Friday, August 31, 2012

I forgot the self harming patient

These patients are around two to seven years old and they have a strong propensity to trip.  "Don't run" cries the mother.   Silly mom.   Splat.   Brief silence.   Wailing and gnashing of teeth.   These are the self harming set of our family.   Lots of people have them in their families.   Since I am not much of the hovering mom, the poor children get a much delayed reaction to their owies but I do still scoop them up once I get around to reaching them and they get brushed up and the necessary first aid.   My  prescription for them would be tying pillows around them but they resist their treatment.  

Which patient are you?

I observed my children this morning with their crazy behavior while attempting to do simple things like stir the pancakes, stuff jars with green beans and basically walk through a room without arguing with anyone. my usual crazy way I asked them which psyche ward patient they were? 

The passive aggressive patient who knows what they are supposed to do but quietly ignore the rules and procedures even when reminded.   In your face ignoring.   There seems some sinister pleasure in doing the opposite of what is expected.   The caretaker could clearly be getting frustrated but the rules don't apply to that patient.   The other side of this coin might be that they simply do not 'get' why their deaf ears are maddening.  

At this house we have particular children who might be diagnosed with some sort of 'outburst' disorder.   Not sure what that is called in the psychiatric world,  but when the outburst begins, these mostly small children need solitary confinement to end the episode.   I either get frustrated with the outburst or I might start to laugh as it just doesn't stop.  

Our moments of congregate living certainly are interesting.   I will continue to persevere in my quest to raise book worms, not for the benefits of their brain, but for the benefit of the noise level in the house.   Reading is very good and beneficial to the family.    It does encourage deaf ears to the rest of the world but overall if they all have their noses in books it might get quieter around here.   I am not there yet but I am trying.  

I personally am a fan of some quiet time in my padded room.   I don't have a room where it is barren and free of things which might hurt me as I still have a bunch of clutter and my bed is a storage place for everyone to dump their stuff on when they don't know what to do with it.   But.....despite the  junk, I can hide now and then, but they can still find me.  

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Got through today

I have to stop and think what we even did today if it was earlier than noon.  That is sad....I guess.   I know that the kids picked tomatoes and I hung out some laundry.   This afternoon, Matthew asked to do some practice driving.   What started as a one hour drive, turned into a four hour adventure.   Between paying bills, turning in insurance information which I had forgotten, returning Erik's crutches, mailing stuff and paying more bills, and.....accidentally being in the neighborhood of Better World Books and stopping in.....this all took awhile.   We even managed to get lost for a small while and explored an area I had never been to in our quest to get reoriented.   Of course we had a hilarious time.  Every driving student (child) of mine has been an enjoyable time for me.  

The evening was spent quickly preparing and eating dinner, going to a Divine Service at church, saying goodbye to a dear young friend who will be missed this school year and then returning to spend a few hours with Martin in helping him figure out how to use a computer.   I suppose I should be ashamed (?) that my fourteen year old does not know how to navigate a website, but he has never cared before.   He now wants to learn how to type as doing what he is doing now takes up too much time.   Smart boy.   I love natural consequences of past resistance to such skills.   I should not take too much pleasure in that.

I am sure we will pick up where we left off in the morning.  

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Purposefully slowing down.....even more.

I think we are succeeding in slowing down.   I am taking this whole week to work on schedule and expectations which are reasonable and fit better with my slow demeanor lately.   I do not like to rush and be bombarded by many a human at once.   I am a wimp where rapid questions fly.   I've said that before.  

Monday we went through ALL of the kids subjects and weeded out every single book which did not even appear likely to happen.   Those are all hiding in the basement as I planned before.   I left each of my students/kids with two to three things to work on and have hanging over their head so to speak.   They thought we were going to do everything at once; spelling, math, grammar, writing, reading, science etc......not.   I can't see the sense in taking on too much at once and getting none of it done.   I would love to push everyone to get all of their math done for the school year by Christmas.   That would be awesome.   Perhaps I will just call them done at that point if I am brave enough and then spend all of the spring semester playing with history and reading books together.   That sounds delightful.

We braved the library today and hope to return.    It will help if I can 'train' Evan the two year old to sit for books for longer periods of time.   He was fascinated with the long row of couches and the beautiful window sills   They were much like an obstacle course for him and he was loving it.   Slowing down and not hyper spazzing at him will mean taking a breath and baby steps in listening to books for us both.   Perhaps there will be days when we visit the library when we will have to make abrupt departures.   I am sure there will be.   I would like to go there more often this year, especially since going there will alleviate temptations of all of us to be distracted by the junk in our house.   It was easier to come home today after having time at the library since books suddenly became more interesting to them all.  

