Showing posts from 2018

Christmas for the Kiddos

Ya'll, I am almost done Christmas shopping for my kids.  All SEVEN of them.  In fact, the only two things I have left to buy are on my Amazon wish list and I'm just hoping for a price drop in the next week or so.  Other than that, kiddos are done.  (Picking adult gifts isn't quite as much fun.)  I'm doubly happy because this year I think the kids will be excited about all their gifts...honestly, last year was kind of a bust in the kid gift department. Christmas for seven kids is really quite simply.  It starts with a grid on a piece of paper - one line for each kid and three empty columns.  Yeah, that means exactly what it sounds like - each child gets three gifts each generally.  By the time I've gotten this far I have a rough guess what my top budget number is going to be an assign a flexible number to each kid.  As I write down my ideas and research costs, these numbers fluctuate a bit.  So ideas get written down in each open spot, again, three per kid.  When

#HowIHandleIt - Halloween

#HowIHandleIt - Halloween When my husband saw Halloween on the list he said, "Oh, that'll be fun." very sarcastically.  Because this seems to be one of the big battles within the church and it gets old having to state or defend my position (or your position, or anyone's position!).  Here's where I'm at though: I do not like Halloween. I really truly do not like Halloween. I do not like the celebration of fear and death. And since that is what most of decorations and whatnot are centered around I have a hard time with it. I feel like my kids should be able to go to the grocery store without getting scared. It just seems like public displays of fake graveyards, zombies, bloody corpses and skeletons are weird and show where we are at in our culture...but that's just be talking. I will be the first to admit that I've been super judgmental and legalistic about the holiday.  Like I might even question your brand of Christianity if you celebrate it

#HowIHandleIt - Kids + Chores

#HowIHandleIt - Day 2 - Kids + Chores The problem with writing a blog about my life, is my life. I always seem to have so much going on that sitting down for a few minutes to write seems fleeting. Fortunately my phone will translate my words into text and I can sit here burping the baby and talking to myself and thus there will be words to read. One of the big changes we made around here lately is the way we do chores. Traditionally I would make a list every Saturday or Sunday of chores that need to be done before the next weekend. It never seemed like a lot and always seem pretty easy to fit everything into my week unless something crazy happens. What I noticed was my attention was always divided between the chores to get done, homeschooling stuff that needed my attention, and of course just focus time with the kids. So now my new plan is to make my list by Friday night. And instead of using one sheet of paper that is all mine, I use three. At the top of each

#HowIHandleIt - Allowance

#HowIHandleIt - Allowance Currently (which I think is important to say because as seasons change, these kinds of things change as well), we do not do allowance and we do not pay for 99% of chores.  Kids help with the chores and do what they are able to do based on their ages and abilities.  Since we are a family, we don't pay them to participate in the home.   One exception is that I will pay on occasion for something that needs to be done but isn't a normal chore to assign out if I just don't want to do it.  That could be something like cleaning out the van when it is extra dirty or having one of the girls put the boys laundry away.  Do I have to pay? Nope.  I can just assign it and expect it to be done, but they get excited about a little (and I mean a little!) bit of money so why not.  I also occasionally pay the girls for "baby sitting" - meaning they do their best to keep the boys under control upstairs while we do Bible study downstairs.   There are ti

#HowIHandleIt - October Challenge

I am so excited about this challenge in October.  It is making me think a lot about our routines and days and I'm loving getting to share.  I've been posting on Instagram, but some of these things just seem like they need longer explanations plus I thought it'd be fun to keep them here as well. Here's the challenge: 2. Kids + Chores 3. Allowance 4. Halloween 5. Meal Planning 6. Daily Planning 7. Self-Discipline 8. Disappointment 9. Morning Routine 10. Self Care 11. Breakfast 12. Overwhelm 13. Exercise 14. Screen Time 15. The Budget 16. Evening Routine 17. Night-Before Prep 18. Lunches 19. Errands 20. Alone Time 21. Sibling Rivalry 22. Comparison 23. Sundays 24. Family Meetings 25. Busy Schedules 26. Date Night 27. Connecting with Kids 28. Friendships 29. Connecting with Spouse 30. Getting Ready for Guests 21. The Holidays Hoping to pull things over and MAYBE even have them all on here by the end of October! :)

To Jacob on your 5th birthday!

Jacob, You are my little man.  I called you that the other day and you told me you were NOT a little man, you were a dude.  Ok dude, I love you.  You are a gentle giant some days and a fiery tornado others.  (Sometimes in the same day!)  You are loving and kind and patient and gentle.  You are also confident and loud and tough.  You are the tallest, biggest brother and you are rough and tumble.  You still like to be held and for momma to give you my full attention. You like to build and you get very involved in the girls imagination games.  You are NOT a fan of being left out.  You like to report all the things that are going on (even if we can see it happening!) and you make sure that everyone knows what the rules are.  But you are fun loving and have a great smile and laugh. I love you DUDE - you're such a sweet kid and I love being your mom. Love always, Momma For your birthday dinner we are having: PIZZA For your birthday cake you had: A chocolate dinosaur cake with

To Levi, on your 5th birthday!

Levi, You are my wild man.  You are a fun loving, always on the go little man and I have a hard time keeping up with you.  You have more energy than anyone else in this family.  You tell stories with so much animation (and usually a really loud volume).  You are sweet and kind.  You are generally gentle with the little ones and look out for the people around you.  You have a bit of a fiery little temper but aimed in the right direction, that will serve you well. You are so good at puzzles and your favorite thing to do these days is a look and find book.  It's fun watching your brain at work.  You have done such a good job with school work this year and are giving it your best effort. You are fun and courageous.  You are gentle but sometimes very stubborn.  You are loud and crazy and wild.  Don't change ('cept maybe at bedtime). I love you and am so thankful to be your momma! Love, Momma For your birthday dinner we are having: Cheese Pizza! For your birthday cak

Thankful Thursdays Top Ten #1

This is something I used to do a long time ago - long enough ago that I didn't feel like searching to find out what number I'd stopped on.  So, here we are...10 things I am thankful for this Thursday. 1.  A fun night out with Dayton Women In The Word .  We celebrated two years of the podcast by eating a lot of sugar, being encouraged by other women, and having time out of the house with no kids! 2. Faith getting back to "normal" sleep patterns.  She was not sleeping well last week but if the past couple nights are any indication we are over that hump.  It wasn't fun.  Although remembering to pray instead of complain and to appreciate her instead of resent the lack of sleep was a great check on my humility. 3. I am feeling mostly back to normal after the c-section.  I didn't want one, I wasn't thrilled about. I found that God gave me a period of relying on other people and forced rest.  It was lovely and I feel like I've come out of it (with a ne

Homeschool Organization

People assume with seven kids I'm organized.  It is generally true but it is more that we have systems that work although they are always being tweaked and updated.  Last year we used a file cabinet for our school materials but it is way too easy to fill a drawer with bits and things that don't belong there.  So this year we tried something new.  It's a work in progress based on the needs of the year, the number of students and what materials we need to be able to access quickly.  Here is how this year looks... This cabinet is in our dining room and holds all of our home school supplies fairly well.  We use the top and bottom shelf mainly although there is a hole punch hiding behind that picture of my Grandfather. On the top shelf we have little plastic containers that I bought at dollar tree.  The lids are attached (win!) and they stack well.  These hold all our pencils, art supplies, flash cards, manipulatives, glue, tape...all the little things we need frequen

To Grace, on your 9th birthday!

Grace, Where to even start with you?  You are a lovely, sweet, creative, and kind young woman.  You are such an amazing big sister and we are so thankful for you!  You constantly surprise me with all the things that you know and are able to do.  You read all the time and I can't keep you in good books.  You pay attention to the world around you and are curious about all things...especially when dad and I try to whisper or keep a secret! You take care of all our rabbits and do such a great job!  You are also quick to help with things around the house - you definitely prefer helping with Faith and I think your least favorite is getting the boys out of bed or possibly putting away laundry.  Most of your time is spent reading or playing (other than school work).  You like to make up games for your siblings but you do get frustrated when they don't play how you are wanting them to play.   You have reached that age where you are fun to hang out with and talk to.   You have

Four Week Postpartum Update

Postpartum sounds like such a weird word.  And kind of an, eww, who wants to read that, type post.  That could just be my postpartum brain talking. Anyway, Faith is four weeks old today and it has seemed to fly by.  She is doing great.  She is putting on weight appropriately.  She eats well, most of the time still two ounces at a time which I don't remember any of my other kids doing for this long.  The flip side of that is before she sleeps for her long stretch at night and her long nap she eats 3-4 ounces usually.  It lets me know I'm usually going to get a good stretch of sleep out of her.  Sometimes though she'll fall asleep after 2 ounces for a long stretch and then wake up HUNGRY.  Fair enough. She is definitely a pacifier kid.  I have one clipped to her car seat and one with her 90% of the time.  It is nice because she soothes easily but of course when we can find it we are in for a rough time!  Fortunately so far she has been easy and none of the boys have hid

