Saturday, December 31, 2011

Keeping track

Yesterday, for kicks and giggles, I looked up some calorie counting apps on the frivolous phone and found one that is both fun, guilt inducing and hilarious at least to me.   MyFitnessPal has a data base of over a million different foods, their calories and nutritional content.   You can plug in your weight loss goals, it keeps track of those and the balance of your exercise goals.   You can set reasonable goals for weight loss and exercise.   I was not having a stellar nutritional day so far so the dark chocolate and banana did not make for a great nutritional score board.  

So today I am going to hunt for a financial diet application.   I have the capability to indulge my hobbies too much at times so would like to have a place to report.   Then of course we can do weird things like make a budget and record our expenditures.   Meal planning has made a big difference in the grocery bill.   We have recorded expenses on a calendar before but have been horrible about keeping track of the general status of the check book and such.  

This all sounds very New Yearsy I realize but I have been stuck at the same weight forever and I have never been thrilled with our money spending accountability so here we go.   Onward.   I think I will go boil an egg.  I will leave the dark chocolate to the piranhas who are still sleeping and waiting for the next feeding frenzy.   

Friday, December 30, 2011


2011 has been quite the year.   I cannot say I would like to repeat it as there was much heartache but much learned as well.   If only we could learn without the heartache.   It has been a pleasure to spend the last week of the year with family and friends here at home and with our church family.   At the moment we are watching "The Bells of St. Mary" with our neighbor who is basically a part of the family.   It is his favorite Christmas movie and I thought it would be nice to get a copy of it for us all to share together.   He is loving every minute.   My sleepy self is not going to make it through the whole thing, but every day is full of people in life to be thankful for.   I am looking forward to another such day to be thankful for tomorrow no matter what comes my way.   One day at a time. 

Saturday, December 24, 2011


Well, the day I thought would never happen has happened.   My dear ADD husband has had little piles of this and that all over the place in the yard and we would casually mention every so often that most people didn't have these piles in their yard.   He uttered the phrase, "I picked up the brick which were by the side walk.   That just isn't normal to have that sort of thing lying around."    I am now playing the 1812 Overture with cannons booming in triumph over this little strangeness in our marriage.    The yard is shaping up and projects such as putting the can lights back in the ceiling after they had been hanging out of the ceiling for a good year or so, are getting completed.    Here is the kicker....ready?   I didn't ask him to do these things.   He is running around fixing the 'not normal' aspects of our house and yard.  Stunned.  His stars on the star board doth runneth over.   What will tomorrow bring?   It is Christmas tomorrow so it should be interesting.  He has been in his workshop feverishly making something.   I might be able to guess but whatever it is must be pretty good.   Stay tuned.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Letter writing

I used to write lots of letters to my friends and older relations.    Now the older relations get gypped.   So I finally was able to escape to drink some decaf all by myself in a restaurant and pound out some long overdue letters.   One was pretty difficult to write as his wife died this past year and the other two were to two older cousins who I greatly admire.   The women on my dad's side of the family are basically awesome.  The ones left to write to are all in Sweden so that alone is a reason I should write more as it is pretty difficult to just drop by!    So anyway, I miss the lost art of snail mail and  the anticipation.   My peers don't do snail mail anymore.    I am glad I finally got the letters written, now to make sure I get them in the mail!!!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Air freshener

I am raising a passel of comedians.   If I take my crazy brood with me into stores, they are sure to entertain me with their observations of stupid product names etc.   We have had a long time fascination with air fresheners.   As the mother of six boys (and three girls), we were in a store reading the titles of air fresheners and we all burst out laughing at the one titled, "After the Rain".   Yes.....aptly  named for the bathroom.   We have been devoted customers of this variety ever since.   Tonight we were looking at carpet freshener, as we are obsessed with masking the smells of reality around here and the one we chose was "Mountain Rain".    So....the conversation then went to what exactly does mountain rain smell like as opposed to back yard rain or prairie rain.    I must say my children keep me amused.   The icing on the cake was when we were listening to Pandora and Dean Martin was singing some song about how he let this wonderful girl get away and my dear eldest blurts out, "Dumbo".   My kids kill me.   Dying of laughter would be a good way to go.   Added bonus to the whole evening was singing two of my favorite hymns at the Divine Service this evening, both of which I think I would like to be sung at my funeral.   My eldest broke out in this awesome descant on the final verse and in that case brought a teeny tear to my eye as well as a smile.   Who couldn't love "Sing with all the Saints" and "Lo! He comes".   Sweet

Van clarification

I have been instructed to clarify where van righteousness comes from and why it makes us laugh.   We live about 45 minutes from the heart of Amish country.  Whenever we venture that way in our 15 passenger van, Amish people everywhere we go stop what they are doing and wave at us.   I know they are waving because they think we are one of their drivers or they just love large vehicles in general.    It is funny.   I feel like I am in a parade.   

It is also true that I inwardly giggle when a family makes the leap to the 15 passenger van with the growing family size  glint in their eyes.   It is cute and it does make me laugh.  

Other 15 passenger white van humor has involved my observation that they are used as inmate chain gang transportation, mental hospital transportation, and also custodial vehicles.   We have a LOT of fifteen passenger vans at our church and many of them are white.  We are not really in church but having a meeting of mental patients (the parents).   

We are actually  using ours less as I don't use it as much since I am not hauling everyone with me very often.   So......I am not insulting van owners but finding humor in their use and the admiration of others, like the Amish.   Forgive my mockery.  

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Van righteousness

Eldest daughter and I were musing last night about how, "he who drives a 15 passenger van, is truly righteous."   We were merely giggling over van pride and size as surely if we have that many children our righteousness MUST be secure.  (sarcasm).   My dear hubby took the 15 passenger van to work today as he is the designated driver for their Christmas work dinner out.   Last night he requested a laundry basket to clean out said van to prevent embarrassment over his children's flotsam.   I noticed he found a few towels from the summer swimming pool adventures.   If it is lost, look in the van should be our motto.   Six months of flotsam is sort of scary sometimes.   I am the mom who has to psyche myself up to loading small children into their car seat in our van as the effort to get there is daunting at times.   "Come on Karin, you can do it!"   Or, I with a guilty heart, plead with my older children to lock the little dears into their seats.   I think this began as pregnancy weariness and the mere effort of lifting my self up to do this but now I do not have that excuse and the little cherub faces really want mommy to do the job.   I guess I should see my 15 passenger van as yet another opportunity to burn calories.   Every parenting event surely is an opportunity for weight loss.   I wonder how many calories I burn folding all of their laundry and putting it away?   I should write a book about all the opportunities for weight loss with a family of nine kids.   Picking up the laundry off the floor would be right up there.    Who needs a gym anyway?   I have a house which I can barely keep up with and  kids who are much like I have been in this life of tidying up and can't seem to get their stuff put away.   The calories burned in chasing them down on these tasks and the mere thought of the chasing can leave me tempted by the bed magnet.

So.....does my van size make me righteous.   NO!!!!    It just gives me more opportunity for weight loss if I look upon all the opportunities as opportunities and not burdens.   Here's hoping.  

Saturday, December 17, 2011


I think this blog is getting boring.   Not sure what to do about it.   Most readers of said blog do the same sort of mom thing I do so my lovely thoughts might just cause panic attacks rather than offer any sort of comfort.   My thoughts for today are that we have no matched socks and the unmatched ones jump out of the mismatched sock bin and travel all over the house with Evan's assistance.   Many of you live this so you can easily visualize this and the look on my face when I find the newly sorted laundry strewn about after I leave for a moment to refill my coffee cup.   Socks.   Teeny, tiny underwear.   This is my life.   Why would anyone else want to read about it????    Not sure.  

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Lab rats

This is the flip side of the last post.   The little cherubs residing in our home might need compassion but they also are at times little buzzards.   Little sinners, little buzzards.....    In a lame attempt to discover a more peaceful home, I have been chasing all sorts of methods to better cheerfulness around here.  The first experiment on the lab rats was to make a star chart and hand out stars for random acts of responsible, helpful behavior.   Now I just need to remember to do it.   They seemed to respond to that variable.   The best news is the husband really has responded.   That is so cute.   He has been doing an amazing job of helping out around here.   His 13 year old clone also seems to appreciate the star chart so I will somehow have to remember this more often.    The littlest people could use some stars if they actually spend any length of time not whining, crying or screaming.  

In light of little screamers, I pondered how to extinguish this behavior for increased peace around here.   Yesterday I was pretty much intolerant of this behavior and had children washing floors, running around the house and sitting on their beds to do their own pondering.   It got a bit ridiculous so my revised plan is to pick a kid and try to assist one at a time to work on their screaming, whining habit.   I don't mean I will let the rest get away with stuff but if I try to extinguish this loveliness from everyone at the same time, it will probably only leave me screaming and whining.   Chillax people!!!    I will have to do a combination, wash the floors if you whine, with "yay, you get a star for making it through an hour without whining or screaming!"

