Thursday, February 28, 2008

Teaching math

So somehow I am ironically teaching math to a lot of kids. I never have seen myself as passionate about math but realize they have to learn math. Yippee. In fact I did everything possible to avoid math as a high school/college student. But.......I do see the problems that the kids have in general with math so passionate math teacher I will become. How do you muster up passion to teach something that you have never loved? That is the question. My dh as Mr. Wonder Engineer sees math as THE most important subject and math is Mr. Obvious to him. Well, unfortunately it is not Mr. Obvious to everyone so somehow I need to facilitate it becoming more obvious. Ugh.

I don't read anymore, I rarely knit, never play my horn, I don't walk with my friend Cindy, and I have two kids with learning difficulties to conquer and divide that take that time. I know, I know, that is what I am given to do right now. So do it. I do listen to Bible class on my MP3 player and to the sermons if I can remember to transfer them to the player. I do LOVE my MP3 player. Who knew some lady would be listening to such things at Meijer or WalMart. I am the only 40 something year old wondering around with those little things in my ears listening to the 'latest hits'.

I have 45 minutes to get out the door so later y'all.....

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Sick kids

My oldest three are sick. I am just tired as far as I can tell. Stefan is just Stefan.....not always happy, scratching, picky eater, so hard to determine if he is sick. The next three are far. They went out to play in the snow. They were supposed to go skiing today and it would have been perfect weather but instead the oldest ones are sleeping in bed. Last week it was too cold to go skiing. So maybe they won't get to go at all. We shall see.

I am really hoping I am not sick. I was SOOO tired last night I basically pitched the kids at Charley when I got home and went to bed. Stefan and I have already had a nap. He seems like a happy camper now. I need to get my sickos to at least drink a little something so I am not peeling them off the floor. I also better go hunt a chicken from the freezer for some chicken noodle soup this evening. I think Matthew is feeling a little better.

Exciting post eh? Especially for those of you who read it and spend a lot of time with my kids......yesterday to be exact. Sorry folks......

Monday, February 25, 2008

Cabin Fever

I've got it. I think about how much time we have spent INSIDE and I am totally sick of it. I have gone walking with a friend in winters past but this winter has been either too cold, too much snow or too much rain and slush. Then there is the fitting in of the schedule if there is even a window of time to go walking. That hasn't happened either. We stay inside and perpetually mess it up. Sigh. I got the kids up a few minutes early so we can clean a little before our co-op friends show up, not to mention the piano teacher. Perhaps I should serve everyone a latte to rev their engines. I am not allowed to have cabin fever either. How about a silly aerobics or Palates (spelling) dvd to get my slothful body moving. Ugh. Spring might come or rather I am sure it will and the weather people will be complaining about the weather then and telling us that it has been a dry winter. Huh????

Grumble, grumble.....

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Blogging and there's hope.

I am not sure blogging is great for me. I think I must say the oddest things but afterall it is my blog. I sometimes think I scandolize people by odd posts and I probably shouldn't even post this. It must be a poor me moment. Oh well.

My 15 year old is giving me reason to hope. He just came to tell me that his suit buttons need sewing on (which means he noticed and cared) and earlier he was sweeping the dining room on his own accord because it needed it. So......there is hope. I have this little line I say to the kids about "I will know you are growing up when you see things that need to be done and do them". Well........he must be growing up.....or something. So as your toddlers rip up your homes remember there is hope. That is sort of sad really. That means by that time they will soon be out of the house.

I am not so sure anyone but my mother reads this so "Hi Mom" and, and.....I guess that is it. Three posts a day......that's the minimum. Uh, or the maximum.

