Tuesday, June 28, 2011

What my kids and I talk about

So.....today I took Erik and Matthew to the consignment store and bought them some new duds. They will be disgustingly well dressed and the envy of all I am sure. This is the kind of fun I have with my young men. I am sure it gives the consignment guy a thrill too as the boys are so enthusiastic about finding suit jackets and dress pants and cool dress shoes etc. Evan slept through this event on my shoulder.

We went and grabbed a sandwich and chatted afterward. The subject of the day was 'what mom will talk to us about someday when we have kids.' I pointed out to them that there probably wouldn't be tons of time to chat as *I* still would have kids. They were laughing as I told them how I would be sure to quiz them and need full reports on where their toddlers have accidents, how much laundry they had done that day, whether their lawn needed mowed, if the kids were picky eaters and if anyone had thrown up lately. This is ALL very important information....well.....I have not a clue what in the world I will talk to them about really. Matthew was calculating approximately how old Stefan would be when he got married and of course I asked him who she was.

Both Erik and Matthew juggled Evan while taking turns eating and were the admiration of all the ladies there. Matthew even held Evan AND refilled his soda. Impressive! Never when Erik and Matthew were short people did I imagine having these funny talks with them. Fun. I look forward to many more conversations to come. They are great kids!

Reconfiguring my brain

To avoid too much panic over schooling the kids and life/house management, I am trying to learn how to be completely content and focused at home with the massive crowd known as the Horners. This is a trick really as neither do I want to neglect any kids social endeavors but am hoping they will take care of that more and learn to communicate. The First Things First principle takes up much of the day. In between weird things like the bills and feeding faces and laundry, I might want to pay attention to kids and do those other weird things like teach short people even to count or know how to put their dirty clothes in the laundry. Argh. Keeping my stress level at bay is interesting. Again.....I shouldn't even be online but since I am packaging book orders.....I get distracted from First Things. Will I ever learn the art of not giving a hoot if I talk to other humanoids with any great regularity? I am getting better at it. Pool trips and an occasional phone call from a friend, I suppose keeps things in balance. My *friend* Charley and I have been working on regular daily bike rides together in hopes that I might conquer some chub and also give me time away. Are you confused yet? Very random post.....

Heard a funny observation from a friend while talking about guarding ourselves from too much outside the family interaction and the possibility of even trying to be more of a loner. She was reading about Thoreau and Walden's Pond and discovered that his (I think) mother and sister came out to get his laundry and bring him stuff regularly. Ha! So much for living in solitude. Even Thoreau couldn't hack the loner life!

So....keeping my head above water and forging ahead as best as I can. This sounds pretty normal I bet......

Monday, June 27, 2011

My yard and I

We have lived on our ten acres for nearly twenty years and I am now obsessed with eradicating the poison ivy and unsightly brush. It might be impossible. Besides my children and husband, my yard has become my best friend I think. If I am not doing family stuff, I am out in the garden or yard mowing, weeding and fighting the good fight against the poison ivy and other nasty stuff. The place has the potential to look fantastic. When I walk around I see more and more possible little projects. Charley put a gate and rock wall at the entrance years ago. I seem to recall a little Martin helping his daddy with that project. Well, every year it gets overrun by weeds. This year I ripped it all out and planted drought resistant plants down there and now.....I am eying the possibility of mulching it to keep the dratted weeds down. Mulch and round up are my friends. They don't require too much interaction either! But.....I do enjoy the process. I might be married to energizer bunny for a good reason.....one energizer bunny needs company of another....

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Is tired

I am sitting on zee couch with a warm sleeping Evan and thinking about all there is to do and.....not caring. If I have no energy then why plan? Three days in a row of little sleep for whatever reason is causing me to somewhat throw in the towel of caring what gets done by this mommy. Holding the warm sleeping baby sounds productive enough right now. The days of holding my own kids like this are very likely numbered. So....it is a beautiful day, hopefully will warm up, and the stress of too much to do flew out the window somewhere in the night. Zzzzz......

Thursday, June 23, 2011


In dog world there is a command to "settle" which means something like, chill out barking, jumping, doggie, and take a rest. This whole 'shutting up' issue, which sorry this might sound a bit harsh, is a lot like settling. There is so much to get worked up about but we don't have to! My buddy Cheryl on her blog is following this train of thought a bit too.