A little visit accomplished way more than I intended.   Slowing down and living makes things easier to bear with all the kiddos.   Leaving for an evening spin on my bike was also far less stressful.   Hope we can keep this up and I can remember the goal.  

Friday, August 24, 2012

Can't be everyone's everything

Greetings from a woman who needs to be *allowed* to be alone.  Allowed to be myself.    My light bulb experience of last night was that it is very difficult for my dear family to give me any space or allow me NOT to take care of them for an hour or so.    Somehow I need to leave my responsibility at the door or inside the door and check my head out for a bit.   They are very trained to still come to me even if I say I am checking out.    Either they come or they  tell me how horrible their life was while caring for the short people while I am away and then I allow the guilt to heap hot coals on my head.   

What is 'away"?   Away could be time to read  a book or walk through the house without being accosted.   My brain is asking for some grace to check out and be by itself a bit.   The mom is a resource for many a trouble on the home front.   The mom doesn't allow herself to clock out for a bit and let all the troubles of the day sit on the sidelines.   Sigh.   This mom may have processed this concept but if the family members don't understand it then the very effort of checking out for a bit is met with many obstacles.

My current mental check out will be to breathe and slow down even more.   Blinders......that might help but will mainly breathe deeply, pray and quiet my inside down as much as mentally possible and also mentally say tough rocks to many of the expectation real or imagined.

Here ends my mental gymnastics of the morning.  

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Simpler and simpler

Charted out the week for the coming school year and I see that there are about 18 realistic hours per week to devote to individual or group attention to the kiddo.   How to use the time is the question.   It seems the best thing to do in order to both relieve stress and guilt and eventually get something done, is to lay out the possibilities of subjects we can work on and then take a deep breath and make some sort of decision.  

I started reading "To Kill a Mockingbird" to my eleven year old.   I was asked by my mother-in-law why I was reading to her since she should be reading to me.   The explanation again was that the amount of learning we get from the conversations we have is exponential compared to any sort of text book I might do with her.   That book in particular is very rich in information between the lines, that in the first chapter alone we talked for over an hour as we progressed through.   Win.  

I will most likely need to do more of this sort of learning this year with the kids as breathing alone around here is a challenge at best at times.   I enjoy this sort of time with them anyway.   Now to science out what that will be and resist the temptation to compare myself to the overachiever moms in my life.  

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

School planning

In facing the coming school year, I am once again hoping to keep things as simple as possible.   That is a pretty difficult task but am going to try.   I've decided to begin by putting a small stack of curriculum thoughts/books on the table with a name on them and decide if it is a reasonable amount for said child and then.......perhaps I am going to pack every single other book which might tempt me to divert from the plan, in a box and have someone hide it from me.    Succeeding to focus has always been a challenge.   Succeeding in not having too high of an expectation for my school year is also a problem.   What *if* I decided to accomplish the smallest amount and actually get that much done?   Even then I probably wouldn't get it done.   Sigh.  

I am thankful my eldest at home will be with Wittenberg Academy this year and he seems to be building enthusiasm for the year.   That will relieve some of the pressure off of me and I always love to see him enthusiastic about anything.  

The next oldest has much to do but hoping that keeping it simple and him accountable will help.   VERY DEEP SIGH.   Again.....the hope is if the plan is simple and can stay consistent, then perhaps we will see more in the line of progress.  

Progress with the five and under children will be reading more consistently with them and actually planning perhaps one fun thing for them to do a week.   The seventh and eighth children are on the cusp of reading.   Will I get there and actually blow off their math life?   Don't try to do any math Karin!!!!    Stick with the literacy thing and it will all be easier!!!!!     Cuddling up with books and talking with them sounds like a lot more fun anyway than chasing the homeschooling dream of sending them to college at a super young age.   Hopefully by the time number nine is ready for that I don't push him to leave for school too young.   That is another blog post which probably will never happen.   Maybe.....

I better go make dinner.  

Cabbage dish tweaking

My dear 16 year old son tweaked the cabbage/sausage recipe and simply cut up potatoes and put them directly in the cabbage mix.   The longer it cooks with the vinegar and sugar, the yummier it is.   I can not believe that I actually volunteer to eat the leftovers of something made out of cabbage for my lunch!   I used to HATE cabbage.   I suppose that is what nine kids and knowing money doesn't grow on trees will do to a person.   Eat what you have.  

