No sleep till Scottsdale | March 22, 2023

My boys and I recently returned from a vacation in Scottsdale, Arizona.  We were gone the exact amount of time it takes a human body to decide, “Hear ye hear ye, pull out yer flip flops and lawn chairs because it will now be warm for the next several months and it’s lemonade season, ring-a-ding-ding,” which means our transition back into North Dakota Springtime (it’s 24 degrees outside as I write this) has been a bit of a seeeeeeprise.

We planned this trip several months ago – by “we” I mean that Kyle did all the work and I sent messages like “Sounds good” and “Okay” – and a major factor in this planning was our outbound schedule.  Spring Break started on a Friday, our eleven-year-old had his Hunter Safety test the following day in Grand Forks, our seven-year-old was signed up for a weekend-long hockey tournament in Marshall, Minnesota, and airfare prices ranged from approximately $1 million to $1 billion per ticket depending on when and where a person wanted to go.  Somewhere in the “Sounds goods” and “Okays” it was determined that Kyle and Seven would depart for Marshall on Friday, Eleven and I would follow post-test on Saturday, and then together we’d drive from Marshall to Minneapolis after Seven’s final Sunday game and leave for Phoenix on the 9:40 PM Central Time flight.  We chose the flight (scheduled to arrive at 10:30 Mountain) because it was the cheapest one available in the entirety of March; and we justified it by saying, “We’ll be on vacation, so the kids can just sleep in on Monday.”

Wellllll, it turned out the United States got itself into a bit of a blizzard that weekend. Eleven and I never did make it to Marshall, Kyle and Seven had a 30-MPH-white-knuckle drive to Minneapolis, and Delta sent us a series of notifications that ultimately pushed our departure back by two hours. We got on the plane at 11:45 PM Central, sat on the runway until almost 1:00 AM Central, and walked into our Airbnb at 3:30 AM Mountain (5:30 AM Central). I spent the entire flight repeating to myself, “It’s a vacation, we can sleep in; it’s a vacation, we can sleep in.”

We didn’t sleep in. We were on vacation! It was warm and lovely and sunshiney and we were all up and raring to go at 7:30 AM (Mountain). No one in the history of awakeness has ever been as AWAKE and energized as the Kosiors were that morning. Prior to the trip, the boys had selected one must-do activity each: for Seven, it was to eat breakfast at his favorite restaurant. Hear ye, hear ye, we were AWAKE! On VACATION! We Would Eat Breakfast!

There was a short wait at the restaurant so, naturally, Kyle made a friend.  We were standing on the patio hopping back and forth due to our massive amounts of AWAKENESS when Kyle realized the gentleman standing nearby was wearing an Edmonton Oilers t-shirt.  As there are very few people in this world who like the Oilers enough to advertise it on a piece of clothing, Kyle felt compelled to talk to him.  The man was Canadian (Kyle, as a reminder, has both American and Canadian citizenship), and was in town for the U.S.-Canada game as a part of the World Baseball Classic.

When was said game, Kyle asked?  TONIGHT, the (not-Kyle) Canadian told him.

What luck!  Here we were, WIDE AWAKE, on vacation, American AND Canadian, and Kyle’s chosen activity was to see a baseball game.  “The last time they played each other was six years ago,” Kyle said as he punched in the series on his phone.  “I want Canada to win!”  Seven announced.  We had our tickets before we had our pancakes.

Eleven’s selected activity was to swim, and we had rented an Airbnb with a pool and a hot tub.  Should we take a nap after breakfast, we asked one another?  NO, we should SWIM.  Besides, we weren’t tired, WE WERE AWAKE.  Awake People do not nap.  They swim.

We swam.  We soaked.  We had lunch.  We swam and soaked some more.  We showered.  We ate dinner at one of our other favorite restaurants.  We drove from Scottsdale to Phoenix, parked the car, walked to the stadium, found our seats, and sat down.  And then we all got very, very, very, very, very tired.

Here is what happens when the Kosiors get tired: Kyle develops big, dark circles under his eyes.  I get angry.  Eleven leaves reality, and Seven turns silly and irrational.  All of this happened in the first inning of the U.S.-Canada World Baseball Classic game, surrounded by 50,000 of our closest strangers.

Here’s something else that happened in the first inning: the U.S. scored nine runs.  If you’ve ever been to a baseball game, you’ll know that it takes a long time to score nine runs.

“I want to be on the big screen!”  Seven shrieked.

“I want you to stop wiggling in your seat,” I grumbled.

