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.


My week in five paragraphs.

I’m 14.5 weeks along. I look like I’m more like 30 weeks along. People keep asking if it’s a boy or a girl. When I say I’m not far enough along to find out (and we won’t likely find out anyway) I get a look. A look like “you look ready to pop. That baby looks huge. Or you’re just fat.” It’s a lovely look. Any minute now I’ll have it memorized, I’ve seen it so many times. I just look them straight in the eye now, and tell them, “My belly has learned how to do one thing well in the last 8 years. Protrude.”

Charlotte had her 6 month checkup yesterday. Her pediatrician, and I really like him, so don’t get me wrong here, said “You should really figure out what’s causing this.” Never heard that one before. But, out popped my favorite response I never knew I had. “It would seem I know what’s causing this. It’s stopping it I have not yet mastered.”

I signed up yesterday for next year’s co-op classes. I got an hour in each of my older girl’s classes, and three 20 minute segments teaching manners to 2 year olds, then 3 year olds, then 4 year olds. That will include both Sterling and Ruby’s classes. Thinking this is the perfect solution. I can’t handle a full hour with either of those classes once a week. A room full of 12 two year olds is enough to drive anyone batty. I’m not sure how one ought to teach manners to a two year old in one 20 minute segment once a week, but I’m thinking the china teapot ought to wait until I get to the four year old class. (In all seriousness, they have curriculum. I think.)

Both of the girls finished their math for their current grades this week. Liberty had a frustrating realization when she found 2 more lessons in her book than in Eden’s, but she doubled up and got them done. She has eight extra lessons next year. That’s a good thing to know now, and not at the end of the year when she thought she was done and wasn’t. Anyway, yesterday was a fun day – math is our most time consuming subject so it frees the girls up a lot and it gives me two more hours in mine. Maybe the house will maintain a little better now. I can hope. We’ll start the next grade next week I think, and do two lessons a week until August.

Time to get to work. Goats are bellowing.


We Americans and our can’t afford it, gotta have it ways. Really now.

Found a cute pair of sandals in the shoe catalog that comes in the mail about three times a week. Gotta give it to them for persistence. These sandals are $94.95. That’s an outrageous price for a pair of sandals, but the kicker is you can put them on a payment plan. For $18.99 a month, you can pay for them all summer, and five months later, when it’s getting too cold to wear them, you will finally own for your very own one pair of worn out, stinky sandals. Or maybe, just maybe, sandals that are approaching $100 last for two summers. One could hope. I couldn’t say, since I’m in $15 ones I (thought) I splurged on. But really, if they last for two summers, just think: you’d get to wear them while you owned them free and clear by then!


I beg to differ.

The Chinese Gender Chart is wrong with all but Ruby. According to it, I only should have one girl, Ruby - and this pregnancy should be my second daughter. Sterling would beg to differ that our house is full of boys. Thinking it's not as 90% accurate as they say. Or I'm very 10%. Or God’s in control and no chart is going to dictate my family. Yep, I think it’s that one.

Roany wins.

Roany, dear goat, was tied out in the pasture yesterday and apparently didn’t like the constraints of her 30 foot rope. She managed to break the metal clip holding her and was happily munching in the yard when I found her. I found a new clip, put her back on the rope, and all was well – until time for milking. I was milking Blackie first (because she doesn’t try to eat my hair when I milk Roany) and Roany was not happy. She bleated and bellowed and ran at her lead until clip #2 broke. Next thing I know, here comes Roany, pleased as punch with her accomplishment, and she begins trying to eat my hair. Perfect.

Today, Blackie and Roany roam the yard freely while the kids goat-sit. I’m out of metal clips that have even a small chance of holding Roany. Blaine, if you’re reading this still at work, stop at the hardware store for me? We need two metal clips, extra reinforced. You know what, buy a couple extra, just in case.


Meet Roany, pest extraordinaire.

Meet Roany, our newest goat. I’ll have to clear space on my memory card before I can introduce the cutest addition to our goat herd. Roany though, joins Blackie in the milking pen and shows her up 3 to 1 in production. Lacking nothing in personality, Roany may very well drive me crazy, but we’re working on a system that doesn’t involve my hair or ears getting eaten and my barn coat staying intact for the duration of chores each time. I’d like to keep all three, but thanks anyway, Roany.IMG_2759[1]

I made eggs for breakfast this morning. Sterling does not like eggs. None of the kids have jumped for joy at our switch to goat’s milk (Threats have been involved each time to get children to finish their milk.) I asked Sterling what animal he thinks we should get, since we have chickens and he doesn’t like eggs and we have goats but he doesn’t like goat’s milk. He said he likes hamburgers and hot dogs. I’ll get right on that.IMG_2752[1]

That conversation was promptly followed by Eden asking if I’d put milk in her eggs, and if I had, had I used goat’s milk. (I did, but I didn’t. It was cow’s milk.) Suspicious children.

