Thursday, November 26, 2009

Resisting impulse purchase

Charley sort of shocked me by saying it would be fine with him if we upgraded the laptop with a new laptop. I must confess I almost jumped on that as it was tempting, sounded good, sounded fun but.........it's a lot of money. I think we will wait awhile. Best Buy does have some great deals on hp's that are a lot more computer than we have now. That made it all the more tempting but this laptop will do for now. It is tempermental and locks up from time to time (sometimes more frequently than other times) but it behaves pretty well. I can't mess with my pictures too much but as my brother Steve mentioned, there will be after Christmas sales as well and the prices only get a little better and give you a little more computer. Sigh. I sort of surprised myself from going from almost the checkout cart to just deciding not to do it at all. Weird.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Another reason I love to bike

Yesterday was by most people's definition, dreary. I guess I would beg to differ. It didn't really rain too much until late and dreary is what you make of it and as the saying goes, it is in the eye of the beholder to determine what dreary is. I took my bike ride despite the 'dreary' forecast and I am glad I did it. There is a different sort of beautiful to a day like yesterday. It was completely quiet except for what animals were scurrying around. The leaves, even though they are not on the trees anymore, are truly beautiful carpeting the forest ground. I love it. Without the leaves in the forest you can see evidence of past generations buildings, the remains of stone fireplaces and foundations. This sort of thing reminds me of my dad and my quest to find the home places of some of our ancestors in Sweden. Those reminders of the past are even here in our young nation. It is pretty cool.

The other thing I enjoy is observing all the different sorts of homes there are. You can tell what has been added on. Some of the homes are so tiny you wonder who lives there but they look pretty cozy. Some of them are so new and huge you also wonder who lives there. Most of the homes in the country are well taken care of and you can see the care that has gone into them. South of town is rolling hills and it is just stunning to get to the next hill. When I bike towards dusk the sun going down puts a whole new spin on the ride. Of course it also makes me spin faster so I am not out when the sun IS down.

Yesterday I saw two different groups of deer and a red shouldered hawk. Coming upon these animals in the quiet is something that calms my soul and gives me cause to pause and marvel. Dreary days keep the complainers inside and affords me more wonder of God's creation. Not that I don't enjoy seeing people but sometimes I see so much of people that it is fine with me to be alone spinning down the country roads.

I hope to keep this biking thing up as long as possible barring snow and the temperature getting too low. I guess I can not complain for dreary skies as there is still much to wonder at. Getting outside is good for me at least to get over dwelling on the lack of sunshine and obviously there is much to see. Maybe it will stop raining sometime today so I can escape and soak some more 'dreary' in.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Trip to PA

We had a very nice visit in PA. Too short as usual but nice just the same. Everyone there seemed to be doing well. We went to visit the Rodenbeck's on Friday night. Scott was in charge of some sort of 'night out for mom and dad', do fitness activities with kids at their church. You find out just how homeschooled your children are when you participate in such activities. Poor little Benjamin had not a clue what a relay race was (not that this is a requirement for life) so when the relay began he thought he should just go with everyone else. Taking turns running was not explained of course since everyone else there knew what a relay race was. So........instead of running down and around one cone he ran down and around all the cones. He is only six but my not very well behaved brain had a compulsion to shout "Run Forest, Run" as he cheerfully went about his business of not knowing what in the world was going on. No, I am not going to start having the kids run relay races so they can be more properly socialized. I have a distinct memory of our older kids having similar difficulties and they were younger but older than Benjamin is now, at a gunny sack race at some other Pennsylvania gathering. I also know for a fact that Anna was not asked if she knew how to run relay races when she applied to college so this will not be added to my long list of things to do. Or........evil giggle..........we could have everyone run relay races at Thanksgiving to be eligible to eat dinner. Hmmm.....

Our visit with Rodenbeck's themselves was very nice. We will have to see if we can stay a little longer next time so I can go to the nearby IKEA and Erik can go to the museum there. How will I remember that????

Saturday noon we were at Mary and Floyds in Somerset. They seem to be doing better than the last time we were there. The kids had fun feeding the old horse up on the hill. Even Stefan was not scared of it this year and kept dragging his siblings and dad out the door to go visit it. They fed the horse apples and that was their basic entertainment at the Reeses this year. Oh.........that and playing Old Maid where the Old Maid card was more worn than the rest so the kids knew which card NOT to pick as it was too obvious. Then.........I played the game with them and solved that little problem of critical thinking............how hard is it to hide the mark on the card behind other cards. The biggest lesson learned in that game was 'what does it mean to play fair and not cry if you get the Old Maid?' They were perplexed how I tricked them.

Saturday night we went to the Walkers home also better known as the place with the cows and the legos. The younger kids got to bottle feed new calves. I have not looked at the pictures yet but that was a lot of fun. The Walkers work harder than anyone I know, getting up at 3:30am to do the morning milking and working most of the day with maybe a nap until 8:30ish at night. I don't think I would be able to handle that. Horners work hard but not THAT hard. We enjoyed our visit with them as we always do and Cindy continued the Somerset tradition of trying to kill you by feeding you to death. We ate WAY more food than we usually do while in Somerset. The kids just kept stuffing it in endlessly. They don't eat that way at home so I guess they were enjoying the freedom to eat or something.

Sunday and Monday we were at Mary and Floyds again for more of the same. The kids also managed to go swimming and rot their brains out in the hotel room watching silly movies.

Walmart provided the opportunity for us to run into Charley's Uncle Ed and family. Richard, their son, is in his mid-forties now and he was helping him mom load groceries. I saw him first as we pulled in. His mom said Richard told her "That was Cha Cha." (Richard is mentally handicapped). So........we visited in the parking lot. I now have a new name for Charley thanks to Richard. Richard is so very cute. We also ran into Mary and Floyd's daughter-in-law Pam and her daughter Lisa and granddaughter Hayden when we stopped to get a few things on the way out of town. Charley (Cha Cha) finally called my cell phone as he thought I was just going to run in and get milk and wondered what happened to me. Uh.......yeah..........I visited with them for quite some time.

So ended our mini vacation. We left a little later than we had planned Monday afternoon and got home pretty late. I think Stefan developed a fascination with rest stop potties and suddenly needed to go to the potty a lot. Another child was not feeling so great (probably from over eating) and I thought we would never get home for all the stopping. Anyway........we are home. Yay! I love my house, I love my nest, in all the world my nest is best!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Walking by it

There are few other things that can bring me down than areas of the house that have been neglected and so I continue to walk by them...........till the mood strikes and I tackle, conquer and divide. Yikes. We have this attic walk way that is 'finished' and used as an area for the baby crib, storage area and some kid's dresser. It is every kid's favorite dumping ground for old Kleenexes, random pieces of paper, dumping picture books that they have read, leaving the comics that have been snuck up there to be read until their mother figures out they are missing. Ingrid dumped a potted plant over months ago and it broke and went all over behind her crib.........emphasis on behind the crib..........out of sight..........out of mind. These types of places are overwhelming to me and easy to avoid as long as possible. Yuck. Today is the day. I have way too much energy to conquer these areas and will probably end up exhausting myself and fall in a heap in the evening from being on my feet all day chasing grossness. Why do I do this to myself?????? I might actually let someone go upstairs in my house after today until.........it happens again. If I appear bedraggled in the evening blame the attic.........today...........yesterday sleep deprivation............today clutter.............what will tomorrow bring????????????

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Long but good day

There's a bad pattern around here of the short people getting up earlier and earlier.....I need to go to bed earlier and earlier then.........my brain is also setting itself to wake up that early!!! Bad, bad, not good! You would think they would be worn out enough to make it to at least........6:30? I can't imagine what life will be like when the youngest kids here will be teenagers. I guess I will catch up on my sleep and might be caught at the door in my pjs at noon.

Church was good as usual. Was able to pay attention most of the time which is always a good thing. Voters meeting.........not my favorite thing but always........interesting.

Noticed after unloading Ingrid from the van that she is MUCH too big for her infant car seat anymore and she is now officially graduated to the backwards toddler seat. She did not appreciate the headlights in her eyes when we drove home after dark. Much screaming!

Went on a brief walk with my buddy LaRena this afternoon. That was nice and we should do that more often. I need to remember the carriage next time though as carrying Ingrid on my back is becoming more of a challenge, especially with long distances. Carrying her around the house is one thing but taking a 'walk' is hard.

