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’ve lost my memory.

I forgot to buy Easter candy. Completely spaced it. So when the kids mentioned our tradition of hiding baskets of candy for each of the children at 8pm on Saturday night, I was a little taken aback. How on earth does one forget that???

Saturday night, 3.5 hours after the “forgot the candy” realization, I went to make the sticky buns I’d agreed to take to Easter brunch at church. I’m out of cook-and-serve vanilla pudding. I’d sent Blaine to the store on the way home from work Friday so that I’d have the frozen dinner rolls I needed to make the sticky buns. Never checked my pudding supply.

Can I have my brain back? This pregnancy is getting to it, I think. (Although someone, remaining nameless, also pregnant, called me the other day to tell me that she, after running an entire load through her washing machine so that clean sheets could be have, and learning the wash load on her new machine takes 2 hours, opened the washing machine to find she’d forgotten to add clothes. I haven’t done that. Yet.)

So back to the Easter baskets. I scrounged the house for anything sweet, found a couple boxes of Andes Thin Mints I’d bought in the after-Christmas sale, peppermints from my very-Dutch husband’s stash of peppermints for church, and fruit cups and rice crispy bars – from Blaine’s lunch fixings supply. Poor man – but I left him some. I threw a dollar bill in each, and we were in business. I was tempted to raid their Valentine’s day candy, but putting their candy into their baskets just seemed, um, strange.

That story for this one. All the kids, post-lunch, ate yogurt and then one thing from their Easter baskets. All chose rice crispy bars. They looked good, so I asked Sterling to raid Blaine’s lunch supplies and get me one. His reply? “Momma’s gonna be sugared up!” This stated as all four older kids are running the length of the kitchen, hyper on yogurt and rice crispy bars. I assure you, I did not join them in their sugary races. That would have been a sight.

*Side note, instead of the pudding, I just used brown sugar, butter and corn syrup. Blaine said he liked them better.


Life’s an adventure–a funny one at that.

Last night I realized I hadn’t drank any water yesterday. I filled my 32 hospital jug and drank it. All. At 11:30pm. Bad plan. If you visit my home, kindly ignore the path beaten from the bedroom to the bathroom. I’ve been pregnant for all but three months of life here. It’s a well worn path.

All five kids were in the tub last night – yes, they still fit, but only barely. They were brushing their teeth – because we work on a fine timeline on Saturday nights (and every other night…). Ruby got an evil look in her eye, stood up, and spit directly onto Liberty’s head. Liberty sat there, shocked, then burst out laughing. The rest of the night was finished in fits of giggles. Ruby’s as fiery as they come.

I was mowing the other day, rain was threatening, thunder booming, and I finished – just in time. Then I realized my cell phone had fallen out of my pocket. Hoping I’d lost it in a mowed patch and not run over it, the kids and I went on a hunt through our rather large lawn. Eden found it, whole and unharmed, just as huge raindrops began to fall. We were about to head for the house when a collie, furrier than I’d ever seen, came rambling over, wanting to be pet. Sterling and Ruby were freaking out about the strange dog, Brady was losing it trying to defend her territory to a dog that weights ten times as much as she does, and the collie was just begging to be pet.  We checked the dog’s collar, found no tags, and decided to head for the house before we were drenched.

We got into the house – and so did the fluffy white collie. Sterling was howling, thinking the house was his escape from the strange dog, Ruby was hollering that the dog had followed her in, Brady barking like she owned the place and didn’t want company and the dog realized what a crazy kitchen she’d just wandered into – and she didn’t want to leave. Yep, instead of running back out the way she’d come like any sane dog should have done, she headed for the corner, behind the table, under the bench, and hunkered down. And I laughed. Laughed until I cried. Liberty and Eden together pulled and pushed to get the collie back to the door, finally successful. But they couldn’t get back inside without the persistent dog following them back in. Finally they were inside, the dog outside, Sterling calmed down, we swept up the grassy mess, and life went back to normal – just slightly less chaotic than the scene above.

That night, when Blaine got home from work, Ruby told the tale, in short form. “But Momma didn’t let the dog into the house. She made her get out.” I’m so glad, in all the hilariousness of it all, that I came out heroic. And I couldn’t help but wonder if Liberty’s reaction in the tub had anything to do with my reaction to the dog. Because if it did, it would do me well – and my children as a result – to laugh in the stressful moments instead of getting upset. It sure was a lot more fun.


My morning, in short form. Because it was a really long morning.

We had to be at the dentist at 8:00 this morning – 45 minutes away. They seem to like giving me (more specifically, my three oldest children) the first appointments of the day. Six months ago, it sounded like a good idea. We’ll be in, and out, early in the day. And we were. 9:36am we were back in the van. But six months ago, we did not have four goats that need attention, feed, and two that need to be milked twice a day. We and our dentist are members of church together, and yesterday, I was extended grace in not having to be there right on time. So I got up at 6:00am instead of earlier. After last night with Charlotte, that was an early enough hour for me anyhow.

