placed blame. I felt shame.

It is important to me and my work here to be just, modest, and true-to-self. It is not important to be popular. I make mistakes every day without trying, without deciding to tune out my inner voice. But I summon inner strength and keep trying to focus on what is truly best, especially for the girl who is "the only one who isn't allowed, MOM." I consider each request... but I love these people too much to cave. That doesn't ever make things easier, though.

Monday, February 22, 2016

He Goes Along

Most days, when there are mindless errands to run (which is most days,) all our girls seem content to stay home... But the boy will always come. Wherever Dad is going, whatever I have to do, Benjamin will tag along. 

This evening, I had to drop off and pick up kids, throw supper at them, and then dash off again to rescue Todd from a little car problem. Ben asked, "Can I come?" And we were off. Naturally, nothing is simple in Krinkeland and "a little help" turned into a three-hour tour. So, that gave me and my boy plenty of time to talk. 

He always asks so many questions in the car, and I know he soaks up the answers. Among today's topics:
*what a siphon is and how it is used
*safe following distances between vehicles and whether that is just good practice or the law
*why FedEx has both regular delivery trucks and huge semis
*who is the best rollerskater in third grade and who is the worst, and whether speed or steadiness counts for more
*which grandpa-volunteer with the musical likes Ben best of all the students and why
*whether Benjamin's bedroom is actually the creepiest in the house
*milkshake flavors
*advancements in electronic display billboards
*whether Costco actually closes at 8:30 and why

I love this kid and how he teaches me to look at the world!

Friday, February 19, 2016

Making Requests

*For Felicity, recovering from brain surgery
*For Kid President, a Krinkeland favorite, recovering from surgery:
*For Dave's family, Mary's family and all who have recently lost loved ones
*For continued health and a safe delivery for my sister and her unborn child, currently at 32 weeks gestation
*Thanksgiving for Mikko's recovery from surgery
*For Amanda, continuing to feel fatigue from mono
*For the actors of Krinkeland and for all involved in the Saints on Stage production of "The Wizard of Oz"

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Parenting Predictability

(A child asks an inane question...
So silly I cannot even recall it.)

Mom: "No."
Kid: "Why not?"
Mom: "That's not how it works."
Kid: "You're so predictable, Mom. I knew you were going to say that. You always say, 'That's not how it works.' Well, that, or else you say, 'Because I said so.'"

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Spies Like Me

"Mom, what is FBI?"
"Federal Bureau of Investigation."
"What's CIA?"
"Central Intelligence Agency."
"Is that a real thing, or just, like, made up for a movie?"
"The CIA is an actual organization; agents and technology work together to spy on other countries and even within our country to keep Americans safe."


"Mom, are you a member of the CIA?"
"Would you tell us if you actually were?"




The One for Me

I was dressed for an evening out and standing at the bathroom vanity contemplating my next move when Todd came flying in after a day of set-building at the school. "Hurry up!" I said. "We gotta go." "Just let me get a quick shower," he said, turning on the water. "OK." I knew I had at least 15 more minutes... 

I called to him, "Should I curl my hair, or do you like it better straight?" He poked his head out, "Let me see... Oh, straight, definitely." Nice. Easy. I unplugged the curling iron and dug out my makeup bag. Todd got out of the shower and began rummaging for something to wear. I put on basic mascara and lip gloss, and started adding more. We were going out, and that doesn't happen often! With one eye on the clock, I asked Todd, "Are you about ready? We really need to go, and, the longer I wait, the more I am wrecking my face." (I was holding a tube of liquid eyeliner.) "Yikes!" Todd exclaimed. "Stop! Less is more. Less than less is best." I thought, This is why I love this man.

I am not opposed to makeup, or to other women wearing or doing whatever makes them feel good about themselves. Truly. I even permit my oldest daughter to wear one coat of mascara. She only had to beg for two years to get it. 

It's just that I do not like makeup. I don't care for the way it feels or the way it looks on me. Makeup makes my face feel heavy and greasy. What if I have an itch and I scrape off my "face?" I like to think of makeup as an enhancement to still-looking-like-me. I think there is value in liking one's natural looks. I am really not self-conscious about my face, because it's just always my face.

I hope I am conveying that attitude to my children, and today I got a little validation. My eldest called to me from behind the bathroom door, "Hey, Mom?!" "Yes, Honey?" She said, "I just wanted to say thanks a lot for giving me your hair and eyes." All right. I am pretty sure I had no control over this, but it is fortuitous the genes shook down in a way that is pleasing to her.

I remember way back when Todd and I were dating, how he would kind of wrinkle his nose at full-face makeup. "I mean, I just like to know what I'm getting," he said. "What if we got married, and I woke up the next morning wondering, 'Who is this person next to me in bed?'"  


On this issue, we are in agreement. It's just one of the reasons he is the perfect Valentine for me!

Friday, February 12, 2016

Dreams Crushed with Diction

"Mom, can we get a snmmmummmo?"
"Oh, never mind."


