Vicki Estes

Vicki Estes: Keeping track of kids on the road

A passerby one cold morning would have thought my daughter was preparing to traverse the Oregon Trail in a tattered covered wagon,... Read more

Vicki Estes: Tips for hosting family this holiday season

Celebrating holidays with family defies the laws of spacial dynamics. Across America, houses built to shelter a maximum of four people and... Read more

Vicki Estes: Throwing out the instructions

The most memorable advice my father shared was a simple seven-word message he punched out on his label-making device and affixed to... Read more

Vicki Estes: Eight glasses a day fine for water; not so much for eyes

They say you need eight glasses a day. But eight glasses of what? It depends on your stage in life.

I’m maneuvering through... Read more

Vicki Estes: Living in a right-handed world isn't easy

The specifics of the incident remain hazy, but the story of the confrontation is legendary, at least in my mind. My dad... Read more

Vicki Estes: Treasure democracy, right to vote

I love a good debate. Not so much with my 16-year-old, because our family unit isn’t a democracy when it comes to... Read more

Vicki Estes: Sifting through our political refuse

I’ve remained apolitical most of my life but have never missed the privilege to vote in a local, state or national election... Read more

Vicki Estes: Embracing man-o-man-o-pause

I’m sure the spirit of French physician Charles Pierre Louis de Gardanne won’t mind if the medical world were to rename the... Read more

Vicki Estes: It's more than 'Punch it' now

“Punch it!” my dad would belt out, filling the awkward silence created after I had completed an excessively wide turn onto the... Read more

Vicki Estes: What happened to Saturdays?

What happened to Saturdays? The undisputed best day of the week back when seat belts were used to keep grocery bags upright... Read more

Vicki Estes: Thoughts from a Cubs fan

The postseason of Major League Baseball looms. If you are a Chicago Cubs fan, feel sorry for those who are or are... Read more

Vicki Estes: Baseball gives lesson in adversity

Growing up on the north side of Chicago, I thought I understood diversity. The patchwork neighborhood in which we lived stitched together... Read more

Vicki Estes: No project too big with a DIY attitude

The “do-it-yourself” gene lay dormant in my system for nearly 20 years, about the same length of time since my father departed... Read more

Vicki Estes: Service workers deserve our respect

One of the toughest jobs I’ve worked was a stint in the fast food industry when I turned 16. It took a... Read more

Vicki Estes: Tips for parenting a young student

My husband and I officially move on to parenting a high school student next year. It’s unchartered territory for us but we’ve... Read more

Vicki Estes: An average woman's bucket list

I never thought about creating a “bucket list” until my daughter declared she could cross something off hers.

Granted, I think her comment... Read more

Vicki Estes: Unwrapping the last gifts of this Christmas

Just when I thought the last gift was opened ...

Tearing down the glitter-covered decorations and twinkling lights after the holidays reminds me... Read more

Vicki Estes: Learning to ski, almost

Ah, to be a kid again — to have no fear of consequences, no fear of failure, no fear of injury.

No wonder... Read more

Vicki Estes: Leaving 2012 behind is navigating uncharted waters

It’s difficult to say goodbye to the year, even when challenges outnumbered triumphs. This year — and every year since my realization... Read more

Vicki Estes: Latest family addition takes over

The washing machine is off the hook for the latest incidents of missing socks. There’s a new thief in town who could... Read more

Vicki Estes: Sayonara, summer

Break out the brats, hot dogs and hamburgers and dare to cook on a charcoal grill in your white attire ­— today... Read more

Column: Leave the girls alone

David and Goliath. Allison Kostusik and Abercrombie Kids. One used a perfectly aimed stone. The other harnessed the power of the Internet.

We... Read more

Column: Voters fail

The headline hit me like my daughter's occasional errant volleyball serves. "County voter turnout lowest since 1942."

