Dec 18, 2017

Cookie Exchange December 2017

I can't believe it's been a month since I've blogged. I was doing so good this year. Well, I have some good excuses... Stay tuned for more info on that at a later date. I'm going to be jamming a month's worth of stuff in the next few posts so bare with me. 

Today's post is going to be about the cookie exchange I did a few weeks ago with the lovely ladies in my family. My Mom hosted it at her new apartment and my Sister In-Law Lori and Sister Tracy provided a lot of the food. It turned out to be a great event. I was impressed by the baking and creative skills of my fam. I of course read the directions wrong. My Sister in Law asked everyone to bring 1/2 dozen cookies per person. I thought that meant I was to bring a 1/2 dozen for myself as the per person. Oops. Needless to say I didn't participate. But that's was ok because I don't indulge in sugar anyway. Check out the spread.

Oh good! some lower carb options for me. Yummy!!

 Pretty Tree!


 Jake's favorite thing to do is play with his cousin Leah. They are best friends and have so much fun together. 

Great time with family!!

Nov 17, 2017

What's Up, Weekend? November 17th, 2017

I haven't linked up for a What's Up Weekend? post FOREVER. I used to do these weekly. Trying to get back in the groove.

This week has been dragging and I happy that Friday is finally here. Here is a list of 10 things that made me and happy this week and what I am looking forward to this weekend. 

1. Jake aced his math test... Of course this was after his para lied and said that it wasn't a test(because he has test anxiety). Hey, what ever works, right?! Very proud!

2. My Mom and Sister are coming to stay with me this weekend while Jason is out of town with Camdin. I've been looking forward to this for a long time. They've never been to my house and it will be nice to spend some time together. 

4. My Instant Pot-Why did I not bust you out of the box sooner?! PS I love you!

5. Camdin won 2017 defensive MVP. Great end to his senior year of football. 

6. Jake! He is so freakin sweet! He tells me he loves me about a 100 times a day. I feel so blessed. 

7. Mastering my broccoli cheese soup recipe. 

8. A clean house. Jason and I cleaned the house top to bottom last night. I love the feel of a clean house. 

9. QT with my favorite 8 year old. When we moved to the area and Jake started at AZ he was terrified of the rock wall. Fast forward 6 months and he scales it like a pro. 
10. Jason! I've been less than pleasant this week(PMS) This morning I get a single post it note that says, I love you! 
I loved it! I haven't told him this yet  because I am being a brat but I promise I will.

Nov 15, 2017

Letters to the Universe

Dear the Color Black, no matter how much I try I can't quit you. I want color in life but you always find your way back into my daily life. I don't want to do this but I might need an intervention to rid you from my life.

Dear Instant Pot, I am sorry that I kept you in your box for 6 months before I used you. I was intimidated by you but after I got to know you, I couldn't imagine my life without you.

Dear Jake, thank you for being such a sweet gentle soul. Your compassion for others is beautiful. I have always been too much for people and a little rough around the edges. You have taught me so much and you have softened me. I will always be grateful that God chose me to be your Mom.

Dear Sports Center, go away!!

Dear Cooper, if I have to tell you the leave the cat alone ONE MORE TIME I am going to scream!

Dear  Electric Coffee Mug Warmer, thank you for keeping my coffee in my cup warm for the hours that it take me to drink it.

Dear Self, you can't force people to stay in your life, staying is a choice. So be thankful for those that choose you.

Dear Jason, I love when we look at each other after a little tiff and can't help but smile at each other. Then all is right with the world! I love you!

Dear 40, I am NOT ready!!

Nov 14, 2017


Since I've neglected my blog most of the summer/late fall, I thought today would be a great day to jump back in and link up with Peaceful Posse's monthly Mantras, Goals and Currently. 

Reading- Blogs blogs blogs. Trying to catch up.

Playing- Games with Jake on his tablet.

Watching- The list is long. It's always long. What can I say, I love TV. Currently binge watching Nurse Jackie. I love it! Just got done with Stranger Things.

