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.

12.31.2012

Purex BABY Giveaway!

Purex has, once again, come out with a new product for your review. New for babies is Triple Action Purex BABY. Hypoallergenic, dermatologist tested, Purex BABY is gentle on baby skin and great for baby stains.

 Purex Baby Detergent

I’ve been using Purex BABY for a couple weeks now, and while the smell is definitely baby and I’m strangely lacking a baby at the moment, the clothes are clean. I’m happy with it, and with the price of Purex beating the price of it’s competitors, that’s pretty cool too. If you’d like to try Purex BABY, leave a comment below for a chance for a free bottle of Purex coupon. An extra comment saying you “liked” this post and leaving a comment on my page on facebook will earn you a grand total of three entries. Drawing is on Thursday at noon.

Overachievers.

Liberty and Eden were sent up to the woodpile in the pasture to put a week’s worth of wood in the back of the pickup.

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They were pretty excited to hear that the amount they threw in the pickup would last at least twice that long.

Overachievers.

Christmas monkeys.

I sewed 17 sock monkeys in the last month and a half. Ten of them were for my kids and their cousins who were here for Christmas.

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Fun stuff.

12.30.2012

Need? Or want?

Yesterday, after much deliberation and trolling Craigslist, we bought a new-to-us refrigerator. The one we’ve had for the last five years is 18 cubic feet. Small. We measured our space available, and headed out. We bought one that’s 25 cubic feet, water and ice in the door… in short, everything the one I’ve had isn’t. With plans to put that in the kitchen and move the small one to the basement, we headed home.

And then. Those 35 inches we have for our fridge aren’t. With an old and somewhat (or significantly, depending on where you check) malformed home that wasn’t built exactly square, the fridge, despite removal of trim (Trim that was finally nail, caulked, and painted just mere weeks ago, mind you.) and trimming of kitchen cabinet, it. won’t. fit.

And so the new fridge goes to the garage. That was a hard pill to swallow. It’ll serve us just fine down there. The little one fits great upstairs. It’s just not what I wanted. No ice, no water, no freezer that the kids can easily reach.

It’s an extra fridge. We got it for a good price. We have food abundant to put in it and more than we ever deserve.

But it’s been a painful lesson.

12.27.2012

Temper, temper.

Pierce has a fierce temper. I know this. Still, I was surprised to find this when I went to get him out of bed after his nap that he refused to take. Instead, he spent the time displaying his anger, not only verbally, but also physically from the evidence:

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Poor monkey lost his mouth. The stuffing was everywhere. His eyes were only saved because I must have sewed them on stronger than he could pull, from the looks of them.

I’m a little bit afraid.

12.26.2012

Book Review

I was recently asked to review the book The Reunion by Rachael McIntire. It was published by Elisha Press.

The Reunion is a novel meant to be read aloud to your whole family or enjoyed by readers around age ten and up. My kids were clamoring for me to read “just one more chapter” each time we read, and they were hanging on the edge of their seats. Characters Rebecca, Sarah, and Amanda became household names and were frequently discussed among the children. Each of my kids age 4 and up were thoroughly engrossed, waiting to find out what might happen. The story begins as baby Sarah was left on the doorstep of a Christian family. Sarah becomes Rebecca’s sister and the story details the growing up years of Sarah and Rebecca together.

Amanda, also adopted, but to a distant and unchristian home, was raised by nannies and most definitely not in the church. How she grows and how Sarah grows was much discussed as my children realized that not all children have the home life they do. Tender topics were discussed with grace and the story had a fun twist that I have to admit was somewhat predictable for me – but my kids did not see it coming. They were thrilled and excited and I have a feeling we’ll be talking – and re-reading The Reunion for many years to come. Both of my older daughters, age 9 and 7, have already re-read it once. It was well written and, while the Christian family seems nearly too perfect living how we all ought but struggle to, it made a positive impact on my kids. Thumbs up from this momma!

If you are interested in buying a copy for your family, use code REVIEW-FALKENA at http://thereunionstory.com/ for $2.00 off until the end of February. After that, the discount reduces to $1.00 off.

I was not paid for my review. I did, however, receive a free copy of The Reunion. All opinions are mine and my family’s. Read excepts of this review and the reviews of others at http://thereunionstory.com/reviews/.

12.25.2012

Grit your teeth and smile.

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My favorite photo out of the Christmas bunch – she just looks so tolerant, doesn’t she?!

IMG_4113I think she likes her new backpack.

IMG_4107He couldn’t stand it, he was so excited.

IMG_4110He loves his sister.

IMG_4119Feigned glee over a gift she helped me pick out…IMG_4118

IMG_4151Dawning realization that the pile of tubes they were looking at actually makes a 15 foot trampoline…

…and Pierce got crabby and missed the photos. Oops.

Merry Christmas!

12.23.2012

Christmas numbers.

There are 17 people in my house this Christmas. All family, crowded together under one little roof. Ten little people, all having the time of their lives and making memories that will last a lifetime. Seventeen people, one bathroom, 51 meals a day to prepare, and more games played than I can count.

One Christmas trampoline, gifted early, being well broken in by 20 little legs (and a few adult ones too). Two black dogs, unsure about being friends, tolerating one another and joining forces when it’s time to tree the cat. One Christmas tree, decorated in tinsel in the name of making it less homely, now decorating seventeen people with it’s tinsel. One baby boy, unsure of the level of noise in his home, raising his level of crabby to an all time high. One little girl, bossing around the dogs in her big girl voice, fully expecting to be obeyed and becoming indignant when she’s not. The same little girl, asking numerous times if the visiting dog is a dog or a cat. Our cat shares the same name. The visiting dog is the size of a cat far larger than any I would consider safe and welcome in my home. And she can bark. It’s so confusing.

What a wonderful life.

12.18.2012

Neighborly update.

Just a follow up to the story of our backyard neighbor. Today we made cookies and took those and some homemade soap over (Does that totally give the wrong message? I hesitated. It’s lovely soap, but does that scream, “You need a shower!”?) and knocked on their door. He recognized me, I got to meet his wife, and other than a minor mishap involving water and a Ruby-sized propelling a rocking chair far to vigorously, we had a lovely, short visit.

He has yet to attempt the sewing machine, I got his phone number, and plan to take them supper after our holiday plans calm down. Their life story would make you want to cry, and I rather feel like adopting them. I mean really, who wouldn’t want six small children and one stretched-thin lady dropping by and helping out and… okay, I’m not so sure the adopting thing is the best plan. We’ll have to see. Either way, I’m glad we went.

Please. Don’t make me yell this.

Last Saturday, I was introduced to a delightful lady who told many stories of the years past, raising her own children. She led a fascinating life, and we had a great visit.

As she was leaving, she rubbed my belly and told me how blessed I was to have another one coming. I grimaced, unsure how to proceed, when she asked me when I was due. Okay, forget ignoring it and moving on. “Umm… I’m not pregnant.”

“What?!” She couldn’t hear me.

Louder. Heads turned. Yes, thank you very much. I’m not. Now that the whole room knows, I’ll go do some sit ups and attempt to curb such comments.

(Just for the record, it wasn’t exactly upsetting. I mean, really, if I didn’t know better, I’d think I was pregnant. But no, it’s just fat. Six babies and no time to exercise and a smidge of lack of self control kind of fat. Here’s to determination to more sit-ups and less excuses.)

12.17.2012

Blue is boring.

Ruby’s my daughter with a flair for color. The more colors and patterns, the better. I regularly have to remind her that striped leggings do not, merely because they are striped, match a striped shirt. Color has to weigh in there too.

Last week, when the kids had to model for the company my husband works for, I got her jeans out.

Poor, poor girl. No stripes. No flowers. No butterflies. No colors! Just a plan pink sweater and ordinary blue jeans. Her protestation went something like this:

“I don’t really like wearing jeans.”

“I know honey, but today, you have to wear jeans.”

“I like leggings and skirts a lot better. Or a dress! I could wear a dress. I could even wear my blue jean dress. Would that be okay?”

“No, honey. Jeans. Just wear your jeans.”

“I know! I have jeans with flowers on the leg on one side. I could wear those! They are pretty.”

