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.



I looked up the word "resolution". I typed it into, to be exact. I have a dictionary floating around the house somewhere, but I didn't bother to find it. That's so... yesterday. :)

At any rate, I was wondering if resolve means to decide to do something differently, or if it just means to decide to do something, period. I want to resolve to do the things I've been doing - to continue them. Turns out, I can! So, without further ado, :

I resolve to care for my four children. I resolve to love them unconditionally, and to "bring them up in the way they should go".

I resolve to cook, to clean, to do laundry. Not always well, and not always every day, but I'll try.

I resolve to shower at least once a week. That's a resolution I know I can keep.

I resolve to love God and my husband with all my heart.

And with that, I'll stop while I'm ahead. I'd say I'd get dressed every day, but then I'd get the flu and being sick on the couch with blue jeans and a bra on sounds like not so much fun.


Random Christmas Photos with a personal narration by me...

Some random photos from Mom's camera - because she's better at uploading photos off her camera than I am! I'll narrate, but I make no guarantees for clarity. With as much nastiness as I have in my head right now, clarity is not likely. Ruby shared her cold very well, Eden's been on the couch for a good 24 hours now with fevers on and off and a mandatory bucket in case that stomach decides to talk back a bit more than the cramps she's been complaining of. Liberty seems to have escaped everything, Sterling has about as much clarity as I do, Blaine's popping cold meds around the clock on a strict schedule, and Ruby is in great spirits for looking like she feels like I do. Mom? Dad? Did Ruby share with you too???

Without further complaining...

Christmas morning... actually Christmas Eve morning, because we opened gifts early to accommodate a few plans for Christmas morning, all of which didn't happen in the end. Oh well!

Grandma and Ruby became somewhat friends before they left. That's a lot coming from snobby Ruru!

Eden was more than content to snuggle with sleepy Grandpa after they drove all night to get here before the snowstorm hit SD and stranded them at home.

Cowboys in fleece. Is that wrong? Does the jean jacket make up for it?

This photo is funny on so many levels. Dad looks positively evil and Sterling's floppy ears... yep, just funny.

Merely the fact that he let me take this photo makes me love him all the more. That he didn't forbid me to post it on my blog is even more amazing.

And this, dear friends, is what my parents came home to. I'm not certain if all the shoveling was done before they got home or if that's what they had to do to get into the house though. I'm thinking Naomi - and if Naomi reads this, thank you thank you thank you for doing chores so Mom and Dad could come - did it with the Bobcat. I'm hoping.


Bleach can't handle Eden.

The tree is down, the house is mostly clean. My parents are headed north to face the storm they missed, Ruby generously shared her cold with Sterling and I, likely Blaine as well, but hopefully not Grandpa and Grandma. The pine needles have been cleaned up - but I'll likely find them for months to come. I always look forward to getting the tree - and even more so to taking the tree down after wards and getting my house back to rights.

I've only gotten one "Return to Sender" Christmas letter back - the one addressed to the people who live the closest. Sorry, Alicia. Seriously, I even know their address. Helps to read the labels I put on the envelopes, apparently.

Blaine leaves in eight days. He's headed to Santa Barbara CA for about three weeks. That'll be great - or not. I'm determined not to head north to my parents or west to my sister's during that time - mostly because I don't trust my van these days - but we'll see how long that resolve lasts. Three weeks with limited adult conversation is likely to drive me just a bit batty.

We got snow for Christmas! Just a bit, and most of it is already gone. Blaine got a few photos of Grandpa with the kids in the backyard...
Do me a favor. Click on the one above and take a good look at Sterling's face in the full-size photo. Just for laughs.
Today Ruby fussed over her breakfast bread until I got to the bottom of why - she wanted butter. Ugh. The allowable laziness in the name of keeping her clean was fun while it lasted.

Turkey doesn't like my oven. Or my oven doesn't like turkey. Maybe the oven just doesn't like to function properly period, I'm not quite sure. Thanksgiving dinner was several house late because it wouldn't get done, and now Christmas dinner was sans turkey after it cooked for 6 hours and was still not to the required 185*. Now it's in the crockpot, hopefully to finish cooking and becoming supper. Between the mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, green bean casserole, cranberry sauce, dressing, and pie, it was not missed a bit on Christmas though. Maybe I'd make a good vegetarian after all. Likely not though.

Liberty's worn a white shirt for about a year now (not continuously!) and it recently was handed down - in perfect shape - to Eden when I bought a bigger one for Liberty. Eden wore it once. I've soaked the darn thing in bleach twice, washed it twice, and it's in bleach once again, all today. I'm not sure it's ever going to be the same. I'm rethinking my "Buy white, it can be bleached" mentality, at least for Eden. Bleach can't handle Eden.


Christmas 2009

Our Christmas letter... if you didn't get one, didn't get one yet... or something like that!

If you want to get technical, this is a year late. I didn’t get a letter sent out last year at all. But if you’re getting this before Christmas 2009, I’m going to consider it on time anyhow. Some things can’t be caught up on. J

This year was… busy. Then again, so was last year. Ruby Alexandra was born September 3rd, 2008 and she’s added plenty of fire to our everyday blah’s. Ruby’s fifteen months old now and walking, trying to talk, and giving me a run for my money when it comes to training her to sleep through the night. She’s the baby around here and she knows it! Ruby is the first kid around here to throw herself on the floor in an all-out temper tantrum and discipline seems to only make her mad. We keep at it though!

Sterling turned two in May. He, despite being the sweetest boy I’ve ever met, has decided to be two anyhow. Let me tell you, Sterling has figured out how to be two. Maybe it’s the three sisters thing, but when he gets tired, reasoning goes out the window and sleep is the only thing that can fix the problem. He loves books and anything with wheels. “Read that me?” is the question I hear most from Sterling. Well, that and “Hungry boy, Momma!” Now if I could just get him to be enthusiastic about more than hot dogs, peanut butter, and anything containing sugar.

Eden is four, will be five in February, and has been doing Kindergarten this year. I’m homeschooling, and Eden was either going to be “in” school too or I was going to go crazy trying to keep her occupied while Liberty did her work. Her memory amazes me; she’s getting better at reading every day and is starting to show signs of someday being coordinated enough to draw letters smaller than 2” high. Someday. She learned to ride her bike without training wheels this spring and is itching to get outside during all her waking hours. The colder weather we’ve had lately is putting a damper on Eden’s style.

Liberty is almost six and a half. She’s a huge help around the house and excelling at her first grade schoolwork. “Felicity” is still her favorite toy – she takes better care of that doll than she does of the poor gerbil. She begs to go for “walks” – as in, I walk, and she rides her bike. She’ll ride for miles willingly, but when I made her actually walk last week, well, let’s just say that her stamina was limited. Very limited. Liberty remains quite particular about her things – to the point that when I was cleaning her dresser drawers out and removing her summer clothing, I found her shirts arranged neatly in piles according to color! We’ve come to a great place where she takes care of her own clean laundry – and apparently does a better job than I even realized!

We moved to Springfield, Missouri in August. Blaine is working for Bass Pro Shops in their photography department and I’m home with the kids, homeschooling and following Ruby around, trying to clean up her messes hopefully as fast as she makes them. We’ve been involved with starting Gospel of Grace Church, an independent Reformed church that is working towards joining the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, hopefully in the spring. We love Springfield, Blaine loves the warmer weather and I have to admit, I’ll take it too. J

I keep a blog at - you’ll get a bit fresher news there than from my sporadic Christmas letters, if news is what you are after. I hope this finds each of you well… and perhaps a bit more caught up than I am!

Adrienne for Blaine and the gang - Liberty, Eden, Sterling & Ruby

Yesterday on the way to church we were about two blocks from home when Blaine realized he forgot something. He turned, I didn't grab the crockpot full of pulled pork fast enough... can you see where this is going? Yep, on the floor. Not just tipped, propelled across the front seat's floor. Some neighborhood dog had a feast, because it's gone without a trace from the place on the front lawn where I'd dumped the rug.

Then, in case you thought I was finished, I threw the meat-juice soaked floor mat into the tub. This morning, when Blaine stepped into the shower, he slid on the oily mess, stopping my heart for a minute while I watched him flail through sleep-filled eyes. He caught himself, cleaned my tub for me, and all is well. At least until it gets hot enough in the car to rot the remnants of our lunch that wasn't.

My pile of gifts are all wrapped! Ok, less one I forgot I'd stashed elsewhere, and one that's still coming in the mail, but still. This has to be a new record for me. Usually it's Christmas Eve and I'm frantically trying to get everything done. Christmas letters sent... I'll post one here in case you aren't on my Christmas list and wanted to see how not funny I can be.

And, I'm off. Getting up early is only beneficial if you actually get dressed and get moving, after all!


Would this be wrong?

The bathroom is the warmest in the house when the door is closed and the heat is running. Would it be wrong to grab my book and hang out in there?

When I asked Liberty why she took the approach (strange as it was) that she did to her schoolwork today, she replied, "Well, I think I was just bored and didn't want to do that." Remind me to up the ante on the schoolwork. Bored is a dirty word.

I ordered prints today to put into the kids photo albums. Some people scrapbook - I don't. I'm lucky to get prints slid into the little slots, preferably in the right order. The last time I ordered prints? October 31, 2008. Number of prints (I think! Once I get these Blaine will appear with images from his camera that I don't have. I think I may just stick to my camera so I'll be done with this yet this year...) anyway, number of prints: 321. Ouch. I also ordered photo calendars for my parents and my grandma. Price of my procrastination: -18.99. They were buy one get one free. Sweet! First time I think procrastination has paid off.