Perhaps I am just getting old(er) or repenting of folly because it is easier to understand when your kids start getting older, but I just see more and more how distractions in life just detract from life. Being the daughter of a Sociologist, I think I have always been fascinated by cultures and what effects decisions etc. American moms, especially those who stay at home, in my humble opinion can be pulled away from their first vocations as wifelings, and mommies by this silly thing I am writing on to begin with - computers! Being important. Is it that important to be important to people that far away from our God given families? Sometimes perhaps but....most of the day??? Before computers it was the TV and before the TV it was probably the phone, and before the phone it was....the fence in the backyard, and......you get the point. Well, all of these pull us away from the very first thing! Our families! All of these things are putting our brains/thoughts on stuff which doesn't matter THAT much to how we manage to get dinner on the table or plan for an evening with our spouses squished together on the couch after a long day on the job. Staring into our kids eyes does not jump first and foremost to our thoughts if.....we worry about whether we can use our snark, wit, brainy thoughts to fuss into other people's posts and forums. Forums. Addicting. Yay for whatever year of Lent brought an end to my squirreling that time of my life away. Why did I ever think it was THAT important to begin with????? Argh.

Yep. Sin. We are all well familiar with that. Settling is FAR more comforting and comfortable to live with. Cheryl observed how she feels much more at peace with her family etc and they sense it too since she has become more unplugged from such distractions. Sigh. Thankful for Christ's love and forgiveness through all of those temptations and distractions. It becomes easier and easier to just not care so much about all that the more I ignore zee computer and ignore if anyone gives a hoot what I think or don't think. (do you see an irony in this post???)

So.....off to dream about fun, grime in my house, the dog who needs a bath, the fact that I am too tired to worry about what the rest of the world is worrying about. Settle Karin, settle.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Practicing Shut Up

The practice of not yapping just to yap has been weighing in on me wee brain. There are so many instances where I can chose to either respond to something or not. To be clear, this applies to MANY areas.

In parenting, I can chose to micro manage or chose to allow some lee way to see what happens and just not say anything. I complain that they can not think for themselves, but then I do tell them an awful lot in the course of the day. Sometimes it is just more peaceful to not point out their every mistake or what they have forgotten to do. Sometimes it is not worth the stress. This also applies to interfering in every squabble. Why??? I do not have to hover and chime in on everyone's activities. They rarely kill each other anyway.

In wifing. Sometimes if I am being annoyed by whatever I can just.....shut up. Say nothing. It is again more peaceful this way....usually. Is it worth it if sometimes the spouseling is having a cranky moment to interrupt when I too can be a crank???

In friendship. There are those times when I am tired and don't have the energy to participate in idle chatter. Sigh. Sometimes I chose to not engage or add or perhaps I just change the subject....or something. The hardest thing to do is to shut up when assuming comments drift my way and I just don't want to answer or fill them in. Do we have to???? Sometimes the 'shut up' comes in the form of encouraging subjects to be dropped when people are being talked about in the name of care or concern. I have a fresh disdain of this sort of commiserating. Not sure exactly how to explain that but in looking back over the years, plenty is said and has been said between friends, myself included, in griping, complaining, fixing etc which is not really helpful. It ultimately is hurtful. Sigh. So...I steer away from chatter lately.

In acquaintances. I am not required to chime in there either. I am however a magnet for acquaintances to complain to me about stuff. Perhaps they are a little more than acquaintances but telling me stuff about what they don't like etc and just complaining in general about others has resulted in my quietly giving possible other sides to the 'story' which they are complaining about. Complaining is wearing. The trick is not getting my ire up when listening to complaining and laughing about others inadequacies. Sigh again. I have to chose to either ignore, stick up for the person, and not get too ticked off in my response. Fewer words on my part would be my happy middle ground. "Oh really?" might suffice in many cases. Complaining runs amuck lately or perhaps I am just more sensitized to it. We are ALL guilty. If I practice more 'shut up' then I might not hear as much of it. It happens everywhere, grocery store, the pool, church, etc.

So....I have just been pondering the perks of not saying as much anyway as it seems to be less stressful overall. Listening is certainly happening and pondering but avoiding the ire just works better. There is so much noise etc. at home that quiet is okay. Perhaps a craving for the quiet I can get, in just listening and being stiller is what is up with me. I have just been thinking of it as 'practicing shut up'.

