Friday, October 31, 2008

Not much to say here either

The excitement in my life is that little Ingrid was up most of the night last night. I am heading to bed soon. After Co-op today and the service I felt like I could fall asleep on my feet and couldn't figure out why I was so tired. Charley reminded me that he vaguely remembered me pleading with Ingrid to please go to sleep in the middle of the night. I only got on the computer to send my mom the blogsite since she had to start over again on her computer.

School went windows in the new room are getting painted - yay. I am behind in the laundry but ahead in my reading for my class that I teach. Next is to reread "To Kill a Mockingbird". I have not read so much since several kids ago and I have certainly not read so many 'classics' since college.

I think Ingrid care is making me less capable of being able to think outside myself and survival so I am not too sure what the strategy is to survival but keep muddling along from day to day. She is getting sweeter by the day though with great big baby smiles and little cooing noises.

Oh....I should check the schedule to make sure 'Mockingbird' really is next......

Nighty, nighty

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Snow and Nate

I assume a lot of people got snow last night. The kids always love the first snow and stand around gawking at it in the morning. It is supposed to be 65 by the weekend so this first round is short lived.

I went to Barnes and Nobles last night with Ingrid while the boys were at Scouts. This was a peak at how the rest of the world lives. There were two tables of women knitting and one large table of women participating in a Book Club but I didn't hear much discussion going on about a book. A man was working on a school project with his young son and then there was me with the little baby. She was basically happy most of the time but I have noticed that when a baby her age starts crying that the looks that come my way have some sort of shock that I am out with such a little one. I usually get asked if this is my first baby etc as I am alone with her. I need some sort of placard that states "This is my eighth, babies cry, and yes, I think I know what I am doing don't worry yourselves with why I am here".

I also ran into the mother of one of my students from 1987. It was a pleasure to see her and I asked what her son, who must be in his early 30's, is doing now. He is a relatively new dad and he and his wife are expecting number two now. Nate was something of a rascal when he was in school but frankly I liked him. His mother said something about how he had some trouble with the teachers back then but couldn't remember talking with me about him too much. My favorite memory of this smart child was of when he cut a hole in his dictionary just the right size to put his game boy, or whatever they called them then, in. It was reading time and he was very intent on his......dictionary.......and I was trying not to laugh but had to call him on the carpet for this. We had a sort of understanding between us that was silent but he did seem to sense that his impishness was cute but needed to be controlled. His mom mentioned the trouble he had with his eighth grade teacher and that did not really surprise me as she was a no nonsense, sort of intolerant of impish kids sort of teacher and also looked down her nose at the new teachers. I guess I had trouble with her too as surely I didn't know what I was doing. Oh.....Nate is a stockbrocker now with his dad. I didn't inquire how that was going for him......

That was the evening. Now I am waiting for the kids to finish jobs that should have been done last night. Sigh. Will we ever get going this morning????

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Tribal Cookware

A woman at church made that phrase up in reference to preparing food for the pastor's family. I was thinking about this wonderful stuff, better known as cookware for a lot of people or what church basements have to prepare food for a lot of people. Preparing food for large families is quite intimidating for some people. The basic rule of thumb is to double the recipe enough to feed appoximately 12. This accounts for small people and pregnant or nursing mothers who tend to drool after larger quantities of food anyway. There are also the teenage sons who consume more than usual or lick the pot clean. The shorter folk usually do not eat as much so it all evens out. Yes, the dads have a tendancy to eat more but not always.

I have no idea why I am telling you all this. I was just upstairs looking at the mess in the kitchen and was pondering why we never have any clean surfaces and it occurred to me that it is because we cook with tribal cookware. It takes up more room on the counter than small pots and pans so naturally it shrinks any kitchen. If you have ever wondered what to give for Christmas to a large family, the gift might include tribal cookware. Pastors with large families and limited budgets always love tribal cookware or perhaps I am imagining this. I suspect the wife would appreciate it. My mom has provided a lot of my tribal cookware and my dh has kicked in a few key pieces but never for Christmas. The mom has given cookware for Christmas though. This stuff does tend to cost more and is harder to find so that makes it all the more appreciated. I know I have appreciated mine.

Hmmmm.......we have been cooking for around 25 people a week for at least one meal. This is sort of challenging to come up with easy recipes that satisfy a variety of tastes. So far this has worked pretty well and we will surely have to resort to repeats soon.

I am done ranting about cookware now and no.....I do not think I need more tribal cookware, I am just pondering it's usefulness. I have packed up my 'young couple' cookware in case some kid wants it some day. Maybe I'll need it again! Who knows.......then it is really 'young/old couple cookware'.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Rain Gear and other stuff

Ok, I am done for now carrying on about Emmaus. I went with Anna to get her rain gear for her biking excursions. Yes, this is an investment but I am sure they will come in handy in Bloomington as well. It would not have occurred to me to get her shoe covers but it is true that her feet will get wet if it is raining outside. At least at the distances she is biking right now they surely would get wet. She has biked twice recently in the rain and didn't say anything to me about her feet getting wet but......they did. Shoes are expensive so to me it was worth the investment.

We dutifully planned the meals for this next week. It is possible we may not need any of those meals as there is a flu bug going around but I will cook ahead of the game so if I am not up to it there is something to eat. I forgot the Keilbasa.....opps. I guess I can use the deer baloney instead.

I haven't told dh but sometime in mid-December might be a good time to make a visit to PA. Yes, we would miss church at Emmaus...... I should look into hotel costs etc. It will take two rooms to cover us. My to do list is miles long.

We have caught up on the laundry and some mysteriously missing items have turned up as well. Charley's hilarious scrapbook is back. Now we can reread his farm poetry and boy scout scribe notes. We should do that every Christmas or something.

Anna picked up some McCain paper dolls for the fashion information. She is getting an education. We have decided to watch the movie I picked up about the electoral college tomorrow sometime so she can wow people with her vast knowledge of the process.

Well, I am now going to try to spend some time keeping my sanity. Calgon!!!! No comment from the Blogger. I plead the Fifth.

Friday, October 24, 2008

The Organist

No, not my daughter but THE organist at Emmaus. We are not only blessed with awesome pastors but with an awesome organist. She could be playing at another church as her ability is certainly worth more than we are capable of paying her. But despite a challenged budget, both hers and the church's, she perserveres as our main organist. I have been blessed my whole life with above average organists including Phil Ghering, Bill Beerman, Martin Gene, Rosemary Collingwood, and some others. THe above four have Masters and PHD's in organ. I have been to their concerts, had the pleasure of leadership in worship and had the delight of playing with them. What makes a quality organist is one who prepares and plays a wide variety of preludes and postludes that fit the season and the tone of the service. They utilize the instrumentalists they have on hand and work with choirs to be used at appropriate times during the service. They do not distract but enhance the Worship.

Our organist does not have either a Master's or PHD in Organ but frankly she has attained the same skills as those who do. No doubt the above organists have talent from their said degrees but (ok I will say her name) Sandy has seen and heard and strived to learn all that is needed to be an awesome organist. To me, an awesome organist is able to improvise and smoothly transition introductions, alternate settings to hymns, and make use of the instrument no matter what it is. She can do all of this. She has taken the time for further study which certainly has enhanced the services at Emmaus and her previous congregations.

Another reason I know she is a gem of an organist is that she has been a great teacher to my dd Anna for a LONG time. I believe Anna knows what she knows of the service as a result of Sandy's good training and insight. Thank you Sandy. Anna has been doing great this year and she has a lot to be thankful in a teacher like you. I appreciate your trust in our young daughter to serve the church in your absense. She is not where you are yet in ability but you have certainly set the stage in example and love for quality organ playing in the Worship setting.

Sandy also has very humbly taken on our church nursery during Bible Study and has been a huge blessing to the Moms who have not been able to attend Bible Study for years. Your service is truly appreciated Sandy and I am sorry I forgot to mention it in the what's great about Emmaus post. Thank you from this mom of little people.

Emmaus part two

The other question discussed was "What is different about Emmaus". I did not answer completely because I didn't think of it till last night while laying awake from drinking caffeine like a naughty person. thing that is definitely different and struck me right from the get go was the concept of being encouraged to do what I am given to do - my vocation as wife and mother. I have never experienced a church where it was not only ok to live within my vocation but also to be reminded that doing so is more than just a cute domestic idea. What a relief! I am not saying either that any previous church discouraged me from doing this but the issue of vocations never came up in those terms. Today I am only mildly involved with a fundraising committee and I don't find people chasing me down to figure out what I can do for this or that other committee. I suppose the other moms before we joined helped people figure out that just because they were at home moms did not mean that they had lots of time on their hands. I don't have an overriding sense of guilt about any committee really and I think that is partly because Emmaus is pretty much a humble little church and 'programming' is not their way of life. Catechizing people is the way of life there, realizing that no amount of cute gatherings will change anyone's desire to come and hear God's Word. So again.....phew.......I am not expected to produce some fantabulous program i.e. Sunday School, activities, VBS supervisor someone I know likes to say......SWEET!

In short terms I really like;

Family Bible Class
Pastors who teach the Bible Classes
Fantastic, widely varied hymnody -
College students attending
Not having the most children
Kids all over the place
Great music in general
the children's choir
Being able to laugh a little over not meeting the budget and also not having that brought to our attention except in Voter's meetings.
Being happy that we are getting closer to meeting the budget without anyone constantly reminding us that we are not.
The Pastor picks the hymns
Not having classes for the kids divided by grade levels and the pastors teach them all
The kids being VERY involved as torch bearers, crucifers, acolytes, ushers and musicians.
The youth helping out at funerals.
The youth decorating the church at Christmas and Easter.
Hmmmm......I am sure I could think of more.
Weeks of Divine Services after Christmas and Easter.
No Lay Readers unless a pastor is gone on Sundays
High Church in general
Appreciation of the use of vestments

What I don't like:

The Pastors take vacation every once in a great while - ok, ok I guess even they could use a break.
Our family taking vacation as that means we won't be at Emmaus on Sunday.
Pastors going to Russia for nearly a month.
Bake Sales
Having sick kids and missing a service.

Secrets kept from prospective members:

Bake Sales
No air conditioning in the summer
Not a lot of talk about the budget.......

Thursday, October 23, 2008


So I spent three and a half hours talking to a friend about what I love about Emmaus and since a certain someone was lamenting about how he doesn't hear much about what people love about goes.

Emmaus is the church in a dream world. True it is full of sinners of all sorts but......what I love most is the pastors don't beat around the bush, but preach the law and gospel with no apologies and it drips the forgiveness of sins. What's not to love? I know without a shadow of a doubt that my children will be WELL catechized by both pastors and not only that, my kids feel very free to approach their pastors with any question, any time. Both my pastors are kids at heart which is also refreshing to say the least. I never feel that they are on some pedestal above me but trust that they do what they are given to do, are more than well versed in God's word, and have the humility to admit their weaknesses and struggles as well.

When I go to church, I go to church to worship and that is what happens. I do not expect (or want) to be entertained and I have no fear of that happening. True, some random funny analogy may pop up in Bible class but I just see that as a future opportunity to tease my pastors.

My pastors pastor. Yea!!!!!! When I need a pastor I have one. Make sense? I have two as a matter of fact and I can rest easy knowing that they both take their offices VERY seriously and I can totally trust them in whatever capacity I need their trust. Confession and absolution for instance is a blessing beyond words and it is the gospel in action for me. C and A is not a law I HAVE to do but rather something I hate to miss.

There is Holy Communion EVERY Sunday and often times in between. Here is one of the best parts. My children LOVE to go and hear the Gospel and receive His gifts for THEM. They look sad and disappointed if th ey can't go. They in fact look shocked if we are not going. Pinch me, am I in heaven? There is aservice in a few hours as a matter of fact (and I better go feed the kiddos) and my boys can't go as they have one of those obligatory 4H meetings. Erik just asked me again if they were really going to the pig meeting or couldn't they go to church instead. "No son, I am sorry you cannot go to the Divine Service this evening, you have to go to the pig meeting.". Sad faced son........