  It is the vast quantity of little buzzards, conspiring to suck the life out of me, which is the most challenging.   Focusing and finishing anything seems hampered by all the interruption so somehow I hope to make some progress on all of this for everyone's sanity.   I know!   I can carry treats in my pocket and when they illicit the proper response to my experiment, they get a treat!    Facepalm.   Breathe.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


Call it all weird and sappy but seriously, how can you look at your little sinners and not have some pause for thought when you see their little eyes in action.  Saints and sinners, even the short people and all the rest of us.     The older my kids get, they seem to change that look of enthusiasm to something different but as I have observed in our thirteen year old, they come out of their cocoon when their body is done with the 13 year old growth explosion.   Our thirteen year old went from a year or two of introverted behavior, to being more animated etc.   There seemed one day in particular which I was wondering what he had been smoking as his silly self had been missing for awhile.   Hmmm.......every stage is so different.  Seeing his eyes light up was encouraging.    I have not parented eyes beyond age 20 but where they *are at* seems pretty evident by what their eyes are saying to me.   Compassion for our childrens eyes, taking time to go and talk to them alone even when we are tired is an opportunity to see what is going on.   With our family number, there is so much maintenance going on that taking time for pause with individuals is certainly a challenge.   My mental check list might panic if I considered the last time I had a chance to connect with each kid, but hopefully they know I care. My lazy self might not be able to muster up the energy to keep up that connecting so even remembering to rip my eyes away from my current book or computer helps me connect a bit better with all of them, hubby included.  Physical  presence close to them does make a difference so even if I can't talk to them, being around helps some.  Basically I am wowed by fellow man if they are my family or others.   So goes my ramblings of the morning as I listen to short people coughing and stumbling about their morning.  

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Growing older

I've been thinking on our parents a bunch lately.   So many things have changed yet so much stays the same.   My dad and Charley's dad are 83 and 85 and are showing their age.   They have done remarkably well considering their age but seeing the going down hill process is at times hard to watch.   I am a person who ponders another person's eyes and what they say without talking.  Their increased limitations are hard to watch.   How does one grow old with grace and style.   Hmmm.....   The person is still the same person they always have been so just like I don't like to see children treated with disrespect or non-people, neither do I like the elderly to be treated that way either.   They feel like burdens and don't want to be, but at some point they need help.   I hope that I can remember their person on the inside in spite of all the screaming frailties.   The next ten years or so should be interesting and full of new challenges. 

Monday, December 12, 2011


I am SO sick of not being able to lose this stupid weight.   If life keeps me from biking then.....I get fat again.   Argh.   I am now on the 'eat as little as I can get away with' plan.   I've been lamely attempting to get all the pre-Christmas stuff done, such as the annual Christmas card, and then maybe I can fool myself into thinking I can find time to bike again.    I MUST get rid of stress,, also known as all the meals etc. I am responsible for to keep everyone cheerful, too and then, maybe then.....I can work on that BMI.   Losing weight does not make chubby cheeks me look older either.   The natural chubby cheeks help keep the wrinkle monster under control.   You SO wanted to know this random information about me didn't you. 

Family culture

The more we are all home the more I don't want to leave the family culture.   Cecilia and I were looking at baby pictures last night and to hear my dear ten year old ponder on the fact that we are more than likely done having wittle ickle babies around here and how sad that was for her, I try hard not to think about THAT and then stare at her and thank God for kids with their priorities in the right place.   I guess our family grows in different ways, with the adoption of our 65 year old neighbor who is pretty much family at this point and then who knows what the future will bring.   Taking one day at a time and one hour at a time becomes sort of an art form or something or perhaps is better known as proceeding in faith.   All nine kiddos will be home tomorrow night.    I am looking forward to a good long time this Christmas break with all of my children.   Who could not relish having their three year old join them every morning and listen to all that jabbering about thing like what is on her pajamas and what color her eyes are.    Sweet.   Well.....time to do the next thing here so....later!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Poor Hubby

I've been pondering also in the midst of overwhelmed syndrome, how best to remember my husband's existence and remembering to take time out to do things for him and even speak to him!   We can tend to be high energy or high hobby people with our ten acres, his maple syrup thing and my bee and garden thing.   So this fellow who once upon a time, just had me to contend with, still hops off to the work place where they are in the midst of moving to Detroit, and then comes home to crazy us.   Perhaps chaos at home to greet him stresses me out more than whether my friends and family think I am a slob.   There is the mantra of having a pleasant place to come home to to keep in mind and then.......all the rest.   I got the living room way cleaner than it has been in a LONG time and when I came home from church last night, the hubby looked like a guy on a deserted island in the middle of the ocean, as there weren't toys and laundry all over the place.    It looked sort of pitiful actually.    I did laugh.    The poor thing.   So today, I hope to make things even more sparse in here so perhaps we can all breathe easier.  Maybe we can have a deserted island theme meal in honor of more free space in our living area.   The overwhelmed part of me might be better if I can stay on top of some of those things and continue to work on figuring out how to destress our school and home life.   Oh.....and hubby darling has been working on keeping my oven clean!!!!!!!    That totally rocks.    I think the thing that assists remembering equally stressed husband the most, is to remember our honeymoon trip and that time alone exploring Maine, how he decided to see every light house possible despite the roller coaster roads to get to them, and other such times where we were able to focus on each other and not the madness.   Staring at him in that context and not in the, sigh, we have more spilled milk to clean up, helps ease the stress.    Works for others too who can sometimes be cranky, weird, whatever, as I too am the chief of weirdness at times.   Sigh.   Don't forget your hubby and think of fun things to do for him.    Today we are ever so romantically paying off debt together.   Sounds like fun eh???   Medical bills, bursar bill unexpectedly high this semester......ugh.   Thankful for a paycheck.  

Monday, December 5, 2011


It is amazing to me how fast I fall into being overwhelmed by the tasks at hand with this bunch of kids.    I begin the day a rational being and then an hour or so goes by and just being conscious and looking around the house brings out the ADD in me and "how in the world to prioritize THIS day?" syndrome.   The hubby fashioned a crude bookshelf for the basement over the weekend and I can not wait to tackle getting books and such off of surfaces and filling that puppy up.   Many thanks for the shelves!!!!   I attempt the FlyLady principles but still can't quite get taking one thing at a time.   I am not sure how other people get a handle on their large families and I don't suppose their plights are much brighter.    Turning my head to prayer helps and staying on top of food in their bellies also helps.   Taking one hour at a time is a nice goal.   Not starting new projects before the present projects are done also helps but of course is not as fun.   Self discipline.   Ugh.   Breathe.   Focus on what is going right.   Hugging and squeezing the baby helps too.   Onward.    

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Pounding the pounds

It is perhaps to early to say my addiction to biking is back in full swing but managed to bike every day but one last week.   Rain or shine and wind.....might make a good mailman too.   I am down approximately five pounds from pounding the road and at this rate should make my goal of 25 total.    It would be refreshing to be able to wear the clothes I own and I still refuse to be tempted by anything new.    I have plenty new or at least they will seem new after hardly wearing them for years. this evening.   Ten mile ride in the rain and a bonus walk with my walking buddy.   I am not sure this a great idea before facing Monday but being tired feels good too.    The wildlife of the last few days include a flock of turkey which ran across the road in front of me and the human life included two cute kids walking up their driveway with band instruments in hand.   It would have made a great picture but they probably would have thought I was some sort of creeper. 

We shall see how much lighter I am next week.   Or......if I can keep up the pace. 

Sunday, November 27, 2011

biking again

Made it out for another bike ride this afternoon after Anna left to go back to school.   I sort of enjoy the challenge of biking in the wind and rain.   It is definitely quiet out with little activity to be found.   Wildlife report for the day includes on red tailed hawk and a pileated woodpecker which is always awesome to see and hear.  I saw no other humans.    I think with all the rain and wind that I might have burned a few more calories than usual. was a bit chilly too.    That is all the news for the day.   :o)

Saturday, November 26, 2011


I finally made it out for a bike ride after several months away from it.   It was nice to get outside a bit.   Wildlife of the day included one hawk and a pheasant.   Tamer life included several humans out doing some late fall cleanup in their yard.   There is no snow yet but it still was nice to see what was up around the countryside.   In the winter you can see all the homes you can't see when there are leaves on the trees.   There were several cute small homes that looked appealing to me.  

I read an article this morning which suggested drinking chocolate milk before and after your ride.    I can see the sense in that and the best part is I have been missing chocolate milk as I was avoiding it to fight the chub to no avail.   I am hoping to bike regularly to both fight the chub and to have some alone time and try hard not to think too much while burning up the calories.

Now time to get on top of the "want to" to go vacuum the house and get rid of more junk.   Listening to Paul Simon and enjoying having everyone home for the weekend.    It will be back to our regular scheduled program on Monday.  

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Family conversation

Anna, "You people talk a lot."   Yep.   Anna, "We need some music to drown you guys out."  Yep.  