Trying- To not stress about money this holiday season.

Cooking- Everything I can in my Instant POT. I've become a little obsessed. I've made the following

Rack of ribs-Perfect!
Hamburger cheesy potatoes-ok
Roast with potatoes-Perfect!
Taco soup(fail)

Eating- I make a lot in my instant pot but I don't really eat what I make. I try to make a bunch of stuff for the week for Jake and Jason. I follow a keto lifestyle so my eating habits don't really jive with my boys eating habits.

Drinking- Coffee black. Overnight my taste buds changed and I only want my coffee black. This is so odd for me as I have always had to have my heavy whipping cream and one truvia.

Calling- The last person I can remember calling is my Sister in Law Lori. I've been trying to keep more in contact with her and my Brother. I have always been bad at that in the past.

Texting-I don't really text anyone lately. I am more into Facebook messenger.

Pinning- Laundry room idea. I hate my laundry room. You have to walk through our laundry room when you enter our house so I am trying to figure out how to make it cute.

Going- Going to post more  on my blog this winter season....or try.

Loving- That my Mom, Sister, SIL and nieces are coming to visit this weekend while Jason is out of town. I moved 7 months ago and this will be my first visit.

Hating- One of my favorite restaurants in our neighborhood is closing next week. Where will I get my chicken wings now?! UGH.

Discovering- I really miss my friends and it's hard to find new friends when you are in your late 30's and are new to the area.

Thinking- Too much. If I could turn off my brain maybe I could sleep past 4:00 am.

Hoping (for) A winter that isn't too brutal. Minnesota can be a bitch in the Winter.

Listening (to) True Crime Podcasts. I love it! I've never been into Podcasts but after I binged Up and Vanished now I listen to whatever I can. Currently I am into True Crime Garage.

Smelling- My cat.. she stints lately. I need to get her groomed.

Thankful- That I have a job that is so flexible. Being a single parent is tough. When Jake is sick there is only ME to take care of him. My job understands that and for that I am thankful.

Considering- I membership to our local community center. It's not cheap but it would be good to get back into fitness and also get a discount on Jake's daycare.

Starting- Christmas shopping. I want to get a head start.

Finishing- The Mindy Project. So sad this is the final season. I love how easy it is. It's funny and light and that is refreshing.

So there you have it. My currently list!!

Nov 7, 2017

That's a Wrap!!

Camdin's senior year of football was fun to watch. As I said before, it was bittersweet for Jason as this was Camdin's last year of high school football. Witnessing a kid with such talent and love for the game has been such a fun experience. The Storm really stepped up this year! Unfortunately they were upset by Elk River in the playoffs but these boys should be proud of how they played this year. We look forward to watching Camdin play college ball. 

A collection of pics from the 2017 Sauk Rapids Storm football season. 

Camdin won Defensive MVP!! Congrats Kid!

Offensive MVP and Defensive MVP

Nov 1, 2017

The Fragile Generation

 &  from the December 2017 issue - view article in the Digital Edition 

One day last year, a citizen on a prairie path in the Chicago suburb of Elmhurst came upon a teen boy chopping wood. Not a body. Just some already-fallen branches. Nonetheless, the onlooker called the cops.
Officers interrogated the boy, who said he was trying to build a fort for himself and his friends. A local news site reports the police then "took the tools for safekeeping to be returned to the boy's parents."
Elsewhere in America, preschoolers at the Learning Collaborative in Charlotte, North Carolina, were thrilled to receive a set of gently used playground equipment. But the kids soon found out they would not be allowed to use it, because it was resting on grass, not wood chips. "It's a safety issue," explained a day care spokeswoman. Playing on grass is against local regulations.
And then there was the query that ran in Parents magazine a few years back: "Your child's old enough to stay home briefly, and often does. But is it okay to leave her and her playmate home while you dash to the dry cleaner?" Absolutely not, the magazine averred: "Take the kids with you, or save your errand for another time." After all, "you want to make sure that no one's feelings get too hurt if there's a squabble."
The principle here is simple: This generation of kids must be protected like none other. They can't use tools, they can't play on grass, and they certainly can't be expected to work through a spat with a friend.
And this, it could be argued, is why we have "safe spaces" on college campuses and millennials missing adult milestones today. We told a generation of kids that they can never be too safe—and they believed us.

