Thursday, July 30, 2009


I think I might try a little experiment out on the family. Perhaps I will wake up tomorrow morning and not ask anyone to do anything and see what happens. I will greet them with a cheery smile and inquire as to whether they are well. I was thinking about squeezing in a trip to the pool by myself though and pick up some of that tanning stuff on the way there, sweat and watch the sweat pool up on my arms while baking. I have not done that in probably twenty years. That just sounds like fun to me. It would be curious, although I would have to ask someone to watch the children, to see what would happen and if they would even notice. I did ask Charley this evening if he were interested in us all going out to chop wood after he got done eating. He looked at me oddly. Benjamin looked a little scared. Benjamin is so very cute though that I probably shouldn't scare him like that. I think I will go discuss this plan with Charley. I do have to take Erik to math tutoring in the morning so he will at least have to get in the van. Hmmmm.....

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Anna packing

Just to keep everyone up to date on this depressing subject. Ok, it is not entirely depressing and I am happy for her. I must have done a few things right as she has taken it upon herself to clean out most of her 'stuff' that is her girl stuff so that Ingrid will have a room to share with her sister Cecilia soon. She does all this of her own fruition and it was nothing I even suggested. The conversation with most friends is even trying to remember this process from when we went 'away' to college. I put that in quotes seeing as I could have walked home from college if I had wanted to. I kept that under my hat as much as possible and mainly joked with my roommate about the long drive home. There have been many humorous conversations about this topic from people whose mommies did the whole packing thing complete with stacks of new underwear and socks to 'I didn't want my mom to come near my stuff' packing scenario. I do not think Anna falls into that category but she is definitely mature enough to handle this. I do occasionally mention for her to mention to me if she would like new tennis shoes with better arch support or does she want particular soap etc. Her response to the shoes question (this morning at a little past twelve) was "No mom. I do not want to wear clunky tennis shoes with my dresses" and "I saw plenty of clunky shoes at HT and I am not interested." Ok, daughter dear.

I need to get a few containers for her to label and put in the 'nightmare' storage building. My stomach gets occasionally tied in knots through this process and I will try not to make everyone nuts dwelling on that but......I can't help it. We are partying up the last few weeks here. Yesterday she was craving corn pops which her grandma donated on occasion after sleepovers so I picked some up for her along with a bottle of Dr. Pepper which she also mentioned. I don't want to be accused of never getting her anything fun.

The 'guest room' is done and I will continue to look for ways to make that room comfy and inviting. Anna will be our 'guest' come holidays and breaks. That is such an odd and scary thought. I better go chug some more coffee and perhaps hill up some corn or something to calm myself. It's will be ok......I am still excited for her.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Nice visit with Charley's parents

It has been fun to see Charley's dad having a good time wandering around the ten acres and basically having a nice time. Charley has worked on several car issues while his dad hung around watching him, clearly interested in what his son was doing. His mom has been most helpful in a quiet sort of way and has expressed her frustration that she wishes she could help more and doesn't know how I manage all the kids etc. She too has settled in, found a good book, enjoyed some nice meals and had fun talking with the kids.

We went to Shipshewana today and had an enjoyable time going to their favorite stores and looking for the odd little things one finds in Shipshewana to add to our kitchen gadget collections. We had our traditional ice cream at Wana-cup and they were both impressed that two year old Stefan did not spill a drop of ice cream on himself. Stefan chattered the whole time about all the horseys and wouldn't let a horse go by without my acknowledging he saw one.

Evenings have been relaxed and Charley's mom even expressed her surprise of how well his dad was feeling and doing during their visit. His dad is quite the character and I don't really mind his quirks too much. I would not want to depend on him to get me to the hospital on time if that were ever needed but......when all is said and done, it is possible to work within his 'system'. For an almost 83 year man with normal old age aches and pains he seems to be doing quite well with just a little help from a cane when needed. I am happy he has had a chance to just roam around freely.

