Friday, October 29, 2010

Slow and steady

It is slow and we are trying to keep it steady - Benjamin's reading lessons that is. He needs the steady more than anything for him to make progress. I think he is getting close to having things click for him. I am trying to keep it simple and keep going over everything we have done together patiently and in small amounts each time. The hardest part has been keeping this regular. I am easily distracted by a need to keep everything else steady. So my strategy is to progress through each day in the same way I might proceed to get out of debt. I pay who I owe the highest interest to first and the most. In this case I owe Benjamin the most, Erik probably the second most where it concerns writing and test taking, and then Cecilia and Martin with their math. It has taken till the last week or so to get some consistency in our routine and the kids are picking up the pace now. Patience. Slow and Steady. Anything can be accomplished 15 (or a bit more) minutes at a time. I do believe we hit every day this week with consistency. Almost November......I guess it could be worse.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Wood God

Thus begins another season of worshiping the Wood God. The wood stove is being uncovered from being a clutter catcher right now. Of course my resolution to not use it for a horizontal surface was given up a long time ago. It is supposed to be 28 tonight. Brrrrr....... We just found our fall/spring jackets and now we have to hunt down the winter ones.

This morning we moved our hoards of squash and pumpkins to the root cellar and basement and some of it was delivered. We should be eating some this evening but we also had salsa to finish and a disaster kitchen to clean and as many potatoes as we could dig to dig. Believe it or not the kids got some worthwhile school work done in between all of this.

I have been reading Mrs. Piggle Wiggle to the kids and they are loving that. It will have some effect on them for a little while. I am pleased that reading out loud is happening. I still have not accomplished working on any book for myself. I am still pleased with the slow and steady wins the race philosophy around here. It is working.......slowly but ends another school day.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Chasing it

I have been making some attempts to help my dears figure out how to chase their education. That is what I say to the oldest two here, "Chase it". We start each day with our stomachs of course and then some panic kitchen clean-up, followed by catechesis and hoping no one has a break down in the middle of it. The next stop is reading out loud to them for awhile, followed by mandatory math for everyone. With math I set a timer and they have to complete it in that time or will be sent to bed early as there is no reason math should take all day. We try to keep track of how long math took each day so they stay on track. Because of limited time, we have been skipping the reading out loud part this last week, but I really don't want to skip it. If the day is good, everyone proceeds to grammar, their own reading, and some Science. Fitting Benjamin into all this is tricky as I seem to lose him or the rest of them with an interruption like paying attention to just one kid!!!! So my goal is to snag that kid over breakfast or reel him in at bedtime.

Consequences for not chasing it are an early bed time and absolutely NO internet. The internet is only allowed after the sweet darlings come to Charley or I and convince us it is okay for them to get on it. So.......they have to chase it if they want it. I have found this is working pretty effectively for the oldest ones. Now the trick will be remembering this is the rule. They know how to play me. If I can get three of these days in for sure then I know it has been a good week. It doesn't always happen. I am holding to that wonderful advice I heard years ago of lowering my expectations and then I won't be so dissatisfied and frustrated with them. It is nice to see they are making any progress at all. I think they are also seeing the benefits of chasing it too. They are seeing the error of neglect too. Sigh. Plug along and don't think too hard about it and we will be happier! I won't push them out the door into the passing bus this way either. I find it humorous that homeschooled kids have a fascination with school buses. If only they really knew what creeps into their parent's thoughts.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Comedy with their mom

I have been trying to teach Benjamin the basics, such as the days of the week and the months of the year. I have NOT had circle time with the little people with little sun and rain stickers etc. All the kids have listened to this CD which has a cute little song about the days of the weeks and the months of the years. Well, this morning Benjamin could still not say these correctly so I started singing those cute little songs and my dear older children all broke into song with me. It sort of reminded me of the Alleluia Chorus as they were amazingly loud. They don't miss a beat in their inheritance of weirdness from their mother. Benjamin enjoyed it too. So now I am thinking they will be joining in on this just like the hymn of the week if they are in ear shot. I am glad they know their days and months. I'm glad too that they are fun loving and have a nice sense of humor.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Irony of saving money