Safety First

We've had the best of intentions, of course. But efforts to protect our children may be backfiring. When we raise kids unaccustomed to facing anything on their own, including risk, failure, and hurt feelings, our society and even our economy are threatened. Yet modern child-rearing practices and laws seem all but designed to cultivate this lack of preparedness. There's the fear that everything children see, do, eat, hear, and lick could hurt them. And there's a newer belief that has been spreading through higher education that words and ideas themselves can be traumatizing.
How did we come to think a generation of kids can't handle the basic challenges of growing up?
Beginning in the 1980s, American childhood changed. For a variety of reasons—including shifts in parenting norms, new academic expectations, increased regulation, technological advances, and especially a heightened fear of abduction (missing kids on milk cartons made it feel as if this exceedingly rare crime was rampant)—children largely lost the experience of having large swaths of unsupervised time to play, explore, and resolve conflicts on their own. This has left them more fragile, more easily offended, and more reliant on others. They have been taught to seek authority figures to solve their problems and shield them from discomfort, a condition sociologists call "moral dependency."
This poses a threat to the kind of open-mindedness and flexibility young people need to thrive at college and beyond. If they arrive at school or start careers unaccustomed to frustration and misunderstandings, we can expect them to be hypersensitive. And if they don't develop the resources to work through obstacles, molehills come to look like mountains.
This magnification of danger and hurt is prevalent on campus today. It no longer matters what a person intended to say, or how a reasonable listener would interpret a statement—what matters is whether any individual feels offended by it. If so, the speaker has committed a "microaggression," and the offended party's purely subjective reaction is a sufficient basis for emailing a dean or filing a complaint with the university's "bias response team." The net effect is that both professors and students today report that they are walking on eggshells. This interferes with the process of free inquiry and open debate—the active ingredients in a college education.
And if that's the case already, what of the kids still in grammar school, constantly reminded they might accidentally hurt each other with the wrong words? When today's 8-year-olds become the 18-year-olds starting college, will they still view free speech as worthy of protecting? As Daniel Shuchman, chairman of the free speech-promoting Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), puts it, "How likely are they to consider the First Amendment essential if they start learning in fifth grade that you're forbidden to say—or even think—certain things, especially at school?"
Parents, teachers, and professors are talking about the growing fragility they see. It's hard to avoid the conclusion that the overprotection of children and the hypersensitivity of college students could be two sides of the same coin. By trying so hard to protect our kids, we're making them too safe to succeed.