“No. Plain jeans. Those jeans.”

“I don’t usually wear jeans. They are just blue. No other colors. Blue is BORING.”

“Duly noted. Tomorrow, you can wear a dress. Today, you wear boring blue jeans.”

She sighed, gave up and walked away. The next day, she got out jeans again. These had rhinestones, leopard print, stars, and butterflies.

She was happy.

12.14.2012

Kitchen update.

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After painting the cabinets this summer, the whole kitchen slowly underwent a paint overhaul. It’s almost finished – it needs a new window and a new curtain above it, but overall, it’s done. I love how it turned out. I didn’t plan on using these photos for anything other than sharing them with my mom, so you’ll have to excuse Pierce in his pj’s from this morning, but I’m too excited about it all to not share. :) With a few antiques to decorate with and my new-to-me butcher block, it’s become a pretty useable space despite it’s shortcomings.

It’s so fun to say finished.

Gives me goose bumps kind of cool.

Last week we were in Walmart. I was searching for elastic for a Christmas project, and an older gentleman in a motorized cart was trying to get information from a store employee who had none.

“Is this the right thread to hem my blue jeans? Are these needles the right ones?

“Umm… I’m sure they would be fine.”

Yeah, right. They were knit needles that would break in a heartbeat and thread that wouldn’t hold up. So me, minding my own business as I’m prone to do, dove straight in.

“Can I help?” The Walmart ladies nodded and bolted, and the man and I headed off to find the proper supplies. In the course of conversation, I, again minding my own business like I ought, offered to hem his pants for him. What is it about watching older people struggle? It kills me. I just want to jump right in and help, but I always wonder how I’ll feel when I’m there. Want help and wish someone would? Wish people would see I’m not so old and feeble as I look and wish they’d just mind their own stinking business? I just don’t know.

Anyhow. I offered help. I gave him my phone number and told him if the sewing machine he’d purchased at an auction for $10 to hem his jeans that are suddenly too long now that he’s 81 failed to perform, I’d gladly help him out.

He asked where I lived. I told him, and through a bunch of incredulous questions from him, found out our pasture behind our house backs up to his property.

What are the chances?!

We walked away, both shaking our heads at the improbability of it all, and out of an adjoining aisle comes yet another older person, this time a lady, who came over, hugged me, thanked me for helping the man, and told me she’d been listening the whole time and couldn’t stand how cool it was, all that had just happened.

It was a great trip to the store. Far better than most. I couldn’t help but be reminded of this story and remember God’s providence in it all – even meeting friendly neighbors in a stand-offish neighborhood – and making a good first impression, even before I knew he was a neighbor.

That was just cool.

12.11.2012

SchoolhouseTeachers.com review


As a new member of the 2013 The Old Schoolhouse Review Crew, my first assignment was to review the www.SchoolhouseTeachers.com website. Oh. My. Fun.






From the publishers of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, it’s written to be a whole curriculum in and of itself, or can be used as a supplement to the books you’re already doing. With a long list of authors who contribute, I love that I can use the gifts of another to round out my curriculum.

With more topics than my computer time allows me to explore, I've been digging around in there for days. Math helps. Reading. Guitar! History. Spellings lists. The list of kid-friendly crafts has me itching to carve out time in our week to try more of them out.

Realizing Sterling, my kindergartner, does not have a Spelling curriculum this year (waiting for that boy to read fluently seemed wise) I was picking through the age-appropriate spellings lists for him and was glad to find out he was still able to spell the words they had listed for this week. With a full range of curriculum available for K4 through high school, there’s an abundance of topics and subjects I had yet to consider studying. SchoolhouseTeachers.com offers downloadable planners as well. Planning isn’t my strong suit – I hope to get better at that with these!

The reading list was something I really appreciated. With two elementary daughters voraciously devouring books, I’m excited to add those to our lists and hopefully find some new favorites.


The subscription rate is $5.95 per month, but the first month is just $1. You can also purchase a full year for $49.

The Everyday Explorers U.S.A. section in the Dailies was pretty fun. The author’s excitement for history was contagious. It’s certainly more fun – and memorable – when history is made interesting! I’m planning to jump into that for history for the rest of the year. They really liked what we've done with that so far.

When I had a quiet moment, I went through This Month’s Menu. How fun to have a section on there for me – and my older girls who can help me cook. The Music – Voice section was fabulous. With several of my girls looking forward to the year they are old enough to participate in the Jr. High/High School choir in church, I think this is a great way for them to prepare themselves. It has great lessons from behind the people and music and offers ideas and instruction. Maybe I can learn a bit along with my kids!

I love this site. I plan to get much use out of it in the coming year, rounding out our school year and remembering it next year, before I buy curriculum. As a homeschooling mom that would rather my kids not be in front of the computer too much, this brings a nice balance and encourages family-involved learning in many areas. Much recommended!

Check out what other members of the Review Crew thought HERE.

Disclaimer: I received a free subscription to this product through the Schoolhouse Review Crew in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. All opinions I have expressed are my own or those of my family. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations.

12.09.2012

Catch up.

Having very nearly disappeared after the laptop took it’s little coffee break and the old dinosaur roared to life rather protestingly, I have a long list of catch up to play. We’ll start with Sterling.

He announced he doesn’t like salad. “It’s just leaves, Mom.”

Yup.

Tonight he informed me you have to have an odd number if you’re going to have a middle. Where that boy gets his math brain, I don’t know. It’s scary.

A friend told me that when asked if he was hoping to have kids when he’s grown, he matter of factly announced “No.” When pressed for more information, he said, “My wife will have them!”

He told me he says “Shhh” a lot because he really likes it when it’s quiet. Like father, like son. Problem is, eight people in 1200 square feet doesn’t exactly allow for silence.

12.03.2012

Agreed.

Last week, I began one morning by frying what turned out to only be the keyboard of our laptop (An $18 fix if all goes according to what I think. Not holding my breath on that one though.) Today, it was my pajamas.

Yep. I squatted down to change Pierce’s diaper first thing this morning and my 6 year old much-loved pajama pants split up the backside. Whether they were trying to tell me something regarding my backside or if it was just their time, I’m leaving alone.

Just all agree with me that we are so, so glad they gave up now, and not three weeks from now when I had a houseful of Christmas company.

11.30.2012

Ruby.

As we were driving past a yard with a freshly removed tree down the road from our house, the discussion began on the reasons for cutting down a tree that had appeared perfectly healthy. Explaining things are not always as they seem, and the health of the tree was likely not good, Ruby had a funny scenario.

“If the tree fell down and landed on that house, the people inside would be EXACTLY dead.”

When I agreed that she’d named a likely possibility, she she, in all seriousness, returned, “Unless the people were out visiting friends. Then they might not be exactly dead. They would be glad about that.”

Oh yes, the musings of a four year old.

Three of my girls and I went to a graduate piano recital last night. Graduating with a master’s degree and having spent two and a half years practicing for his one hour and forty five minute recital, the music was spectacular. Ruby fell asleep about an hour in. She woke up in time for the reception – a beautiful piano cake, salmon tar-tar, and more foods that are fancier than anything she’d experienced in her short little life. She had a blast. When we got home, she came bursting in the door, ran to Blaine and exclaimed, “They had FOOD!” The music? So beautiful. BUT THE FOOD! Quite the night for Miss Ruby.

This afternoon, when she piped up in frustration, “You guys aren’t listen to me explain the problem!” what she really meant was, “You guys are ignoring me! Pay attention! I’m WHINING here!”

11.29.2012

This week in Review

It's been a long week. Tuesday morning Pierce kicked my coffee (unfinished from the day before... I hadn't even gotten that far yet) and the coffee spilled all over the desk. A few drops hit the laptop keyboard, but I wiped them off quickly and didn't think too much of it. And then. Twenty minutes later, after creating 18 soap labels to sell soap, the g and h wouldn't work. Then the backspace quit working. Then the whole screen went black. It was like watching a bad movie play out in front of me.

The laptop is quarantined with little hope of revival, the old dinosaur has been dusted off and is proving itself fairly reliable despite it's age and the little "full hard drive" messages it gave me at first. I've never been so glad that we never got rid of it as now.