Shopping with Stefan

So Stefan was a challenge on our little excursion but we did survive. We HAD to make a Hannah Anderson run as the prices were too good to be true. I have a little Christmas shopping done. I think I better plan ahead anyway as doing that sort of shopping in the fall will be far from my mind. Anyway, Stefan tolerated that place for a little while and then we still wanted to search out some pants for Anna. I decided he should walk. I rarely decide to let small children out of the grasp of the backpack or a stroller as they will get the idea that they can run wild. He held our hands and tromped down the sidewalk. a typical male, when we hit the store front he let out a yelp and wanted to continue walking on the sidewalk and NOT in the dreaded store full of women's stuff. Sigh. We managed somehow. The troubles we have. He did of course discover after giving up on us that you could run under the clothes rack from one side to the other. The older shopping women looked so annoyed. Smile.

He walked back to the car and protested again being placed back in his dreaded car seat. Now we can probably never take him anywhere as I broke the rule of never letting children down on the ground. We shall see.

What's up

Things seem to be muddling along. I have probably been over processing the whole college thing again concerning daughter dear. Eight hours away seems horrid but I guess I too can email her. I am wise to the 'don't buy the first shiny car you see' but on the other hand this shiny car looks like a good fit. Charley and I are going out with her in a few weeks to visit and find out more information. It will be like a little retreat in a way as well.

The sun is out today which seemed sort of surprising. Anna and I are going to escape for a little bit with Stefanopolis this afternoon. It is sort of irresponsible on the one hand but on the will be fun. Hopefully I can get the laundry put away before school tomorrow. I also better go defrost something for dinner so we are not panicked. Hmmmm.....I guess I could go do that before we run away eh?

Had an ultrasound on Friday and this is something pretty new to me. I have only had three others and they were a LONG time ago and I never saw any clear pictures like we did on Friday. The baby is at 12 weeks and I would say that was the most amazing thing I have ever seen. We could see fingers and toes and the baby had his/her hands on it's head. (grammar?). The tech said girls do that and Charley and I were both thinking the same thing but didn't say anything at the time......the baby is already scratching. I guess we know what to do with eczema. We are just sort of kidding. She was guessing the baby is a girl and with her skilled experienced views (at 12 weeks!!!) she was sort of convincing. We shall see. We still call the baby Fabritzio (spelling?). It was reassuring to say the least to see the ultrasound as this baby business has it's stressors.

I forgot about Confession and Absolution until almost too late so didn't eat anything. My head was pondering if anyone has ever passed out at C and A. Hmmmm......didn't want to torture the pastor but made it through and am certain I was paying attention despite my tummy rumbling. I also pondered weird things like how one kneels later on..........I am as weird as my children or is it the other way around. I suppose you don't kneel????

The laundry is a monster. Parenting with only small children must be torture. Or at the least challenging. I have not a clue how I ever got anything done. Anna was at work and the three oldest boys and Charley were Scout camping this weekend. My brother stopped by and commented that my staff was missing. He was right.

Better go prepare to be irresponsible.

Friday, February 22, 2008


I don't think I really sit around much and think about my fears but I suppose sometimes they seem bigger than others. Things like a parent's health, friends facing their own fears, the unknowns of life. No, I am not seriously afraid but they are things that don't usually come to light and we muddle along and then they sort of lurk in the background and may become reality. I suppose it is also that fraility of life thing.

I do know I have been struggling with my Anna dear considering leaving the area. How does one decide what is the best decision. She has sort of blogged on this issue. She is being silly, and I am not sure I can be silly about it. Decisions, decisions......a time when praying can't be neglected. I am the lab rat in this case I think. Can I let go of this time we have had together? Sigh. She had a great couple of days I think with some friends and it sounds like this issue came up. We shall see.

So......on to facing my fears.......

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Bake sale conclusion

So, I do tend to lean towards the ordinary in the bake sale department. Saturday began with running to the bank, the grocery, and then to Michigan to retreive two of the boys from a party. I got home around 1:30. A child at home was working on oatmeal raisin cookies but neglected to see exactly how long it takes to make them in our oven without them getting too browned......they were too brown. They aren't too brown for us but too brown for a bake sale. Yay! We have a whole tin of oatmeal raising cookies.

