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.


Ah, the intricacies of Eden.

Eden’s new favorite word: tempted. Turns out, she’s tempted a lot. Or she doesn’t quite understand the definition of “tempted”.

She’s tempted to take her watch off when I use that stuff so it doesn’t get dirty.

She’s tempted to not put sugar on her cereal. (This after I had to explain why sugar does not have a daily value assigned. I made the mistake of saying sugar isn’t necessary to a healthy diet. Rephrase: sugar is necessary to my diet.)

She’s tempted to clean off her bed. (Don’t hurt yourself, Darling. It’s a small large disaster on there.)

The girl loves to sing. Painfully off-key, but she loves to sing. When she can’t remember a tune, she makes one up. It hurts. Yesterday she was dancing around the house singing “Oh, oh, the Mr. Toe.” I didn’t correct her, because then she’d want to know what mistletoe is and I don’t know that I’d want to get into that tradition.

She got a word-find book from Liberty for Christmas. It’s well-above a five year old level, but she doesn’t care. If she can’t find the word, she just writes it in the margins and circles that. Or she circles the letters in the puzzle, one at a time, that spell the word, scattered randomly around.

Rules? Eden doesn’t care to understand them. She beats to her own drum. Ruby’s following in her footsteps.

I’ve got my work cut out for me.


Fascinating numbers:

My nieces make hats. They are beautiful. Check out: to see them. They asked me to measure my kids’ heads to know sizes to make for the hats. They are:

Liberty 20"

Eden 20.25"

Sterling 20.75"

Ruby 18.75"

Charlotte 17”

Yep, Sterling has a big head. Apparently he gets it from me:

Blaine 22.5”

Adrienne 22.75”

Merry Christmas, Charlie Brown.


Our tree, cut in the back pasture, decorated very carefully with only the lightest unbreakable ornaments, and much-loved by children who do not remember what a real Christmas tree is supposed to look like.

Well, that was just cool.

Sterling loved his work boots. All summer, he’d put on his work boots, his “work” jeans (jeans with holes in the knees, to match the holes in his Daddy’s jeans that were well-earned crawling in the crawlspace) and he’d head out to help his Daddy. Blaine had much to do, mostly in the crawlspace, involving re-plumbing water and sewer lines and running new gas lines as well. This house was a wreck. But Sterling had a great time helping his Daddy.

A couple months ago, Sterling’s work boots had to go. They were a size 7, killing his feet, but it was still a very sad day for Sterling. I looked for a new pair, but couldn’t justify spending the money on a new pair. Still, I kept looking for some at all the consignment stores. My mom was looking for some too.

Yesterday I took the kids shopping for gifts for each other. We had just walked out of a $1 store, the three older kids were already in the van, Ruby was throwing a fit it typical Ruby fashion, and a car pulled up next to mine. The woman got out, commented on Ruby’s coughing and I said it was all fake in the name of getting her own way. There was no way this lady saw my other kids except for Ruby and Charlie. So when she asked if I had a boy, I said yes, wondering if she knew us from somewhere.

Nope. She popped open her trunk, pulled out a pair of work boots identical to Sterling’s old ones, only in a size 9 and asked if he would like them. She said she’d bought them at a consignment store, feeling led to buy them with no one to give them to – just that God would show her. It was incredible. Sterling put them on immediately, wore them all afternoon, then gave them to me to wrap for him for Christmas. Right then, it was pretty incredible. God cares for even the little, frivolous things like giving Sterling the desires of his heart – new work boots. That’s awesome.


What does that mean?

Apparently Brady has me trained. She barks at her water bowl, I rinse and fill it. Really now.

Eden heard the “making a list/checking it twice” line and asked what it meant. The idea of Santa is a fairly foreign concept to her, and after explaining it, she asked, “If it really was true, if there really was a list, would I be on the naughty list?” Oh, honey. We all would.

I was informed by my dear three year old son that “There was a stop sign back there, Mom!” I replied, “I know honey. I stopped. Quickly.” The look of confusion on his face told me to wait for the rollback next time or he’s ratting me out.

Eden got carsick on the way home the other day. She was supposed to clean out the van, but didn’t do so great of a job. Neither did the cat she then locked (accidentally, I assume) in the van. That was one terrified half-wild cat that spent the night in the van. She left gifts. Really, if she was going to jump in there and leave her mark, couldn’t she have at least done a better job with the vomit?

An Amish woman in the grocery store asked if my children are all mine. I told her they were, and she asked how close in age they are and commented on my hands being full. Nothing new – except for the Amish woman part. It’s given me pause to think - I just haven’t reached any conclusions yet. When a person that is part of a church that teaches that children are a blessing and encourages all you can have asks a question like that, what does that mean?


Adrienne’s* helpful hints #153

Taking a pair of tights – women’s or girls’ (Liberty’s worked. Thanks, L.) – and cutting a two inch wide strip from around the top of the leg (so that it’s still an unbroken circle) and then hot-gluing a 1” or so length of ribbon around it in one spot, overlapping the ribbon and gluing with a spot of glue on the inside only makes a great headband. An alligator bow/flower clip can then be slid under the ribbon on the outside. Voila! One of those “interchangeable” headbands at the cost of one pair of old, worn-out tights. If you can stop at just one color. Next up are my black ones. I have never heard of a better use for the awful things.


Clean is preferable. Of course.

Or, like mine, purchased with great intentions, yet never, ever worn.



Charlie loves hers.IMG_2686


I think.IMG_2689

It’s not scary. I promise.


*This helpful hint originated from an acquaintance. I’m simply not this creative on my own.


Christmas, homemade.

My sewing machine and I have been hard at work making Christmas dresses (less the green and red, since I do not plan on putting in so many hours sewing for something that can be worn just at Christmas!) for the girls. Sterling wondered what he was getting, so I made him a shirt to “match”. Yes, they know what they are getting. There are not nearly enough midnight hours to sew after bedtime.

Upon finishing, I’ve decided more boys would be a good thing, since that shirt took a fraction of the time and work as those dresses! Without further ado, ruffled dresses, a button-down shirt, and no close-up shot so that they can look nearly perfect – from afar.  Smile



Ha! Those doors look mostly clean and you can’t even see the cobwebs from that shot! Perfect.


It’s a good thing you’re cute, Dog.

Brady seems to have caught the flu from the kids. At least that’s what I’m assuming that’s what she was telling me with her little surprises all over the house this morning. Note to self: kennel Brady tonight.


All great literature… leads to great quotes.

“Eden, I needed that spoon to get MY yogurt!”

“Sorry Lib.”

“Just wash it.”

Eden washes the table.

“Not the table Eden! The spoon!”

Eden wipes the spoon with the dishrag.

“Eden! Wash the spoon in the sink, not with that rag! You’re just like Amelia Bedelia.”

I love it.


Hmm… poor, poor boy.

"Did you go potty?"

"No, I couldn't."

“Why not?”

“Because I tried to open the toilet, but the lid was too heavy.”

We’ve been dealing with vomit – or did deal with it, since it seems to have passed. Sterling, though, must be experiencing loss of strength. Or something like that.


Adrienne’s helpful hints #256

Spreading a thin layer of honey in a strip along the front edge of your cabinets allows you to fill the cabinet to the line and those pesky items that protest the overfill will stick into the honey and stay put when you open the cupboard! Problem solved! Be aware that doing this on lower shelves that children can reach may end up with sugared up children and licked-clean honey strip.


After spending an hour cleaning the tub that I scrubbed less than a week ago, I’ve come to one conclusion: the maize color that was so popular in the 70’s? It was for a reason. Instead of Rust-B-Gone, it was “Rust? Where?” I mean, really, if you can’t see it, who cares? I find myself hoping black tubs come into style. I can scrub soap scum off without a problem, but the iron in our water? It’s another issue. An orange issue. One that Comet, Lime Away, and Tilex come together, fight hard, and lose miserably. Elbow grease, ha.


Blaine tells me you can’t see into the house during the day. My hero, he checked for me. So what was that Dodge doing???


Ruby wins.

Ruby likes to procrastinate at bedtime. She’ll go potty, get her diaper on, and then decide she needs to go again. And again. As many times as she can convince you. Diaper off. Diaper on. Off. On. Tired of this scheme, the new rule: go before the diaper goes on. Go to bed. Stay there! So when Ru came out announcing she needed to go night before last, I sent her back to bed. Ten minutes later, she pranced into the kitchen and announced, “I pooped.” Last night when she came back out to potty, guess what? I let her go. Score: Ruby 1, Momma 0.


I sneezed 4 times this morning and was informed by my son that it was funny because I had "three snore sneezes and only one 'Bless you!'". Funniness.