Sock and laundry sorting.    This activity is basically avoided at all costs.   I do too much for these slugs and they know it.    Sort the socks then stuff the matched socks back in the basket and we still have no socks in our drawer.   My socks never return.    Smallish mommy feet compared to large son feet, find my socks being put in the five year old's drawer.    Why???   I need some socks!   When I find the socks they return with holes in them. 

Life around here is constant interruption.   The so called potty trained child makes an interesting project in my bathroom and another child comes in announcing there is a problem in the bathroom.   It is my fault that nothing gets done around here when I decide to sit down and write nonsense.  My sitting down is the signal to do nothing.     Eleven different ages at eleven different stages of life.   Hmmmm.......the one year old is generally happy and cute most of the time.    He has only learned to bonk siblings on the head while smiling.   He must not quite be to the age of he.    He has processed that when he bonks someone he will get a reaction.

I have at least one hundred bulbs left to plop in the ground and that might equal burning calories so I better go do that.   I did manage one hundredish so far after returning home from pondering how fat I am.   I came in for a break and made some non-calorie tea which every child is doing their best to tip over.   The coffee/tea dance is trying at times.   Time to chug the rest and skip out the door enthusiastically to plant bulbs.  


It is a scary day when you look in the mirror when out with your daughters realize just how fat you are.   I think I am going to give up eating for Advent.   Perhaps a container of yogurt for my Thanksgiving meal and a ten mile bike ride is in order.   Pitching fire wood is for sure on the docket and eating far smaller portions.   Ugh.   Fat.   I am of that age where my metabolism has ceased to function.   I think I just won't sit down during my waking hours and maybe then some of the chub will disappear.    What???   I am ten miles wide.   What???   I need to hide.   What????    I should just stay outside. 

Running away from fat clothes stores.   Stay away from bigger clothes to hide the chub!!!!    Get rid of the chub!!!!!  

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Going Places

This past weekend, I had the opportunity to go to La Boheme at Indiana University.   My daughter was in the Opera Chorus and she was the only organ major participating.   It was very cool.   The set was the most amazing thing I have ever seen!!   There were at least two revolving sets which between scenes moved across the stage and turned around in circles as the singers went through doors to outdoor scenes and back in again.   The theater must have a monstrous back stage.   I have only ever been to one other opera and that was in high school so it was also interesting to hear these singers sing these pieces which were incredibly long while acting it all out.    Wow.  

The other event was a Paul Simon concert.    I have been a fan since grade school.   He played selections from all eras of his career.   It struck me that he is a true musician.    Not only does he play well, write well, and still sings well after all these years, but he also has an appreciation for incorporating a huge variety of instruments, rhythms, and styles.    He is one of the few musicians I have heard actually grow in their art and continue to do so throughout his career.   At 69 he could still put on an amazing show, was clearly enjoying himself and so was the audience.   The audience was a huge mix of Simon's gray headed peers down to IU students who may not of even recognized "50 Ways to Leave Your Lover" but they may have chuckled a bit.

So the weekend was full and now it is time to prepare for Thanksgiving on Thursday.   It will be here for our family.   Today is about over at 9:00a.m. as I made an appointment to get my mop cut and then I have a memorial service this afternoon that I am hoping to make it to for the husband of the young lady who babysat for us when our older kids were small.   It was very sudden and not something which was expected. Praying for his wife and little girl.     Her mother and I have been friends for 25 years.   Sigh.   

This evening is my last journey to Ft. Wayne with my buddy Karen for a Bible study we have been attending there.   I am glad I am not driving.   I was already wiped out yesterday so will be a happy passenger and savor this trip.   We will have to find something new to do to amuse and distract ourselves.  

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Asthma child

Our five year old's asthma has been very aggravated lately.   It is related to eczema as it involves the same system.   He had eczema as a baby that kept me hopping and I equate his eczema struggles with his mommy worship.   Now, he is having several asthma attacks a day and his nebulizer is his friend.   Sigh. 

It is looking less likely that hubby and I will be escaping for a weekend away to visit daughter dear now at school.   Getting my hopes up for things is not always a good idea.   I certainly do not begrudge Stefan for it, but unless he is much better it might not be the best idea to leave him with his older sibs and the neighbor who helps out quite a bit around here.    They are not familiar with what to do.  I am more familiar than Charley so we will have to chat it out as to whether I should go one extra night or not.   Paul Simon concert Sunday evening......  We shall see.   Sigh.   Several of the kids have been plagued with this issue but not as much as the Stefan.   I'm glad he can manage a smile in spite of it all though.   He is my little sweetie.    Love his five year old self.    Sigh.   

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Go talk to you father

I am in a bit of a fed up mood today when it comes to all things pertaining to following through on tasks.   I have also been thinking more and more about how easy it is for my cherubs to whine at me about their troubles as I can tolerate a lot of talking before I declare that enough is enough.   My 'enough is enough' now includes not caring whether they miss out on Scouts and other social times.   I used to hold those sort of things sacred for them as they raised way too many chickens and pigs etc. and seemed to have nothing fun to do ever.   That is not true anymore.   Since animals left, they have acquired computers too.   Computers.   Humph.   I am getting sick of my own computer.   I am pulling the 'no computer' wild card either till their rooms are found, drivers permits are in hand (my kids don't care if they learn to drive or not), and that they do their chores from the list without being told.   Their father dear can be spoken to about all of their dreams  of Scouting events etc.   I don't think sending the kids to talk to their father about stuff is something which kids will use as a manipulation thing if I do my best to let him have the final word on stuff.   What does it matter anyway if he does if it means they actually do what they are supposed to do.   GO TALK TO YOUR FATHER if you are disgruntled about things or need a ride or don't know how to do  your math homework.   Bangs head on table........

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Painting the Yard

I got a bit enthusiastic with tulip and other such spring flower bulbs this year and I think I sort of visualize all the planting as sort of painting of the yard.   We live in the middle of ten acres so there is the potential of a lot of yard to paint.   We dug up two areas where the daffodils needed thinned out and some large allium bulbs needed to be moved.  Those alone counted up to hundreds of bulbs.   Like my previous post indicated, sometimes my inner brat buys too much of something and this time it was bulbs.   I planted perhaps 300 plus bulbs this afternoon.   My hands and body can attest to that.   Ouch.   I have only a few hundred left that I can potentially plant of the daffodils and allium around the woods etc.   Hopefully tomorrow I will find a few hours to continue the job of digging and planting.   Ingrid has enjoyed chasing around with me and giving me bulbs or dropping them in the holes.    Stefan loves to clip the dead plants out of the gardens and jumps out of his seat to run out the door with me when I hobble out with the bulb digger in hand.   Time to find the pain killer and hobble off to bed to read one of the many books which lay around here from my book addiction.
A recent article on money spending habits is probably not news to most of you but this concept of looking at your inner brat when it comes to money spending was a good reminder for me.   The article talked about how the author named their inner spending brat after someone they knew as a young person who acted like one.   Juanita wasn't a 'brat' as I don't like that word in reference to kids but......she was a little student who definitely liked her own way so my inner spending  brat will be Juanita.   My spending habits can surely be Juanitaish at times.   Actually too often.    So.....the silly FlyLady has me examining that aspect of my family life and management or lack thereof.    Trying to organize my book habit is daunting so perhaps I should finish reading what I have? such a challenge.   Books are my biggest temptation next to a sale on cute kids clothes or even mommy clothes.   Hmmmmm.........not too good.    Here ends today's confession.   I will probably kick myself for yesterdays.......

Monday, November 14, 2011

FlyLady is a swear word at times.   But at other times she is a Godsend.   If I cannot manage to get my oafy self off the couch, the FlyLady has been assisting me in at least giving goals and direction.   This does not always work for me but at times it has been a huge help.   Ongoing battles with depression keep whacky me from taking care of things like I should and also fighting the weight of all of that frustration leaves one feeling a bit befuddled at times.    So.....I re-signed up for  the FlyLady to fight the good fight.   I can't believe I am writing this but whatever.   I also can not believe I am the only person in this boat.   So at least if there is someone telling me what to do, I might do it.   It is making a difference so far.   No one else is me but me and no one else can help get me moving besides me.   Blah, blah, blah.  

Friday, November 11, 2011

The Sillies

It is my odd observation that sometimes this family is too silly.   I think I am to blame for that one.   We get ourselves in trouble at times with silly.   So, thus and therefore, I have been talking to dear children about toning down the silly so that some things in our daily routine are less confusing.   It is confusing to give instruction and then have silliness and questions since no one was really listening but rather just being silly.   A time and a place for the sillies.   I am glad we all have a sense of humor but at times I just want to get er' done around here.   I am really not sure how to convey this to my sillies and even to myself, but at least I am thinking about it for my own sake and have just been pondering the effect of silly during the day.  So ends my deep and profoundness for this day.   Time to do the next thing. 