“They aren’t showing any fans on the big screen,” Kyle said.

“But I’m not even a fan!” Seven wailed, bursting into tears as Mike Trout hit a home run.  Two men sitting in front of us turned around and high-fived Kyle and Eleven, snapping Eleven back into this plane of existence.  He looked around, confused.

“Why did they do that?”  Eleven asked his dad.

“The U.S. scored again,” Kyle said.

“Again?”  Eleven asked in a tone that made it unclear if he knew they had scored previously.

We made it to the fifth inning only because we got ice cream in the third.  The game itself only made it to the sixth because it turns out the World Baseball Classics has a Mercy Rule.  Both boys – and maybe Kyle, who was driving – fell asleep on the way back to the house.  I powered us forward on fury alone.

I’d like to say we caught up on sleep that night or any night in Scottsdale, but we were ON VACATION.  We returned to my parents’ house five days later, and everyone celebrated with a deep sleep in…a much-needed vacation from our vacation.

The photo above was taken at the baseball game about four seconds before we left. As you can see, Eleven was 1000% checked out. You can’t see him but Seven is also in the photo, leaning against Kyle, possibly asleep.

If you’re reading this on the newsletter, I stuck a few more photos from our trip below the news (for those of you reading it on the website, I’m sorry, but my website company makes me pay for photos and my newsletter company does not).

The New York Jets’ (and Fargo’s) Connor McGovern came to Grand Forks to teach middle schoolers some ABLE games. (Grand Forks Herald)

This year’s Limitless Fashion Show in Minot – designed to empower people with disabilities and foster friendships – has grown so large it has to be moved to a new venue, and will also now include male models. (Minot Daily News)

Fargo’s LaVerne Aventi helped save a Canadian (as in, it originated in Saskatchewan, Canada) great horned owl with a broken wing. (Fargo Forum)

It took a whole group of six dads and sons from Colfax to reel in a great white shark – which they named the Colfax Crusher before releasing it – on a fishing trip in Florida. (KFYR TV)

According to Shark Tank’s Kevin O’Leary, North Dakota is a worthwhile investment opportunity. (Fargo Forum)

The largest public art project in North Dakota will be turning an unused grain silo in Minot into a work of art. (KX Net)

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Wild Kingdom presents: The father-son hockey game | March 15, 2023

My eleven-year-old’s hockey team had its wrap-up party, and I was dead-set against writing about it because 1) I don’t want people to avoid spending time with me for fear they will end up as a story (they should be afraid for other reasons); and 2) there are other things happening in my universe besides hockey.  For example, I now know the definition of the word “cheugy” – for my fellow olds, it means something is uncool – and am henceforth preparing an ice flow upon which my farmhouse-script “Live, Laugh, Yee-Haw” t-shirts and I will drift out into the irrelevant ether.  So, yeah, I’ve got stuff going on.

However, the moment I realized my husband and his fellow dads were having too much fun at said party I thought, “Giddyup, here we go.”  So…giddyup, here we go.

As a reminder, Kyle was one of the team’s co-managers, meaning it was his responsibility to plan the wrap-up party.

“Why don’t we go bowling or to supper?”  I suggested in my role as the co-assistant to the team’s co-manager.

“Great idea,” Kyle said – and then, not one hour later,

“We’re going to have a father-son hockey game.  Almost all of the dads can play, and the ones that can’t are going to coach and run the box.”

“Oh, okay,” I said.  “Are you going to coach or run the box?”

“I’m going to play,” he said, pulling out a mountain of IcyHot packs for his bum ankle, bad back, and barely-healed broken elbow that he broke playing hockey not six months prior.

“Oh, okay,” I said.  “The dads are going to lose that game, right?”

“Ha, yep,” Kyle said, avoiding eye contact.

“Because it’s for fun,” I said.

“Ha, yep,” Kyle said.

“And they are eleven,” I said.

“Yep,” he said.

“And you’re the grownups and they are your children,” I said.

“Yep,” he said.

On one of those David Attenborough-esque animal documentaries, a tiger was stalked and attacked by her cubs.

“The mother allows her babies to best her,” the narrator said, “in order to teach them important hunting skills.”

This “Ope, you got me!” parenting technique is practiced amongst 95% of the human moms I know, as well.  It’s not for the faint of heart; it takes an immense amount of artistry and skill to purposefully lose a game of Candy Land to a four-year-old.  One of my core childhood memories is racing against my mother in the pool, winning by half a mile as she flailed around as if she’d never seen water before.