I was nursing Charlie this morning without covering myself, sitting at the computer in front of the window. A Dodge Charger drove past, stopped in front of our house, then drove off. Our house is on a hill off the road a bit, but now the question is- why did he/she stop??? And am I disillusioned in thinking people can't see in? Oh boy.

If you cover your face, no one can see you, right? Sterling thinks so.

Charlie weighed a whopping 12 lbs 2.25 oz yesterday and was 22.25 inches long. She's riding the 85% line on all and gained almost 3 pounds in 5 weeks. All I can say is I'm glad it was her and not me! Atleast if I've been unknowingly exposing myself to the passers-by all this time, someone can benefit. I mean, other than... oh nevermind. Covering up now!

The kids saw egg nog in the fridge and wanted to know what it was. They poured a glass, Liberty didn't like it. Eden didn't like it. Sterling tried it and started bawling, scraping his hands on his tongue, crying that it was gross and he couldn't get the taste out of his mouth. Oh, I cried, laughing so hard. Ruby wanted to try it, said it was "blech" and went back for more - over and over again. Thinking she really did like it, and was out for the attention Sterling received. Either way, egg nog isn't a real big hit around here, I guess. Would it be mean to give Sterling a bit more to videotape his reaction? Funniest Home Videos, here we come... or a great blog post at least!

*Photos from the week after Charlie was born. I'm so fast in posting them, I know. When I get more on the flash drive, I'll post more. No rush, you know. The bandaid on Sterling is from picking a bug bite open and me trying to get him to leave it alone. He wasn't hurt, that time. If I took a photo now, there'd be a big egg on his forehead from falling off the chair into the cupboard and then falling off the couch onto the floor, both hitting the same spot. It seems to be a pattern, poor boy.


Who done it?

The toilet won't flush; Blaine's getting something to fix it, and I gathered the kids together to find out who flushed something they weren't supposed to. Ruby was quiet, I asked her what she flushed, and finally admits it, scared and whispering. "My poopy." Oh, honey.


Thank you, my Dear.

As a bridal shower gift, my now sister-in-laws bought me a set of pans. A few years ago, Blaine found a matching saucepan, larger than I had, and added that to my collection. The littlest saucepan, once well-used, had gotten too small to be useful with meal prep for my crew. Today, we hit a new high. Or low. I'm still trying to decide. Blaine presented me with yet another pan for my collection. Or pot, rather. Stock pot, to be exact. Quite useful, I'm sure, particularly in soup prep around here, but I'm still trying to absorb the thought that this is where we're at. If he brings me a canner next, he might get hit over the head with it, I think. I am not making soup in a canner. Because, well, that would be excessive.

Oh, and he also bought me a chest freezer. You know, for all those leftovers a stock pot will allow me to make. Very, very cool. (No pun intended.) I'm still waiting for the chef he must have ordered to show up.


Can't win at losing.

1 cleared garden plot
+ 1 lawn mower to mulch up the, ahem, vegetable plants pulled
= 1 shattered pane in the double-paned sliding glass door

Now that must have been one rock hard cherry tomato. Or a rock - it is Missouri soil after all.

Just to be an optimist, it was the foggy side of the door - and it's foggy no more. So just now, when I do not know what it will cost monetarily or time-wise, I'm going to enjoy being able to see out that side too. And the garden plot looks better!


Calendar confusion and scared stripes - or something like that.

Ah, the busy-ness of this house has taken over. Between that and the internet seeming to only like Blaine, I'm finally getting this updated. And just for the record, first I wrote business. Because that should be busyness. And while business works there too, I fixed it. Because, well, "business" is something I have to clean up a lot of. You know.

Ran yesterday with a friend. What was I thinking? I have visions of being skinny and cute, but after yesterday, I'm thinking this baby belly might just be all right. My thighs doth protest too much.

Charlotte is 5.5 weeks old, quite the chunk, and mostly content - although she does love to be held. Blame her for me not getting on here - it's awfully hard to type one handed. Sleep is not bad; some nights she gives me 5-6 hours straight. I'll take it.

Last week the kids and I headed north to my parents' house in South Dakota for 5 days. Yes, it was cold, but tolerable most days. Yes, there is snow there - but only a little in the ditches. Sterling had to be reminded what snow was; Ruby didn't care what it was, she just dove in, bare hands and all. Those two are about as opposite as they come.

Sterling asked me this morning if Christmas is in first grade. He was looking at the calendar but I'm still a little confused as to what he meant by it. Later, he handed me a stack of plastic nuts all stacked up on one toy screw and told me it was a Christmas tree. Someone help me here; I'm confused still. Whatever it meant, he put it on the coffee table for decoration. Who needs knick knacks?

Last night I cooked 6 pounds of sweet potatoes, 2 pounds of ground beef, and 1 pound of green beans to feed these troops. There were enough sweet potatoes left for another meal, but the sheer numbers were staggering to me. We are going to need a really, really big garden in the coming years if we're not going to be eaten out of house and home. And really, these are mostly girls! That's looking to be a good thing when I start considering the grocery budget.

A work release crew just walked past, picking up trash. The kids were entirely curious about everything, from what the men had done (No idea. I've heard it's unwise to ask.) and if they had to ride in the trailer (Pretty sure the van was for the inmates, the trailer for the trash.) and why the men wore black and white stripes. (That was the only question I was entirely certain I had the right answer to. Although I didn't know stripes were still "in". All the old movies show stripes; the new movies show orange. Way to be retro, MO.) Brady, by the way, thought she was tougher than all the inmates walking past. Little dog, I hate to break it to you, but your 4 pound frame is looking a little scrappy... although I'm sure the term "Yorkie-Poo" would scare the stripes right off of them.

Charlotte was nursing the other day and pulled off for a minute. Sterling walked in just then and matter of factly informed me I'd forgotten to put my boob away. Thanks, little man. I appreciate the heads up.

The three youngest are down for naps, and since the only other stories I can think of are ones that I certainly wouldn't publish and incriminate myself (more), that's all I've got. Time to clean while I can.


Charlotte's chunking up! She's 9 lbs 15 oz at three weeks old. She's gained two pounds since birth. Such a sign of success in the breast feeding department. :) The turtleneck I attempted to put on her this morning was tighter than any turtleneck ought to be though - so much for that shirt. It was looking more like a noose than a shirt. Those neck rolls just want to get in the way!

The kids saw the dentist yesterday. The dentist - a good friend from church - made them each latex-glove balloons. While we waited to Blaine to be finished with his appointment, Sterling drove his truck over a "balloon" and popped it. I said, "That's sad.". He replied, "No it's not. It's not mine. It's Ruby's!" Ah, yes, such empathy. It was a little bit sad for him when I informed it was now his, because he would be trading with Ruby. Then he realized he could use the glove as a glove once more, and he became a dentist for Eden. Such a fun life we have.



Charlotte had a little photo session today (and a few last week!) and I picked a few to post. She's two and a half weeks old, her three week appointment is next week, not this week - something that would have been nice to have remembered before I got all the kids dressed and in the car by 9:45am. But at least I didn't show up at the doctor's office and make a fool out of myself too. And that form that needed to go in that envelope that I mailed today? Yeah, it's on my front seat. Seriously, dear Brain, please come back. At least visit once in a while, please.

How's a poke in the eye, dear girl? He loves you, really he does. Such sweet dreams!


We're all alive and well. Having a hard time finding time enough to do all that my day requires, but that's not exactly a new thing. I spent about five hours today working on getting new stickers for another year on the license plates. Went to the old inspection place, found out they don't do them anymore, went to a muffler and brakes place, and guess what they flagged? Ah yes, my muffler and my brakes. Notice something fishy there? Me too. I decided it was worth the $12 risk - and Blaine agreed - to get it inspected again, elsewhere. And, yes, you know it, it passed with no flags. Really now.

So it's inspected, personal property taxes amazingly waived for the moment - until next month; I don't know why. But I'll take it. Off to the license office, no hitches there. But this process was NOT five-kid friendly. Courthouse steps are mean, for starters. Sterling and Ruby have not mastered the two-feet step up the stairs. You try walking up and down 75 steps with the same foot always leading. Their right legs ought to have some impressive muscles!

Something to consider: I have 100 fingernails/toenails - plus my own - to clip each week. I hear "Your hands are full!" at least four times each time I go anywhere. At least. All the seats in my minivan are full. And last Sunday, when I was setting out church clothes for everyone, I forgot Charlotte's. But, as Sterling informs me, Charlotte can wear pj's to church. Whew. And I just realized it's Friday - and that Liberty didn't get her spelling test done yesterday. Can we just pretend it's Thursday for another day? Maybe I can catch up that way.


It's a girl!