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Yes, that was naughty

So....the commercials for the Mormon church make me a bit nutty.   I think it is a ploy to either make Mornons seem part of the norm or to help people want to be Mormon since they live such glamorous lives....apparently.    A Lutheran commercial might also show 'normal' but perhaps also show sin, (which is normal), repentance and forgiveness.   Maybe a couple having an argument, going away from each other, reflecting on their sin, repenting, asking forgiveness and receiving God's forgiveness from the Pastor and resuming living by faith and proceeding in faith.  Of course Jesus and the Holy Spirit moving hearts to repentance might be a good idea too.  That would be a Lutheran commercial or....something like that.   This is just my morning reaction to the weird pretty commercials which keep coming on during the morning local news.   Others could add to that but I must return to that vocation thing. 

Commercial break

I am contemplating contacting the networks about making a new commercial.   It will feature me or some other better looking mom, doing wondrous, ponderous things such as.....du, du, du.......changing a diaper or.....putting the clothes in the drier.    It will be colorful and awesome with cutely decorated rooms and a beautiful garden which the awesome mom is weeding (or not) and the end of the commercial break it will say......can you guess???????

My name is Martha Ingebretson and..... I'm.......a...... Lutheran.   This will stop all the prejudice against Lutherans I am sure.   All that crossing of themselves and such and living life.   We need to set the record straight.    I know that most people contemplate the weird behavior of Lutherans.  Yes.   You know they do. 

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

If you say......

in any public way, that your kid is learning to read then they might promptly stop learning, forget everything you have taught them and come to a screeching halt.   I have learned to never say things are going well and keep it all a deep dark secret lest I find myself disappointed.  Quietly keeping that all to myself till they have graduated, I've quit teaching them, or they get a job is the plan for me.    I have nine kids.   They are all great and wonderful kidlets.   They mostly live here except for that one who lives south in some school place.   I'll let you know what is up with her in a year or so......hopefully.    Same goes with announcing the regular use of underwear.    You might discover them in their yucky diaper when you thought they had normal human wear on.   If you spend time with one of the kids, another will come and tell you how you never talk to them or play games with them.    Oh dear.   If you switch curriculum because you think it is better, your kids will take two years to catch up to where they would have been in the old curriculum.    Do I care?   Not usually but sometimes I might feel squished by the list of things to do.

Definitely do not declare that you are working on the kids basic attitude and improving it.   Someone is sure to stop by when you are snapping at a kid or two kids are killing each other in the driveway.   If you say you are going to complete a project by Christmas......don't say that.   It is best to take one day at a time.   One thing at a time works.   Hard to remember but it works......if I can remember.    So goes my rambling for Tuesday.   Now off to decide to get something done but I am not telling you what it is. 

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Seminary Clothing Bank

I went a few years back with a friend to the Sem clothing bank childrens clothing  were nice and picked over and looked pretty sad.   In the process of thinning things out in Hornerdom, I always think of that visit and hope not to send yuck their way.   If it is my clothes, I carefully consider if I seriously will ever be that size again, in that season and picture an appreciative Sem wife with something decent to wear.   There are dresses which served during pregnancies when not too far along which went that way.   Childrens clothes.  Hmmm......I cut the reserves in half and hope someone was able to use something. was not my sleeper on the Concordian Sister baby.   We get new clothes seemingly with every new baby one way or another and no baby could ever wear that many.   Now we are in the potential stage of downsizing in the clothing etc department so here is  hoping the bank can use more.   If it is yuck, it does not need to dry rot at the Sem.   I did think that some day it would be nice to go to garage sales and pick up decent church clothes etc to keep things fresh there.   I am grateful for how richly we have been supplied with what is needed and garage sales have rocked in this way too.   I honestly can not imagine being at the Sem and strapped for cash and managing.   Hopefully some Sem wife is not crying anymore on Sunday morning wishing for something decent to wear.  It wasn't me which provided it but God's gracious provision for this sinful group of Horners.   I just have always wanted my best cast offs to go to the Sem as I know what a wimp I am and it is pretty obvious why God found it best for me to marry an engineer.......I am just a wimp.    



Green scary
Brain tried to leave me
Smarter now

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

9th child well kid check up

Rips 15 month old out of crib, brightens his day with oatmeal immediately after this extraction.   Poor a sipper cup of milk, shove poor bewildered child in his car seat with cup, shut the door and speed off to doc.   Ponder on the way to doc that wittle ickle goo goo probably needs his nails cut.   Rummages to see if emergency nail cutting device is in console for use before Holy Communion avoid embarrassment missions.   Check.   Extracts small child from car seat at doc, checks him in and heads for the bathroom to cut his nails and clean his wittle hands.   Is relieved to find paper towels in bathroom to wash oatmeal off his baby schnuckem cheeks and exits for waiting area happy that I might appear like I take careful care of my one year old.  

Nurse forgets to check her clock and emerges fifteen minutes later after little person had 'read' all the magazines, ripped off his socks, charmed some old people and stole the Gideon Bible.

  Questions......'can he throw a ball?"   Me, "I am not sure but he can whack his older sister on the head."  

Nurse, "Can he say four or more words?"  Me, "I knew you were going to ask that last night so took inventory - Chip (the dog), Cia (Cecilia), Mama (phew),  NaNa (Matthew or Anna)."

Doctor, "Does he have his molars yet?"

Me, "Um......I am not sure.   No, I don't think so but am not sure." 

Such is the life of this mom of nine.   I probably did the same thing with one.   I am just a lot less focused on the ickle small people's every move etc.    He did get many comments about how expressive he is and after a nasty blood test for lead, went merrily home with me.    Gotta love his little self.   

Love in

I have all my kids ten and under who LOVE to have love ins with mom.    Last night at church you would think I was leaving on a long extended journey for all the hugging and loving that went on in the pew.   I hate to 'discipline' them for all the hugs as I look at my thirteen year old and that sort of loving is no longer his thing and I know it will pass.    I suppose we have to have a chat about the extent of hugging and squeezing which goes on during sermons etc.   Benjamin thinks I am sleeping during the sermon when I close my eyes to listen.    I tried to explain that I close my eyes to shut out the distractions.  Hmmm.......hard to close your eyes if when you open them for a second there is a cute eight year old face looking up into yours.   The same goes on at home with all the short people vying for space on either side of me.    Perhaps I should get one of those deli machines with little numbers they can pull out.    This is not a huge problem till they begin screaming at each other about who is sitting where. 

Time to rip myself away from the cute little people and get something done for the today.   Bye kids!   Hope you survive without my warm self beside you clicking away on the keyboard.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Spring bulbs

I have the same problem with plants that I do with yarn and books.   I dream of the result and perhaps go a little nutty with the plants in the yard.   I need to save the life of my houseplants which are getting 'hardened' for the winter on my front porch where they were drying off from the monsoon rains of late before coming into their winter homes. 

 Spring bulbs are so tempting with five plus acres of woods to scatter them through.   We went to my favorite nursery yesterday and picked up our troughs we made a few weeks ago.   I have so much playing in the dirt to do that I need to stop dreaming and go start doing.   I might even actually clean up the gardens this year so it won't be such a pain in the spring to begin again.   At least the small children love to be outside with me so the night schoolers can work on the inside.   The night school kids will have to help a bit with the potato digging this morning so it should be a very full day.  

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Talking till you drop

I must go to bed.   I have very talkative small people here and everyone else needs something and talks.  Talk to mom, talk to mom, talk to mom.......   Cecilia wanted to play a game which required me to move and I sadly had to turn her down.   I pitched a two person game at her and her dad and am retreating.   I would love it if I could be able to have full days and full weeks like this every week but there has to be that energy thing to go with it.   Tomorrow I am having a friend and her short people over and play outside a bit while the older kids work on the schoolish stuff.   Hopefully I am out of bed by that time.    By eight o'clock this evening I did not want to answer another single question and was going to self combust.   I am now listening to my giggling eldest reading silly stuff.   Listening.......not talking.....much.    And are asleep too. 

Getting a grip

Today I am attempting once again to get on top of things around here.   Cracking the whip and getting the academics more organized and shockeroo....done.    Life is less daunting if one can find the 'want to' to get on top of these things.   I need to get on top of my kitchen cabinets and dedust a bit.....I need to get on top of a ladder and clean the light fixtures out.   Hmmm.......

This crazy pastor (Grobien) recommended some parenting book about achieving less whining, complaining etc., in the house hold and it is really not much more than the discipline program we learned at Camp T. back in the day.   I blogged about that once upon a time on my old blog, about how kids keep a score card on you and know if this adult or that adult means what they say the first time, the second time or maybe the adult will never do a thing about following through with their own instructions.    Yep.   I do need to revisit the follow through thing and it all takes energy.   We lose a bit of energy with each kid and when we recommit to following through and expecting obedience we fall asleep faster in the evening.   It is exhausting but worth it of course. 

 So thank you Pastor Grobien for the ten dollarish reminder of what I already know.   When I read the email and the information I was tempted to call him the next day and hold out the phone if he answered so he could hear my darling cherubs whining and bickering.......I didn't.    I got it.   