My favorite money saving book is 'More with Less'. It is a cookbook. I am not sure I would define myself the same way as this book but it did teach me a thing or two. I guess I have been a "everything in moderation" sort of person. Well, I do find it amusing that the month I get rid of all our debt, we become somewhat financially challenged. It seems as hard as I try to cut back, the more things break. Keep laughing Karin. I can not say I am driven to save money in a crazy way but I have been very free to spend money on things we didn't really need in the past. The feeling of entitlement seems to easily grow on a person. Getting rid of bunches of stuff helped me see we don't really need to get MORE stuff to take care of.

My greatest weakness is currently books. Books can get me in trouble that is for sure. Between medical stuff, food, gas, trying to save for future vehicles, and a few miscellaneous things which kids need like shoes for organ lessons, shoes for growing feet and a few birthday gifts we seem to burn through quite a bit. Sometimes it seems even those things are out of line as we have greatly reduced our spending and still seem to not get much further ahead. Our septic system, as I have mentioned, finally will get fixed tomorrow, our stove is still broken, and a few more feet need shoes. More money...........I hate money.

With all the predictable expenses I am trying to be more responsible with treats like grabbing sandwiches while out with a kid on errands, sugary cereals (ouch to the pocket)(never thought I would see the day when I actually looked forward to my oatmeal!) and even the occasional chocolate craving. OF course part of all this is motivated from the mystery of Charley's job in the future and having a buffer. I am staring at the fridge and groceries and trying to use what is most likely to go bad first, use the veges from the garden and researching all sorts of yummies online, and eating meat from the freezer which we already have. Pretty crazy eh? Charley of course is FINE with this. We can still eat like kings with a little creativity. I will attempt to not make myself nuts with obsessing. Anna did talk me out of picking up a sandwich this afternoon when I finally got Erik out to get his new glasses ten months after his appointment. It all adds up doesn't it Anna dear.

Oh, I might get criticized for this post but oh well. We are still trying to have fun with this. I ask who is going to murder a pumpkin today so we can make pumpkin this and that and turn orange. I see the benefit to just staying home and snuggling with my kids and learning stuff together. This is probably getting boring but I have no doubt I will continue to chase after this thing for awhile anyway till it is much more of a habit and not so much of an impulse. I will have to post the hilarious article I read called something like "15 different situations you should NOT use your credit card". It was on Yahoo or some such place. I can't remember the exact title but it was pretty enlightening.

Just one last word of encouragement......I still love ice cream and I don't make it from scratch........can I kick that habit????? And...yes, yes, I know none of this craziness will 'save me' but keeping my head on straight can't hurt too much either.


Between hungry babies and screaming toddlers, I think I finally have all my plans in order to keep sailing smoothly through the school year. Progress. Deep sigh. I am hoping to keep on track or at least keep crossing things off so that my small people get some more attention. Right now I am dashing out the door to finally purchase new glasses for Erik who should have gotten these four months ago but life keeps happening! Then a quick trip to purchase milk, butter, and eggs and back to the trenches.

Screaming two year old equals headache..........

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

I might write a book

Way back when I had perhaps four kids I looked for books on advice on raising a 'large' family. There really aren't any. I did find one book called something like, "What I wish I knew sooner". It was written by a mother of ten or so kids and it was hilarious, sobering, etc. I liked it. I could probably put my hands on it if I got up off the couch to do so.

