Monday, January 31, 2011

Juggling the oldest through the youngest

It was SO good to spend the weekend with Anna. We had a very nice time of course. Then I come home and see the needy little people and that makes me pretty sad. I can't do everything for everyone. I am grateful for three days in a row, to be able to just be home and focus on school and life here. Benjamin, Stefan and Ingrid need attention and it is very difficult at times to get to them.

We talked this weekend of how Anna will be 37 when Evan flies the coop. Wow. This should most certainly be an interesting ride. I am torn between soaking up his little sweetness and pining for my Anna's sweetness and those in between who are getting older every day. I guess I shan't put them to bed anymore. I love time with all of them. They all want to spend time with me. Every day is very full. I don't have time to think about what tomorrow might bring. It is certain to bring snow but other than that, I can only guess.

Now to put the weary self to bed and be thankful for what I have.

Socks, laundry and wood

After spending three days reveling in my daughter dear, concerts and daughter dear's fellow, it is back to the trenches. I was tempted to be responsible and pretend there wasn't mountains of laundry, needy children, no socks for anyone's feet, and....and......but I thought better of teaching the children anything and have them all chasing firewood orders, sock sorting, laundry and eating leftovers. So very productive. We are all happier as a result. Two doctor appointments soon for kiddos, one Scout meeting, and.......threat of a snow storm. Okay. My day is complete.

The best part of the day so far was accidentally opening a bottle of Hard Cider. The struggles I have. Onward.

Saturday visit

Anna and the organist/vocal department hauled down to St. Meinrad's for a second concert. It was awesome weather (warm and sunshine) and the concert itself was great again. Anna took Evan and introduced him to everyone including one of her professors. Very cute. We walked all over the grounds at the Abbey. The monks there have it made in the shade. Nice cafeteria, retreat center, hotel like quarters, beautiful buildings straight out of Europe, a horse shoe set up and tennis courts. Sweet! :o) Matthew built a snow monk in view of the Cathedral and many smaller little monks.

We discovered one of the only places to buy quick food in Southern Indiana......Wendy's. I discovered a fast food I can stomach.......chicken wraps at 1.59 a wrap and it actually has chicken in it and tastes good. I accidentally forgot to buy Matthew lunch on the way to St. Meinrad's as we were worried we were lost and I forgot to place his order. He is most tolerant of my absentmindedness and ate Cecilia's leftover sandwich from the day before.

Back to reality and hoping my little people survived my absence.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Visiting daughter dear

I had a perfect day visiting Anna today. We didn't manage to get down here till 12:40, about ten minutes late, but all and all every moment was great. It is certainly an awesome thing to take her six month old little brother along to see her plus two other siblings.

We ate lunch together with Ben upon our arrival. Ben is a great young man and we had a very pleasant visit in my estimation. We all knew how to speak 'large family' language and had fun laughing about the ins and outs of this life. I also enjoyed chatting about music related things with him as I pretty much gave up that love and only get to enjoy music here and there was nice to talk to a musician about things I love. I am looking forward to getting a chance to visit with him again on Sunday.

This afternoon Anna, Matthew, Cecilia, Evan and I just hung out between our hotel room and her dorm room. A rather large sale occurred today on my sellers account so we probably disturbed the neighbors at the hotel with our high fives. We had just told the receptionist what party animals we were too. Lol! I guess I will have to eat my hat.

Anna left her dorm room before us for a rehearsal and we stayed and watched Wallace and Grommit in her room till the concert. I fell asleep with Evan. We trudged across campus then and found the right building and everything on our own. Impressive. The concert was great. Anna is beautiful and amazing with her ability to stand and sing for two hours and barely move in all that time. After the concert she took Evan around to show her friends. Evan only contributed a few times to the concert. He was otherwise pretty good.