Then....we had to make cupcakes for Celilia's little birthday gathering at 4:00. Phew. We got those done and I also had to make homemade sandwich buns for a friend's baby's baptism. BY the time the party was over and we had eaten dinner I regrouped with the older children and we made banana muffins and two cherry crisps. The banana muffins I think sold but there are still two cherry crisps waiting for some occasion for us to eat them. Oh well. Me and bake sales. We had been charged by the pastor to make things that weren't too festive which I can understand. Thus the boring cookie quest for figured oats and raisins weren't too offensive.

The baptism was nice. It was odd to be at our old church and nice to see all the people there. The baby has GROWN. She is 15 pounds! She will bypass Stefan soon. Cute.

Now, to go find bills to pay, clothes to wash and put away and look at what is going on this next week.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Bake Sales

I joke about how the one thing that made us hesitate joining Emmaus were the bake sales. I laid awake at night just thinking about that monthly commitment and could I be a nice little church mommy and comply with all the rules. My husband tried to talk sense into me that it was only a bake sale (just kidding) and then I bit the bullet and we joined. I knew that I was committed to bake sales for at least another 18 years. Wow. So I am mulling over what to make this month. Nothing too sweet and what sort of bread or tame cookie could I make? Bagels? Can I make those? Pretzels? LaRena was going to attempt that (you are not committed LaRena). Sigh. I think I will just start and see what happens. My own children rarely experience baking in the cookie department so I suppose this forces me to make them.

When Erik was around two he cut himself and we were at a friend's home to decide if he needed stitches and the mom gave him this lovely sugar cookie with icing. He didn't eat it. He just sat there and stared at it as if he had never seen anything so amazing as that cookie. We finally convinced him to try a bite. The guilt.......

So.....I am just sort of kidding about not joining Emmaus over bake sales but they honestly are a challenge for me. Hope somebody likes pumpkin muffins.......

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Braces for Matthew

So it is Matthew's turn with the braces. Anna just got released from retainer wearing and Matthew is on the brink of getting the braces. They are of the variety you turn a key every night. Sounds painful. Should I cackle and tell him to come here my son? He seems pretty excited actually. I am SOOO glad I never needed braces. I can live with overbite and straight teeth. My dentist growing up would go on and on about how remarkably straight and trouble free my teeth were. Those were the days. I think I have some sort of tooth issue for every kid I've had. Maybe not quite that often but close enough. My dinner plan was foiled so better scoot.

Money flying out the window......Charley said he didn't even want to know the bill......


So I have been on a rant with my kids about simply saying "Yes, Mom" or "Sorry Mom". It is a seemingly constant attempt by the children to try to blame things on other people and not just owe up to it. "Fabio, have you collected the eggs?" asks the mom. "Well, I was distracted by the two small children who came by with transformers so I forgot." instead of....."No mom, sorry mom". Ugh. Anyway, I keep stopping them in their in their tracks and asking them "What are you to say Fabio?" "Oh, no mom I didn't, sorry mom".

Excuses, excuses. It is paying off some. I am sort of tired of being their brains. Can you tell? It is better so I shouldn't complain too much but the consistancy on the part of the mom can be sort of painful. The brain power to remember 'the plan' of what needs to be done to train these kids is pretty exhausting as well. I am sure that is the same reason the husband comes home after using his brain all day in his most intense manner that leaves him tired and cranky.

Another friend stated that we are basically short tempered at times. We just think we are the only ones. Sigh. Doesn't make it right but getting through each day is a challenge for everyone. Oh there I go again attempting to say something deep. It is just my mind rambling.

