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.


“Mom, you’re old.”

As we were approaching my parents home early this morning, I pointed out to the kids the farm where I spent many high school hours, milking cows. Eden crashed my trip down memory lane right quick.

“Wow, that barn’s really shiny for how old it is!”

Vacation, big (little) style.





these tiny toes are headed to the lake


just hanging out


playing with the squirt guns Grandma bought


and having tons of fun.

See ya.


Two happy campers

hanging out and Grandma and Grandpa’s

in a new stroller.

I’m not sure who's more excited

about the new toy.

I do know, though,

who’s more excited

about being on vacation

and having grandma’s help.



Communication crack-down.

“Eden, would you put about… 10 eggs in a pan?”

“Sure!” She walks away. Moments later, she’s back. “Crack them, right?”

“No! We need to hard boil them.”

Disappointment. “Oh.”

We just about had scrambled eggs for supper instead of potato salad to take camping. Whew. That was close.

Procrastination from packing.

Pierce fell asleep not on my back, in my bed, or in his bed two days in a row now. Never before had such a thing happened. Last night, it was laying across my lap. Maybe we’re turning a corner with his fussiness.

Today, Blaine turns 35. I’m sure he’ll thank me for throwing that out there. Happy birthday, Love.

Today, we pack. We cook food to be reheated. We pack. We do laundry. We pack. And, if all goes well, I mow – so we don’t come home to an overgrown weed-fest.

Because it made me laugh: Brady finished her fifty-pound bag of dog food. It took her 14 months. That’s $2.50 a month for Brady-maintenance. We spend more on flea and tick meds to keep the bugs from eating her than we do on food for her to eat.

Back to work.

Onion crybaby.

Liberty’s chopping onions for me. I hear a cry from the kitchen, asked if all was well, thinking there may be blood.

Nope. “My eyes hurt.” was the reply. Whew.

Feeling like a Monday–but it’s Thursday.

Note to self: Next time you wonder if someone put the chicken and hamburger from the grocery shopping trip in the freezer without being asked, investigate.

Thank you, Lord, for the little things. Cooler bags, rainy days, and mostly frozen meat 18 hours in the van later saved me a lot of money and another trip to the store.


It needed a good scrubbing.

The north side of my house this morning at 10:37 am:


The north side of my house three hours of scrubbing and the better part of a gallon of bleach later:


Hooray for elbow grease. And nice, comfy beds that beckon after a ridiculously exhausting day.

I never, ever would have said I am a procrastinator. Turns out, when I’m overwhelmed, I can’t even wrap my head around it and I find something else to do. Vacation at the end of the week? Camping equipment to sort through? Lists of meals and grocery shopping to do? Clothes to pack?

Perfect. I’ll scrub the house.

For the record, I scrubbed the front too. It didn’t have the north side grime going on, but it took just as long. Six hours later, I’m having some ice cream and going to bed.

The floor?

There’s a first time for everything. This was definitely a first.IMG_3737

The nakedness… that’s not a first.

Try ‘normal’.

Our house has a central air unit. It was broken when we bought the house, and being huge fans of the 100+ degrees our Missouri summers provide, we’ve yet to fix it.

Ruby told me how to fix it today. (Mind you, it was 82 in the house and quite comfortable with just the ceiling fans.)

“Just change the batteries. It probably uses the biggest size. If you put new ones in, and turn it on ‘normal’, it will probably work.”

She thinks in terms of broken toys and the thrill of starting the dishwasher on ‘normal’.


Number of times I got interrupted while trying to read an article this morning: 6. Number of times I got interrupted before I hollered “Ahhhhhhhhhhhh!” when I lost my place. Again. 8. Apparently I did not holler loud enough, because they didn’t stop coming.

I’m swimming in things to do and not enough frame of mind to figure out what to do first this week. Grocery shopping for our camping trip, packing clothes for 7 people, (I long ago declared I do not pack my husband’s clothes. Yet often, I end up packing his clothes. How does that happen?) mowing the lawn, and trying to find a single stroller that is small enough to fit in a tiny corner of my 12 passenger van that will, I assume, be packed to the gills.