After dropping Anna back at the dorm, we are now chillin at the hotel. Matthew is hunting free books on the Nook and I am hoping to get some good sleep. Tomorrow will be another very full day. We travel to a monastery to hear the concert again. The acoustics are supposed to pretty awesome there. I will happily sit or stand (whichever Evan prefers) to hear that beautiful singing and organ playing again.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Read to them

Homeschooling 101 is not complete without the duh of reading out loud to your kids. I have great memories of reading to our eldest every night. Charley would take Erik and read "Cars, Trucks and Things That Go" in one room and I would be reading "Tikki, Tikki Tembo" and "Bedtime for Francis" in another. Of course we read a lot more than that but these books stick out in my head. I try to read to our youngest as much as I can. School for all ages has been most effective through reading to them. Why would they want to learn to read themselves if they didn't see the benefits through our reading to them? It is more of a challenge to get to the small ones now but I also have my older children read to the kids too. This benefits the older children too.

I do think we did reading out loud to the oldest ones pretty well. I think I got way too distracted in their five or six year old ages, worrying that I didn't have the right tools to teach them. I think if I were to do it all over again I would have just stuck to reading to them, alphabet books to continually go over their letters and sounds, number books for counting, shape and concept books for all the rest. Why did I think I needed a text book to do this???? I guess the Bachelor's in Education did me in. Textbooks and programs are certainly not necessary for the little people.

Curriculum guides became more necessary for me the more kids I had, to plan and keep me accountable to proceeding in some sort of order. That is why I love Sonlight as reading out loud is their main forte in the grade school area. Flying by the seat of my pants didn't work so well. The distractions of life - laundry, cooking, gardening, etc would easily have trumped school if at that point I did not have a better plan. The weak, doubtful part of me acquired too many programs which translated to spinning plates. Funny how we recognize that simplicity is more productive than ringers and dingers but the temptation to try to do school 'right' still dangles new ideas to distract the main cause.

So......Mother Goose, fairy tales, fables, great reads plus good old fashion life experience counting and explaining things to our kids and then of course writing and drawing for fun, is enough school till around seven or so for most kids. By the time you read an alphabet book one hundred times to the kiddos, taking pause to go over the sounds as you go, then reading instruction certainly can be a snap. Read more..........plan time for the cleaning in a focused time and one might not go nuts in the end.


Monday, January 24, 2011


I am still on brain overload of the stuff we have in this house. I keep reevaluating whether I want to keep certain books and curriculum. I think I collected books like I collect yarn. There are not enough days in my life or my kids life to get to all this curriculum. There are books that the whole family did not enjoy so they have been put on the block to sell so as not to waste time or shelf space in the future. There is curriculum I learned what I could from and now do not need as I learned what I needed from it. There are books I bought out of some sort of imagined peer pressure that some day I might read it and know more about.......Qumran???? Really. Seriously. I think when I have spare time I might want to use my free time more productively (visualize Karin studying up on Qumran? Oh yeah) and leave that info to the experts and people who have spare time. (Sold it already btw). I still am sitting on the fence on some music cds but I have plenty to keep myself busy with until I go back to that area to contemplate their usefulness. Slow and steady, slow and steady. My flinging of books has sort of been interesting and like a game of sorts too so it is entertaining. Think of it as the stock market of books. Disciplining myself not to spend the day selling books etc. and focusing on my main vocation might be challenging but so far so good on that too. Running Homeschool Curriculum fairs did teach me a little bit about how obsessions can eat you alive. Hope the people who attended got a lot out of those conventions. Blogging can be obsessive too.......


Saturday, January 22, 2011


Cold and snowy winters do have their perks around here. Charley and Erik have taken on tackling some more house renovation. The kitchen is on round two for this family in about 19 years. The cabinets are fine but the walls are going to be painted this time and we are contemplating stainless steel counters and back splash. I still need to read a bunch of reviews on this to decide. The floor I am still looking into as well as it could use some freshening up. I am hoping to get this all done by summer.

The other area which has been quite the headache for years, is our stairway. It is OLD, has been painted in the past so it chips under Horner wear, and the walls are cracked everywhere and they look 150 years old. Charley is plastering over top of the wall and the height is daunting. He did manage to take a tumble off the scaffolding he put together. I think he is going to rethink the scaffolding.