Tuesday morning, moments after the laptop met coffee (but before I knew the extent of the problem) I tried to wash the dishes with the pizza cutter instead of the sponge.

Yesterday, the nurse at the doctor's office asked me if I was babysitting. The look of horror on her young face when I said each and every one of these young children belonged to me made me wonder if I should laugh or cry.

Charlotte didn't cry for her shot. She still is talking about how it hurt her leg but she was tough.

Pierce thought the finger prick was the coolest thing he'd seen all day. The shots he disagreed with, however.

Sterling doesn't know who Big Bird, Cookie Monster, or Elmo is. He says Sesame Street doesn't exist. He does, however, know Bert and Ernie. They're in a book. Barney is another unknown. I'm not sure if our level of social norm education is quite adequate. But the tv is eerily, blessedly silent in my house when children are awake.

Pierce can stand up, pick up the push toy, turn it the other way, and continue along his chosen path. But he won't walk alone willingly.

After grumbling at my children at the number of minutes it was taking them to exit the van so we could enter the fabric store, I told them that the sooner we got inside, the sooner we could find what we needed and be done. My exact words are sketchy, but it was something along the lines of "You guys are what is making this take so long! It doesn't have to be so stinking hard!" or something like that. Sterling, however, had a different reason after watching me stare at the fabric choices for more than 1.6 seconds before making my decisions. "Mom, you're the reason the stores take so long. You keep stopping to look at stuff!" I didn't have the wherewithal to correct his attitude. I was too busy laughing.

Clean-release tape is on my hit list. I'm spending my available moments repainting everywhere it took all the paint, primer, and top layer of sheetrock off in my laundry room.

My van has been squeaking for months. At first, I was concerned it was mechanical - until I realized it squeaks whether it's running or not. Still, it's been driving me nuts. I made the kids jump, trying to get it to do it again and locate it's origin. (That resulted in two girls knocking their heads on the roof of the van. I'll admit it. I laughed.) I've walked around the outside, making them jump, trying to find out where it was coming from. No use. I couldn't find it. Some trips it wouldn't do it at all. Some days it wouldn't stop. Finally, months of hugely annoying squeaking later, I saw Sterling move his seat belt shoulder strap and it squeaked. After making him do it again several times, each time resulting in another screeching noise, I located the problem. The seat belt on the third row, driver's side. Blaine promptly went and bought silicone spray and fixed the problem. My hero.I almost lost my sanity over that one.

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11.23.2012

It’s beginning to look a little like Christmas…

I’ll be the first to admit I’m horrible at decorating. It’s just not my thing. I’m not sure if I just don’t care enough or if I just don’t have the space (and hands-free children) to be able to do very much, but I’ve never pursued it very hard.

When we bought this house, though, I declared the fireplace mantle was my space. The kids can reach it, it’s pretty much unfunctional as far as storage, so I planned to decorate it. I’ve succeeded fairly well and had fun in the process.

Jen’s Wreaths sent me a Christmas wreath, and while I hung it on the door for a week, I mourned not being able to see it very often. Today, I had a brainstorm. The fireplace!

According to Charlie, the Christmas beads look like I put my necklace up there. I’m pretty happy with how it turned out though. The wreath is front and center – and I can see it now!

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Thanks to Jen at Jen’s wreaths. It’s beautiful!

Once in a while, I’m amazed that things can go so well.

I’ve always shopped ahead. My kitchen typically busts at the seams with food, and skipping shopping for a week or two means the only thing we really run out of the gets desperate is milk and fruit. It’s worked well for me, and I don’t meal plan but cook out of the cabinets. I’ve tried meal planning, and think if I was consistent it would be fabulous but the fact that it took time each week/month to do means it fell by the wayside.

Yesterday, though, when I had 18 hours notice that Thanksgiving was just us at our house because our friends we’d planned to spend the day with were all sick, I’d never been so glad for my overstocked kitchen.

We had turkey, sweet potato casserole, mashed potatoes & gravy, cauliflower, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie and cherry pie without a trip to the grocery store. In all fairness, I was planning to supply the turkey anyway, but it had come out of the freezer from a previous purchase too.

Next time I grumble at the amount of food on my food shelf, and how buying ahead creates bursting cupboards, I’m going to remember this. It was a pretty cool moment. Once in a blue moon I feel all organized and prepared.

Now, back to my regularly chaotic life. You know, that one that has us cancelling all school lessons planned for the day except math so that we can clean the house that contains more dirt from my garden-tunneling child than I care to admit.

11.22.2012

The Old Schoolhouse Magazine Review


TOS.

I was asked me to review the November issue of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine. It’s available free at www.TheHomeschoolMagazine.com and also through their free app www.TOSApps.com if you’d like to access it that way. http://SchoolhouseReviewCrew.com is a blog from The Old Schoolhouse with reviews to many homeschooling products and resources.

The Old Schoolhouse Magazine is uplifting and encouraging for homeschooling families. I particularly enjoyed their article in November’s issue on the Amish titled “Do Amish homeschool?”. They are fascinating people and it was fun to read another writers perspective on them. The article “Gifts of Gratitude” had a lot of fun ideas to try to encourage thankfulness in our homes. Writer Kendra Fletcher’s subtitle, “Complaining, it seems, is organic. Gratitude is not.” caught my eye and made me laugh. It sounds like her house and my house have a lot in common!

Misty West wrote “Crunching Through the Cracker Crumbs” about chore lists and maintaining a household simply. I plan to try her chore list for myself, to see how my days could be more organized. (And my house, perhaps?!)

I have much to learn, and for a little bit I felt like I was “sitting at the feet” of another. It is a great way to hear from the homeschooling community and learn of the new and different curriculum options I hadn't heard of before. The Old Schoolhouse has a Christian perspective and mission statement – something I appreciated. The magazine has a wide range of articles to speak to the issues homeschoolers face. It had articles on learning disabilities, parental frustrations, and the inside look on one homeschooling family, just to name a few. It comes as water to a thirsty soul, refreshing the weary and giving encouragement to the burdened.

I really appreciated the many articles with ideas for study. Many topics were introduced and ideas for further study were often suggested. As a second generation homeschooler, I tend to do things by the book. I’m learning to pick a topic and just go with it, knowing my children will learn far more in those moments than any of the day today day book requirements I had them. Encouragement to take those rabbit trails, to follow those paths of interest and learn more about what interests my children is needed and appreciated.

The Old Schoolhouse Magazine has many contributors, mostly homeschooling mothers with knowledge (through experience, it would seem) to share to those of us also on this journey. With a wide range of articles, anyone contemplating homeschooling or already walking this path is sure to find ideas, help, encouragement, and the reassurance that we’re doing this for a reason – and that others have done this, succeeded at their goals, and we can too.


Disclaimer: The Schoolhouse Review Crew requested my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. All opinions I have expressed are my own or those of my family. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations.

11.19.2012

Ponderous thoughts, stranger approved.

I took Pierce with me grocery shopping tonight. Any time I take just one child with me, they think it’s the best thing ever. They get chatty, giggly, and just love our “date” in the produce aisle. Pierce isn’t any different.

He’d holler “Dada! Dada!” and I’d say “No! Momma!” and he’d laugh and laugh and laugh. Repeat that about fifty times and you have a pretty good idea of what our shopping trip looked like.

After we’d just finished the exchange, yet again, a woman came around the corner and joined me in the toilet paper aisle. Taking in Pierce’s belly laugh, she commented how happy he was and said I must be a wonderful momma to have such a happy baby. “I bet he never cries,” she said. I couldn’t help myself. I snorted.

But as we walked away, I couldn’t help but think on her words. (A trip with one child to the grocery store allows for this. Thinking. What a concept.) Is happy children really what we’re after as mothers? As long as baby doesn’t fuss, I must be properly parenting him? Really, is that all I’m after?

Definitely not. Happy isn’t what life is all about. Being content, on the other hand, holds a a pretty good status. Being thankful, that’s a good one. Understanding our place, our God, our need for Him, that’s what I’m after when I teach my children. Ponderous thoughts.