I hope the kids will be able to remember these times as they are not often enough. We have a few more days left and hopefully they will be able to come again soon.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Urban Sprawl

Quietly the land near our home has been sold to a developer who specializes in apartment complexes. I have only had a few hours to process this and already feel like packing, selling off lots of stuff and moving. I fought the good fight against a truck depot six years ago and won but am doubtful I can win this one. If they put in nice condos that would be different and I would be fine with that Sigh. I am exhausted basically and my dear husband wonders if I will be checking into the mental hospital but am trying to pull myself together and not despair. I am not putting moving out of the realm of possibilities as we will have to live with the apartment mess the rest of our lives. Why we can not just be satisfied with the housing that is available is beyond me. Fix up what we have people!!!!! There are plenty of homes that could be torn down or rehabbed and used and not left for the rats and other rodents to degrade the city. Breathe.....breathe......Lord have mercy. In the end I hope my children find a nice place for me in the country side, safe from urban sprawl to plant me someday. I am just being silly here but I drive by these cemetaries in the country that are way out, surrounded by trees and farm fields and figure they would be great to take a rest in. Yes, I am a bit odd. There is a great cemetary on top of the hill in Pennsylvania that would be fantastic too but of course I won't give a hoot or a hollar at that point. It's a nice walk at any rate and the kids might enjoy the fresh air. :o) I will try to keep my humor but a rest sounds nice.

Kicking and screaming

I just dropped my older three kids off for their trip to Higher Things. I didn't want to say goodbye to them and feel sort of caught. I have only been to one conference and loved it and the time I could watch and observe my kids enjoying themselves and enjoying other young people their age. I am sure it is entirely my fault that I did not speak up and make it clear that I would have liked to go with. There already were chaperons who did not have small children so why would anyone including myself think that I would want or need to go with? Well.....I just love my kids and feel like I am missing out on this part of their lives. A person could say "well, you can do that with the younger ones" but.....I want to do it with the older ones too. Kicking and screaming. I love time with youth period and I am missing out on that too. I am not anyone important. I am just a mom who painfully feels sad when I am separated from an event where I COULD have gone if I just had the brains to have spoken up. It made sense at the time and now it doesn't make sense at all.

My kids never get family vacations for some weird reason. It is probably the fact that it is expensive to get rooms for all of us and other families are not jumping up and down to take in ten extra people and feed them. So Higher Things is also my kids vacation. I WANT TO BE WITH THEM!!!!!!! It will probably take me a day to get over it and stop feeling lost and sad. I am contemplating going up on Friday for the Divine Service and at least be a part of that but ultimately will probably not as I would just be sad at what I missed out of with them.

Poor me moment. Might blog some more on this topic as it certainly does pertain to moms with lots of kids and I cannot believe that other moms do not feel the same way but I do think other moms seem to suck it up better than me in regard to these things.

Off to piano lessons......

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Family and friends

We had a great time yesterday wishing my dear daughter congratulations on completing her high school years and also wishing her well for the future. There were 80 plus people in attendance and I only wish I had a little more time to visit with people but the efforts were worth it to see everyone have a nice time.

The week before the party, my friend Cheryl and I, tackled repainting two of the rooms in our house. We had a wonderful time painting and of course talking, talking, talking. She SO gave of herself to help her tired friend. Anna did most of the work with her and I supervised the kids and feeding everyone. I probably already blogged about this. We now have a guest room and another room to just be able to sit and relax when the opportunity presents itself. I am excited about the possibilities. We worked hard to get it done before Charley's parents came as we were looking forward to their visit and knew they would appreciate their privacy and we would appreciate not having to have anyone give up their bedrooms. The now guest room was a second eating area which did come in handy with guests but we can still set up an extra table in another area to accommodate our regular flow of families visiting.

My mom made an unheard of amount of cookies so I wouldn't have to mess with desert for the crowd and even made a set of cupcakes at the last minute to help our friend's son celebrate his fifth birthday. He was so very cute. Mom was so very helpful and of course everything was organized and easy to distribute. Yay for moms!

What I especially enjoyed were all the warm faces who came from all over to be able to be there yesterday. I forgot to send my poor brother his invitation and so a few days before the party sheepishly called him and he cheerfully came along and many had the pleasure of talking with him and his wife. I gave him a hug when he was leaving and asked him if he was scarred from his late invitation and he smiled and said of course not. I love being understood. It is so very sweet.

I was also very appreciative as I have said before of my college roommate and her husband who came a few weeks ago to take Anna's graduation pictures for the invitations they made for us. They mailed them promptly to me and everyone got their lovely invitations as soon as they came (except my brother ;o) Thank you Steve for still loving me). So thank you also to my dear friend Elise!!!!

Yes.....I am richly blessed with people who do give a hoot about me, which being poor self-esteem me have trouble acknowledging. I could have just sat there and simply stared at everyone who puts up with me and still loves me despite my many weaknesses and failings. Eight kids keep me hopping and I am not the queen of etiquette ( I do enjoy a good book on manners though). I am also very grateful for my dear husband who tries so very hard to do the right thing for me and his family. We all muddle, muddle together and I will continue to muddle along myself despite my inabilities.

I think the last of the broilers are meeting their demise so should probably stop blogging and run the get my dear daughter something for Higher Things......

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Hoping to tackle more rooms

We have two rooms put back together with fresh lovely paint and trim completely painted. It looks awesome. We just rehung the shelf that was there when we bought the place as my brilliant daughter suggested we not put any nick knacks on the piano etc. and only put them up on the shelf....if we really love them. Good-bye cluttered look. We are slowly and carefully putting up pictures and I now stare at other rooms sorely in need of paint and am ready to tackle them soon. I can't wear my dear daughter out before she leaves but we have been having a lot of fun together with this little project. Get 'er done!!!!!

I mowed a ton of grass today and almost got the whole thing done again. I am sure I will sleep well tonight. It is raining which is also good for garden. I have to get up early and go hunt tomatoes at the farmers market. I was hoping I would have my own but that is not working out. Lots of squash and broccoli though.

I think I will go read my Rainbow Resource Center catalogue and try not to let it hurt me when I fall asleep with it in my face.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Focus and finish!!!!!

Ah there is nothing like a focused woman to help this unfocused woman.....focus. It is very tempting to rip the whole house apart but just getting these two rooms painted (with all the help from my dd and friend Cheryl) is what must be done or risk getting even more depressed than I already have the capability to be! Our newly painted rooms look so fantastic even while they are not finished I can hardly believe my eyes. Love it. Every unfinished portion that has sat that way for years is being tackled and done. Love it!!!

Off to feed the redecorators!

Flies and Nerf Guns

There was a fly invasion last week from people leaving the door open and probably from the animals still being here and kids leaving their barn boots by the back door unwashed..... These flies have been teaching my dear children some valuable lessons though. I explained to them that when tables and counters don't get wiped down that it attracts flies. This information seems to be finally sinking in. They are keeping up on this sort of thing a little better now.

An amusing thing that happened was my sixteen year old dear son discovered that if you use your nerf gun you can easily kill LOTS of flies. I am not sure I am totally in favor of this as I think his method is to turn off all the lights and wait for them to land on the ceiling and then....pow! He gets them. He rarely misses.

So......if you are looking for a practical use for your nerf gun bearing kids, I just thought I would share that useful information with you and perhaps rid your house of more flies.

Looking like an non-eventful day at the Horners.....phew.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Charley's vacation

It seems like Charley spent most of his vacation fixing broken things. I think I mentioned that earlier. Well he goes back to work tomorrow so I hope things are done being broken. I think he spends much of his time at work fixing broken things as well. Fortunately he seems satisfied that it was all worth it.

Hopefully I get back to painting tomorrow and finish the job......

Saturday, July 11, 2009

One other thought

I suppose this could be construed as a poor me statement but if a reader bore with me and my weak ability to explain myself it might make sense. might not. :o) I think the last month has been as nutty as this person can tolerate and I am losing my grip on a lot of things. Little things are bothering me and big things seem overwhelming or maybe they are not big at all. I keep chugging along and am finding a lot of what I say to others coming across as confusing to them or better left unsaid. What goes on in my head and what I say often times does not make sense so it is too bad we can't all just rewind the tape. would be nice to have a better ability to understand what other people are even thinking in regard to conversation as I am too often just confused. I do not think I am very good at expressing myself and when I am tired it just.....gets.....worse. I think too much I think. I should stick to chucking wood and mowing the lawn and of course raising my kids with out too much else coming out of this mouth. See.....poor me statement but I think I am just being honest with myself.