Children on a Leash

If you're over 40, chances are good that you had scads of free time as a child—after school, on weekends, over the summer. And chances are also good that, if you were asked about it now, you'd go on and on about playing in the woods and riding your bike until the streetlights came on.
Today many kids are raised like veal. Only 13 percent of them even walk to school. Many who take the bus wait at the stop with parents beside them like bodyguards. For a while, Rhode Island was considering a bill that would prohibit children from getting off the bus in the afternoon if there wasn't an adult waiting to walk them home. This would have applied until seventh grade.
As for summer frolicking, campers don't just have to take a buddy with them wherever they go, including the bathroom. Some are now required to take two—one to stay with whoever gets hurt, the other to run and get a grown-up. Walking to the john is treated like climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro.
After school, kids no longer come home with a latchkey and roam the neighborhood. Instead, they're locked into organized, supervised activities. Youth sports are a $15 billion business that has grown by 55 percent since just 2010. Children as young as third grade are joining traveling teams—which means their parents spend a lot of time in the car, too. Or they're at tutoring. Or they're at music lessons. And if all else fails, they are in their rooms, online.
Even if parents want to shoo their kids outside—and don't come home till dinner!—it's not as easy as it once was. Often, there are no other children around to play with. Even more dishearteningly, adults who believe it's good for young people to run some errands or play kickball down the street have to think twice about letting them, because busybodies, cops, and social workers are primed to equate "unsupervised" with "neglected and in danger."
You may remember the story of the Meitivs in Maryland, investigated twice for letting their kids, 10 and 6, walk home together from the park. Or the Debra Harrell case in South Carolina, where a mom was thrown in jail for allowing her 9-year-old to play at the sprinkler playground while she worked at McDonald's. Or the 8-year-old Ohio boy who was supposed to get on the bus to Sunday school, but snuck off to the Family Dollar store instead. His dad was arrested for child endangerment.
These examples represent a new outlook: the belief that anytime kids are doing anything on their own, they are automatically under threat. But that outlook is wrong. The crime rate in America is back down to what it was in 1963, which means that most of today's parents grew up playing outside when it was more dangerous than it is today. And it hasn't gotten safer because we're hovering over our kids. All violent crime is down, including against adults.

Danger Things

And yet it doesn't feel safer. A 2010 study found "kidnapping" to be the top parental fear, despite the fact that merely being a passenger in a car is far more dangerous. Nine kids were kidnapped and murdered by strangers in 2011, while 1,140 died in vehicles that same year. While Harvard psychologist Steven Pinker writes in 2011's The Better Angels of Our Nature that life in most countries is safer today than at any time in human history, the press keeps pushing paranoia. This makes stepping back feel doubly risky: There's the fear of child kidnappers and the fear of Child Protective Services.
At times, it seems like our culture is conjuring dangers out of thin air, just to have something new to worry about. Thus, the Boulder Public Library in Colorado recently forbade anyone under 12 to enter without an adult, because "children may encounter hazards such as stairs, elevators, doors, furniture, electrical equipment, or other library patrons." Ah, yes, kids and library furniture. Always a lethal combo.
Happily, the library backed off that rule, perhaps thanks to merciless mocking in the media. But saner minds don't always prevail. At Mesa Elementary School, which also happens to be in Boulder, students got a list of the items they could not bring to the science fair. These included "chemicals," "plants in soil," and "organisms (living or dead)." And we wonder why American children score so low on international tests.
But perhaps the single best example of how fantastically fearful we've become occurred when the city of Richland, Washington, got rid of all the swings on its school playgrounds. The love of swinging is probably older than humanity itself, given our arboreal origins. But as a school district spokesman explained, "Swings have been determined to be the most unsafe of all the playground equipment on a playground."
You may think your town has avoided such overkill, but is there a merry-go-round at your local park, or a see-saw? Most likely they, too, have gone the way of lawn darts. The Consumer Product Safety Commission even warns parks of "tripping hazards, like…tree stumps and rocks," a fact unearthed (so to speak) by Philip Howard, author of 2010's Life Without Lawyers.
The problem is that kids learn by doing. Trip over a tree stump and you learn to look down. There's an old saying: Prepare your child for the path, not the path for your child. We're doing the opposite.
Ironically, there are real health dangers in not walking, or biking, or hopping over that stump. A Johns Hopkins study this summer found that the typical 19-year-old is as sedentary as a 65-year-old. The Army is worried that its recruits don't know how to skip or do somersaults.
But the cost of shielding kids from risks goes well beyond the physical, as a robust body of research has shown.