Rules and repeating them do seem to lead to more peace and harmony in the school department though. I have been starting each class having the kids tell me the rules. I have been having the kids tell me the rules about everything lately so THEIR brains are working. So maybe their brains are a little more engaged and I can try to transfer a little of the tiredness onto sweet.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Playing video games

So.....I don't think I really need to play video games as driving around town is a live action game. There are pot holes to dodge everywhere you look is like playing a video game I think except you have to hit some of them to avoid hitting another car. Wow. Tax dollars at work. Driving at night in the fog is especially entertaining. My dh assures me that the cars will weather the storm. Ok.......

Other jealousy allowed please. We decided about a month ago to get Anna her graduation gift a year early. We bought her a nice sewing machine. She is very pleased and the plus side will also be that difficult projects now got a lot easier. I am sorry she won't be stopping by to use other people's sewing machines to put in zippers anymore. That is the down side for everyone else. The owner of the shop studied what she is interested in studying so I am sure they will have some great bonding time. I am excited for her. She doesn't graduate for another year but I would like her to get use of this machine now to prepare for the future. Even if she changes her mind about area of study she will still be able to get a lot of use out of this machine.

I had some energy today despite Stefan screaming until about 4:00 this afternoon. He is cutting his molars and was inconsolable. Children's motrin and ambosol didn't seem to help so he was also not eating. Ugh. A hungry baby is a grumpy baby.

Oh.....while driving to Barnes and Noble after picking up Anna from work I was totally mystified by the traffic. Why was everyone out shopping?????? Anna figured it out. Valentines Day is coming. We started down a road and there was no turning back to get out of the traffic. The bookstore was crammed with people. I don't do Valentines Day so I was pretty amazed by the turn out.

A few years ago Anna and I were at Martin's grocery and were mystified by the stream of dad's and small children streaming in the store at 5:00. Why were they there??? Then it dawned on us.....Valentines day and procrastinating dad's with little kids. We were thinking it might be entertaining to go back to Martin's this year to watch the parade of dad's with bouquets coming out of the store at the last minute. Balloons, teddy bears with flowers, was sort of cute and amusing. We just don't do that holiday. We are lucky to do birthdays for adults around here. I guess that is sort of a bad habit but there are a lot of birthdays around here.

Friday, February 08, 2008


I am just sleep greedy I think. We had a great pattern set up where Stefan was sleeping till 7:00 with no waking up in between. Well, 5:30am seems to be the rule at the moment. Sigh. Sure he is cute but I SOOO want to stay in bed. Yea, yea, this won't get an better any time soon. No comment from the peanut galleries.

The older kids are going to see Romeo and Juliet today. I will be riding herd on the little people here. I wonder where Charley keeps the duct tape.......just kidding. Maybe a movie they haven't seen in awhile will help for a little while. I want the older kids to go so it will be worth the effort.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Lies Homeschoolers tell or don't

I was talking to a friend yesterday and we were lamenting our lack of patience with our kids at times. How we can't remember to always say things cutely to our children with that sweet little tone that just motivate them to obey etc. Yes, we lament that and we are sorry for our lack of patience. I actually am the one who had sort of a trying morning in the patience department on our way to "The imposition of ashes". How bittersweet to go to a service of coperate confession and absolution and at the same time not be able to keep my cool. Ugh.

So this conversation continued in the evening. The mom was feeling very down about this topic and yes, I can feel that way as well. But it occurred to me the question of "what have we been told by the homeschooling community?" We have been told by the funde crowd as we have read homeschooling books, spent time in 'support' groups and worked in co-op situations that we are to be these perfect little mommies and perfect little teachers who never make any mistakes. These fictional mommies, do not talk about their weaknesses or even admit that they have them. Sin is not talked about because it must not occur. If sin is talked about, it is in the context of "well, honey if you had just done things this way, you wouldn't have these problems". There is no mention of Jesus's love and forgiveness for us. The try harder mentality leaves many a mom despairing and giving up. Weakness seems never to be admitted. I remember feeling down amoung these groups and perhaps admitting it had been a hard day and being told that 'well, if your kids had Jesus in their heart they wouldn't have this problem'. Their children must never give them problems. Right?

