Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Teaching maturity

Putting behavior in terms of maturity has been my latest mantra with my maturing children.   What does maturing mean?   Considering our own behavior in light of how it effects the other person.....I think.   Will it make my family's load lighter, then in love for my family I might set the table without being asked.   Or I might go change the stinky diaper and not wait to be told.  

My current five year old is one to file this sort of information away and think about it and then give me a report on how he is doing currently.   It is always a random comment not prompted by me, but rather reported to me.   "I am not screaming like I used to Mom."  Yay!   Happy day!   He is considering his behavior.   He still has growing up to do but he has learned to reflect at five on his behavior.  

If I talk to each of them every so often about this concept of reflecting, then when they are doing whatever they are doing, it might run through their mind to think about it.   Asking them how they are doing seems far more effective than telling them how they are doing.   Telling them how I am reflecting on my own behavior also is helpful to them I think.  

What I want to avoid though is everyone in the family comparing how the other is doing to everyone else.   This is when my head might hit the table but we all do this and I tell them so and try to steer them back to what they are responsible for.   Parenting is a lot of work.   It exhausts and challenges our patience.   I am grateful for the sleep I manage to get to recharge my batteries and try again the next day.   Pushing myself and then pushing them to keep working on their vocations and run from their entertainment probably should become a sign on my forehead to remind me of what *I* need to do.   Run from entertainment.   Yes.   Sigh.   Easier said then done.  

Now I am rambling and thinking on how this is entertaining so will now run away.  

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Study sessions

Can I remember to do this again?   I took the middle kids to the library to work specifically on their math and give them immediate feedback.   They got a bunch done and it was time well used.   I have the greatest difficulty setting patterns to do the same thing more than a few times as life will somehow get in the way.   Call it restarting night school again for the family.   We didn't keep that up as long as I would have liked last year as there just simply is not room for us to find a space to do this without distractions.   Once or twice a week should help.  It is hard to have the little ones with at the library and get anything done with the older ones so perhaps this will work for awhile.  

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Don't remove them

I was distracted by the most awesomeness of distractions this morning during the church service.   There was a young boy, seven to be exact, sitting behind me talking to his mother about what was happening in the service.   She was quietly answering him.   Though distracted herself, it isn't really a distraction.   The children belong in the service.   They are listening and paying attention.     They are catechized in word and sacrament through experience.       Their little lives are immersed in worship and they DO receive God's good gifts in the service.   Why remove them from worship?  

I just started teaching an awesome group of preteens last week and these kids are so very well catechized.   I have a deep love for young people and seeing them grow and mature and their eyes light up with recognition of what they are learning.   I do know I probably ask too many questions but they actually can figure out most of them.   They do understand Christ's body and blood given for them and it isn't too deep for them to talk about and think about.   They want to know.   The answers they give are obviously the product of not only great parents but participation in the service.  

I asked these same kids if they had any specific questions they had been wondering about and a ten year old young lady expressed a curiosity and desire to better understand the Trinity and how that is possible.   She rocks.   I advised her to ask her Pastor if he wanted to come over for tea or ice cream and that his favorite thing to do was to answer questions.   At the very least, the hallways and byways at church or Catechesis class would a good place to ask the questions answering Pastor.  

So don't start or maintain a nursery.   The children are not disturbing anyone including the parents as it is the parents vocation or place in life to parent them now.   When all the wiggles are exhausted at age eight or nine or maybe even as young as five, then the parent can chill more in the pew and take it isn.    Until then, these beautiful little people are gifts to rejoice in and stare at and love and talk to and soak up while we have the opportunity.   I am just totally taken aback by how amazing God's creation and gift of children are to us.   Different ages and different blessings.   A person of any age is amazing really.   See what their eyes are looking at and taking in when they are unawares.  

Last thought or observation.   I don't really pay much attention to other people's children during Holy Communion, but I do see my own little people paying such serious attention, even during their youngest days, during the distribution.   Evan's eyes took it all in this morning.   He is two.  The Pastor giving the bread to people and then Evan receiving the blessing when it was his turn.   He becomes perfectly still lately and listening.   Children do listen.   They are not incapable of understanding.   Don't take and hide the children  away from the service in fear of disturbing people.   Disturb the people!   Children of God of all ages were of utmost importance to our Lord Jesus.   He loves us all and not just those who can sit still during the sermon.   If I am distracted from the sermon myself, what better way to be distracted but through staring into their little faces.   Don't remove them.   

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Saturdays and loose ends

I find myself seeing Saturday as the day to tie up loose ends from the week.   This past week was a major recipe for exhaustion but I did manage to wake up with some energy this morning.   The drill was making coffee, looking around and taking in the fallout from the week and doing my best to focus.   One thing at a time.  

There was laundry to put away, beans to can and put away, counters in the kitchen to find again, and finally following through with making homemade re fried beans.   They were not really fried but did turn out very yummy.   Erik and Charley went car shopping while all of this went on and by the time the morning was over I was calling Charleys cell phone and holding the phone out to him so he could hear all the displeasure noises emitting from his small people.   Rescue me!!!    I had spent the whole last week listening to too many disgruntled humans and needed a break.   The guys came home without any new car for Erik, but I didn't care too much about that.   Just let me leave!!!  