Of Trophies and Traumas

A few years ago, Boston College psychology professor emeritus Peter Gray was invited by the head of counseling services at a major university to a conference on "the decline in resilience among students." The organizer said that emergency counseling calls had doubled in the last five years. What's more, callers were seeking help coping with everyday problems, such as arguments with a roommate. Two students had dialed in because they'd found a mouse in their apartment. They also called the police, who came and set a mousetrap. And that's not to mention the sensitivity around grades. To some students, a B is the end of the world. (To some parents, too.)
Part of the rise in calls could be attributed to the fact that admitting mental health issues no longer carries the stigma it once did, an undeniably positive development. But it could also be a sign, Gray realized, that failing at basic "adulting" no longer carries the stigma it once did. And that is far more troubling.
Is this outcome the apotheosis of participation-trophy culture? It's easy to scoff at a society that teaches kids that everything they do deserves applause. But more disturbing is the possibility that those trophies taught kids the opposite lesson: that they're so easily hurt, they can't handle the sad truth that they're not the best at something.
Not letting your kid climb a tree because he might fall robs him of a classic childhood experience. But being emotionally overprotective takes away something else. "We have raised a generation of young people who have not been given the opportunity to…experience failure and realize they can survive it," Gray has said. When Lenore's son came in eighth out of nine teams in a summer camp bowling league, he got an eighth-place trophy. The moral was clear: We don't think you can cope with the negative emotions of finishing second-to-last.
Of course, it's natural to want to see kids happy. But the real secret to happiness isn't more high fives; it's developing emotional resilience. In our mania for physical safety, coupled with our recent tendency to talk about "emotional safety," we have systematically deprived our children of the thousands of challenging—and sometimes upsetting—experiences that they need in order to learn that resiliency. And in our quest to protect them, we have stolen from children the best resilience training known to man: free play.

Play's the Thing

All mammals play. It is a drive installed by Mother Nature. Hippos do backflips in the water. Dogs fetch sticks. And gazelles run around, engaging in a game that looks an awful lot like tag.
Why would they do that? They're wasting valuable calories and exposing themselves to predators. Shouldn't they just sit quietly next to their mama gazelles, exploring the world through the magic of PBS Kids?
It must be because play is even more important to their long-term survival than simply being "safe." Gray's main body of research is on the importance of free play, and he stresses that it has little in common with the "play" we give kids today. In organized activities—Little League, for example—adults run the show. It's only when the grown-ups aren't around that the kids get to take over. Play is training for adulthood.
In free play, ideally with kids of mixed ages, the children decide what to do and how to do it. That's teamwork, literally. The little kids desperately want to be like the bigger kids, so instead of bawling when they strike out during a sandlot baseball game, they work hard to hold themselves together. This is the foundation of maturity.
The older kids, meanwhile, throw the ball more softly to the younger ones. They're learning empathy. And if someone yells, "Let's play on just one leg!"—something they couldn't do at Little League, with championships (and trophies!) on the line—the kids discover what it means to come up with and try out a different way of doing things. In Silicon Valley terms, they "pivot" and adopt a "new business model." They also learn that they, not just grown-ups, can collectively remake the rules to suit their needs. That's called participatory democracy.
Best of all, without adults intervening, the kids have to do all the problem solving for themselves, from deciding what game to play to making sure the teams are roughly equal. Then, when there's an argument, they have to resolve it themselves. That's a tough skill to learn, but the drive to continue playing motivates them to work things out. To get back to having fun, they first have to come up with a solution, so they do. This teaches them that they can disagree, hash it out, and—perhaps with some grumbling—move on.
These are the very skills that are suddenly in short supply on college campuses.
"Free play is the means by which children learn to make friends, overcome their fears, solve their own problems and generally take control of their own lives," Gray writes in 2013's Free to Learn (Basic Books). "Nothing we do, no amount of toys we buy or 'quality time' or special training we give our children, can compensate for the freedom we take away. The things that children learn through their own initiatives, in free play, cannot be taught in other ways."
Unstructured, unsupervised time for play is one of the most important things we have to give back to kids if we want them to be strong and happy and resilient.

Where Have All the Paperboys Gone?

