Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Crispy Love

Madeline burst through the front door after school, ravenous, as always. "Hi, Mom! I'm home! What can I have for a snack?" Before I could answer, she spied it. "Mom, what is that on the counter? Did you make apple crisp?!" I said I did, and it was available for eating, not to be saved or given away. Maddy already had a spoon in hand, and scooped herself a large serving. Soon, she was on to a second. "I know you made this because you had apples to use up-- and love. You put a lotta love in this apple crisp, Mom."

Tuesday, September 27, 2016


Big Girl is winding down for the night and just came and gave me a big hug, which doesn't happen as often with the 14-year-old and really doesn't happen following those tough discussions about academics where she tells me, "Mom, I don't know what to say-- you terrify me!" So, anyway, I squeezed back, really squeezed all the love into that hug and said, "I love you, my princess." She replied, "No, Mom, I am a queen." I told her she couldn't be a queen because I was already queen of this kingdom. She said, "Well, you can be the Queen of Krinkeland; I'll be the Queen of La La Land."

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Our First Homecoming

Yes, the title of this post is "Our" because it feels as though we all in Krinkeland have been dragged into and through the Homecoming Week excitement!  Amanda and Elisabeth each had dress-up days all last week at school.  They attended the Friday night football game, where our team was trounced.  Saturday night was the much-anticipated Homecoming Dance, a semi-formal event and Amanda's first school dance.  I have so much I could write... so much I witnessed as it turned out concessions for the event are a fundraiser for the school theater program and, with Amanda's casting in the fall play, I am officially a Drama Mama... so much I am still processing...

For now, I can just say:
*I have a beautiful daughter of whom I am proud;
*she has a healthy self-esteem and respect for herself;
*she has nice friends;
*I'm glad it's over.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Delsym on Demand

Just a little poll here: Am I the world's worst mother if I am in a heightened state of irritation over my kid's cough? Kids go back to school. Kids lick doorknobs. Kids get sick. And now, there's a COUGH. A constant, raspy, ever-present, repetitious, ANNOYING cough.

I know it's not her fault she's sick. (Well, if she did lick doorknobs, we have to talk...)  I know she doesn't want the cough, isn't doing anything to encourage or extend the cough. But the cough is distracting and exhausting. If she coughs in class or at swim practice half as much as she coughs in the car or in bed, her teachers and coaches must be beside themselves. I am not sleeping. I am not focused on the housework. I am not able to form coherent sentences. When she's not coughing, she is audibly rolling around cough drops so they clink against her teeth and she is playing with cough drop wrappers.

Imagine being the one who actually has the cough?!

I am pushing cough syrup for the first time in her existence. I, myself, need something stronger.

Friday, September 16, 2016

The Blessings Bunch

It was a long day, packed with blessings.

It was a quick, solo visit, in advance of her 101st birthday this weekend. I hadn't told her I was coming, so she was surprised. We enjoy one another. I wish I lived closer so I could see her more regularly, and I believe she wishes for that, too.

While I was away, Elisabeth auditioned for Chamber Choir at her school. She is now trying to figure out how to juggle that rehearsal with swimming meets. Meanwhile at the high school, the cast list went up for the fall play and Amanda's name was on it. She is thrilled-- didn't expect to be cast because she is a new freshman and so many students were at tryouts. We are so proud!

Our family capped the day with an evening out-- kind of a belated birthday outing for Dad. After grabbing supper, we saw the world premiere of "Elephant and Piggie are in a Play." The woman who this past summer directed the musical they were in is playing Piggie. Great fun for all!

Thursday, September 15, 2016

A Birthday and a Face Hole

Today's is Todd's 44th birthday, and we hardly saw him because he had a long, busy work day. It was a late bowl of soup and Dairy Queen Treatzza Pizza as a lame celebration.

Also, Madeline fell and scraped her knee in phy. ed. and then tonight her big sister yanked out Maddy's front tooth!

And that is all the day's news from Krinkeland!

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Sit With Us

The school year is off to a start, with the good and the bad, the ups and the downs. Here in Krinkeland, it is a time of ongoing change. Change is not a bad thing, yet we sometimes struggle to embrace it. At times, our kids shrug off the challenges they face when it comes to coping with change; other times, they seem to embrace those changes and rise to new potential.

