Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Latest conversation/mistress update

I meant to post this a few days ago but our phone line was broken and thus the dial-up was not working either. The day after the wood splitter came home we were eating dinner and discussing the wonderful splitter when Matthew came up with a brilliant idea......"Hey dad! Next year you can make a sawmill!" There were many screams of dismay and Charley leaned over and gave him a big hug stating something about how he was his hero. Soooo......if he makes a saw mill, does Charley have a harem??? Sigh. Life with an ADD hyper engineering husband is VERY interesting.

Oh, I got a saw for Christmas. You read correctly. It is a scroll saw from my dear husband. I have a picture of my mom with her mouth hanging open when I opened it. He gave it to me and before I opened it she said, "I bet it's a saw." and.....she was right. I don't think she expected to be right. I will attempt to use it. Years ago, when I only had two children, I was interested in having a scroll saw and Charley remembered this. It has been an obsession lately of his to try to surprise me. He did. I was thinking some sort of ornaments etc. would be interesting to make. I am in quest for patterns. I am also open to ideas of uses for scroll saws. Maybe I could make a scale model of a wood splitter and give it to Charley to use as a paper weight at work.

That's all for now.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Charley's mistress has come home

For the last seven or so weeks my dear husband has in his spare time been across the street with his mistress - his mistress is a wood splitter that he concocted from MANY pieces of junk from our dear neighbor Jim. Jim is an all things tools collector and has a lot of cast offs from large and small machinery. It is really quite amazing. So out of this stuff, Charley made a wood splitter. I call it his mistress as he has been spending more time with it than me. (Maybe that is why I am depressed). I would love to put the movie of this thing on here but dial-up takes forever. Maybe later. I am including at least of picture of her for your viewing pleasure. The movie really does a better job though. Now she is here on the property and soon will be splitting wood to pay for her keep (the expense of making her).

Now the good news is that Charley has been home a little more and all the things that have been making me crazy are becoming really crystal clear to him and he is making comments like "So-and-so child's behavior is making me crazy." and my knowing smirk and eyes bugging out of my head is my response. If my eyes seem a little stressed it is because they have been bugging out a lot the last few days. Remember the lunatic wife that called you at work dear????? Your mistress is voiceless (loud but voiceless) but what only seemed like an insane wife was really a testimony of the realities of the activities of home. Crazed laughter happens after these statements......nuf said.
Isn't his mistress attractive? She is pretty thin in places too but very loud and messy.

More perserverance

Nothing too amusing today. Well, it is true, I just got home with supplies to make Chex Mix and my husband had the box open and was munching on the supplies before I even made it in the door. Hmmmm......

We finally went to winterize the bees as it was 60 degrees today. The bees are fortunately alive and then we visited with the farmer where the bees are at.

I personally do not feel like doing anything today so we will chalk that up as part of some winter blahs or something. I did consider that post partum blues were rearing their ugly head but dear husband squelched that as the baby is four months old you know. I told him that it is still possible and then he said again that that did not make sense. I about exercising your sympathy muscle and he said that I married the wrong guy for that and that he was not good at sympathy. He is right and I told him that ironically I married him because he was not a very emotional guy and knew what he wanted to do in life etc. Is this making any sense? We were laughing about his need to analyse the possibility of whether my problem was a post par tum thing. is interesting. At any rate I hate this feeling of not wanting to do anything but I am sure it is nothing a good walk won't help. I also am wishing our break was going to be longer but these kids need an education you know......

Now it is time to face the hungry monster, namely seven kids who think dinner is on the way. Pizza? Homemade that is.......

Friday, December 26, 2008

In defense of the mom

The last few weeks has been a blur but I am thankful it has been a somewhat less painful blur this year. One thing that I have most appreciated is the decision we made several years ago to exchange gifts after the first day of Christmas. The tree was up a week ago and was just plain old pretty with no gifts under it. It strikes me that the household happiness seems to be centered on what 'the mom' is able to orchestrate and having one less thing on this mom's list helped make things more enjoyable to me. Why should the mom's Christmas be a time of stress and questioning of what she is able to get done? What she hasn't gotten done. When my dear friends tell me they haven't even started making out Christmas cards it is only with compassion and understanding that I smile in return. I suppose I tire of the world's expectations of 'how things are supposed to be done'. I personally have a small stack of cards that haven't made it out yet and this seems to be true every year. I always sort of gaze at that stack and think "Hmmmmm, I hope those poor people receive their card from me this year as it may get shoved aside in light of other pressing things." Sometimes these 'things' are not even pressing but merely time I have taken to rejuvenate myself for the weeks of school ahead. Is 'the mom' allowed to do this and not feel guilt or pressure to perform? I hope so. I took an accidental nap this afternoon. This was either the result of too many cookies or from allowing myself to actually sit down with my youngest children and watch an old tv sitcom with them. Naps happen.