I think I might not have to mow the lawn this summer. Four goats can eat a lot of grass.


Dear Baby Tad,

I’ve been a faithful Baby Tad fan for several children now. Lights and music help my children fall asleep faster. But last night – that was so very not cool. I do not care to salsa at 2:00 am. Nor do I care to dance, sing, or play. And while every time Ruby moved you sang and she slept, the only thing that saved you from flying across the room last night was the fact that it would have likely woken Ruby up, even when you couldn’t. Well, you woke me up, you woke Charlotte up, and I’m still a little peeved. You are banished to the windowsill, dumb frog.


To Tired to Tango

Adequate seating, missing hours and teeth.

“Mom, can you pull my tooth out? I couldn’t figure out what three times nine was and put my head down and my tooth banged on the table and now look.” Her front tooth was bleeding, hanging by a thread. I told her to bite an apple, that would solve that, but all the apples are gone. She decided to try it with a banana instead. Thinking that’s not quite going to have the same effect. That’s a new one for us. Mathematical frustrations result in lost tooth.

While Liberty’s losing teeth, Charlotte’s gaining hers. She now sports two very sharp bottom teeth and her mood has drastically improved. Momma needed that.

Midwife appointment yesterday. Baby’s heartbeat was loud, strong, and fast. (162 beats per minute. It’ll slow down in the next few months to give a better indication of the boy/girl wives tale – if that’s really true. Boys are supposed to have slower heart beats than girls.) Baby never stopped moving. Robyn warned me to prepare myself now, this one’s going to be a busy one. As opposed to all of my calm, laid-back children, you know. She said she wouldn’t be surprised if it was another boy, given it’s activity. But if it’s really a boy, he would be Sterling’s complete opposite. He would be my one and only calm, laid-back child. What kind of change would that be in this family? Oh, the possibilities (of gray hair…).

We were given a couch yesterday. We have enough seating in the living room for all of us now, no floor required! So cool. Blaine took Sterling and Charlotte with him, and Sterling fell asleep right after they left to go get it. He barely woke up when he was carried into the house. This morning he asked me when he was going to our friends house – he’d anticipated it all day yesterday. I still don’t think he believes me that he was there and home again, asleep the whole time. What a disappointment, poor child.

“Don’t eat the car”

“Spit out the tacky tape.”

“Cats don’t like moldy biscuits. Those are for the chickens. No, you cannot eat the moldy biscuit.”

Just a few things I heard myself saying this morning. Normal, everyday things, you know.

By the way, the banana didn’t work. The tooth is still hanging there. For lunch? Corn chips, peanuts, and/or a rice crispy bar. We’ll get the bugger out one way or the other. I’ve used thread and a doorknob for all the others Liberty’s lost – and end up pulling it out in the end anyhow. Time to mix things up a little.


Oh, yeah…

The homeschool co-op we are a part of has a pamphlet of all the mom’s names/photos, and those photos go into the yearbook. Something apparently happened, those photos have to be taken again for the yearbook, and I thought, “Great! I won’t be pregnant in it this time!” When they took the photos last fall, I was about a month away from my due date with Charlotte. And now… it hit me. I am pregnant. Not so big, hopefully not nearly so fat, but still. And come fall, when they take them for next year? I’ll be a month away from my due date. Oh, yes, the irony. Didn’t I just do this?

I’m still feeling great. My gag reflex is ever-ready and Brady nearly did me in when she got carsick on the way home yesterday, but I’m good. Strangely normal. And 12 weeks along.

Ruby asked me the other day if my glasses were my Sunday glasses. I told her they weren’t, but she informed me she has Sunday glasses. You know, in case we get a sunny Sunday.

