The DOWN side to homeschooling I think is that the kids tend to rely too much on me, the mom, to keep track of their lives. The various groups they are involved with almost always give them schedules and for some reason they tend not to look at them or give the parental units advance warning of events to come. I guess there has been some improvement but I don't seem to recall my parents keeping track of any of my life when I was their age. So how do I get my kiddos to take more responsibility and WHY do other people seem to think or imply that I had something to do with messing stuff up when they drop the ball. Excuse me while I peel a baby and toddler off my head and help you keep track of your life and plan for it. Oh yes, this mommy is sometimes negative. Persevere, persevere, persevere...... Hopefully we survive Holy Week, the month of April and all the summer fair stuff that is looming ahead of us a month earlier this year. Then there is the mommy suffering from contemplating changes in the family next fall with one less load of laundry to be done etc.......sniff, sniff. B positive.....wish I had that blood type and not O negative......perhaps I would be of sounder mind.
My sweet ten year old son came home from Scouts tonight all excited because they are supposed to collect cans for Scouts for Food. I told him, sure there were some things we could certainly put towards that in the pantry downstairs and then Matthew mentioned that they could go down the street to collect some more. Well.....I am not sure EXACTLY how Martin put it but since he collects the recycling he said he could go through the recycling bin and get some more cans........ The lightbulb went off in my head. I started to chuckle. "Martin, there needs to be food IN the cans." Then I really started laughing. "Don't you think the poor would like to eat what is in the cans we give them or rather just contemplate how good the food must have been that isn't in there anymore?" Martin then understood and started laughing too. I said "Hey Martin, there is an empty chip bag downstairs. I'll give it to you tomorrow so you can think about how yummy they must have been." More hysterical laughing. Now I can't stop laughing myself. Kids are so cute.
That may sound insane but there is something so endearing to me about a two year old discovering life etc., all their little antics, their adoring love for their mommy and daddy, and just their cute little selves. I will miss Stefan not being two any more. He has the most serious conversations with me and he is ever so helpful. Sigh. I was staring into his little eyes as he pointed out all of Ingrid's body parts (and laughed at my chubby tummy.....biking, biking.....). Those eyes are so very serious in what they are saying. I could just spend all day just talking to him. He sits on the counter with me while I am cooking and watches everything I do and talks and talks. I love watching him play outside too. He is a man on a mission. It fascinates me that this little person can have so much fun just running and playing, digging and riding on his little bike. He also loves to tell everyone what is going on. "Anna, cum HERE Anna....eat, eat! Daddy! Daddy! Cum here!!!! ime to eat Daddy!!! " Sigh, sigh and double sigh.
Holding a friend's newborn today was sweet as well. His little newborn self was gazing about, snuggling on my shoulder and making all those newborn gestures.....arms swimming about and his little frustrations dealing with hicups etc. THAT passes way too quickly. On the other side of me was another 'newborn' - five weeks. She is getting visibly bigger by the day. I don't see growth in my own babies in that same way of course since I am with them all the time but wow, babies are amazing. Keep your eyes wide open everyone and don't blink!
Sigh. In brief, we keep slaving away at schoolwork, and our life outside this crazy house and life inside this house keeps getting more and more out of control. Today is the day I go to the market and I need to go to the feed store for potato seed etc, so what usually happens is that while I am away at these errands, people strangely get hungry, work on things like roofing the barn, and generally speaking there is no one left to work on keeping up on the cleaning and.......and......and......the house gets worse not better. The FlyLady can't help my mood here and frankly I AM overwhelmed. Tyranny of the urgent seems to be reigning here. Besides the errands, the paper work/bills need addressed the worse so the house will still putz along. Good thing we are not having co-op here right now. Sigh, sigh, sigh.....where to begin. The older male population is out at the barn again and they will be hungry before you know it. I will be quiet now and go change another diaper.
So I have completed two weeks of biking. This week went a little better. I don't feel like a TOTAL wimp anymore. Hills have gotten a little easier and I even managed to get up a few in a higher gear. Phew. I plan to stick to this route for at least two more weeks before going and farther. Perhaps I should make that four more weeks. Trying to find time to do this has been a challenge but so far so good I think I have only missed a few days.
I am soliciting Erik's help to help me do some strengthening exercises. Again I am starting in on that SLOWLY as I don't want to knock myself out of commission. Erik seems delighted to be my personal trainer and I even asked him to look into more information about this subject to help his old mom out. I do need to take the boys with me when I am biking more often as when I go alone there are places that give me the creeps. Being isolated and a wimp is not a good combination. There are LOTS of spring flowers coming out though so that gives me something fresh to look at. I figured out that my route is almost exactly five miles and it is taking me a little under 30 minutes to complete it. The hills definitely slow me up for about half of the route but like I said that was a little better. Time to go hit the hay before the exercise known as mommyhood hits again tomorrow.