"Mom, why don't we have one of those snommummumms?"
"What are you talking about?"


"Boy, I bet it would be really fun to ride on one of those things. I wish we had a smummnowmo..."
"Honey, I can't understand you when you mumble."
"I'm not mumbling! I just can't remember the word for what it's called!"


"I just wish we could get one of those Jek Skis that goes on ice!"
"Oh! You mean a snowmobile."



Wednesday, February 10, 2016

How Too Spel

As has already been firmly established, some residents of Krinkeland are excellent spellers. These include:
Elisabeth *school bee champ 2016!*

The jury is still out on the other two, but, so far, things are not looking so hot:

"Let's list the things you need to do when we get home from gymnastics."
"Not true. You need to: practice piano, take a bath, do Xtra Math and practice spelling words."
"NOOOOO! I do not need to practice spelling words! I already know all the words! The words are SO easy this week!"
"Good, then it won't take long for us to do a practice test."
"I don't need to practice! Look, Mom! Listen! F-E-T-T."
"F! E! T! T!"

Yeah, spelling practice...

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Pink Fever

It's a busy and emotional time of year for my family, with lots of nieces' and nephews' birthdays, and also anniversaries of loss for babies who didn't get to stay and be a part of this awesomeness. Today marks one year since my sister delivered Quinn. Michael's and Truman's birthdays will come around Easter.

Before that, however, I will become an auntie again. My sister is going to have a baby in March. The older I get, and the further we become emotes from babyhood here in Krinkeland, the more I shop. You wouldn't think it possible, but it's true. And I just have a feeling this baby is a girl. I am probably wrong... My hunches usually are... But the force is really strong with this one.

If this baby is not a niece, one of two things will be happening:
(1) I will be frequenting customer service desks with many returns
(2) I will be toting a ridiculously clad nephew.

Can't wait!

Tuesday, February 2, 2016


Elisabeth won the school spelling bee! How exciting is that?!

You know, the darn bee is always a bit of a combination of luck in the words received and skill at keeping nerves at bay. It was a rocky back-and-forth competition, with a very bright eighth-grade boy (one of Amanda's classmates) finishing runner-up. Libby will go on to the district spelling bee next month. I don't know who is prouder-- Elisabeth or her mama?

Here's the moment of victory:


Amanda had a follow-up appointment with her orthopedist regarding her broken  foot. You may recall the injury happened about 11 months ago, and then, even after delayed diagnosis and treatment, did not heal. I think we were both pretty anxious going into the appointment because she is still experiencing pain. In fact, Amanda pushed to keep this appointment even though it meant her bowing out of the school spelling bee scheduled for the same time. The doctor had agreed with me to wait one year to see if new bone growth would happen; otherwise, surgery was a distinct possibility, because, he warned, without repair, she could suffer chronic pain.

So, imagine how pleasantly surprised we all were when the orthopedist reviewed the new x-rays and declared her healing "nothing short of miraculous!" There is new bone growth over the fifth metatarsal fracture site. From one angle, you can no longer see the break, and from another it is just faintly visible. The doctor said her current pain is because that new growth is still so new. He expects it to subside in the next three months. In the meantime, Amanda is to continue to wear her foot and ankle brace for support. Because she is an eighth grader, she will not.

It was kind of funny: The doc showed Amanda on the x-ray where the bone is coming back together... But, when she originally broke it, he explained a lot about growth plates in the feet and when they fuse in the developmental process. When Amanda's break at first did not heal, he said we could wait a while and see if the bones came together when all her growth plates came together, which he suspected would be within the calendar year. (Translation: When the growth plates fuse, Amanda stops growing.) So, the images showed this healing in the one spot, but none of the other growth plates have closed. This is confirmation of two things:
(1) The break was distinctly due to trauma (basketball) and not some kind of deformity or growth plate spread
(2) Amanda is not done growing!

Amanda was very pleased with this news. She cannot wait to be taller than me, and it will happen any minute!

Monday, February 1, 2016

Another Third Grade Book Report

Benjamin and his friend Jacob teamed up for their most recent third grade book report. I remember Elisabeth also having the project to create a video based on a book she read. Ben and Jacob chose a book called "American Tall Tales" which was about folk lore... I think.

The kids had to write the script, recruit their friends to act in the video, find costumes and direct. Dad just filmed... And used the project as an opportunity to try his new green screen. I just, well, you'll see...

Here's the final project:

The video will be graded, so I already sent the link to their teacher, along with an apology.

Grease Live!

Here in Krinkeland, we finally got around to watching-- and recording-- one of those live musical productions, and it was the beloved "Grease!" It's such a great, fun and naughty show. The big girls had never seen the movie, because we have shielded them, so this production offered many opportunities for discussion. I was shocked (and, at the same time, sadly unsurprised) at the lines my biggest girl "got."

Amanda has watched this scene at least 50 times:

But Todd and I loved this more: