Monday, June 30, 2008


So Martin and Cecilia both need glasses. Martin was devastated but now seems over it. He even gets clip on sun glasses!!!!! Jealous. Transitions, new ideas come hard for him. Poor guy. We peppered him with horror stories of how horrid glasses used to be and how we cried buckets as well when we were found out. I personally remember lying to my parents or at least concealing my obvious blindness and then was found out at a routine school check. Foiled by the system....... Cecilia on the other hand was delighted and had a lot of fun picking out her latest fashion statement. Very cute. Pink. She will just be adding to her studious ways with her studious appearance.

The kids picked over 300 beetles off the other day and need to be sent back out. Benjamin ENJOYED the task. The garden still looks great but needs daily attention. Tomorrow is full of stuff so will have to MAKE time to go put in some weeding time.

I pulled all the toys out of the basement to sort (again) and am getting rid of a lot and then locking the rest up and hiding the keys. Ugh! I have requested no more toys for the kids for Christmas. Personal vats of chex mix or a nice shirt for church would be preferable.

Parenting is hard. I won't say much more but sometimes I feel like a corporate manager making tough decisions that will benefit the employees in the long run. Hard decisions, hard words. Ugh.

On the bright side, Anna did well on the SAT in my opinion so that was a nice thing. Now this manager has to get the applications worked on, filled out etc by the dd so life will proceed without as much stress. 9 1/2 weeks to baby I think.

I am ripping everything out of the basement basically and doing whatever necessary to get it cleaned out and organized for a great start to the school year. Phew. We made a lot of progress today and hope to make a bunch more tomorrow afternoon and evening.

Better get to bed.

Friday, June 27, 2008


So last night I discovered potato beetles attacking my potatoes!!!! War! We are trying some Jerry Baker solutions so will let you know how that goes. There also seems to be a problem with the green peppers and there are some thought on that as well in "Bug Off". I have never had a problem with peppers before. Hmmmm......perhaps we are taking too good of care of keeping away the weeds. It is way too stinking hot out right now for me to have the want to attack these problems right now. Perhaps this evening. Then the mosquitos will be out.......

Isn't this riveting information? The kids get back tomorrow noon from HT. Matthew leaves again Sunday morning for BS camp. Hopefully he weathers that alright. It is my understanding from my dd that she sang Karaoke with a bunch of other attendees some song about Texas. She and Maggers invited anyone who lived in Texas or wanted to live in Texas to come and sing with them. So I guess it was Pastor Borghart and Lenea and a bunch of people from Indiana who sang. I thought I was talking to an impostor but the voice on the other end did sound like Anna so I think it was the same person. She won't dance but will sing Karaoke????? Is this a new Anna?

There was also a recent call from her where she was very excited to tell me there is going to be HT conference in Sweden next summer. I am sure she is dreaming of going. Charley remarked from the other room, "If she learns Swedish maybe we would consider it". She is of course excited for the Swedes who have hauled to the US for years every summer.

Thursday, June 26, 2008


I must have tackled at least eight rows of tomatoes, sweet potatoes, and corn this morning. It did end up getting hotter and humid but I think in a sense I become addicted to sweat. I love mowing the lawn and frankly I love hoeing. There is something about tackling a job that does not involve picking up little Lego pieces that I find very refreshing. I always feel better afterwards also. Yay, Sunshine!

We have little broccoli plants and lots of lettuce to nibble on so far. I can see the healthier broccoli plants are going to have us in the broccoli business soon. That will be nice. I plan to make a trip to a store for pine nuts later today as our basil is doing great and I love pesto sauce.

Martin diligently went through a row of corn to get rid of all the grass that is growing in that plot. That row looks much better but there is a lot more grass to get out as soon as possible.

If I had my camera I would take a picture of our lovely masterpiece out there. I think we will be able stay on top of things since this is a two family (two mom with a few extra helpers now and then) project. I won't allow Charley in the garden as he is a plant killer. He proved that again as he thought he could help til between corn rows yet couldn't see the corn plants.......Erik! Come to the rescue!

There are tomatoes forming (no salmonella here) and the squash and cucumbers are coming along. The onslaught of zucchini and yellow squash will be upon us soon.

I am interested in finding a good salad spinner (never thought I would see the day) so am looking for recommendations.........

Better go drink another gallon of water.......

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Getting stuff done

So happy day! I found my IEW training video. It just appeared out of no where which is sort of odd. I am busily watching the Literary Analysis training video in my spare time so will be able to move on to the review my IEW stuff when I am done with that. Finding this set again was a huge relief as it was a HUGE investment. Now I can feel like I am getting something done as I sit around with Stefan while he is snoozing.

This morning I went for that lovely glucose test. The lab tech amused me as she takes her job very seriously (more seriously than any lab tech I have ever encountered) and as she was drawing blood she asked me if this was my second or third. I told her I would wait to tell her till she was done drawing blood before I told her. "Eighth" ......"What???? You must really love babies!" "Yep".

I mowed the lawn, got some of the perenial garden weeded, took the kids to the pool, chased Stefan around and by the inspiration of some friends dh is taking me out to eat for our anniversary which we have never gotten around to doing (May 30th was a busy, and dh leaving the country the next day). He is beckoning so toodles!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


Not that I don't like my family being around but this afternoon the hubby took my kiddos to canoe at a friends place. Ah...... The friends and the hubby tried to talk me into going but an afternoon with just Stefan and I has been delightful so far. He started the afternoon sleeping on my shoulder and now is pleasantly playing wherever I go with his little language. He never seems this content if there are other kids around and he normally is screaming for attention.

I do not feel a burning desire to tackle the world here but am getting a little bit of this and a little bit of that done. There are not children bickering, screaming, running through the house etc. and I know someday I will want that but quite frankly I have been on noise overload for awhile. There has been a lot of confusion with "are we going camping' "What, we are not going camping?" and all the preparation for the camping trip that wasn't going on. When I am taking the kids to the pool, or to appointments, or shopping, gardening, or church......I am not home. I like to be home and this quiet time is just what the doctor ordered. Stefan is cute and sweet and I relish this time alone with him to just think and hold him and listen to his cute little self. I am sure he won't be entirely thrilled with the upcoming little person so will try to find alone time with him then as well. to go 'do some things together'.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Strawberry picking

I took the kids strawberry picking this morning and they did a great job. I started picking until Stefan decided it was more fun to run up and down the rows and into the driving area. So.....since it is easier for the kids to stoop and pick, I chased Stefan and they picked. They managed to pick 68 pounds in a little less than two hours. Not bad. Now to get them in the freezer.

We came home last night to the rest of one of our cherry trees laying in the drive way. It only took the phone line out this time. We just upgraded our cell phone so I was able to call people about plans for today. The cell phone seems to have better reception than the last one so some things are improving.

I need to go get some weeding done in the garden which is looking great. I should take some pictures. The potatoes are now flowering so that means potatoes will be busy forming soon. Yay! They were planted April 18th.

Charley would still like to attempt a camping trip sometime this summer but I just don't see how that will be possible. There is a lot going on and then of course there is the baby the beginning of September and I do not take new borns camping. I think the youngest baby to go camping was five months old or so and that was Cecilia.

Off to weed......

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Camping cancelled and Dad's 55 years

Well, I suppose God reads my blog and takes it seriously. Har har. Just kidding. Last fall I blogged about how I hate camping or least many current aspects of it. This afternoon, while our youth group was at DQ cooling off from the car wash, my phone rang and it was Ludington State Park informing me the park had been closed due to flooding. I did reschedule but have thought better of it as I can not imagine that park will be recovered from 8 inches of rain on Friday simply because it stopped raining. I read that the town has many streets damaged and roads are closed, not to mention the ecoli alert for the beach and area in general. This pregnant mom with seven kids is not going to do that.

So.....instead, we are going to schedule some other fun events for the kids to enjoy and not necessarily all this week. I hope to take them to the Field Museum in Chicago in July and Charley hopes to take them on some biking outings. Since I really hate the preparations for camping and that camping with this many kids is generally work, God certainly has made me a tall glass of lemonade. Phew. I am now stocked with various treats that were going with us to Ludington that I will have to hide and take with us to the these various events.

Tomorrow is the 55th anniversary of my dad's ordination. I didn't know this before we planned our camping trip so now we have decided to go. We will begin our morning at dear old Emmaus and then proceed to Valpo for dear old dad. 55 years is pretty amazing if you ask me. He fits in his original cassock which is also amazing and a credit to his well disciplined healthy lifestyle. I would say he probably could use a slimmer cut. His family always has tended to get thinner with age so I am hoping I might inherit some of that tendency Lord willing. He graduated from Augustana Theological Seminary in 1953. Mom and Dad are attending a reunion this summer to celebrate with other fellow graduates. I believe they don't just get together with just the 55ers but with all the graduates that are able to attend. Here is his basic bio: LeRoy Oscar Anton Martinson, Ph.D., Associate Professor Emeritus of Sociology; Gustavus Adolphus College (A.B.,1949); Augustana Theological Seminary (M.Div.,1953); Columbia University (M.A.,1965); The University of Chicago (Ph.D.,1971)

Did you notice he has a few middle names???? Har har. I would say Dad is a little educated don't you think? So off we go tomorrow. It will be a short visit as they had previous after service plans but at least we can go. We were going to go biking afterwards but the Chesterton weather forecast is calling for rain......rain foils us again.