Charlotte Serenity was born yesterday afternoon at 4:08 pm in terrifically impressive fashion. She weighed in at a small-for-one-of-ours 7 lbs 14 oz and was 20.5 inches long. We're both quite well and I'm so excited to finally get to meet her!


Viewer discretion advised.

If my internet decides to cooperate, I'll post a photo on here. It's rather disturbing, I'm sorry. There's a reason I avoid mirrors these days. We're in a homeschool co-op this year, and I'm helping out in the elementary music class. The looks on some of the 5th-6th grade girls are quite funny. They look completely scared and like they'll never, ever have kids of their own after seeing what it's done to me. My apologies to all the mothers there that will never become grandmothers because of me. I didn't mean to do it.
Just killed the biggest tarantula I never wanted to see. It was inches from my sleeping son's head and the body mass was size of my fist, plus giant furry legs. Yes, I screamed. Called Blaine afterward and he laughed at me and my panic. He's so in the doghouse. But rest assured, when Blaine finds the dead tarantula on his pillow, I'll call it even.


Washed a load of gender-neutral clothes so the baby won't be naked until I get the right tub of clothes out after it's born. First Ruby tried to put the teeny shoes on herself, then gave up and held each and every item up to my belly, then pulled on my belly and told the baby to come out so she could try them on it. If only it had worked. Must be a boy. My girls, with their love of clothes, would have listened. Sterling, on the other hand, would rather leave well enough alone and just be naked. 1.5 weeks to due date. Or 3.5 weeks to I-certainly-won't-be-pregnant-still-no-matter-what. You know, whichever you prefer. Ruby taught me due dates can't be depended upon. Should have got her some clothes out and told her she could try them on when she came out. For Ruby, that would have worked.

Photos taken. Now I just have to get them off the camera. One. Slow. Step. At. A. Time. These things just cannot be rushed. Or maybe it's just me that cannot be rushed these days. Waddling takes effort, you know.


Back, momentarily and without much forethought. Sorry folks.

We lost our internet and my phone's service the day after my last post, and the internet connection I'm currently trying to use is interesting to say the least. It's taking me back to the days of dialup... for a much higher than dialup price. Grr, Alltel.

We have hot water! It's been cleared, tested, and shown sound in the gas lines department around here. That first hot shower was awesome - and I have yet to lose the marvel when I'm able to "jump in the shower" and it only takes the time that my shower actually takes. Sterling has told me many times that he fixed the hot water for me. He helped his daddy for certain, and he's convinced he's the one who accomplished all that happened under-house.

I'm still pregnant. 38 weeks and 1 day pregnant, to be precise. I can't wait to meet this baby and get my body "back". You know, because it just snaps right back to pre-baby shape as soon as baby's born.

Our internet "fix" is a laptop, provided graciously to us by my new writing position, so I can get back to work and pay for it. Nothing like starting a new job and then not doing anything for two weeks. Ugh. On the bright side, the laptop is awesome. Very, very cool.

On that note, I'd better go make supper. I'll do my best to brainstorm and come up with something slightly more interesting next blog. But before I go...

Sterling informed me that, if I look when baby's born, if it has an ah-hem, you know... when it's born, that means it's a boy. But if it doesn't have one, it's a girl. But he thinks they will match. Good to know. His next question... what do you call it when it's a girl? I took a deep breath, prayed he'd never remember, and told him the truth. Then I changed the subject.


We bought a house a few months ago. No shocker there. Three and a half months and much labor later, we look like we don't clean up after ourselves. Rest assured, dear neighbors, this will all be better. Someday. First things first, we're getting a lawn mower. I'm beyond excited. We have a push mower that I'd used up until about a month ago, when baby #5 decided it was time I stop spending 5 hours a week mowing our hills. Or rather, it is quite possible that my body was the one who made that decision. Either way, our lawn is now a month long, thankfully a dry month, but pathetic and driving me nuts all the same. Come Thursday, hopefully I can ride around in style on our new (to us) riding lawn mower. So excited. But the pipes laying in the yard? They'll be gone eventually, I'm promised. The trees will be trimmed when the things that are louder stop screaming. We really are accomplishing something here. The kids toys will likely be there for many years to come, though. Who needs flowers when you have colorful trikes and scooters everywhere, right? Ugh. Maybe next year.
We may have hot water come the weekend. Maybe. You just never hold your breath on these things; they have a way of not working out often enough. But the gas company comes Friday to test Blaine's work and a hot shower is nearly tangible from there. All the water pipes are replaced and every faucet is functioning - things I will not take for granted for a very long time, I'm thinking.

My newest realization: we bought a house in a great location. Love it. But when two of my four dear children get carsick on the curves on the way into town, I'm starting to wonder. I've started to carry a clean outfit for one dear child everywhere we go, since that one is less than capable of hitting the bucket completely - but we have a bucket I can throw into the backseat with deadly aim these days even when driving. I'm not certain how my van smells these days, but my guess is someone else could tell me better than I. I doubt it's pretty. If you ever ride with me, be forewarned. You start to hear coughing, you've got about 2 minutes before a bucket flies through the air at the noisy one, all the windows go down in an attempt to cool the cougher off and ward off the inevitable - but it never works. Lunch always comes back to visit a second time. If we show up to something and you smell something fishy, pretend it's someone else, please. I try. I've started carrying wipes again, but you can only do so much. It's not contagious, I promise. And for the record, this is all Blaine's fault. They did not inherit this trait from me.


Liberty asked me today what comes after Romans. I said Ephesians. My dear husband corrected me when I told him this story, so before you email me regarding my error, I know. In all fairness I was 2 hours into typing court reports for a job I've started for an online news site, and my head was swimming. I do not know law, the correct way to word things, or how to think about books of the Bible and felonies at the same time. My brain doesn't multitask as well as I once thought, it turns out.

So, Ephesians. Or rather, what Liberty told Eden when she repeated my response. "Confusions, Eden. It's Confusions." Ah yes, that would describe my state of mind, at the very least.

Brady, dear dog, finally learned to ring the bell when she wants to go outside. And that yes, she really wants to go outside for such business. It took some convincing on that part, and she's not without her accidents, but finally. Ah, the rejoicing when that little bell rang was a sight to behold. The girls, my belly and I did a little dance. If you can call jerky uncoordinated and slightly painful movements on my part dancing. My belly though, it danced. Just kept right on jiggling, even after I'd stopped. Dwell on that one for a moment and let me know if you laughed - or cringed. Ah, the joys.

A photo, provided it's flattering according to me, is coming. Just as soon as I've done my hair, makeup, and find a shirt that will still cover the bottom of my belly. Don't hold your breath - but know that I'm working on it. If nothing else, I'll go buy a Mu-mu. A really, really flattering Mu-mu. You know.

Baby's big, but not as big as Sterling was at this point. Due in 4 weeks. Please, please, make that 2? Fun once-a-week appointments have begun. I'm dilated to 1cm. 50%. That means nothing, I assure you. Except that I'm not in labor, I suppose. No name yet. No closer to a name yet. Poor, poor child. In our discussions of proper and common nouns today, we were talking of first, middle and last names, and going through Blaine's siblings and all their many names. We named off 22 first/middle names that his parents had to choose, and Liberty said, "Wow! That's a lot of names to have to pick!" Tell me about it. Trying to pick 10 is hard enough. Sterling was playing "Meanie, Meanie, Mo, Catch a Tiger by his Toe..." in Sterling fashion today. Maybe we should just get out to baby name book and let him at it.

I'm tired. And tired writings from me typically go cynical. Or sarcastic. I'd better just call it a night before this gets worse.


A few rather long stories on a really hot day that has not included indoor plumbing or A/C... bear with me here.

CATO cashier:
"Wow! You are really pregnant!"
"Um, thanks. I have at least a month left."
"Is it twins or something?"
"Oh. Um, you look really good."
Gee, thanks! Somehow I'm not certain that was a compliment after all that. But it does explain why I'm feeling mostly miserable these last few days. Apparently I look ready to explode. It's going to be an interesting month-month and a half.

I went out alone today. Shocker, I know. But apparently being alone with a giant belly invites all sorts of comments I haven't gotten since several kids back. A man in the store asked me if I was having a boy. When I said I didn't know, he informed me he thought I was, since my "all-round, low belly" usually means a boy. Time will tell, but it was interesting anyhow. With all of the others I'd have random people guess and only once do I remember someone being wrong. Apparently if you feel free to comment, you have a lot of experience with these things.

Oh, and the reason I was out and about on a Saturday? Blaine disconnected the sewer to work on it. First, no hot water, then no water except in the hose and the toilet and the kitchen sink, and now, no nothing except the hose and the kitchen sink. No toilet is not a good plan. TMI, I'm sure, but I'm pretty sure my balance is off enough right about now that finding a tree and attempting to make use of the outdoors would land poison ivy or some such thing in some pretty dreadful places when I fell over. Thank you, Hobby Lobby, for your public restroom. And Blaine, for suggesting that today was a great day to go shopping - alone. Dear man.

