Monday, December 31, 2007

New Years Eve

My oldest two are off at the Gelbach's having a grand time. I see from Susan's blog there is a lot of silliness. Shocked I am...... It is pretty quiet here. We are going to church this evening and I doubt I will make it much past then. We have no New Year's tradition other than maybe watching a movie and then falling asleep well before midnight. My parents came today and we had a nice meal and visit. I have cleaned for no one lately as the new room project includes piles of wood, constant influx of dust and that will not end untill perhaps next weekend. I really hope to ring in the new year cleaning my room otherwise know as the path room. It is getting beyond ridiculous. The rest of the house is really not that bad other than dusty. I think it isn't that bad because if anyone can't figure out what to do with something, they put it in our room. Now I get to put all of those ever accumulating things away. There are a few things missing in there which is no great surprise either so I hope to find them.

Had a pretty good talk about parenting last night and I am experimenting with some anti-bark orders ideas or rather ideas I remembered from camp and......they work. It is from the same guy who said every kid has a score card on the every adult as to whether to listen to them. I also remembered while we were talking last night how he emphasized going to the child, getting on their level (that isn't as easy with kids who are taller than you - stools?) and touching them on the shoulder. It works. I am going to 'try' to have them come to me. I am also 'trying' to have everyone repeat the instructions so I know their brains have processed it. It is so easy with this mass of bodies to shout orders from across the room and then go nuts when everyone is talking at once and not many people paying attention to what is needed. No this is not a New Year's resolution but just a reminder to myself that getting their little faces closer to mine when I am giving out instructions is more effective. Can I remember that all the time????? Oh, the other part of the conversation was about training the kids how to help their siblings. Yes......where to begin. I will be rumbling that around in my head as well and perhaps making a list of how tos to go over with them.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

A baby's favorite part of Christmas.....

Eating the Christmas ornaments. What fun. I found Stefan pretty cute and amusing as he tried the ornaments out. I wonder what babies think. "Wow, look at that! I wonder if it tastes as good as it looks?" Cutie pie. He has since stopped mauling the tree but at least he didn't get too carried away. Someone once said how you can always tell if there are toddlers in the house by the height of the ornaments. We just tried to put the unbreakables on the bottom which worked for the most part.

Church was great as per usual this morning. Stefan cooperated and fell asleep just as the service began. Sweet. His skin looks better lately and I am sort of assuming it is because he IS taking a bottle and getting less allergens from me.

A young child in the family decided to clean his ear out with a little light sabre this afternoon. He learned the meaning of not sticking anything smaller than your elbow in you ear. Hopefully nothing will happen as a result of this but it did hurt. He seems ok now. What next. Of course we were getting ready to leave the house and were already sort of late when this occurred and.....the child tends to scream about stuff so it was the boy who called wolf. I become dulled to screaming. "Oh? Someone is screaming? I didnt' notice. Is there something wrong dear????" That would be better known as the family who calls wolf. I can remember a certain young lady screaming and this was her habit so when I heard it I pretty much ignored it until her little friend came to inform me that some yellow jackets got a hold of her.

So, that is some of today and the last few days. And many years ago..... Exciting eh?

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Christmas 2007

The picture is of a branch that came off a large hemlock in our front yard. Took out the electric....again. That was Sunday morning.

All and all it was a nice Christmas. The services were great as usual. Only one person someplace behind me was jabbering about how long the hymns were (loved them, prayers (awesome), and chanting too much (incredible). It was hard not to say something and I restrained myself (phew). It was great also to see all the other church going, addicted to daily services people who were also there.

We went to my mom and dad's in the afternoon yesterday. Yay, shrimp. The rest of the food was great too. There was some nice herring (thanks mom) and we had a discussion of how to make homemade and that she hasn’t been able to find fresh herring since the A&P went out of business years ago. A friend’s, daughter’s future father-in-law apparently makes his own so I will have to ask him where he gets his herring. My mother is prepared with her mother’s recipe to give it a whirl. My children got me herring for Christmas and so did my parents. How funny.

Mom and I played some hymns together on our horns. That was nice. My dad played the piano with, but I think we were so loud and I am not sure I heard it. It worked though. I played a little for fun. I am getting the itch to play a little more this afternoon.

There is church tonight. Yay! A Divine Service every day of Christmas! What could be better. My kids have great enthusiasm for this. My brother asked why Martin was wearing a suit. I told him because he likes it. He doesn’t feel fully dressed at church without it. He will take off his jacket to acolyte though and he wants to do THAT all the time. He even cried last week when Pastor beat him to it one morning. Opps. He is getting pretty good if I do say so myself. Very handsome young man too I might add. What mom couldn’t be happier to have a 9 year old son who can’t wait to serve at church?

I love every bit of this church season for all the great services. Stefan has become a bottle drinker which amazes me. Charley loves to take him during church now so I can most of the time be in the sanctuary. It is pretty cute. It is Charley and the other moms in the cry room in the back of the church. Sandy commented how odd it was to see me feeding Stefan a bottle. I agree, but I do think he is happier now. That could be my imagination but it seems to be true. He still nurses some during the day and night but not as much as he did. I am truly ok with that. He is growing up and may be one of my younger ones to lose interest in me but that is ok too. Everyone is different and has different needs.

