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.


Thank you for that reminder. I needed it.

Once a week, I get an email from to tell me what’s going on with Baby’s development. It’s a good thing. I forget how far along I am horribly with this baby. Something about five other babies to take care of seems to make me lose track of time. I just know I have four months left – because Charlotte’s 8 months now. It’s a good thing I have that reminder… Oh, poor baby. I really cannot wait to meet you. It’s just a little crazy around here. You’ll find out soon enough.

Baby Center tells me that since Baby can hear well now, sounds like the dog barking and the lawn mower that it hears now won’t faze Baby once it’s here. Wonder if the kids screaming through the house can be included in that list of things that won’t faze it? Probably.

I’m 23 weeks today, by the way. Baby Center says so.


Plural? Singular? Huh what?

Sterling was trying to explain the method I ought to use to help him out… “Just grab three squares of toilet paper (Can you tell we’ve had to establish some boundaries in this department?) and wipe between my two butts.” “Between what?” “I’m not sure, Mom. Between these two things.” Ok, got it. “Did I do a good job?” “Yep, I think so. Thanks Mom!” Oh, that boy. He makes me laugh.

Last night, Blaine hung up the tent on the clothesline. It was still there when I went to milk the goat this morning. Then as we backed out of the driveway to go to church, we saw the tent. On the roof. Windy morning, you think?

I found one of Sterling’s birthday gifts – still in the cupboard, hiding, unopened. Perfect. Start the stash for next year or give it to him sheepishly?

Tonight’s a backyard campout in the tent. Provided Blaine climbs onto the roof to get it – much to Eden’ disappointment. I think she’d rather sleep on the roof.

Liberty cleaned the sliding glass door. She asked if I saw it cleaned. I said I hadn’t, headed for it, and was informed, “It’s probably dirty by now. That was yesterday. It never stays clean for a whole day.” Oh, dear girl. Painful, yet true.


If it smells like a….

Charlotte’s been drinking goat’s milk since I became pregnant again and can’t supply her with what she needs. Now, when she poops, it smells like a goat. When she pees, she smells like a goat. When she spits up, it smells like a goat –and, bonus, looks like goat cheese. And when she cries, it sounds… like a baby. Whew.

And now… Momma does the work.

Last night it rained. Thunder, lightning, and lots of rain – and only one kid woke up. Since buying our house in this little valley, the house shaking from thunder has become a somewhat normal occurrence. And while lightning is supposed to do the work, thunder does some pretty big talking and I’m pretty sure the rattling windows last night would indicate thunder can do at least a little bit of work.

My two older girls both asked this morning if it rained last night. Yep, they’ve gotten pretty accustomed to it. Let me be clear here: the thunder was deafening last night. Silliness.

The tent I worked so hard to hang to dry, shake the grass off of after I mowed too close to it on the clothesline, and fold? It got left out in the rain. Perfect. Replay of yesterday’s work, anyone?

Clothes left on the clothesline over night? Check.

Sleeping bag left in the yard yesterday? Check.

School paper left on the porch overnight? Check.

Really, I knew it was supposed to rain last night. Someone, please give me my brain back so I can remember to take care of the above problems. Before it rains again, preferably.

Happy Birthday, Little Man.

Today, Sterling turns four years old. He’s been waiting for this day since about May 26, 2010. He’s already talking about next year, when he turns five.

This year, Sterling has learned to jump off things he’d never dared before, climb up things (Provided they’re sturdy. He’ll be certain first.), learned to recognize most of his letters and some letter blend sounds, to recognize numbers 1-10, to spell his name out loud – and in the process, learn to spell Eden and Ruby too. Liberty and Charlotte’s spellings elude him still. He’s learned to keep his bed dry – most of the time, to eat food he doesn’t like  - and that he won’t die as a result – and he’s learned he’s the only boy in this crew of kids – and he’s ever so anxious to have a brother. He’s my sweet snuggler, with his shirt tucked in always and work boots on his feet, he’s ready to go. Sterling’s always coming up with hard-to-answer questions like “How will Jesus take us to heaven? In a car?” And “When will I be a grown-up?” and “Why can’t I marry you, Momma? Which special friend will I marry?” He’s full of questions of how things work and will be and struggles with impatience with the rest of us. He took great pride in reminding Ruby that she wouldn’t get to go to heaven if she was mean to him and was startled to learn that sin itself didn’t prevent us from going to heaven – anymore – now that Christ has died for us. Big thoughts for a little man.