Monday I went grocery shopping. Hang in there with me here, this story gets better. So first I took the kids to the library, checked out 35 books - mostly kids books I've read 12 times each, aloud. But I digress. So we haul the books back to the car, thoroughly enjoying the 100 degree day. Literally, 100 degrees. Hottest day since 2007 I'm told. We made a deposit at the bank, after debating whether to get cash out. Nah, I'm good with just the debit card and the 30.00 cash I have. Got to Aldi, needed a quarter for the cart. No wallet. My wallet seems to have migrated from my purse to an unknown location - at home. I had 30.00 cash in my purse anyhow, so if I be careful at Aldi, I'll be fine there, then I'll call Blaine and get his debit card from him. Faster than going home - 12 miles away from where I was. If I hadn't made the deposit yet, things would have been fine - I could have gotten cash. But no ID and no debit card means the bank won't talk to me now. So I broke part of my 30.00 to get a quarter for the Aldi cart, and some apparently less than careful calculating, and checkout later... 34.76. Nope. Not going to work. Put some cereal and butter back. We'll survive until next shopping trip. 29.83. Seriously! I have 29.75. The other .25 is in the cart. The cashier must have had one of those days before, because she gave me change for 30.00 and told me to bring the quarter back inside after I'd returned the cart. Whew. Embarrassing, but I'll survive.

Call Blaine. No answer. Try again. Nope. Fine then. I'll drive the 12 miles home to get my wallet, because this was the day, there was my list, and some things were pretty critical on it. Half an hour later, I'm at the bread store, wallet in hand, and my van that has decided to overheat when the A/C is running some time ago - forgot to mention that part - the van overheats even with no A/C on. Remember, it's 100 degrees. I have four sweaty kids with me who were quite hungry, waiting for the bread store stop so I could make them PBJ's. The van decided overheating during A/C was not enough. Not it's overheating without A/C. Solution: turn the heat on. High. Open windows, blaring heat, praying for all green lights as we head to our last stop - trust me, things were not so pretty. I'm fairly cool (ha!) most of the time, but this day was seriously getting to me by then. I parked at the far end of the lot at the last store, finding a pull-through spot just in case this trip ended with a bang and I needed to be able to get to the front of the van. You know, that fear.

I can't find my list. Seriously. Please, end this drama now and let something go right? I'm digging, and I hear Bang! Bang! I turn to see Ruby with her new metal water jug, banging the shiny red car that parks on the far side of the lot to avoid people like me and my children and their metal water jugs denting his shiny red car. "RUBY! NO!!!" She stops. I start to inspect the shiny red car - still quite shiny and without evidence of Ruby's abuse, look up, and an older man is watching me. Just the type of older man that would own a... oh, no. Please. No. But of course, it's his car. And all he says is "My! That's a lot of children! Do they obey?" "Um, most of the time, but they are children and right now... we're at the end of a shopping trip and it's hot and things are not going well." "Ah, I see." And he got into his car and left! No inspection of Ruby's work. Really, she didn't do any damage. But I was scared nonetheless. So I found my list, got my things, and then took the interstate home, just so I could get more air in the van than the fearfully hot air blasting into my 33-weeks-pregnant lungs up to that point. And yes, my lungs are pregnant too. Trust me on that one.

Just for the record, Blaine also offered up his van for my use until the other is fixed. It does not have a second sliding door and is smaller, but the A/C works and the heat is only optional. I accepted. He's a very kind soul.
Apparently I'm highly predictable. While my search baby names is still on, Facebook friends came through with many name suggestions. About 80% are on my favorite list - a list of names that contains none that thrill my dear husband. But the fact that my friends have nailed almost my entire list is almost disturbing. Almost.

One morning Sterling came bursting into the back door with, "Momma, you're the best..." He trailed off, paused, my heart was cheered by his outburst - and then he corrected himself. "Momma, I'm the best fire truck driver!" Ah, yes. For a moment there, I thought perhaps I was doing something just right for my boy. What a moment.

Mom's Night Out last night. Such fun. No kids. It was awesome. And the snuggles I got this morning, evidence that I really was missed, were pretty awesome too.

"Momma, where's the dutch tape?"
"You mean the duct tape?"
"I said dutch tape!"
"I know you did. It's duct tape."
"That's what I said! Dutch tape."
Ok, Eden. Whatever you say. Funny enough though, she may just start a new word around here. Then, when I informed her we didn't have any in the house, only masking tape, I heard as she headed outside to tell Blaine, "Daddy? Momma said we only have mask tape. There isn't any dutch tape in the house." Yep, whatever you say.


Name that baby.

You know those people who have the baby named before it's even conceived? You know who you are. Two people, so in sync that they can agree on a name together without much fuss - something Blaine and I are not. So not. With that in mind, anyone have name suggestions that flow with our others - and preferably don't re-use any of their first initials? I'd willingly give up that one if I found a truly great name though - that Blaine agreed to.

And before you think this is easy, let me assure you, it's not. Eden Rayne was the earliest named at around 7 months, Liberty Skye, and Sterling Blaine got their "If it's a..." names around 8.5 months gestation, and dear Miss Ruby was several hours old before Blaine finally told me I could choose from our list of "Maybe's" and name her. Morphine had a play in the naming of Ruby Alexandra, in case you were wondering. Morphine in me, not Blaine. Obviously.

So if you have any suggestions, comment away. And if your find your comment deleted, you may very well have won first place - and with it, the recognition of having named that baby. In the meantime, I'm thinking five kids might be plenty. Ten names later (well, eight, if you want to be specific since this one is yet unnamed) this hasn't gotten any easier. We've used up all the good ones up. 20,000 names in my baby name book and nothing jumps out anymore. Might be a good time to stop. Or build a bigger blog, with more readers. Someone should be able to think of something that way, right???


Replay 101

Remember that poop story about Ruby and her bed I blogged about here? Yeah, hit replay on that one, less the company (thankfully!) and insert a less-than-warm shower at the end instead of the pooping in the tub - I'm not stupid, we're not going there. Oh, and change the part where Blaine's home to help clean up to him being at work working hard and Momma being sick on the couch for most of the day. Yep, that about covers the changes to that scenario.


Thank you, Son.

Sterling is a lover of books. He'll bring me a stack of as many as he can carry - usually approaching double digits in number - and ask me if I can read them all to him. One is not enough. Or as he likes to quote 20 Hungry Piggies, "because 19 little piggies is NOT enough..." Sterling chose to quote another favorite book yesterday. He came bursting into the kitchen and informed me, "Momma, you waddle like a duck does!*" Oh, thank you, dear boy. You have no idea what you just said, but thank you for that nonetheless.

*Compliments of Do Like a Duck Does. :)

Any day now I'll have him quoting Shakespeare of C.S. Lewis or Calvin... Maybe something more pleasant will be directed toward me and my waddle. Then again, it might be quite convicting. You just never know.


Brady: Abused or loved?

Brady is our new puppy. Pretty sure she's been well-mentioned by now. I've been a bit remiss in posting photos though, and I'm trying to be better about these things, so here's a few I took on Saturday. Abused, loved, or both? You decide. But just for proof for my dear mother, who gave us Brady, she's alive, well, slightly abused by small children, loved, and bathed regularly. She's not house trained quite yet, but we're getting there - and I'm really trying. Sometimes it's just easier to clean it up than it is to remember to take her potty. But since I have four potty trained children, I imagine the dog will get there too - eventually. She even goes for car rides. And she's not in the sorry shape I dreamed of last night when I dreamed of Brady. Thankfully. Call it pregnant dreams... Ugh.


Ruby, the bell ringer. Brady, not quite,

A good friend gave me a great idea for Brady. Thank you, Bunny. I hung a bell on the door with the intention of teaching Brady to ring the bell when she needs to go out and use the lawn. She's been whining slightly before we find puddles beside the door, but little whines are not exactly heard or paid attention to around these parts. Now, if I could just teach Ruby to leave the bell alone, or it won't work either. Bells will go on my list of ignored very annoying sounds if she doesn't leave well enough alone. Hobby Lobby, on the other hand, has some very cute bells on sale right now. Little girls think they are particularly fun.


One spy frog...

Blaine provided me with a photo of the frog that returns each night to catch his evening meal on our living room window. Just in case a close up of the underside of a frog isn't just slightly creepy to you - because it's looking a little creepy to me right about now!

Belly shadows?