Friday, October 21, 2011

Found it

I went to the "want to" store and found some.    If I stand up and keep moving I can get rid of much dog hair, dirt and grime AND get clothes put away.    Sometimes I think that people walk through the house and just dump stuff willy nilly as they go.   Wait.......that IS what they do.   So today might be the day that the tupperware gets weeded out and the cabinet in the living room gets decluttered.   Nothing glamorous goes on here.   The glamor is in reading to short people and finding and making food which is better than you will ever find in any restaurant.   I think I will also take some short people out and plant some plants and bring in the house plants for the winter.    That is a LOT of want to.   We shall see how that goes.   That is some pretty awesome glamor if you ask me.  

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Pep Talk

If I give myself a pep talk I might go do one of those miraculous clean ups of some room.   Life has been intense.   Cecilia's vocabulary book  had haphazard as a word.    That describes life lately.    It describes school despite night school.  I need to visit the want to store.  

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Safety for the numbers

Another large family, broad age spread issue which I struggle with is the safety of the youngest kids when mom is away.     The older kids do tend to become immune to where the little ones are if mom has an appointment or is taking another kid to an appointment.   Tomorrow I am going to pick up my daughter for the weekend from college and the safety of my youngest two is of course of the utmost.   The older ones do fine together.    I am considering letting go of my ideas of the TV being a bad thing and going and getting a in van TV set up.   I found one for fifty but have no idea how to hook it up.    Driving long distances with potentially screaming children is also not a safe thing.   I wouldn't be surprised if all the younger kids will want to come with if I figure out how to do this.   It was just another inspirational moment of how to survive this large family thing without taxing my nerves more than they are already taxed.   My perfect parent syndrome can stand in the way sometimes.   Hopefully I can figure out how wise this decision is in the next 24 hours.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011 plan

Yesterday was my anxiety school day, which seems to happen pretty regularly around here with the age spread of kids.   I think I have come up with a new evil plan which may work.   The difficulty around here has been older children who are resistant to getting up in the morning and hitting the books.   Then of course there is the struggle of who is going to watch the short people while I work with ANY of them.   So........I am letting my older kids sleep as long as they want and I am going to spend time with the younger set with their school work in the morning while they are fresh.   The older kids will also need to watch the Evans till I am done with the younger kids so I can actually teach them to read etc. 

Then.....the older children are going to have their school in the afternoon and evening.   Night school.    They seem to suffer from the ongoing illusion that when dad comes home from work, that they are done with school for the day.   I am hoping the dad can help with the short people putting them to bed, while I work with the older children.   This plan has potential.   Even if I can only pull off three nights of quality time with the older students, then they will get more done in quiet and my younger children will not be cheated of time with mom. 

I am also going to talk with another mom locally about trading watching our younger children once a week each, so she can teach her nine year old and then that would give me one other day and time too to attend to my older childrens' school work. 

This seems a better plan than throwing the kids on the bus.   I REALLY do NOT want to do that but if push comes to shove, some of them might have to.    Having seven kids at home has its challenges to be sure.   Here's hoping this plan helps.    

Ham bone soup invention

In the line of using up what we have on hand, I took the ham bone from the ham last weekend, added a large onion, approximately ten new potatoes chopped in bite size pieces, as many carrots as I could bear to peel and chop (I always peel store bought carrots.....I know you don't have to......), four stalks celery, and one winter squash steamed then scooped out and added to the soup.    Our neighbor could not stop raving about it so I figured I would share.    I never tackled adding spices as I was actually not home to eat this meal and needed to scoot out the door.  Moral of the story here?   Winter squash goes with everything.   Throw out your cook books and keep throwing stuff in.   How can it not work?????

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Depression Era Cooking

We are exercising our creative muscle and simply looking around at what we have on hand in the pantry and then coming up with stuff to make out of it.   There have been some complaints about too many beans (Lol!) of any shape or form so today I am going to take the ham bone out of  the basement and make some potato soup out of it.   I should probably call it Colonist cooking as that is where we are in time in history.   A few kidlets will be sent out to hunt for potatoes.   Sounds like a plan.    We could also call it Economics, Health, Horticulture, Home

I am basically becoming more and more impressed by the lack of a need for cookbooks.    Experience in what works together just helps make the recipe out of my head.    It is the season to throw pumpkin in everything too so am remembering to just throw some in with each recipe.    No one knows the difference and it goes with almost everything.    Last night it jumped in our turkey pot pie, along with the leftover mashed potatoes and shazam!    Yum.    The more carrots the better too.   Perhaps it is orange vegetables which make this difference.   I laugh at recipes which call for 4 to 5     Eat more orange stuff......

Monday, October 10, 2011

This house is old.   150 years old this year.   Old homes are dusty and dirty.   I am at my wits end with the dust and dirt.   My parental speech of the day was to take a moment and consider helping out without being told (aka as Karin the mom comedy hour).   Ten acres also breeds dust.   Farmer's fields near by and a highway.   Dirt and dust flying this way to make Karin nuts.   I can't keep up with it and books also seem to be like large pieces of ever encroaching dust.   I sneeze all day and I sneeze all night from...the....dust.    I have asthma kids who should have all this dust but can't figure out how to conquer it.   I am attempting this week to eliminate flat surfaces in which to pile books (dust) on and just go shelf by shelf and put stuff away.   When in the world are we supposed to do this AND the homeschooling thing????   Time to hide most of the toys, find their outdoor winter coats etc. and keep them out of the house if at all possible.   I can't make them stop eating but maybe they can eat outside????   Yes.   I might start digging a latrine so the mess that goes with that might stay outside too.  Sounds reasonable to me!   The digging might be therapeutic too.  One day at a time by the Grace of God.........

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Kids Parenting take two!

I figured it out!!!!!!     Since said child can not stop asking what his sister is doing, I figured out a solution.    I am now going to ask the parenting child frequently what the other child is doing!!!    I'll make up a names......   "Steve, is Carrie ready for church?"    "Steve, has Carrie brushed her teeth yet today?"   "Steve, does Carrie have her glasses on and is she out of bed?"    "Steve, has Carrie done her chores today???"

I just tried this out.   It is beautiful.    Steve is very confused but he is  less worried about Carrie already.

 Karin is the new Mrs. Piggle Wiggle!!!!!!

Kids Parenting

I think I am going to lock two of my children in a room so they can settle their parenting issues once and for all.   The worry and concern they  have for each other blows my mind or I might want to blow my mind if they keep worrying and being concerned.   Stop it already!   Go to your happy place dears!!!!!!   There is a time and a place to contemplate your navels and now is one of those times.   Perhaps I should have prayed for spacey children?????    Breathe and go to your happy place Karin.  

Friday, October 7, 2011

My Irish Ire

I have had this weird pondering of quirks this week.  Quirks to me are just those weird things which are our struggles. weakness or even our enthusiasm.     For instance, my quirk I think is my Irish Ire.   I blame my Viking ancestors (or Adam) for that trip they took that year and acquired an Irish wife and put quick temper into our ancestral blood.  I am sure that is it.   At the time my ire rears its ugly head, I pretty much just want to set the record straight with whomever my ire has been raised by.   Usually that ire might be raised by the other person's quirk.   Sigh.   How is that for talking in circles.    I might even see my ire as enthusiasm or frustration justified by enthusiasm?????   Not good.   Taming my ire is a trick but am slowly learning to let time pass before addressing whatever is making me nuts.   Time (and Confession and Absolution) help me to get a better grip.  

So....what I have been also pondering are those cute little quirks of people I love.   Their quirks are probably not so ugly as mine.   They are that persons personality trait which does not mean they are proceeding with evil intent but their own enthusiasm.   What I am trying to say or doing a bad job explaining is that things which may drive me a bit bats about other people's personalities might just be their quirk or habit which they have and they are not really trying to be annoying but proceeding innocently along.   This little light bulb helps me to think of personality quirks instead of assuming evil intent.    We all have them.  

One friend's quirk is thinking the best of others.    What a nice quirk to have.   I think processing basic quirks of people might help me to do better in this department.   Sigh.   So ends another thought filled week.   Hope that was not too confusing.  

Slowly learning patience........

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

There are days

which seem like a time warp in a backward sort of way.   I see just today, which is probably a good thing to focus on, and then..........the kid who still can't read mainly because it is a challenge to find time for him which is quiet, slooowwwlllly plods along.    There is a yelp from the upstairs, and a complaint as the kids I blew up at are NOT cleaning up the mess left all over the toddlers area.   Dirty and clean toddler clothing are the constant carpeting in there.   I think I am at my crankiest when basically overwhelmed and my nose keeps dripping and I keep blowing it and then nose blowing then leads to belching and a need to then also run to the bathroom for all the coffee I had earlier.   Deep question of the day..........why does sneezing and nose blowing make you burp??????????    Very weird.   I am now going to give in, run to the bathroom one more time and then cave in to the crying 14 month old who seems very needy today.    This is probably much like everyone's day.....probably.   