I might write a book by interviewing all my fantabulous Lutheran friends with large families and compiling the truths we have learned. I think about this book writing when I peruse other blogs and see people pondering doing things I have done and wish I hadn't, I want to scream a warning or at least tell them my experience. Perhaps people don't really want help though. There are many romantic ideas of raising lots of kids and having animals too. Sigh. I have a lot to say about that. I can think of the chapters:

Dreaming of having a large family
Having three kids and being asked how you handle all those kids
Giving up on cloth diapers
Doing everything by scratch to 'save' money
Thinking raising animals would be a 'neat' idea
Organizing our stuff (??????)
Cutting costs
Cutting costs again
Revisiting cutting costs
Taking up a second pew at church
Cathechizing our kids
The day I sent the FlyLady a letter bomb
When things go wrong
Flying the nest
Kids and 'relationships'
Kids getting married
Figuring out that your kids can only invite family to their wedding as there won't be room in the church.
Grandkids while having your own children
Family shrinking
Empty nest????
Smiling at families with lots of kids
The funeral

Those might be a few of the topics. Would anyone want to read it? I probably offend people at times on blog responses as I have been there and done that so I rarely remark. There is also the, every family has their own take on things, but that is why I would interview people to get more input of their experiences. I am sure I would have fun commiserating with other moms and dads at a bare minimum. Why doesn't this book get written? Because we don't have time to write it!!! I can dream.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Trying not to be overwhelmed or whine

It is just another week filled with unexpected stuff. Two of my kids were hired to help our vegetable farmer friend and perhaps I should have said no. I am short handed at home and am struggling to get dinner on the table. Why am I typing. I am feeding the little person who is keeping me on my toes as well. Two kids are fighting and chasing each other around the house. I do NOT begrudge Evan his need to eat but seeing things which need to be done everywhere does stress me out a bit. So I am whining. The other end of the stick is to just greet every new challenge as it comes and NOT feel overwhelmed. I do know that once Evan is more independent I will be able to tackle more things with a vengeance. The laundry and dishes seem constantly out of control no matter what that FlyLady person says. My dearest husband had a sudden urge to pour other comment on that one. Sigh. Breathe, breathe, breathe.

Lots of things seem different this year and one of those things is trying to do a more thorough job with the kids on their schooling. We are home most of the time and have limited trips out of the house but even that has been challenged by doctors appointments etc. Things just seem different. Struggle, struggle. I need to spend A LOT more time with Benjamin and his reading and math. I need to help I can.....and then I was looking forward to reading a lot more with the kids and that came to a screeching halt last week. I do sense that EVERYONE seems to be crazy busy. I hear people talking about life calming down. REALLY? I just can't see that happening any time soon.

Yes, I am whining. I need a few more of mes or patience to wait a month or two for Evan to become more content longer. I am also trying not to worry about the weight gain thing with Evan and remembering I better look into that baby cereal soon enough. I guess I will worry about that once I cross a few other bridges.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

A song for everything.......

"Oh, we sing this song about the sewer. About the sewer, we sing this song. Together we stand, with shovel in hand, to keep things moving along." Having worked at a summer camp, the wealth of stupid songs keep us all slap happy I guess. The septic system is still screwed up and the septic dudes have not shown up to help us out. Sadly, the system is not designed for this many people. Still singing that song............

In other news, the kids found Anna's missing boot in the van while I bought milk at Aldi's after church today. It has been missing for almost two months and kids have trampled on it and spilled on it without taking any notice. How can you NOT notice a boot under your feet??????? The pains large families suffer from the soup otherwise know as the van. My nursing sling was also on the back bench floor being trampled. ?????? I just do NOT understand. I will try not to think to hard about this strangeness and just accept it as our plight in life. I'm not sure I can call that my cross to bear...........oh well. I can not even imagine driving my little dream car - a green, convertible, little European car thingie. Sounds good. Two and a grandkid, when the time comes, zooming around town.

Found a rotten potato on the kitchen floor next to a container which has been sitting there for months. How does this happen? Probably happens the same way Anna's boot could be left undetected for months on the van floor. Same problem.