We at Emmaus are catechized for life. Phew. I haven't graduated yet. What a refreshing view. We love our pastors, we love our parishioners with all our weirdoisms and we muddle along in Christian love.

The children might outnumber the adults at this point. We have not officially counted to figure this out but it appears that way to me.

How did this happen? Through the faithful preaching of the pastors and the faithful catechizing of it's people. Also through the faithful giving of God's gifts in the Sacraments. I am not sure I am putting that exactly right and I am sure there is a better way to put it but.......that basically says it the way it is.

No this was not inspired by October being "support your pastor month" but it was just interesting to reflect on my conversation this afternoon.

Food.....must feed my children before the service.......

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

A new sign of hard times

On the MSN news website today there was a headline saying something about how sales of baby formula was down and that this was a sign of hard times. The article went on to say that not only were people buying less formula but that another sign of hard times was that women were resorting to having to breastfeed their babies. WHAT! Now there is some horrifying news if I ever heard it. The comments with the article were quite funny as well. One woman pointed out that this 'horrifying' news was the best news she had heard in a long time. Shocking, women taking care of their babies and nursing them. The poor women.

Another bizarre article stated that less people were using credit cards and this must mean they had maxed out their cards. A reader pointed out that perhaps less people were using their credit cards as they were making a change in their spending and perhaps were using cash instead. Do people who write the news think about what they are writing? We too are trying to get out of the credit card habit. We started this habit when the kids were little and the fear of having our children stolen while paying for our gas at the station began. It was easier on a hot day to just handle it at the pump. We do pay it off every month but it is true that spending too much is MUCH easier with the card then with cash. So.....biting the bullet I hope to have us paying with cash for gas and groceries completely this month. Budgets just have to happen and we have been very much lazy in adhering to any sort of budget in the last five or so years. It just sneaks up and becomes a bad habit.

The news has been VERY interesting lately with this whole ongoing economy discussion. The kids are paying attention and they see the craziness of some of the 'news' on how to save money too. It seems to me if the news would not be SOOOO negative that the economy would not keep spiraling downwards.

So, good news folks, women are having to breastfeed their babies. Don't despair! There might be some better adjusted children and mothers on the horizon. No, do not take this as a judgement if you bottle fed your children (you too mom - I am mostly sane). I just find this 'news' amusing.

Another Day in my life

Thinking about Ivan I must say there are only seasons of life in Hornerdom that seem like a sentence in prison camp. There are days in the summer where we have spent the whole day, the whole family, working on the garden, animals, canning etc and there is no down time. This goes on for weeks. So that is what the Anna and I are thinking about. The rest of the year is the work that goes with a large family- laundry, perpetual kitchen clean-up etc.

Gatsby was more depressing to me than Ivan. It was about a different kind of selfishness and the characters did not even seem to realize a single thought of survival but more of what they could get for themselves from others. Yikes. I read that book in high school and am not sure I could quite understand it then but I do think it was worth the kids reading no matter how depressing.

It also occurred to me that a person could think I view my family as a life sentence. No, but the reality is that little people play a factor in my life and have for a while. I don't dislike little people but as the Concordian Sisters put it, sometimes it is hard to be bothered by their every need that keeps going and going. I forget that the husband goes to a job where people are stressed and look forward to no pay raises. I live in my little bubble world of changing diapers and figuring out what is for dinner. I shouldn't be depressed, but sometimes I am......go figure.
I am thankful for all the little faces here and relish the last year with one of them. I see the now 16 year old contemplating what to do with his life and know that his time is limited here too.

The next class read is "Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry" which is about the Great Depression I think. Ha! That should cheer me up. I remember a friend laughing at me when I was in a period of depression for chosing to read "Angela's Ashes". "What were you thinking????" she asked. I don't know but it was a page turner.

Today was better than yesterday, at least in this house. I was able to move around the house and get a few things done while Matthew held sleeping Ingrid. Hopefully we can get through a whole lesson in math this afternoon.

Oh.....I think the leaves falling off the trees does not help my disposition either.......

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

One day in the life

I really enjoyed reading Ivan D which sort of surprised me. I had been told it had bad language in it and that it was rather depressing. I don't know. (yes, it had bad language but it certainly was not of the Eddie Murphy frequency) I guess I found it encouraging that despite the horrible conditions of cold, pathetic nutrition, fear and hard labor that this man could adapt to these conditions and survive. He wasn't really whining but explaining life in a prison camp. Anna and I did sort of chuckle that life in Horner land can sometimes feel like a prison camp with endless work that needs to be done or is created. Our neighbor's, the kids adopted grandparents, have stated that if there was some sort of crisis that our kids would survive as they have certainly experienced hard work and it seems normal.

Thankfully our class discussion did help dear Anna and I evaluate that we are far from starving and that she won't be sentenced to ten more years for 'loafing'. She had stated that Horner kids get an automatic 18 upon birth. The kids did one time pour cement till one in the morning so the cement pouring part was near and dear to her heart (LOL) and also the pride Ivan took in his work. We could even name a boy Shuchov (spelling?) if there was another boy.

All laughing aside and yes, we most likely sound twisted, I suppose all our days are like Ivan's in that we have a choice to be whiners or learn to adapt to our circumstance and do what we are given to do. That too was discussed in class. Ivan and his comrades did what they were called to do and did receive 'daily bread' despite how disgusting it was. Their life was simple with little to take care of in the line of 'stuff' and they had a spirit of survival that we simply don't think much about. In a way I would love to reread this book if I had time. I am thankful I know where my next meal is coming from and I have the blessing of sitting in a chair taking care of the baby without fear of consequence.

On to the "Great Gatsby"

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Birthday month

October is birthday month around our house. It feels like every day there is something related to birthdays going on as we also have several close friends with birthdays around our family birthdays. I should have reminded my kiddos to call a fellow birthday boy today.....sorry....

Everyone has had nice birthday celebrations and times with friends so there is not complaints especially from the kids. I always enjoy taking the birthday celebrants out to lunch and have some one on one time with them. Matthew's godparents took him out for dinner where he discovered the joys of Logans. He was most impressed with the peanut shell throwing. He recommended his brother go there for his birthday.

I received a box full of cookies from our organist and......I have shared some and actually been disciplined in not hogging them. Only two today :o) I can't get away with too much indulging without tipping the scales the other direction.

My college roommate called on my birthday which was especially nice. I had failed to call her to tell her we were expecting and that we already had the baby. She laughed. I called her the next day on her birthday and had a longer, more informative conversation and caught up some more. Obviously our bdays are a day apart and we did well calling one another for a long time but kids and life have made calls fewer and farther between. The gift of a good friend is not holding that against you and picking right up where we left off. Thanks Elise!

Our desktop computer is apparently toast so will be checking in less more Horner bday to go!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

How pathetic it really is

So we are having guests over....soon......not sure exactly when but anyway............I had some fantastic cookie bars at a friend's house the other day during a 'watch the debate' social event and I decided to make them for our guests. We are sickeningly organized this morning and the lunch is all prepared and I was mixing the cookies in the mixer. My dear little Cecilia said something to the effect of "Did Grandma Martinson make up those cookies?" So does that mean that only Grandma M makes cookies for her? Does it mean that she has never seen her mother do such a thing before (yes)? Erik was cackling in the other room. "Yes, mom, your making cookies is truly a shock." Smirk, smirk. Ok kids, I know that I never make desert, I buy it - ice cream. This revolutionary idea from my debate/church friends might see you eating more cookies. She said to just take the cookie recipe and put it in a bar pan instead of plopping them all out and making a mess. The mess is why I never make cookies. There is the bowl, the cookie sheets, the cookie drying stuff, the table covered with crumbs from the cooling......really, I think this is ridiculous. I am a roll maker.