We are living off of leftovers which is also great. The owner of Heavenly Ham gave us a ham and also a breakfast casserole and bacon for Christmas morning. That was incredibly wonderful. I was hoping to find time to make some sort of casserole and then it was handed to me. Wow.

Charley has primed the walls and ceiling of the new room and is working on the top coat. Anna and I went to Lowes this morning and picked out paint. I also inquired of a large rebate we never received and a manager type person looked into and found it was never processed. They actually went ahead and refilled it and we should get it in a few weeks. Oh happy day. It was pretty large so that should make some difference in the renovating fund.

Monday, December 24, 2007

For my dad (but I won't eat it)

O lutefisk, O lutefisk, I put in the dooorvay.I vanted you to ripen up, just like dey do in Svierge.A dog came by and sprinkled you,I hit him vid an army shoe.O Lutefisk--Now I supposeI'll eat you as I hold my nose.O Lutefisk, O Lutefisk, how vell I do remember On Christmas Eve, how ve'd receiveour big treat of December.It vasn't turkey or fried ham It vasn't even spickled spamMy mudder knew dere vas no risk, In serving buttered lutefisk..O lutefisk, O luteffisk--now everyone discovers Dat lutefisk and lefse makes Scandinavians better lovers.Now all da vorld can have a ball---You're better dan dat yeritol.O lutefisk---vid brennevin--You make me feel like young again!

O lutefisk, O lutefisk, when my poor heart stops beating, The gates of heaven will open wide, I'll see the angels eating From steaming platters of the stuff, and there will always be enough, O piece of cod that I adore, O lutefisk forevermore!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007


This is what I mean. Labels are just labels. With every decade there are new labels and new ways of describing the same learning challenges. The labels do not solve the problem or lack of skill. The tools to help the child acquire the skill are what is needed. If to learn the skill they need to hear the instruction 10,000 times, then that is what needs to be done. The method of hearing it over and over does not change. Kids who learn this way do not just click. Why am I blogging about this some more? Because I live with that kid and no matter how many times people tell me that he really just reached an age and it clicked, I know that is not true. He finally was given the tools to learn and it worked. Given the correct tools, he went from a kindergarten reading level to a 5th grade reading level in one year. I knew that the same sort of solution must exist for spelling so I called and sure enough was led to the tools that will work. This guy, Mr. Maloney, does know what he is talking about as my child is proof that it works. Seeing the light bulbs pop in his head to having things explained in a way that helped him be able to read and then actually to be able to do it was incredible. If my explanation of how this type of learning does not make sense to you, then I guess perhaps you would have to walk around in my shoes and in my child’s shoes to believe that it is true. I know it is going to take time to get through the spelling program but when that child decides he has had it and is ready to conquer and divide, then I am ready to comply and help him. A willing student means everything.

Perhaps my explanation would still lead you to believe that it was the child's age that was the difference. The difference was really teaching the child the right approach to reading. How do we approach each word as it comes to us while reading. Our 6 year and 12 year old learned extremely quickly but that was because the approach made sense to them. A child who is just reluctant to read but can actually read words is different from a child who simply can not read. This child of mine's spelling approach is the same as how he approached reading. There is no approach whatsoever to his spelling. Put down some sounds and maybe it will work. Spelling is a skill and if the approach that works for most does not work for everyone, then there is a different way to teach it that will work. So why not teach the child the way it will work rather than keep trying to teach the child the way that works for most other children. Hmmmm........

Ramble, ramble.....feel free to ask questions if this does not make sense to you.


So I had a LONG discussion with Micheal Maloney this morning about one of my children's spelling skills. The discussion of skills itself I thought was pretty interesting and is making me think of how this applies to everything in life. If someone lacks the skills to spell they need to be taught the skill to achieve it. There are people who feel that a certain age has to be reached in order for the ability to be acquired but I DON'T AGREE. If the child can not do the task, such as reading without being taught how to use the tools of reading to be able to read, they are not just going to suddenly wake up and understand. It is an actual skill to be able to understand how to read. The best thing he EVER said to me is that some kids need to hear the rules 10,000 times before they understand and that is true. I have seen it and experienced it. The good news is that skill can be learned and the child can succeed when given the right tools. He also said something I found VERY interesting. For all the labels that are given kids, ADD, ADHD, etc., that these labels do nothing towards teaching them skills. They are treated differently and not always taught in a way that helps them acquire the skills they need. Sure, some kids just click and then they read, but that is NOT true of every kid. My child who had the reading difficulties, would 'learn' the reading skill and understand it that day but would then forget a week later. That was because the skill was not ingrained in him. He understood the skill but couldn't retain it. Then, when given the instruction literally 1000 plus times (or maybe 10,000) he then retained it and hasn't forgotten it. It works.