Thursday, August 16, 2012


I am hoping to rearrange a bit of life around here.   The first rearrangement seems a bit backwards.   We eat dinner together every night.....all thirteen of us.   Fourteen when Anna is home.   Every night, the noisy crew gathers together.    We have striven for years to maintain dinner together but frankly with people ranging from 2 to 86 attempting to pass food, eat it without running for the wind, getting frustrated as the food they would love to eat is on the other end of the table - 12 feet away......    This puts a whole different spin on gathering during Christmas and Easter and Thanksgiving.   On those days we should all be able to eat one meal without having to pass anything???    A table in every room?????    Every day is a family gathering around here!  

So I am going to feed the little people early.   They are always the hungriest, least patient, hardest to deal with at the table.   I think if I can just eat quietly with them earlier, it will help their demeanor and mine.   I would not describe dinner as the most relaxed of circumstances.  

I want the small children in bed as soon as possible in the evenings so they don't become sleep deprived.   The seventy to eighty somethings are not used to stubborn, verbal small children so I am sure they will have less indigestion this way too.   We shall see if dear husband sees the sense in this plan.   My goal is for everyone to lead.....a quiet and peaceable life.   Whatever I can do to help to that end is how I proceed.  

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Extraction day

I love whatever variety of bees I have.   Perhaps they are sort of my variety as I have raised several of my own queens.   The honey flow is done and I have left each hive the equivalent of four medium supers for the winter.   I did not use any queen excluders this year and am pleased with the results.   No swarms and it was much easier to deal with through the season.   I only found a small amount of drone brood in the healthiest hive, in the fifth super up from the bottom.   Otherwise the honey was not tainted and good to go. 

The lack of aggression of the bees this year was sort of nice but hoping that isn't a bad sign either.   There were plenty of bees overflowing the hives and lots of healthy brood in the brood chamber area.   I've worked pretty diligently to clean up the hives the last few years and am going to do some more clean up and purging of frames and boxes this fall.

I have been at this beekeeping thing since 2003 and am now looking forward to the fruits of my labors from all the clean up.   I should say the fruits of the BEES labor.  Bees amaze me and it is very relaxing to go play with the bees who just do what the expression says......they are busy as bees.   Since I now have so much drawn comb for my honey supers, the hope is to have two harvests next year or at least a small harvest in late to mid June.   

Now to clean up my extraction equipment and go to the next beekeeping meeting to listen and pick the experienced beekeepers brains on several topics such as why my honey is so much darker this year than any other that I can remember.  I have read a few books by experienced beekeepers lately and they have helped to stimulate my beekeeping brain to think through their thoughts and apply them.   The art of beekeeping is sort of like dancing to me.   I hope to dance with a few more hives next year and even if I do not get done everything I wish I could get done in the fall in winter in preparation, every little bit has made a difference. 

Warm biscuits and honey tomorrow for sure.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

And then - sigh

I run out of me to give to all the people who need me.   I love them all but seriously there are times where the inside of me knows full well there is nothing left for me to give to them but they still need me.   What if I can't give anymore right now and I want to go sleep it all off.   What if I don't want to help them at the moment by being nice and kind and patient and would love for someone to take care of me.   This sort of time sucks.  
I am told I need to plan some serious breaks from it all.   Elder parents who are scared and tired in their own way of being burdens, losing their independence and their health.   Funny how I would love for someone to express concern and care for me and then we turn around and become old people ourselves and fight desperately to not have THAT happen.    Such a humble life we live even if we don't want to live humbly.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

For Example

There are silly little deep breath occurrences which I have to deliberately take pause and care to answer.   I think I have mentioned the irony that my mother-in-law and I pretty much get along quite well now in comparison to years gone by.   Many moons ago there was a distinct feeling I would get that she was on a mission to switch out everything I owned for something she felt was better.   I do believe this is how she 'loved' people.   Of course at the time I might be thinking.......but....but.....that was my dear Aunt Hazel's dish towel and it isn't a piece of junk at all!   So I let her get my goat when in reality she probably wanted mostly to do something for me. 1 dollar IKEA towel holder plastic thingy seemed to be somehow deficient.   I was not aware that it bugged her at all.   Perhaps it didn't bug her but she thought I could use a new one.   She went shopping during my camping trip and bought me the deluxe towel holder thingy for the kitchen.   I am pretty sure the lack of delight showed up on my face and I am not one hundred percent positive I said thank you.   I think I did.   I think.   Will have to express my gratitude tomorrow.   You see I have a fascination with all things IKEA as my Swedish relatives have influenced me to love all things streamlined and clean.   My dear husband loves the lodge look.   *I* go into IKEA fantasizing about decorating my college apartment or my town house in Chicago but now I am and will not be having either of those.   It is a fun dream.   It doesn't go great with lodge furniture but ya' know.

Anyway.....back to patience over towel holders being replaced.   I have gotten a tiny bit better at not letting it bug me as in reality it doesn't matter.   It is just a towel holder after all.   My town house decorating spree will obviously never happen and my mother-in-law does not understand why this might bug me as she is being NICE.   She wants to do stuff for me.   Buying stuff she thinks is better than my one dollar IKEA towel holder is a crazy thing to have to take a deep breath over.   Letting it go and happily using the country like looking new towel holder which is the look of the 80's which I left behind in our old house 20 plus years ago should not be a problem.   Really Karin it shouldn't.   Really.   So.....preparing myself for these little stupid surprises gets a bit easier but of course I will have to keep working on in as time goes by. 

Rorschach game we made up

The little kids don't know what a Rorschach drawings are but that is what I would call the new game they play with me.    They have one of those toys where you can draw something on the board and then move the lever across to erase it.   So now they draw something on the board and have me guess what the drawing is.   They love it and they have funny times with mommy.   Stefan and Ingrid came leaping out of bed to play this with me this morning.   They are getting pretty creative with what they come up for drawings too.   The game is just something new and easy to play.  

Saturday, August 11, 2012

More children of older parents thoughts

I think we become better able to care for our elder parents after taking care of our children.   Older folk change before our eyes and revert back to less inhibited behavior.   How to love that......well.....I can't help dividing responses into just being clear and giving straight answers or ignoring.   Patiently enduring is such a challenge at times when I just want to have some chill time myself. 

What if both my plethora of children and both sets of parents have needs all at the same time?   What do I do?   I can only do the next thing and will drop the ball a lot.   Trying.....I do beg for understanding that if I can't do another thing, to please overlook.   I do hope for other family members to step in some or lots and ease the burden.  

Right this very minute I need to get up and put my little people to bed.   I am going to push the eject button and spring into action right?   My dear father-in-law is less than delighted with my inability to keep up with the de-cluttering.   When I am supposed to do with that?   Eject button.  

Pondering my elders,  it is increasingly clear that their sinful self is not a lot different than my sinful self.  In isn't different.   They get tired or just want someone to spend time with. There are things they really like to do but then can't.   I probably already said that the last time I posted about this.   It is oddly almost easier to be patient with them than with smaller children.   The biggest puzzle for me right now, is what to do with dementia driven behavior.   Not arguing with them.   Yep.   Best plan.   If they lose control of their own tempers.....that is my next question.   What to do then?   Pray, praise and give thanks seems fitting.   Sigh.   I AM amazed and also sad for the aging process and seeing the effect on the parents.   Wow.   It surely is a learning experience and actually makes parenting my little people much easier.  Wait.....I said the opposite a moment a ago.  

 The bottom line me thinks is little people and  old people and all the people in between have feelings and emotions and fears just like me.   Seeing the natural progression of brain cells growing together and then growing apart.   Yep.   That all makes more sense to me now.   I guess I am on the other side of brain cells growing together.   How does that go?  I am baptized into Christ and so are the people I am dealing with.   Christ has the sin part covered.  Forgiveness of hurts comes easier in light of that.   Some day we will truly rest from our labors.   Thankful for that.   No doubt I will ramble on this subject again sometime soon.   Insight welcomed and experience too.  

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

It is not the accoustics

Thank you father dear for inspiration......we don't agree on synod Karin LCMS, him ELCA.   This is one of those issues I have to 'let go' as much as possible in conversation.   Well......I have heard bunches and bunches of evaluation of pastors and buildings and social dynamics involved with the church from an ELCA point of view. response which I would give but as I mentioned.....I am practicing tightlipped.....covers many bases.   I then find inspiration for carefully asked questions as there are times I have to keep tight lipped and think through how to address the issue at hand in a loving way.

