Sunday, July 30, 2017

Big, Busy Times

We've had some big, big days here in Krinkeland. Each of these events could easily warrant individual posts, but it's a lot to process, for me, anyway. Right now, for posterity:

Amanda got her driver's permit and her letter jacket, on the same day! We are taking it slow and easy behind the wheel, but, so far, I would describe her as cautiously enthusiastic. I find it difficult to believe we are already at this place in Krinkeland!

After much discussion and negotiation, Benjamin got a haircut. He admitted "letting it grow" was getting really HOT, and he and his stylists discussed styles, settling on this, which makes Ben look like the cool, older boy who lives next door. 

We also got Benjamin signed up to play tackle football. There is much more to say on this topic, but, for now, I think we should just pray.

My parents, siblings and spouses went to see Gua during a weekend wedding trip. She was delightfully nutty as always, and hanging in there.

The wedding was my cousin Drew's and his bride Kameryn's. It was a beautiful day for a wedding.

Saturday was also the anniversary of my birth, as well as-- some decades later-- the birth of my cousin Tessa. The wedding reception was a great time to celebrate the date for everyone!

It also brought my dad and his seven siblings to the same place, which doesn't often happen. These are great people with huge hearts!

Meanwhile, back at home the big girls were closing their run of "Mary Poppins." Elisabeth was on stage and Amanda was backstage. This week, Madeline begins rehearsals for another musical. Never a quiet moment for these drama queens!

And we capped off the weekend with extended family photos at my parents' house. Now, that was interesting and entertaining!

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Play in the Park

In today's edition of Krinkeland Musical Theater, we took in "Curious George and the Golden Meatball," a singular performance of a teen-produced, teen-created and teen-acted musical for children. Broadway in the Park was great fun, and a great success considering the size of the crowd and the fact that incoming bad weather held off. Nephew Kazmer played The Man in the Yellow Hat and Amanda his friend Nettie. You can hear most of their duet here.

So, it's not exactly a new concept, but it's an awesome one, right? Bring entertaining, age-appropriate art to a new audience, in a setting in which they are already familiar and comfortable. Everyone wins!

Madeline won-- the pre-show costume contest, and then I lost my view.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Summer Driving

Holy Cow-- I have really been slacking on the blog posts!  Must be a busy summer!  And it is... 2017 will be forever known in Krinkeland as the Summer Behind the Wheel.  When I run into a friend at the grocery store, or the gas station, or the stoplight, and she asks, "What have you been up to all summer?" I respond, "This.  Mostly just this.  Really only this.  I sit behind the wheel of my car and drive around town.  I drop off kids.  I pick up kids.  I repeat."  Todd over the weekend had a mini-coronary while reviewing my credit card bill.  "WHAT did you BUY?!"  "Gas."

Most days, I think the summer is a big disaster.  Nothing is getting done at home,  There's been an insane amount of wear-and-tear on the car.  Very regularly, one kid is sitting and waiting somewhere while I pick up another because I still have not been successfully cloned.  And I still often have to call for backup from the taxi services of Grandma, Grandma and Grandpa.

However, there are those times when I am so thankful for the full and charmed life we all-- particularly the children-- lead.  They are so LUCKY that they get to do things like go to faith camp, attend CrossFit classes, take swimming lessons, and perform in theatrical productions.  The kids get to do these things because Dad makes a good enough living to pay for all the fees and equipment, and Mom can still be home to take them all these places while keeping them fed, rested, and somewhat clean.

There's a second meaning of the Summer Behind the Wheel because Amanda has just completed the classroom portion of driver's education.  Say it with me now, "WHAAAAAAA?!"  I know, I know...  She must be only, like, five and driving and kindergarten should not coincide, but it's a crazy world we live in.  The permit test happens in a few days, and, if she passes, that'll really be something!  Amanda is already super fun and helpful in the car, pointing out how many violations I commit, from improper hand position on the steering wheel to not counting off the correct number of seconds for a full stop.  Good times.

I never thought I would be excited for a child to drive, but, scared as I am, I am really looking forward to having another driver in the house.  I would rather stay home.