So.....I was talking to Mr. Maloney about life skills and following directions. Same thing. Ask the child to tell you what is required to do the skill - clean the dishes - step by step to completion. Take the time to teach the skill. Have them repeat it every time for a long time so they retain it. How do you do the completion. This method would apply to all kids. Definitely like catechises. Say it outloud, over, and over...and over. Read it over and over and over. You will own it. You will understand because it is ingrained on your mind and heart. It works.

It was a good talk. I probably have now tortured the rest of my kids with going over the skill of cleaning the kitchen. They know the answers. They told me what needs to be done and if we repeat it orally over and over till they can tackle the task without having it explained then they will own it. They do know what needs to be done. They just need to be walked through it verbally over and over again and perhaps the wicked mommy of the west will go away.

Sigh......back to the kitchen.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Shopping with Benjamin

Benjamin is 4 and I think he is going to try out for the perpetually happy kid award. We have the kids exchange names every year and each kid gets for two of their siblings. Since none of them drive, we should really start this name drawing sooner in the year as it would simplify things for me. Anyway, I don't think Benjamin fully grasped that we were shopping for his siblings as most of the way through the stores his chatter was about how we could get this and that for him. He was truly amazed. Since he has so many older, baby-sitting siblings, he rarely gets out to a store. He talked non-stop the whole time. Of course a four year old also has no concept of cost either so everything looked attractive to him. Why wouldn't it?

We did finally accomplish our task and I was naughty and go Charley something else for Christmas. If he reads this before Christmas he will know but he doesn't usually read it. He reads this Pastor guys blog more than mine but I can't say I blame him as he sort of lives with me so the blog can't be that interesting to him. What he doesn't know is that I do withhold information in order to put it on the blog and let him find out that way. I could put all sorts of interesting information in here and see if he notices.

Back to Benjamin. He has a reputation anyway for being cute and smiley. He told us all about his latest dreams and adventures. He will be a typical male shopper as when we found the second gift in his quest, he was whining to go home. We took an unexpected detour to another store and he was NOT happy. I guess this is why I don't take him to the store very often. I did toddlers in the store enough so these young ones will have to wait awhile to get out of their four walls. I suppose that means, life is church and home. Not a bad life.

Speaking of his life at church, Charley has been taking Stefan a lot on Sundays so I can actually sit through a service. Benjamin has decided this is time for a love-in and was climbing all over me this past Sunday. The people behind me found this quite amusing and were quick to note that Benjamin was delighted that baby was somewhere else. "Mommy, Mommy, kiss, kiss, flop all over her, don't listen, get your leg squished by a kneeler, then wrap your arms around mommy's neck......."

Now I need to feed the Scouts so they have happy tummies.

Monday, December 17, 2007


I need to finish our Christmas letter and I guess I am stumped. It all sounds sort of oppressive so far so I am going to start over. Ugh. Perhaps it will have to be short and to the point.

It is the beginning of the church marathon which that is totally cool. If you can't find me at home, look for me at church. Perhaps we should change our phone message.

Anna is working all week and part of next so she will probably be rich. We won't know what to do with her. Erik works some as well so the place will be a lot quieter. I should be able to accomplish these tasks set before me but seem to spin my wheels at times.

I did go to the doctor this morning as ordered by my husband, mom, and friends. He wasn't positive what to think but we are trying a few things. Hopefully I will stop sounding like I am losing a lung. Laughing is what really makes it bad. Is that laughitis then?

Stefan is walking all over the place and is feeling pretty good this week. No dairy for that kid. I can't handle the grumpiness of said child so dairy experiments everyone. Give me the dairy not him.

Blah, blah, blah........

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Peace has returned......

The keys were found. Everything is quieted down and the siblings are safe again. Phew. There is a sewing whir coming from the basement and the rest of the kids are watching Andy Griffith. I am looking for some sort of toy I saw at the dentist with no success. I might have to go back there and ask where they got it from.

The boys found a possum down in the coop a little while ago. That may explain the decrease in eggs. It is not just playing dead now. They told us it was a mink so there was a general freak out as a herd of boys and dad rushed back to the coop to take it out. I am relieved it was only a possum.

I love snow

Reasons to love snow......

So, I was asked why I love snow so much if winter itself challenges my happy countenance or just makes my countenance worse. Well, here's the thing. If you have seven very loud children of two loud parents, then it is a great thing to......send them outside to play in the snow. I find that investments in warm outdoor clothing is the best money spent as they stay out there longer. What happens inside then is......peace and quiet. I LOVE IT! I went out to take some pictures a little while ago and wow, I actually wouldn't mind going out to play myself. I think after Stefan goes to sleep tonight I may get on my snow gear and go sledding with the older children. Of course I do have to consider that my back might hurt the next day so it will have to be careful sledding. Perhaps I could make a snow man. I won't name it Parson Brown as those lyrics are VERY weird/disturbing and I am already married.

I do not like friends of mine driving in this snow long distances so that is the down side. Don't forget to call home.......

