Primarily written by Adrienne, a homeschooling mother of seven, ages 10 and under. She chronicles life, laughs, struggles, and lessons learned as she raises a larger-than-most sized family and tries to figure out what she's doing day by day.

With occasional posts, Alexandra, Adrienne's older sister, writes of her ranch life in Nevada and raising four sons, ages 5 and under. Life is never dull and her boys have given her some pretty awesome stories to tell.

Stick around awhile, and you're sure to laugh, nod, smile, be encouraged, and see what life is like with a big (little) family.


Yes, I am a bit slow.

But admitting it is the first step to recovery, right?

We got here Friday morning. We left Wednesday, saw cousins in Columbus Ohio, pulled one all nighter, got better gas mileage than we expected with both vehicles, returned the "big yellow uck" (Sterling speak for truck) yesterday, and now we're trying to find the living room - and the dining room. It's bad, I tell you. Very, very bad.

The house is awesome. The lack of storage isn't, but the house is nicer than any of the others I've lived in. And I have a dishwasher! So cool. The washing machine is finally hooked up, I have a week's laundry to wash and some major grocery shopping ahead of me tomorrow. It'll be grand. I already washed two loads, but the dryer needs a vent before I can continue - those two loads were a Sunday necessity, I'm pretty sure. The smell of wet moldy bathing suits and towels was pretty impressive upon walking in from church.

House photos to follow. Blaine took them, but getting them onto the computer has been low-priority, sorry. One of these days - maybe after I find my pots and pans. I made syrup in the microwave tonight for lack of a saucepan. Didn't even know you could do that.

We visited the United Reformed Church here today. We were really excited, then we found this last night. It was a bit of a blow, but we went anyway, and were so glad we did. We met a bunch of awesome reformed people, found out the church may have a life outside of the URC, and I think we'll stick with it to see what happens.

Our food situation in dire. I scraped up pancakes for supper, we've had PBJ and cereal... it's worked, but I need to get to the store. Didn't want to until the kitchen was unpacked, but it's time. When Sterling was hungry yesterday and went to wander the kitchen, he came back with a cereal bar in his hand exclaiming, "Mama! (F)ind (f)ood!" It was a wonderful moment for his meager diet these last few days, he was certain.

Sterling also keeps getting lost. Our new house is laid out very well and not at all confusing to those of us taller than 4 feet, but Sterling is having a harder time of it. I told him to go to the kitchen for something, he landed in the bathroom and hollered, "Mama! Help! Kitchen go?" That was yesterday. Today he went to brush his teeth, ended up in my bedroom instead, and asked "Bathroom go, Mama?" He's so confused. Darn rooms keep up and moving on him.


What help you are, dear sister.

Eleven and three-quarter months into nursing my fourth baby, how is it that I get my first plugged duct now? Really?

Calling my sister, since she's run the gamut of breast-feeding problems with her boys, she tells me that a plugged duct is the least painful thing she's had.

I feel tons better now, Sister. Tons.


It's smells funny around here!

My posts have been fewer these days - the set move-date is fast approaching and I feel like I need to have a little meltdown. Who wants to pack so I can work on that one?

Yeah, didn't think so. I did make progress today. The attic - both Liberty and Eden's rooms and the closets up there are all packed. L & E are sleeping on their mattresses on the floor for the time being. Or, in Liberty's world, their air mattresses. She can't get it into her head that there's no air involved.

Sterling and Ruby's room is also packed. Beds remain intact in there though. Ruby would have everything unpacked in short order if I didn't have her contained in the crib. Her favorite thing is grabbing things from inside boxes or laundry baskets and chucking them behind her as far as she can through. Great thrill, I tell you.

As for everything else... I'm getting there. I packed everything I can get my hands on at this point. Tomorrow's the kitchen. We'll eat cereal on paper plates for every meal pretty soon. Plates, yes. Bowls we're lacking. Someone packed them...