It's not just that kids aren't playing much on their own. These days, they're not doing much of anything on their own. In an article in The Atlantic, Hanna Rosin admits that "when my daughter was 10, my husband and I suddenly realized that in her whole life, she had probably not spent more than 10 minutes unsupervised by an adult."
In earlier generations, this would have seemed a bizarre and wildly overprotective upbringing. Society had certain age-related milestones that most people agreed on. Kids might be trusted to walk to school by first grade. They might get a latchkey at 8, take on a newspaper route around 10, start babysitting at 12. But over the past generation or so, those milestones disappeared—buried by fears of kidnapping, the rise of supervised activities, and the pre-eminence of homework. Parents today know all about the academic milestones their kids are supposed to reach, but not about the moments when kids used to start joining the world.
It's not necessarily their fault. Calls to eight newspapers in North Carolina found none that would take anyone under the age of 18 to deliver papers. A police chief in New Albany, Ohio, went on record saying kids shouldn't be outside on their own till age 16, "the threshold where you see children getting a little bit more freedom." A study in Britain found that while just under half of all 16- to 17-year-olds had jobs as recently as 1992, today that number is 20 percent.
The responsibility expected of kids not so long ago has become almost inconceivable. Published in 1979, the book Your 6-Year-old: Loving and Defiant includes a simple checklist for what a child entering first grade should be able to do: Can he draw and color and stay within the lines of the design being colored? Can he ride a small two-wheeled bicycle without helper wheels? Can he travel alone in the neighborhood (four to eight blocks) to a store, school, playground, or friend's home?
Hang on. Walk to the store at 6—alone?
It's tempting to blame "helicopter parents" for today's less resilient kids. But when all the first-graders are walking themselves to school, it's easy to add yours to the mix. When your child is the only one, it's harder. And that's where we are today. Norms have dramatically changed. The kind of freedom that seemed unremarkable a generation ago has become taboo, and in some cases even illegal.

A Very Hampered Halloween

In Waynesboro, Georgia, "trick or treaters" must be 12 or younger; they must be in a costume; and they must be accompanied by an adult at least 21 years of age. So if you have kids who are 15, 10, and 8, you can't send them out together. The 15-year-old is not allowed to dress up, yet she won't be considered old enough to supervise her siblings for another six years. And this is on the one night of the entire year we traditionally let children pretend to be adults.
Other schools and community centers now send letters home asking parents not to let their children wear scary costumes. Some even organize "trunk or treats"—cars parked in a circle, trunks open and filled with candy, thus saving the kids from having to walk around the neighborhood or knock on doors. (That would be tiring and terrifying.) If this is childhood, is it any wonder college kids also expect to be micromanaged on Halloween?
At Yale in 2015, after 13 college administrators signed a letter outlining appropriate vs. inappropriate costume choices for students, the childhood development expert and campus lecturer Erika Christakis suggested that it would be better to allow kids to think for themselves. After all, Halloween is supposed to be about pushing boundaries. "Is there no room anymore for a child or young person to be a little obnoxious…or, yes, offensive?" she wrote. "Have we lost faith in young people's capacity—your capacity—to ignore or reject things that trouble you?"
Apparently, yes. Angry students mobbed her husband, the professor Nicholas Christakis, surrounding him in the courtyard of the residential college where he served as master. They screamed obscenities and demanded he apologize for believing, along with his wife, that college students are in fact capable of handling offensive costumes on Halloween. "Be quiet!" a student shouted at him at one point. "As master, it is your job to create a place of comfort and home for the students!" She did not take kindly to his response that, to the contrary, he sees it as his job to create a space where students can grow intellectually.
As it turns out, Halloween is the perfect Petri dish for observing what we have done to childhood. We didn't think anything was safe enough for young people. And now we are witnessing the results.

No Fun and No Joy

When parents curtail their kids' independence, they're not just depriving the younglings of childhood fun. They are denying themselves the grown-up joy of seeing their kids do something smart, brave, or kind without parental guidance.
It's the kind of joy described by a Washington Post columnist who answered the phone one day and was shocked to find her 8-year-old son on the other end. He'd accidentally gone home when he was supposed to stay after school. Realizing she wasn't there, he decided to walk to the store a few blocks away—his first time. The mom raced over, fearing God knows what, and rushed in only to find her son happily helping the shopkeeper stock the shelves with meat. He'd had a snack and done his homework, too. It was an afternoon he'd never forget, and neither would his very proud mother.
When we don't let our kids do anything on their own, we don't get to see just how competent they can be—and isn't that, ultimately, the greatest reward of parenting? We need to make it easier for grown-ups to let go while living in a society that keeps warning them not to. And we need to make sure they won't get arrested for it.