Love my coffee

Quick money saving tidbit. Go to a reputable market and buy fresh cinnamon sticks. Put your regular ground coffee in the filter and then break up some cinnamon stick on top and brew. Awesome. Panera sort of does this too but with a shaker at the coffee dispensers. I prefer the brewed in variety. Cinnamon sticks are incredibly cheap at one of Mexican markets and the whole concept is much cheaper than my favorite Dunkin Donuts cinnamon coffee. Yum.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Lawn mowing isn't just practical for me

Having revealed on facebook I mowed the lawn today, there are some things in my life which are little places (five acres) of solitude, meditation and prayer. I am NOT just mowing the lawn. It really does help me get away and process stuff, pray about various things, and sing some hymns etc. in my head. I need this alone time to connect dots and not be distracted by the latest catastrophe. I don't even have to go far from home to do it. I have been doing this for probably.....sixteen or so years??? I think that is right. Some time before Matthew was born we bought our walk behind, 54 inch deck mower. I walk...fast....behind it and it is MINE! No my husband and sons are NOT allowed to mow the lawn! I might get a little testy if they try. It is my alone time, exercise and practically speaking keeps the place looking half way decent if I am able to keep up with the rate of grass growing. I have also called it my post pregnancy weight loss system. I might volunteer to mow our new neighbors acreage as their mower is not going to cut the mustard or the grass. I would ask for gas money.... The other practical purpose is to keep the poison ivy in check. Argh....it is everywhere. I'm trying my best to conquer as much of it as possible. Enough about lawn mowing...time to hit the hay! (grass???)(making hay while the sun shines?)(Sawing logs while the sun DON'T shine).

Saturday, June 18, 2011

The bees

Beekeeping will definitely take a bigger role in my life as years go by. They are a fascinating bunch. I have one strong hive and two struggling. I am trying to sort out in my head how to help those two but this will also mean another task for me to attend to. All the queens took and there is happy brood in them all. There just isn't enough reserve in the two weaker hives. I am thinking a just making sure they have enough liquid near by and possibly feeding those two a bit. They will never make it at this rate if I don't do something. It might be a low production year. Some years have to be like that I guess and I am not alone in the beekeeping struggle. We'll see what a week does.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Carrot massacre

I should go take a picture. Seriously.....giving instructions to humanoids is sometimes painful. Weeding the garden does not mean taking a chain saw to the cute little raised beds. The funny farm is where I was briefly this morning as I went to admire my beautiful carrot patch which I like a silly head had my darlings *weed* yesterday. Sigh.

Micro instructing has been a parents bane since Adam and Eve no doubt. I think there was some weeding going on back then too. Did Adam and Eve have to explain what a weed was? Probably so. I can hear the conversation now, "Adam, I have told the kids a thousand times the difference between a weed and a carrot. God made it very clear to us that year we had to leave Eden. What is a mother to do???? Remember the good ol' days when we didn't have to worry about the weeding?"

Sigh. The carrots were pretty while they lasted. Try, try again.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Just goes to show

My dear wittle daughter was put to bed early last night and no one checked to see if she had eaten anything. I was too dense at midnight to two something to consider that she might be hungry. After kicking me for several hours, Charley took the poor orphan back to bed. Around four thirty Stefan appeared soaked to the gills and freezing. After a bath, warm jammies and a clean bed, and a banana, he went back to bed. Charley thought it was six something at that point. Making it through a sleep deprived day is always interesting. It took me till noon to figure out that a lack of sleep might be wearing on me. Where is the computer program and alert system????? We are supposed to go out for dinner this evening so will have to do everything possible to stuff the children up with lots of yummy food, get a nap and perhaps find the duct tape for my mouth for the trip to our little outing. Yikes. Can I farm some of this out???? Back to the chillins.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Neglect fears and getting it all done

I have these crazy aspirations of actually keeping up on this grounds keeping thing AND not let my kids suffer neglect. Hmmm.....the mothering/pursuing interests to pursue sanity is a real juggling act. I get up rather early and hit the weeds and upkeep outside, greet and spend time with the little people who always get up early, and then try to squeeze in house keeping with more grounds keeping. I have also this odd part of me which stares at my kids and wonders what goes on in their heads and if I am not favoring one or another etc. Do their eyes portray that they know their mommy loves them and has said boo to them today?