I still have a lot to get done at home this next week to be ready to give my dear daughter a congratulations type party on all her hard work during her school years with me and then the rest of the summer is slipping away fast. I guess it is not THAT much to get done but I still need to put the rooms we tore apart back together. I am just thinking that at times my brain and mouth do not match up and my mouth would be better suited not chatting too much idly when the craziness of life has been pretty wearing lately. I do not find that I am good at explaining myself and my wee little brain and my fragile little heart don't mix too well with other conversation so.....that self-discipline thing to just perhaps keep my mouth shut a little more might be a good muscle for me to rest. I have too much I want to get done including just enjoying my family and other people around me and people I am looking forward to seeing this coming weekend to just shut up but shutting up might be my best option. I know I am not always the best listener and I oftentimes can tell other people aren't really listening or perhaps they don't have spare energy either to deal with my silly need to be understood. Conversation is just confusing at times.

In a dream world I would take my family up to the Quetico or the Rockies and go on a canoe trip or something and just enjoy the lack of responsibility and the incredible solitude and isolation from the crazies. Even this probably does not make sense but my time there as a young person was a time to just.....think and my mind I think just craves some quiet time and pause. See.....I think I posted something like this a few weeks ago.

I think my dear husband too feels a little crazed with all the stuff that keeps breaking around here and all the stuff he would like to get to including doing some special things with his family. Sigh. I am not sure how to help him with that but hopefully we can take a little bike trip some Saturday left this summer before Anna goes off to college. We'll see. How can he enjoy his family WHEN STUFF KEEPS BREAKING!!!! Ugh. Muddle, muddle and I will try to help him enjoy some rest when he can find it and also make this place a little more restful through putting things back together so that resting is not exhausting with all the mess all over from painting etc. So.....speaking of resting I think I will go do that for real now. I am done now. Please tread lightly and I will attempt to deal quietly with whatever comes my way in the line of other people needing something or expecting something from me........don't think too hard about this post if you actually made it through to the end.......

Van falling apart suddenly

All day if I needed to know where Charley was I checked by the van. There was a leak in something in the van and then it seemed that every time I checked the van status the leaks seemed to multiply. It was like a bad dream though the dream was worse for Charley and Erik than for me. They were both wearing gray shirts and jeans so I had trouble knowing whose feet were sticking out from under the van. I think they weigh the same amount too with Charley just being a skinny guy (still strong though) and Erik being a skinny young guy (also strong but not as strong as his dad.....yet). Hopefully Erik saw this as bonding time with dad working on the jigsaw van puzzle. I am also glad I made it home before things went too haywire yesterday.

While they tinkered with the van, a friend helped Anna and I work on painting a few rooms that DESPERATELY needed painted. One is mostly done as far as the wall goes and the other is mostly cut in so that should go quickly. It looks MUCH better! Anna did most of the work but managed to get something in her eye or has some sort of allergic reaction so she went promptly to bed with her benadryl dose and hopes to feel better in the morning.

Matthew almost single handed shoveled out the chicken coop now that the broilers are in the freezer. THAT is hard work too. The whole family is pretty tired and I hope that tomorrow somebody can enjoy their Sunday and get a little rest. Charley spent his vacation fixing stuff so other progress was not quite as obvious.

I spent the day running to the store to get paint and trying to keep everyone happy. Food helps the demeanor of most people so that was my department along with keeping the kids from doing too much damage to the fresh paint. Benjamin managed to rub his hand along a freshly painted wall and then smeared it on his shirt after realizing what he did. Oh well. It will be an interesting undershirt to sleep in. Fortunately it was nothing better than an undershirt.

It is later than I thought so will go crash. Charley and Erik - the twins - are watching Johnny English to have a lighter moment and basically just ate dinner (10:00 dinner - must be European or something). Hopefully they don't watch the whole thing. Must get to sleep.

Another 4H fair is over

I feel like I have my life back again. I am actually sitting still for a moment or two while in my house. The clothes I put out on the line last night since it was not supposed to rain are now soaked and I don't care. They will dry eventually and probably will be nice and wrinkle free. Charley and the boys are at the fair for barn clean up. Charley spent yesterday fixing machinery that was broken and was just finishing up when I pulled in to tell him the van was broken. I think he has that figured out as well now or least I hope so. Fixing machinery is a time eater and I try not to drool after city dwellers who only have vans that break. Property can be a money pit.