He’s more like his father than I even realized. He changed his mind many times regarding what cake he’d like for his birthday. His final decision: pumpkin pie with whipped cream and cherry ice cream with fudge sauce. All of which are favorites of Blaine – without the fudge sauce. I’m hoping candles will stand in pumpkin pie. Blaine’s just thrilled he won’t be required (because that’s our deal) to eat the obligatory piece of birthday cake. I’ll have to let him know he doesn’t have to eat the pie… but somehow, I’m guessing he’ll oblige Sterling’s choice.

Last week, during a sewing project (on the curtains I still don’t know what to do with) Sterling found my folding sewing scissors. He offered to trade his school scissors for my oh-so-cool collapsible sewing scissors. When I declined, he told me he wanted them for his birthday. I didn’t get him any, but I had to laugh after a previous conversation with a dear friend (hi Jill!) about boys and such scissors.

For Sterling’s birthday: Monkey bread for breakfast, sandwiches for a picnic at the zoo, the zoo, pizza for supper, and pumpkin pie (with above mentioned fixings). He’ll get his very first tie (w/shirt), a belt like Daddy’s, a home-sewn super-soft pillow he’ll love, a round shovel just his size, a trowel to replace his old one that got spit out of the lawn mower last week, and a Melissa and Doug racetrack. And from Grandpa and Grandma, a big green box of clothes - he’s decided that’s what’s in there. Quite certain he’s wrong. Such the fun day.

I love you more than life itself, Sterling Blaine.


Back to 100%, just that fast.

We’re alive – and well again. And the laundry is almost caught up. In Ruby’s words, “Why Liberty not puke in her puke bowl? Why Liberty puke in her bed? I puke in my puke bowl.” Yes, dear girl, you are far more experienced in the art. I’m so sorry.

Sterling escaped the bug. He’s the only one who did. He’s oh so proud of his accomplishment. Hoping that lasts.

Joplin is about an hour from here. Tornado death count was at 116 last time I heard it. Feeling God’s protection right about now. How terrifying that must have been.

22 weeks along today. Starting to waddle, avoiding bending over. And here the fun begins. Baby’s quieter than most of mine have been, so far. It’s fun to speculate on personality.

Someone asked me today if I drive a “Jon & Kate plus 8” van. Nope. But given the “full” status of my 7-seat mini van, I can’t wait. More room. Oh, the glory of more room. I have the feeling, if and when that time comes, I’ll be the one parking at the far end of the lot, in the pull-through spot. Just a hunch, since Saturday, in the pickup, I was at the far end of the lot to avoid having to park it properly. But the story gets better…

I had Liberty and Eden with me, stopped at the store with the pickup and was then headed home. We’re headed past the nice-houses development (some of you know the one) on our homeward route when Eden announces she’s going to be sick. She’s my #2 carsick kid – not as bad as Ruby, but we’ve had our share of stinky moments compliments of Eden. The windows were down, an Escalade following a little too close for comfort, and I couldn’t stop anywhere safely. “Out the window, Eden!” I hollered, and, um, the Escalade backed off. Way off. And when we got home, the hose was necessary. Um, ew. But it certainly livened up the trip home.


Six down, one to go…

Last weekend, I was sick. Then Charlotte got sick on Thursday. Now, I have three more girls keeping bowls close by, Blaine’s sick, and Sterling is holding out to the bitter end, determined he’s not catching this bug. Ruby’s eyeing up the mess in Liberty’s bed and informing me that she hit the puke bowl and Liberty didn’t. Ruby’s an expert vomit-er due to previous experience in the car-sick department.

So here we are, skipping church and trading in our day of rest and worship for washing sheets and making toast. And cleaning up toast. And making more toast.

Gonna be a fun one, for sure.


I was sick Friday/Saturday last week. It took Charlotte throwing up last night to finally convince Blaine it wasn’t pregnancy related when I was sick. Apparently not getting anything accomplished besides sleep and vomit are things he chalks up to pregnancy. Really now.