Pierce is breaking through his first two teeth. Charlotte has all four eye teeth poking through. In case you wondered what this looks like in the same house, “Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!” pretty much covers it.


What a week.

We live next to a cave. No, not in a cave. Next to one. Close enough that we can walk to it and get there before Charlie gets tired. Close enough that we get to do the touristy thing and go through it, whenever we want, for free. Ah, the perks of this little house we live in. Thursday, we took friends with us. Fun was had by all, there were 12 kids between their family and ours, and no one cried, not even once. I’m calling that successful.

(Less successful than my clothesline full of clothes at the moment. It’s raining.)

Wednesday we saw the same family at the park. Friday we met at the fountains in town. Yesterday we went to a birthday at their house. Today we’ll see them at church. Tomorrow, we’ll lay low before they get completely sick of us.

Last night, a friend from church invited us to spend the evening on his boat. Oh my. The kids won’t forget that anytime soon. The older four all got to go on the tube, (Ruby sang “Pop! Goes the Weasel the entire time she was riding on the tube. When she stopped for a moment, I asked her why and she said, “I’m still having fun. It’s just not time for singing right now.” Alrighty then.) and we swam for a while. More like me trying to keep four children, all in life jackets, from drowning. Ridiculously hard. Swimming lessons are in order.) That was interesting. Anyhow, the boat ride was a hit with all of them. Charlotte fell asleep to the wind in her face and Pierce thought that the speed was the best thing he’d ever experienced. You know, other than milk.

Friday we leave for vacation. Camping in South Dakota, both east river and west, for about 10 days is our plan. If anyone cares to pack, plan meals, or grocery shop for me this week, you’re nuts. Dreading it. We slept in the tent Friday night for a trial run. It was fabulous. The air mattress has a hole in it, Missouri ground is hard as a rock – or is a rock, whichever you prefer. We’re borrowing another for the trip. I’d never get up after that many days on the ground.

Time to bake the bacon (Ever tried that? So easy, so good.) Company’s coming for lunch, we’re having baked potatoes with all the fixings, and my husband mopped every floor in this house yesterday for the occasion. The kitchen wasn’t even dry before milk was spilled on it. Awesome.


Dear Baby Boy,

Maybe you ought to consider sleeping later. When your first nap happens at 7:24 am, you might think about shifting your nap into your night and letting Momma get more sleep too. More sleep for Momma can only be a good thing. Less crabbiness, more energy to play with you, and a longer fuse might benefit you greatly.

Just a thought.




swimsuit shopping

Ah, swimsuit shopping.

I realized I needed one. With plans to head out for a week of camping beginning next weekend, I remembered the one I’d worn for the last two summers is of the maternity sort. The one I wore for the several summers before that was so old it was starting to get crunchy. I was going to need something else.

Six kids + swimsuit shopping = comedy or nightmare – Take your pick.

At a homeschool park meet up for the morning, I commented on my afternoon plans. Really, I saw such the day as normal for the years we are in. It would likely end in a giant (literal) headache for me, but it is what it is. We’d get it done, and if it wasn’t too late, we’d go use the kids’ free ice cream coupon for a snack on the way home and celebrate one of life’s less enjoyable afternoons being over.

One dear woman, a friend from co-op, offered to take my kids. She’s awesome. Who else volunteers for six kids to invade their house for a couple hours?

In the end, I kept Charlotte and Pierce with me, tried on five suits, bought the second one I tried on, had momentary second thoughts at the second store when I found another cute one – until I realized that would require a trip back to the first store to return… not worth it. First one is perfect.

I went back to pick up the kids, found out Ruby had told her hostess she thought she was 900, Charlotte peed on their patio, and we were off. Disaster averted… some of them anyway.


boot heels or something like it

After a discussion on plagiarism and instructions not to do it, I set the girls to their science assignment: to write about the climate in Missouri. With encyclopedia in hand, the girls got to work.