This quote happened once before. Erik was around two years old and he had hit his head and had a pretty good cut. Thus started the mom debate as to whether I should take him for stitches. A friend of mine was a nurse so we hauled over to her house. She took sympathy on the poor little boy and offered him a frosted cookie. He just sat there on the counter and stared at it but didn't eat it. Yes, Erik. That is a cookie. I am sure you are not familiar with such things. The guilt, the guilt.......maybe as a grandma I will make cookies. My mom did make cookies when I was a kid.

The cookies will vanish in no time flat. I suppose that is another reason I do not make cookies. The whole family lacks the self discipline to restrain themselves from sneaking cookies. The mom included....... Cookie tins? Why bother? Hide the cookies from the kids and everyone else but there has to be someone who has such discipline to do this. Maybe Matthew.

I guess I should go make sure the cookies are still around. Heh, heh, heh.......

Friday, October 10, 2008

Nursing addict

So the latest joke around here is to call Ingrid a nursing addict. I think growth spurt has hit again but more yesterday and the day before. Today she actually survived a few naps which were at least an hour or so long without being with mom. I know this time period is short with the little bambinos but wow, babies could form nursing anonymous club for all the time they demand mom's attention. She is definately growing and has even cracked a few smiles. I can hardly complain despite the near impossible task of getting anything else done. She will be huge and crawling away from me before I know it. Sigh. Don't complain Karin.

Monday, October 06, 2008

The Battle of the odors

So the incident at church reminds me of my life in general. I pretty much prioritize cleaning based on whether there is anything in the house that smells. I wake up and immediately run down the list......smelly laundry, diaper garbage, dog smells, bathroom smells, kitchen smells, smelly socks left on bedroom floor is a race to put out the fires that did not get taken care of the night before or did not occur until the morning. Smells pretty much trump clutter or untidy piles in this house. I spent much of the weekend thinking about how having eight kid living at home is much like fraternity house living (not speaking from experience but from observation- Karin the ex party animal - just kidding) or basic chaos. At least the bottom five do not seem to realize how much work they create for themselves leaving just one thing where it doesn't belong. Multiply this by several days of leaving things lay times ten (everyone realistically does some of this) and this translates into chaos. Ironically I will be sort of sad when the house starts to stay clean for longer periods of time. At least the house smells less than it could with the odor chase going on but even then I have to wonder.......

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Interesting Sunday

So I hope the Baptism families did not take notice of the funny odor this morning at church. Apparently we Wednesday evening, eat dinner at church, goers did not take the garbage out......left the lid off the garbage can and......what we had for dinner that night dogs, baked beans, and brocolli. Those of us whose noses work better than others were greeted with this lovely smell upon entering the church and thought that surely the sewer had backed up. Not the case. Pastor Stuckwisch did not take any notice so I wonder if Pastor Grobein did. I know his wife did. This tale belongs in the misadventures of Emmaus or something. Perhaps it could go in the new church directory of what not to forget before you leave the church.....the garbage. Since my fellow dinner eaters and wonderful dinner preparers lurk about on this blog, I plead with you all to help remember to get the the garbage out. I am very glad it was not the sewer and was as simple as just taking the garbage out. Phew. So much for first impressions of the Baptismal parties. I have to admit that while looking at the pastor's heads turned towards the alter, I wondered if they were wondering what the awful smell was. I guess they think more lofty thoughts than me. I bet the organist was wondering though.

Sorry for airing Emmaus's smelly garbage here was slightly amusing though too.

Friday, October 03, 2008

She's growing

So Ingrid is squished in a newborn suit which a few weeks ago fit just fine. I was concerned before she was born that nursing wouldn't work out's working just fine. Silly me. I prayed about that before she was born and prayed that she would not have eczema. So far there is not sign of it and she has a mild case of baby acne which is also great. She slept till 4:15 this morning which is awesome. She is sort of a fussy baby in that she is not too happy for very long but......nursing and fattening her up seem to keep her happy. I think though that this fussiness is starting to wane as she will lay on her back and kick and play for much longer periods and has started to take longer naps in the bassinet which helps me get more done in between. Let's just say number eight child is doing her best to cooperate in this not always sane house and for that I am thankful.