I do know that I would never wish such an old place on anyone who has children. Every single thing has had to be restored or replaced. Some day we might be done with it or have to start over or........let the next generation take on the challenge. We love our house but it has been tempting for me at least to just start over completely. We don't have the money for that though.

Ramble, ramble. I am still busy selling off books and organizing that process. I made huge progress today so am very happy. I bought my first truly frivolous thing ever yesterday........a Nook. Horrors. We are calling it the new puppy. I can not get it to register here so am taking a quick trip out to B&N to rectify that problem. Of course I got the service plan for this puppy as I have children who are talented and children who doubt my ability to keep the coffee away from it.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Musing on schooling at home

I am contemplating musing on our whole schooling adventure - a sort of 'what I wish I knew sooner' but I don't have too many regrets either. There are several younger folks who have been asking me a lot of questions lately so I might make this the forum to communicate with them. I am too extremely tired to even begin at the moment but didn't know if there was any interest out there. Fellow seasoned schoolers would be welcome to chime in.

Saturday, January 15, 2011


I basically have only ever used Sonlight Curriculum successfully. I enjoy it. It is my style. It isn't everyone's style but we love the format and it is easy for me to manage. We never do all of it but we have fun and are challenged to do what we can. I have tried several other curriculum and......I have never like them as am selling the rest off to focus on what I know works for me. Writing programs have probably been my biggest headache as writing to me is the hardest to teach. From everything I have read about teaching writing, I think I am going to use all that brain filed information and still just use Sonlight. It will be more effective now as my experience with other programs will translate to better use of my time and the SPACE in my house. Some other homeschoolers will be blessed with discounted curriculum and space on my shelves is steadily increasing.

I have set up a book store of sorts on Amazon to get rid of my stuff and a few other people's stuff. So far so good, my buyers have been happy and I am happy. I have admittedly slowed down a bit in my listing but will do a stack of five or six a few times a day. My poor brain however has been perusing my shelves and thinking of other stuff I own which needs to go for lack of use. I have forever been searching for the off button in my brain but haven't found it yet.

Focusing all the harder on what works is sort of exhilarating as I don't think I will have the tendency to impulse buy as easily and I don't have the guilt when I see the stuff laying on the shelves. Curriculum flies out of the house pretty easily or at least it jumps in boxes and goes to the post office. If anyone local has a postal scale.......I might either buy it from you or borrow it if you don't mind.

Must go chase a bartering deal with the piano tuner so ttfn!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Messing with solutions

I don't know how many people there are who actually have a routine that works permanently. I feel like I am always trying to 'figure things out' so that stuff works better around here. Trying to figure out how to keep the din down and the mess at bay from taking up weird hobbies of getting rid of stuff, living day to day and having yummy food available makes me pretty ADD. Does anyone have it figured out? The kids and I discussed yesterday's topic of trying to make things more peaceful for the da dad when he comes home and basically when he exists here. This is tough! How in the world to motivate the crowd to not selfishly want to avoid what would be helpful is a trick. I try hard not to have too many irons in the fire too. Hmmm.......

Solving my 4 year old's eating issues by not making it an issue is the other solution I am searching for. How NOT to react to his displeasure at not being able to have any cookies till he figures out how to eat. He LOVES to get our goat by not eating. Poor him. Ironically this disturbs Anna as she didn't used to eat much of anything back then...(back then?) and she worries about the Stefan. Sigh. No green beans in chocolate milk for this kid. (I never did that.......someone else......).

I can NOT imagine being bored............

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

In sympathy to the dads

Some moms might go postal on this one but I was thinking about how the dads do struggle with the whole parenting thing/tolerating the activity thing, especially if they do not work at home. Most dads leave for most of the day to that work/vocation thing and then after having their brains screwed into that, come home to the kidlets and the wife who might not be noticing the change of noise level like the dear husbands do.

