Next up in the interview series is Jordan Krogman, my sister from Vermillion, South Dakota.

1. Hello Jordan and thank you for joining us. How are you today?

JK: I’m a little worn out today! I was a bridesmaid in a wedding yesterday that I also was the photographer for, so it was a really long and hectic day (as I’m sure you can imagine) but lots of fun. Stayed out a little too late, had a few too many drinks, but all in all it was worth the effort.

2. The kids are almost out of school for the year. What sorts of emotions are you going through, and what kinda of things do you have planned for the summer?

JK: As of Wednesday, the kids actually are out of school. The past month was probably the most chaotic month I’ve ever lived through with all of the kids’ school programs and activities coming to an end. It seemed like the recitals, programs, concerts, tests, and field trips would never end. Now that they finally *have*, I’m just looking forward to not having a strict schedule to adhere to. It will be nice to have some time at home to just breathe and unwind after that craziness.

I’m trying to keep this summer a little more low-key than usual because I’m tired of always having to be somewhere. Each of the kids will be doing one activity this summer to help keep the running-around to a minimum. Peyton is going to be in a contemporary dance class (she’s also continuing on with her Tae Kwon Do, but she’ll be taking herself to and from class so that doesn’t count); Emmy is going to be doing a combo dance class that incorporates ballet, jazz, tap and even yoga; Hudson is doing gymnastics (he insisted on it because –in his own words– he “loves being around girls”); and Colton is going to be in Mom and Tot tumbling. I may need to be slightly drunk for that to be fun.

3. Will there be any summer vacations or is it too much of a hassle to travel with four youngsters?

JK: I’m sure we’ll make a few short trips, but we don’t plan to venture too far from home. Well, I take that back…as I sit and type this, Calvin has the kids in Kansas City at his brother’s graduation from seminary school. I wasn’t able to go along because of the wedding I was involved with, but they were excited to go straight from the last day of school to a pretty good vacation. Other than that, though, I think maybe we’ll hit up the zoo, Story Book Park, maybe the Ingalls’ homestead….things that are closer to home. I can’t handle road trips with all that bickering going on behind my head. And I loathe packing and unpacking suitcases for all six of us….it’s a lot of work.

4. From what I’ve read, Peyton seems to be going through an annoyed pre-teen phase. Which of the kids has changed the most over the past year?

JK: Definitely Peyton. She’s grown the most physically and emotionally…she doesn’t seem like a little kid anymore. She and I have been swapping clothes and books; she can sit and have a real conversation with us; she pretty much eats any and all foods I prepare for her without protest. It’s actually been really nice to have a bigger, more mature kid. Yes, she can be a bit moody, but I still get that way too so…who am I to complain? Her little eye-rolling/sighing/emotional outburst moments are much, much easier for me to deal with than flat-out tantrums with a toddler who can’t be reasoned with.

5. You seem to have lost lots of weight and are doing lots of yoga. What is your daily workout routine?

JK: I have not actually lost a lot of weight. I have lost a lot of inches and put on a significant amount of muscle mass, but the number on the scale has barely changed at all. I think that I’m maybe 6 pounds lighter than I was 2 years ago. I try to exercise every day to some capacity, whether that’s going for a jog outside, lifting weights, doing yoga, or doing HIIT training. I try to mix things up a lot so that I won’t get bored. I do love to practice yoga, but I think I like weight lifting even more. We inherited a set of dial-up weights from Calvin’s brother and I’ve been doing the ChaLean Extreme DVDs by Beach Body pretty often….the program focuses on doing a low number of really slow reps at a high weight. I’ve gotten to where I’m doing 20# bicep curls and using 35# weights in each hand when I do squats and lunges. If I didn’t have muscle, I wouldn’t be able to do yoga because it requires so much core strength and stability. I also did P90X3 a little while back and that helped get me out of a rut I’d fallen into during the holidays.

6. Are you excited to become an aunt once again this summer?

JK: I’m ecstatic! I love being an aunt…it’s a much different experience than being a mom. I’ll try to keep my potentially-annoying parenting advice to myself unless it’s specifically asked for, but I tend to get really excited about baby stuff so you may just have to learn to smile and go with it. I hope I can make it to Texas to visit for a while after he/she arrives.