MckMama, a blog I follow rather loosely at best - in my free time you know - had a "You might be nearing the end of your pregnancy" post a few days ago. My favorite of hers: "…you can’t wait to hurry up and give birth so that you can fit into your maternity clothes again." So true. But I have one of my own to add.

After a day at the lake with friends and a lot of time spent sitting on my behind in a boat, I burned the tops of my thighs. Yes, it's painful. Even more painful was when Blaine informed me I had a belly shadow. Yes, dear friends, my belly shadowed my thighs and created a lovely white half circle that didn't burn. Thank you, baby.


Ah, the things that have occurred - and left me with no time to blog about them. I'm sure I'll forget a few, but I'll try to catch up.

Today Ruby and Eden are modeling for the Bass Pro fall catalog. Blaine was in the 2010 Fall Master a few times, should anyone care to see. He looks so entirely out of this element in hunting gear though... I had to laugh. Ruby's modeling t-shirts and Eden's modeling hooded towels today. Eden's on cloud nine... and keeps telling me she's going to be wearing her swimming suit under the towel "So I can be modest." Can you tell we've been working on that one? It's a hard one for me; I want them to learn to keep their bodies covered without thinking they ought to be ashamed... how to teach that???

My belly is huge. Blaine tells me he's not certain if I was this big at this point with the others. With 10 weeks to go, I'm starting to wonder if I'll be graduating yet another size in the wonderful world of maternity clothes before this is all said and done. So not cool. I'm still mowing the lawn these days though - it takes me about 5 hours over the course of two mornings to get it all done, and a nap is most definitely required on those days, but pressing forward... makes me hopeful the massive amount of weight I've gained thus far will "just fall right off" like everyone says. Weight falling off of me has not been something I've experienced in the past, but hey, I'm allowed to dream a little.

It's 90 degrees today. The heat index is 105. The A/C has not made it to the top of Blaine's to-fix list yet. I'm 29 weeks + 6 days pregnant. Feeling my pain? The gas line is still in progress. No hot water yet. Cold showers right about now aren't really a problem though. Blaine's promised me several hours of A/C during the photo shoot this afternoon though... and given me permission to go shopping should I feel the need to cool down in the meantime. Yep, that conversation was a funny one.

On the bright side, sun tea takes a whopping 12 minutes to brew properly. The other 12 hours I leave it sitting on the patio are just for good measure.

We've had a big black dog in our yard most of last week. I think it's a rottweiler/great dane something or another. Big. It stands about waist (ha! if I had one...) high to me, and comes up to wherever the kids and I are at the moment and growls and barks. Blaine comes around and it runs away - all the way to our shed. I finally called the sheriff, unsure what I could do about it once I'd introduced myself to the neighbors. (That was a nice lead-in. "Hello, I just moved in down the road. Here's my giant belly, there's my MSC*... do you own a giant black dog?")

*MSC = Many Small Children

So of course, once the sheriff told me I could do what I wanted to do to rid my yard of the big black dog, the stinking thing moved on. I was really looking forward to, you know, exercising my rights as a property owner outside of the city limits... but nope. But now I know! And as for the neighbors... they thought the thing was ours and were wondering about us, so I'm ever so glad we cleared that one up! Brady, teeny whimpy black dog that she is, isn't going to post a threat to the neighbors, rest assured. No one who hears "Yorkie Poo" quakes in their boots, exactly... unless they're a toad. She loves the toads... but they don't love her so much.

We have a spy frog. Every night, once it's dark and the lights inside are on, it climbs onto our living room window and eats the moths that our lights attract. It's far more interesting than anything on the three channels we get on the tv. But a frog, on your window, night after night? One begins to wonder if it's a spy. You know, because me, collapsed on the couch in front of a fan and under a ceiling fan after a long day... now that's a sight to behold.

I'm missing many stories, but I'm drawing a blank and this post has grown plenty large. I had an entire blog written in my head after being unable to sleep the other night, itching with chigger bites - aha, there's one of those stories - but beats me if I can remember what that post was about. As for the chiggers, blame them on the growling big black dog. It's all her fault.


We're moved, if you call living around boxes moved. Everything's here, anyhow. We're still heating water for baths/dishes, but being here is so much better than the traveling back and forth each day. It's home.

About the baths... It takes many minutes and many pans of hot water to be able to take a bath. No quick and easy feat. No complaints, just life for the moment. But tonight...

We had "company" over - thankfully, friends we've known for years and nothing awkward, but Ruby pushed that one just a bit. She wouldn't stop fussing over not getting a second brownie, got put into her bed and that was that. Ha. She started hollering for me, I went to check on her, and the stench met me first. She'd pooped in her panties, taken them off, and smeared it everywhere. She even sat on the windowsill next to her bed. Ah, new low. Right? Not exactly. That is the first time I've washed poop off of a windowsill, that's for sure. Blaine began the heating water process to bathe her, and 20 minutes later when the bath was warm, the kids in it, Sterling hollered "Mom, Ruby pooped in the tub!" Seriously? She's never done that before that I can recall - ever. So the heated water went down the drain, we called them clean enough until tomorrow, and Ruby called it all "Funny". Momma? Not so much. And now, dear friends, I believe I've reached a new low. Ah, the embarrassment. The anger. The stench. The kids are in bed. Vindictive child, I'm thinking. What to do with that one? They just don't warn you enough about these things.


We've moved!

Through a fun turn of events, we're moved, without hot water, and I've never been so glad to take a cold shower in my life. So cool. (Ha, didn't that one come out funny!) We'll be without internet until I can get the proper people called, so here's a goodbye until we surface out from under the pile of boxes...


One small step.

Just sent off our first mortgage payment for the house that we're not even living in yet. It was a "Well, here we go. For the... Next. Thirty. Years. kind of feeling. A 'I'll be 56 when we get this paid off if we only pay the minimum. Likely a grandma, many times over.' kind of feeling." Wow. And, just in case you were wondering, I didn't send just the minimum. Here's to paying it off before I'm 56!


Somebody check that man's ears.

Liberty came out of their bedroom tonight with shorts and a tank top on, announcing she was going to wear that instead of sleeping in her panties like she has been doing (It's about 90 degrees right now, at 9 pm.) because she sleeps next to a window and someone might see her. Blaine's response went something like:

"No, we can't open your window. There isn't a screen on it, and the bugs will come into the house."

I laughed. And laughed. "You have no idea what she really just said, do you, Blaine?"

"No, I guess not. Didn't she ask about opening the window?"

"No, she said she's wearing a tank top and shorts to bed because she sleeps next to a window and someone might see her while she's sleeping."

"I am turning into my Aunt Edith. She always answered questions she hadn't been asked."

And... I laughed some more. And then I told him he was about to make my blog. He was a good sport and told me I could. It was just too darn funny! Aunt Edith was the sweetest lady, born in Holland I believe, and her accent said she spent quite a bit of time there before coming to America. And her hearing was really, really bad. Oh, still funny, dear Blaine.


Pretty sure these children have one goal: embarrass Momma.

Yesterday I had an OB appointment. I was a little stunned when they told me that my next appointment in July will be my glucose test, and from there on out I'm on every two week appointments instead of every four weeks. You mommas out there know what that means. Eek!

Anyway, the appointment. Or rather, before the appointment. We waited and waited - apparently someone's labor/delivery took precedence over my checkup, wouldn't you know? So we waited. And Sterling and Ruby played and played, chasing each other in circles having a great time. Then Sterling decided to lay down on the floor, Ruby laid on top of him, and Sterling decided she needed a bouncy ride. There they lay, belly to belly... Seriously! What do I do?! To tell them to get up would be admitting to all the nervous gigglers also waiting in the room that my children were mimicking something they have never seen. Never. So do I let them play, pretending they are sitting quietly instead of what it really rather looked like? Do I tell them to get up and act all embarrassed at their actions? Seriously, what do you do? I decided to ignore all and hope they went back to running in circles sooner than later. Still wondering what the right answer was.

After that whole morning, we went to another store, and the woman helping me asked if I homeschool. I told her I did, and she said she'd thought I looked like the type. The type?! No blue jumper or bun in sight (although I admit I have a jumper, maternity and all, and it's darn comfortable) so what makes me look like the type? I asked, and she told me my patience level and how I talked to my children and how they obeyed me. Is that what my ignoring the behavior in the doctor's office was? Patience? We can say so. I can anyhow.

The girls saw on TLC this morning that the Duggar's make their own laundry soap too. Suddenly, you could see it on Liberty and Eden's faces. "My mom is cool!" I'll remind them of that moment when they are sixteen. In the meantime, I'm enjoying the moment. And enjoying the fact that my girls' favorite show is 19 Kids and Counting. Now there's a typical homeschool family. You know, just super-sized.

