Christmas 2022

It was a grueling 364-day wait, (made slightly more bearable by the snow day that cancelled school on the eve of winter break), but somehow we made it to Christmas! For months and months, Genesee and I have been the hype crew, spreading anticipatory cheer like only a 5 and 8-year-old can, counting down the days until the most wonderful time of the year.

As tradition would have it, we made Christmas cookies with Grandma, participated in the meatball assembly line with Dad, enjoyed Grandpa’s signature Grasshopper shakes, and left out cookies for our main man, Santa.

It was the Christmas of Robux gift cards, Prime hydration drinks, Milwaukee Bucks paraphernalia, Apple watches and TVs, winter storm/blizzard warnings, hot chocolate mornings, and fireplace crackles all night.

It was Christmas, finally. And then it was December 26th.

And so the countdown begins again.


Of all the many things Genesee has ever lost, my favorite so far has been her first tooth! She pulled it out all by herself after it became too wiggly to bite into some of her favorite foods, like, you know: candy. This is the same first tooth that I lost, around almost the same age! Mom and Dad always try to tell us we are twins – just 3+ years apart.

That night, Genesee put the tooth under her pillow, with a heartfelt letter for the tooth fairy. She also left out a glass of milk and some chocolates.

I’m pretty sure the tooth fairy doesn’t even drink milk, and bribery is probably frowned upon. I told my sister it was a bad idea, but by morning, the glass was empty, a chocolate was gone, and Genesee was $10 richer!

Something else I’m pretty sure of: I, too, will leave out milk and chocolates next time I lose a tooth!

Once you know better, you do better!

Snow Day!

School: “Due to predicted snowfall totals and hazardous road conditions, school will be closed today, December 15, 2022.”

Translation: Stay off the roads and get in your yard; It’s time to build a snowman.

Winter Music Program

It was a sold-out crowd for the 2022 Mel-Min winter music program, but somehow mom and dad bought 2nd row seats, just minutes before the performance. The rest of my fan club was scattered across the gymnasium, but luckily, a star like me shines so bright that you can see me nail my lines from any seat in the room. My back-up singers also put on a good show, and after a thunderous applause, I stepped down from the risers and got tossed in front of the paparazzi for several photos. It was a little inconvenient, as I was trying to get to Grandpa’s house to celebrate with chocolate malts and cheesy nachos, but that’s the price one has to pay for having so much talent and being Melrose-famous.

If you missed out, I’ll be on tour again next year.

The Late Christmas Tree Search

Between Montana hunting trips, Arizona travels, and basketball games, we didn’t have time to get our Christmas tree until well into December this year. That’s cutting it a little too close to Christmas, if you ask me.

Nobody asked me.

Instead, my parents decided to exacerbate my anxiety by visiting a new tree farm, on a cold, snowy day, and arriving just before dusk (when they close).

We had to make a game-time decision, and although we were under a lot of pressure, we got the job done, took a quick selfie with whichever family members were immediately available, and yelled Timbrrrrrr as Dad sawed down the tree.

The late great Christmas tree search wasn’t pretty, but our newly decorated corner of the house surely is!

And now it officially feels like Christmas.


I’ve officially launched my basketball career! My summer camps prepared me for this moment; now it’s time to show the world what I’m made of.

If you’re looking for me out on the court, I’ll be the one biting my nails and sporting Giannis Antetokounmpo’s jersey number (34) and his signature Nike shoes.

Basketball is definitely my favorite sport so far! It doesn’t hurt that we have a pretty good team (currently undefeated), a dedicated coaching staff (shout out to Coach Dad), and the best cheering crowd around!

I can’t wait to see how the rest of our season unfolds; we’ve got a lot of potential!

Battle on the Border

To kick off the fall 2022 soccer season, we decided to chase trophies across the great state of Wisconsin, at Kenosha’s Battle on the Border tournament. Maddox and I worked hard to represent the 8-year-olds, while playing with our Rush U11 team… It was exciting, tiring, and challenging! And even though it rained on our parade a bit, we helped the team finish 2nd place in our bracket before getting our butts beat in the semi-finals.

Nevertheless, we had a blast! Especially since we camped in the Renwick driveway and got to zip through a forest and test my courage on a glow-in-the-dark ropes course at Boundless Adventures!

The most special part of the trip, however, was when we visited Papa and Nana Florence at Southern Wisconsin Veterans Memorial Cemetery.

Alongside the kernel of popcorn we tucked within the stone border, we also left a piece of our hearts. It’s true what they say: “Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, love leaves a memory no one can steal.”

Back to School

With a super stylin’ third grader and a cutesie-wootsie kindergartener in the house, we are back and better than ever! To mark this special occasion, we enjoyed a bacon-breakfast-in-bed and then posed for the obligatory photo shoot.

The first day of school was everything! Mom was our chauffeur, we made new friends, and then we had a backseat dance party on the drive home. It was all fun and games until we went from being too cool for school….

6:40 a.m. First Day of School vs. 6:40 a.m. Second Day of School

…to too tired for school.

We might need a minute to get settled into this new routine, but with 178 school days left, we’ll eventually find our groove.

Friday Funday

What do you do on the last Friday of summer vacation?! Well, after you get your annual well-child check-up at the health clinic (complete with a vaccine shot for your little sis), you follow these instructions to have a fun day:

First, you go to Pearl Street Books to shop local and then you kidnap Beth and take her to Polito’s for a bigger-than-your-head slice of pepperoni pizza.

Next, you must run your little hearts out at the Children’s museum and treat yourself to Super Premium Chocolate Shoppe Ice Cream (and popcorn, of course), at the Great River Popcorn Company.

Finally, this ultimate fun day requires discovering a new favorite store: Genie’s rock shop on downtown La Crosse’s historic Main Street! (Thanks, Laura!) You’ll be overstimulated by billions of beautiful rocks of all shapes, colors, sizes, and prices. (Pro Tip: If you want to purchase the $6,300 gem that greets you at the front door, do not visit with my mother because she gives you a $5.00 purchasing limit.)

Genie’s Rock Shop is WAY cooler than Target, but you should probably end the night with a routine stop at Target anyway, just for good measure.

And after all of that, you can confidently add an enthusiastic exclamation point to the end of your summer story, with no regrets, because you’ll finally feel pumped and ready to write the sequel: Back to School!