But when Pierce tired of my outrage at his calls for his daddy a few aisles later, I took him out of the cart and hushed him. It made him happy. It made me wonder. How much parenting do I do just for appearances, and how much is in pursuit of a grander, better thing?

Then, I came home, put the baby to bed and the groceries away, and lost the quiet to be able to finish a thought without interruption. It was lovely while it lasted. Maybe, hopefully, I will parent more purposefully tomorrow, in pursuit of godliness, not stranger approval.

11.18.2012

Math brain.

Amount of time it takes for Pierce to shatter the glass plate at the restaurant on the floor after the waiter, who most obviously does not have a one year old, places it in front of him: 1.3 seconds.

Best part about going out to eat on your birthday: not having to clean up the floor under the table.

Number of heads of hair trims I gave on this Sunday morning: 3.

Number of hair ponies and bobby pins used for hair does this morning: 14.

Number of minutes Pierce lasted this morning before going back to bed after staying up later than he should have last night: 38.

Times I’ve had to wash sheets for wet sleepers this week: 1. Progress!

Times I’ve had to scold for mud all over the bathroom: 4. Some dear child is digging a tunnel in the garden. The same dear child can sit in it and disappear up to said child’s chin. Impressive. Dirty, but impressive.

Number of buckling and unbuckling seat belts during out two hour shopping trip on
Monday: 63.

Yesterday I hit my tipping point. The collective number of years I’ve mothered have officially reached the same number of years I’ve been alive. It only goes up exponentially from here.

11.17.2012

Happy birthday to me.

Today is my 29th birthday. It’s a weird age. I feel like I have one more year to cling to my twenties.

Ruby made it all better, though. She informed me I was almost thirty, and then turned to Sterling and asked him what comes after 30. When he told her 31 comes next, she gasped, spun around in genuine concern, and exclaimed, “Oh no! You’re almost dead!”

Sterling gave me jewelry. I’m now sporting a matching ring and bracelet set. He made them out of twist ties from the bread bags. The ring… let me just warn you the folly of wearing such a beautiful ring during a certain personal hygiene moment after using certain facilities. It’s a little… scratchy.

11.15.2012

Hello, frailty.

For a long time, I’d been immune to poison ivy. I could pull it with my bare hands without issue – and I did. Then last summer, I got it into my head to pull all of the poison ivy around our lilacs. I pulled a lot of poison ivy that day.

Immunity over. Apparently, overdosing such things leads to irritation, one way or the other. Since then, I’ve refrained from touching the stuff. Those two weeks of misery, compounded by a nearly-due Pierce and summer heat making a pregnancy insufferable as it was cured me of any temptation.

Time makes you dumb. You forget.

So last weekend, when the brush that once was likely beautiful but now was an overgrown mess, complete with now-dead but not-dormant poison ivy beckoned me to do something about it, I put on a pair of gloves and dug in.

Memory jogged.

It’s a strange realization to find out that a plant can do such damage that I’m itching and scarred and feeling like a padded room is my best option. How weak and frail am I? I just got knocked on my tush by a three leafed plant that isn’t even visible for it’s winter dormancy.

11.12.2012

Shopping fail.

I tried a new idea for shopping trip chaos organization.

It was the worst trip we’ve had in a long, long time.

Does that mean it was a major fail or do we try this again next time and hope it was just adjusting to a new routine?!

Some lady, under her breath, muttered at me, as we were blocking traffic from both directions and no one was moving any which way despite my attempts to spur someone, anyone, to move out of the way, “Oh good grief. Honey, you need HELP.” I did the best I could. I grinned at her in my most “I so totally have this under control. Whatever for?” expression and marched off to find the bananas.

I haven’t decided if we’ll try that again. It was good in theory, though.

Say what?!

Her sentence began, “Momma, if it’s vegetarian’s day…”

I cringed. “Honey, it’s not vegetarians day.”

Her older, wiser sister piped up, “It’s veterinarian's day.”

I shook my head, trying not to laugh, and most definitely not going to end this conversation with the truth until I heard all of their scenarios.

“Vergarians?”

“No! It’s veteranians!”

Still, no.

Finally, one dear daughter eliminated the unnecessary syllables and solved the dilemma.

Happy Veteran’s day, folks. At least the girls knew what it was all about, even if the name eluded them.

11.10.2012

“What color slipcover do you think would be best?”

“I don’t care.”

I bet he does…

“They have a lime green one.”

“Okay. I care. NOT lime green.”

See, I knew he cared.

I made a Pomegranate Jell-O recipe the other day. We all ended up picking out the pomegranate arils and eating the Jell-O. Sterling was unimpressed with the sorting required. “Next time, can you just make it without the pomegranates?” Sure, honey. They call that Jell-O with a can of pineapple. I can do that.

Sold my Jumperoo this morning. Made $13 off the price I paid for it, and I used it for two kids. It made me think I should hit more rummage sales, buying things to sell. Then I remembered the price of gas. Or not.

11.08.2012

I made my second batch of soap today. Blaine came home to the smell of Cherry Almond Oatmeal soap cooling. (And a pear pie in the oven, but the Cherry Almond was definitely overpowering it.) He thought he’d come home to Butter Letter. He was disappointed.

What kind of spoiled is he that I’ve made a pie and lye bar soap in one afternoon and the man is disappointed?!

Gonna have to get some almond paste. I love that man.

11.02.2012

Giveaway!

Edited to add: Alycia Cartwright Morell, Sharilyn, and Heather have won coupons for free Purex plus Oxi! I need addresses and I'll get them out asap. :) Email me or find me on my blog's facebook over on the right.

Purex sent me a new laundry detergent to try. Purex plus Oxi… working against 101 different stains with it’s three stain-fighting enzymes.
Plus, it smells sooooo good. My laundry smells sooooo good. I washed a pair of jeans with newly grass-stained knees (while my daughter watched and cringed, hoping her favorite jeans weren’t stained for life) and, miracle of all miracles, the stains came out on the first try. Amazing.
Did I mention how good it smells? As much as I’d love to keep the three coupons they sent me that entitle the bearer to a free bottle for themselves, I won’t. Like this post above or below on Facebook and tell me you did in a comment for two entries, or just comment away for one, but hurry. I’m running behind. Drawing is Monday. Three winners each get one coupon.

11.01.2012

A little bell rings and…

Sunday services had Pierce quite excited – when we reached the end of the congregational prayer.

“Amen.”

Pierce starts waving his arms, so excited.

Pavlovian response, anyone? Pierce thinks ‘Amen’ means food.

Having fun, without the costumes…

We went to a harvest festival of sorts last night. At the balloon table, Liberty picked a turtle, Eden a parrot, Sterling a sword, Charlotte an alligator – and then it was Ruby’s turn. She asked for a balloon. When asked what kind, she requested round circle with a thing hanging down.

I’m slow. It took me several minutes to figure out what she wanted. Poor girl just wanted a plain balloon, but there was none to be found. She loved the butterfly she was given instead.

Charlotte couldn’t get over how people just kept handing her candy.

Sterling picked out his face painting: the green polka dots in the “step one” box for how to draw the frog. He didn’t want the frog – just the spots.

Pierce’s highlight of the night was when he saw the van at the end of the night. The noise was not quite pleasing to that boy. He started laughing and waving his arms, excited, when he saw the van afterward.

They are, at the moment, high on one piece of candy and frantically cleaning the house. They were given twelve minutes to straighten the house. The reward? More candy, of course.

That sugar crash is going to be fun, I’m afraid.

10.30.2012

Spinning circles but unable to catch one’s tail…

Sterling, with freshly scrubbed teeth, approached me with the twice-daily question.

“Are my teeth clean?”

In the midst of some other chaos, I replied, “I don’t know. Are they?”

His reply made me giggle. “I don’t know! I can’t see them. Every time I look down to check them, they go down too!”

It’s called a mirror, dude. You’ll learn to appreciate such conveniences before long, I’m sure.

10.29.2012

Christmas prep starts…

What started the day as a pair of ladies socks…

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ends the day as a blue-eyed sock money for Mr. P.’s Christmas.

From the reactions I got from everyone, I may be making five more of these. No decent pair of socks will be safe…

*Just for the record, cutting those socks up made me cringe. They were brand new (of course) and significantly nicer than any in my drawer. My hesitation made me laugh – once I realized the ridiculousness of it all!