The kids ARE outside in the snow now so it IS quiet in here. brain feels pretty good right now. I should be watching tv, reading a book, or wasting time dreaming of knitting projects to do. You thought I was going to say, washing dishes, looking for the cabinet keys (they are missing and Anna can't sew until we can find them as her patterns are locked in), or cleaning up clutter or putting away laundry. HA! Snow, quiet, wood burning stove and a cup of hot tea. What could be better? I think I will go find that book.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Fiddlers Hearth

So we went with some friends and my brother and his wife to a local hang out/pub to celebrate Charley's bday late. I've always wanted to go to this place so it seemed no time like the present. It was pretty interesting. It's claim to fame is it live music. There was a band of three guys doing their Irish thing. The deep thoughts I thought were.......why was the one guy sporting a Detroit Symphony t-shirt and playing guitar and lute (not at the same time). And.....what does someone who is Irish look like? Only the guy in the middle sounded like he could be Irish but of course I wouldn't even know if I heard a real accent or not. Sounds good to me. Since the lyrics were all sung with this Irish twang, it was hard to understand them entirely. I did understand most of the birthday songs they terrorized my husband with though. It was a little amusing.

Charley also seems to know everyone in town. Everywhere we go with friends and ourselves for that matter, there is someone who knows him. Then they are smiling at me as if we have a deep connection (Not Charley and I but.....) but I am wondering what they are thinking. I usually feel that we must be old friends with the warm conversations that come up. Whenever I have been pregnant with someone or rather when I am NOT pregnant with someone and this happens it really makes me wonder what they are thinking. "Wow, look at her, those stereo types of women being 'ruined' by having all those kids must have just been ploys to make us stop having them" or......'So, she's the one who lives with him. How does she keep up?' or of course the genuine nice things they may be thinking. I think it is the look of commaraderie where I have no clue who they are and then I have to remind myself when I run into them in the bathroom, why they are staring at me. Charley must be like the president or something. (I never did blog about him for his bday come to think of it).

There was one point where the band asked if there were any sailors in the crowd and my dear husband was briefly tempted to introduce my brother who looked at him cross-eyed and pleaded he not encourage him. My brother sails his boat in his garage so far. He is building a boat. I should find a picture of it and post it. Perhaps there will be a sailing event some time in the next few years as well.

I think I would go back to this place. I definately would check the schedule for who is doing their thing there and perhaps find a dulcimer performance. I have read that the best hammer dulcimer player in the world lives here in South Bend. Since I enjoy playing (but haven't set it up in awhile) I should look up information about him. He has played at this bar and I have no doubt I would HAVE to have reservations. Perhaps in a year or so I can pull that off after remembering to actually spend time looking up the info etc.

It was a nice evening all around and I am glad we did it. Post.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Freaky Fridays

So every Friday morning there is the same scene. The piano teacher comes to our house to teach all the kids from both hsing families their lessons. No running back and forth and we generally lock ourselves in the basement and try to learn something while they are having their lessons upstairs. That really works.

Every Friday morning before she comes, I wake up and glance around and see the clutter everywhere (this seems to happen every morning really) and then I ask the kids to come clean up the living room and dining room so we can keep up our image of not living with clutter. Then.......the kids come into these rooms and look around and see the clutter and perhaps pick up one thing and put it on another surface and start stumbling around some more. Then the mom asks them again and points out some stuff that seems glaringly obvious to her. A child starts to work on clearing a table, for instance, and 10 to 15 minutes go by and for some reason there is still sticky jelly and crumbs everywhere. How can that be? This is the mom question of all time. What could you possibly be doing with this time and still keep going back and forth and yet the crumbs and jelly remain?????? Very, very perplexing. Of course I am sure I was just a precious darling for my dear mother and she never fussed after me about cleaning. (My definition of needing to clean my room, was waiting till some sort of yucky looking spider moved in and then I went nuts cleaning my room. Good thing my mom didn't know that then or she would have started collecting and planting them in my room. It would have been easier).

The last event before piano teacher showed up, was when I walked into the kitchen and saw smoke coming out of the microwave. There was a charred piece of leftover pizza on a melting plactic plate burning up in there. It made a quick exudus to the outside where it smoked for at least 30 more minutes. Now I have to figure out how to get rid of the burning smell in the microwave. It still works. The dog didn't even eat the pizza outside. It still is there of course. Getting kids ready in the morning is far from dull.

The piano teacher may still think our house stays nicely vacuumed until she reads this post......

Thursday, December 13, 2007


The youth group is having a bake sale to raise funds for this summer's Higher Things sale. Cookie baking is not really my thing as details just escape me. It has challenged my oldest three to look through the cook books for great recipes though and to go ahead and try them. We got several different recipes made Thursday and hope to get more done today. Since I have never really got the hang of this, I must say this sale makes more sense to as people will get a variety of cookies with each plate. Perhaps we should always do that.

We also have homemade lit grape vine wreathes for sale but perhaps it is now too late to get any more of these sold. I wish we could find a good place to sell these at outside of Emmaus folks. They are pretty nice actually. We are going to put one on our gate.