That can't be. It must... Read more

Column: After dark mystery

They are called lightning bugs or fireflies, depending on the part of the country from which you originate. My family has always... Read more

Column: Flag etiquette

When I purchased spotlights to illuminate the American flag we display on the front of the house, my daughter bombarded me with... Read more

Column: Sleepover rules

While TV cartoons and childhood toys have changed since my days as a freckled-face, sugar-powered kid, the rules of sleepovers have not.... Read more

Column: Blinking along

The cursor kept blinking, like a flashing yellow caution light at an intersection. The intersection I'm approaching is not near a specific... Read more

Column: Suspicious minds

"I am being careful. It just looks like I'm not," she barked with a cold glare while wielding the hot clothes iron.... Read more

Column: Berries lost

Fat and happy. That's what the darn robin appeared to be, resting on the lower branch of the mature maple tree. He... Read more

Column: Mother's Day memory

The radio commercial said you could make Mother's Day special if you bought this item for your mom, your wife, your grandma... Read more

Column: Pursuing science

I had hoped to talk my daughter into using the leftovers uncovered in the bowels of the refrigerator as the subject for... Read more

Column: Shortcut strategy

Do you remember the first time you discovered a shortcut on the way home from your best friend's house? You stumbled upon... Read more

Column: Moving on

Nicknamed the Cottage in the Woods, a quaint colorful playhouse that has weathered Kansas storms, scorching summer sun and snowy conditions has... Read more

Column: Tax fears

We've all heard Benjamin Franklin's observation that the only things in life that are certain are death and taxes.

In case you... Read more

Column: Busia remembered

The Easter postcard from Poland, loosely translated, said, "My most sincere wishes for a peaceful Easter. May Jesus take you in his... Read more

Column: Road trip

When mom and I decided to drive to Chicago at the last minute, I remember thinking, "This could be a sequel to... Read more

Column: Simple blessings

Blessings can come in unlikely packages, with no ribbons, bows or bright, cheery wrapping paper. They can be hidden among tears and... Read more

Column: Life's pleasures

There was an aroma coming from the kitchen that no one in my household was used to smelling. So that ruled out... Read more

Column: Balancing act

Between a rock, a hard place and a meeting. That's where women often find themselves when struggling to merge work and children's... Read more

Column: Shocking surprise

Periodically, I am away from home for about three days for work-related travel. I stress about everything before I leave. Is there... Read more

Column: Mom's birthday

As dad always liked to remind everyone, "My wife was born the same year as Pearl Harbor." It was his answer to... Read more

Column: Hearts and axes

"Can I help you find something, ma'am," asked the polite and helpful, but obviously sight-impaired, gentleman in the tools section of the... Read more

Column: Forever holidays

One-twelfth of the way through 2010 and everyone is asking, "Where has the time gone?" OK, not everyone is asking this question,... Read more

Column: A liberated man

I've always been one to push things to the limit with my actions and words. The Pawlowski side of me requires I... Read more

Column: Getting lost

Identity theft is rampant in our society. With options to buy anything over the phone or online with a few keystrokes of... Read more

Column: Hazardous duty

As a mom, have you ever hesitated to leave the kids alone with dad so you could run errands? It's not that... Read more

Column: Winter fun

Who knew the "it" gifts for the holiday season should have been tire socks for the car and a snow blower? Or... Read more

Column: It's a new year

We are two full days into 2010 and I am grateful for the invention of online banking and debit cards. They will... Read more

Column: Celebrating a first

The celebration of our "firsts" begins as soon as we enter the world. Parents dote, then document with photos the milestones in... Read more

Column: Fashion in style

My daughter didn't get her sense of fashion from me. I'm as fashion-challenged as they come.

If I am wearing an outfit... Read more

Column: A husband's hobby

Really, 4 a.m. is a crazy time to wake up to enjoy a hobby.

But it's deer season and it's not my... Read more

Column: Treadmill challenge

Three, two, one, beeeep!

That is the sound of the treadmill warning it's time to lift my feet and start walking. I've... Read more

Column: Children's rules

Imagine the possibilities if children were in charge.

Life would be much simpler and sane, with fewer worries about everything.

When was... Read more

Column: Giving thanks

Being thankful is sometimes difficult, especially when the economy is unpredictable, jobs are scarce and bills are piling up as we inch... Read more

Column: Some keepsakes last the ages but, alas, not all

She sits atop the dresser, snuggled between an old light-up world globe and a Winnie-the-Pooh porcelain tea set. Her feet are bare;... Read more

Column: More things for which to be grateful

Dear American Military Family:

After I tucked my daughter into bed last night, I tripped over stuffed animals and clothes littering her... Read more

When time is short, moments are more precious

You won't find it on a tourist map, but bowling at the senior residential facility was high on the list of "must-dos"... Read more

Column: Put me in, coach, and sports have meaning

"Hey, coach!"

We've all screamed those two words at some point, whether we were trying to show the coach we finally learned... Read more

Column: Child's play? Or indication she pays attention?