7. Are you and Calvin set in your jobs for a while, or will it be yet another big search for permanent employment again this fall?

JK: Calvin is pretty much constantly looking for other job opportunities. He has his doctorate now and could be earning quite a bit more money in a different position…but he’s having a hard time finding anything. We would prefer to stay in Vermillion, so he has to limit his search to jobs within reasonable driving distance. I’m very happy at the job I have now, and have no intention of leaving any time soon (unless Calvin gets a job somewhere that would require it).

8. How did you cope with what was one of the longest winters in memory last year?

JK: Well, the kids’ busy schedules helped to keep us occupied during the week. They probably spent a lot more time playing video games than they should have, but it was too cold to have fun outside. We had barely any snow at all, so it would have been stupid to send them out in the below-zero weather to stomp around on the frozen dead grass. We did a lot of baking (Emmy found a love for being in the kitchen); a TON of reading; more than enough fighting; and generally being lazy and depressed. This winter took a lot of spunk out of us, so I’ve been pushing really hard to get everyone interested in the outdoors again now that it’s warmer.

9. Are you at the point where Peyton is old enough to trust her alone with the other three kids, or do you still need to drag everyone around every time you need to run an errand?

JK: I can trust the three bigger kids home together, but I’d never leave Colton with one of the other kids. He’s even hard for ME to keep track of! He’s a great escape artist and a very crafty little boy, I suppose because he has been watching the older kids and getting bright ideas from them. Sometimes I’ll be doing something (folding laundry or doing dishes or whatever) and I’ll hear the front door slam shut. By the time I get to the door, I’ll see him racing full-speed down the sidewalk with a shit-eating grin on his face. He LOVES to get a rise out of people and is generally just very, very….um….spirited. I’ll go with spirited. That sounds nicer than what I was originally going to type. No, it’ll be a while before I can trust Colton home without an adult present.

10. What high school activities do you see each of the children excelling in?

JK: Peyton is really into things like singing and dancing, and has shown some interest in doing show choir. I could see that being right up her alley. She’s very argumentative, so I wouldn’t be surprised if she eventually found herself on a debate team or something like that.

Emmy has a knack for music, so I think she’ll be very involved in band and choir. She’s also very artsy…she’ll probably do anything that allows her to create and be free-spirited.

Hudson….he’s a tough nut to crack. He’s a great runner, so maybe he’ll do cross country or track. But he doesn’t like competition of any kind and isn’t a fan of contact sports. (None of the kids are) He’s never shown an interest in music the way the girls have, but who knows…he’s only 6. I’m sure we’ll find his “thing” here in the next couple of years. Or maybe he’ll be a gymnast if that goes well this summer.

Colton is going to have to be a football player or something. He is the most physically aggressive of the kids and seems to be the toughest. If we can keep him out of juvie, I’ll be happy 😉

11. What current TV shows are you most obsessed with?

JK: I love Downton Abbey, but it’s been a while since they’ve had any new episodes. I am anxiously awaiting the show’s return to PBS.

Calvin got me hooked on the Walking Dead, which surprised me as much as everyone else. He used to watch it on Sunday nights and I would knit or edit photos while it was on. One day I found myself sneaking a few peeks at the screen, and before I knew what was happening I was asking questions about the characters and getting involved in the many story lines. I bought Calvin the first two seasons of the Walking Dead for Valentines Day this past year so I could start back over from the beginning and get answers to all my questions about the show.

Hmmm, what else? I like to watch Suits, Sherlock, Glee (although I’m giving up on the show after this last shitty season), The Voice, Orphan Black (I just started watching this on Amazon Prime)….I’m working my way through Pretty Little Liars right now, though I can’t say that I *love* it. I just needed something to watch. I have a LOT of free time on my hands while I’m at work.

If you have any recommendations, I’m all ears!

12. Well, thanks for joining us today Jordan, any closing remarks?

JK: Thanks for making me feel like there might be people out there who will find my boring mom stories interesting! Calvin and the kids are driving from Kansas to Vermillion right now, and I’ve got lots of stuff to accomplish before their arrival, so I should get away from the computer and do something productive or I’ll be mad at myself later.