What Is To Be Done?

By trying to keep children safe from all risks, obstacles, hurt feelings, and fears, our culture has taken away the opportunities they need to become successful adults. In treating them as fragile—emotionally, socially, and physically—society actually makes them so.
To combat this problem, we have established a new nonpartisan nonprofit, the Let Grow Foundation. Our goal is to restore resilience by overthrowing the culture of overprotection. We teamed up with Gray, the professor whose research we highlighted above, and FIRE's Shuchman, a New York investment fund manager who is now our chairman.
We are building an organization that seeks to change the social norms, policies, and laws that pressure and intimidate parents, schools, and towns into coddling their kids. We will research the effects of excessive caution, study the link between independence and success, and launch projects to give kids back some free time and free play. Most of all, the Let Grow Foundation will reject the assumption of fragility and promote intellectual, physical, and emotional resilience.
Children know that their parents had more freedom to roam than they do, and more unscheduled time to read or tinker or explore. They also realize that older generations were trusted to roll with some punches, at school and beyond. We hope kids today will start demanding that same independence and respect for themselves. It's their freedom that has been chiseled away, after all.
We want them to insist on their right to engage not just with the physical world, but also with the world of ideas. We want them to hear, read, and voice opinions that go against the grain. We want them to be insulted by the assumption that they and their classmates are so easily hurt that arguments must stop before they start. To this end, we hope to encourage their skepticism about the programs and policies that are ostensibly there to "protect" them from discomfort.
If this effort is successful, we'll soon see kids outside again. Common setbacks will be considered "resilience moments" rather than traumas. Children will read widely, express themselves freely, and work through disagreements without automatically calling on authority figures to solve their problems for them. The more adults step back, the more we believe kids will step up, growing brave in the face of risk and just plain happy in their independence.
Children today are safer and smarter than this culture gives them credit for. They deserve the freedom we had. The country's future prosperity and freedom depend on it.

Oct 17, 2017

Weekend Recap- October 17th, 2017

Our weekend started off pretty good with a great Sauk Rapids-Storm win against Alexandria-Cardinals . It was a fun game but also a nail biter. They pulled off a win in overtime 38-36. This week is Camdin's last regular season high school game. Very sad.

Saturday morning we got up early and headed up to Fargo, ND for Jason's niece Kylee's Birthday party. 

 Kylee wanted a county themed party so all the food and party favors was centered around that concept. 

 Jake and the boys played blocks while the girls partied. 

After the party we all headed over to our home away from home for a pool party. I've blogged about The Element in Fargo, ND before and how much we love staying here. Jason gets to watch football on the flat screen while the kids swim. Everyone is happy. 

This is always a sign that he had a good time. 

No travel plans until the end of November. Time to get caught up on home projects, blog posts and reading blog posts from my favorite peeps at PP. 


Oct 3, 2017

Friday Night Lights-September 29th, 2017

As I've said before, we spend our Friday nights watching Jason's son Camdin play football. Jason is so proud of the athlete that Camdin is. Big win against Sartell. Camdin made the Saint Cloud Times. Please read the article below. Pretty cool. Sad that it's his senior year. 