Sooo not what I was going for.

I try to be crafty, clever, and make things I plan to be cute. But they never are. I can make things according to a pattern, with directions, and still they don’t look like they should. I’ve made dozens of pairs of curtains all without a pattern, but with a vivid image of what they’ll look like finished in my head. And still, they don’t look like that.

They typically look like a sheet draped over a curtain rod. Impressive, since I didn’t even start out with a sheet, but not quite what I was going for.

I have curtains in my living room that I love – that I did not make. But with three windows, the smaller ones on either side, what to do with the third panel in the middle? I only have three. I had a brainstorm, used a dozen straight pins, one diaper pin and one safety pin and made a valance of sorts. It worked, but I wasn’t crazy about it. So I brainstormed once again, got some grosgrain ribbon and sewed a strip to either side 8” from the ends. I’ll tie it up cute, make a valance that way. It worked. But it’s not cute. Unless you ask my six year old – but if you see what she chooses as cute clothes each day, you’d know that’s anything but a compliment.

I’ve had fabric – that I love, of course – in my sewing box for at least six months. I want to make curtains for the bathroom. I keep thinking that the moment I sew them I’ll see something I’ll wish I made instead. So I’ll wait. Apparently that won’t work – I need to make that first cut to find what I’m really looking for. Ones that, in theory at least, will be cute when finished. I’m starting to wonder if that’s possible in my world. My brain has forgotten how to communicate, it would seem.


Off and running again–and finding I didn’t miss much anyhow.

I’ve been offline for a few days. We decided to switch our ISP and that required waiting for the FedEx truck to arrive. Got it this afternoon – so far, so good. Much, much faster. $15 a month cheaper. Should have done that a long time ago. I’ll let you know next week if I’ve changed my mind…

I’ve written three great posts in my head. We didn’t have internet for any of them. So now, when I do, I don’t remember. Sometime around 3am I’ll wake out of the deepest sleep I’ve had in 21 weeks remembering what I was going to tell you all about. Until then, here’s a boring little update.

We got new phones too – with local numbers. Hooray for having a local area code on our cell phones for the first time in, um, 8.5 years. If you are trying to call, our old phones are disconnected. Try email.

Co-op is over. All of our schoolwork for the 1st/2nd grade school year is completed, recorded, and sitting by the door to get put in the shed tomorrow. My desk is cleaner than it’s been in many, many months. Ah, sweet relief. Time for summer.

We were given a microwave. You know, the fancy kind that hangs above the stove. Very cool. Haven’t had one for nearly a year now. I’m sure it will come in handy – when we remember we have it.

Sterling asked me today why I like flowers. He picks “flowers” from the yard just about everyday for me to put in a little salt shaker “vase”. I told him they both smell and look nice, and when he went to Lowe’s tonight with Blaine he asked if they could bring me more flowers after they got what they needed. I have five perennials to plant tomorrow. Sweet boy – and sweet Blaine.


Feeling a little out of sorts…

Yesterday, I had a whole post written, and then blogger was down to post it. I tried. Now, it no longer applies. Just an FYI though, in case your daughter falls asleep on open Laffy Taffy and it melts into her hair – a hot shower remedies all. No peanut butter necessary. Just in case that ever happens to you.

Blaine and Sterling are on a father/son camping trip with a group from church. It’s really quiet around here. Blaine does not talk that much, and Sterling is by far my quietest child, but it’s eerily quiet around here. I do not know how to cook for smaller groups anymore. Two pound of hamburger for walking tacos is not necessary with this smaller crew. I really missed Blaine getting up with Charlotte so I could sleep in on Saturday, as has become the norm around here. I missed his company too – but it was never so blatantly obvious that he was not here when Charlotte decided it was morning at 5:50 am. A good  hour and a half before her regularly scheduled morning begins. Of course.

My grand plans for last evening: girls to bed early, milk/feed the goats, then read until far too late. With ice cream.

What really happened: kids bed an hour and a half late, phone call postpones outside chores to two hours late, skip the ice cream since it’s 65 degrees in the house and spring has run away for the weekend, read less than one chapter before starting to fall asleep and giving in and going to bed. At 9:46 pm. Oh, so sad.