My poor husband is really hoping that some of these cookies might stay at our house. His mother and sister have been the royal house of cookie making his whole life (number one reason to visit his mom during Christmas.......) and then he married ME! My talents in this area are SOO LIMITED. I guess I can figure this whole cookie thing out some more but I do remember my Erik looking shocked and perplexed one time when a friend offered him a cookie with frosting on it. He was about two or three at the time and he just sat and stared at it instead of eating it. I sort of rolled my eyes and thought "great, my child doesn't even know what the lady gave him" We had to coax him to try it. "Mom just gives me meat, potatos and veges" thought the little Erik.

I see more and more how I am just NOT DETAIL ORIENTED. Things that require careful attention to special steps just paralize me. We shall see........

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


I decided to try a new strategy to just survive the day. Stefan has been fussy and crying since Saturday. Today he showed a glimmer of happiness and hunger. He wants to be held all the time which is fine if there were just one or two kids here and no school responsibilities. But....that is not the way it is. I wanted my older children to have a quality school day so I took the kids to the 'other' house for catechesis and then took younger kids and went back to our house to get some sort of math done between taking care of Stefan.

Stefan seemed a little better today but still persists in fussing. It is unfortunately Martin's scout night so Charley is gone for that. I am not sure what to do about church/youth meeting tonight. I suppose if Stefan is totally cranky I will take Charley's car and go home (he is meeting us there after scouts.)

I am making an attempt to use the wood stove to cook with. I made chicken noodle soup on it this afternoon and that worked. Since it is now heating a bigger space, it does not make the house as hot to turn it up to cook with. I should make some pizza in the oven part. Someone else mentioned that and it sounded fantastic to me.

We visited with our friends who are soon to have their miracle baby. We are so very happy for them as mentioned last spring. I could tell that the baby can't come soon enough which is true for everyone in the 9th month. I encouraged to pretend it wasn't going to happen and stay somewhat occupied with other stuff.

Had other weird stuff happen this week so I am proceeding with weathering the storm.

The ice went away. Yay! I am not sure if it is supposed to snow again soon. That would nicer than all that nasty ice. 15 passenger vans and slippery roads do not go together.

We are praying Stefan has an even more cheerful day tomorrow. Sleep....sleep.....must sleep. I never fall asleep on the couch but that happened today.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Blogging my weirdness away

Ice storm this morning. That was interesting. I saw some tail light fragments in the church parking lot but didn't see any evidence of damage to anyone. Perhaps that has been there awhile. It was slow, slippery going on the way home.

We had a new to Emmaus family over for the afternoon and had a grand time. We have a lot in common as far as experience, interests and love of house keeping. Har har. I have no way to judge if that is true but we seemed to have a similar understanding of how house keeping or cleaning is not our first love. I think brain stimulating activity would be our first love.

The kids had fun outside slipping and sliding and only one toddler escaped without a coat for awhile. The family has boys the same age range as most of ours so that was nice for both families. And there are girls close to Anna's age as well. Cool. I am excited.

So.......perhaps I will go feed my family again and clean the dishes some more. Stefan has been the epitome of cranky and seems a little happier now so should try to sneak some oatmeal in him.

Saturday, December 08, 2007


I still think I may be weird but my deep conclusion is that about once a month or so I just need some quiet with no one asking me anything or expecting anything. I can usually hold things together for about three or four weeks. That doesn't mean I can't do anything but after working hard doing what I am given to do with a whole bunch of little people and also a dh is working hard too, that sometimes a little rest from expectations is a good thing. I usually don't even realize this is true until I become cranky woo and then my brain goes on over drive and I might figure out why I am cranky woo.

I love my family. I don't mean anyone any harm so perhaps if you picture me in a rubber room when I am cranky woo you might just chuckle and then cut me some slack. Thanks. Hope I haven't frightened anyone.

What I know about Karin

Just for the general publics knowledge (as if you didn't already know this), Karin has an attitude. As I watch my dear friends deal with their kiddos and see in them the same reactions to weirdness and unpredictable behavior, I become more obsessed with just keeping things simple. These same people filter the needs of lots of little people who are at a cognitive level that does not include understanding what will happen if they continue running through the house (again) and their little brother is playing in the pathway. They just seem to not get it. "I am enjoying the running, and so is my friend so what is the problem anyway?" "Mom, why does your hand shake anyway while you are trying to drink your coffee???" This thought actually may never run through their minds until they are maybe 16.

What am I trying to say? I truly think all people filter a lot of other people stuff all the time. I am just not good at it. Containment. I contain a lot for a long time. The kid stuff, the friend stuff of not quite understanding where they are coming from unless they speak clearly (I am usually obviously cryptic). If you are going to be cryptic, then how about just saying what is really on your mind......????? Then there comes a point that I have to tell people that I just can not handle any more conditions of what is happening. If it is time for lunch, eat it. If the kids are getting together with friends, tell me if I need to drive. If you do not like my house keeping, keep it to yourself. If you participate in guessing what crazy Karin is thinking, then call her and invite her for a cup a coffee and ask her to explain herself. But......don't guess what I am thinking. Don't guess what anyone would say or do but direct them to the source. If I call and say I may be late, assume that I have a good reason and not that I have been tied up shopping thrivolously for bon, bons.....they have those at the check out lane and it doesn't take too long to pick them up.

