A Wolf: in two perspectives


In grade school I drew a green tree with purple and orange hearts for leaves. We were suppose to draw brown trees with green leaves. The art teacher said, “That’s not right.” I had forgotten that story. My mom reminded me of it a few days before she died.

I’m still a little intimidated not doing it right. I’m glad Thorin isn’t.

EPSON scanner image


EPSON scanner image


Whip! The Mayonnaise.


To answer your question, we are still homeschooing/unschooling or whatever you call a mish mosh of love and learning. For months Thorin has asked me not to post his creations. Today he said yes– so you’re in for a treat.

Sometimes we use curriculum type materials. One of our favorite sites is Super Teacher Worksheets. They ask pertinent questions like: Would you eat a eye ball burger? They provide the eyeball, the rest is up to Thorin’s imagination. His work-in-progress below. Enjoy!

I Love You, Eye Ball Cheese Burger

Mr. Hacknees is a smelly, yucky, kicky man with blue and white hair. He bought human eye balls at Hannaford’s to make a eye ball cheese burger.

He invited Thorin to dinner. Thorin sat at a table in the living room.

Mr. Hacknees puts the burger in front of Thorin.

EPSON scanner image

“Hello Burger!” Thorin said.

“It smells in here, “ said the Burger.

“Gross!”Mr. Hacknees.

“Oh, god, I farted, “ said Burger.

A robot named Smudge* showed up. She was white, blue, orange and pink. She played a ukulele and sang:

“Oh! Yeah! The burger we made!”

“Oh! Yeah! The burger we made!”

Mr. Hacknees got excited: “Bbbuuuurrrrppppp!”

Smudge smacked her lips and reached for the burger.

The Burger bounced up and down really high to the ceiling and stuck to it.

Smudge the robot sings:

Pppfffttt – Pppfffttt – Kahhhh

Pppfffttt – Pppfffttt – Kahhhh

Whip! The Mayonnaise.

Whip! The Mayonnaise.

Mr. Hacknees leaves to shoot hoops on the porch.

Thorin and Smudge sing:

Whip! The Mayonnaise.

Thorin tells me the story. I type it up. We read it several times. He will then write it out by hand on graph paper. True Creating takes time.

*Smudge is our new dog. More on her later.

October’s Down Syndrome Awareness Month Was Never About Human Rights


I first published this post last October. My opinion hasn’t changed.

Click the following link to continue:In 1984, Reagan inaugurated October as National Down Syndrome Awareness Month. His proclamation would encapsulate a failing in Down syndrome advocacy for the next 30 years:

Not Always Happy the book!


Right about the time my mom’s health took a nose dive, I got a book contract. Life has contradictions. It is the good and the bad and the in-between.

I thank my agent, Edite Kroll, my publisher, Central Recovery Press and my editor, Janet Ottenweller for seeing the beauty in a story I have been sharing since 2010. Not Always Happy : An Unusual Parenting Journey will be published in May, 2017.

I thank my husband Ward for supporting my writing. Being a partner of a writer means living with a person possessed. Fortunately for me, he likes that.

I thank my faithful readers for giving me the confidence to believe ours is a story worth telling.

Mostly– I thank our son, Thorin, for being the best adventure ever and for having a delightful sense of humor. Having a child with Down syndrome is not a issue, but having a humorless child would be unbearable for me.

I was going to wait closer to publication to announce my news but I realized yesterday when I submitted five chapters (with more to follow), I am indeed writing a book.

I look forward to sharing more about all of that. XXOO, Kari


I Lost My Biggest Fan


Bubba died in June. It was horrible and sad and beautiful. I lost my mom who was my biggest fan and Thorin lost his best friend. Everyday we are grateful for the time we had.

We had two celebration of life ceremonies both here and in her beloved Wisconsin.She was adamant she did not want a funeral.

The following is from her obituary:

Mary died peacefully surrounded by family in June  at the home of her daughter, Kari, son-in-law Ward and her grandson Thorin.

Also present were her son Bob, her daughter Betty, and her son-in-law Matt.


Mary, Peaks Island, Maine, 1999

Mary was born in Wisconsin. She married “Monk” Wagner– who preceded her in death. Aside from Robert, Kari and Betty she had a son Peter who died shortly after birth.

Mary grew up on Water Street and lived there for over 70 years—including working at her family’s grocery store on the corner of Water St. and 6th Avenue. She was fiercely protective of the West Side neighborhood she loved. In the 1970’s after reading an op-ed in the local paper deriding Water Street as the other end of Summit Avenue, she wrote a rebuttal to the author defending her neighborhood, signing it: “The Rebel of Water Street.”

She worked for the school district for decades, retiring as the Registrar. In the 1980’s she and a group of teacher aides advocated successfully to join the AFL-CIO.

Mary was raised a Lutheran. She taught Sunday school for several years. She put a small sign over the door of her classroom with the words: The Annex, a reference from “The Diary of Anne Frank.” During the course of the year her students were required to read the book.

She was an athlete who played competitive tennis and golf. She established great friendships and played in many guest day tournaments, even securing a coveted hole-in-one.

Mary placed a premium on her friendships, some that spanned over 60 years. She is remembered for her sympathetic ear, her terrific sense of humor and her gift for storytelling. She was a voracious reader, a lover of film and enjoyed painting, arts and crafts and knitting.

In 2011, Mary moved from Wisconsin to Maine to be with Thorin and her daughters. Mary said her most favorite role in life was being Thorin’s “Bubba.” She was an active member of the book club, joined in weekly card games and volunteered at Partners for World Health, an organization that sends medical personnel and supplies to countries in need.

She was preceded in death by her husband, her son, and her siblings: Robert, James, Richard, Betty and Jerome. She is survived by her children, grandson, her daughter-in-law Amy, her sister-in-law Nancy as well as many beloved in-laws, nieces, nephews and many dear friends.

For a bit more on Thorin and Bubba:  Sometimes It Bites: The 6 Ways My Mother and Son Are Alike