Friday, September 23, 2011

Poisonous Leftovers

What is it with leftovers that seems to turn my children's stomach?   THey can love and adore the fresh food  the evening before and then the next day will have nothing to do with it even when prodded to eat the same thing.    I have discovered the secret that mothers have searched high and low for, to get their children to eat the dreaded leftovers.     There are two parts to this secret.    The first part is to run out of bread, not make any or buy any, and then make no effort to remember it at the store.    What happens is they have to make something to eat.   But wait.....there is a second part to this relentless problem.   Even when we run out of bread, the kids will make themselves scrambled eggs instead. eggs, a dirty pan, eggs left on the counter and.....a refrigerator which is still the home of the poison.

So what is the secret?   I am sure you are dying to know.   I found the secret when I decided to make up a schedule for the kids which required them to each have a day to prepare lunch for everyone else.   What to do they asked themselves and me.    This is when it started to happen.   Each child, on their special day of lunch preparation, looked at me in disbelief when there was no bread.    I pointed out to them the meals which were already prepared for them and they discovered the amazing ease of heating them up and dishing them out.    There are far fewer leftovers now.   I am relieved.   The fridge is relieved and we spend less on bread.  

I know.....some of y'all do not have leftovers.   We do.   They are poison unless push comes to shove.   Now to just stick to my guns on this despite the BLT's we had the other night.   I personally am not a fan of sandwiches so the lack of bread is of no loss to me.   Evil mother......

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Systematic torture

I have found that there are certain academic skills that I HAVE to do with my kids even though they seem sort of drivel like.    Answering multiple choice questions does not come naturally to all kids.     Giving them a certain amount of practice or a LOT of practice A few of my kids have needed little to no practice with this sort of skill as it seemed duh obvious to them.    It never ceases to amaze me how different my learners are.  

I do think I failed my eldest children with some of this.   Getting through every school day can be so tedious and time consuming that I know I had an aversion to something more tedious that seemed like busy work.   Busy work happens in the academic world.   If the child needs to take a standardized test or even a drivers permit test.....they need to know how to read and answer questions and interpret what they are asking.    Seems like a silly thing to blog on but having been down this school road for quite some time, I am just saying my rebellion against busy work may have harmed the older kids.   I spent so much time teaching one to read and write that this little skill escaped us.   There is a purpose to the workbooks after all.   Rats.  

A friend of mine who has kids who were National Spelling Bee and Geography Bee finalists taught their kids writing skills mainly by having them answer questions in history and science in complete sentences, paragraphs etc. and in a convincing manner.   This information was somewhat of a relief to me.   Yes, I want the kids to learn to write papers but when I stop to think about it, the questions found in most texts include skills in  persuasion and comprehension proof.    Discussing books together also helps teach them to convince others of their knowledge of the subject.

So.....we should sleep well.   We lose sleep panicking over whether we have our bases covered.   Teaching them how to study for tests is another skill that I am going to attempt to figure out how to teach them seeing as I tend not to give tests.......oh joy.    Breathe.   

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


If your tummy doesn't like celery than Pakchoi is an awesome alternative and is also VERY easy to grow.   I grew some this summer and just ate the last of it.  It tastes better than celery too.  It is great in soups of all kinds and in Asian recipes.    I plan to plant some more but that depends on productivity status for my day.   I can dream.  My gardening went to pot the middle of August so now it is a weed mess.    I can still find peppers, potatoes and tomatoes.  

It is later in the day and..........I didn't get to plant the pakchoi.    Typical.   Maybe tomorrow?????

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

It is best not to

It is best not to live your life chasing after the emotions of others. You can teach your family that you will jump to prevent them from being dissatisfied with the decisions you make for what is for dinner and when they need to go to bed or whether they like to wash the floor. You can attempt to appease the wrath of relatives who think you should not homeschool, nurse your babies as long as you like or have the audacity to nurse them in public while sipping a cup of coffee. the genie in Alladin states, "Be yourself". Don't react........

I distinctly remember the early days of parenthood when I could predict Anna's every move and thought. I think I did much to prevent screaming or dissatisfaction from occurring by staying one step ahead of her. Now, nine kids later, if my dear little darlings attempt to get my goat, I am much less likely to care. Helicopter parenting is not for me. I don't think I saw myself as a helicopter parent years ago but I am afraid it was so. This helicopter life can apply to the noxious behavior of the adults in life too. Do we jump to appease or confidently carry on. What to do with the noxious behavior???? Hmmmmm.......the only answer I can come up with is to attempt to not reply or something....... I am puzzling over this for quite a few reasons but it is reminding me to help my kids see themselves not as individuals to live their lives motivated by the control or response to others, but to live life in response to what they are given to do. Do it because it is what needs to be done and don't wait for people to control you, a.k.a. nag you, yell at you etc. When yelled at or dealt with harshly, perhaps it is best not to jump??? Quietly responding or not responding or informing the offender that their method of communication is hurtful and humbly do it anyway? Each circumstance is different but the defining of one self becomes different when you are not reacting to the bullying of others.

Our kids rebellion is bullying.   I have one who has been popping out of bed at night to do and say any number of things. dear.  Dear child wants to control me by their actions and   The rule is and always has been, when you go to bed you are done for the day.    I am not playing a game with you over water, the bathroom etc.    You will go to bed and stay in bed.   

This comes up in relationship to our kids learning how to interact with people outside the family. Who writes the rules? It just seems best to help the kids to learn now in their relationship to me, that in academics, they do their homework because it is given to them to do. When they leave the house for school or a job then it will be an easier adjustment for them to do their homework or tasks at work.   In relationship to others as far as friendship goes, they should not rule their friendships and relationships by trying to do what they think the other person wants them to do. Speculating and guessing in order to please another person is not healthy. It can get out of control. I also want them to ponder doing things to control others by either criticizing them, or deciding they know better than their friends.  Not a good habit to fall into.    There is no give and take when as a friend you can't wait to set the record straight and you fail to listen to the other humanoid.  

Friends like you because they like who you are. They want to be friends with you or not, because they like who you are from the get go or....not. People pleasing is not healthy for anyone involved. People pleasing changes who you are. People pleasing comes from fear of the other person or people involved not liking you. Then there is the, if who you are is a person who likes to bully others, boss them around, mock people, then as a parent and individual myself, this is where I am a fan of private Confession and Absolution. No where is autonomy clearer than during Confession and Absolution. What a wonderful gift. It is not weird. It is a wonderful gift. It keeps the focus on you. I take my kiddos to Confession and Absolution as young as they would like to go. I am thankful for Pastors who do not find it weird if my four year old wants to cozy up and talk to their Pastor even if it doesn't make complete sense to the child yet. It is a natural part of their life then and they grow into it. Confession and Absolution is the place too where all the puzzling over our relationships to others makes sense as we will not stand before God and speak for others but for ourselves. Fussing over the other people just won't be the topic of the day.

So kiddos.......don't yell at each other or me. So......adults.......don't yell at each other or at me. Speculating gets you no where and detracts from your relationships. If you want to know more about what someone thinks, then instead of making decisions for them, ask them respectfully and go from there.  Or perhaps teh phrase, it is none of your vocation comes into play here.    Get to know people and do not decide for them what they are doing is this or that.   This whole thinking out loud thing is about my processing how to help my kids make their way in the world and take responsibility for their choices and decisions.  How to help them understand how to respect others and themselves as autonomous individuals.   Love your neighbor kids!    I am not sure it this all makes sense but......that is fine.....I am not writing this to please you!  :o)   Just thinking and pondering......

Monday, September 19, 2011

Three girls

I have three girls 20, 10 and three. The three of them had the most interesting discussion the other day. The three year old was busy raising her head to the sky and refusing to comply to the ten year olds wishes. The twenty year old sat by and observed and um.....snickered a bit when said ten year inquired why the three year old was being so difficult. There was a smug look of satisfaction on the twenty year olds face as she informed the ten year old that she used to do that too. Ten year old couldn't believe it. The mom of course had experienced all of this three times over as girls do have a knack for screaming. Six boys did their share of screaming but girls just have a special talent. The twenty year old is merrily back at school in her single room leaving us to fend for ourselves. We told the ten year old that some day she might get to have a single room too and how sad it was that the three year old will miss out on this experience. Poor little thing.

