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.......