Homeschool Update - Week 1

Homeschooling with four school age kids and three younger ones is going about as you'd expect.  It is loud, chaotic, and pretty fun!  We are settling into a rhythm and I think everyone is enjoying school about as much as is possible. The girls are adjusting pretty well to doing school work again although I think it will take a little bit of time to really get in the swing of things.  Taking the summer off was great, but now they have to get focused again and used to working hard on their work!  Grace had an essay to write and I was really proud of how she focused on doing it well the first time instead of rushing through it.  Maturity is coming through! The boys have been doing well with their work.  Reading Eggs and Math Seeds seems to be a great fit for them.  They love the computer work and I like that I don't have to teach that portion.  When they finish the lesson we just do the worksheets that go with it and are done!  Total it takes them about 45 minutes per day and

To Timothy, on your 2nd Birthday!

Timothy, You are a delightful little dinosaur.  If I ask you what a dinosaur says you stop your foot and roar at me.  It is hilarious and a great distraction when you are frustrated about something.  You LOVE dinosaurs and trains.  You have claimed Faith as your baby although sometimes you'll "share" with me and you say she is cutttte. You don't like being stuck in your seat when you are all done eating or being left out when the big kids are playing.  Fortunately, you are starting to play really well with everyone and have freedom to roam pretty much anywhere downstairs.  You like to put bottles away for me when Faith is done with them, but instead of putting them on the counter you stick them in the bottom of the fridge. You are my baby giant and I love your expressive faces, your quick smiles and your big personality.  I'm thankful you're mine little man and I can't wait to see who you become!! Love always, Momma For your birthday dinner we

Homeschool 2018-2019 - Slower Pace, Chores and More

We officially re-start school on Monday.  Yes, I know it is Labor Day...we are homeschoolers, we don't care.  We only finished a few days of work before Faith was born so I'm looking at it as the official start to our school year, but without having to retake first day pictures!  Last year I really only taught the girls since I only spent one morning a week working on letters with the boys.  The boys really only took about 30 minutes a week.  This year their work will be 2-3 days per week and I'll have to stay caught up on prep!  I am really looking forward to using Reading Eggs and MathSeeds with them and they love being on the computer to do their work.  One thing I noticed last year is how rushed I always felt.  I never felt like we had time to slow down to do the extra activities or read the extra books because we only had a limited amount of time and needed to finish the core things.  I also work in the afternoons so in order for me to get work done, we had to b

To Abi, on your 7th Birthday

Dear Abi Ann, How are you seven already?  Can you just stop?  You are a lovely young lady and I'm thankful to be your momma!  You are such a free spirit and artistic!  More than I ever was, that is for sure!  You love to create all the things...and not just art, you like to think through problems and come up with solutions.  You are such a great helper for me and the little ones.  You love your new sister.  I am most likely to find you playing by yourself (you're like your mom that way) or creating an elaborate game with your brothers. You are often willing to try new things as long as they don't involve bugs or anything too scary!  You like school although you still are not a huge fan of reading but we'll get there!  You do a great job and work hard and I always appreciate that! Keep being you little one and don't let anyone tell you to be something different.  Stick to what you know is true and stand firm in what is right.  I am proud of you and can't

Two Week Update

It is hard to believe that two weeks have gone by since Faith was born.  The days have run together a bit in a flurry of great food brought by friends, naps and baby cuddles.  I'm not complaining.  She had her first checkup on Friday and did great.  She is not quite at birth weight which is unusual for my babies but she is eating great and looking good so there is no concern.  She is sleeping well most nights although I would guess she has days and nights backwards because she sleeps ALL day and is awake more at night.  Part of it might be because she has the warmth of someone holding her while she sleeps most of the day and is by herself in her bed at night.  We'll get her straightened out. I am healing well as far as I can tell.  The pain is down significantly and emotionally I'm feeling good.  I have my crazy hormone moments, I won't lie, but overall I would say I'm feeling pretty even.  I am still wearing the abdominal binder but mostly as protection from m

C-Section Recovery Days 1-6 at Home

I'll skip the recovery time at the hospital.  There was nausea, there was vomit, there was pain, there was trying to figure out how to maneuver.  It was lovely.  Lets just say come about 2am I'm not the best me I can be and I tend to get weepy. :)  They released me two days after having the baby although I had an option for a third day I didn't take.  I'll just start with the days at home. Day 1 - I was released mid afternoon.  We filled prescriptions and I came home to shower and settle while Aaron picked the kids up from school.  It was a bit of a madhouse once they realized I was home and bedtime was a very long process.  That night I slept horribly.  I had a hard time getting in and out of bed and finding a comfortable position to sleep.  I ended up sleeping in my glider for most of the night.  Faith did about as well as expected.  She is lovely. Day 2 - I got up and sat with the kiddos while they ate breakfast.  They went to school again today just so I could