It has been refreshing to hear and be reminded every day to live in daily confession, forgiveness and repentance. I'm not sure where I am going with this except to revisit that pretending we all have it together and never have struggles is SOOOO damaging. I need to hear that Jesus loves and cares for me and that I am forgiven. That is my comfort. I am not proud of my struggles but am comforted by the Gospel. I am also comforted to know that I am not in this alone. There are fellow Christians who also struggle with sin (duh) and they too are forgiven and loved by our Lord.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Cecilia Johanna

Cecilia turned 7 on monday. She was born in weather much like we have been having this year. I barely remember much of anything from that day except when she decided to come she came quickly. The week before she was born our well went out so we were without water and thus without plumbing for about five days. We got water back on Friday, I caught up on laundry on Saturday, and she was born on Sunday. I remember my brother was here helping with the basement project and he asked if having a baby was like going out for pizza for us. Har, har Steve. Not exactly.

She was a cute little peanut from day one. See her charming smile? Anna didn't believe it that she had a sister. She was ten at the time. She came to the hospital with the rest of the crew and held her and started to cry. Pastor Struefert happened to be there when she came in and when she asked "Why am I crying?" Pastor said, "I know why you are crying. I had five sisters before I ever had a brother". We all laughed. Anna took her under her wing from day one as she has with all her brothers as well.
Cecilia has always been very petite and soft and gentle. She has her screamy, meany moments but her enthusiasm for learning and understanding seems to always have been there. She is not always the most neat and tidy as her older sister complains about but her little blond headed face is ever so sweet especially when decked out in her choir robe, carrying her hymnal back from Holy Communion.
Her daddy calls her princhepecca (Not sure how to spell that) which is Italian for princess. She certainly can live up to that title. She will be a princess for a long while I think. Anna I am sure will see to her wardrobe (or grandma) and hopefully she learns to see to her own hair soon as having her sister around to do it won't last too much longer.
She isn't that 6 year old girl anymore and is ever so happy to be 7 now. She has grown up quite a lot this last year. If she isn't reading, she is playing happily with her stuff in her room. She is smart as a whip and of course opinionated. What girl is not opinionated in this family????
Happy 7th birthday Princhepecca!

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Rules and questions

So I have been processing, processing my children's ability to let me be their brain. So......we revisit the rules again and this time round I am going to 'try' to remember to ask them questions about what the rules and expectations are instead of saying things like "don't forget to do your chores". or "it is not ok to pitch your shoes wherever you land when you come in the door". It won't solve everything but hopefully they might start processing a little bit on their own......

I am also going to make up a cute little "Rules for Class" sheet for my little darlings to go over every day. Sigh. Sounds like an institution doesn't it?

School went pretty well over all and I would have to say working with the older kids is overall easier. I never could be a kindergarten or 1st thru 3rd grade teacher. Too many wiggles for me. I have enough of that I realize within my own walls but a whole crowd is a challenge. Plus my handwriting is really terrible and wouldn't help the poor dears too much. Good thing LaRena with the beautiful handwriting takes care of that.

Took Erik to the dentist this afternoon and fell asleep in the waiting room. That must have been a sight. Hope I didn't snore or anything.

Stefan seems to have another cold. Being 40 is so nice in that regard. That must be God's design so I have the strength to chase after the little people's noses without worrying about my own.

Back to the dinner prep.......

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Not just another Sunday

The highlight of the morning was getting to hear Isaiah Obare speak during Bible class. He is the son of the Bishop of the Lutheran Church in Kenya. He talk was really incredible and humbling. To hear a man who has truly had his life endangered, threatened for the sake of the Gospel and hear him clearly state his desire to continue in ministering in these conditions was certainly an encouragement to me and a testimony of his faith. THe emphasis on getting the true Word of God to the people of Kenya was also striking. I am sure I am not expressing this in any deep or profound way but our life here is so very rich and soft and spoiled. How spoiled we are to have so many men in the seminaries and so many teachers at our disposal. I don't know of any pastors here in the states who are actually in physical danger for standing up for the purity of the Word and the church.