Eden has High School Musical tennis shoes. I know, I know. I don't advertise on my kids. I don't even know, really, what High School Musical is. But when she needed new shoes, the cheapest ones I'd found were $9 and guaranteed to wear out in a month, and these were clearanced to $5 - and the strings light up, which Eden thinks is the coolest thing ever. Turns out even I have a price. But when Eden asked to wear her new shoes to bed last night... ah, the joys of getting a #2 child something new and cooler than her older sister has. I know the feeling. :)

And now... curtains! I'm not convinced that I love them - but open is certainly better than closed. I looked for grommets to use for curtain-rod holes, but I can't find ones big enough for the life of me. These work - and as long as they're open, I think I like them, but since I made them with the idea in mind of closing them at night... now what???
Then, there's this - my attempts to keep the drafts from the back door in the laundry room. I kinda like it. I didn't sit and plot this one at all - made it on a whim at 11pm Friday night. And yes, clown collar and all. I wanted it covered above the suspension rod and didn't know how else to do it.Brr. Hot tea awaits. It's not that cold outside - like 25-30 or so, but I must not be typing fast enough to keep my hands warm!


Should I be worried?

This was what Sterling emerged wearing this morning. Eden's tights, Liberty's bathing suit, and shoes - Sterling is never without shoes - and they were backwards - also something pretty common for Sterling. This was after he'd come out with the bathing suit over his boxers - apparently that was a little cold.

I got my Christmas letter written - 2nd draft, in case anyone cares to know. Nope, not finished. Turns out these little blogs are a whole lot easier to write than a summary of our year in one page. I got photos ordered too - now, for my goal: get the letter printed and in envelopes, complete with address labels, before the photos arrive via mail. I'll let you know on that one. Or we can leave that one alone and all just pretend I get these things accomplished on time and under budget somewhere outside of my dreams...

Speaking of under budget, when did everything get so stinking expensive?! I head out with my limited budget, trying to buy gifts for the kids - wow, that was a frustrating venture. I did get quite a few things, not nearly what is on my list, but enough the kids will be thrilled in spite of my barely-dented list. I found a toddler bed-sized quilt/sheet set full of trucks for Sterling today at the consignment store. He'll love it. Very cool, and that definitely helped with the budget! I get to chalk up original prices when I decide if monies spent were divided evenly, right?

I also got curtain fabric for the living room windows today. I'll post photos of the finished product - if I'm happy with it. :)

Sterling woke in the night in hysterics. He'd peed in his diaper and eczema has his behind rather raw. I was trying to get to the bottom of it all when he came out with "My...butt...really, really... hurts! Really...really...bad!" He never says that many words, that clearly. I felt so bad for him - but it was nice to know he really can talk clearly when he wants to.

Ruby's sleeping through the night! Even through Sterling's fit in the night, she slept. Ah, progress. I actually had two nights - in a row - last week that no one woke up between 8pm and 6 am. So nice. Now if I can rehydrate Sterling's raw backside - or get him to wake up to pee in the night - we'll be all set.

I'm off to figure what kind of curtains to make. I have visions of stripes, but limited ideas for the tops. No ruffles. They remind me of clown collars - and we have enough funny business around here without putting clown collars on the windows!

And, in case you were wondering, you can find a free pattern to make a clown collar of your very own, looking like the one pictured above, at:

On that note, maybe I know what costume to add next to my girls' dress up tote. Hmmm.


Blaine's work for the morning...

For those interested, this is the article Blaine wrote and took the photos for this morning. :)


Who spilled on my pj's?

December. Really?!

The girls and I watched "The Baby Story" today. They are fascinated with that show. There was a little girl on there today who was named Eden. She was 3 and, well, Eden. Eden means "delightful" and it was so funny to see another little girl with the same name - and so very much the same in personality as well. The mother was due with "Penelope" and she said that they expected her to be just like her older sister Eden - and if she wasn't, Eden would teach her! Ah, yes, that sounds just about right.

We walked around the block today. Our block, while exceptionally big, would be traveled far faster if we didn't have to stop and steal a small amount of gravel from every gravel driveway along the way. Don't worry though, we give theirs to their neighbors, theirs to their neighbors, etc. It's Sterling's mission. I don't ask why - it's hard to know when the answer lacks a few consonants. He "urt" his "inger" (hurt his finger) and wanted a "ar-el" (marble) in his "uck" (truck) tonight before bed. Perfect sense! You should hear him say "convertible". It cannot even be typed. Don't even ask why he knows what a convertible is. He's a boy.

Blaine gets to shoot a book signing with Sarah Palin tomorrow. Pretty cool! I'd go, but then there's the four small children part that throws a wrench in things.

Eden woke me up in the night complaining her pj's were wet. When I asked if she'd wet her bed (something she hasn't done for at least 6 months) she said she didn't know.
"Well, are you panties wet?"
"Then you probably peed your bed. Are your sheets wet?"
"So why are we having this conversation?"
"Because I don't know what got on me!"
"Uh, honey, pretty sure we know what is on you. Unfortunately."