Faith's Birth Story

Faith Lorraine Born August 14, 2018 at 2:01pm 21.5in, 8lbs 14oz It is 2:07pm on Monday, August 13th.  I am supposed to be taking a nap but I am too amped up to rest.  Guarantee I regret this later. This morning I had a doctor's appointment at 10am.  I knew going in they were going to check the position of the baby because she had been presenting breech and transverse (butt down or lying sideways).  Both presentations are generally automatic c-sections.  I do not want a c-section. This morning the plan was to reposition her if needed and then induce.  I didn't want to go into it with my hopes up that today was baby day...but lets be real, if there is a chance, my hopes are up.  So the doctor checked her and she was breech.  He performed a version...which means a fairly uncomfortable procedure where he pushes on my stomach to get her to turn.  He successfully got her head down, waited a few minutes and she turned transverse again.  He moved her again to head down and

My Version of Psalm 136

I was recently challenged at Bible study to write my own version of Psalm 136 reflecting on my personal history with the Lord.  Give thanks to the Lord for He is good      His steadfast love endures forever Give thanks to the God who has proven Himself      His steadfast love endures forever to Him who knew me before I was born      His steadfast love endures forever who trained me in the way that I should go      His steadfast love endures forever Who never changed when my heart waivered      His steadfast love endures forever to Him who made Himself known over and over      His steadfast love endures forever Who never stopped pursuing my heart      His steadfast love endures forever To Him who blessed me with love and belonging      His steadfast love endures forever Who walked through my darkest hours      His steadfast love endures forever Who heard my cries, my anger, my fear      His steadfast love endures forever To Him who redeemed my story      His st

Pregnancy Update.... 32 +4

Whenever people ask me how I'm doing - especially while I'm pregnant - my typical answer is "I've got no complaints."  I usually go with that response because most people honestly don't want to hear my complaints.  The ones that I know really care I usually share a little bit more.  Here is how things are going 32.5 weeks into this pregnancy. This is (technically) my 8th pregnancy with my 9th baby.  But if we only count live births this is my 6th pregnancy with my 7th baby.  Confusing right?  I never really know how to answer that question, but that's a start. Baby (Faith) is growing well it seems with no really complications.  Last time we checked she was head down and hopefully will stay that way!  I am praying she presents head down at delivery time too...but we will see.  I am feeling this pregnancy.  I don't know if it is because of so many pregnancies or because I'm older but I feel like I'm feeling run down much more quickly.   He

Homeschool Changes - What Worked, What Didn't!

We are wrapping up our school year (7 days left, who is counting??) and I'm thinking about the differences between this year and last year.  The obvious differences are that instead of a third grader and a kindergartner, I have a third grader, a second grader and two preschoolers.  It's a bit of an increased work load.  So I'm going to do some basic thoughts on changes we have made as far as process but also as far as curriculum choices. Preschool We used to use Easy Peasy All-In-One Getting Ready 1 multiple times a week.  This year the four boys went to school two days a week so it would have been challenging fitting all of that into our schedule.  Instead, I went through and chose what I thought would work best for each letter and incorporated a letter craft.  We did it one day a week, built a letter book and called it a wrap for preschool.  They gained valuable letter exposure but we didn't have to sit down every day to make it happen.  They also gained letter ex

BIG FAMILY Q&A | Large Family TAG - 20 Questions

I saw this as a YouTube video from This Gathered Nest (love that channel!) and thought it would be fun to post my own answers.  Here goes... 1. How many children do you have? I have six, pregnant with number seven who is due in August!   (Two miscarriages that technically fall into the #1 and #8 spots making this baby #9.   I don’t generally count those two when people ask how many kids we have unless it is something like this or I feel it is appropriate.) 2. What are their ages? They are 8, 6, 4, 4, 3, and 1. 3. What is your family structure? All of them are my husband and my biological children. 4. How old were you when you had your first baby? I was 24 when I had my first miscarriage, 25 when my oldest was born. 5. Were they all planned by you and your partner, or do you leave it up to God? We leave it up to God.   Long story short we decided we would trust God with our family size.   Then I was told I would likely not have children without medica