Thursday, June 12, 2008


So we are getting pretty industrious around here and I have visions of my family on their feet A LOT in the months to come. We are tilling up a bunch more ground to plant sweet corn. Since we have put in as much as we have in the main garden, there was much less space left for corn which we love. The last time I put up sweet corn was nearly eleven years ago and I was expecting Martin.....and had a kidney infection. Misery. So I guess the bad memory was preventing from much enthusiasm in this department. However, the price of food is affecting us all and we are sharing the garden with another family so we are getting down and dirty.

I am almost caught up with the lawn mowing for now. It is hard to behave myself when I see the nearly two feet grass all over. I suppose it is a plus financially that I am expecting as when I am not expecting the lawn stays neat and tidy and uses more gas. This way I have to behave and not do too much at a time. I sometimes do lean towards misbehavior like yesterday morning. I slept well last night. Sleep greedy......

Charley had the opportunity to go to the Eric Sloan museum yesterday. He never goes sight seeing in the States, but we have been reading the Sloan books and lo and behold the museum was where he was traveling yesterday. The boys are jealous.

I think I will go plant some pole beans and some peas........

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Interesting chat

So during the kid's Catechesis class I had an interesting chat with a friend about why some people feel threatened by choices we make. I suppose it is normal for us to evaluate ourselves somewhat by what other people choose but it also seems a little pyscho. We were talking about how several friends or relatives have felt somehow judged by us because we choose to homeschool, or strive to eat healthier or that we might not be jumping on the bandwagon to do things exactly like everyone else. Why is it threatening to someone else what we choose to do with our kids etc.? Do they really think that we sit with our husbands and contemplate switching to whole wheat flour because it will make everyone else feel guilty? "I know honey, let's be sure to buy cotton clothes for our children and spend a little more on them so we can pass them down just so we will appear to be snobs." Come on, is this reality? Personally if one friend eats beef and another eats mainly beans is no big deal to me. I have enough to worry about without wondering whether I am meeting my whole wheat, fresh egg quota this week.

Or......what if I have a closet knowledge of something like music? Does it mean that just because I don't currently use it much (outside of knowing when musical mistakes are made during a service or concert) that I don't know anything about music? I just tend to stick with what I am given to do now. OH, and I also don't point out the mistakes.........

Newspapers come to mind. I only get the weekend newspaper at the moment and try to keep up but getting the weekend only is mainly because it is another expense, and I am the only one who really reads it. So I read what I can online to try to keep up. Does this mean I am ignorant and need help as I also don't watch the news at night (no reception) or does it mean that when something is going on I may grab the nearest person that I trust their political view points and ask questions. Not to mention the fact that I am busy (as usual) doing what God has given me to do and it seems to me that the world has been ticking from the beginning of time without everyone being up on all the latest news all over the world. This does not make me stupid or in need of help. This means there are only 24 hours in the day!

I have a dear friend who is afraid of dogs and frankly, so am I! I have a dog and I don't stop having her over because she is afraid of my dog. I tie the dog up because I value my friendship more than my dog. Her fear is no reflection on my having a dog or our friendship. I have been assured in the past of a darling little pooch (Rotweiler) being so wonderful and wouldn't I like to meet him and then upon saying no, they let the dog in anyway and I became the dog's personal chew toy. Gee, I wonder why I have a fear of dogs. Is that a reflection on anyone other than we are all different and do things differently????

I don't know exactly what my point is here except it bugs me to see families and friends giving each other anxiety attacks simply because they see some underlying evil motive that doesn't even exist. It is just sad and it was sad to see this friend the other night so worn out by the criticism. Hmmmm......

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Busy weekend

Friday I had my cute little appt again and all seems well. Three weeks til the next one. I went from there to pick up a few more veges for the garden that we forgot. Perhaps I already said that. Friday evening we went to an open house graduation party and had a grand time. I got to see an old friend who I haven't seen since high school. He hasn't changed much and it is fascinating to me to hear of life choices after so many years. I find these sort of things pretty interesting. At nine o'clock it occurred to me that Anna needed to get to bed for the SAT the next morning and we all dashed to the van to hurry home. How did I forget that?