No bike ride today......maybe tomorrow. Bleary eyed tired and should go read a book for school.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Various things including today

Today was certainly a marathon which most days seem like that lately. I even squeaked in some reading instruction with Benjamin this morning. Wow! I find I have to get to his reading work first thing or the very thought of how it sometimes goes arye might prevent me from even starting. Some of my kids have learned easily without much effort from me and some........well it takes a little longer.

The day really started at 5:30am with the little Fefan coming down soaked to the gills and just wanting dry clothes and wondering when the playing could begin. I sucked him into bed with us and proceeded to try and coerce him back to sleep. No dice. I eventually attacked him with a stuffed dog puppet and he became a giggle monster.

Breakfast............boring cereal........no glorious Saturday morning pancakes and no granola.......again. My little bowl of sugary cereal took me till 10:30 before the sugar crash forced me to indulge in some fish chowder and a dill pickle from last nights dinner. Yum. Yeah, fish in the morning is not everyone's cup of tea but I love it. Haven't had any herring in awhile so chowder is a close second.

The rest of the morning was full of searching and destroying the laundry piles and sorting the sock mountain. Wow. Everyone has quite a bit more clothes in their closets/drawers and the living room is much cleaner. Yay! Doesn't this thrill you???? Cecilia helped till it was time to go to Cooking Club with the most wonderful Karen. Honestly I would have forgotten if she hadn't shown up at the door! Rather the other girls showed up at the door and Cecilia ran out of it. Cute. I believe she had a great time.

The boys worked on a 'secret' project which I need to devote some time to investigating tomorrow. I'm pretty excited about that. Tobias also came over and shot all his arrows and some of ours into never never land in the field. We will have to have a search and rescue mission with the kids before it snows. I don't think they shot anything.

Late afternoon I took a glorious bike ride into the sun set (almost literally) and enjoyed the scenery once again and even saw another biking nut. I usually see people walking their dogs. I have to say the little Chihuahua's scared me more than the Weimaraner that always comes to bark at me. I thought the little buggers might shoot into my spokes but safely got around them and gave a cheerful hello to the smiling owner.

The evening zipped by. Helped Charley figure out our lovely computer that limps along to get the church budget updated and printed. Fun. Watched too much tv and spent way too much time figuring out how to spell those two dog breeds above. I really MUST go to bed so I don't get too droopy in church in the morning. :o) Ingrid would never let me do that though. Tomorrow I hope to go on a simple walk with a friend and get a little work done on the 'secret' - not telling.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Sandhill crane day


The kids and I had fun going to Jasper-Pulaski State Park to see the cranes today. Benjamin is jabbering in the background on this video. You can actually hear him over the deafening noise of the birds. I was not sure what to expect but am glad we went. There were thousands of birds all over this field and the video was of one of the times a large amount of them took off and starting either flying away or resituating themselves. I would take the kids again some time...........perhaps in the spring when the sun going down time would not be quite as cold.


The trip home was pretty uneventful aside from the three year old who refused to use the port a potty at the park screaming he needed to go potty and then mad I ate the last cookie. Good thing we found a gas station out there in the sticks with a decent bathroom. The child really needed to go. I'm sure everyone wanted to know that.

video

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Marching Orders and relating to our children

I was chatting with a friend yesterday about a book she had read regarding our relationship with our children. It had sort of a new thought or emphasis that I suppose I've read about before but it is usually put in terms of nurturing and not specifically in terms of using the term "marching orders". It was discussing the caution that we can get in the habit of only relating to our kids in terms of giving out 'marching orders' and not in terms of just having fun with them or talking with them about whatever. I thought it was a good warning to give especially in terms of a large family as there are so MANY marching orders to give out that we can easily fall into the trap of not talking with them and only seeing what needs to be done and having them do it. Sometimes my days can be like that in order to get through the day but I think I do make some of a point to chat with my kids. Sometimes I probably talk more with my kids about how things are going then worrying about the marching orders so I suppose a happy medium can be met. I just blogged on chatting with my daughter dear in Bloomington. Her marching orders are to keep marching - har, har. I can hear her marching in the background when we talk! Anyway, I think I need to keep this more in mind with my middle children as they are not really old enough to be having discussions about their life plans or at least they don't seem too interested and they easily can be taken advantage of in the 'get it done' department and forget to just sit down and have fun with them. There is a ton of work to be done around here and the potential for much giving out of marching orders but in the end, that is not the most important thing for them. Life can not only be about tasks and I personally start to go nutty when the emphasis is only on that. Why would I assume that is not true of the little people in my life too??? They are people with thoughts and feelings too. A favorite past time of mine is to stare at their eyes while they don't know I am looking and wonder what they are thinking about. Why would I assume they are any different than me with a desire to be related to.