“The lions are not as easy-going,” the narrator continued, “and frequently injure their cubs in the name of lifelong education.”

Another core childhood memory is the day that I finally beat my dad in a swimming race.  I was a senior in high school.

Game day arrived.  The dads had spent the week organizing their own jerseys, equipment, beverages, and stratagem.  They had not spent the same time or effort on their own children, as evidenced by the fact that three moms had to go home to pick up forgotten equipment.  I was one of those moms; thirty seconds before the puck was set to drop, Kyle casually skated up to the boards.

“Would you run back and get Eleven’s helmet?”  He asked.

“You just realized he didn’t have a helmet?”  I said.

Kyle blinked.  “Yeah,” he said.

I returned to the rink midway through the first period.  The score was 3-1 in favor of the Away team.  As the dads were wearing white – typically reserved for the Home team – I smiled and waved at my husband as I walked up the bleachers to the other moms.  All of the dads on the bench smiled and waved back.

The moms, on the other hand, were not smiling.

“I see this is going well,” I said as I sat down.

“No,” said one of the moms, as her husband scored a NHL-worthy goal on the kids.  The scoreboard ticked 4-1.

“BOO!”  I shouted.

“Hit him in the hamstring next time!”  The wife of the scoring dad shouted to the children on the ice.  “He’s old!”

The dads won 12-7. I did so much booing that I can no longer form the letter “O” with my lips.  The dad’s score would have been much higher if not for the lone father who Candy Landed it every time he got the puck.  Three of the kids’ goals came after the dads let all of the boys out on the ice for the final two minutes of play.  Kyle himself scored with a slapshot on his own son – one of two children he has promised to love unconditionally and raise for the rest of his life – who was in the net as the goalie.  Kyle celebrated big on the way back to bench, being careful not to look up into the stands at his wife.

“Did you have fun?”  I asked my son after the game.

“Yes!” he said.

“I had fun, too,” Kyle said.

“Good for you,” I said.

“The dads from our team should play the dads of the other team!”  Eleven said.

“Male lions will fight for territory and females, often to the death,” the narrator said.

“I don’t think we have enough health insurance for that,” I said, as Kyle rubbed his elbow.

The photo above was taken by my co-worker at the new Sacred Heart Martire Family Arena in Fairfield, Connecticut. This is Kyle training for the father-son game, which took place the following day.

Highway 91 now has a sign proclaiming it North Dakota’s shortest highway, as it takes 40 seconds at 25 mph to complete. (Grand Forks Herald)

The community of Oakes has spent the winter putting together a puzzle. (KFYR TV)

West Fargo High School’s Jenna Miller will be signing copies of her book at Barnes & Noble on March 18. (Fargo Forum)

Mandan High School’s Rustin Medewald was interviewed for the first time after being named MVP of a Super A State Basketball game, and he did the interview in ASL in honor of his parents. (KFYR TV)

Bottineau’s David Hoff has been named the 2022 Paralympic Coach of the Year by USA Hockey. (KX Net)

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Better let you go | March 8, 2023

If you are a North Dakotan, you know there’s a darker – but not like “Darth Vader” dark, more like “grumpy Death Star janitor” grey – side to the concept of “North Dakota Nice.”  Specifically, North Dakotans tend to struggle with direct negativity; meaning that if there is something not-so-nice we feel we need to communicate, we do it in a passive-aggressive fashion.  For example, if you say to a North Dakotan, “I think light ranch dressing tastes the same as regular ranch,” and the North Dakotan responds, “Oh, yeah?” in a casual and off-hand way, what that North Dakotan is actually saying is, “You must have lost your taste buds on a ranch dressing farm because nowhere in the frickin’ universe is that statement true.”

I was talking to a friend of mine (who worked for many years in city government so HE KNOWS) about these not-nice-isms and he reminded me of the meanest thing one North Dakotan can say to another: “Well, I’d better let you go.”  The translation of “Well, I’d better let you go” is “The only place I need to be in this world right now is as far away from you as possible.”  I had this conversation with my friend at a wedding reception last year and he ended our chat a few minutes later with “Well, I’d better let you go,” and he laughed and I laughed and I said, “Well, I’d better let YOU go,” and he laughed again and I laughed again and we haven’t spoken to each other since.