So far, for the morning: a triple batch of pancakes. Again - it’s too much. Since it’s usually a quadruple batch of my very-small-to-begin-with recipe, and I didn’t think Blaine and Sterling ate that many… good grief. We’ll have pancakes for lunch, too.


So that’s the problem with the upkeep around here!

Charlotte has been sleeping since 9am. Ruby has been sleeping since 11am. It’s 1:10 now.

My house is cleaner than it’s been in a really, really long time. Three loads of clothes are done. The tub is scrubbed. All of the floors, less the bedrooms – since babies are asleep in there – are swept and dust mopped. Amazing.

Fun’s over. Ruby’s up.


Hello, floor.

I moved Charlotte into the kids’ room Monday. It sounds a little bit like a recipe for disaster – 5 kids, 5 beds and 5 dressers in one small bedroom. But it’s working – and she slept all night last night. My theory (the one where I decided it was Blaine’s snoring waking her up) was more accurate than even I thought. And my bedroom is far cleaner than it has been for the last 7 months. The only time I get anything done is when Charlotte is sleeping. Clothes do not get put away, floors do not get swept or scrubbed, and dust bunnies abound when the only time I get something done is when Charlotte sleeps – and she sleeps in my room. Enjoying my newfound floor. For the next four months at least.


Hold on, I’m confused.

Ruby asked me for Sunday School ice cream. Eden had to translate.

Tin Roof Sundae.


For Sale

Saturday, my mom and I took the two youngest girls shopping with us. The others were left to fend for themselves while Daddy worked around the yard. Apparently, they had themselves a little yard sale. I cam home to signs reading:

FOR SALE! 3 brown eggs

breakable but handy and yummy

$5.40 tax and tip


(We’ve been discussing tips lately. Apparently they are getting it – because that’s a really big price for three eggs, brown or not. Pretty sure they didn’t sell.)

Another sign read:

“This dog for sale! $70.36”

And in small print, at the bottom – because, while you have to teach the concept of a tip, small print is a given:

“Age: almost 1

Name: Brady

You might have to spank her often. When you call her name please say “Brady come.” She likes the van or she does not come.”

Since the dog is still here, no one must have wanted a disobedient dog either. Truth in advertising hurts.


Hello, Monday.

Mom’s gone, co-op musical is over, baptism is done, and it’s time for life to return to normal – hopefully a new, quieter normal.

Mom came down last week, the musical we’d been prepping for for 8 months went off with the typical kid’s-program hitches, but it was successful I think, Liberty made a convincing talking rock and no one tripped and fell (that I heard about) and I don’t have photos. They are in CR2 form or some such thing that only my photographer husband understands and my laptop is confused and won’t open them. Maybe I’ll get Blaine’s help on that one.

I’m never willingly teaching music again. My talents do not lie in music. They screech in music.

The seven dance costumes all fit. So glad.

Charlotte was baptized May 1, and now it’s May 2 and Mom’s gone. Gonna miss her. Somehow life is so much more fun with help and someone (adult) to talk to all day.

Liberty has a report on Harriet Tubman due tomorrow at co-op. Should be a fun day – we read a chapter book and a few other smaller ones together to research, but she hasn’t even started with the writing part.

April showers failed to get the April’s-over memo.

Two kids wet the bed last night. Yes, it was the two that still ought to be in that stage. Thankfully, we’re well past that with those in bunk beds.

One of the goats decided she needs to lay down on the milking stand. I have to hold her up (all 150 lbs.) with one arm to milk her with the other arm. She needed to be dried up anyway. Debating – if I stick a 5 gallon bucket under her chest, maybe that will work… Or maybe she needed to be dried up anyway.

Anything else to groan about? Don’t think so. Oh yeah, Mom washed all the dishes. Day’s looking better already.

Baby got wet…


Now that our church is officially Associate Reformed Presbyterian, our pastor is ordained and we’re a congregation of a larger denomination, Charlotte was baptized yesterday. She was exhausted and a little fussy, but there was no screaming, thankfully. And we didn’t have to do two at a time.

*Just an FYI, we rent space from another church. The decorations in the church are, umm, not ours.