Right now I am sitting on a bucket in my kitchen with sleeping Ingrid on my nap. I have fish chowder cooking away on the stove top and most of the dishes from yesterday are getting under control. Why sweat the dishes too much on the second day of Christmas? I have been thinking depressing thoughts too of how I have SOOO looked forward to celebrating the twelve days of Christmas with the daily services at church but am bummed at the condition of our road. It is downright dangerous out there. There are four or five inches of ice from the melt downs and deep freezes with freezing rain on top. We foolishly braved it this morning and I was not in fear of our lives but was not looking forward to the deductible and the possibility of even hitting another car. Sigh. Tomorrow morning is not looking much more hopeful with fog. I can not see the ice changing too much overnight but will stumble down the drive to access things in the morning.

That is all for now. The cards still lay on the piano bench where I left them last Thursday and maybe I will blow the dust off the last few in the next few days if I am not reading a book or enjoying my friends and family.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Gilligan's Island strikes again

During a very long bout of ten people suffering from stomach flu, I invested in a very valuable TV collection......Gilligan's Island. The kids love it. I think I have mentioned that before. It is the first season edition and Benjamin particularly loves the episode where this Mr. Surfer dude surfs on a Tidal wave from Hawaii to the Island.

Today my parents gave dear little Benjamin a very cool sled. He opens it and turns to my parents and says "Yippee! A surf board!!!!" We were all very surprised and then of course I had to explain his obsession with Gilligan's Island. What little boy, who has rarely left Northern Indiana would be excited that his grandparents got him a surf board???? Of course this was worth a lot of laughs and no he didn't think we were laughing at him but was rather more excited to learn it was a sled. Martin got one too and they REALLY are fantastic sleds. They spent the latter part of the afternoon zooming down our hill and into the field. It was the best sledding ever in our yard. Thanks Grandma and Grandpa!!!!

Random humorous happening

The following story is prefaced by letting you all know that last summer we were not able to go camping at Ludington State Park due to a flood in that area.

Last week while we were preparing for our little vacation, Matthew was packing the first aid kit for the van or rather he was inventoring it. There was a bottle of meds he didn't recognize so he asked, "Mom, what is Senne?" (generic brand) "Well......that my dear is what you give people when they are feeling constipated." Predictable next question as we generally do not have family discussions on bowel habits......"What is constipated?"asks the son. "Well......(being sort of childish and immature, giggling) son, it is a problem that is more common to people on vacation and it helps you "go" on vacation. You know.......gooo......" So my other dear son who is less likely to pick up on me making little quotes in the air or might not read into what I was immaturely saying suddenly blurts out "Aw Mom! Why didn't you give us that medicine last summer then we could have gone on vacation!" He was serious and I was busting a gut on the floor. I laughed on and off for days after this lovely conversation. His conclusion makes sense.......

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Too short a visit

This is Mary eating up her time with Ingrid. We had another nice visit with them today. Their son and daughter-in-law also came over to visit and it was as always good to see them. Charley had plenty of time to share his new love (his wood splitter) with his PA friends. There seems to be a general love of wood splitters in this state. I am happy for him. I suppose it is more bonding to share wood splitter information with folks who love them as much as you do.
I caught up on all the family news with Mary and Pam. The kids ate almost literally all day. I can't even think about eating more food right now.
This evening we went to Kurt and Cindy's and had a very nice visit. They are dairy farmers and they know what it means to work. More wood splitter talk there and Cindy and I chatted about their son's college adventures, life changes etc. She is an editor for Taste of Home too and she expressed disappointment in recent changes made there. I was intrigued and did not mention that I liked the last issue. Hmmm.... Cindy is another friend who it would be nice if they lived closer to us. Wouldn't that be great if all my friends lived near by. Nearly two years between visits is too long. Cindy didn't know about Ingrid until the other day when our Christmas letter came in the mail. They were pleasantly surprised.
I am now sitting in the hotel watching M*A*S*H reruns. The kids are introduced to another mommy past time. And here they thought Gilligan's Island was the best thing in TV.
Erik ran around taking pictures of everything on the farms we visited. He had a blast. He could write a book documenting all things old on farms. We kidded Floyd that we could send him copies for his records.
That's all for today. Tomorrow is a VERY busy day. Ingrid wants to go to bed too so nighty, nighty.