Ways I have fun with them is to work with them and talk with them while we are working. I also try to make a point of taking kids with me to the store and really could do better on that one. They would enjoy the outing and it does give me an opportunity to talk with them. I recently took Benjamin to the store and you would think he just landed from another planet as he had SO many questions about everything. I NEED to take that boy out more. Cecilia was not much different. Benjamin in fact assumed I was taking him Christmas shopping as that was probably the last time he went to the store...........last year! Just sitting down on the couch and reading a book together or even not together while listening to music is a good thing. Grabbing their Scout book and helping them through doesn't hurt. Helping them with their Catechesis rather than just asking them if they've done it. Laughing more and helping them see they are more important than marching orders. Chilling out and laughing over stuff rather than stressing over them. Sigh. Double sigh. I hope my kids know they are more important than the marching orders I give out.

Instructions, instructions and forgetting the child inside that head. Not good. Sigh. Marching orders - uh yeah. I know I hate having relationships built on what I should be doing next so good old fashioned conversation and talking about why the stores put candy in the check out lane can only be a good thing (so mommy will be tempted by a Heath bar again). I love being appreciated and I love conversation myself. I hate only being talked to about the tasks at hand and the next fire to put out. It is the least I can do for my kiddos is take time to talk with them. I love my kids and certainly hope I can keep this in mind with all of them. I really think my house would look a lot nicer if I would just stop talking to them so much about life but.............see the words above........it is not always worth it.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Silly thoughts

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I am sure that last post was less than convincing to the crowd who puts no credence in proceeding in faith. Oh well. Anyway, it has been a long and busy day and I should hit the hay. It started out with my washing the floor and then someone promptly spilling milk all over the place. It did actually improve from there. I got bunches of stuff done and not enough school work done with the six year old. Matthew helped him with his math and actually did a pretty decent job with him (Benjamin). Perhaps I will have to pay him to help out with that but Matthew has enough stuff on his plate he probably won't be able to squeeze that in.

The evening concluded with me frustrating myself by going to church and first off looking forward to that and then..........fussy, loud Ingrid decided it was best to go home and hit the hay. So she promptly fell asleep on the way home and now most everything is quiet. Better grab a book and try not to let it hit my face.

Cat skeletons in trees

You know how people fish cats out of trees as they are afraid they will get stuck there. I loved the scenario presented to me once upon a time (I think it was my husband who spent too much time fishing a cat out of a tree in our backyard) that you don't see too many cat skeletons in trees. Well, for some reason I equate this scenario with anyone claiming that 'family planning' must include the reasoning that we should be able to provide for them. Of all the families I know who have large families, no matter what their income, I have yet to attend any of their children's funerals because they failed to be able to provide for them. WHO provides for them??? Hmmmm...... I know quite of a few people who have come from large families who are much older than me and they have nothing but love and affection to express for their families and since they are still living I don't think their funeral occurred as a result of their parent's 'poor planning'. Of any of these older people who admitted to feeling hungry at any time, they still are well adjusted, contributing members of the church and the world at large.

If there are any hungry today that are known, then shame of me/us for not giving them a hand. But.........I also don't know too many who do not willingly lend a hand to those they see in need or at least could be helped from someone else's generosity. I am refraining from even mentioning the 'proceeding in faith' duhness and remembering who gives life to begin with as that seems to escape some people. But duh.......that is true too. I personally try, as my poor mind remembers, to pass things along when a need is there. Not patting myself on the back but this still seems like normal behavior even for the most earth hugging people who might want some recognition for doing so, to love their neighbor and be thankful for what they have even if they do not realize it was not for their perfect planning that God continued to provide for them.