I have beans and new zuchinni and squash seeds to plant so I get the full benefit of their yumminess. The weeds should come out easily now that it has rained in the gardens that are planted. I should go wash a floor or something now since little Ingrid is sleeping in this morning.

Painting walls is on the docket for today. I am excited!!!!! It is especially nice to have kids old enough who can help with these things. Ramming speed!!!

Monday, July 06, 2009

I have some explaining to do

Bible class did not work out for me again this evening so spent most of the time in the nursery watching Ingrid and Benjamin bounce around. Then Cecilia came in and was talking to me and in the conversation it came up that Anna would be leaving in August. It did not occur to me that Cecilia did not understand truly what this meant. She thought Anna would be gone for just a little while so I had some explaining to do. I told her slowly and carefully, looking her right in the eyes, that Anna would most likely be gone not for just one year but likely four years and maybe not even be home for the vacations I would love for her to be home for. For all we know it could be for good. Of course I started to cry a little and she did too and she comforted me. I told her I was crying as our family would not be the same and together anymore. I also told her we really need to pal around a lot more together as she would be my big girl at home and we will have to go on little trips together. She then figured out how old Ingrid would be when she graduated. Sigh. I REALLY need to stop this crying at church thing. It did hit me pretty hard the reality of Anna leaving soon. As I have said before I am happy for her and we will just relate differently from here on out. I also think I better sit down with the middle size kids who can understand and explain exactly what is coming up this fall. Double sigh. I should have realized they would not fully get it.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Scout campsite amusement

NIce evening with Scouts

Last night we went to the closing campfire at the boys Scout troop. As has been the case with the troop since we joined I was very impressed with everything that they do. Their campsite was a veritable amusement park complete with a huge tower, rope climbing thingy, zip line, huge merry-go-round, swings, and an all around organized atmosphere. I will have to post a picture of the merry-go-round as I have never seen anything like it. It was a triangle of three posts roped together and then attached with rope to the tree way up. You wound the thing up and it would twist the kids around back and forth.

The boys also had a great skit, were the MC's for the campfire, and had a very nice 'crackle barrel' afterward. Almost every family was represented with parents who came to see what the boys had done which was also very refreshing and nice to see. Both our kids and the kids we brought with had never ending fun last night and did not seem bothered by the late hour. My hat is off to the leaders of this troop. I will HAVE to post some pictures here later. Troop 555 is the best I have ever heard of or seen.

I will happy to have my boys home this afternoon!!!! My family will be back together for the first time in two weeks except for about ten hours last weekend.

Friday, July 03, 2009

"If the pig comes for you Karin"

so says my sweetie pie after soliciting my help with loading the piggies. Instead of getting peeved at him for such a ridiculous statement while pondering my past experiences of being rushed by a pig, I burst out laughing. (thank you Pastor Grobien for setting such a wonderful example for me) "If the pig comes for me dear, I am running that direction. Why am I here?" laughing, laughing.

"Really Karin, this is not good for our marriage" says the farmer big strong and looking perplexed.

"Really honey dear," laughs Karin, "If that pig rushes me it won't be good for our marriage."

He did manage to give a half smile at this and stopped lecturing me on the health of our marriage. The first pig dutifully followed the feed bowl to the trailer. The second and the third little piggies started running around a little aimlessly as I was instructed to follow them. I smiled and handed my pig board to big strong farmer boy son who expertly, confidently herded the piggies in the way that they should go and they got on the trailer. So ends another year of pig loading and maybe next year the man will realize that his citified wife will haul chickens, wash chickens, haul kids to fair, cheer for children, cry at successes but......will not hold a pig board or watch pigs come at her.

Hope you enjoyed another episode of Horner comedy.

Very pleased with 4H fair this year

I am not pleased with the fair because my kids did well but rather because we did not do anything this year that the kids did not do willingly themselves. There have been years that we did things because, well, of course we HAVE to do it because we have done it in the past. Those years were crazy stressful, yucky times. I put my foot down last year that just because their dear daddy might be grieved that his dear children might blow everyone out of the water if they did thus and such, that pressuring them to complete projects that their heart was not in was.......insane. It is the MOMMY who has to drag the dear children around to complete these things and the mommy who has to deliver them.