Eden’s report, in part, reads, “In July, average temperatures range from about 80* in the shoe heel section…”

Liberty’s reads, “In the puddle boot heel section…”

Oh my. Plagiarism, no. But we’re going to have to work on what is a technical term and what isn’t, I’m thinking.

A boy and his best friend…

(Again, pants-less) Pierce really loves Brady. Brady really loves all the attention (be it hair-pulling or of the gentler sort) that Pierce will give her.


She doesn’t seem to mind a bit.


She’ll even clean his face for him.

Not to be outdone,


Charlotte had to kiss him too.

Mmm. If that doesn’t just make you cringe.

Dog slobber, shared among siblings. Perfect.

these vices of mine

I’m attempting to drink my coffee black. I’m normally a three sugars and four cream kind of coffee drinker. I thought that cutting back on the calories in my coffee would be an easy switch.

It’s not.

Taste aside, I’ve burned my mouth thoroughly. Turns out, cold cream cools down hot coffee. Who would have thought?

But the taste. Really, now. It’s awful. Apparently I’ve been drinking coffee for the cream and sugar all these years.

Moving on. Gonna have to cut calories elsewhere, I guess. My nightly ice cream is my reward after a long day with six kids. My morning coffee is the only reason those six kids survive until bed so I can have my nightly ice cream. Oh dear. Who would have known food could be such a coping mechanism? It’s ridiculous. Time to find a new hobby. And some cream non-fat creamer.


It’s been a rough day.

Potty training was going so well. No accidents for days and days and days.

Today was a setback. She peed in her pants four times.

Once, she went for a two-for-one deal and peed on my pants too. At church. Moments after we’d arrived.

That scent at church on me today? Yeah. Sorry about that. I took the extra outfit I’d packed for me when we started this venture out of the van when we’d gone a month without needing them. Live and learn.


The best one, according to Blaine.

Family 5-27-12

The best one, according to Blaine.

I voted for Ruby’s funny face… but this one shows most of us in true colors.

May 2012.


Feline conversations and other delusions.

Ruby: “Mom, what do horseflies make?”

“Um, they bite. I don’t really know what else they do.”

“Oh. I thought maybe they made horseradish.”

For what it’s worth, horseradish is on Ruby’s top ten list for favorite things. It’s right up there with broccoli, cauliflower, salad, mashed potatoes, sauerkraut, and anything containing sugar that isn’t cake.

The (wild) barn cat got into the house today. I’ve come to conclude I will never know how at this point. At any rate, after many attempts to shoo it outside, all ending in the cat squeezing through the hole in the laundry room that leads to the crawlspace… one final attempt succeeded and the outdoor skittish cat is once again outdoors. It’s always something.

Seeing said scaredy cat in the yard later in the day, Ruby says, “Hello Callie. We will have to call you ‘Calico Cat that Came in the House’ now. How do you like that name? No? Then you shouldn’t have come in. So there.”

The whole one sided (in my head, anyhow) conversation was more than I could take. My stomach got a better workout from laughing than anything else I threw at it today. I can see it now. “Ten days with Ruby to Tighter Abs”. We can all see how well it’s worked for me. Or not. Just picture those envied abs we all want… and close your eyes if you run into me. You know, to brace yourself for the bouncing you’ll be doing.

Serenity, now!

I use my kids middle names. A lot. When we chose names, we chose ones that I love. So now, more often than not, my kids hear both their first and middle names. Some more than others, but they all hear them some.

Eden is very, very rarely just Eden. It’s Eden Rayne.

Sterling hears Sterling Blaine at least half of the time.

Pierce is usually Pierce. I called him Pierce Allan the other day for the first time and two kids giggled and said they’d forgotten what his middle name even was. We’re working on that one. He’s got a name to live up to, after all.

Charlotte? She doesn’t hear hers so often. I love the meaning of her name, but Charlotte Serenity doesn’t flow off the tongue quite so well. It’s a big name for a little girl.