The social aspects of school are sometimes most challenging, and I, personally, think they can be just as important as academics. Let's face it-- everyone struggles with friendships and personal relationships from time to time; some people are just better than others at faking their way through it. (I have been rightfully criticized at times for my bad behavior=cannot fake it.) For some kids, it can be really tough to "put themselves out there." I feel all the feels for them.

Another friend shared this article today on social media, and, I must say, I love the idea:

Last week, I said to Amanda, who is herself a new student at the high school: "You know I do not engineer your friendships, and I stay out of the way of your personal relationships, as long as I believe you are treating all people with basic respect, and it's hard for me to ask this of you, but I am going to, anyway, because I think it's so important, and you are just the kind of person to do this gracefully: If someone, anyone ever, ever asks to sit by you at lunch or in an assembly or asks to walk with you in the hall or to just be a part of what you're doing, promise me-- promise me-- you'll say 'yes!'" My firstborn looked me square in the eyes and calmly, cheerfully said, "Of course, Mom! I already invited two kids I didn't know to sit at our lunch table just today. One joined us... The other said she was just looking for the garbage and lunch was pretty much over, anyway."

my friend and neighbor Jenny and me on the front steps before starting seventh grade

Monday, September 12, 2016


Elisabeth competed in her first middle school swim meet. It's a pretty amazing feat considering the team only began practicing mid-last-week. So, with two practices under her belt, and only one parental demonstration of flip turns, she took to the pool in a neighboring town for a conference relay meet. Libby swam 50 free in the final leg of the medley relay, and later 50 breaststroke in a 200 breast relay. As she said afterward, "Well, at least I didn't drown!"

Well, the team has a lot of work to do... And there's no way to go but faster... But I am so, so proud of Elisabeth for jumping in feet first, joining a team, meeting new teammates and supporting friends she already knows. At least swimming is a sport I understand, and I am looking forward to lots of improvement and a really fun season!

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Lucky 13!

Today my baby Elisabeth is a teenager. She is-- unbelievably-- thirteen years old, in the seventh grade, growing into a lovely young woman, and perpetually wise beyond her years. In this photo, she is sitting atop her godmama Auntie Lisa and sporting a special button from Grandma R. that reads "The princess is 13." Isn't it all the best?

Libby is a big one for celebrating birthdays: every minute of the day, if not the entire weekend, has to be totally a kit her! She began today as Dad's partner for the Partner WOD at the gym. Back home, we had a nice breakfast and opened gifts. I know for a fact she's a teenager now because she got SHOES for her birthday! Then, Dad and I tool Elisabeth and Amanda to St. Cloud for the rest of the day, to be spectators at the Granite Games. This three-day CrossFit event draws world-class athletes down to scaled competitors, like those from our own Hotova CrossFit.  It was interesting and exciting and really great fun! (That's also exactly how I would describe Elisabeth!)

with our Scaled as Heck guys

with our Sour Snatch Kids gals

with our box chiropractor Dr. Carter, who also shares his hair that with Libby

We caught dinner and returned home and are thankful for a colorful year with our dazzling girl! Thank God for Elisabeth Connie the Thirteen!

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Day One, Done

It was a great and difficult day: the first day of school. Hopefully, only Mama thought it was tough... Four kids, three schools, school-day timing changes for all, Mom on shuttle-bus-switch (AKA all the chaos) duty, combined with some actual paying work for the mama, Dad traveling on business, and some "interesting" extended-family "tidbits" on both sides of the tree that nearly put me over the edge.

But, God is here, and God is good... And tomorrow will take care of itself... And all the kids agreed to go back and give it another go!

You know what else is good? CherryBerry!

Monday, September 5, 2016

Back to Business

It's become a Labor Day tradition to take a ride and a dip, just our family, before the kiddos head back to school. The weather wasn't awesome, and, Dad, headed out on a work excursion, was pressed for time... But we got it in.  Madeline exclaimed, "Awww, isn't it a moment, Mom?" Indeed. Tomorrow, Amanda begins her high school career. Elisabeth is transitioning to the public middle school for seventh grade, while Benjamin and Madeline will return to their beloved Catholic school. I pray for them to share with the world the best versions of themselves.