I have decided that since there certainly isn't enough time or me to chase after all of this stuff with the Evan in arms, that I am basically geering bedtime on each child's willingness to help pick up after themselves and others. If they stand still, staring straight ahead, after being told the same instruction several times, then a seven o'clock bed time is in order to help their brains along the road to recovery or increase their awareness of what is going on around them. Sharpening of their brains might help some around here, plus if they can't do the work then, it will free me up to do some of it myself when I am not taking care of them til too late in the evening. Evan can just come with me.

That is all...........for now.

Saturday, October 16, 2010


I was blessed to spend the afternoon with my Goddaughter who is now 21 and fairly newly married. As she said, we should get together more often. We had great conversation and she had lots of questions about life choices etc. When she arrived to meet me, she had "The Well Trained Mind" in hand and peppered me with questions about homeschooling. They are not even expecting at this point but she is enthusiastic to investigate these things now. It was a great talk. I am glad I am able to help her and humbled she comes to me for advice. I wish the rest of my Godchildren lived this close but perhaps, as they get older, I can figure out ways to talk more with them. If I am remembering correctly, myother two Godchildren are 6 years old at the moment. I am also pleased that my 21 year old Godchild and her husband have settled into an LCMS church even if it is not my own. No joke - pray for your Godchildren as duh, God answers prayer. I think more and more about that as my own children get older and are closer to being completely on their own. I am thankful that even when I forget to pray, Jesus has that covered too. Sigh. Praying about a lot of things. Now I need to remember how many different things I said I would send her as far as information goes. I should have made a list.

Friday, October 15, 2010


School and family seems to be getting easier and easier as we slowly get back in the groove of school and routines. Charley has been taking at least one day off a week so he doesn't loose his vacation days. He spends his 'vacation' working here at home. He 'borrows' a kid here and there to do weird things like pour cement or chop wood. The wood splitter broke today. Oops. I hope Charley survives this. He loves his wood splitter.

Matthew is having a bunch of boys over this evening to party outside and probably in. It should be interesting. I am hoping to party some with a friend too. I am somewhat addicted to making food stuff from all the free produce which has come our way so have been making up stuff to share. The pumpkin black bean soup in Taste of Home was incredible. I am considering tweaking the recipe to make the same thing into enchiladas. It should work.

Took the opportunity to go biking this afternoon. It seems that I should figure on going every other day in light of someone having to watch Evan for me. I might go my old route next time and go the whole ten miles. It is SO beautiful out and getting outside and in my own little world is a plus. There is no lawn to mow as it is too dry.

Thursday, October 14, 2010


I am currently being hugged by my huggy little guy Stefan. We are having left over night which includes eating what is there before anything else is put on the table. Sounds frugal eh? I am just not good at cooking just enough so Charley has something to take to eat at work and not mass quantities. Kids coughing and heading to bed SOON. I unleashed the mean old mommy rules again so they will be there much sooner than usual. Eating what we have here does work better than I think it would and so does staying home as much as possible. Appointments seem unavoidable and wreck havoc on routine. Sigh. Not much as to report other than managing every and their goals and needs pretty much can give me a headache. Current project is cheerfully doing our school work and such with out being such cranks...........early bed time............

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


Charley and I are having 'fun' working together to save money. Duh, I know we can't control what might go wrong, like our septic system going hay wire, but we are attempting to be more conscious of our expenditures. There are things we can do to save a little more efficiently and responsibly such as planning meals, not having so much 'fun' with frivolous purchases of media etc. Sigh. The rumor of Bosch moving to Detroit gets stronger as time passes and we would like to not move so will have to pray for other solutions and basically for God's will in all this. I am NOT freaked out which Charley sometimes forgets and attempts to 'protect' me from by not sharing this information with me but it really helps the family to realize what is going on. So Charley has taken up going to the bread store for us, is helping with processing some food which was basically free to eat this winter, and also goes on milk runs. This saves on out of the way trips. Everyone knows how to do this of course, it is just a pain to keep up with. I appreciate his willingness to work with me and he feels better knowing effort is being made to make conscious decisions.