Mom's with children in that lovely 'can't think of anyone else's needs but my own' stage really need patience from others. If their eyes glaze over they could look like that for any number of reasons. Perhaps they are thinking of the melt down that occurred over breakfast when their sibling told them they couldn't eat dad's cereal. Perhaps they are dreaming of those sweet moments of rest before their eyes shut last night. Perhaps they are processing how to keep up with their children's rashes or nose picking habits. The list is endless. These are just real issues that may distract a mom from remembering to smile at you in the grocery or even get out of your way. These are all just silly things, but unless I am truly totally crazy, I do think that people do mutually experience these same things. Yes, yes, we forgive, love our neighbor and go on, but I DO think it is helpful to consider that everyone has all these odditities in life and may just be tired if they look at you oddly or whatever.

My best friends just laugh at these muddle through life things. I never want someone to help change things really but just to listen and perhaps remember to pray for me the next time they see a mother with a hoard of kids putzing through the grocery store. Oh......yes.......also to forgive me for my weirdoness. I am JUST WEIRD. Please forgive me me weirdoness as I forgive those who weirdo against me. I don't need fixed, just forgiven. I do need to rant sometimes and then......forgive me. God help my future daughter-in-laws and sons-in-law. They may have to buy my some Bible beer or wine and permit me to just sit at their tables and chuckle at their current frustrations. Oh, don't forget the herring and stinky cheese. But.....please tell me if some dark chocolate will help you and if you do not like hand made sweaters, tell me upfront to save time and money. I will NOT be offended. If you don't want to have gift exchanges tell me. If you don't like working on projects and would rather just buy new, tell me (us). This Karin person is just painfully honest, tired, and perhaps needs a day to go to the Symphony and listen to some great brass music and not do anything for four hours on a train.

I can't wait for two weeks of daily divine services and maybe putting cots in the basement for my tall boys to catch some winks. THAT is what totally rocks my boat. Sigh. Is it that time yet? Pastors can we do that more often? Would your families mind if we just lived at church. Ok, ok, I will do what I am given to do and yes, I will buy Bible wine for our Higher Things fundraiser (windows, whatever).

My dh would like to communicate with me so I am done ranting.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Above the kitchen cabinets

So this afternoon I braved the dust above the kitchen cabinets. Yikes. I am glad we don't know anyone tall enough to keep tabs on that mess on a regular basis. There must have been at least a quarter of an inch of dust in places. I also determined that it is time for some of my wedding gifts to disappear. Vases seemed to be the theme in 1987. Blankets and afghans were also popular. If you come to visit we could hand one out at the door to everyone and you would be assured to stay warm. Anyway, if anyone needs a vase, let me know. There were also some broken serving dishes that I glued and can't use that must go as well. Why is it so easy to part with these things now?

We have been hunting dust bunnies in the rest of the house as well. Fortunately dinner is already ready. I hope to visit with a friend whose baby is due soon this evening. She could use the distraction I think.

It is cold and snowy and the kids are headed out to sled since they have paid their dues in the cleaning department. I need to update the view from my window.......

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Wednesday night service

Church was nice tonight. Sermon was great, hymns were great and Evening Prayer is always great. Charley took Stefan the wild boy and I was able to sit in the pew. Benjamin spent much of the time hung around my neck which I suppose counts as bonding time. I don't get to spend enough time with that boy. Cecilia was sort of reclining in my lap trying to soak up a little of mommy too. So.....I suppose I didn't have Stefan to wrestle with and those next two older ones did their best to have a love in.

Some mysterious person took Cecilia's bulletin after the service as poor Walter came to usher us out. It wasn't Walter's fault. Cecilia melted in a puddle as it was HER bulletin and what happened to it anyway. She cried all the way through the back of the church and out the door. Upon arriving home the dear little child was given clear instruction to get ready for bed in ten minutes or less and prayers had been said. (Gosh I feel evil sometimes). The phone rang while these lovely instructions were given so hopefully I didn't sound too evil to the person on the other end of the line. When I return home from church in the evening I am definitely focused on the task at hand - "Get thee ready for bed and get there".

Stefan is nearly in bed so that is a good thing. Perhaps I will work on finishing the knitting project I am working on. I talked to a friend about how the Christmas letter isn't done, and then there are all the books we would love to read. Sigh.

Nighty, nighty.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

This is what got my brain cooking

The list below from Anita's blog got me thinking about this misunderstanding thing. Or should we call it something else. I do think Charley and I have been guilty of overanalyzing other people's choices in the past. That may seem shocking but I guess I do still love and quote Barb K. about how each couple has their own definition of life and family that is different from everyone else and that is OK! It didn't go exactly like that but that was the basic gist.

So.....I sent this list to some friends and even some friends who may have made some of these generalizations and one friend had the most profound reaction. She was not defensive or shocked by what people said really but she said "Wow, that list made me so sad that we can all be so thoughtless and mean." Well, I was surprised in a way by her reaction but thought that this list could be made about just any topic related to personal choices.