Visiting friends

We are on a brief trip to Pennsylvania to visit some friends from Charley's growing up days. It is difficult to explain how near and dear to our hearts Mary and Floyd are and it will be very difficult to say goodbye to them this time. They are like another set of parents to us. We saw them yesterday afternoon and their limitations are more obvious this time. Since we last saw them Mary has had a stroke and heart surgery. She looks good but hearing Floyd express his concern for her put my antennae up to not wear her out. They are both 77 this year. Floyd also had his health challenges the last two years. Mary and I had a laugh over their new exterior wood burner. If you know about wood burners, she used to have an ancient one in their basement and she would be the one to haul the wood in, pitch it down the stairs and load it several times a day. Well, while she was in the hospital, Floyd had to do this and took notice of how difficult this was. They now have a new exterior wood burner which is loaded right next to the wood pile. Interesting. He is doing the loading too. She is a good sport and we shared the amusement of the sudden change. 50 plus years of hauling wood, I cannot imagine how many tons of wood she has carried. At least the wood we burn is carried right next to the burner.

We will see them a little bit today and some more tomorrow but can see that with Christmas this week, I would rather not wear her out so she can enjoy her family. Despite teasing Floyd about the burner it is also obvious how much he cares for her and this is a man with a reputation for his orneriness. I thought I took a picture of Ingrid with Mary but will have to do that today.
Not to slight the Rodenbeck's, we did have a great little visit with them as well. Poor Erik misunderstood my picture taking instructions and took probably twenty little videos of their trip to a local museum. No wonder they took so long to take...... I love visiting with friends who are accommodating to our overwhelming crowd and especially appreciate their willingness to take us in. The roads were pretty messy on the way there and the wind blew and blew our fifteen passenger van all over the road. Charley's arm hurts today and I wonder if that is why.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


So Anna FINALLY was contacted about her organ audition to discover there will be a theory test that weekend as well. We are now in hot pursuit of Music Theory books so she will feel less freaked out about this. I am sure she knows more than she thinks and I have reminded her it is a placement test but being a good conscientious first born, she does not want to look like an idiot either. She is a calmer girl now and I told her that she also does not want to do too well and be placed higher than would be in her comfort zone. Sigh.

I am trying to get through all the laundry and keep on top of the kitchen and general clean-up. I have been having TOO MANY discussions with dear children about the need to keep after the dishes and messes etc. Gee mom, can you make everything great for Christmas, cook wonderful meals, take us where we want to go and let us read our brains out in the meantime? about a brain rotting session in front of yet another episode of Gilligan's Island. Well kids, I too used to rot my brains in front of Gilligan's Island with not even a twinge of guilt or remorse for the neglect of my pitty bedroom, so I can say I do feel for you here but......this aint going to work.

There has also been a lot of finding and searching for lost things around here. I found my updated address book and triumphantly put it.....somewhere safe. It is lost again.

This mommy thing sure is interesting. Today was better than yesterday and I hope not to be quite as utterly exhausted tonight. Oh.....I did have bunches of fun at the pizza place yesterday noon so thank you to the husband for saving his frequent flier plan pizza punches for us. It was a nice break from the home noise and all the regulars there, which included hoards of men folk feasting on the buffet. It was just a different noise so it didn't effect me.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

This morning's conversations

We have had some very interesting conversations this morning. First off, my dear ten year old son asked if we had any more arteries to put on the tree. (We buckled and the tree is up - there will be NO time to do THAT before Christmas so the time was now). "Arteries?????" I asked. "OH, you mean ornaments. Do you know what an artery is?" (Clearly not as he thought they were found on Christmas trees). He knows now.

Then......dear 13 year old son asked why Mary looks so skinny after just having had a baby. "Well, son.....the people then were far more advanced and practical in those days. We have this sort of clothing today which we are all too stupid to have or too proud to wear that camouflages our figures or lack thereof after giving birth, but instead we just complain about our various wardrobes and which one we are in now. MY wardrobe now does tend to accentuate every flabby flaw and Mary was far wiser than your mama." says the mom. (Me). "Oh.....thanks mom". says the smiling son.

Dear 17 year old daughter and I discussed vampires. 200 and something and I can contribute to the conversation now. Odd story (Twilight). Definitely more a chick book.

Now I am off to the pizza place. Surprise! Dear 45 year old husband has been saving free lunch cards so I can go out with the girls. I only had to call and reschedule an appointment to accommodate and the person I had the appointment with was very understanding fortunately. Whew. I am sure I will be adding fat to the rolls but it should be fun.

Happy 3 month old Ingrid needs to get her dadoo changed and get dressed for her outing. I wonder what pizza milk is like?