We have a house, we have utilities connecting next week, and we have a new phone number. I'm feeling all organized this move. I even have the utilities here set to disconnect. It's rather strange, but everything seems to be coming together very well. When a friend's son asked Liberty today why we had to move, they were standing on the front porch. She pointed to the neighbor's door 2 feet from ours and said, "See those people in there? They stink." They heard, I'm sure. And while they most definitely do stink, I'm not sure that going all the way to Missouri was necessary to avoid the stench. It'll get the job done though, I suppose.


More no-ide photos and the highlights of my day.

I took the kids to the park for photos. I learned, and this was a new realization, that there's a window of time where photos are good. Ruby grins, she laughs - she's all good. The worst that can happen is that she decides to crawl to another spot on the grass - the bugs over there look tastier.

However, 2 is not a good age to photograph. Sterling would agree with this statement, if he hadn't been sent to bed for crying when I asked for a kiss. Seriously, the kid's moodier than a PMSing teenaged girl. Ask for a photo? Forget it. He'd rather scowl - and he will. If he stops crying, that is.
The window is back once two is past. You might get goofy grins or fake smiles, but they are more than willing to work for their reward.

Six years old, I'm afraid, is the edge of this window. I can see awkward pre-teen coming from many miles away. She's not there yet, but it's coming. Every once in a while, a glimpse of what will be is seen. And that glimpse has scared me far worse than what a two year old can throw at me. This house is full of girls. And it's gonna be bad.And with that little narration of what parenting in my house looks like - another about a house. We found one! Should you so desire, check out 2074 N. Columbia Ave listed here under houses. That's the plan.

I washed the floor today. Then Ruby spilled peas everywhere. Not awful, but a mess. Then, Eden dumped her plate of buttered pasta. Ok, Momma's getting crabby. Then, Eden dropped the pyrex bowl of red sauce and meatballs. The pyrex shattered (grrrr. That makes Momma very crabby. Tile is not nice to my favorite dishes.) and red spaghetti sauce sprayed from one end of the dining room, across the room and into the kitchen. The packed boxes? Yep, pretty in red polka dots. The table legs? Beautiful with their new pattern.

There's a new mandate in my house. If you come, wear shoes. Glass is hard to find and easy to miss. Ruby will be in mittens and knee pads for a few days, I'm afraid. Foam flip flops? Not a good glass-on-the-floor cleaning option. They'll pick up the glass for you sure. But then what?!

Oh, and then, after mopping the floor again, Ruby spilled rice everywhere. Seriously, why mop?

Ruby then changed tactics. The bottle of fluoride rinse, gloriously close to empty for a change (this isn't the first time I've mopped up gargle) was dumped/drank in the living room all over the coffee table. Thank you, Miss Rue, for missing carpet. I might have screamed. But Ruby is smelling oh so minty fresh tonight!


Oh, the drama!

Blaine says boys don't whine. I disagree. See for yourself.

Ok, tears done. Photos commence?Nope, not so much.Now?Yep. Time for some deep-cleaning in the toes. Perfect.

But the flowers were pretty! The best photo I got of them all together? It's slightly out of focus, Sterling's not happy, and they are all looking only somewhat towards the camera. We'll be sending wallet sized prints out for Christmas this year. You know, so you can't really see their faces...

Look, a smile! Only one I saw all day. Took Ruby sticking her fingers in his crying mouth to get that. Oh, and in case you were wondering, that two-year-old fit was because we walked past the slide on the way to the pond and he wanted to "ide". He got to sit on the bench with Momma while the girls played after that fit. I'm just mean like that.


An update just for mom.

Feel free to read on, should you dare, but these are things only mothers care about. You know, the rambling, "oh-that's nice" kind of stuff. I'm too tired for humor or even semi-intelligent thought tonight.

We have an application in for a rental. Of course, it hit the weekend and we're still waiting to hear. Trying to not get my hopes up, but it looks really nice, so that's not so easy.