Why don't we ask questions of each other that show true curiousity, interest and love for one another? Do we HAVE to 'fix' other people's choices. Are these choices really all that bad in light of the fact that duh (Swedish for duh) we are all full of sin? Or that we are all created beautifully and uniquely for a REASON? Do we have to fix what God created? Why not love people for who they are, respect them as being adults muddling through just like the rest of us and just enjoy our different weirdnesses. Cheif of weirdos though I be........

If you have not read the list, enjoy. I found it humorous for the many reasons including many that have been stated to me. In fact, I think most of them have been stated at one point or another either to me or through other people who may have been to chicken to 'fix' us in person.

One last thought.......I have been told I am forthright about stuff. I can't stand not being forthright as the question that something seems wrong can keep lurking in the back of my mind and simply drive me crazy. If you act like perhaps I have offended you, then why don't you talk to ME about it????? If I melt in a puddle oh well? At least the air will be cleared or maybe you may be surprised that I won't melt and I would REALLY like to talk through stuff and not be guessing what the other person is thinking. Isn't it better to be honest with each other thus loving the other person with true care. Another person's weird actions can certainly leave the person receiving the weirdness to go nuts quite frankly. JUST STATE YOUR CONCERNS FORTHRIGHTLY AND THUS SPARE YOURSELF YEARS OF AGONY WONDERING WHAT IS GOING ON!!!!! Ok, I am done now........

The Bitter Homeschooler’s Wish List
From Secular Homeschooling Magazine, Issue 1
1 Please stop asking us if it’s legal. If it is — and it is — it’s insulting to imply that we’re criminals. And if we were criminals, would we admit it?
2 Learn what the words “socialize” and “socialization” mean, and use the one you really mean instead of mixing them up the way you do now. Socializing means hanging out with other people for fun. Socialization means having acquired the skills necessary to do so successfully and pleasantly. If you’re talking to me and my kids, that means that we do in fact go outside now and then to visit the other human beings on the planet, and you can safely assume that we’ve got a decent grasp of both concepts.
3 Quit interrupting my kid at her dance lesson, scout meeting, choir practice, baseball game, art class, field trip, park day, music class, 4H club, or soccer lesson to ask her if as a homeschooler she ever gets to socialize.
4 Don’t assume that every homeschooler you meet is homeschooling for the same reasons and in the same way as that one homeschooler you know.
5 If that homeschooler you know is actually someone you saw on TV, either on the news or on a “reality” show, the above goes double.
6 Please stop telling us horror stories about the homeschoolers you know, know of, or think you might know who ruined their lives by homeschooling. You’re probably the same little bluebird of happiness whose hobby is running up to pregnant women and inducing premature labor by telling them every ghastly birth story you’ve ever heard. We all hate you, so please go away.
7 We don’t look horrified and start quizzing your kids when we hear they’re in public school. Please stop drilling our children like potential oil fields to see if we’re doing what you consider an adequate job of homeschooling.
8 Stop assuming all homeschoolers are religious.
9 Stop assuming that if we’re religious, we must be homeschooling for religious reasons.
10 We didn’t go through all the reading, learning, thinking, weighing of options, experimenting, and worrying that goes into homeschooling just to annoy you. Really. This was a deeply personal decision, tailored to the specifics of our family. Stop taking the bare fact of our being homeschoolers as either an affront or a judgment about your own educational decisions.
11 Please stop questioning my competency and demanding to see my credentials. I didn’t have to complete a course in catering to successfully cook dinner for my family; I don’t need a degree in teaching to educate my children. If spending at least twelve years in the kind of chew-it-up-and-spit-it-out educational facility we call public school left me with so little information in my memory banks that I can’t teach the basics of an elementary education to my nearest and dearest, maybe there’s a reason I’m so reluctant to send my child to school.
12 If my kid’s only six and you ask me with a straight face how I can possibly teach him what he’d learn in school, please understand that you’re calling me an idiot. Don’t act shocked if I decide to respond in kind.
13 Stop assuming that because the word “home” is right there in “homeschool,” we never leave the house. We’re the ones who go to the amusement parks, museums, and zoos in the middle of the week and in the off-season and laugh at you because you have to go on weekends and holidays when it’s crowded and icky.
14 Stop assuming that because the word “school” is right there in homeschool, we must sit around at a desk for six or eight hours every day, just like your kid does. Even if we’re into the “school” side of education — and many of us prefer a more organic approach — we can burn through a lot of material a lot more efficiently, because we don’t have to gear our lessons to the lowest common denominator.
15 Stop asking, “But what about the Prom?” Even if the idea that my kid might not be able to indulge in a night of over-hyped, over-priced revelry was enough to break my heart, plenty of kids who do go to school don’t get to go to the Prom. For all you know, I’m one of them. I might still be bitter about it. So go be shallow somewhere else.
16 Don’t ask my kid if she wouldn’t rather go to school unless you don’t mind if I ask your kid if he wouldn’t rather stay home and get some sleep now and then.
17 Stop saying, “Oh, I could never homeschool!” Even if you think it’s some kind of compliment, it sounds more like you’re horrified. One of these days, I won’t bother disagreeing with you any more.
18 If you can remember anything from chemistry or calculus class, you’re allowed to ask how we’ll teach these subjects to our kids. If you can’t, thank you for the reassurance that we couldn’t possibly do a worse job than your teachers did, and might even do a better one.
19 Stop asking about how hard it must be to be my child’s teacher as well as her parent. I don’t see much difference between bossing my kid around academically and bossing him around the way I do about everything else.
20 Stop saying that my kid is shy, outgoing, aggressive, anxious, quiet, boisterous, argumentative, pouty, fidgety, chatty, whiny, or loud because he’s homeschooled. It’s not fair that all the kids who go to school can be as annoying as they want to without being branded as representative of anything but childhood.
21 Quit assuming that my kid must be some kind of prodigy because she’s homeschooled.
22 Quit assuming that I must be some kind of prodigy because I homeschool my kids.
23 Quit assuming that I must be some kind of saint because I homeschool my kids.
24 Stop talking about all the great childhood memories my kids won’t get because they don’t go to school, unless you want me to start asking about all the not-so-great childhood memories you have because you went to school.
25 Here’s a thought: If you can’t say something nice about homeschooling, shut up!