I took my kids and my friend's kids to Maple Syrup Days (I think that is what it is called). They had a demonstration of how some people think the Indians made maple sugar. They basically had a hollowed out log with sugar water in the hollowed out part. Then they were putting hot rocks into the water to cook off the water so that in theory it would boil down to make maple sugar. Well.......we proceeded to the modern day sugar house and the kids all went in to see what was involved in making a gallon of maple syrup. I am fairly familiar with this process so I eventually took Ingrid outside and waited outside the door for them to finish up. The kids did seem to have enjoyed the talk and I asked them what they learned. My friend's ten year old son in his classic dry tone said "I learned that there is not much chance the Indians made much maple sugar in hollowed out logs with rocks" (The talk told them it took forty gallons of sugar water to make one gallon of syrup). Well....I found this amusing and clearly he was paying attention to the talk. I love that boy.
The other moment of amusement was during church this morning. Ingrid has become quite the little wiggler/screamer during services. I had her for most of the service and Charley offered to take her out. I was not going to argue. So there I was, just me, myself, and I and thought to myself "Gosh this is a nice little breather" and glanced down the pew at my other little cherubs. They glanced back and suddenly they all shifted down to squish themselves on and beside me. It was like a signal went off - ah, the little squirt is gone, time to attack. I wondered if the church tipped as all that weight moved over. I found it funny anyway. I'm glad somebody loves me :o).
We got home last night with 30 minutes to spare before we had to leave for the Divine Service. In that time we cooked dinner from scratch which involved browning the meat, cooking pasta and combining it all, took down the laundry, got ready for church, cleared and reset the table, fed the baby, one kid took a shower and we ate dinner without getting indegestion. Phew. If they are motivated to get somewhere they can move at an amazing speed. I think there were a few other feats in there but I can't remember what they were. That must mean we could sleep into 8:00 on Sundays eh? Not. We are slower than slow on Sundays and I am not sure how we get there at all. Why can we move faster for a service on Thursday?????
I am theorizing that the busyness of the last few weeks is making everyone so distracted that any 'normal' life activities are not working. I think this busyness has also made time to just sit and talk things out nearly impossible. These are just a few random observations that.....are probably not that true but just how thing seem to me. I have had too many little misunderstandings lately that it makes me wonder if anything I say is making any sense so......I might try avoiding the communication thing a little for awhile.....biking.....reading......entertaining Ingrid.
Ingrid is FAST and getting faster. She is becoming quite adept at moving backwards and then turning around to get whatever is within reach. Babies really are amazing. They grow and change SOOO fast that blinking at this age is rather depressing. How long till she will be disappearing out of the room or out of the house???? Hopefully she gets some hair soon. She is altogether adorable. She has been saying Ma ma directly at me for well over a month. She regularly has panic attacks if I leave her sight and she is making up for her littleness quickly with her rampant appetite. She is ever so sweet.
I spent the week running and biking in my 'spare' time. The running part was going OK and I was able to go a little longer each time but as soon as my knees felt twinges of pain I decided to stick to the biking. Biking takes longer but it seems to be of equal challenge for this slovenly body of mine. It is also a lot easier on my knees as a wise young man pointed out. I would love to take my mp3 player with me to prevent my mind from working too much but I guess that is not a good idea. I am writing this down mainly so next week I can check this out and compare it to next weeks progress.
We have quite a few hills south of town so I spent much of my time geared completely down. I also noted that even the prospect of standing up to go faster up hill was more than I could handle. This will take time and PLEASE do NOT give me any girl scout cookies or any other such temptation right now! After one child I stuck to popcorn as my treat of choice and that did make a difference too so perhaps I will try that too. I am just happy the weather has been cooperating to allow me to get out and try this at all but something MUST be done. We'll see if I can manage to get up the hills a little faster next week and keep my mind from wandering off into irrational thought land.
About every other kid has not found schoolish things obvious. I am SOOO not good at being patient with telling a kid again, and again...and again that this number is a 7, or an 8, or a nine. Then while observing this struggling I think to myself all the grand plans I could have to help this poor child remember but all of those plans take time as well which there isn't an abundance of. I am caving and getting a few videos that go over this to help pound it into the poor boys head. Could Stefan and Ingrid find schoolish things obvious? I don't know but it is true that Stefan is running around saying B stands for b, in b,b, bat. Maybe that might give me a vacation for a while if he is the one who learns easily this time. Sigh.
Mornings are very tricky around here. Everyone wants the best breakfast food available and silently (well not everyone is silent) plod along on their quest to just go to their happy place, eat their precious breakfasts, hopefully digest before they begin worrying about the tasks before them and not surprisingly generally don't think of anyone else but themselves. It is amazing to me how another body (there are quite a few of them around here) can stand in the way of another person's happy place.
At what point in my life did I figure it out that perhaps it is nice to be polite and look to the needs of others before my own? I really do think it was at this camp I went to. Sure maturing helps but maturing does not always happen for everyone.
So we forge ahead, muddle along, and pray that by the time these kiddos grow up they might learn that although our stomach grumbles, although we can't deal with a lot of bodies rumbling around looking out for their stomachs, that smiling and quietly helping others out is not a bad idea. Loads of kid bodies DO NOT think of others first, they are uncoordinated, they rarely plan ahead for accidents that might happen as a result of their actions, and they can easily fall apart at the seams. I am convinced that the word maturing is sort of irrelevant while comparing adults or older kids to two year olds. It all depends on the choices made by the individual how "mature" they will chose to be.
Anna and I are making up neighborhood clean-up signs. That will certainly be a reason to sweat. ANYTHING to burn off some fat cells. Yes, I am obsessed. There are women I know who JUST had a baby who are skinny as all get out and I am just stuck. I was invited to go to Fernwood this afternoon but I can't as we are having dinner guests over at five. There are more leaves to rake, and signs to deliver to people about the clean-up so that will take off some fat cells. I could scrub all the floors in the house on my hands and knees but I think the cooking will take over at somepoint. The husband is also working on my kitchen so I hope I don't break into a sweat figuring out how to cook for guests when the kitchen is torn up. I can be pretty creative that way though. I better RUN!!!!!
So says the headline in the Wall Street Journal. The article is about how families are cutting back on sending their kids to summer camp. The featured family spent 12,000 last summer for two kids to go to camp. Uh.....wow! I think this is the saddest article I've read so far on how people are having to tighten their belts in light of the economy.
This evening was a little odd though. We have had three days of the stock market rising and I sort of wonder if that had some sort of mental effect on people or something. Anna and I were at Target buying an umbrella and diapers (not a related purchase :o) ) and there were lots of people in line with carts full of STUFF. 200 dollars of stuff in front of me. Wow again. I didn't even notice at first but the lady looked at me with my diapers as I was hoping another line would open up and she apologized saying something about "It must be Christmas". I am sort of curious if there will be some sign of a jump in consumer spending because of this short little jump in the stock market. This is just an outsiders observation of what I see going on. I know, I know, I am just a little, sheltered, naive mommy buying diapers but it did seem a little strange. I have not seen anyone buying much of anything lately. Lamps, sheets, skimpy shorts, and other non-essentials in abundance were passing through the checkout.....
Hmmm......I just want it understood that there is no Kum Ba Yah going on here in Hornerdom, at least I don't think they sing that at Boy Scout camp. I 'll have to ask.
We are going to need to take up nightly head inspections around here. I hate those nasty little things and how many more of me can there be around here to make sure we have all our bases covered???? Yuck, yuck, yuck. Do I run to the doctor every time we need 'the rest' of a tick removed???? Maybe I am getting chickens back as the population did not seem as bad when they were around. Excuse me while I go bang my head against the wall.
Looking at a few pictures lately of moms with their brand new babies reminded me of the fact that there are very few pictures of me at all. I have pictures of me with my brand new babies but as the mothers mentioned above observed, they are not always the most flattering. I thought about this well over a month ago while at a visitation for a friend of Charley's who died in early February. Leo had GREAT pictures of himself, all taken by others of course, holding his kids and grandkids and of the times he spent in general with his family. So I got to thinking. If the only pictures my family can find when they have to put together some poster of me, is of me having just given birth, then everyone can comment on how I look better than I did while I was alive! Isn't that amazing. This is a post that was long in the making so a few others have heard this observation already. I am usually the one taking pictures and pictures are almost always taken of the kids and almost never of me. The poster can also include pictures of me hoeing the garden and snow blowing the driveway. This is why there are no pictures of me on facebook. I will have to put up one of those not so flattering post birth pictures eh? Then people can comment on how much better I look now.
Perhaps this is what is called a mid-life crisis. I go with Anna to her piano lesson and it just makes me want to get back into music. I LOVED making music when it happened in my life that I could and I miss it. I miss ensembles and symphony and playing with friends. I miss my horn teacher. Anna's piano teacher reminds me of her. I suppose this is all longing for self-indulgence but music was a HUGE part of my life once upon a time. I suppose I sort of regret not majoring in music and I am VERY excited for Anna that she will be able to.