10.27.2012

Today’s craft project: recovered lampshades.

My mom gave me a lamp she wasn’t using anymore. The shade was dated, and after a trip across three states with seven people and a dog, it wasn’t in the best shape ever.

Meet the new, revised version. It was too busy for the new lamp in the end, so it landed on a boring lamp and the boring lampshade landed on the new-to-me lamp, but either way, my sewing machine, (so not required, in retrospect) half an hour, a glue gun and a yard of fabric later, it looks almost too modern for my living room, home of many toys.

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10.26.2012

Breaking new ground.

After six kids, it was bound to happen.

We have our very first climber. I’m feeling like a rookie mom. I have never, before today, found a baby like this:

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I have, however, found this same child standing on the tray of his high chair, holding onto the shelf next to him. That one I did NOT stop to photograph.

I’m so not ready for this.

10.23.2012

Soap, childhood dreams, and living pretty sheltered.

Last Friday, I made my first batch of bar soap. After talking about it and wanting to try to make it for over a year, I finally got all the things together and jumped in. Before I started, I watched a video on the process. Ruby watched it with me. As they were stirring the soap on the screen, Ruby kept standing up, getting closer and closer to the screen, up on her tip toes, trying to see into their pot. Every time she’d sit down disappointed. She just couldn’t see into that pot.

My kids don’t watch very much TV. A good thing, I’m certain, but every once in a while – when a soap making video has them captive, and they try to see what’s in the pot by getting closer – I wonder how much this whole lack of popular media is hurting them. Then I think of their lack of knowledge and many things worldly and decide they will be just fine.

Anyway, the soap. I made lavender/lime scented soap, my whole house smells lovely still, and I’m anxiously waiting for 30 days to pass so that it will have cured and I can try it out. Already I’ve purchased more ingredients to make a few more batches. A coffee soap (supposed to be fabulous for getting those onion/garlic smells out of your skin in the kitchen), a bar to grate for my laundry soap, and a batch of cherry almond are next. Fun stuff. Lye rather scared me, but it really wasn’t so bad.

Sterling tells me he’s only going to use the homemade soap once it’s ready. He’s found sniffing that box of soap multiple times a day. He’s also going to build me a giant brick house once he’s an architectural engineer and he’s going to build his house right next to mine when he’s a grown up. Since I planned to live in the house 1 mile from my parents when I grew up, and now I’m another 599 miles past that… I’m not holding my breath. But one can hope.

10.22.2012

Too many layers, thank you.

I asked Sterling to get Charlotte dressed this morning. He went and grabbed a dress, came back, and started pulling it over Charlotte’s head.

Charlie was the one who stopped him and informed him he was supposed to take her nightgown off first.

He said he forgot. He’s such a boy.

Pierce woke up very much on the wrong side of the crib this morning. (Figure of speech, of course. Literally, he’d have been out the window and on the driveway if he’d gotten out that way. And while I may have been tempted… no.) He cried, refused breakfast, and clung to me and sobbed for two hours.

The popcorn mess from Sunday night’s tradition remains.

The chicken dinner remains are scattered about the kitchen.

The diaper pail is overflowing.

There’s 3-4 loads of laundry besides diapers waiting for me.

One dear child has a report due tomorrow. She hasn’t started it yet.

You risk being stuck to the kitchen floor if you stop moving.

One dear child peed the bed. Another just peed her pants.

So, I did what anyone would do. I put the baby to bed, washed up the dishes, and made myself a few eggs-in-a-hole. There’s no way that much butter can’t brighten this day.

“He always looks before he scoots.”

After giving the warning not to scoot the kitchen bench down because I’d placed a frame between it and the wall, undecided where to hang it, Ruby asked if I had to tell Daddy not to scoot the bench down too. I said I didn’t, because Daddy wouldn’t move the bench anyway. Her reply said she knows her Daddy very well.

“Yeah, because if he did want to scoot the bench, he’d check first. He always looks before he scoots.”

Some dear child has been scolded, more than once, for not checking before she throws, scoots, slides, shoves, or any other action verb you care to throw in this sentence.

10.17.2012

An effort - in futility.

Day one of Sit-Ups for a Flatter Baby Belly included Pierce pulling up my shirt in an attempt to nurse, followed by blowing raspberries on my stomach. Charlotte, Pierce, and Ruby all thought Momma laying on the floor meant one big squishy pillow made just for them.

Push ups involved Charlotte driving a matchbox car on my backside.

Tomorrow: Exercises While Locked in the Bedroom While Children Cry and Knock, part one.

10.16.2012

Tales from the back of a very large van. Part 2.

On the way home, Ruby asked if we were in Africa. We were in Sioux City, IA. Strange, those Africans looked remarkably Dutch. Detour?

I bought bananas and peanuts for snacks on the way home. They were buried under three feet of luggage. We found them when we unloaded the van.

A box of Kix spilled in the van. Kix on vinyl van floors are something akin to marbles on ceramic tile. I had to catch more than on kid as I opened the doors when we stopped to use bathrooms along the way.

Kix and shop vacs don’t work well together. I simply vacuumed them up, moved to a different area, shut the vacuum off, and had Kix roll back out. The hose was plugged solid with them.

I’m hoping birds like Kix.

We were 52 minutes into our drive that averages 10.5 hours when I banned the question, or anything remotely similar to, “Are we almost there?”

We were 46 minutes down the road when I got the first “I need to go potty” from the backseat.

Despite using many, many toilets along the way, one dear fairly recently potty trained child didn’t make it. Many times. Her car seat had to be poured out and thoroughly scrubbed when we got there. She wore a diaper on the way home. Blessed invention.

A can of pink paint from my childhood bedroom came home with us. Some of it didn’t make it. My van was sporting pink stripes when we pulled in the driveway. Clorox wipes saved us from wearing them permanently. If you drive a really nice car and found yourself wearing pink polka dots after driving anywhere near a very large white van somewhere in Missouri on Monday… that’ll be $200 for a custom paint job, drive through style.

Tales from the back of a very large van. Part 1.

And… we’re back. Swimming in the contents spewed from the van, but home. Looking forward to a day at home to clean up said van spewage.

We were somewhere in Iowa at a rest area about 1/3 of the way home when we nearly lost Brady. The kids opened the van door before I got around to that side, and we all got out, went inside to use the bathroom, and headed back out. I hollered for the dog to take her to do her own business, and she didn’t come. Strange. I was about to give up and assume she was buried in luggage, knowing she’d been in there moments earlier, when a man nearby heard me calling her and asked if Brady was a dog.

Uh, yes. She’s small. Black. Highly annoying at moments like these. The man said a lady had found her, thought she was abandoned, and he was pretty sure the lady left with the dog.

Annoyed, meet panicked. So the dog drives me nuts. She’s naughtier than most of my children, but she’s pretty sweet too. Talk about ruining a vacation.

Turns out, the lady was about to pull out. She sheepishly handed over my now-sheepish dog, who cowered in the corner nowhere near the van doors the rest of the trip. It would seem she might have realized her error.

Until we drove in the yard and had to promptly holler at her for heading to the road.

Back to annoying. Dumb dog.

10.13.2012

Saturday Night

Preparations for Sunday are underway...
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Grandpa and Grandma's






This playing at Grandma and Grandpa's house is lots of work.

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The Case of the Missing Teeth

Ruby gave me a new bedtime stalling tactic I hadn't heard before. In nine years of parenting and now six kids, I've heard a few. Pretty sure Ruby's topped them all.

"Pajamas and teeth, Ruby."
"I can't."
"Why not?"
"I can't find my teeth."
And then... she looked at me most sheepishly, realized the error of her dreamed-up excuse, and changed her story.
"Oh, uh, yeah, I can find them." And off she went.
I'm sure glad she found them. That was close.
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10.11.2012

Mispronunciation hesitation.

Kindergarten is a fun grade to teach. The learning is so new, there's so much to learn, and five year olds are brutally honest.

Today's reading had Sterling in a befuddled mess. Dr-i-ve. Dr-i-ve. Over and over he sounded out 'drive', saying it but still unsure what the word was. Finally I jumped in, and told him he'd said the word.