From my perspective I hear the noise most of the day. That I suppose is why a day away from the kids at home is so glorious as it is SO unusual for the mom. But the dad has a different sort of noise during the day. I am not really sure how to make the dad's homecoming any quieter but I suppose I will spend some time pondering this as I think it is a shock to his system. I know that when the kids get wildly loud around here it can certainly make me cranky so.........well, I am open to suggestions of what helps keep the din down in others homes or is this just a dream with eight kidlets around here. Noise, noise, noise, noise, noise. How to keep the cranky at bay........

Sunday, January 9, 2011

To fathers of many

The best thing you can do for your weary wife is to take your crew, minus the smallest one, (or take them too if they are old enough to leave!) and leave your dear wife at home alone. Alone. No noise, no mess making, silence, ability to eat with out having it coveted, peace, unplug the phone, make sure there is something she loves to eat, calm, a good movie, a good book, no expectations of her cleaning the whole house, no complaints or whining about how hard your day was with all the kids (duh), serenity, stillness, no demands or questions......the list could go on.

Take the kids to a friends or camp or go to Chicago or some such place, and juggle the kidlets and perhaps spend the day praying for your wife and thanking God it isn't your vocation to do what she does.

You don't have to spend the family fortune to do this for your wife. Hotels with water parks might work but even just finding some sweet family who will take you all in for a day or so might keep your wife out of the funny farm. I personally am not quite so thrilled with being taken out to eat so I don't have to cook as the offspring are usually at home killing each other and trashing the place and I still have to come home to a disaster. (so........trash a friends home? That is what friends are for).

Seriously, I am SO enjoying my afternoon and wonder how I can convince dear husband to stay away till this evening. I miss my Anna already but she has her own stuff to take care of and existing here won't get that done. whining at your wife about your dear darlings behavior while you have them. She needs a break from whining as the foremost skill of the sinful human race is whining and sometimes it is nice not to hear it and know that her rest came out of love and concern for the wife. Ahhhhhh..........solitude. I remember that.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Cemetary rant

Charley and I have discussed some odd entrepreneurial ideas. The basic idea would be a business to address a person's entire life from birth to the grave. Examples from the life of faith would be custom made baptismal fonts, kneelers, perhaps pews, alters, vestment cabinets (made one already) and last but not least....coffins. For our God given life in this world, cradles, high chairs, tables, chairs, benches, etc.......

Back on the topic of coffins. I had the wacky idea to buy some land and start a cemetery. What could be hard about this???? Practically speaking to me a cemetery could not possibly be that complicated. What did people do years ago? They um.....had some land, dug a hole, buried the body in a coffin something even simpler than that. People did not fuss terribly about boundaries between graves etc but basically got the job done. There was no embalming, rules about such things, complicated zoning issues or franchises of funeral businesses getting upset because of the.....competition?????? What? A person can not simply die, be respectfully buried the good old fashioned way because we HAVE to follow these rules?

What I would love to do is start a business of simple coffins, tasteful, where a family could buy an affordable coffin for their loved ones, and then bury their dead in a cemetery which is not full of heavy costs, rules and regulations. After touring a mortuary in college I have a distinct distaste for embalming. Dust to dust seems far more respectful to me. I'm odd. I love a walk in a cemetery.

So the kicker in my quest for information on this topic, was an article on a 'new trend' toward green cemeteries? New? This is the old trend. The new trend is the embalming, regal monuments and anything that would soften the reality of death to people shopping for a nice coffin, real-estate, and the whole process before hand to mask the cold, hard facts. We all die and return to dust. Call me weird to have a desire to offer people the real 'old fashion' methods of natural burial. I personally wouldn't mind if my family laid me out on the table as they used to. I think things will return to this. As I get older and kids fly the nest, God willing I am still living myself, I think I would love to design a beautiful setting for burial. Benches, Charley's favorite - oak trees, and simple care. The article addressed the expense of burial to the cemetery. Hmmmmm.......digging a hole. Why is this expensive? One can use a back hoe or a shovel if need be. NOT expensive.