The police just pulled away from my yard. My (rental) mailbox, and that of the two houses across the street, lay on the lawn, tire tracks in the lawn, and the car that hit them nowhere in sight. Time to move. I'm enjoying the fact that, should something similar ever happen in our new house, Blaine planted our mailbox in concrete. That little car would fare far worse than the mailbox here did if he ever decides to hit that mailbox. Pretty sure I'm on the neighborhood hit list for calling the cops though. Ah, the glares.

I have two babies with fevers and aches. The ibuprofen has them quite fun though. Still wondering if tomorrow brings a visit to the doctor or if this will fight itself. The snuggles I've gotten today will be entirely worth it when I get sick next week. Remind me of that.


Slightly sleep-deprived ramblings of the moment

I think the ticks don't like me; not that I mind. The kids have each had a dozen or more on them by now, and I haven't had any, even with the many hours I've spent in the grass. Strange? Stop contemplating? The great state in which we live, while Blaine assures me there are no recorded cases of Lyme disease ever, has one very impressive tick population. So much so, that I've begun trying to convince Blaine that these would be a wise pet:

Ugly, I know. But from what I was told, and have since learned through research, guinea hens are fantastic bug eaters. And watch birds. Should you wander onto my property in the near future and hear a strange cackling, beware. I've read these things are not overly friendly to strangers. But don't tell Blaine that - he already looked at my quite skeptically when I told him of my bug control plan.

I got another area of our hayfield mowed! More specifically, during our recent Memorial day come-to-our-house-and-we'll-put-you-to-work day, most of it was mowed once by a generous and kind soul. Today I finished what wasn't cut on Monday and then mowed all of it again. Two cuttings later, my lawn just grew by many more feet and a good hour or hour and a half's mowing. Smart plan, I know. Blaine's on the hunt for a riding lawn mower though. I think he just knows that my stamina will likely taper as the summer progresses and this baby grows, and while I rather "enjoy" doing it now, he'll be up next and he doesn't want to push-mow the entire lawn. Pretty sure that's it.

With all that was accomplished Monday, we had high hopes of finishing what has to be done before move in this week and move this weekend, but now Blaine's working required overtime. Good, but bad. Hard to get much done anyhow. I dropped off the water to be tested today. Praying that comes back good, and that we can cross that off the list of to-do's.

Off to get something accomplished before Ruby wakes up. Once she's up, it's just best to keep her nearby at all times lately. Either that, or spend more time cleaning up the messes that she makes than it takes her to make them. The new house still has a pile of chocolate cake on the floor that I have to clean up. She climbed up on the folding table while I was mowing and helped herself, I'm told. Seriously now, if you had just asked! Actually, you're right, I'd have probably said no. Maybe that explains the "Do it and get forgiveness later" mentality. Because, after all, as my dear husband says, "It's easier to ask for forgiveness than gain permission sometimes." Ugh. Ruby's got that one down pat.


Fireflies or lightning bugs?

On the way home last night, we drove past several fields all aglow with fireflies. Or lightning bugs. Whatever you want to call them. The conversation went a little like this:

Me: "Look at all the lightning bugs in the fields!"
Liberty: "Oh, there's fireflies too!"
Me: "Fireflies are lightning bugs. Same thing, different name."
Liberty: "Do lightning bugs bite?"
Me: "No. We've talked about this before."
Liberty: "We did? I thought we were talking about fireflies."
Me: "Honey, fireflies ARE lightning bugs. Same bug. Different name."
Liberty: "Oh, so fireflies and lightning bugs must be friends!"
Me: "Oh boy. Liberty. They are the same. It's like a nickname. It's like calling it a couch and a
sofa. A cup and a glass. Same thing. Two names."
Liberty: "Oh, so lightning bugs ARE fireflies?"
Me: "That's what I've been trying to tell you!"


Homeownership has been... well, so far mostly the downs of trying to get things ready to move in, but we're loving it anyhow. The yard is awesome, the shop has Blaine quite pleased with his space to work in, and the fireflies are great fun for the kids. Yes, I know fireflies come out after dark and long past bedtime. My poor children are on a new, no-bedtime schedule. Last night it was 10pm before we were home, their filthy bodies were bathed, and all were in bed. On a bright side of this late night life, bedtime is super easy, once Sterling gets his pj's on. He gets a bit emotional when he's tired, so that's always fun, but Ruby is too tired to get out of bed - something she's been trying lately when she's not completely exhausted. It's a good thing she's not been fighting me - I don't have the energy to deal with it.

Sterling is three! Photos to follow - as soon as Blaine dumps his camera onto the computer. Every day though, Sterling gets up and informs me he's still three - I think he's a little afraid of reverting back to two.

The landlord wants us to move asap. Theoretically we have the house until the end of July, but moving sooner means less rent - a very cool thing. They have a new renter that wants to move in sooner, so now the pressure is on to get the new house ready. That news came on the heels of being informed from the propane company that our gas line is leaking. Add another job to Blaine's list of jobs to finish. In the meantime, my procrastination on buying paint for the kitchen paid off. Lowe's has a mail in rebate on the paint I wanted now! Very cool. I bought that today, and am headed out there later to start painting the kitchen. Yesterday we microwaved water to scrub the house down (no gas hooked up because of gas leak means no hot water) and we're starting to take everything we can live without out there. Great fun. Makes moving day easier!

I've mowed the lawn out there twice. The first time, a month after being mowed for the first time of the year, took me 7 hours with our 21" push mower. It was disastrously tall! The second time, five days after I mowed it the first time, took 4 hours. Much better. I read yesterday that pushing a lawn mower burns 408 calories an hour. Pad that slightly since the lawn is 80% hill, and that's looking like a great exercise program!

That's all I've got. Life's crazy busy, trying to go back and forth between the two houses, maintain both - and if you think that's crazy, hold on a minute. We're eating supper out there every night, often lunch too, cooking only on the grill without a stove or fridge, hauling dirty dishes back to the rental since there isn't any hot water. Ok, minute over. Back to work on... something! Babies are sleeping, and with our late nights, I hate to interrupt their naps to haul them back out there so that I can paint. So, here I sit.


One memorable day - some memories better than others.

Yesterday, we closed on our house. Half an hour of signing our life away and handing over one very large (in my world, anyhow!) hard-earned check, and we have keys! We did that over Blaine's lunch hour, then Blaine in his van and me in mine with the kids headed to lunch quick before Blaine went back to work. Stop and go lunch-break traffic near the mall later... Blaine stopped abruptly in front of me, and I couldn't get the van stopped in time. I bumped Blaine! Seriously. He has a lovely license plate etched out of the paint on his rear bumper. I'll never, ever live this one down. Pretty sure. In all fairness, the can's brakes are a bit strange sometimes. I'm blaming them.

After lunch, Blaine headed back to work and the kids and I headed home to pack up cleaning supplies and headed out to our new house to clean it up a bit. When we got there, we realized we'd left quite possibly the most important bag we'd packed - the toilet paper! What a day.

Today, we're painting polka dots. With the weather not cooperating with my plan to mow the hayfield that is now our yard, we're going to buy the paint for the kitchen, air out the house Blaine bug-bombed last night and paint polka dots on the kids bedroom walls. So much to do - and yet, it's great fun to do it for our own house again.

On another note, Sterling doesn't like the storms we have going on right now. He told me this morning that the thunder is scared (scary, I think he meant!) and asked if I could turn it off. He wasn't pleased when I told him I don't have a switch for that one.


Random thoughts on a rainy day.

I made oatmeal for breakfast this morning. After the kids were done, all four, ages 20 months to 6 11/12ths years hopped up, scraped their bowls and put them in the dishwasher. A mother of eleven told me once, several years ago, that those were the hardest years. Now, a few years later, my olders - at the ripe old age of 5 and nearly 7 - are teaching the youngers - without any encouragement from me. It's certainly posing new challenges - but the benefits far outweigh the problems. I can only imagine it gets better from here.

On that thought, tomorrow is my 20 week ultrasound for this baby. Followed by a dentist appointment, our final walk through on the house, and the marriage class we've been gleaning much from at Gospel of Grace Church. But for today, I've got nothing going on. I'm going to enjoy today.

Thursday, barring the unforeseen, we are closing on our house. We take possession the same day. I've been having fun comparing paint swatches and have decided on a color for the kitchen. The kids room I'm going to make a few different sized circle stencils and paint polka dots in six colors that the kids picked out. Fun fun.

Sterling learned the proper name for his male body parts on Saturday. He's a bit confused though, calling it a "peanut". Poor boy.