I've been waiting for fold-over elastic for almost 3 weeks now. I was mid-way through making diaper covers for my sister's boys when I ran out, and all has been sitting here since then. A box of clothes for her was sitting here too, waiting for me to finish. I gave up, mailed the box this morning and came home from the post office to find the elastic in the mailbox. Figures, right? I'd have mailed that box a long time ago if that was how it needed to go.

I've sewn 13 diaper covers today. Finished all that I needed. My back hurts, but they are done. Not much else got done today, but my sister might have shot me if I didn't get them done. She chewed me out last week when she had to buy diapers, again. Oops. Someday I'll get the pattern I've made and directions somewhere on here. I worked stinking hard to figure out what no website wanted to tell me for free. You know, just in case you are dying to make a cloth diaper cover for yourself. Really.

Went to a pool party for church yesterday and forgot the beach bag - it contained towels and my and the babies' suits. Do you see a pattern here? Either I need more sleep, less stress, more time to think through these things - or all of the above. Either that, or more coffee. I have come to one profound conclusion. That wish for more hours in the day? It's crap. I'd be too tired to be profitable for more hours that the ones I have already. Profound, eh? Yep, thought so.


Me and My Big Mouth

My morning yesterday started out with an email from a guy on CraigsList. I'd emailed him the night before about a rental property he had advertised there. The email said that he doesn't rent out three bedroom houses to families larger than 4 people. I was shocked. Really?! Never heard of such a thing before. So I, being the docile being... sent him an email back. I was polite, I think, but I was seriously wondering at this guy. Figured I'd never hear from him again.

Ten minutes later, the guy emailed me back. He said he'd rent to me on a month to month basis (ideal, since buying a house is at the top of our to-do list. After packing, of course.). This is the moment that Blaine says to me, "I love you, Babe. You can tell it like it is, get what you want, and not come across as a..." - you know where that was going. Blaine's words, not mine. His language can be brutal sometimes. So my friend there in Springfield, awesome that she is, set up an appointment to go see it. (Back up. I stared at the reply, stating to Blaine there was no way I was emailing the guy back. What on earth do I say?! "Sorry, you're policy is insane, now do you want to be my landlord?" Anyway, never say never. I carefully worded a reply, and my friend was on her way.)

So, while the house isn't the nicest I've seen, for the money and the lease and the location (with a straight shot view of the back of this) it'll do just fine. Application in.* My thoughts at that moment: What on earth do I say to this guy when I meet him?! "Hello, I'm not usually like that. You just messed with my kids and my decision to have more than two. Let's just call me Momma Bear.")

*We didn't get the house. Someone else, darn it, applied and actually has a job too. Think of that. But he'll call us at the end of this week about another one, similar, not looking at this, that also has a dishwasher. Sweet. Currently we call those things "Momma Bear".

Huh what?

In the grocery store checkout, the conversation went something like this:

"What does Sterling mean?"
"Of good character; genuine."
"Of good character or ding-a-ling?!"
"Genuine. Real. Not ding-a-ling."

This was a conversation not with Eden, but with the 9 year old son of a very good friend of mine. It still has me giggling. The look on his face when he thought I'd named my son the equivalent of ding-a-ling was pretty funny.

Yep, still giggling.


Can I use the meanderings one again? The overtired part definitely applies here too.

Then again, it usually does. Ruby opposes sleep for Momma. Really, why on earth do I let her get away with this? Nearly a year old an nursing twice in the night. Spoiled baby, that one is.

"Three blind mice, three blind mice... they all ran after the farmer's market..." Seriously, these children need to get out of town. Farmer's market. Ha. That was Eden, if you didn't know. Who else?!

Plans are moving forward. Blaine has a telephone interview with a weekly paper in Springfield later this week. We haven't heard anything on the rental we applied for, and my house has more boxes than I can pack at this point - although I'm sure we'll need more, sadly, before this is over with.

The landlord is going to start showing our house, trying to rent it out again. Now I'm trying to keep it clean and pack and keep four kids alive. Craziness, I tell you.