So.......if I am not available to do something due to the fact that I have a whole bunch of children's funerals to attend, then I am sorry and I hope to be able to make time for y'all in the future. I need to scoot as my added resonsibility is doing her best to trash the house as fast as she can.

Can't blame it on dial-up anymore

It used to be people would try to call and someone would be on the Internet with the phone being busy all the time. Well, we don't have that excuse anymore. Now, the new thing is for it still to be busy with me talking to my dear eldest daughter on the phone. My mother might be calling too. My mom is responsible for this habit I think in that growing up we talked a lot and then again when I flew the coop we still talked a lot. Now with the great gift of cell phones and Anna is between classes or avoiding her homework at night..........she calls.........or I call. I love it. We are a great distraction to one another. I hope I will talk to my sons as much when they fly the coop but of course if I keep up the same pace, then the phone will always be busy and forget getting through the line. I sort of assume that there are not that many people who might be trying to call anyway so blah, blah, blah we go. It's fun. :o) If someone really wants to get ahold of me try the cell phone. At least I'll know you called and I might stop talking to my daughter or mom long enough to return your call. :o)

Anna has seven classes today so I suppose I will get a lot more done. :o)

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Little Fefan

Otherwise known as Stefan is three years old today. Phew. It's been a busy three years. His last year has been basically good. He still has eczema but it doesn't seem to make him as crazy. So far this morning, I made him pancakes and he is exercising his threeness in insisting he pick out his pancake, carry his own plate, get his own fork, pour his own syrup and..........finally after much fuss has gotten some calories in his stomach. He is totally in a mood to 'do it himself'. Hopefully if we keep a steady stream of calories coming his direction he will remain in a good mood.

His accomplishments of last year were conquering the potty training, asserting himself in being tidiest child in the family complete with dustpan and broom, and he now might look in your direction if you are not a family member. He is really pretty sweet and I am looking forward to some serious snuggle time with him. Of course if he decides to scream at me and not want to do things together I will try not to giggle at his opinionated self.

Happy Birthday Stefan!

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Noise and the dad

This may seem like Mr. Obvious to those readers who read this silly thing and look from the outside but it occurred to me last night that I have been single parenting for several months and I basically just need some relief or least some sharing of the noise better known as 7 kids making a lot of noise and a lot of messes with only me to listen. The dad certainly has been around a little more but he also has had his work stress so I have not even asked or expected much of him in the line of support. I guess I am just a wimp and NEVER could have a been a military wife as I frankly do not love going it alone here. I am just noised out. So after a little discussion last night and the dad coming and helping with some daddy things, I felt a great sense of relief and calm. This mom can certainly feel like a nut with the demands, demands, demands that kids throw your direction and then all of that can be accompanied by noise - whining, arguing siblings, screaming tired toddlers. It is just exhausting. So.........I just need some dad support I am thinking for the critical times when moving forward simply feels like a challenge.

Dads do need to help their crazy wives. Crazy wives whose only role seems to be chasing the kids, cooking, cleaning, laundry, do benefit from some sort of outlet. I am not getting any outlet right now either with all the chasing. The school chasing is also exhausting but we persevere. Anyway......if I could impress on the dad's what a difference it makes to help with little details, like speeding the procrastinating, cute little buzzards to bed or speeding the kitchen clean up along.....then.........well.........then there could be some calmer wives and mothers out there and calmer kids as well. My role or the mom's role is constant maintenance. I would love to have that extra time to snuggle more with my kiddos (hey, I could rename this blog Karin's buzzard's - ha ha!) instead of only being the maintenance person. "Pick this up. Put away your laundry, work on your homework, have you done this? Help with cleaning. You made a mess, clean it up. etc......." How much nicer it would be to be remembered for something more than chasing after their needs. I used to read to the older ones regularly and I now have to make a conscious effort to remember to do this with the kids now. The dad can help with that too. It pays dividends in smarter kids you know!