There was not much staying home this weekend.  Elisabeth is in the cast of Buffalo Community Theater's production of "Mary Poppins."  She is the only family member to commit to a full summer musical, and we are all enjoying hearing about her experiences.  The first weekend of performances has wrapped, and I love watching my girl on stage.  There are four shows to go, and then we all get a break... for exactly one day... and then Madeline begins rehearsals for the SOAR Arts production of "Annie"... for which I will be driving one town over, every day.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Chicken Legs, Eleventyteen, Double Toothpicks, ELEVEN

Today is Benjamin Todd's eleventh birthday.  The day always conjures much joy and many memories throughout Krinkeland, particularly because Ben makes sure he is always seen and heard, and never forgotten.  What can I tell you about my Number One Son at this juncture in his life?  Let's see...

11. The current loves of his life are fishing and video games.
10. He is quite an adventurous eater, always gravitating toward bold flavors.
9. The boy is a hog and a bum, plowing through snacks in the pantry and stuffing the wrappers under his bed.
8. Benjamin's current goal in life is to play football-- on a screen, in the yard, on a team.  He plans to play professionally one day, quarterback, naturally.
7. Like his older sisters, Ben has some funky teeth, with the permanent ones growing in behind the non-loose baby ones.  There's a dentist visit later in the month to address this issue.
6. He doesn't exactly initiate chores, but will always willingly do whatever is asked of him, whether it's his job or not.
5. Ben loves anything sticky, and all things that make annoying noises.
4. His shoe size is 2, pants and shirts are 10, and he favors those athletic socks that go up the leg.
3. Benjamin's favorite place to go is anywhere where he can be the only kid.
2. He's really getting into power tools, particularly when Dad is not paying attention.
1. Ben is still super affectionate, and never tries to go to bed without a big hug and kiss for Mom.

Benjamin celebrated his birthday by inviting four friends (including cousin Solomon) for a swimming-fishing-eating sleepover last night.  The rest of the day was spent with the usual running around town, to and from activities, but with an added layer of zombie from the night before.  Dad and Biggest Sis had a boring meeting tonight, and Second Sis had rehearsal, so we Three Musketeers went off on our own adventure.  Welcome, Eleven!  Happy, happy birthday, Benjamin Todd!  Jesus loves you and Mommy does, too.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Not So Fast

"Mom, I've decided I want to do all my school shopping online this year, and avoid the mall."
(WHY is she thinking about SCHOOL SHOPPING during the second week in JULY?!) "Sounds great to me!"
"OK, good.  I've already made out my list and put things in the cart."
"Just for your planning purposes, you should know it's going to be about $700."

Ummmm.... NO.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Word Play

Even though it's summer vacation, there is still plenty of learning going on in Krinkeland.  Madeline joined a book club with her classmates.  Elisabeth is tutoring a younger student.  Amanda is taking driver's education.  Benjamin is figuring out odds for his favorite football teams on Madden 2017.  It's all good.

Maddy, of late, has had a lot of questions regarding language usage and vocabulary.  My journalism background comes in kind of handy, but I also find myself wishing I was an English teacher.  First, she asked me about the word department.  The context was Maddy asking me what exactly a department store was.  Since I know as much about shopping as I do about words, this was not a problem.  We even discussed the difference between a department store and a discount department store, and branched out into the term "big box store."  However, the next day, she asked me what DNR stood for, and became more puzzled when I explained it was Department of Natural Resources.  What does the word department mean here? I fumbled more over this definition... and had a moment of appreciation for all who learn English as a second language.

Maybe it's a shopping thing, but, today, Madeline asked me what a rear was.  I said that word means your bottom.  "My butt?" she asked, because bathroom humor is always in style.  I nodded.  Maddy was quiet for a few moments and then asked, "So, why do they say 'the rear of the store?'"  I broadened my definition to the back or the back end.  She's still thinking.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Sendoff for Margaret

Today was the funeral for Harlan's mom, Margaret Rosendahl. She inherited all of us when her son married Todd's mom. We definitely considered her a grandmother to Todd and our kids' great-grandma. Margaret lived a full life, blazing a trail through university studies, a teaching position, and tons of volunteer work, particularly through 4-H and her church. We all enjoyed the memories and photos shared today of this beloved woman and her interesting life. 97 years of love-- we should all be so lucky.