But, when I’m upset… you can bet that all of them will hear their middle names. I’m not sure why, since I have no recollection of hearing my middle name as a kid, ever. (It’s Rachele by the way.) But again, back to Charlotte. Just try yelling “Serenity!” in an outside hollering not-so-happy voice and let me know what you think.

Exactly. Something about hollering a peaceful word with less than peaceful thoughts just clashes in my brain and makes me giggle.

At least, until I glance back to the latest disaster she’s made and then all giggles are aside. Until next time, at least.


Dear, dear girl.

Charlotte’s on bath #2 for the day. See that white cord behind her? That’s for my vacuum. That’ll teach me for cleaning.

The perils of leaving a peanut butter jar, opened and unattended:


If you look carefully, you’ll see the blue permanent marker on her hand. That’s what happens when you leave the markers within reach.

Oh, and for those of you who think I leave the poor baby naked all day, she wasn’t naked.


This is all that was left of her outfit. The rest of it has been lost to the laundry pile, slowly but surely.

the night of weird

It’s hard to find something to write about after a weekend of nothing exciting. We butchered the chickens we’d raised for meat. My freezer is very full and my neck very sunburned. Note to self: Standing with your back to the sun causes other problems not considered.

We’re planning a vacation. Possibly this weekend and next week, but I wouldn’t want to plan ahead too far. Packing for eight people, after all, is so simple. No need to get ahead of ourselves.

The kids got a slip and slide from Grandma and Grandpa. Eden wanted to send Pierce down it. She was rather insulted when I suggested he might not enjoy it.

Sterling woke up this morning and didn’t have his undies he’d gone to bed wearing. He has no recollection of getting up in the night, going potty, and laying down on the step to put them back on but falling asleep across the step instead. Blaine put him back to bed and Sterling remembers none of it.

Charlotte cried out in the night and when I got to the kids’ bedroom, she was crawling out from underneath the bunk beds. I haven’t figured out what on earth happened there.

So there you have it. It was the night of weird. Except, that’s pretty normal for around here. Now, back to work. I have seven loads of laundry to fold and put away, and another three to wash, dry, fold, and put away. It’s enough to make my head spin.


Keep ‘em coming… Giveaway #2!

Can one small blog handle two giveaways at the same time?!

Purex giveaway ends tonight. Next up: Honey Bunches of Oats!

Five winners. Yes, five coupons for a box of Honey Bunches of Oats, 13 oz. or larger are up for grabs. They sent me a box, saying they added more bunches. They did! Sterling’s favorite cereal in the world is Honey Bunches of Oats and he definitely approves of their added granola. Want to try it too, for free?

Let’s shake things up a bit. Comment here or on my facebook page for an entry. Make me laugh. Funniest story, joke, or otherwise clean anecdote gets a box. Bonus points if you mention breakfast… Enter as many times as you wish, so long as your change your story every time. will give you all the info you’ve ever wanted about cereal and all things Bunches. If Sterling could read (better) he’d be all over that one.

Jumpy much?

Liberty found a spider in the house. Now, I don’t mind spiders all that much. Kill them and move on, I guess. But this one, about the size of a golf ball and quite hairy, was bordering on the large spectrum, and it was in my house. I did the only decent thing under such circumstances. I hollered for Blaine. And screamed a little.

Last night the dog was going ballistic outside and when we let her inside, she continued to bark. Wondering what had her so riled up, I walked outside for a few minutes to see what on earth was going on. The only noise I could hear was a whippoorwill. I came around the corner in the dark and our barn cat came running around it from the other direction. I just about peed my pants.

It’s been far cooler these last few days, and when I went into the kids’ bedroom to lay Pierce back down after one of his mid-night feedings, I covered up three sleeping children who lay uncovered. When I put the blanket on Charlotte, I heard “Ank-you”. I just about jumped out of my skin.

I wouldn’t recommend coming up behind me these days. I just might slug you. I don’t know what has me on edge, but good grief. My nerves cannot handle it!