Sterling has a firetruck bike. When it gets rained on, the sirens on the bike go on - and not off. Removing the batteries until things dry out is the only cure. At 2:00 am, when I heard thunder booming and rain coming down in buckets, I knew that bike was likely playing it's annoying tune. And then I rolled over and went back to sleep. It was (still, most likely) going off at 7:00 am this morning, warning all in the backyard of it's travel to a fire. Without a driver. Our poor neighbors. Pretty certain there's things going on in a few of the surrounding houses that shouldn't be. Maybe they were dashing around, panicking, hiding paraphernalia at the sound of sirens. Oh, what a sick, fun thought.

I can't wait to move.


You know those people that have a nickname for their babies long before they are born? Peanut, squirt, munchkin, junior - you know. I've always wanted to have a name/sex determined long before birth, but it never happened. Two of our babies we knew the sex of - and those were the two we took the longest to choose a name. One wasn't named until several hours after birth. So today, with this thought (and it was momentary, I assure you. My thoughts don't last long, or they don't get completed. Trust me on that one.) in mind, I thought "Hmmm. Falkena. 5th baby. F5. Wait, that's a tornado rating. Or an earthquake. No, a tornado, I think. At any rate, is that a good nickname to give to a baby? Are we setting ourselves up for major trouble? Can it get worse than Ruby?" Thought over. No conclusions, but there you have it. F5???

P.s. Once this thought was over, I went to trusty Google and found out it's a tornado. I think I preferred earthquake. But at least I learned something today - beyond how many times of spraying/scrubbing carpet it takes to remove poop. Yes, thank you Ruby.


Happy May! It always seemed, growing up, like spring had arrived once May rolled around. Here, spring has arrived, say, the middle of March. I'll take it.

Everything is going well as far as the house goes. No big surprises; we're actually ready to close. Inspections done, appraisal's done, roof is re-shingled, financing is cleared. So cool! Close date is still May 20, but that might get moved up. Very cool. Then the work begins! Blaine has plans to bomb it with bug bombs, then gut the laundry room where the roof had been leaking, re-sheetrock it, clean the whole house (fairly certain Blaine does not plan on that one, he plans on me cleaning...) and then we can start moving stuff. We have to search for a stove right away, and a dishwasher and a freezer, eventually. So much to do!

The girls started the next grade this last week. Eden's in 1st, Liberty's in 2nd. So far, we're in that easy-peasy stage that the books begin with, covering a review of last year's material, so the girls were loving it. We'll not work too hard through the summer, but hard enough to be ahead a bit and not lose ground over the summer.

Other than that - I've got nothing. Life continues to be busy, and we are looking forward to moving - and then not moving again for a very, very long time. My pregnancy has been uneventful, although this one has me sick still, just a bit now. Blaine admitted to me that with the size of my belly, he's still thinking twins. Ultrasound's in a week and a half; then he can see for himself. It's not.


We're under contract!

Ah, the excitement. I've spent far too much time on the phone lately, but finally... we found a house, made an offer, accepted their counter offer, and we're under contract! So very cool. I copied/saved photos, just to give you a little mini tour, but first, some details. It's 6 miles from town, nine miles to work for Blaine. There are five acres, with which we hope to grow a large garden, get some chickens soon, and maybe more animals later. And now, if you don't mind my copied realtor photos...

front of house from road


back of houseliving room

fireplace off of living room
kitchen/dining room
kitchen sink - just because it's pretty :) Or maybe it's the light that's pretty, I'm not sure. Either way, I'll get to look at it often, since we have to buy a dishwasher, and Blaine tells me that's not real high on the priority list for the moment!

bedroom - only one photo but it has two bedrooms - and they both look alike
porch off side of house - the sliding doors are off of the kitchen - This is where we think we'll add on another bedroom/bathroom - someday.
The bedrooms are above the garage - these stairs go up to the bedrooms.

Likely to be Blaine's fun - a shop, and a big one at that.
Yes, it's only two bedrooms. But it was the closest thing we found to what we wanted, where we wanted it. We hope to add a master bedroom and bathroom on in a few years - before Sterling gets too big to share a room with his sisters! In the meantime, we're very excited. Very. Hope to close the end of May. Oh - and in the meantime, the seller is putting a new roof on it, because those wavy photos - the roof is pretty wavy too. That porch shot isn't just camera problems... or maybe "isn't the camera's problem" is a better way to say that.


Why, oh why?

Why, when my children starting "playing church", do they open up to, of all things, Song of Solomon? Then why, when they start giggling, didn't I keep my back turned and ignore all? Instead, Liberty sees my mortification, asks why my face looks like that, and I have to answer. "Um, Song of Solomon is about husbands and wives." "But they are talking about kissing! and breasts!" "Yes, that's part of being married." I'm barely keeping a straight face. So not a conversation I am having with my five and six year old daughters. Not now. Not like this. "Oh." Breath, Momma. And then... they kept reading. Kept giggling.

Hey, looking at the bright side, they didn't have friends over and Momma didn't have to explain to another mother why... oh dear. And another bright spot - I'll have less explaining to do when the time comes. Can't think of a more romantic book that I... well, I'd rather them not read right now, but someday - when they're thirty or something, you know. They can read it. And learn. Except right now, Liberty's reading like she's in the middle of the best book she's ever read. I have a feeling more questions are coming. Seriously, it's a small book in the middle of a huge book. What are the chances???


Ah, nothing like potty training and spring to supply blog material!

Ruby's doing... I'm not sure. She's holding it until she has something on her behind. Does that count? It shows she's ready, but other than that, little successes. I gave her chocolate milk to spur her to go - is that bad??? She did go - a tiny bit on a chair, stopped herself, and finished in the potty. Hmmm.

Then Ruby went outside with a chocolate chip cookie. And a bird left something not quite - but close - resembling a chocolate chip cookie, and Ru tried to eat it. Twice. Remind me not to kiss that girl. Apparently bird poo tastes bad though, because she spit it out with a grimace. Oh, I'm gagging just writing about it. Eww.

I had three loaves of banana bread and six dozen chocolate chip cookies baked by 10:30am this morning. How did that happen?? Oh, and a haircut. The mo' went. I wasn't sure if I liked it when Sterling got up this morning, Blaine said he wasn't so sure either, and so off it went. Fun while it lasted, but not quite my style.

Liberty lost her first tooth yesterday! It was knocked loose Monday, after she bit into a candy necklace from her Easter basket. I tried to get her to pull it out, I tried to get her to let me pull it, but no. Certainly not. Then a friend from church suggested the doorknob/string method, and Liberty wanted to try it. By all means! We tried, but couldn't get the thread to stay on the tooth. My best slip knot just wanted to slip, not knot. You know. So I helped the tooth along a little and Liberty - shocked - pulled it out of her mouth. Ah, fun times. Now she looks to big though! Nothing like a gap in your teeth to show progression of age... or lack of good dental care, one of the two.


Sterling got a new look.

Little Man has the roundest head possible, needed a haircut, and I was curious. So...

I think he pulls it off quite nicely. At age two. And when I'm sick of it, we'll 1/4" the rest of it. I did get a "rebellious" comment - never occurred to me that it is rebellious, but maybe. Either way, I cut it like this:And Blaine took it even shorter, to this:

So if it is rebellious, I'm not the only one.
Used up the last of my carpet spray cleaner Monday. Started potty training Ruby Tuesday. (Wow, did that come out funny. Leaving it.) Wondered Wednesday if she's too young. Put a diaper on her before bed after no accidents all day (that I found...). She drenched her diaper just minutes later. I think she might actually understand. The holler from Eden when she headed for bed said she gets it all right. Dear Miss Ruby climbed onto Eden's bed to pee. Oh, she gets it. Started Friday out with a definite need for carpet cleaner. Right outside the bathroom. A trip to Walmart for carpet cleaner just got added to the days' plans. I hate potty training.


Grand revelations of what I really don't know.

Went to MOPS today. The speaker talked about the 5 love languages, then we each took a "quiz" to name our own love languages. Turns out, your love language changes when you have kids. Somewhere along the line "Acts of Service" hit the top of my list, when it was at the bottom before. Seemed odd to me.

Even odder was when I explained the five possibilities and asked my girls to choose theirs, after making my own choices for them. Eden, without hesitation, declared "Hugs!" - not a real big shocker for that lover girl. Liberty paused a second and named my own choice for her. "Gifts." Yep, glad to know I know my kids. But a bit disturbed they both could name theirs without a doubt, when "Acts of Service" topping my own list shocked me.

Ruby, during the two hours at MOPS, serenaded Grandma Jean with her powerful vocal chords, all the while displaying her impressive temper and anger at being left there, again. I then displayed that I really don't know as much as I think I do on the way home. My normal route was closed due to an accident, and I decided to take a road that headed in the right direction, ignoring my chances to get back on track once I'd passed the accident section. Twice. Then I turned the wrong way. Twice. Almost landed back where I'd started. Apparently my little "I'm getting to know Springfield" moment I'd had last week with Blaine was one big fat lie. I didn't know it at the time, but today proves me wrong. Wow. Sterling and Ruby got good long naps on the way home though, if you want a bright side. The trip home took a long time.