Amazing kids

My eldest simply rocks. The kids and I have made some amazing strides in taking stock of a situation and encouraging one another to just keep plugging along in what we are given to do. Our foreheads probably do get some bruises at times for those moments when other people who have speculated what we think and um..........missed the mark and we bang our heads against the wall. I personally am not a fan of speculating. Answer to all questions like this....."Do you think they????....." is "I don't know." If ever there was a stupid thing to do it would be trying to guess the motives of someone else. Communicating and asking questions of the person directly involved to establish understanding and truly care about them sounds like a better plan. No doubt our silly heads do not have this life skill completely down so we will polish up our skills of going to find a toilet to clean or something when tempted to speculate and be happier because of it. I myself am thankful for catechesis being a regular part of our lives, great pastors, great friends and especially for prayers of friends who care. Shudder to think where we would be without each others support. Advise from a friend yesterday was to just simply ask for prayer when I am imploding. They don't even need to know why. Good advice. Some people would perhaps be able to speculate (Lol!) why I ask for prayer, but basically knowing Jesus has it covered covers all the bases. So......asking for prayer to face the week and all it holds. I am single parenting for three of the days and the rest is just the regular life we all chase after. Prayers for all it holds......see???? You could speculate what that means.......if you do, imagine I need prayers to improve upon my ability to wash down a counter this week???? I'll be quiet now.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Balancing Act

I am trying not to think too hard about about how to get it all done. When your house and life get to the point that it causes you to stare at it all like a bump on a log......where do you begin? You do the next thing. I am glad we can't 'hear' what is going on in other people's brains. The few men folk, friends of the family, who have stopped by lately must be really wondering what is up around here. Nine kiddos, a tired mommy, a traveling daddy, lots of fluff and entertainment in between from the exterior world! Ahhhh!!!!! Griping and not know where to begin. I love it when a mom of one in school starts spilling on me how complicated their lives are. Sigh. I say nothing and smile and nod my head. NO ONE can understand all this bunches of kids stuff unless they live it. Smile and nod, smile and nod. Emotional support of many is....exhausting. Laundry of many is exhausting. Now food for many is not so exhausting as it is just more of the same ingredients. I would be a church basement woman and cook for crowds thanks. I am not cut out for that job. Conversation from yesterday which spells it all out. "I walk by the plastic tupperware cabinet every day and think about how I really need to weed it out. What is it about a cabinet of mismatched Tupperware which leaves a mom laid out in exhaustion?" Yep. So goes the rest of the house. Tupperware gives one perspective on life I guess. Well, this is just another running at the mouth post. Next stop, eight hours of driving to retrieve my eldest. I am looking forward to my time with her and helping her in any way I can. All you moms out there with bunches, soak it up while you can. Sunday is coming!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Moving right along

So, tomorrow I go get my awesome daughter from school for the weekend. We plan to eat lots of yummy food. I know the weekend will pass too quickly but it will be good to see her. Eldest son is working his tail off at his new job and second son works his tail off too a few days a week. I continue to stumble through and try to make something of each day. week will be normal. Whatever normal is. The weather is getting rather nippy and I am not wanting to hunt the winter clothes. Switching the clothes for me means finding things which fit now, getting rid of more clothes and sadly keeping some on the back burner in hopes I will fit in them some day. Benjamin told me I was nice and skinny now (?). I love clothing camouflage. It works. Matthew and I are addicted to God Whisperers and have been catching up with a years worth while driving him back and forth to work. He has stolen my phone so he can listen. I guess we have an appreciation for irritating and compelling radio. Oh yeah, that isn't what they say all the time. Our family must be irritating and compelling and we are fine with that. Weird is the new normal. Maybe I am getting used it?????.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


I will not elaborate but I must say this whole year has been a test in endurance. Wow. Every time I thought the year couldn't get any more challenging, we just crank it up a notch. The up side is I do believe all this weirdness has done nothing but make us stronger. NEVER has Christ's love and forgiveness for this family of poor miserable sinners been as clear as it has now. I guess I don't even want to say or pray for things to get calmer as either I am getting used to this or reveling in the Lord is just a better place to be. I find myself just looking forward to resting at church when opportunity presents itself and if anyone had a lot of stuff to learn it was me. There is a Divine Service tomorrow evening and I can not wait. I also can not wait to get a full nights sleep. I can not remember the last time I slept even for six hours uninterrupted. This last month has been filled with illness and many a long talk on the phone for various reasons. Seeing the clock read two or three in the morning just doesn't seem to be that shocking as it is the new normal. Maybe.....this evening will be the night? I said that yesterday wasn't. Don't get your hopes up! You might be disappointed. Hope in the Lord and you will never be disappointed. Thankful that is easy to say.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Love it when that happens

So my eldest dear son has a new *real*, good paying job. He was offered the job without an interview, without knowing what he was going to be doing, without even looking for the job......sweet. He is working at the same location as his dad but not really with him. People have heard his dad talk about his abilities for years and voila! He has a good paying job in a stinky economy without even trying. I am very pleased for him. He also has a few side jobs which have been keeping him hopping as well. The boy went from too much time on his hands to not enough. Not too shabby. The next son also has a part time job for the next three or four weeks. He is a lowly vegetable picker but still it is great for him to have that opportunity as well. He used some of his money to buy himself a new blazer and winter dress coat. I love that when that happens too. I think son number one will be investing in some new duds too which amazingly won't come out of my pocket. Wow. Shazam!

Rounding the Wagons

So many bad habits have evolved over the summer and now is the time to nip them in the bud. Everyone is deaf and slow and sluggish and rude to each other. Nice. How to get this under control has been floating through my brain as I drive older people to work in the morning, and review reality discipline in their lives and me quieting my party animal self. Yikes. How to get everyone to be quiet and listen and then also to keep up with their chores so we don't die of..........something from clutter. I'm not going to do the 'ease them into school' routine as it is already the middle of September. Boy Scouts, playing and TV are back to being carrots. There is still some coughing in the house but I seem to recall hacking through my classes back in the day. Bedtime is being backed up and I may not seem like the most understanding mommy anymore for a while. Even now the morning is getting away from us. It is late afternoon now and I didn't get nearly as much as I would have liked done but hey, it is a start. I made a job chart which distributes the pain through the day and week to different folks so that no one is heavily burdened. They are to do their chores and school work cheerfully to earn their pizza and movie night on Friday. We are going to earn beans in a cup or something like that to set goals for a week of things like obedience and following through on their assignments. They will have to have a minimum of beans to get the pizza. We shall see if this works. There are still many more responsibilities which are not on the chart and I will figure out how to tackle those as time goes by. It is the end of day one and I am exhausted from the sleep deprivation and persevering through the day. We shall see what tomorrow brings.

Sunday, September 11, 2011


A month of illness and other such insanity in a family of nine...........there is stuff everywhere. The laundry is worse than Mt. Washmore, dust and grime and no one even caring anymore that chaos is reigning here. Well........the mom is feeling well enough to divide and conquer. My ADD-ness makes it confusing as to where to turn first but I will probably use the old rule of thumb of conquering the grimiest area first. Illness that flattens everyone is what every mother of many dreads. It is what all mothers dread no matter how many. I WILL not mow the lawn today even though that is my favorite clean up job. freaking out.......crank the music and get er' done!!!!!!!!!!!! Maybe I will not die if someone pulls up the driveway tomorrow and rush out to talk to them there and keep them OUT! Maybe......

Saturday, September 10, 2011

I could get used to this

Charley took my bike and got it overhauled this morning. I am nice and out of shape again but Matthew and I struck out biking to the Farmer's Market anyway. It was very nice to meander there and do one of my favorite things which is just simply observing what people are doing along the way. It is fun to me to just see ordinary life happening, the toddler with his dad riding his big wheel, the crazy things out for sale at garage sales, people cleaning up their yards, older kids playing basketball at the is all interesting to me. Fall is definitely in the air and the flower beds and trees are looking tired. I wonder if I can keep up the biking like I did a few years ago. Hopefully I can get in better shape so it doesn't take so long. Biking with the kids also helps heighten their awareness of stupid shenanigans of drivers on the road. Not a very cheery part of the bike ride but I was able to talk to Matthew about what to watch for etc in cars on the road and how to think ahead and assume they won't see you. Taking a kid along will probably help ease my mind more when they ride off to their various activities alone and.....maybe someone else can manage to get their drivers license!!!!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Bumpy start

I had dreams of starting school this past week or even before but between asthma kids, asthma me, and then a nasty bug we spent our first weeks shuttling kids and me back and forth to the doctor. I am now sadly better acquainted with asthma treatment and management.....sadly as I wish they didn't have to go through it. I suppose I passed that curse along to them. When the flu bug hit, they were sacked with bronchitis and one even has pneumonia. You know things are stressful when the mom doesn't give a hoot about her blog, facebook, talking to anyone besides the doctor and the pharmacist and the family. Today, since I am a slow learner, I finally threw in the towel to movie land. A trip to the library in between pharmacy drop off and pick up brought home fresh entertainment and now the whole family, including my "sixty-five year old son" are watching some movie about owls. My attention span for movies stinks so I have no idea what it is about. This weekend and next week I am clearing the slate to stay home as much as possible and read books to the kids and take a peek at our math books......or watch movies. Perhaps I will find some U.S. History movies or something to give the allusion of studying? My new pet peeve btw is history movies fascination with the Donner family tragedy. Sort the main thing which happened in the history of the U.S., sad - true, but.....why the dwelling upon this? I never heard of this tragedy when I grew up or I missed it since it didn't take up a half hour of the filmstrips we watched in grade school. It seems a morbid fascination of the Donner's tragic demise. Tired of sensationalism of other people's suffering. There is a lot more to history than sensationalizing small windows. Or.....perhaps this a new tactic to get the attention of young people to be interested in history???? Yeah. That is probably it. Hoping for sanity in the days to come.......