I went to my favorite nursery and got a few small evergreens to fill in some areas in the backyard.   My new landscaping scheme is to fill up spaces with trees and shrubs which look attractive and not have so much of an area to plant with perennials and annuals for the summer.   The owner wasn't there but did leave a note saying to write down what I had selected and leave it so she could bill me.   I love that place.   I pondered and pondered for well over an hour, all was awesome.  

On the way home I had a chance to talk to Anna for a bit and that too was relaxing and nice as usual.   I miss my girl.   Sigh.   I will see her for a little while in a little over a week for her recital so that will be something to look forward to.  

I am dreaming of dreaming and getting bunches of sleep this evening even if I have to resort to hitting myself up side the head to get to sleep.   Hoping also to read bunches of my latest read before I do that.   It has been a basically nice day in spite of the morning whining.  

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Four or five days later.....or more

On Monday I put a cup of butter in my awesome Bosch mixer which takes up tons of space on my limited counter.   I thought that banana oatmeal bars     It sounded like one of those things which well organized, conscientious mothers make for their children for breakfast.   Well, I didn't get to the rest of the ingredients jumping in the mixer till....Thursday.   How pathetic is that???!!!!    In the meantime, the counter has been missing the dish drying rack as there was no room, who knows what shape the butter really is in, and the other adults in the family have worked patiently around it and didn't ask any questions.    The inside of me knew that there was most likely a bit of 'better not ask' going on in their heads and today hopefully they will get to eat some of it.   The sad thing is that I misread the recipe and put in white sugar instead of brown.   Four days and I still don't get it right.  

I see examples of this all over the place around here.    The kids dutifully squished the tomatoes and made sauce on is definitely boiled down and ready to be canned but it hasn't happened yet.   Martin found copious beans on Tuesday and they are snapped and ready to be canned.   They are waiting too.  

I've run experiments with the kids.   There was a pile of someone's socks in the hallway upstairs years back and I decided to see if they would ever disappear.   Well, I think after six months I gave up and decided to just pick them up but it was interesting to walk by.   I did mention them several times.   Experiments like this are a recipe for my insanity and shouldn't be tried.  

I am not sure how to turn off that overwhelm feeling but will push along to do the next thing and hope for the

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Invited to tea

I was invited to have tea with a friend today.   My inner overwhelmed is fighting the urge to go with my first plan of getting tons of math done with the kids today and finding my debit card in the abyss also known as my bedroom.   This is a ridiculous decision.   Laugh and enjoy the company of an awesome person fractions and square roots and....

The last two days were completely eaten with apartment shopping for my in-laws.   Sigh.   I see things slipping around here worse than they were.   We don't have any desirable food, there are tomato sauce and green beans to can, and all my previous projects of expanding the house are not quite completed.

Another friend and I were chatting yesterday about what it meant years ago to care for our parents and how was it different.   If I had nine kids in the seventies or earlier, I would have had most of them in school.   She pointed out that my full time job of home educating and simply taking care of the family is huge.   The stress of problem solving and figuring out how to get a single thing done under these circumstances is pretty daunting.  

So I have decided to have tea with my friend and try to be disciplined enough to head for home at a reasonable time.   Sigh.   If my expectation is to only get a tiny bit of something done, then I won't panic.   Slowing down my thinking to be content with hardly a thing is still a challenge.   Sigh again.  


Tuesday, September 18, 2012


My in-laws have lived with us since early April.   In that time they have become far more active, eat healthy and are really improving in health and mobility rather than going down hill as is the normal drill for people who are aging and dealing with the challenges which come with that.   So my household of twelve people at home will possibly be shrinking by two as they are looking into the possibility of getting an apartment for Seniors.   The one place we have looked at is new and completely awesome.   I started planning on when I could move there too!   It is an income based set up so I probably wouldn't qualify but my in-laws on the other hand totally qualify in my mind.  

Transition....again.    It will take time and I do think they both will be happier around peers, their own space, and having their own beloved TV with cable.   Whoa.. 

The process has taken a lot of my time and I am tired but since the paper work is done for the place which they are most interested in, all the rest of the place's paper work can happen at a slower pace.   I must pay attention to the kiddos and since moving slower was my goal to begin with, I sort of need to be here at home to get anything done no matter how slowly it happens.   Stay tuned......

Friday, September 14, 2012

Why was I worried???????

Once upon a time, I had a little boy who was slow to learn to read, didn't know his colors until he was at least 6, couldn't count to 40 to save his life until.....8???   This is what my memory remembers.   Bookish work was very tedious and confusing.  He was very much picked on.   Social was a challenge.  