"Drive?!" he said incredulously.
"Yes. Like drive a car. Drive."
"But there isn't a J' in it!"
"No. Drive doesn't have a 'J' in it.
"But it's jer-ive."
Realizing I had never realized he doesn't pronounce it right, we came to the bottom of his confusion. "It's not jer-ive. It's DR-ive."
Poor boy. He looked like I'd rocked his world. Recovering quickly, he turned to Ruby in the next room and hollered, "Hey Ruby! Did you know it's DRIVE with a 'D' and there isn't a J in DR-ive?!"

She nodded and smiled. Alrighty then. Perfect sense to a four year old, for sure.

Great homeschooling moments we have, I tell you. Great. And for the record, there's no 'J' in drive. We've clarified that.

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10.09.2012

Overachiever.

In doing (kindergarten) math this morning with Sterling, I asked him to tell me a "some, some more" story. He looked at me with confusion.

"I'll tell you one, and then you can tell me one. Three kids were in line for the slide. One slid down. Now there are two kids waiting. Your turn."

Sterling replied, "100 kids are at school. Two went out for lunch."

I cringed at his choice in numbers. He'll never be able to finish this. "How many are left at school?"

He didn't even miss a beat. "98."

Overachiever.

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10.01.2012

Poor boy.

Dear Pierce,

Today, you are one. With a typical one-year-old vocabulary, you can’t tell me what kind of birthday dessert you’d like. You did come out with something that sounds remarkably like “I love you” – said at the appropriate time, so I’m calling it real. Impressive, Baby Boy.

But I digress. Dessert.

As the third birthday in less than a month, we’re caked out. We’re not cake people. Most of both of your September sister’s cakes are now up in the compost heap. So, dear boy, since you were born in the middle of apple picking season, you’re getting apple pie.

It’ll be delicious, I promise.

Love,

Momma

9.29.2012

It’s a sad state of affairs.

So I’m sitting here, staring at “Enter a post title” followed by a blank white page and I’ve realized something. My funny got up and left. Somewhere, in the stress that is life right now, my sense of humor snuck out the back without so much as a farewell.

It’s a sad state of affairs.

So, on that note, I’m planning a trip north to visit my parents next week. A good dose of my momma should help, I’m thinking.

I’m painting the kitchen a bright sunny yellow. This fabric, made into a sling for another, inspired my labors:

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With white trim and gray cabinets, it’s turning out just how I’d hoped. The last coat is on the walls and I’m looking forward to putting everything back in it’s place. We haven’t eaten at the table in three days. Charlotte even patted the floor next to me and told Blaine she’d made a spot for him. Such generosity.

My laundry room is nearing completion. For those of you local folk, you know how long this road has been. We’re approaching 2.5 years. It has walls, paint, and outlets. I do a double take every time I step out there.

Charlotte turned two on Wednesday. Pierce turns one on Monday. Pierce is sleeping all night, I have too a few times, and it felt wonderful. Last night, not so much. Eden was gone to a sleepover, Ruby slept in Eden’s bed, and sometime around 2am Sterling was in my room in hysterics because Ruby was sleeping in his spot on his bed. When asked this morning about it, Ruby said she’s not sure what happened. She didn’t know she wasn’t in Eden’s bed until morning. A mattress trundle-style and a squishy brother to land on cushioned her fall enough to keep her asleep in the roll-off. Sterling slept in Eden’s bed after that. Ruby asked if Eden could go somewhere again sometime soon, so that she can try again.

I’ll take photos of the kitchen once I get it put back together and scrubbed. You can’t imagine how much dirt can land on one floor in three days when it can only be minimally swept. I’m amazed we have any left in the yard.

9.26.2012

My Job, According to Ruby.

Ruby had a startling observance yesterday. I was hanging up wet laundry to dry and she was ‘helping’.

“You’re lucky, Momma.”

Lucky is her new word. Everyone is far more lucky than she in her pessimistic worldview.

“How’s that.?”

“You get to sit at the computer and click, click, click while all of us have to do chores and clean and…”

“I don’t do anything around here?”

“Not really. We have to do it all.”

Having just cooked a roasted chicken, mashed potatoes, gravy, cauliflower, and broccoli for supper, followed by rhubarb cheesecake for dessert – all from scratch – and now I was doing a load made up of all children’s laundry, I took slight offense at this view of hers.

“Who feeds you?”

“You. But that’s not really work. I like to cook.”

“Who does your laundry?”

“Well… you do. But mostly we have to do all the work.”

“I’ll remind you of that in about 20 years when you’re sitting on your backside all day while your small children bring you bon-bons and truffles.”

9.24.2012

Ten.

Friday Blaine and I celebrated our tenth wedding anniversary.
wedding
A friend took the kids Friday and Saturday. We stayed home and wondered what on earth we’ll do when the kids are grown. It was so… quiet. No one woke me up at 4am. I got more hours of sleep straight than I have since before Charlotte was born. We sat on the porch and visited without a single interruption. We set up pop cans and shot them full of holes, just for the fun of it.

We had a lovely time. And then, we went and picked up the kids. I’m just not good at this whole “no kids” thing. Life without them is, well, boring.

No offense to my dear husband. Ten years, six kids, nine houses, four states… life together has been anything but boring. We been blessed beyond measure with this big family of littles. I can’t imagine doing this without him. I love that man.

9.20.2012

Jen’s Wreaths

Edited to add a winner: Julia, whose comment, "What an awesome giveaway! Just looking at them got me so excited for this winter!! They're all so pretty and festive - I like them all! This one is fun: http://www.jenswreaths.com/shop/christmas-wreaths/24-inch-wreaths/dads-flannel-shirt-plaid-christmas-wreath-24-inch/" won! I used Random.org to generate a winner. I need your full name/address and I'll send it on to Jenny. Congratulations! Let me know what you think when you get it? I can't wait to hear how beautiful it is!

I love Christmas. It’s the only holiday I decorate for, (something about a lack of time and energy to do any others) and, if you’ve been reading this blog for very long at all, you’ve seen photos of our scraggly “Charlie Brown” trees we’ve harvested from our pasture.

Jenny from Jen’s Wreaths harvest a far prettier variety than anything I’ve come up with. I heard from her earlier this week and she’s graciously agreed to give one Christmas wreath away to one of my readers. I’ve been trying to pick my favorite one. This one is awfully pretty. So is this one. I love this one. Beautiful.

Head over there, pick out your favorite, and let me know which one you like best? I’ll randomly pick one comment on Wednesday 9/26 and Jen’s Wreaths will send you a traditional wreath when they ship them out in November.

There’s nothing “Charlie Brown” about that.

Realization of the day:

Wash the ceiling fans. They look great, and stay clean for a LOT longer than anything else I clean in this house. The kids can’t reach them!

9.18.2012

Just another day.

Bedtime is chaos around here. No matter how hard I try, it can’t seem to be any other way.

“Pajamas and teeth, everyone.”

“Why aren’t you in you pajamas?”

 

“Are my teeth clean?”

“No. What did you brush them with? Cake?!”

“I didn’t brush them yet.”

“Then why did you ask if they were clean?”

“I thought maybe they would be clean and I didn’t have to brush them.”

“Let me explain what ‘lying’ is, dear child…”

 

“I can’t find my pajamas.”

“Did you look in your pajama drawer?”

“No.”

 

“I can’t brush my teeth. I can’t find my toothbrush.”

Or even better… “I couldn’t find my toothbrush so I used yours, Momma.”

It’s just chaos. By then end, both Blaine and I are hollering up the stairs to get the light off, stop talking, and no one had better be down those stairs until morning. So next time we’re out for Mom’s Night Out, you know why I procrastinate going home until it’s an obscene time for children to be awake. I just don’t want to come home too early and get sucked in.

9.14.2012

Operation: Pierce

Night 2 of Operation: Pierce Sleeps at Night had me shaking my head at why I’d been getting up, feeding a baby, and putting him back into his bed again every 2 or so hours for 346 days. (Just for the record, I did that in my head. Then I got out a calculator, actually added it up, and came up with the exact same number. Sometimes I’m amazed to find a few brain cells are still alive and kicking in the right direction.)

