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.