It's a modern day twist on the traditional kid's game of cops and robbers. It's also what happens when a 9-year-old with... Read more

Column: Big disappointments make small victories better

I sat on the patio enjoying temperature in the mid-60s and the change of the season while reflecting on the Chicago Cubs'... Read more

Column: Where there's smoke, there's another injustice

As the evening cooled off and the crisp autumn air settled in, we smelled the smoke.

"We should get a chiminea so... Read more

Column: Being together for dinner is what matters

The setting was never fancy or pretentious - a wobbly cardboard table in the dining room with metal folding chairs or the... Read more

Column: Routine lacks creativity

Back in my day, "I'm running away from home," was code for "I can't eat mom's meatloaf again."

And it was usually... Read more

Column: Crying for attention

Weeds have crept into my life.

They have infiltrated the strawberry patch and the herb garden to the extent that I don't... Read more

Column: Rockies come through

The vacation continues:

While we waited for a marina worker to save us from the crashing waves and nearby rocks, I began... Read more

Column: If it isn't one thing, it's another

The vacation, part 3.

We slept soundly knowing we had a vehicle that could transport us to the nearest hospital if our... Read more

Column: What's a little outage?

The vacation, Part 2:

When Hilly's Hooker service pulled away with our rental car, we didn't know if we would ever have... Read more

Start should have been omen

A week's vacation planned for months was at hand and nothing, and I mean nothing, could spoil the anticipated time off without... Read more

Column: These posters are cowards

Reading anonymous reader comments online is like rubbernecking a car accident. You hate to stare or even admit you are staring at... Read more

Column: Moms need self-esteem, too

I had been searching for a pair of jeans, the new kind with what's called a "comfort" waistband instead of the old... Read more

Column: Right cause, right corner

A familiar symbol of childhood summers, the lemonade stand, represents the entrepreneurial spirit of the pint-sized children coordinating the no-frills, low-overhead business.... Read more

Column: How is such disparity possible here?

When you walk into a grocery store and peruse the isles of food choices, it's hard to imagine that there are hungry... Read more

Sibling dynamic remains same

Sibling behavior doesn't change much after 40 years. Brothers and sisters still argue and try to prove each other wrong in all... Read more

Column: When you're 9 years old, the world is at your feet

My daughter recently turned 9 years old and asked for an opportunity to inform readers she has matured from the 3-year-old youngster... Read more

Column: Recall sends 'death mobile' owner into overdrive

All these years, 10 and a half to be exact, I've been driving a death trap that could catch fire at a... Read more

Column: Black Lab retriever Buck makes life entertaining

The name is simple, masculine and easy to scream when we need to call him off a cornered squirrel or scold him... Read more

Column: This weekend is time to celebrate freedom

The posse of five rides again, on bicycles and skateboards, bringing with them on occasion a new member who seems to have... Read more

Column: Sister's question has hidden, heartfelt meaning

"Did you ever think that raising a child would be this hard?" my sister asked in one of our rare phone conversations... Read more

Column: What Mom wants most doesn't require shopping

If you've forgotten today is Mother's Day and your mom lives out of town, you had better make a phone call to... Read more

Column: Having a child later in life adds perspective

It's amazing what happens when you haven't seen good friends for a few years and then you spend an evening with them... Read more

Column: National Honesty Day is just the beginning

We teach our children to be honest from birth, and they begin applying that lesson at an early age. "Mommy, that man... Read more

Column: All city needs is a few more sponsors

Welcome to Topeka. We are brought to you by Ed's Travel Emporium, your go-to guy for all your travel needs. Whether traveling... Read more

Column: Even children understand meaning of day

When I viewed the Stations of the Cross dioramas created by third-graders, I was inspired by the thought and creativity displayed in... Read more

Column: Apparently in this economy, everything must go

We're all looking for deals in this uncertain economy, anything to save a buck or two to ensure little Suzie can continue... Read more

COLUMN: School project brings back not-so-fond memories

=The word "diorama" sent chills down my spine. When my daughter explained the project for school, it was as if she was... Read more

Estes: We still need news we can hold in our hands

As a high school newspaper editor, the big question each week was, "Should we place the story above or below the fold?"... Read more

COLUMN: Right answer is there, if we can just wait for it

When God created Adam and Eve, he constructed magnificent humans able to run, walk, jump and think critically. Unfortunately, one day in... Read more

Complaining won't help

"Life isn't fair!" Mom and Dad would blurt that out when one of my siblings or I complained about the lack of... Read more

This Week's Circulars