The other part of my mid-life crisis is.......being and feeling fat. Ugh. I used to be in such great shape and even if I was in good shape I certainly wasn't fat. Yes, people say "You are NOT fat" but a wardrobe hides a multitude of sins. I can't seem to kick the fat and want to do something about it. Even though jogging was not recommended I think I will try any form of exercise that might be available or reasonable to do considering the weather and time for now.
Last thing......hair.....I don't think I can handle long hair. Other people's hair is long and beautiful. Mine, if it even thinks about getting long, is drippy and heavy and takes too much time. It also accentuates every fat cell of my body........so there you have it. I want to be able to wear the clothes I have and not EVEN think about looking for clothes that fit a little looser. NOOOOOO!!!!!! That would be succumbing to my fatness! Am I ok? Sure.
It was a busy but good weekend. I won't elaborate too much on my social life but it sure is nice to have such wonderful friends. I was especially thankful for some more intimate conversations with a friend at church who I have no doubt we should do that more often. I love it when someone can sense I need to talk to someone and just listens and understands when I am being a lunatic. There is just something sweet about being understood especially if I know that I am being stupid, selfish etc. and to just get that sort of yucky stuff off my chest and be able to laugh about how silly we can be. This probably doesn't make much sense but I am going to write it anyway. Sigh. Needless to say the whole weekend was good and too bad we can't all just sit around all the time and visit and laugh and enjoy each other's company without worrying about the next day's responsibilities. Perhaps heaven will be like that and there we won't have to either worry about washing dishes or wondering if all the perishable food got put away. That's sounds delicious all around.
I was searching for baby shower games last night and came upon a funny one. I am not sure it is just a baby shower game but it worked. It said to take a basket of mismatched socks and time people matching them. The person with the most matched socks wins. I did a little different twist and since I had access to my own sock basket and two other families baskets, we made up teams and I gave them ten minutes to match socks. The mom given the shower had her basket there and the team that worked on it made 69 matches in those ten minutes. As she would say "sweet!" They were the winners. The other two baskets made 48 and 28 matches. Not too shabby. They all had fun. I think I would call this the large family shower idea or game idea. Maybe we can do this at voters meetings or potlucks. :o)
I took Erik to the bank to put some of his money in cds and while I was there decided for Matthew that I would do the same with some of his money. They have chaulked up little nest eggs for themselves with their animal projects etc. When I got home I told Matthew I had bought some CD's with his money in the bank. I wasn't really thinking anything was odd about this comment but he looked at me a little stunned and said "you did what Mom?" Then it dawned on me he thought I had purchased music cds with his money. SO.....I couldn't resist "Yes Matthew the van is full of cds. Hope you don't mind and I just thought since you had some extra money that you wouldn't mind too much if we got some cds with it". I then told him what CD means. "Ohhhh, ok mom." relieved son.
Wear them out. Our first dog was a crazed Dalmatian and I walked that dog at least four miles a day to wear him out some so he would leave us alone at home. Our little Stefan can definitely wear us out with his displeasure about almost anything. He also would not sleep long enough in the morning and Matthew was getting worn out from getting up early with him. Well.....yesterday was gorgeous and we kicked him out to play. He didn't want to come back in and he played and played all day. He did take a little nap but out he went again. He ate well, and JUST got up to greet another beautiful day. This boy loves to be outside and I think we will have more peace around here now that it is thinking of warming up outside. The Stefan screaming was beginning to make us all nuts. At least I do not have to walk the boy four miles as he I am sure walks four miles on his own. He slept from nine (OK, we got to bed a little late last night) till eight this morning. Oh happy day.
Dh brought this movie home and no, I do not think I can stay awake for all that. It did me make think of my own Battle of the Bulge. I can not wait to get my hands on a hoe. Rakes and shovels are sounding good too and the grass should be growing soon too. Yippeee!!!!! Sweat! Playing with bees makes you sweat too and that too sounds delightful. Jockeys used to put on suits similar to bee suits to lose weight so bee keepers can too. I am hoping to have the most pampered bees this summer. I couldn't touch them last summer as I did not want to get a new suit just to fit.
Ingrid has been a little naughty lately and is reminding me of baby Cecilia. Cecilia used to pinch me all the time and little Ingrid is picking up similar habits. At least she isn't laughing at me yet like her big sister did. Cecilia had an abrupt weaning.......poor child. I don't even think she noticed. Ingrid, I think, just needs daily manicures or something. She has knives for fingernails. Ouch.
Off to nighty night land......sooooo tired. Fell asleep during the family movie watching. Some people I know fall asleep during conversation.....
Married for 22 years.
Mom to eight kids 9 mos to 18 years. Life is full of parenting a variety of ages and all that goes with them and of course taking care of the ever hardworking hubby. I do still love to mow the lawn, knit a few stitches when I can, and spend time with friends when I can.