So dad's.........we mom's give up most everything that interests us, horn playing, reading, participating in any sort of groups, sleeping........for the good of the family and because our kids and husbands can't seem to live without us but seriously, this mom and many other's need some relief every DAY ! This mom has no option to just every evening go do something else. This mom is a little weary and other mom's get to this point too. It doesn't hurt to try to help out a little more and remember that your wife's brain might implode if one more evening goes by without a little help. I should not be trapped into thinking I need to be a hero for my stressed husband and I know the men folk need to be told what is needed but hint, hint.......if your wife is imploding.......step up to the plate and hit it out of the park!!!!! After all Joe DiMaggio otherwise known as my husband, you ARE very good at helping with the little darlings and your cuteness while sweeping the living room and reading to and diapering short people makes my heart swell. It also makes my heart beat..........slower and more deliberately. Love you dear!

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

What else is there to talk about

Sorry. One other thought. If I am constantly cleaning and chasing scum, that leaves very little time for me to do anything that might be very interesting or be more interesting to others to talk about other than chatting about scum in our houses. Listening to 'discussions' on things more interesting leaves me feeling sort of out of it as my mind can not even wrap itself around a subject which could be interesting to me if I had time to devote brain cells to it. I dreamed of keeping up with the reading with the older kids this year again and it has not been happening. I will give it another go but I do wish I had something more interesting to discuss with other people other than my discouragement and feelings of being overwhelmed. I will 'try hard' to try to focus on other peoples lives right now and it is true I have been sort of a boring downer. Yikes. I think the struggle is I would like to be able to enjoy my children and find very little opportunity to do that when the rest of life looms. Oh........the other stresser is having my husband stressed from people all around him losing their jobs and wondering what his own future is as far as where they will be working etc. He is not exactly capable of helping destress things right now and so I chase after trying to make his life easier and even that has not been working well lately. There is only one of me. That is all. I'm not helping myself here.

Restless

I have been on a total mission to try to descum my house. If you are having quality school, you do not have quality cleaning. So, I've been 'trying' to get up early and get to details that otherwise are neglected. We of course have not gotten to all the details and I use "we" loosely as it is mostly me getting up at five something to conquer and divide. This mission leaves me very restless with 'ants in my pants' syndrome. I can not say it is the most satisfying mission either as my dear husband does not even notice any change and I frankly get pretty discouraged. I FRANKLY would much rather be reading a book or playing my horn or riding my bike. I have no doubt that these are the most difficult years of the mommy gig where house cleaning is concerned. It is also difficult to get quality thorough school done when I am restless and crazed with cleaning. Sigh. So goes another negative blog post but that is what is new with me.

On a more positive note (maybe) I had a fantastic time with the Anna this weekend and am so looking forward to Thanksgiving and Christmas for a little more time. We are hopelessly close and connected with one another and understand each other better than most. I was contemplating my restlessness in regard to having a little taste of her home, and I think I become more restless as I miss having her 'understanding self' around. We still talk and write naughty texts to one another. Texts are very silly.

I can't MAKE my kids do what they are supposed to do. I can only be the ever nagging mother, chasing after their lists and hoping for the best. But this role is also something that would frankly not be my first choice. I do not enjoy getting after them when I wish I could just trust them to do what they are supposed to be doing. They do a pretty good job but there is still the stress hanging over my head that increases my cranky muscle. Yes, I heard the homily last night and I am attempting to cheerfully process my vocation but sometimes I can just feel panicked. Sigh. See........so negative. Get a grip.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Karin the mess

Pulling myself together to take the Anna home. The weekend has been good but the house is a mess and so........I fall apart. No one has to fix it. It will all be ok eventually. I hate mice, the fact we have to cook, clean, and create laundry. I love the verses in the Bible we heard this morning of no more tears. Love it. Sounds very attractive. Great service this morning when I was able to pay attention. Great to have Anna to revel in Emmaus. Great to celebrate with Pastor Grobien for his third anniversary of his ordination. Thank you to him from me! I need to laugh more and he definitely helps me in that department. Should probably give him a call for a laugh booster shot.

Love my friends, love my family, and of course Love my Lord. Not in that order. Loved my Goddaughter coming to visit Emmaus this morning. Will love my hours with my girl on the way home.

Later!

No land phone

Just so you know, the land phone is not working but.......the internet is. How funny. I will check into the phone later today. The wind must have done it in.