So........we went out to eat last week for my bday. Holding with tradition, boring though this sounds, I got myself a gift. Charley called uncle on this years ago. And as tradition goes, I went outside last night to fetch him from his hobby of digging holes and pouring cement, to ask him please come in and give me my birthday gift. He comes in and asks where it is and 'wraps' it up and gives it me. I open it with the appropriate exclaims of surprise. It really was a gift to both of us this year. 'His' gift to me seasons five and six of 24 bought used on Amazon. Our addiction can carry on now. I think we are going to start over when we are done as they are pretty entertaining.

My brain is screwing itself into more thriftiness and not changing our giving. The Lord will certainly take care of us, but he sends boats and helicopters too. I like being able to work with the husband on these goals as sadly we have not taken the time to manage finances so well in the past so off we struggle along on this continued adventure. My other birthday gift to me was to completely eliminate ALL credit card debt. It happened Monday. House, vehicles, and credit cards all paid off and zeroed. Time for a new debt to crop up but maybe not. It seems that is the way things go but at least it seems more like progress. I don't have a payroll job but am trying to do what I can to get organized and help out more.

I will shut up now........I am sure this is nothing new or that exciting to folks........just thinking out loud.

Monday, October 11, 2010


It is our family tradition for everyone to be sick during birthday week. Today is mine (mild symptoms), Matthew's is tomorrow (now coughing), and Erik's is next week (not sick.......yet.....holding out for his birthday). I think a great percentage of my kids get sick on their bdays. So......we are certainly chilling out today. I was sort of hoping to take Matthew out for lunch today or tomorrow but I don't think that will happen. Unschooling does solve a myriad of problems. I am not too stressed by the sickness interruption. We are taking life very slowly today. Last year it was the stomach flu so I am NOT complaining!!!!

Our septic system is stressed so have to take care that we don't stress it further till the septic pumper outers come. Our system is NOT designed to handle this many people. We bought a high efficiency washer the last time we stressed it out. Now I think we will have to visit the Cheaper By the Dozen motion study of shower taking. My kids love long showers. Who doesn't? That will have to wait for next summers pool attendance........long showers during the breaks.

So goes the day. I think I will go open a jar of herring in honor of the day's 'festivities' (aka nose blowing). Too bad I can't find a tomato to go with it.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Sweet old man at the grocery

I LOVE it when this sort of thing happens. I was at Aldis with Cecilia and Evan and I suppose since I carry my babies and don't leave them stuffed in their car seat, I draw attention or something. So this older gentleman, his wife and I were trying to get through a tight spot in the store and of course we were all having a contest in manners. I was having a little bit of a struggle controlling my now heavy cart while balancing Evan on my shoulder. The older gentleman asked me if both of my children were girls and I replied that no the baby was a little boy and that Cecilia was in the middle. The gentleman got that look of curiosity on his face and asked "Oh? In the middle? How many children do you have? Nine??? Really? I came from a family of nine." It was so VERY sweet to see this man's eyes just light up like the little kid he once was. I asked him if they had a lot of fun growing up and his eyes lit up even more. He had a captive audience of enthusiasm to share his memories with. It was a fun talk. When we parted ways he told me that he has the greatest respect for women and for mothers. He added that he was proud of me (doesn't even know me) and what I was doing for my kids. AWwww! I should have invited him over so he could reminisce with the kids and they could see the joy that man had in his family. So......that was the high point in my day. Love it!

Not humanly possible

Today I am attempting to clean up a bunch of stuff scattered all over, make some goodies for a party this evening, get to the store for a party tomorrow, not have anything socially odd happen, focus, perhaps get to the vege farmers place again, um, um...........not all possible. Feeling sort of torn in too many directions. The Evan needs me too and the kids can't hear my pleas to get rid of the clutter and swab the decks. Sigh again. Basic comment between dear husband and I was that we are trying to accomplish too much in too little time. Conflicted.......and then there is the burning desire to rest. Rest? Will try not to rest with too much guilt.

Sick kiddos to boot........