This year every project that was completed and turned in was completely enthused, done well in advance (mostly) and there WAS NO NAGGING ON THE PART OF THE MOMMY!!!!!! The fair is only useful in so far as it teaches these kiddos to set goals and meet them themselves!!! I do not feel like a crazy person this year albeit I am tired but I feel a great sense of satisfaction that.......I have proven my point. :o) Projects generated by parental pressure are not worth doing.

In the Horner news here is the shake down:

Martin: Blue ribbon in beekeeping (better than last year), reserve champion in his division fine arts.
Matthew: Did not do any projects for exhibit hall (he is a scout through and through)
Erik: Honor group (third place) his division fine arts and Grand Champion Collections.
Anna: Champion overall in Formals. She is VERY happy with this and was not expecting that as she is a purest and did what the pattern instructed and did NOT put in an invisible zipper by fair rules (told me that the night before.....)

Love my kids. Love a good experience. Ready to just enjoy the ride this week at the fair.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Erik shines a little brighter

Since we are not going to the opening of the 4H exhibit hall tomorrow night I the fair office to let Erik and I see how he did on his projects. Well.....he got Honor Group on his painting which actually is excellent for his age level. The upper levels are very competitive and I have always been impressed with the work the 4Hers do in this category. His painting is a study of one of Eric Sloans paintings, his favorite author.

Then in Collections I had a choke up moment where we discovered he was awarded Grand Champion of the the whole project. I am so happy for him as he worked very hard on this as I said in my last post and truly he deserved the award. It is so much sweeter to know that a young person put their all into it and also know what a landmark this was for him personally in seeing that he can acheive quality work and then be sweetly recognized for the effort put forth. I am encouraged that perhaps we are turning a corner. He has always worked pretty hard on his school work but his confidence in himself is sometimes lacking. Having an older sister who seems to excell in all she lays her hands on also has been a challenge to follow. But....I hope he can see that we are equally proud of him in his own achievements and efforts and appreciate all the help he has given this summer as everyone else leaves to go do various fun activities.

I hope he has a great week and can simply enjoy the fair. We turned the broilers in today and the pigs go tomorrow. It seems like the pigs just got here. I better scoot off to bed as sleep seems to be lacking lately. More fun tomorrow as we also go see Matthew and Martin's Scout closing campfire. Their troop puts on great skits.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Erik's day to shine

This spring Erik was searching through the 4H fair handbook and came upon the category of collections. Being the tool collecting maniac that he is, he started reading up on the category and he quietly started compiling an assortment from his tool collection to enter for this year's fair. He did this project completely on his own with just a little guidance on how to use different parts of Microsoft programs. The project required a story and his story was the best thing I have ever read coming from him. Having a great interest in tools and also having read up on the history of tools, he wrote quite the explanation of how his interest in tools has grown, his interest in learning how to use them and sharing this knowledge with others. There was a lot more to his story but this was my proud mommy moment. Erik is very hard on himself and to see how beautifully this project came together was a nice reward in and of itself.

The project was judged this morning and we don't know how he ultimately did but they had open judging. He waited three and a half hours for them to get to his division. He has since shared how he enjoyed the judge's comments on the other projects. The judge reminded me quite a bit of his Grandma Sylvia. She had an enthusiastic interest in the details of the various collections and had much to say about each project. I especially was struck by how she seemed to practically interact with the projects in a very personal way and saw the value of each collections change from year to year. Sylvia would make a great 4H judge as I have heard her say similar things when we have gone to exhibits together in the past or when she made observations of various kitchen tools or ways of doing things. I wonder if she could volunteer somewhere....

Anyway, when the judge got to Erik's project she appeared stunned at its organization and professional appearance. She read his story out loud and had to pause several times to exclaim things like "This projects blows the rest out of the ballpark" and many other compliments directed Erik's way. She asked him a lot of questions as to the use of each tool and was impressed with his knowledge. I was VERY proud of him and could see that it was a special moment for him as well. We did not stick around to see how he did overall as it seemed tacky to linger and breathe down her neck while she was making decisions. He will be happy no matter how it comes out as he had a chance to listen to the judge and her reasons for what she said etc. I will update the blog as I find things out.