Sterling managed to pee between the seat and the toilet onto his shorts today. Seriously talented, that's all I can say. On the bright side, accidents are rare these days. He bumps his head more than he pees his pants. Not that that's saying much. Poor boy got a bloody nose Saturday in New Jersey from falling down the stairs outside Grandpa's store. Stairs are usually involved, strangely enough. That was after he fell down our back porch stairs and bruised his eye near his eyebrow Friday night. Poor kid.

Blaine starts his last 10 days of work tomorrow. He works the 10 in a row, then he's done. We get the truck on August 25th, pack that, leave the next day if all goes well, and take two days to drive to MO. It's all very strange. Very cool, but very strange.


Meanderings of an overtired mind.

I drank coffee yesterday afternoon. Free samples from Taster's Choice, mmm. But I digress. Coffee - at 3 pm. At 1:30 am, when I was chattering Blaine's nearly-asleep ear off, I remembered. Apparently even 3pm is too late for caffeine. At 6 am Ruby reminded me of that, when she was ready to get up. More coffee, anyone?

Back in the day of riches of fame... well, neither riches or fame, but in the day that we owned our house and had a dishwasher - riches enough for me! - I shopped at Sam's Club. When we moved, my 96 oz bottle of Jet-Dry and 128 oz bottle of Cascade dishwasher soap came with me. You know, because a dishwasher certainly awaited me in my new home. Right? Not so much. For those of you who saw the first home that awaited me in PA... feel free to laugh. I'll wait.

So, no dishwasher at the first place. Or the second. Or the third. So finally, three and a half years in, I gave those two bottles of dishwasher necessaries away and gave up on machines that might wash all these dishes for me. That was a couple months ago. So now, while whether the next place has a dishwasher or not remains to be seen - because what the next place is remains to be seen - I'm remembering that rule that says change happens as soon as you sink into the reality of the here and now. And I'm thinking that if getting rid of that dishwasher soap was what it took to get out of this place, I'd have done it, say, 3 years sooner. Stinkin' soap.

So I've been packing. If it's not nailed down or absolutely (and I do mean absolutely) necessary, it's getting packed. The girls got up this morning to see all their DVD's packed. So sad. I didn't remind them of all the VHS tapes in the CD cabinet. Is that mean?

I bought a giant pack of Sharpie's to label boxes with. Did I mention I'm packing everything that's not nailed down? Umm, yeah. I'll label that box just as soon as I figure out which one has the Sharpie's... In all seriousness, I kept two old ones out. That better be enough. Really didn't think that one through.

Just to confirm moving out of this house, for the first time ever in the two years we've lived here, a mouse came running out of the kitchen the night before last. I was sitting at the computer, he ran straight for me, between my feet. Oh. My. Blaine! I called him, he was on his way home from work, and he came in and headed to the basement for traps. I felt slightly bad for the wayward mouse, but he picked the wrong house to venture into, sorry. Blaine started setting traps, and the thing went running back across the dining room into the kitchen. Blah! Mr. Mouse is no more - and the floor is mopped. Yuck. Strangely enough, when I first saw him I thought it was George the hamster - until I realized Mr. Mouse had a tail. And no, it was not the least bit gross when it was George. Beats me.

"Mom, how do we say goodbye to our friends if we can't kiss them or hug them?"
"Why can't you hug them?"
"Umm, I don't know."
"I think you can hug your friends."
"Oh. Okay! But I'm not going to hug the neighbors, because they stink."
Okay, baby girl. Whatever suits you.
Does anyone need me to mention that that was Eden? Didn't think so. I'm just glad she told me that tidbit, and not the neighbors. That I know of, anyway.


Letting a cat out of the bag

While this may come as a shock to many of you (not!) Blaine and I have not been thrilled with what our corner of the world has to offer. We've been here for nearly four years, and for most of that have been looking to move elsewhere. Now, with a deadline and decision to move out of our house, we've decided to take a leap of faith - again. We're packing up, leaving this home that's never felt like home and heading down the road... this time to Missouri. Any minute now, having typed Missouri dozens of times at this point, I'll stop typing Mossouri. Or I'll just stick with MO and be done with it all. Seriously.

