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 stuff.....next frame.......table in theory with nothing on it and ready to accept plate and silverware customers........food on plates and bunches of people eating it and making a mess.......what.....is.....the 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 back......at 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 for.....wedding 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. So....here 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.

"Um...no" 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. Well.....it 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.

Paranoid as usual

The last title was a bit strong but.....seriously.....we are doing the best we can and proceeding in faith! That is the only way to stay moderately sane. Smile!

The death of the Conservative Lutheran Family

I'm blogging on all my duh moments of the summer. This duh moment was brought to my attention sort of gradually since I actually associate with families who do NOT homeschool their children! Horrors! I am not sure I can explain this duh moment clearly but here goes.

I was chatting with a family at a recent get together about what we love about our times together as a family. They do not homeschool their kids and they *only* have five kids. We shared a chuckle over how they have had some raised eyebrows over their number of children being too small (remember.....this is a private matter for THAT family and no one else should be evaluating their family size or thinking too hard about it). We were able to laugh together over the assumptions that are made about *conservative Lutheran families*. What makes a family conservative and Lutheran....?????

Assumptions made: Conservative Lutheran Families are made up of families who have bazillions of children.

Problem with assumption and where hurtful comments are made: What if the couple truly desires many children but are not able to have them??? Their quiver is still full. They are still a family. God is the giver and taker of life. They may have laughed until they cried when they actually conceived and bore a child or.....not.

Next assumption: Conservative Lutheran Families all nurse their children forever and use the latest earthy products and shop at Goodwill. Um.....same sort of answer and same sort of offense given if eyebrows are raised at child with bottle in his hand.

Next.....Conservative Lutheran Families all homeschool their children......not so. Same answer and same offense at raised eyebrows....

Only Conservative Lutheran families who homeschool talk to their children about books, the merits of purity, catechesis, the evils of getting sucked in by video games, dating or courtship (hate that word), and.... price compare beer prices in the grocery store and....????call that math or school???? or is that just what all parents do with their kids while out and about, walking along the way etc. (I seriously want to raise a campaign against this sort of homeschooling parental brag).

All conservative Lutheran Families are not all Pastors families......nope.....crazy Lutheran Engineer family here.....

It is all good but these assumptions are brought to my attention by other families who are not all of those things and were a bit taken aback and felt sort of out of the loop when people expressed surprise at their not fulfilling expectations. Love everyone y'all and don't be frightened. Non-homeschooling, non-pastor's families, non-huge families....are all still people Christ calls us to love and serve. Yes, don't be scared. Stop and look at them contemplatively and your mere curiosity of their lives will draw you together. I do think our Conservative Lutheran Family pride can really drive a wedge between us and the rest of the world.

I'll be done with these rants soon....just the summer summary of what I have observed in the highways and byways....and why I call it the death of the Conservative Lutheran Family is that we can very easily repel people with our pride in our doing things *right*. I personally (so proud of myself - round and round we go!) try to help my kids be aware of different sorts and varieties of people and realize that it is that families prerogative to do things the way they chose to and we are not called to worry or judge them. It is round and round as we all do the pride thing at one point or another or all the time, but homeschoolers and Conservative Lutheran Families DO make a lot of assumptions about these topics.

No doubt this will be offensive to someone but know that it is something I have chuckled with others about and also been sad about. Life on this side of heaven....this is just part of it.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011


I've been thinking much about this lovely word. Actually I am thinking less about it and just practicing a certain increased level of privacy. It has struck me that the internet and all its many forms, can become pretty invasive into our private lives. The need to ask people in public forums about homeschooling, relationship problems, parenting topics, pregnancy (the word that used to not be uttered) issues, and then of course delivery issues, and the like, have become all too public. We set ourselves up to be sucked into the internet in the name of either NOT minding our own vocations or not seeking out the help God has provided us in our vocations from close family and friends. The world doesn't need to know our every struggle and decision making processes. We might even have less reason to be offended if we could keep a lid on our issues a bit more.

This goes the other direction too. Take pause and consider if you as a friend or relative are truly concerned about what is happening or might fall into the temptation of having a fresh juicy story to share beyond where it was meant to be carried in the name of concern. Confession and Absolution is a great practice to be in to figure this question out.

I know I am in an extreme mode of protecting myself which is sort of complicated but.....this does apply to us all in regard to taking care of our peeps and not driving ourselves crazy. Careful what you tell people.....it may come back to bite you!!! I am smiling by the way..... It may not just bite you but confuse the living daylights out of you, as the many opinions lead to a need to explain yourself, make an issue everyone's project, distract you more than necessary from your first vocations, go into a tailspin of obsessing.....you get the picture....

So...these were my privacy thoughts. I thought I would share them with you. Ha ha.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Getting rid of more stuff

Revisiting the purging of stuff from our house. I am visiting with our awesome friends in Duluth and admiring their lack of stuff. My biggest struggle is with books and laundry. Otherwise I am preparing to get rid of even more dishes, appliances and other such heirlooms. I promise not to get rid of the humans. Too many dishes, cups, office type/school stuff, clothes, SOCKS, etc. The problem.....no time to get rid of more stuff. The other problem.....well, I will figure it out.....maybe.....

The fall should be interesting. Our goal will be satisfaction with whatever we are able to get done in the school department and keeping life as simple as possible. Hmmmm.......then there are the other goals......breathe.

Thrilling post and thoughts of the day.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Future posts

Dating......yep.....my thoughts on that to come.

Parenting and being private with your life......

Homeschooling and institutions.....

In the meantime...busy....

Monday, August 1, 2011

I is SO slow!

Dear son graduated in December.....haven't had the party yet. I am consoled by my Duluthian friends that their second born has not had a party yet either. Phew. Poor boy. We have arranged for August 20th, working around his tool craze hobby and a tool meet. I wonder if 3rd born will get a party at all at this rate. I have a couple years anyway unless he gets bored with life here in High School land. We shall see. Maybe if I have some energy I could throw it then and even if it was early, I could say I did things *right* this time. Poor kids. When Evan graduates, I think I will take him to Europe instead. Emphasis on take him and not send him.

If I am happy to get the babies diaper changed today then hmmmm.....I should remember this plan for the future and maybe I should throw Erik two parties to make up for my slowness.

Keep Your Hands to Yourself

Georgia Satellites - Keep Your Hands to Yourself

Shockingly dressed rock and rollers (not that shocking) and great song. I don't like what they did with the end of the youtube but I suppose it shows what might happen if you don't follow the girls mantra. I especially like the part about the milk and the cow. Nice.