He cried once. For less than 15 minutes.

Night 3 was more of the same. He cried once and got over it fairly fast. I didn’t get up.

Sleep, my friends, is a wonderful thing. I’ll let you know how wonderful just as soon as I retrain MY body not to wake up every two hours.

9.12.2012

Hello, free. Hello, clean.

I still have a contest going for Combat Ant Bait and Gel here, but since it’s just so much fun to give things away, lets do this again.

Soft Scrub sent me two great products. Soft Scrub Total All Purpose with Bleach, and Soft Scrub Total Bath and Bowl. I have to say, I like them. We have plenty of opportunity around here to clean things, and both of these products stand up to their claims. And their squirt bottles work upside down – I love it. Behind the toilet – that works! Stains (Read: we have well water. Yes, stains. A lot of stains.) are gone, and everything smells fresh and clean. One toilet, eight people, one almost-two year old who likes to empty her own potty chair… oh yes, we have ample scrubbing opportunity.

Want to try out Soft Scrub for yourself? Perfect! They sent me three coupons to give away to three of you, so you all can scrub away the grime too. You’ll get to pick from Soft Scrub Total, Soft Scrub Bleach Clean, or Soft Scrub abrasive with your coupon. So cool. So clean.

Just comment below, and let me know you’d like to enter! Entries close for a random drawing on September 17 at noon CST.

Ok, so maybe it was just me.

Last night started Operation: Pierce Sleeps At Night. We broke away from Operation: Pierce Nurses All Night and went for Operation: Pierce Screams All Night.

It was a really, really long night. Since Pierce shares a room with all of his siblings, I was afraid today was going to be nightmarish. When I asked Blaine how he slept – because I didn’t, after 12am it was all screaming and no sleeping until about 5am – he said, and I quote, “Oh, my back kept waking me up, hurting.” Your back?!

The kids were something similar. “How’d you sleep?”

“Good.”

You mean that 25 pound ball of screaming fury 4 feet from your head didn’t bother you?

Nope. Apparently Pierce and I were alone in our wakened height of “I love you but I don’t like you very much right about now.” The feeling was mutual, I think.

9.11.2012

There will be blood.

I’ve seen women with cute metal bangle bracelets and wished I had some. That pony tail holder is just not so chic.

Problem: I have larger hands than most, apparently. Freakishly large, perhaps. I don’t really want to know. Bangle bracelets don’t even begin to fit over them. (Onto my ever so petite wrists, you know.) So the other day I was in a nice clothing store with only one child. (You don’t go into these stores with more than that. They look at you with looks of horror and all but encourage you to shop elsewhere.) They had a set of bracelets that looked slightly larger than most. They must have been, because, with only slight coaxing, I got them on.

And then. Tag attached, I couldn’t. Get. Them. Off. Salesladies are hovering, and I’m attempting to discreetly yank the set off my hand without mangling their perfectly round shape. Pull. Yank. Do not, I repeat, not, jump up and down, despite the urges to try what my children do when they cannot get something off. Cringe, ever so daintily, at the sales lady, who is now watching smugly while removing the top two layers of skin on wrist.

Whew. Got it. No blood, we’re good.

We won’t be back in that store any time soon.

9.10.2012

When you put it that way…

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I sound like quite the task master. For the record, washing windows, unfortunately, doesn’t happen around here so often. Once, twice a year if I’m on the ball. Mopping is reserved for Momma unless they beg, (and that’s happened) because I’m too picky. And mowing?! The girl is too small to get the brake engaged… not that I’ve had her try or anything…

Spelling word for the day: usually.

9.08.2012

A whole lot of ruckus.

We had a pretty good storm last night. We were gone for the evening and came home to a minor mess. My laundry on the clothesline is sopping wet, many pieces of clothing are in the mud instead, and the line is hanging ridiculously low. The cast iron grill was blown over (impressive!) and, from the smell, leaking propane. For a brief moment I thought it broke the sliding glass door. It didn’t, but the screen was knocked out. We walked through the house, wary of creatures. There were none. A few small branches are on the ground, but from the news I’ve heard of others in the area, we didn’t get nearly the storm others did. The electricity had been out, but it was back on when we got home.

Driving through that storm though… I’d been headed to Walmart, was informed Walmart was closed due to the impending storm. Then I had to drive across town. Hard rain, having not been getting so much of this in the last many months, was a new thing for me in a 12 passenger van. Traffic lights were out, and between the rain and the wind (up to 70 mph I was told) made for an interesting and loud experience. The kids thought it was terrific fun. It wasn’t.

The discussions as the gray sky poured down on us went to the flood. Funny how bright sunny skies change dark so fast, and when it’s raining so hard the wipers can’t keep up, you realize in some minute measure what all those people not on the ark must have been thinking when it didn’t stop for a month and a half. (I’m sure limited thinking was going on after the first bit. You know.) It’s a dark and dreary feeling. We like to think we’re in charge, building and doing and going about our business. In that moment, you realize how truly vulnerable, how dependent on God we really are. One storm lasting an hour caused a whole lot of ruckus around here.

9.07.2012

Combat Ant Bait Giveaway!

I was sent Combat Source Kill Max Ant Bait and Ant Gel to review and host a giveaway to you, my readers.

I’m having one problem: the ants haven’t hit yet! Without a doubt, they are coming. And I’m ready!
The Ant Gel contains Fipronil, a fast acting active ingredient that kills the ants pestering me and spreads through the whole colony so no more will return to avenge their colony mates. The Ant Bait will kill most ants found in homes and provide long lasting protection.

But the ants, upon seeing that blue and yellow box, moved elsewhere. Talk about working!
So, dear friends, if you have a pest problem that has shown up sooner than mine, would you care to try Combat? If you enter below, you’ll be up for winning a Combat Source Kill Max Ant Bait and Ant Gel Kit of your very own.

Pesky critters. The don’t cooperate, coming or going. I’ll bet Combat will stop them, dead in their tracks.


a Rafflecopter giveaway




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9.05.2012

Project: Containment.

It’s been a bag-sewing day. This summer, after stuffing eight towels in a three-towel bag more times than I can count, my dear husband suggested I make one to fit our family.

Meet, the new beach bag, Polka Dotty. (Thank you, Hobby Lobby, for your clearance fabric rack. I’m not that picky. It’s perfect.) With room for many more towels, we’re set. I can even fit an extra diaper in there. The previous bag couldn’t fit even an extra wipe, never mind something of substance. Hooray for extra room. :)

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It remains to be seen if Blaine or I will be the only ones strong enough to carry the monstrosity.

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And, a new purse. Because I loved the gray fabric. A lot.

Happy birthday, happy birthday…

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Someone turns 30 tomorrow. She knows who she is. Half the country away, this is all the party I can throw for her. I’m trying.

I’m attempting slight discretion here, in case she doesn’t want the world to know… but HAPPY BIRTHDAY to you, dear ____. :)

9.03.2012

The conversations in the back of my van went something like this:

“Why do boy Indians have long hair?”

“Because they don’t have time to cut it.”

“Charlotte, you’re a big baby. You don’t need toys in the van. You can play with them in Sunday school. Pierce is a little baby. He needs them now. Give that book back to Pierce.”

“No.”

“Yes.”

“No!”

“Yes! Charlie, you are a big baby! You don’t need that! Pierce does!”

“No!”

This went on for many more minutes. My sanity when we got to church was questionably shaky.

Today is being held together by orajel and birthday cake. We’ll make it.

Mis-termed communication.

My kids managed to pick up one of those lovely sayings that I’ve so enjoyed NOT hearing since they are homeschooled and a bit more sheltered from such things.

Ruby’s version:

“How old are you?”
“28.”
“What color is the sky?”
“Blue.”
“Momma blew up! Isn’t that funny?”

Oh, so funny.

Eden, coming at me with the real version, got a little lesson in dynamite and the like.

“What does to blow up mean, Eden?”
“To poop your pants and leak.”
“Umm, that’s a blow out. But I’m glad you think that I pooped my pants and you aren’t wishing me dead.”

8.31.2012

Child genius… or not.