Saturday morning I of course drove dd to the test. She was cool and confidant which was great. She feels things went well so we are looking forward to finding out the results. She also observed that since she has been so intensely studying that sitting for four hours taking a test was not a big deal. We will have to make a note of that for her younger siblings.

Saturday afternoon I spent in the garden again. I am sure I did spend a little too much time in the sun but water is a great thing. Saturday evening Anna and I took off with Stefan to go purse shopping on the way to pick up Matthew from camp. I found a few cute suits for Stefan which was fun and a couple size big shirts for after the bambino's arrival for me. Nothing worse than a grumpy new mother.

The sermon was great this morning so I ponder HOW we love our neighbor. What is most loving? Is it always loving to not talk with people about things or is it more loving to talk things through. I lean towards the later as the first leaves too many question marks and hurt feelings. Great sermon pastor!

I best go eat and make some hamburger buns.

Friday, June 06, 2008

What to say today.......

My dh gets home this evening. We won't be here right when he gets home so perhaps that will nice for him in a way. He called at what was 1:00am for him last night and had about four hours to sleep. Sleep deprivation is certainly my summary of his trip. Paris, Bavaria, and Barcelona since Sunday. Hopefully he can get some sleep tonight.

I am getting confused as to what day of the week it is. Tomorrow is the SAT and I do feel confidant that the person taking it will be fine and her preparations will pay off. Phew. I always have a fear of getting to such things late so will be up bright and early tomorrow.

Our garden is looking pretty good with the cooperative effort. We should have peas within the week and definately spinach and lettuce. Some things were started later than I would like but I do have to remind myself that I never used to get anything in until after June 1st anyway.

Hopefully next week we can begin math with the boys and spelling and reading help for some as well. That girl taking the SAT will probably just want to read books for a week or sew.

There is severe weather on the way. I hope that doesn't affect dh getting home. I haven't heard from him since last night so I am assuming he is in the States at least. I loath bad weather/storms in the summer. We have had some dooseys in the past and the 100 plus foot tall trees around here have been know to wreck havoc. At least the electric lines are a little clearer of danger.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008


So Monday and Tuesday I got in most of the plants that needed planted. My body is sort of in shock after all that bending, hoeing and digging. I suppose if I keep weeding steadily I won't feel so sore after awhile. The trick is also not overdoing it as once I get going it is hard to stop.

We are headed to the pool for a little R & R. The kids have worked pretty hard today so I am sure that will feel pretty good.

I guess I don't have a lot to say here. I did read Mostly Harmless's blog post and perhaps my grumpy post inspired that, who knows. I could ramble on some more about the subject of thinking of others etc but perhaps I will wait on that. I in no way was directing my grumpiness at the wedding. Dynamics of personality do play into how well people play with others though. Maybe I will ramble later.......

My dh called and he and his boss are searching for clothes for the boss as his luggage was lost. There are no shopping malls in Barcelona and dh said the boss may end up looking a little, uh, well.....not sure I should say but more youthful and having a different profession come to mind. He has been in the same clothes for four days. How nice. I guess it is easier to get away with that in Europe.

Better scoot to the pool.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Sunshine on my shoulder......

Makes me hyper...... So the boys and I planted most of the rest of the garden yesterday. I was determined to get all of those plants in so spent much of the afternoon hanging up-side-down digging holes and throwing plants in. Matthew came to my rescue by at least pulling the plants out of the flats. The plants should be pretty happy as there was a great rain right afterwards. I hope we get a little more today.

The baby chicks come this afternoon so the boys need to finish preparations for that. We are not raising turkeys this year as the price of feed is ridiculous. I am just realizing as I write this that we don't have any feed that I am aware of for these new chicks...hmmmm......hopefully the boys know what is up.

That last post I could dedicate to Debbie T. I am just teasing you Debbie but you said that you liked my blog as it wasn't always chipper and unreal, or something like that. Hope I didn't disappoint you. Just teasing. I actually found that a high compliment.

I went on a chip and dip run for the study maniac last night before Vespers. I hope she doesn't pick up this habit in college. She does have Charley and my metabolism though so perhaps she can get away with it for now. Opps.....I mentioned her again.

