Category Archives: Kids


Today’s post comes from Ben.

The final project in the English class I’m taking, “Critical Reading and writing 1” is to create a research paper on a topic of our choosing. We’ve written three other papers based on material we’ve read in class. The entire class to this point was mostly learning how to properly use commas, quote marks, how to attribute a quote, how to add citations to a paper, all that stuff you need to get a college level research paper done right.

I felt like I had a pretty good handle on things going in. What I’ve learned is just because I can do it doesn’t mean I know the rules and knowing the rules is harder!  English is hard! I only whined about that once or twice to the teacher. She’s been great. I knew her before the class and knew I would like her as a teacher so that’s all been good.

For my research paper, I choose to write about whispering. This came up because our daughter speaks really loud. I mean it makes my ears ring sometimes.

But it’s not that simple. I talked with an ENT doctor from Mayo. I spoke with a professional opera singer and I interviewed a speech pathologist.  The fact we can speak at all is pretty amazing! There’s a lot going on in making a “voice”. But loudness has to do with how much air you’re moving (and that comes from your “Pelvic Floor”) and it has to do with intonation and resonance and it all gives your voice a tone or pitch.

AND THEN, the speech pathologist said he didn’t think our daughter spoke that loud. Huh! So now ‘Loud’ is relative. Loud compared to what? I looked up that the average speaker is about 60dBA’s. A quiet room is about 40dBA. A lawn mower is about 85-90dBA. (And those are all rather subjective too). And using an iPhone app, she does speak about 60dBA. But the rest of us in the house don’t talk that loud. So I guess she’s only loud “in comparison”. And it’s loud when you’re in a quiet restaurant and the lunch rush is over.

I’ve learned a lot and it’s been interesting. It’s just not that simple. And I guess really, I just need to be grateful she can communicate at all.

Got anything to say about your voice?

Cookie Central

It’s Cookie Central at our house this week. We started with the fussy ones: Frosted Sugar and Shortbread Cookie Sticks – to get them out of the way.  They require frosting and sprinkles so take more time than others.  Twelve more kinds to go.  I even got YA onboard today!

When do you start your holiday baking (if you indulge)?


I am an only child.  When I was younger, I cringed when I said that to people, as I invariably would hear the same phrase “Oh, you must be spoiled”.  It always made me want to apologize.

Spoiled, to me, brings up images of the nasty girl from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.  I think that people can be spoiled in good and not so good ways, and I have tried to spoil my children and the people I love in good ways.

Our daughter is coming home for Thanksgiving. We haven’t seen her for six months.  Thanksgiving is her favorite holiday, and she has great expectations for her trip home.   Every year we “spoil” her by letting her plan the Thanksgiving meal.  She has old favorites, and likes to try new things as well. She doesn’t help prepare the food, but leaves it to us.  This year she has requested French bread, an apple crisp for desert,  cranberry salsa, a basic turkey dressing, butternut squash casserole,  mashed potatoes, a simple turkey that is covered in cheese cloth and basted with herb butter, and, of course, green bean casserole.  She also wants cranberry mimosas.

Daughter has also asked that she gets a down comforter on her bed, and has other favorite food requests for the 10 days she is home.  I think this is a very good way to spoil her.

How do you spoil the people you love?


Trick or Treaters?

I love Halloween. Not the original All Hallow’s Eve, but what it has morphed into: the costumes, the candy, the jack-o-lanterns. Even as an adult, I love to dress up (today I dressed as the Crocodile Hunter, complete with a large upholstery foam crocodile that draped over my shoulders).  I have a lovely decorative flag of a full moon with bats, a wonderful huge ceramic jack-o-lantern with the letters of our last name as the mouth and a whole bunch of Halloween luminaries that YA and I made when she was younger. (I’m not crazy about all the gory horror films that get trotted out at this time of year, but that’s another story.)

Unfortunately the reality of the trick-or-treat experience these days is not as much fun as I would have it be. I live on a busy street with a lot of folks who don’t leave their lights on; this keeps the foot traffic down. This year has a couple more strikes against it: it’s a school night and it’s REALLY REALLY cold.  I normally only get about 25 trick or treaters.  This year I only got 15 before I finally closed up shop.  The last 5 kids got a huge handful of candy each!

When has a holiday disappointed you?


Today’s post is from tim.
i was 4
my bed was the one by the window
paul’s was the one by the wall
mom brought home the record of the new play called oklahoma
the songs are all so wonderful but that one about the surry with the fringe on top made me dance in my sleep
with eisenglass windows that roll right up in case there’s a change in the weather.
mom comes in
what’s wrong

what are you yelling

i didn’t realize i was singing i thought it was in my head
what are you singing
with eisenglass windows that roll right up in case there’s a change in the weather
we just got that record today
i like it
go to sleep you’ll wake up your brother

wha do you got for childhood flashbacks?

Make a List!

today’s post comes to us from tim.

  1. The weekend at my daughters school was pretty lame
  2. We got a late start my fault
  3. Got to dinner too late after unloading at airb2b
  4. Had to deal with oncoming illness
  5. Events were poorly planned out and yet ok
  6. Seeing daughter was great
  7. Letting 16 year old hang with her sister was worth it
  8. Brunch should be go to meal every day
  9. People watching is my 2nd favorite thing

What’s a summary of something in your life with bare bones description?

State Fair 2017

As you all know, I adore the Minnesota State Fair. This year I was able to attend three times: opening day on my own and twice with Young Adult.  Some new things this year: a thorough exploration of the West End area, Macaroni & Cheese Curds, llamas and alpacas in the very back of the horse barn.  And the traditionals as well: Hawaiian Shave ice, bunny whispering, butter heads.  After three years of lusting after them, YA and I caved this year and purchased a big set of Thin Bins, collapsible containers with color-coded lids. We also went home with some t-shirts, assorted bags and cookies.

Even though it is essentially the same parade day after day, it is one of my favorite parts of the fair. I love seeing the different marching bands, the dairy princesses and the art cars.

On reflection though, one of my favorite things about the Fair is the people watching – and the unbelievable “variety” there is in the folks of Minnesota (and Iowa/Wisconsin/Dakota visitors). Lots of different family types, from extended families in matching shirts to young families with their jam-packed strollers.  An amazing array of clothing and shoes – why would you wear bright white tennies to the fair?  Or high-heeled shoes?  Lots of shoppers (YA and I included) getting fancy scissors, wine pouches, shark teeth – this list could go on and on.

So now the fair is finished for another year and I’m already looking forward to next year. If my feet and my pocket book can handle it, maybe I’ll go four times!

Where is your favorite people-watching locale?