Sunday, September 4, 2016


Today, Blessed Mother Teresa of Kolkata is a saint:

Her life, her way of living and teaching, her legacy have all guided me in my life, and I rejoice in this day, as I aim to be more like Mother Teresa.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

The Pre-Teenager

Elisabeth planned a 24-hour pre-birthday celebration (Libby's birthday is still a week away, but always a bit of a challenge to navigate during the first week of school) with a friend. She devised a lengthy, but not overly demanding, agenda... And hopefully it was all Libby hoped it would be!

They attended the first-of-the-season high school football game, which involved absolutely no watching of football but many selfies like this:

They came back home for a sleepover that was mostly a Harry Potter movie marathon. And today, late morning by the time they awoke and ate, we went for the highlight: to local arts business Artistic Me to make mosaic glass dishes. 

It was super-cool, and the girls were so creative! It will take a week or so to get the final projects fired and back to them. That should be right around the REAL birthday!

Jacob Found

The disappearance of 11-year-old Jacob Wetterling, who was abducted one evening nearly 27 years ago while riding bike not far from his St. Joseph, Minnesota home, has shaped a significant piece of who I am, how I live. As a teenager at the time, case made me immediately fearful of strangers and watchful of my surroundings. Later, as a media professional, I wrote many stories and was involved in a number of investigations into the unsolved case. As a parent, Jacob's story was never far from mind as I sought-- as we all seek-- to keep my children safe from harm.

Today, today comes the news that Jacob's remains have finally been found and identified. Love go his family. Peace to all:

Friday, September 2, 2016

What the Village Does

I was making dinner when the doorbell rang. Typically when this happens, it's someone selling something. I contemplated not answering, but felt compelled to go to the door. When I opened it, two girls were standing on the doorstep. The taller one held some papers in her hand-- selling something, I thought; neither smiled; neither spoke.

"Can I help you?" I asked. The older girl thumbed at the younger girl and said, "She knows your girl from the school bus. She wanted to know if she could play." The smaller girl nodded. 

I recognized the girls. I had laid eyes on them for the first time just this morning. We were wrapping up the Cousins' Sleepover with a walk/scooter ride/bike ride to the park, and we passed the duo on the walking path. I greeted them and they said "Hi" in return. I noticed they spoke with Madeline, who was further down the path on her bike. Later,Maddy  remarked, "I saw two girls who ride my bus."

And here they were. I introduced myself and, with considerable prodding, the girls told me their first names and where they lived. I asked which of my daughters hey sought, and the little one pointed behind me, where Madeline was lurking in the entry way. I introduced the girls and explained I was making dinner, so it wouldn't be long, but they were welcome to play in our yard for a bit and get acquainted.

The windows were open, and my other children were curiously milling about, keeping watch without being asked. Just a couple minutes later, the doorbell rang again. I opened it to a pretty, young, nervous-looking woman. She began, "Hi, did two little girls just come over here?" "Well, yes," I said. I stuck out my hand and introduced myself. "Are you their mother?" She looked confused, "Nooo..." Then, I realized she thought they were my children. "Oh, I don't know the girls-- they just showed up and asked to play. I figured it was pretty harmless if they hit the play set for a few minutes."

"Well, that's the thing," the woman said. "I live just down the road, here, and I was watching the girls. They took some toys from our yard that belong to my son. They were also taking mail out of mailboxes."

"Oh!" I said, coming outside. "Well, let's address this." The woman kind of stammered, "I'm sorry, I should have said something right then. I saw them." I assured her, "No, no, it's uncomfortable, but it's not something we can let go. We all have a responsibility to children."

We walked around to the backyard and called up the girls from the playset. I calmly but firmly asked them-- more told them-- about what was suspected. The bigger girl denied it. The smaller girl
shook her head. I said it was witnessed. (I did not explain the woman standing behind me, nor did she speak.) The big girl looked shame-faced while trying to maintain confusion. I asked, "Where are the toys and mail?" The younger girl held up a small backpack. I took it, looked inside, removed the items, handed the toy cars to the woman and put the mail (it was all junk mail, real estate flyers) under my arm. I handed back the bag, kept smiling, and said, "You know it's wrong to take things that don't belong to you." They nodded. "It's time for you to go home, now. I know you won't do this again." They nodded. "Are you going to tell your mom what happened, or should I come home with you to talk to her?" They promised, "No, no, we'll tell her."

I suspected they wouldn't, of course, but I smiled again. "OK, good. And, girls, let's make better choices tomorrow. Be careful crossing the road."

The other mother and I watched them go. "Thanks," she said. We're all in this together.