Stefan loved the pool yesterday and I loved him loving it. He was kicking and splashing in the big pool or he would hug me tightly around the neck jabbering away. What is not to love about that.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Not sure what to say - HA

I have thought of quite a few blog posts lately. I am not sure how to put things once I get to the computer though. The kids and I had a great discussion this evening about our many glaring weaknesses and frustrations about ourselves. We certainly have a culture of our own here in this household. We also came up with the plus side of this odd family. I would say overall the plus sides are that every single person does seem to have a sincere desire to serve other people and help them in their hours of need. We have a special empathy towards large families as quite frankly, watching or helping a family with a lot of kids can simply be overwhelming and not exactly the first thing that people think to jump up and do. Large families are not quite able to lead glamorous lives either so we empathize. We don't care about glamour as there is no time to consider that we are missing it. So....we helped the brides family as I could just only imagine being in their shoes when it is considered a feat just to get through a regular church service and actually stay in the pews. Enjoying your daughter's wedding and not having to worry about little children who might cry and crawl on your head was not my picture of enjoying a daughter's wedding. So we helped to watch them when we could. Everyone in our family just sees that need and does it. There can be parties going on, or friends beckoning, but help we will. No, I am not trying to sound like a martyr but this is just what this family enjoys to do for fellow parents similar to us. We concluded that we love to do this and it is certainly a plus. The kids were having a sort of "we are a bunch of losers" sort of mood this evening so the time came to discuss what sort of losers we really are. Of course we are sinners to the core, and we DO realize that, but seeing my kids so depressed was I suppose a teachable moment.

The other thing we discussed was our great dislike of being criticized or have stupid questions asked of us like....."why is there laundry all over the place" or the assumption made that because we have a bunch of kids that we don't have any passions or ability to make it without the aid of the eldest. Or that all we do is change diapers and do housekeeping duties. Or we just don't handle criticism in general very well. When you live with this many people, criticism can just abound. After all there are 9(actually 10) sinners running around bumping into each other and of course criticism happens. We have our pleasant routines but there are also two parents here who are not always good at giving praise or appreciation to anyone. Making it through the day can just be wearing. I have personally had my share of people in my life who criticize me for my decisions, my grammar, my political views, my theological practices, my house keeping inabilities, my marriage etc. to the point that I have pondered designing a t-shirt with a target on it. Yes, that is sarcastic but truth be told I get sort of tired of it. So this family tends to be a little defensive. Who likes to be corrected or criticized anyway? Yes, there is the ability to take constructive criticism but I not so sure the comments that irk us fall in that category. So.....we pray and forgive and keep forging ahead. We remind each other to pray and forgive and that we are forgiven in Christ. Sigh.

On the flip side we also discussed that because we do have a large family that it makes PERFECT sense that we bond with people who also do. There are certainly those who love us and I truly enjoy spending time with. I thank God for that. I do not love the fact that I feel misunderstood and that some people seem sort of afraid of me or something. I am not in my comfort zone when I sense that I need to help people understand this large family or that I am being evaluated for my abilities or knowledge. I AM in my comfort zone with people I find interesting who I can take the time and enjoy them. I SO enjoyed talking with the Great Grandma at the wedding about her farm and her love for her family. She is a kindred spirit from afar who I may not have the privilege to talk with again. I think I am attracted to the quiet, hard working humble people of life who do not live a glamorous life but do have passion, love and care for those they have been given to care for. They are inspiring to me.

I am sorry I make some people uncomfortable including some of my relations. I am not exactly sure what to do about that but keep praying. I am usually just taken by surprise and sometimes stumped as to what to say in response. I guess I do not like either to be pressured or forced to agree with people when frankly I don't always agree. So at times I am forthright and say something. I don't think I am really THAT scary but of course I was told in High School that no one in HS wanted to ask me for a date as I was This is getting long (not competing with anyone.....) but I do still struggle with the stereo type that because I have a bunch of kids, from nearly out of the nest to babes in arms, that I am not capable of making decisions or having many brain cells left. I have passions and interests that are most important to me and I AM NOT helpless because there are some younger kids around. I am not looking for pity at all and sort of resent it which is not too friendly or forgiving on my part. But really, PITY????? We love our family the way it is and I do happen to know what to do with this crew and really am perplexed with comments that insinuate that I can't handle contributing things because after all I have all these little kids to take care of. Two of the little kids are taller than me now! One could probably fly the coop now but I don't want her to, not for reasons of needing help, but because I love her and will miss her, so am I helpless?????? The help I love is from people like our new members who make dinner on Monday nights so at the catechumens (can't spell that tonight) can make it through the day without totally falling apart. It is a quiet help but is greatly appreciated by all. It is also a sort of humbling, wonderful kind of help to accept. Thank you H's for all of the stress relief you have contributed to.

So this post may sound as weird as the apple that fell from the tree's posts, but these are things that I am struggling with and would appreciate prayers for. How to not get depressed with misunderstanding and hurtful comments, decisions made for us , that may not have been intended to be hurtful but in the quiet background have been. I know, forgive them, but truly just getting over hurt is hard as well.

Love from this weird family....