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Muddle, muddle

There is nothing too particularly interesting happening in our family lately except getting from one day to the next. We are done with coop till after the Epiphany and in some ways I welcome the break and in other ways, my children seem to struggle with 'free time'.

I've been reading "The Book Thief" this past week and that has been distracting me some. I am still not done with our Christmas letter and would like to get that out. Reading can put me in a reading coma, so it is hard to switch gears to get anything vocationally speaking done.'s a good book so thus the struggle. Perhaps I will blog about that another time.

Anna is making Christmas cookies for the bake sale. She mixed up the ginger bread cookies using my Grandmother's recipe and it makes......400. I neglected to tell her I usually half that recipe. 'Usually' means the last time I made them perhaps 3 or 4 years ago. We are also going to attempt Rosettes. These are both of the Scandinavian flavor so perhaps I am subtly trying to make inroads with the Germans at Emmaus. I would love to have a pazzelle iron to make these outstanding waffle like cookies which you roll into little tubes. They are fantastic.

Matthew and Martin are camping!! I wonder if I should have kept them home. It is COLD out there. Tent camping would obviously not be my choice of recreation. They were excited to go though so off they went.

I have been sort of a sentimental fool lately too. Ingrid is growing up and doing more 'older baby' things and then......there are those thoughts of how Anna won't be here next year and this would be her Christmas break time. Time is flying and THIS is where I am a rookie. As hard as I want to stop this from occurring, it will happen one way or another. Hopefully for her sake, IU works out for her. So far this seems to be the way things are going. I also hope of course that that the Big Three can figure out something better than what they have been doing so hopefully dh will still be employed a year from now. There are so many assumptions going on right now with what life will hand us in the future. I have some strong opinions about the Unions involvement with all this. Dh just keeps doing what he is given to do at work and I guess people at work are sort of tight lipped about the issue.

That is all that is new that I can think of at the moment.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

I need a hug

My two year old is always saying this to me. "Hug, hug, I need a hug" so after a long day (at 11:00 a.m), after struggling through catechesis with two year old and five year olds not sitting too still, kids taking their sweet time getting ready for the day, my eldest announcing the organ doesn't work, and finally my two year old trying to shut the washer door on my head, I uttered....."I need a hug!". Ugh. That is the mantra of the day. The older kids find this quite charming. "Let me give you a hug mom".

I am not a huggy person by nature as my parents were not huggers (must be the old children of immigrant Scandinavians background effect - who knows?) so I am not a huge hugger myself. Perhaps I need to work on that. The week has been......long.

Last night I needed a hug as well. Dh was having mental wrestling or something and was not able to come to church or rather I told him if he needed to be alone that we would survive. I got to church and saw that "Abide with me" was on the menu and of course was thinking thoughts of looking forward to that etc. Well........the two year old strikes again. Dad is not here so instead of "Abide with me" I think we will scream instead. Senseless screaming. I hog tied him in the lounge and hoped with the door shut it couldn't be heard. Ingrid had been tossed to Erik as I grabbed the small child and ran out the back. He was mad about something and who knows what it was. Perhaps he was contemplating shutting my head in an appliance. Then, over the screaming, came the sound of the congregation and pastors singing....."Abide with me". Foiled again.

Earlier this week I discovered that our refrigerator had suffered a slow death. There is no fixing it without spending the equivalent of another fridge so for now we have the 'great outdoorerator" and the stair master to the old fridge in the basement which being old.....still works. The broken fridge was around five or six years old. Throw away society. We also have a portable wagonerator which dh came up with to tote the fridge items around?

So maybe I really need a bottle (like the two year old). Whichever it is, I am trying to keep my humor. did occur to me as well, that poor me has to endure screaming toddlers, fighting children, husband who has some work stuff he is dealing with causing stress, all the school stuff, house cleaning, emotional teenagers, schedules, bills that are hard pressed to get paid, blah, blah, blah and still hold it together. Perhaps that is really why I need a hug. God's peace y'all.

Monday, December 01, 2008

There were ten in the family and the little one said

"Roll over, roll over". Little Miss Ingrid rolls over, gets stuck on her arm and cries for us to rescue her. It amazes me this natural inclination of babies to roll over. The once compliant baby on the changing table, soon is grabbing everything in sight and eating it. Soon she will be crawling away from me. The little window of time where she is content to just be taken care of, fed and changed, is already slipping away. I knew this time would come soon even when it felt like forever away and perhaps I might have complained of not being to do much without holding her. Stop complaining. Her smiles are charming. She can't crawl yet and loves nothing more than to have me stand her up on my lap and make goggly eyes at her and she smiles and giggles back. Big slobbery kisses on the cheek to my littlest girl.