Sunday, October 3, 2010


makes me smile most of the time. He is almost four now and if ever a three year old warmed my heart, he has. He greets me so sweetly in the morning and we talk about all the little things in his little world. He quietly comes into the room and says "I love you so much mom". Sigh. How can that not melt a heart? "I love you so much too Stefan". He is very independent in many ways. He likes to have a part in the decisions in his world and not just be told what to do. I tend to ask him questions when we have to shift gears like, "Have you seen your shoes lately Stefan? Do you want me to help you find them or can you do it yourself?" He says "Sure, I can find them" and runs his skinny little legs away from me and produces his shoes. I love the "Sure!" He is my eczema child. I had been thinking how his skin condition as an infant and toddler changed his world the other day. He also has a peanut allergy and he takes that pretty well in hand now even as a three year old. (I did screw up and give him a donut with peanuts on it recently, but Benadryl to the rescue stepped in - sigh) Anyway, after spending a few days thinking about this another mom just out of the blue this morning, mentions how eczema kids do have a very close tie to their parents for all the close and careful care they received. Funny that is what I was thinking.

He had his first communion last week and he intently paid attention during the Words of Institution and told me what Pastor was doing. Melted my heart again.....he snuggled up and folded his hands and made room for me to be able to kneel with Evan beside him. I will remember that day fondly.

He is intense to be sure and when he is not happy we all know it. Force doesn't work too well but talking to him with respect does. He has actually taught me a lot about relating to children. His sensitivity and the reactions seen in his face help me process the hearts and souls of my kids. They are not just kids, they are people with emotions, needs, sorrows, and times of joy. What happens now effects them. It effects their little hearts. I think I approach my kids a little differently now or perhaps am more tuned into them as individuals.

Stefan's little self changed me in many ways. The stress of his eczema and then his one allergic reaction rocked my world. He lived through it. That event changed me. I spent more time holding him and comforting him than any other child in the family. I think that is why he is so snuggly even now. He helps me see the needs of the other kids and the contrast in their baby hoods and helps me to consider my approach with each of their individual needs etc. I still screw up but it still has been helpful. I've known all this in my head but somehow my heart is effected differently through all this.

Thank you Lord Jesus for the suffering Stefan endured to help me be a better mom to my kids. It was worth it. I love you too Stefan! Jesus loves you! Stefan, "There is my Jesus" as he points to his crucifix before turning out the light. Yes, there is your Jesus Stefan. He loves you. He always will.

Friday, October 1, 2010

How long does it take

It amazes me how long it takes to actually finish something around here. I have yet to find a mom of many who did not nod knowingly in agreement. Everything does go faster if I am able to help but I think that comes from years of experience figuring out the best form of attack and wanting to spend as little time as possible doing it. Kids seem to not understand the concept and then love to complain how long it took. It just is a fact around here that accomplishing a load of laundry or even getting the kitchen clean for the night is a feat to be a little bit happy about. I would form a support group but there is little to no time to attend or risk coming home to more work than we would have had if we stayed home. So I go to church instead. It works.

I know that when the little guy Evan gets a little older, it will not seem as daunting but it will probably be Advent then when his happiness improves so we will be busy for different reasons then and still need to clean the kitchen and do the laundry. Tis a season of not getting too worked up by the mess and only inviting people over spontaneously who will understand and not care what lies in their wake. Kidding.......I just need to not care as much but care enough to survive.

My brain just wants a little rest once in awhile from not calculating what we can accomplish in the spare time between events. Sleep would be a plus but that is sort of hit or miss depending on if Evan is sleeping or if we stay up too late at night watching Charley's addiction called 24. I am getting better at being satisfied with a lot less in the school department and trying not to make my family miserable if they didn't keep to a schedule. They are enjoying what we do get done still so that is all that matters. I can not explain that to anyone easily who holds themselves and others to high expectations but my not biting their heads off is also an important lesson for them to learn from me. It makes living with myself easier too.