You may be thinking, “What’s so mean about ‘I’d better let you go?’  You’re just recognizing a person may have other things to do and giving them the space and time to go about them.”  You may also be thinking, “I’ve heard that Midwesterners take forever to say goodbye, so ‘I’d better let you go’ is a good way to put closure on those transactions without making it seem like you are overly-important.”  In both cases, you’re generally correct: North Dakotans are afraid of inconveniencing another person, and we (not ME, but most other North Dakotans) don’t like to make anything about ourselves (again, I have no problem with this, but other people do).  As such, we have for-real-nice responses for those scenarios; for instance:

This past weekend, Kyle and I ran into two of our friends at the rink before a hockey game.  The wife commented soon after the greeting that they had to go up to the third level to find their seats, which were different from their usual lower-bowl seats and therefore unknown.  Kyle and I, too, were on the move – we had people waiting for us in our own spot.  After we had talked for a bit, I said to Kyle, “We should let them find their seats before the game starts,” thereby acknowledging they had somewhere specific to be in a timely manner per their own indication and using that to achieve our own exit goals.

And another example: I was traveling for work a few years ago and found myself seated next to a friend on the airplane.  It was a late-night flight, and we both were tired.  We chatted during takeoff and the drink service, until I tipped back the last of my ginger ale and set it on the tray.  “Yep,” she said, in reference to nothing.  I nodded.  We sat in silence for a moment, and then she pulled out a book and I closed my eyes and our conversation came to an agreed-upon end.

My son had a hockey tournament earlier this winter.  After the kids went to bed, the parents went down to the hotel lounge for a chat.  On my left was seated one of my dad-friends (this story is just a “LOOK AT ALL THE FRIENDS I HAVE” brag-fest); On my right was a mom-friend (jeepers, Amanda, we get it, you have multiple friends).  The mom was engaged in a rapt discussion with the mom on her other side, and so I turned to the dad and said, “How’s work?”

“Good,” he said.  “How’s work for you?”

With that, I held him hostage for a solid hour.  Around the thirty-minute mark, he excused himself to get a drink – a perfect out – but another dad appeared out of thin air with a beverage and so he sat back down.  I came up for air fifteen minutes later and he said, “Yep,” and I nodded and then KEPT ON TALKING because the crazy train was well out of the station, choo-choo.  Finally, he looked me dead in the eye and said, “Well, I’d better let you go.” 

Obviously, I can never speak to him ever again.  Outside of no longer being human because I spontaneously melted into a puddle of embarrassment, avoiding this dad has been made difficult by the fact that he is, as noted, my friend (but really, Kyle’s friend – which, if I’m being honest, is probably the case in 75% of our friendships) and so I see him all the time.  In fact, he recently came to my house to pick up his child, who was playing with my child.  This is how that interaction went:

HIM: Hi, Amanda.  Is my son here?

ME: Yes.

[Gets kid, who takes an interminable amount of time putting on his shoes]

HIM: Work good?

ME: [Nods] You?

HIM: [Nods, gestures to the car] Gotta get to the gas station before supper.

ME: Yep.

HIM: [Nods, exits]

Anyways, if you are ever “Well, I’d better let you go”-ed by a North Dakotan and you feel like being a little saucy, respond back with, “No, it’s okay, I don’t have anywhere to be.” 


The photo above doesn’t have anything to do with anything, except that it’s pretty hard to have a bad day when Kyle wears that hat.

My amazing sister-in-law makes meditation music for a number of platforms, and she recently made a track ABOUT ME.  I’ve listened to it on repeat since she created it (and my wonderful and artistic niece made the cover art!).  Check it out. (Spotify)

I mean, this story is just so cute. (KFYR TV)

 Linton’s Dan Carr is the first head coach in North Dakota to reach 800 career wins. (KX Net)

Ready for spring?  The Fargo Public Library has free seeds to help you get started on your garden. (Valley News Live)

The Bismarck/Mandan Capital City Ice Chips synchronized skating team are national champions! (KFYR TV)

Good luck to Minot’s Gabby Johnson is on her way to nationals, having been crowned the North Dakota state poetry champion. (KFYR TV)

Fargo’s Alexis Engelking and Aaron Gnoinsky (‘s house) took center stage on on a recent episode of “House Hunters.” (Fargo Forum)

The Girls Class B basketball tournament is able to happen thanks to the help of 150 volunteers. (KFYR TV)

This is the car version of the “I know a guy who wears shorts all year ‘round.” (KFYR TV)

 The Northern Plains Botanic Garden Society is planning a Japanese Garden in Fargo in celebration of the non-profit’s 25th anniversary. (Valley News Live)

Did you see the story I posted this week about the Theodore Roosevelt Public Library?  Check it out. (North Dakota Nice)

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