While much thought and prayer has gone into this decision, we have remained pretty quiet on the whole thing because we didn't know what we were doing. Guess what?! We still don't know what we're doing. We are renting a Penske truck on August 24, packing up and heading to Springfield, MO (see, that is so much better!). We've been looking at rentals, have friends in Springfield that have been kind enough to check them out for us, and Blaine has resumes in at many places there. So far, no job, but he gave his notice at work yesterday - we're committed now! There are a few options for churches we are familiar with - and did we mention built-in friends?! After having hopes for Oklahoma and having different things not turn out as we'd hoped, this was unexpected - and we're both so very excited. The kids are beyond excited - although some of Liberty's excitement was dampened when she realized she'd still be sharing a room. Space of her own is something she longs for. Good luck on that one, baby girl.

So there you have it. This is all feeling rather familiar... because it is! I said never again - and shouldn't have. Almost four years ago, to be exact, we did this very same thing. We're high on hope that Missouri (first try! I'm getting better at it. :)) will be friendlier, Blaine's voting for warmer as well, and we've already found that land is much more reasonable as far as our desire to be homeowner's once again. Looking at the bright side, having rented for our time in PA, we once again qualify for the first time homebuyer benefits!

Crazy? Perhaps. Being married to Mr. Visionary* is never dull, but I wouldn't change a thing. Packing and moving 8 times in 6.75 years keeps the clutter down, at the very least!

*While I don't appreciate all of her viewpoints, her account of the three types of men and specifically, mine in Mr. Visionary, is uncanny and insightful.


Make up your mind already, Momma.

How awful is it that when Sterling hollered for the second time in 3 minutes from his bed that he needed to potty that I waited a few minutes, hoping he'd just go in the diaper? Really, why?

And where is it written that with a diaper, he'll stay dry all night, but without, wake up soaked?

Potty training has me rather consumed lately. Or at the very least, equipped with soggy stinky blog material. Really, if you don't have kids, I'd stay away. This stuff gets less gross once you do. Strange, I know.

Another thing: we're moving. More details to come (as we figure this out!), but we gave our landlord the month's notice on July 31. We'll be out of this house by the end of the month. Destination: unknown. We had to move by the end of August or stay the winter in this stinky two-family house, and another winter here wasn't an option. Not a good option anyhow.

Ruby's 11 months old today. This is only the second time that I've had an 11 month old and not been expecting another. Don't hold your breath, folks. Not gonna happen. Not if I have anything to say about it. Not that we have a good track record or anything. 2 out of 4. Hmmm...


It was a really nice thought.

But when I get woke up, not once but twice, by Sterling somewhere in the wee hours because he needs to pee, I start to wish he wasn't potty trained. Or that he'd just pee in the diaper he's wearing. Nope, take him potty. Then feed Ruby, because he woke her up and she couldn't possibly go back to sleep without nursing.

And when he goes down for a nap - in his undies this time, since he stays dry anyhow - and I lay down for a nap too, only to be awakened by him holding the monitor against his mouth hollering "Ma-MA!" I start to wonder if this was really what we were after.

But what takes the cake is going up in my too-short nap stupor to find out he didn't get me woke up in time. But at least he was kind enough to remove said undies and poop on the floor instead. He's just thoughtful like that.


Tell me why...

Blaine decided to cross over to the dark side... Firefox, that is. He's been using Opera, but we all know Firefox is the best. This created new problems - namely, I use Firefox. Don't mess with my tabs! He figured out how to create different users, so we're all set. Not so much. Firefox had an update, and my skin (theme) wasn't compatible. So last night, for over an hour, I browsed themes available. Thousands of themes. Deciding on one finally, I headed into the living room, and Blaine asked me what I picked. I told him - and he started laughing. Thousands of themes, and we picked the same one. Why is that so stinking disturbing???