Camdin Carlson-Mathies got a lot of praise from his team Friday for a big play he made.
He is going to catch some grief for another big play that did not end with him in the end zone.
Carlson-Mathies, a senior defensive back, had a 75-yard interception return for Sauk Rapids' first touchdown in a 40-14 win at Sartell. That earned him the praise.
"We expect him to because he is one of the best defensive players in our league, no question about it," Sauk Rapids coach Phillip Klaphake said. "He is very dynamic. For a kid who is 5-foot-11 and 150 pounds — he is one of the hardest hitting, most football savvy — the kid can play any position on our football team.
"He just has it. He's just one of those 'it' kids."
Carlson-Mathies said that once he got the interception, he had a lot of open field in front of him.
"I was playing cover-2 safety and (quarterback Jordan Och) just overthrew and it came right to me," he said. "I just had to out-run everyone. After I turned that corner, I was gone. There was nobody going to catch me. I needed that touchdown."
Carlson-Mathies was the team's top returning rusher going into the season, but he has not played as much on offense this season.
"We're scared to put him on offense because if he got hurt, then we wouldn't have him on 'D,'" Klaphake said.
He did, though, have a 57-yard catch on Sauk Rapids' opening drive to get the ball inside the 5. But it is a play that Klaphake is going to give Carlson-Mathies the hard time about.
"We found a way to get him down the middle of the field and I'm going to give him a hard time for not scoring on that because he got it to the 1, which is really funny," Klaphake said. "We'll pick on him for that.
"But because he's so dynamic, we put him at wide receiver for one play and he picks up almost 60 yards."
Carlson-Mathies helped Sauk Rapids to its second straight strong defensive game. A week after shutting out Brainerd, the Storm did not allow Sartell was able to jump out to a 27-7 lead by halftime.
"Beginning of the season, this was the only team I wanted to beat," he said of the Sabres, the Storm's cross-river rivals. "This was one of the funnest games."

This is the opinion of Mick Hatten. Follow @mickhatten on Twitter, Instagram @MickHatten and at Contact him at 259-3621 or

Oct 2, 2017

Camp Lake Carlos for Visually Impaired Students

Last week Jake and I attended Camp Lake Carlos for Visually Impaired Students in Alexandria, MN. This was one of the best experiences I've had with Jake thus far. I can't even put into words how amazing it was for both Jake and myself. It was put together by the vision teachers in our region. 

Parents, students, vision teachers and paraprofessionals were welcome. An instructor from the North Dakota School for The Blind was there to teach life skills to the kids. The kids were taught personal hygiene, how to make their beds, money management and cooking. Not only did Jake learn a lot but so did I. They taught us tips to help our kids. So many things that I would have never thought of. 

It was not only fun but it was also educational. Who would have thought that learning how to cut a banana without cutting yourself or making a peanut butter sandwich would be so fun. I realized through this experience, that I do everything for Jake when I should be teaching him to do things for himself. It was an eye opening experience. We got home and Jake wanted to make his own lunch. 

Group Picture of all the kids

 Jake making his name tag in braille, making a key chain for his personal hygiene kit and then packing his personal hygiene kit.
Jake making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, cutting a banana and learning how to make his bed. 
 In between sessions Jake and I went off to explore the camp. It was a beautiful fall day and having this quality time with Jake is priceless. These are memories we will cherish forever. 

Each child was given a wallet and 15 dollars. They were shown how to fold money and where to put it in their wallets so that they can tell what bill it is. They also taught them how to figure out tax and tip when paying for a meal. After the money management session we all piled into a school bus where we headed to a sit down dinner so the kids could  use the skills they just learned.

Below is a picture Jake and his friend Ava on the bus ride. Jake actually knows Ava from another group we are involved it. He was super happy to see a familiar face. 

After dinner we headed back to camp for a dance and game night. The band let all the kids play with their instruments. 

All the games were tactile and had braille so all the kids could play 

Jake and his new friend Brady along with Brady's Mom Melissa. 

The last day of camp the kids got together in the woods to work on team building and listening skills. The kids did so awesome. I am in awe of these kids.
Jake, Brady and Jake's Orientation and Mobility Specialist, Kevin hanging out.  
 Jake on the way home. Let's just say, he was a little beat. 

This has been one of the best summers. We've done so many awesome things and made so many fun memories.