 

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Pierce wanted to be in school this morning. Fourth grade math and learning to read provided him an adequate challenge, to be sure.

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Child genius? Maybe not. Something about eating the erasers doesn’t scream ready for school.

Unjust accusation.

We have Belle the Bull Mastiff visiting for a few days. Today’s conversation with Charlotte, who’s back to not being so sure she likes Belle, went like this:

“Tractor! Tractor say ‘woof woof’!”

“Um, no honey. Dogs say ‘woof woof’. Brady says ‘woof woof’.” Remembering Belle, hanging out on the front porch while Liberty sat out there doing her math, I said, “Belle says ‘woof woof’!”

“Oh.”

Engage child in conversation to keep her on the potty happily…. “Where is Belle?”

“Outside. Eat Liberty’s toes. Belle soooooooooooo naughty. Belle eat my toes!”

Poor Belle. Since I was present for the duration of Charlotte’s uncertain encounter with Belle, I’m quite certain no biting, eating, or even licking occurred. She’s been unjustly accused. Liberty too, remains in possession of all of her extremities.

Tell that to Charlie.

8.30.2012

A good reminder.

In a week where the funniest thing that happened (though not funny at the time) was Pierce reverting to his old ways of losing half his feeding at an inopportune moment, resulting in curdled I-don’t-want-to-know-what landing squarely on my face, things have been pretty tense around here.

Right about now, that statement about the mother setting the temperature of the home nags at my brain.

Not enough sleep, a baby boy who has embraced his freedom and ability to crawl, not on his belly, but up on all fours – resulting in a torn-apart house that’s about to do me in, laundry coming out of my ears, and too much to do and not enough time is all weighing down.

And yet. Yesterday, when a call came in that changed the course of my afternoon, I was reminded, in no small detail, that my life is pretty wonderful. That, despite the messy house and struggles to get three children schooled each day, what I do, this privilege I have to stay home and raise these six healthy children God’s given me… I’m thankful.

The spit up on my face I could have done without. I thought we were past that. But everything else… I’ll take it, smile, pick up the toys once more, and be glad that I have this opportunity. Time goes so fast, it’ll be gone before I know it.

8.28.2012

Amazing. Simply amazing.

Today we went to a PE class put on for homeschoolers by a local rec center. It was a first for us, but I must have slept well last night, because when I got up and the reminder email was in my inbox, we got ready and went.

Another first that I’m still rather in shock about:

We’d planned to go to the zoo today. With the PE class plans, we decided to pack a lunch and head to the zoo after. Driving away from the class, I heard words I’d never heard before.

“I’m too tired.”

Writing it down lest I forget this moment, Eden Rayne was too tired to do something at 10:45 am. She actually asked if we could go home instead.

I’m thinking PE is good for Eden.

8.27.2012

Pregnant brain.

Someone I know, ahem, who just happens to be seven months pregnant, told me this story the other day.

She’d made supper, mixing cheese in with meat, and announced to her family that supper was moments away. Just waiting for the cheese to melt.

And waiting.

And waiting.

Finally, the husband of my dear sister friend checked the cheese package. It read something quite similar to this:

‘Hash browns.’

Chalk it up to pregnant brain. To three - and almost four - kids three and under. Or something.

Goodnight.

As of 9:49 pm, my eleventh load of laundry was in the washing machine, only four bath towels remained on the laundry room floor, school work for the day is done, the house is picked up, all six children had received three meals today and are now in bed, Blaine is still gone at his meeting, and a good book beckons me from my due-to-be laundered couch.

Whew. I would rather not replay this day again any time soon.

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I paid out $.25 in extra jobs for the day, (kids work cheap!) the fridge is washed out, the table legs are clean (er) and Brady had a hair cut and is looking cleaner and fluffier than the bath towels that I did get washed.

As for the age-old discussion on why we’ve purchased beds for our children, it still remains a topic.

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The reasons we wonder why are so clearly displayed by Ruby tonight.

Goodnight.

It’s Monday.

You know those days when nothing is funny, no matter how you look at it?

I’m having one of those.

I have about 10 loads of laundry to do. (No exaggeration, I switched sizes on three kids and have all their “new” laundry from storage to wash, plus the weekend’s, plus a set of wet sheets, plus a wet nap mat… get my drift? At least 10.) Something better break the ice quick. If one more crayon box, marble jar, or coin cup (filled with 500 coins) hits the floor today, I may very well scream.

You know, because I haven’t already.

If you aren’t feeling badly for me, consider this: Blaine has a meeting tonight and won’t be home for supper.

Ok, screaming commences.

8.26.2012

Funny or weird. You pick.

Charlotte woke me up in the night, blanket in one hand, cup in the other. Slightly sobbing, she handed me the empty cup and asked me to fill it. She dropped her blanket, and when I picked it up, I noticed it wasn’t her blanket at all, but a silky nightgown.

She took it, held it up with a look of confusion, and stared not her striped blanket but Dora in the face. Enough to have nightmares, for sure. '”Hello, sleepy girl, losing her cool due to lack of proper hydration. I’m Dora. Lovely olive complexion, perfect hair (Despite having been crumpled for the past six hours, thank you for that.) and the ability to have my backpack, my map, and my monkey all talk and obey me. Oh, and I consistently beat the fox with sticky fingers, every time.”

I’m raising daughters of self confidence, apparently. She doesn’t struggle with the comparisons we women so often put ourselves though, looking everywhere to see how we’re failing compared to the next woman/mom/wife. She looked confused for but a moment, took her refilled water, and went back to bed, snuggling her sister’s nightgown.

I, on the other hand, had a series of funny-to-me thoughts as I lay there, unable to go back to sleep. You get to witness secondhand what sleep-deprived does to me.

Oh, and I got up and cancelled an Amazon order at 4am when I realized I’d forgotten to add something to it. Yep, on my toes last night, for sure.

8.23.2012

That’s one big bird.

Liberty’s penmanship asked her to answer the question, “How do you think the barn swallow got it’s name?”

She looked at me with utter confusion.

“Because they swallowed a barn?!”

We’re getting serious now.

Sterling needs to do math. He tells me, though, that he’s making me a spanking spoon. He’s made a pattern out of paper and is headed for his hand saw to make a wooden one now.

That thing is at least 12 inches long.

Who am I to mess with that?!

Wonder who he plans it for?

Ruby’s trying to catch the dust she can see floating in the sunlight. We’re going to be a while. She turns four on Labor Day and can. not. wait. She’s going to drive me crazy with the asking.

Eden talked of her ree-lay’-tives today. Phonetic, anyone? Then she threw arcatick in there and I began to wonder at my phonics teaching abilities completely. It reminds me of my inability, to this day, to pronounce ‘fa├žade’ correctly.

Pierce learned to crawl on all fours instead of scooting on his belly. My stain removal attempts thank him.

Charlotte’s decided the best place to sleep is on the nap mat I made for her to take to co-op. And we buy them beds why?

Liberty got her own email address. She’s having the time of her life. And we discovered something: she can email Blaine and I. I have a glimpse into her soul, via email.

Sterling is getting better and better at reading. He’s on an endurance run to finish the set of forty books I have to teach him to read. He’s finished 13. He expects to be Einstein by #36.

I caught up on laundry yesterday. There’s less than a full load to do today. I can’t remember when that happened last. Years, maybe.

Blaine and I celebrate our 10th anniversary next month. We hope to go away for a night. Unless Pierce sleeps through the night consistently before then, though… anyone have ideas that do not require the baby crying for hours with five other children in the room?

8.21.2012

Words from the mouth of Eden.

“Mom, I saved you some work. I kind of cost you money too, but I saved you some work!”

“Howwwww??????”

“I broke my bowl I used at lunch. Now you don’t have to wash it. I mean, you’ll have to buy a new one, but you won’t have to wash this one!”

Such a line of thinking. She scares me.

Try again, Momma.

Pierce discovered throwing things down the wooden stairs (we have just five of them) was great fun and incredibly loud.

After playing fetch with Ruby for many minutes, he made a grievous error in judgment and decided to throw himself down the stairs.

Liberty was faster than Momma. She saved the day boy.

Hooray for Liberty. Momma needs to practice that dive. That was pathetic.