We didn't get the house we made the offer on. We didn't want to pay what they wanted for it. Nine properties later, we've seen most of the options currently on the market. Found a perfect one Saturday. Perfect until mold and rotten floor joists in the crawlspace. Jacking up the entire backside of the house, cutting out rotted wood, replacing it, setting the house back to rights and hoping the walls didn't crack and the doors still close properly... oh, nevermind.


"Mom! There's Dr. Grasshopper's dentist clinic!" Dr. Snodgrass is a dentist from church - but Liberty was a little confused.

Our internet is sketchy. Our phone is out all together. Yes, I paid the bill. No, I'm not quite sure why. If you've tried to call... well, the cell phone might be a better option. We're on month two of this... or thereabouts.

Liberty finished her math for 1st grade! Ah, the excitement this morning when she was done with school in two hours instead of the typical 4 or so. Math is her enemy. The look on her face when she asked if she has to do math in 2nd grade and was informed she has to do math for another 11 grades, plus college, was pitiful. She might have cried if I hadn't changed the subject. Poor girl - but she's really good at math!

I ordered the curriculum for next year this morning! We're all set. I'm excited. Liberty... not so much. Thinking we'll do one math lesson a week all summer, keep her fresh and give her a four day math week this fall. Ask me in July how that's going.

We put an offer on a house... and still haven't heard. The offer expired Friday night, but I was told a decision hadn't been made yet. Not sure what's going on, but it would be nice to know something - even if it wasn't ours.

Laundry load number six, calling buzzing my name.


It's been a rough couple days. I thought the morning (ha!) sickness thing was done, and it's back with a vengeance. Last night after supper it snuck up on me, I made it as far as the bathroom sink... and plugged it up royally. Blaine, valiant knight that he is, ended up (without complaint!) using the shop vac on the drain. Seriously. Insult to injury, I assure you. Um, honey? I can't get the drain to go down... good grief. Next time I'll just keep going and clean up the floor later.

Still reading? I'm impressed.

Ruby likes to empty her dresser drawers. She tries each piece of clothing "on" (around her neck, usually, although some things end up over her head) and then casts them aside for the next thing. This is a discipline issue at this point. I'm tired of cleaning up and refolding her clothes. So last night, when Sterling hollers that Ruby's making a mess with her clothes yet again, I called her to me. She came out with her fists covering her eyes, not wanting to look at me, moving them minutes later only to cover her behind as I got up to deal with her disobedience. Try not to laugh at that one!

We made an offer on a house! After a long and ridiculously difficult day getting the banker to get the papers to me that we needed to make the offer, it's been submitted. Keep you posted on that one. It's 3 bedrooms/2 bathrooms on 7 acres near Strafford, MO - a 12 mile commute for Blaine to work and about 20 minutes to shopping, etc in Springfield. I'll get excited when we're under contract...

We're down to one box of cereal in the house. The kids don't know, but I'm doing it rather on purpose. If I don't "run out" every so often, that box of cereal they begged for that turned out to have better marketing than flavor will never get eaten. Poor children, forced to dine without options, I know.


News... good news.

I had my first OB appointment today. Ultrasound reveals: one baby! While some people (Thank you, Sister.) might be disappointed, I was waiting with baited breath for one image to arrive onscreen.

In other news: All this sickness that is going around my house isn't getting better. Found out Mom has pneumonia and all the same symptoms of dear Sterling. Time to find a pediatrician???


One nose, running away...

Sterling: "Daddy, can you blow up my nose?"

After trying to catch his runaway nose all day, apparently he's fed up with it. :)


Alive and... well, maybe just alive.

We're still here. I'm still puking - sometimes. I'm 12 weeks now, and hoping things start looking up soon. I called the OB today, scheduled my first appointment. Gee, I can't wait. There's been speculation regarding my sister's twins and her sick desire for me to experience twins as well, so ruling that out will be lovely. Not too worried, but saying "I told you so" to Erin will be sweet. She can keep that experience all to herself!

We went to my parents while Blaine was on location in Florida Feb 27-March 10. Mom and Dad have newborn lambs - although the ewes seemed hesitant to kick into high gear until we were getting ready to leave. Liberty and Eden thoroughly enjoyed the sheep though. Sterling says they are scary and Ruby says that unless Momma goes too, she ain't going. Momma didn't go. There's lots of snow to sled on in South Dakota though, and Dad made a few sledding hills for the kids to play on. I took naps and was generally lazy. Thanks, Mom.

On the way back through, we visited friends in Iowa. The kids have made friends for life in the 52 hours total they've spent with those kids. Fun times. I love meeting up with friends I've had since childhood and watching our children become friends too. The dirt they could dig up on Momma that way...

Weather in Missouri is warmer. Apparently we missed some of the really warm stuff, but it's still warmer. The sound of the birds in the morning is a cheery thought. Spring can come. :)

I'm not feeling funny. At all. It's hard to blog when I'm only upright because I already took one nap, the house needs work but I'm not quite getting there... and I can't find a stinking thing funny right about now. See why I haven't written?

My girls, on the other hand, are figuring out pregnancy. Too many episodes of "A Baby Story" later, their favorite game is labor and delivery. Eden just announced to Liberty that Liberty is 9 centimeters and almost ready to push. I am slightly disturbed, and yet... it's life. They also pretend to give epidurals. Eden was thrilled that the pin they found to use "doesn't even hurt because I'm so chubby". Oh, but I wish it worked that way. That's not life.


Coupon, anyone?

Oreo sent me a coupon for a free package of Oreos when I became a fan on their Facebook page. I redeemed my coupon today, and the kids enjoyed their very first Oreo. Pretty sure they've never had them before. Is that sad? But Eden took the cake - or the cookie, if you'd rather.

"Thanks for buying these cookies, Momma."

"I didn't buy them, honey. I had a coupon that made them free." (Never too soon to implement the money-saving values needed to survive in this world. And mentioning this also lets me remind them, when they want me to buy them again, that I didn't buy them and they are most definitely not in our budget.)

"Oh. Well, thanks for freeing them!"

Oreos: Independence achieved.

(And a side note, Liberty asked me if I could watch for a coupon for her that would make new doll clothes for Felicity free. She doesn't want a dollar off coupon though. Only free. Girl after my own heart.)


Here we go again.

I'm not certain I'm ready for the announcement, but it's hard to hide these days. Baby #5 is due in September. Judging from the way I've been feeling, everything is doing what it's supposed to. Judging from how I'm looking, I'm a lot further along than the 8 weeks that I really am. My muscles seem to have just given up, given in, and let everything go. At this rate, I'll be in maternity clothes long before I'm ready. The girls, on the other hand, are checking every day to see if my belly is growing - and it's seeming to oblige. Then I told them the baby is about the size of a kidney bean, and the wheels started turning. What else is making my belly so big right about now? A friend put it nicely. "You've got to give the baby some padding, so it'll be comfy." Padding, I've got.

Excited? Most definitely. It was a little easier being excited before I started feeling like I'm going to be sick at any moment. That's putting a damper on things. I'll get there though. The nausea is zapping my humor though. Sorry folks.


And so life goes...

Blaine's home. Life's back to "normal". My "old" friend's visit went well. So well, we'll see them again tonight for supper. It was so fun to "reminisce" on times past.

I got a comb stuck in my hair last night. Rephrase: I had nothing to do with it. Names withheld to protect the guilty, one comb cut into many pieces and two hours and waiting for Blaine to get home and help later, my hair is intact and the comb isn't. And one small child now knows that playing with Momma's hair with a comb means combing - not pretending the comb is a curling iron. That is, if said child ever gets to play with Momma's hair ever again. And no, there are no photos. I considered taking a photo of the comb in it's 25 pieces, but didn't. And I didn't consider taking a photo of the comb hanging from my head. Laugh with me, not at me. It's definitely funnier now that I know my hair is not the two inches long it looked like it might end up being when the comb was stuck. Blaine had threats of me finding my shotgun if he laughed. To his credit, he did not. Within earshot.

My washing machine has been down and out for 5 days now. The drain isn't draining and the laundry room floods. I do laundry every day. Things are getting rather slim for pickings right about now. I'm tempted to head to my children's drawers and see what's left - since it's not gone yet, they really don't need it right? Unless the washing machine drain stops draining, that is. Then clothing, any clean clothing, sounds golden.

Off to get my children presentable before supper. If I can find anything clean.