The simplest way to accomplish this has really been to clear my plate as much as possible. I am contemplating taking the shortest people home right after church for the rest of the summer so that I actually see them and only them for a bit. I don't HAVE to go to Bible class. Yes, I like it but I also don't like dropping my kids off at day care. Then there is Monday night insanity. I really need Charley to take the boys to Scouts more. Jim the neighbor is happy to watch the kids for a bit so I could take the older chillins to church who are not going to Scouts but.....I don't take several of them as I am out too late. Sigh. That is neglect too. I should just take them to Vespers and be done with it. They love going to the service so why not just take them and then go home and tuck them in. Evan is too distracting to me at Monday night Bible class too and I am in a zone so....go home and read.

I took Martin to get him some shoes and dress pants/dress shirt/belt so he doesn't get in trouble for looking like a slob. I didn't realize he didn't have much to wear. Oops. More neglect. I don 't talk to that child enough either. NOOOO, I do not regret having my kids!!!!! I love them. I look at them with wonder. I just don't want to put any illusions of grandeur in front of their needs. What grandeur could this mom have??? Mother of nine and wife of Mr. Energizer Bunny. For many and various reasons I just need to stay put. They are happier and frankly I am happier. Trying to 'fit in' the scene of anything but worship right now is more than a challenge so why do I think this is even possible?????

Purposeful hospitality will be my outlet for my family and the ten acres. I will fight the good fight against mosquitoes and poison ivy so people don't regret visiting but will have to do that most in the evening and early morning. Sigh. I never 'get it right'. My kids need ME and not my popularity. Popularity....hmmmm......the woman with the crying infant and two year old....more popular at home I would say so others can listen etc. Time to hit the hay so I have the energy to face the wittle energizer bunnies in the morning.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Mint Maple syrup tea

I made this one up...sort of. I have my new obsession with using what we have on hand. I took several sprigs from my mint plant, crushed them, put them in my tea diffuser, poured boiling water over them to steep (yes I used water this time), and then added 1/4 cup maple syrup to the mint concentrate, added a bit more water and refrigerated for several hours. Yum. So far we have used spearmint, chocolate mint, and peppermint leaves. All yum. Of course we are spoiled with a plethora of maple syrup which makes this recipe less painful. Stop by for a cup!

You know you are tired when....

I must have had scrambled brains this morning. I was *making* oatmeal for some the smaller children and had nicely put instant oats in their little bowls. I poured *boiling* water on the oats and was very perplexed as to why the oatmeal looked brown. I seriously could not figure it out! It finally occurred to me what happened. I had picked up the coffee pot (habit) and poured COFFEE on their oatmeal! Oh dear. Charley was willing to eat it himself but I had already started over. Maybe it would have been yummy but the 2 and 4 year old did not have to try it out for us. Maybe tomorrow.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Gardening buddy

Stefan loves to help me in the garden. Never has a child been so excited to go hoe the potatoes. My head was a little afraid of getting whacked but we got into a safe rhythm and he whacked away at the weeds I missed. I purposely left some for him but of course he didn't know that. He kept me clipping along as I was afeared for my life.

Later he followed me around as I sprayed every nasty weed and poison ivy out of the fences. I noticed that the poison ivy is less in most places but now I want to conquer the woods as much as possible. Killing the ivy which has crept into the woods to is high on the list so perhaps the stuff that is supposed to grow there might have a chance to make it. My dream is get orchids growing someday in the woods but right now there is much to be routed out of there first!

I am using our old potato bins, which are all broken up, to grow.....potatoes in! I am putting them in and around the back patio. These are the weird varieties I bought from my favorite vege catalogue. Stefan followed me around while I went and got dirt from the big garden and mixed it with compost. He talks NON-STOP the whole time. He can not wait for tomorrow's adventures and told me so before he went to bed this evening. He always has been my little buddy since he was born and I hope he never loses this cuteness. Of course it will have to be a more mature cuteness as time goes on. Sweet!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011


I do find it humorous that the post on why I am crazy seems to be the most popular on this blog. I'm glad everyone wants to feel better about their own craziness. :o) I keep thinking routine might happen here and there seems to be something different going on every day which prevents routine from happening. Today I was out watering the garden and weeding and then mowed some lawn before it got too hot, came in for a nice icy cold shower and noticed that my queen bees had arrived! They have to hop in the hive pretty quick so had the lovely pleasure of getting suited up and going back into the hotter heat to open them all up and check things out. I was pleased to see the one hive had a queen from a queen cell I found and the other two were not too much of a bother to re queen. Despite the heat, it is always fun to sweat out in the buzz of activity. I should have taken the camera but forgot as usual. Perhaps next time.