Monday, December 03, 2007


So I sort of ranted at the kids this morning about how I might need to have gray clothes to remind me to use my brain or......all of their clothes need to be gray to remind them to use theirs (gray matter). Ok, this may sound harsh but.......why do I have to explain that if I don't want you to take a shower since I don't want you to get your hair wet that you shouldn't get your hair wet in the bathtub either? I seem to need to spell out everything. I suppose I am sometimes confusing. I say something that seems glaringly obvious - "We need to leave soon, so please do not read right now" and then.......the child is examining some random pile of legos on the ground. Parenting is fun.

So what is our responsibility anyway. If our children take piano lessons, is it my responsibility to pass along a reminder to practice? Is it a balance I guess. If you are 6 and you don't realize that time passes quickly, then I as her parent, may need to remind her to practice and make sure it is done.

If you are fifteen and you have been told for years to brush your teeth, is it MY fault if the fifteen year old forgets? No. If you are 12 and have homework and can't seem to get it done, is it my fault that I did not rip the book out of your hand that you are addicted to and send you to a table to do it?

I do find adult relationships interesting in this regard as well. I am truly amazed how mixed up conversation can get. I think that the movie "Pride and Predjudice" should be watched on a regular basis. (Yep, you should read it too, but I don't have time). My kids and I watch this and roll in laughter at how sad it is and ridiculous the relationships in that movie become. Anna and I have even looked at each other with that knowing P & P look when things go awry in real life. Sigh. Misunderstanding go away. Critical thinking where are you? Are things really that bad???? Please Karin, do NOT get your feelings hurt over NOTHING! Stick to the FACTS and do try not to manipulate life or ruminate too long over stuff that is PROBABLY NOT TRUE. But......we all seem to do this. So do my kids. Reflect, reflect, reflect.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Another busy weekend

Since this blog is about chickens (?whose idea was that anyway?) I will tell you what is new with them. They are not mine for starters. They are the boy's chickens. There are maybe 75 of them and they spend most of their time running around the yard, getting out of their fenced in area, and scratching at the ground. I don't think they have been laying many eggs lately so it may be time to call that Mexican family about their Christmas dinner.......I wish I could go to it.

The other chickens, known as my children, I have to stop and think what they did all weekend. Anna had a 'throw it out' frenzy in the basement and her room. I think she threw out her childhood and I am not sure what to make of that. Perhaps there is some deep, dark psychological meaning behind this behavior or perhaps she is tired of cleaning up after all the *&$%@# around here. I am sure with her. I directed her to a great collection of miscellaneous junk that was bought/given to us thinking we may be able to make use of it someday seeing as we do all this homey stuff. I remember a girl friend asking if we made our own sour cream and that was when we lived in the city. Hmmm........freedom!

Erik went shopping on-line last night and during the day yesterday, I think he was working on winterizing stuff outside. He spent today in a meeting and then watching Stefan during the voters meeting at church. It was meeting day. The kids are going to the Poconos for Higher Things. Whew! That decision took about 3 hours of wrestling over what to do in light of Pastor being the Chaplain in St. Louis.

Matthew did about the same. I do think he is somewhat disappointed over not being able to be a tall boy in St. Louis but he will cheerfully go to PA. He too tried to go shopping online and failed.

Martin......played. He also did some winter stuff outside and I chased him around with cream for his ever dry face and body, and chased him with water for his dehydrated insides. Drinking and taking care of ourselves is complicated.

Cecilia, Benjamin and Stefan played. C and B giggled a lot.

I assisted in cleaning and broke a trailer delivering some stuff to a certain house. That WAS entertaining. The trailer is back at our house now and I have been told it is fixable.

I am currently attempting to cook some yummy food as we are all HUNGRY and some actual cooking will cheer everyone up. Oh.......I did chase Charley around the not-a-garage room for asking too many questions and I do have some yarn shopping to do later. Har har.

Stay tuned for wreath sales and February retreat information.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Eating again

Just a quick note that Stefan has decided he likes to eat again. Happy baby, happy mommy......