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Next Frame

My basic visualization exercise for the kids this fall is to imagine they are living in a comic strip. If the comic strip is about getting ready for dinner they can see in their mind the first frame.....table covered with school frame.......table in theory with nothing on it and ready to accept plate and silverware on plates and bunches of people eating it and making a next frame? Pause. Choices. Table still full of plates and food and crumbs and spills and no people anywhere to be seen or....pause.....visualize a different option???? The kids love to hear me give them these different possibilities. I love to give them too as it prevents the urge to scream at them for escaping.

Friday, August 26, 2011

The benefits of fever to this mom

So.....having laid in bed for three or four days listening to myself breathe and cough and doing nothing else, I have now awoken from this state with new found energy. The amazing effect of antibiotics on the body that needs it is.....amazing. My theme for this year is follow through. So when I stumbled by the children and increasing disaster, I thought how nice it would be to have energy to attack it. I have at least some now and the kids are probably worried about their leisure time as I am chasing them about to follow through. I begin with the pleasant mom voice and make my cute little requests. Moaning replies bring on the drill sergeant and the fourth commandment. I have sweetly told them they can take their pick.....respond to sweet mother voice promptly without moaning or......I will make things clear to them somehow as to what is needed. Computer games and leisure reading are at risk and on the chopping block. I dream this in the back of their mind when confronted with cute little questions like......have you changed your underwear? Picked up your stinky clothes? Cleaned up your gourmet cooking mess??? You can do it kids! I know you can! Fight the good fight!

Your mother is least for now.....

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Mini A?

Ingrid has been called Mini C after her older sister Cecilia since she was born really. Well, three years old today, she makes sure her voice is heard when it comes to what she is wearing, "Pretty dress!!!" This was Anna's mantra when that size. So Ingrid will get a couple pretty dresses for her birthday today. I reminded her yesterday that today was her birthday and she was suddenly quiet. (her brother wasn't) I am not sure what we are going to do for special today but we will come up with something. Oh....she is more like Mini C when it comes to being able to keep up with her laundry though so perhaps that makes her own little self.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


Yay antibiotics. Yay inhalers too. Clearly this plague was bacterial. I have no clue how that happened but it was a relief to actually get out of bed and realize I felt like making my own coffee. I went for a bowl of soup with Anna before going to the fabric store dress lining......THIS is the sort of thing I had wanted to do all week but haven't been able to. She goes back to Bloomington on Saturday and I go back to communication via the phone with her then too. Sigh. It will be busy times this fall. At any rate I am happy to somewhat back from Jane Austin land of languishing in bed.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Listening In

Since I have been hanging out in my room since Sunday and some times the days before, I get to listen to everything which is going on with the rest of the family. I think they have sort of forgotten about my existence. I want to go and help them out but that isn't a great idea right now. I especially want to go and help Evan. He is getting drug around from room to room and I sense they are catching on the fact that he needs regular food and drink. Phew. I am thinking my fever finally broke so perhaps tomorrow I can rejoin the living. My cough is mostly asthma related which is enough to knock anyone under the table anyway. I hate whiney posts but hearing my kiddos functioning without me is....interesting. I can tell from the activity and conversation they ARE figuring out what needs to be done even if it takes a LOT longer. Yay inhalers. Anna has drug kids around today for me and is experiencing life with many who don't seem to follow logical procedures to completion. Texting her from the bedroom is a step up from the little dingy, ringy bell I used as a child to beg for help. She is glued to her phone and I am sure hopes the texts are from someone else.... Perhaps I can drift off to sleep again soon.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Back in the day

I have not felt as sick as I do now since I was in grade school. Back in the day we convalesced in our beds and sweat it out. I do not recall taking tylenol or Advil or any such thing. My dear father believed in burning it out of us. I lay and I wimp out and take some and wonder about this day and age where everyone runs to the doctor at the slightest sniffle. I have distinct memories as a child of giant spiders all over my bedroom....hmmm.......I think I will take the wimp route and keep chugging some Tylenol. I still have the immobile problem and a different problem is the small fry who miss their mother and chose to not make it to the potty, get into stuff and drive their eldest siblings nuts and my general feeling of helplessness. All I had to worry about back in the day was whether I had enough vim and vigor to read or listen to WLS without the room turning in circles. Mothers are not allowed to be sick. I'm just saying. I am sort of wondering if this is strep throat as no one else is sick....fever.... Here's hoping they are spared and we will see where things are in the morning.

Sunday, August 21, 2011


Anna just made the observation that four out of nine of the children are in a crying stage. Oh dear. It is true. Something which just involves decibels is amazingly exhausting. Food, sleep, attention. Hmmm.....where to grab some anti- screaming energy to combat these short little people.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Comforting my shopping cart

After twenty years of carting babies around in shopping carts I have developed a very weird habit. When I do not have the baby with me, I catch myself comforting my groceries by pushing the shopping cart back and forth. It is....embarrassing. I was talking to Anna on the phone while at the local library book sale and noticed I was comforting my cart full of books. Ack! What must that look like to the bystander. I did start to laugh and told Anna what I had been doing. "Okay Mom", says daughter dear. Oh well, I am glad my groceries and purchases feel comfortable and non-stressed with me. This is a good thing. I am also sure I am not alone in this odd habit.

Bubble life

Face palm morning as I overwhelm myself with how many everyday things my children don't know about. The scene this morning: Dear nameless son brings me a gallon of milk and asks me to smell it and see if it is still good. Mom question number one......"did you check the date on the jug?". Confused look on son's face.


"Do you know HOW to check the date on the jug?" I inquire.

"" reads numbers outloud...."0,8,22,11".

"Do you know what that means?"


I explain to poor son what it means. "Do you know what month it is?"


Suppressing scream of terror and responding in shaky voice I tell him and ponder all of those duh things my kids don't know about because they live in our bubble world. Push down panic attack and try to focus on doing the next thing.....breathe.....

"Now children, the month is August and the season is....summer." sigh.

Sunday, August 14, 2011


People grow these things but I rarely hear that anyone likes them. Tonight I used my Mark Bittman vegetarian cookbook (I am not a vegetarian) and made eggplant lasagna. It is looking pretty yummy. I personally grew an Italian version of eggplant which is looking pretty awesome. I'm on the hunt for recipes so feel free to share your sources.

Okra will be the next challenge. I personally love okra but the family is less than enthused. They grow like crazy so will have to figure out something soon.

That is all the excitement down on the ranch, which as usual is full of weeding and finally enjoying the benefits of all that weeding. Yay!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Large families and isolation????

Here is the thing.....if you DO have a large family, you are not EXACTLY isolated. Think about it. You DO have each other. As your kids get older, the time you have with them is incredible. You don't HAVE to have time with other people as you have your own culture in your own four walls. If you struggle with needing adult companionship, well.....they will become adults and the spouse counts too. Revel in your OWN culture. Hospitality does help for adult contact as mentioned before. Being more content in your own vocations helps too. The more I stay home and see to life here, which is pretty overwhelming at times, the less overwhelming it is. I think sometimes we parental folk can feel restless because of our American culture of having to leave the house and go do something, go out to eat, get away from our families etc when actually slowing down is good for the whole family. Love them while you have them.


One way I fight the isolation thing, and I am not really fighting it, is to practice hospitality. I love to have people over to our house, prepare them some yum yums, and enjoy their company. Having guests does not bother me. I do think that having our crowd over to other people's home is daunting. I have it from first hand conversation with some friends, there is a fear of cooking for a crowd. It isn't that they feel the kids are a bother, it is a matter of not having table space or physical room. I think hospitality is in my blood as my relations on the other side of the pond have the knack, are calm, warm and welcoming. They are not easily rocked. I can have an inside smile if anyone makes comments about how much work it takes to have people over. isn't that big a deal and I love it. I can not fit it in as much but it does solve some problems too in that the kids can have their friends over and have a great time. It is true we have space inside and out but you don't have to have a lot of room either to have people over. (That is not a slam on the fold who are overwhelmed by us).

Anyway....have people over. Have one person over. A couple - young and old couples. Have families over and renew the art of hospitality. It is a good thing. Don't wait til Christmas. Make new traditions. I don't think you will regret it. Don't worry about making your kids nuts cleaning the house. Keep one room basically decent, don't give house tours, and enjoy yourself.

That is all....for now.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

On the other hand

Relish those like minded friends of yours. Spent the evening singing and praying with our friends with their nine kiddos (well the oldest of both families were missing). These times are awesome. I will cherish my times with them and hope not too much time passes in between. I have several friends all over the place who I don't see enough but love the friends who still love me and mine in spite of the distance. I really am not repelled by the Lutheran Conservative group but just sort of concerned we don't screw ourselves into isolation completely. My family is isolated for many reasons that are simply practical. Such is life.

So....plan some times to visit your friends who are not scared of large numbers of children. Lol. I am looking forward to many more such visits to come.