Matthew is taking a lifeguard class this week and is doing better on the tests than the school teachers who are in the class with him. Yay Matthew! He is really looking forward to this week being over with. On his plate - getting ready for the Organist workshop, practicing for his regular piano lessons, finishing his Eagle Rank requirements, studying for the PSAT (cracking a grammar book and actually studying it thoroughly might help.....), Boy Scout camp coming up soon, and then wanting to just simply enjoy the summer.

Erik has bunches of stuff to get done this summer too. Sigh. They are here there and everywhere lately and each week is different. I dream of doing the same sort of thing every day and it just doesn't happen too consistently. Erik has been helping out tremendously around here and we have sort of a secret partnership. Maybe he can learn how to sort the laundry after all???? Sort of doubt that.

Time to hit the hay. Rain hopefully will happen this evening and cool things off for tomorrow. My van thermometer read 100 degrees when I pulled out of church this evening at 8:00. Ouch.... Perhaps Anna wants a visitor???? Wishful thinking.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Plugging along

Anna's Ben assures me that two and a half months will fly by. She will be home for about a week and then....gone again. I'm not convinced that I will ever get used to this and I know lots go most of the time without seeing their eldest children for most of the year. I am just a rookie at this and as a friend told me, she is my twin 24 years removed. I miss my twin. I received a few good suggestions as to how to survive and communicate with her. Anna and I also have some mutual goals for our summers so will have to keep each other in check on that. After all, what are twins for if not to know what the other is thinking and look forward to similar things.

I have no doubt Pastor Cwirla and Congregation will take good care of her. Sigh. I will attempt to focus on the home front and the peeps here.

Dear Anna.....

Monday, June 6, 2011

Yuck - goodbyes

Anna is off to California for the summer. Sigh. She leaves tomorrow afternoon. It was nice to have her here for a few weeks and now I am in denial that I probably won't see her till mid-August. The telephone is just not the same. I have no doubt she will have an awesome time there and be adopted by various people. I know it will be a good experience for her too. Sigh. No doubt it will be a good experience for me too. Do I *have* to have good experiences????

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Garden dreams

The vegetable garden is almost completely in now. Of course the rain is not cooperating now that small plants are in the dirt so I will dodge mosquitoes and try to get them regular drinks for now. Maybe....overnight the weather will do me a favor??? This year we are growing three different varieties of potatoes in the main garden area, sweet corn, watermelon, a HUGE variety of tomatoes, a variety of peppers including paprika and pimento again and I thought it would be fun to try a pepper named Charley - same spelling. Once again I am growing pumpkins and squash which are yummy to eat, pole beans by my mammoth sunflowers and hopefully cucumbers. I hope the cucumbers do not get buried this year by the squash monsters and we get to find them before they get huge. The goal in all this will be to feed as many families as possible. We shall see.....

In the flower garden I want to start a miniature garden. I saw this adorable little raised garden which had tiny little hens and chicks mimicking cabbage rows. I was thinking of using tiny little boards to make the tiny little bed and using tiny little stones to build a tiny little model of a rock wall. The kids would have fun with this too I think. I tire of huge plants. Tiny....cute....sounds like a lot more fun, especially for tiny people.

Then.....in the woods I REALLY want to build a board walk in the wet areas of the woods so I could feature the wetland plants which are already there and maybe....add a few more unusual native plants. Fun. This is all part of my live outside with the kids plan. The mosquitoes are trying to do this plan in, but perhaps some more bat houses and carnivorous plants would help. After the posies are all in the main garden I will attack the removal of the cursed daylilies which have taken over around the pond. WORK. Slow....emphasis on SLOW and steady will win the race. Matthew is on board with this plan and can't wait to murder more dayliliies. I bet we could sell them on the street to pay for my plant purchase crimes. The fern would probably sell too. Hmmm......good thought. Karin becomes a peddler! in