One recent issue was a rambling of why an ELCA church failed.   The explanation was something about having bad accoustics, no outreach to the neighborhood changes, and......I can't remember the last one but my Gospel antennea always spring to attention.   Oh....I think it was poor hymn choices and the lack of modern liturgical practices.     The question I will ask if given opportunity will be......what is the church really about?   Is it the accoustics or the people the pastor has to deal with or the poor arrangement of the sanctuary????   The pastors poor charisma, the programs offered, the openess to open sin? Not getting your way with how you think things should be done by the pastor????    Um......    I don't want to be confrontational but when it comes to the Gospel and the faithful preaching of Christ and the forgiveness of sins and if you are really blessed, the proper distinction of law and gospel......the church is about......drum roll please.......JESUS!   Why all of this discussion about buildings and music programs and not a word about Jesus?????!!!!!    You want to get my ire up, you will forget Jesus and focus on the implementation of current social trends and marketing.    It is SOOOO obvious that that guy Jesus is forgotten.    I guess tightlipped is actually not a bad idea as I have no interest in debating architecture but a huge interest in the forgiveness of sins.  

What if......your pastor gets grumpy and upset if Jesus, the sacrements, and the faithful preaching of the Word is forgotten.   You should LOVE that preacher!!!!!   Take care of  him and his family and share the gospel with HIM (he is blessed to hear it too), pray for him, speak well of him, keep your whining at bay, try not to 'get your way'......the list goes on.  

A story of an LCMS pastor who was privy to a criticism of seminarians (ore something like that) is a favorite of mine as it was appropriate for him to say "How dare the faith of these pastors be criticized or judged"  or something to that effect.   Yep. it righteous anger or correct me.   I can take it most of the time or will call in reinforcements, but loving your neighbor and forgiving them their trespasses seems the better plan and of course.......Everything is about Jesus and not the accoustics.   Sigh.   I could ramble on and on.  

Let it go

There is some sort of disconnect that happens when your family members get to the age where you have to choose whether they know what they are doing or saying or if they are just continuing to say more and more without considering the consequences of what they are saying to the recipient.    I can see where I myself have taken too much ownership of hurtful comments of extended family as if I should expect people to have manners etc.   Well......they should, but my reaction does effect the outcome.   Topics which should obviously be offensive to me and my family seem to come more freely at me and I feel like I have gone to 'not caring' what they are saying and will stay tight lipped.   It is such a careful dance.   What good does it do to argue????   It just makes them more upset and wound tight as they want to be right and then it is something more for me to think about.   It is much easier to just let it go. 

Letting it go is tough thing to teach.   Isn't it true that everyone wants to be important and right?   No one wants to hear that you or they have pissed someone off.   Inwardly pissed or inwardly ignoring and contemplating how it doesn't have to own me trip through my brain lately.   Amazingly offensive comments to all that I value just seem not to matter in light of my own life and eternity.   God willing the offenders and offendees all gather in the peace of Christ on the last day, we won't care whether the conservatives and liberals want to be right or were right.   It won't matter.   Only Christ and our undeserved forgiveness and salvation will matter and that is true now too.   It is already completed.   Our nerve endings may still take a beating now but that is not where we find our hope.   And.......I can understand that now and may forget tomorrow but it is true.   Thankful I can hang onto that today.  

Caring for parents

Yesterday was the most I have ever done in the line of caring for parents.   My mother-in-law had cataract surgery in the morning/afternoon.   We were there five hours and my patience was already on the thin side from everything else going on in life but.....the art of nodding my head, listening and responding to needs gets a little sharper it seems as each day passes. 

My father dear needs my mother dear to always be here for him.   She took a trip to Maine to see her friends and sister and it was just a few days too long for him to handle.   It is hard to see but the more people I talk with who have been down this road the more normal it seems and the easier it is to understand and just listen to him and nod my head.   Mom is on her way home early.   My brother and I will have to work on a plan of giving her relief when we can.  

My mother-in-law really is in the same boat.   She can barely leave for any length of time without my father-in-law slowly getting more uncomfortable with her absence.  But she will gleefully run for the door if given the opportunity.   I have no wondrous words of wisdom in reference to taking care of elder parents other than to just let go any past frustrations and learn to nod your head and smile.   It doesn't matter how much you know or what your convictions are.   There comes a point when nodding and listening is the best path.  

I need to work on a plan for giving MYSELF relief.   My in-laws live with us, dear husband's job is changing dramatically, and then kids on both end of the spectrum. is all a puzzle.  

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Yummy cabbage recipe

A farmer friend and I were discussing the mysteries of figuring out what is for dinner and she shared this recipe with me.   It is only what I can remember from the conversation and I put in cheap bratwurst instead of hot dogs. 

One head of cabbage shredded
one medium onion
bratwurst - I put in 20 cheap ones to feed 14 and had some leftovers.
2/3 cup cider vinegar
2/3 cup sugar
salt and pepper to taste

Cook these down until at least limp - you can not overcook this.  Crockpot?

Serve over mashed potatoes.   Cook enough to feed your family.   Yum, yum.