Call this the weirdest blog post you may have ever read, but establishing a business which covers all of God's given life for us and the consequence of sin....death, somehow fills me with an odd excitement. It would minister to peoples life and death needs. It would selfishly be therapeutic to me. Perhaps my love of mowing the lawn will take a new twist. We shall see what the county laws, ordinances, and funeral business regulations will do to my little dream.

Thursday, January 6, 2011


After a fun filled day of noise yesterday and my utter weariness of the air needing to be filled with it, slow learning me realized that winter is much louder than summer in this household. I have the talkingest children and husband. I think they all have a fear of quiet or something as the air is always full of talk. I personally have always been a person who needs some quiet every so often so ha ha God on the nine kids and husband with the high decibel voice. All the crazy noise tends to make me crazy. I think the literal rubber room (not the glass room at the back of the church for the moms and toddlers) was invented so the poor person in it would just have quiet. light of this realization, I have several declarations to make to my dear family. Asking them to tone it down is useless. There is however a massive pile of wood to be split by loud boys in the afternoons, books coming out of our ears to be quietly read in their rooms, small children who enjoy being read to which can fill some older child's time and then of course there is their own school work. Get busy!

I also would like to challenge them to simply read more in general this year and perhaps publish their lists on this blog as motivation. Perhaps I could broaden the challenge to learning to cook (and not burn ourselves) and listing the recipes they have tried in their section of the blog. Martin, Cecilia and Matthew all enjoy cooking so we shall see how this goes.

Last I need to return to making daily lists for them just to keep them BUSY! I personally am WORN down by all the noise so they can help prevent me from needing to visit my doctor!!!!!!!!!! Good grief. It is not a requirement for them all to be in my face or each others faces. That is one of the best pieces of advice I ever received.

Onward! List making time!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Getting rid of more stuff

I am going through my homeschooling curriculum and getting rid of everything that has never been touched. Gone is the day that I might use it later. It hasn't happened so it aint going to happen. We are sticking to Sonlight Curriculum and even that I am even getting rid of some that as the Bible stuff isn't used. We have our own Bible stuff from church and that is more than good enough. I have been listing books on Amazon and average a sale or two a week. I am also listing a friends books and she is doing pretty well so far herself. We bartered an exchange from her stash. Selling this stuff is worth the effort as it is money just sitting there on the shelf and if someone else wants to make use of it they can and get it far cheaper.

I just sent Anna and Erik to hunt for things we don't use anymore. They are enthusiastic (I think). I wish I were a minimalist sooner. This house is ridiculous. If the books and things don't sell for quite some time then I guess I know their next destination. Less is certainly more.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Sometimes it is easier this way

The Evan is five and a half months old now and I feel a little bit like I am returning to the life of the living. Chores. What parent does not wage battle with their kids to get the chores done around the house? It becomes a headache to everyone especially with ten bodies on the average flopping around here. The eleventh one comes home generally to catch up on sleep and I let her.

Now that moving around for me is becoming a bit more easy, I am trying to keep up with the kitchen and laundry myself and if I get offers of help to put away dishes etc then that is a bonus. I am sort of weary of the kids fighting over who is doing what in the kitchen when they are doing the clean up so frankly it is easier this way and much more peaceful. They do a lot throughout their day anyway in the line of helping out so I don't think I am contributing to their being lazy. The counters have been much cleaner now as things like canning jars leave and the ingredients get put away and the counter tops look a lot less like a test to see if we can get poisoned by the crud left behind. Such little things make a difference.

I don't think I am obsessing or making a resolution but chasing after this stuff is improving life here. I still have to 'rest' to keep up after my nursing efforts with Evan. It is all a trick to be sure. The bottom line is figuring out what is more helpful; being disgusted with the kids for standing around being goof balls while dishes and crud are all over, or......having a clean kitchen and peace and quiet to boot. Hmmmmm.....decisions, decisions........