I did note similarities in problems of liberalism vs. conservative practices as well as the theology of prosperity being prevalent and a problem within the church in Kenya. I found that interesting. It was all very interesting. Understatement. I did see a very cute smile and chuckle from LaRena as Isaiah stated they would love to have Pastor Stuckwisch come and teach in Kenya as he has in Russia. We would keep her company. :o)

I thankful we had this opportunity to hear what he had to say. In many ways you would have to be there. Perhaps Pastor Stuckwisch will blog on it and this will all make more sense. Perhaps that should be a tag.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

End of the Day

So I got away for a few hours and that was nice. Took care of a lot of little errands that had been bugging me. Wasn't totally successful but hey, it was a little progress. I am actually in the mood to cook this evening. I made this very weird salad for the carry in dinner. I hope it tastes good. It has peas, onions, cheese, celery, sweet pickles, peanuts, hard boiled eggs, mayo, lemon juice, green pepper, pimento......and a few other things. Sounds weird and I hope it tastes good. It was in my "Cooking from Quilt Country" book by Marsha Adams. She used to have a show on PBS but I think has since suffered from cancer and I am not sure she is even living. It is a great book even for the interesting information in it and pictures. We shall see if it gets eaten tomorrow.

I am also attempting Tapioca pudding. It may not work as I don't have small pearl but granulated Tapioca. I am not sure they can be substituted. I am thinking about making some ginger bread. We shall see how the energy holds out.

The little kids have been pretty cute this evening. They got some Wee Sing CD and have been listening very attentively to it. Stefan was dancing around in circles and even as number 7 it still fascinates me how they just pick up on twirling around in circles to music. Pretty cool and pretty cute.

Cleaning was mostly successful. I did notice that the garbage can area still looks a little grungy.....may be tomorrow. Grunge is something to be avoided and put off so I shouldn't be surprised that the child put in charge skirted that job.

Time to go read to little people.

Lots to do

So it Saturday. After church this morning, we are on a mission to sanitize this place. THere are many places which drop through the cracks of the busyness of life so we earmarked a few and are having a cleaning festival. The kids are thrilled as you can imagine. I am hoping to go catch up on a few errands as well.

My dd has calmed down a bit from her giddyness which is good. I hope Paul doesn't pull in the driveway soon. These young people keep me entertained at the least.

I must admit I am a bit in the doldrums but perservere. Nothing a little cleaning, chatting with friends, and forging ahead can't help. Taking care of stuff also drags me down and despite purging as time allows, it still can bug me.

I got the spelling program in the mail yesterday and it's mantra is drill, drill, and drill again. It is scripted which is great. I couldn't do it without that. Now to carve out the time to work on this with said son. It will be a good thing.

Friday, February 01, 2008


So my dear daughter is more cryptic than I am. I guess that is a trait that must get more pronounced with each generation. I know what she is talking about in her blog and may tell a few select people but.......otherwise don't bother asking. I might burst out laughing. She really is very odd and God Bless the young man who is brave enough to fall for her. She will probably bonk me up side the head for saying that. She really does have many wonderful qualities in all seriousness so this parenting thing can only get more interesting with time.

I am behind looking into colleges for her to visit. I should spend some time today looking online with her at a few possibilities we have considered. She is leaning closer to fiber/textiles again with some accounting on the side. I do still drool over Bach Preludes and Fugues though so I will temper my desire to have a child who can play all of them. She can learn some of them I am sure but perhaps this won't be her field of study. She is a study herself.

It is a snow day if you haven't guessed and I am riding herd on kids doing the subjects they have been neglecting. Hey, perhaps I will get a nap as well.......