 I also have a bunch of other memories of this same boy.   This is the same boy who after we toured the U.S. North Carolina, when he was about five years old, built a model of it complete with floors, bunks and a galley.   It was very cool.   He worked diligently and carefully.   The same boy searched for hours on end for fossils in the driveway, pinned bugs for 4H,  He taught himself how to blacksmith, built huge forts in the woods, studied antique tools and life back in the day till he could probably teach a course.   All of those things were amazing to us but we were frightened of facing academia.   They were an issue for him too.   Tests.   Yuck.  

We chose to home educate mainly because of our dear son.   He most likely would have been put in some sort of special ed class.   Well.......this same boy now works for the same company as Charley as a technician and in the course of one year has become an expert and is teaching seasoned technicians what he does and how.   He traveled to Detroit yesterday to spend a few days training other people.   His dad describes him as brilliant and amazing and well liked by everyone.   He has no technicians certificate but teaches those who are getting one.   He is 19 and younger than all of them.   Just a little bit proud of my boy.  

Why was I worried????

Thursday, September 13, 2012

I didn't see that there

My morning anxiety attack was over how many things I see scattered about that I am certain other people can see too but mysteriously don't know how to react.   For instance.......the two year old has dumped over the sock bin and had a sockfetti party.    What could I do about this???????   Hmmm.......   The garbage cans are washed and  lay blocking the back door.   What could I do about this?   Then there are the kitchen counters with mom's coffee pot vomit all over it........   The rodent of unusual size that opened the 50 pound bag of quick oats and missed his bowl too.    I think these sort of sites are what make me more ADD and anxious or at least equally anxious, than toddlers screaming and five or more people waiting for me to help them all at the same time.   I suppose this is also related to the helplessness factor.   How to cure this disease is probably the biggest unsolved mystery of all time.   I noticed that "The Story of the World" uses an example of archeologists finding a child's toy at an ancient settlement.   The example is made up of course but I have no doubt little sinners have left stuff laying about from the beginning of time.    We just have more of this junk than they did?  

I had the usual obnoxious mother idea of taking the kids on a tour of the countryside and seeing if we could find the most trashed property and perhaps even have a contest and check list of homes whose exteriors are peppered with garden tools, tractors, piles of disposed of junk, gardens in need of weeding etc.   Oh dear, I am giving myself another anxiety attack as we may have to drive to Arkansas to find them.  

Okay.   Time to take my negative attitude and proceed to direct my little dears to their tasks at hand and do the next thing and............try not to panic.  

Monday, September 10, 2012

With my eyes closed

I hear something which is a much different experience than with them open.   I have come to love closing my eyes during most of the liturgical settings at church.   My very favorite time to do so is during the Sanctus.   If I open my ears during this time, I hear a foretaste of things to come.   These same people I sing with on Sunday, will sing with me in eternity.   The same people who have gone before me and are with Christ, who sang with me earlier in my life, will sing with me in eternity and ARE singing with me.   Opening my ears to hear as we open our lips and our mouth declare His praise.   THESE ARE my favorite few minutes of the week.  

Saturday, September 8, 2012

House expansion

Quick post before I leap into action again.   We desperately need more room around here so I am doing all I can this day to get rid of stuff, put stuff away, and move as much furniture out of the house as possible.   We were thinking of changing the 'spare house' (shack) into living space for the kids but have since tabled that.   So......I am going to use the space so maybe we can have some in here.   Desperate times call for Karin making a calmer setting for the house of crazies.    We don't have money for any other type of expansion so this seems like a good plan to me.  

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Kids and helplessness

Kids learning how to do things for themselves is an obvious part of parenting.   Nagging or painful pulling of their bluff.   I have a few kids who have struggled greatly with following the directions in their school work so that they might actually complete it in a reasonable amount of time.   Yesterday it became quite clear that one of the children in question had a complete strategy in play to see if he could get everyone else to do his homework by asking THEM questions about how to do the problems.   The self discipline to study his work and understand it for himself and my teaching him.....or forcing follow through with these skills, is pretty tedious at best.   To teach this lovely skill, known as helping yourself with your homework and how to study, requires my body to be still and near by to continually point him to how he can solve his own problems by reading and researching and then studying the concept till he completely understands it.  

My house is a wreck, my small people are starving for attention, and once again I am puzzling over how to help the little people survive while I push the envelope with older child  to help himself.   I might be doing other things while said student is struggling with studying and avoiding the easiest route to success as he has it engrained in him to die many deaths rather than simply use the index and the resources online to review his math skills.   Exhausting..........I guess he sees it as a battle of the wills and I sit in wait to wield my will of NO.....look it up darling child.   (If I have patches of hair missing, you now know the reason).  

Take courage parents, one and all!   Don't do your children's homework!   Send them packing to the avenues which will help them learn what they need to do. It might mean you don't have a company ready house and your meals are lacking for a while but....the rewards.....better be sweet.     This child now has a teacher for his math who isn't ME, and learning how to ask the teacher questions rather than the rest of the family is one of THE most tedious parts of this of all.  

I write all this down so that maybe if I look at my blog I won't lose sight of the goal......independent thinking!!!!    Now I should stop writing and perhaps go clean off a surface or make some sort of egg something for the kids brains to feed off  and supercharge their brains!   Onward!