So 6:10am, while my pj’s lay cooling on the floor, I headed for the goats. Blackie, sweetie that she usually is, is apparently not a morning person goat. She kicked and balked and tried to step into the milk. When that landed her a fist gently placed in her gut, she laid down. On the milking stand. She’s played this game before, and I wasn’t amused. Tying her high and tight, she had the choice to stand and be milked or lay and choke.

She chose choke. Fine. I was almost done anyway and I did not have the time or frame of mind to deal with her any longer. I pulled her off the stand, she balked at not having finished her grain up there, and, long story slightly shorter, the back of my hand bore the brunt of her anger. I’m pretty sure it’s just horribly bruised, but still not completely convinced that it’s not broken. Dumb goat. Milking Roany with my left hand was interesting. Slowly interesting. I gave in, endured the pain, and finished with my right hand. She’s never been so well behaved – ever. And three kids were anxiously waiting to go to the dentist.

Yep, strange kids, they like to get their teeth cleaned. And those tiny tubes of toothpaste? We’ll have three of them opened and fought over whose is whose in the drawer if I don’t intervene. They love each other so much.

We all had a granola bar in the car, the kids brushed their teeth in the dentist’s bathroom, and we were there at 8am on the dot. Still not sure how that happened.

Six months from now, they have a return visit scheduled. For 9am. A splurge to be sure, but in all fairness, I’ll have six kids then – one about a month old. And maybe, just maybe, the goats will be better behaved by then. As Mr. Roosevelt said, “Speak softly and carry a big stick.”


“Momma, why you always want your name to be "’Yes, Ma’am?” Thinking Ruby’s not quite getting this whole respect thing.

We had company over for supper a few nights ago. Sterling couldn’t wait, and then he got sick shortly before they got here. He spent the night sleeping on the couch. They next day, back to 100%, he mourned, “But I didn’t even have any fun with them! Can they come tonight too?”

Saw my midwife yesterday. I’m 16 weeks, measuring 16 weeks, baby’s heartbeat was 144. Steadily growing. My belly is also steadily growing. Huge.


Ya got that?

I ask my younger kids their names all the time. No idea when or why that started, but they’ll rattle off all three names. Usually. Lately, Ruby tells me she’s Momma instead. But today, Ruby told me, “My name is ‘Yes, Ma’am. You can call me ‘Yes, Ma’am.’”


…and, DONE.

I’ve been sewing, sewing, sewing for weeks now. We haven’t had dinner together as a family for weeks now. The kids have had dinner with a sewing machine. All for seven black chiffon worship dance gowns. Chiffon is horrible fabric to work with. Horrible. Seams do not lay flat, hems are worse, and it frays something terrible. But they are done. They are not perfect. I wish they were. There is no such thing as perfect with chiffon. Except done. Done is perfect.


Sibling love. And rivalry.

“Liberty, will you save my napkin so Sterling can’t get it?”

“I’m not going to get it! Ruby, I don’t steal napkins!”


“I’m going to tell mom.”

“No! I’m telling mom on you!”

“No. I’m telling mom.”

This went on, a room away, for many minutes. In the end, no one came to tell me anything. The impending threat of tattle tale consequences was apparently greater than whatever was going on. Sterling and Ruby love each other so much. Can’t you tell?


Strange, very strange.

All told, I’ve spent 21 years of my 27 in South Dakota, land of long winters and hot summers. And yet I’ve never experienced this one before:

Sunday, it was 86 degrees outside. I slept all night with the ceiling fan on.

Monday, it was 45 at best, windy, rainy, cold and had a freeze warning low of 29 overnight. We (ie. Blaine) had to put a fire in the furnace Monday night.

Tuesday, now? It’s looking sunny, with a high of 61. 70’s the rest of the week.

Welcome to Missouri.


Well now, ain’t that grand!

In the words of one of our favorite books we’ve found this school year – it seemed a fitting title. I found a letter slid underneath our bedroom door last night. It read:

Dear Daddy,

I love you. I wish you could have some time off work so we could go on vacation to grandpa and grandma’s.

I love you very much and I hope you don’t die until you are at least 90.



There was a hand-drawn maze in green crayon on the back to occupy him as well.

My kids decided they do like goat’s milk. Even Blaine agreed it tasted fine, good even. I don’t know what was up the first time we tried it – except Roany was new on the place and likely getting different feed here than where she had been – but it’s actually good. I made banana bread with it, Sterling told me he wasn’t going to like it, and of course couldn’t tell the difference. He told me I should use it in the French toast this morning. Since we now own four goats, liking their milk is kind of a good thing, I’m thinking.

The other day we were walking down the main aisle in Target when Ruby broke out into the Alleluia chorus at full volume. Over and over and over and over again. As if the 5 kids 7 and under wasn’t enough to get us all the looks. I assure you, the two year old evangelizing for all she was worth got us a few more. I kept walking going, “Laugh? Be embarrassed? Pretend everything’s normal? Ask her to quiet down, just a smidge?” I didn’t come to any solid conclusions. There were about 20 people peeking out the aisles around us, watching it. And Ruby did a beautiful job.