We’re getting another goat! “Roanie” and her buckling arrive sometime in the next week. Joining “Blackie” and her buckling, we seem to have a pattern here. Color names, baby bucks, Boer/Nubian crosses… but Roanie produces significantly more than Blackie. We’re on our way to providing our whole family with goats’ milk. Except Blaine, who cringes at the thought. And me, if my gag reflex doesn’t improve. Simply knowing it’s goats’ milk might do me in. But the kids – well, I’m pretty sure if I don’t tell them, they won’t know. Looking forward to the day when they get to try it. It should provide some entertainment. Maybe not quite so funny as apple cider vinegar, but it might be funnier too.


coveted cereal and minor meltdowns

This morning I was outside doing chores when here comes Sterling, plodding up the hill in his one-piece union suit pj’s and his puddle boots. Too cold to be without a coat, he was shivering horribly, trekking up the hill – all to say, “Momma, I want another bowl of ‘Honey Bunches of Boats’ but no one is getting it for me.” I dropped everything, told Goatie to hold on, I’d finish milking as soon as I poured that bowl of cereal… or maybe not. But you have to give it to him for stamina in desiring that second bowl.

The kids didn’t get to bed until 9:50pm tonight. Ruby asked me at that point to turn the light off. Turns out, even Ruby has her limits. And bedtime is far, far less stressful and no one talks after lights out when it’s that late. Then again, the three meltdowns before bedtime might have been an undesirable tradeoff.


Morning musings, mid-coffee. Thoughts aren’t always completely coherent at this point in the morning. Just a warning.

Someone commented, in jest, (I think!) to Blaine that he really ought to figure out what is causing this. Blaine’s response was that someone had told him once to find one thing that you can do well, and stick with it. I cringed – and then I decided perhaps this answer is a good one, especially for those who aren’t saying such things in jest. Because trust me, how the comments fly.

Blaine’s off to Presbytery for a few days. I’m looking around the house wondering what to do first. Decided to start with coffee.

Goat is actually being… nice. She’s making just enough to feed Charlotte, more than she was by half again as much, and heading for my makeshift stanchion when she sees me coming. It’s amazing. She’ll still try to kick on occasion, but a stern word stops her in her tracks. She’s somewhat like some of my more tender-hearted children. Stern words do little for a few of them…

Our wooden stools we use at the kitchen table have seen better days. They were hand-me-downs from my parents, who bought them back about the time I was born – and I’m not sure if they were new then. One is always getting stolen to be used here at the computer. This morning’s loot was the worst one, and when it creaked a bit more than I was comfortable with, Liberty offered to swap it with one of the better ones. And when she picked it up, the leg fell out. Oh dear. Feeling like the sweet girl saved my tush - and my coffee! I think it’s time to invest in some new stools.

“Mom, does time go faster in Texas?” I don’t have a clue where that one came from. Best as I can figure, Eden had just realized that the tv show she was watching last night was encompassing more than the half hour she saw – that days had passed. And you know, tv is live and unscripted, right?

Sterling: “Can you read Santa and the Fox to me?” “You mean Chanticleer and the Fox?” “Yeah. Can you read me that?” Nothing like exposing them to good literature – even if they aren’t quite getting it.



Dilemmas I’d never dreamed would be life.

How does toothpaste get on the side of the toilet? I always buy white toothpaste – the bright blue stuff does not blend in well and it stains the white bathroom rug. I do not like scrubbing the bathroom walls every day. Now the walls are orange and I’m wondering why I did that. They do not sell orange toothpaste. But on the toilet? It did blend in there, I suppose.

New word banned from use by small children in our home: assume. One of my dear children, ahem, who shall remain nameless, likes to pick up a new word and use it. Nonstop. So, after hearing the word “assume” at the beginning of 90% of said child’s sentences, mostly out of context, it became a banned word. It joins the phrase “Do you know why you…” and others not currently coming to mind. The ban must have worked.

Sterling came inside, panicked because there was a “big huge noise outside”. “I don’t know. I think maybe someone was shooting us.”

Liberty brought home a lump of homemade play dough yesterday. Last night for supper I made split pea soup, and Liberty got a bone in her bowl from the ham bone I’d used. Today she informed me she’d hidden the ham bone in the play dough. Then she promptly took it outside and encouraged all her younger siblings to join her in a treasure hunt through the play dough. Um, ew?

It’s March 2nd. It’s 64 degrees outside, and my children are out in the yard, barefoot, comfortably. (Ok, comfortably temp wise. From the tip-toeing going on out there, I’m thinking they are experiencing some pre-summer tender toes.) It’s beautiful.


A few weeks ago I signed up for the Purex Insiders. Free samples and trying new stuff is always fun. They sent me a little sample of their crystal fabric softener. It smells great - and the clothes coming out of the dresser still smell great. Now, if it would just cover the smell of goat's milk spit after the fact...