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.


It’s the little things.

My washing machine died Thursday. We read reviews, looked at machines, and felt our heads begin to swim. We talked to two companies that sell commercial washing machines and they spun faster.

Finally, I found one. I hope it’s good. With my checklist in hand, it met my criteria. Blaine’s getting it now, at the appliance store that beat everyone’s price.

I saved $70 making phone calls today. Hooray for taking the time and having it paying off!

It better be great. I cannot handle researching another one anytime soon. And my diaper pail is, in Ruby’s words, a tower. First load: diapers. Don’t come to my house until it’s done. The lid no longer fits and the smell is permeating…

In other news, my van has MO plates. Between that and the washer, I’ve spent more money today than I have since we closed on our house. Ouch. Tax refund, hurry along.


Isn’t God good?

I wash a lot of laundry. Today’s diaper rinse water ended up on the laundry room floor. Upon taking apart the machine, Blaine found melted plastic and two holes in the plastic drum and more parts ruined than the washer is worth.

But this didn’t happen 25 loads and three weeks ago, when he had just left for California. It happened the day after he got home. Isn’t God good?

Getting a new washer. I’m thinking steel drum. It cannot melt.

New wheels. Really, really big wheels.

If you’d ever have told me that at age 28


this would be my dream vehicle


I’d have said you were crazy.


But I love it. Three benches, two bucket seats, and seating for 12. It holds five car seats without complaint, (no shoving required!) and Liberty has her choice of five empty seats.

And it handles like… a really big van.


Don’t call me crazy. Just give me ideas. Please?!

If you were in charge of teaching a group of about a dozen three year olds for four hours once a week, what kind of things would you do? How would you deal with keeping attention? With obedience and teaching them respect?

Ideas, anyone?


It’s the new last week.

Today, I went grocery shopping. I took my list, got what was on it, and headed home.

Tonight, cleaning out my jean pockets, I found my grocery list. Except half of what was on it I hadn’t gotten today. Huh. I know I got everything on my list.

Then I found another list in my pocket. THAT was the list I’d shopped off of. An old list.

Last month’s meals are the new this month, I guess. And apparently emptying my pockets should include the extra step of looking at what I’m taking out and putting in, day after day.

Really, now.

I’m feeling so blessed.

Last week a family from church offered to help me with whatever I needed most. Having a hard time knowing what to choose, I decided I’d either polyurethane the stools I’ve been wanting to get done or I’d have them help rearrange my kitchen cabinet contents. As a family of ten, they surely have some great ideas.

Last week they watched the kids so I could work on my stools. They were awesome.

This week, they came over and helped with my kitchen cabinets. I was right; they had great ideas.

Then, they watched the kids so I could get groceries.

Then, I got a haircut. At home, trim the ends; so much better.

It was an awesome day. Let me just throw this out there. If you want to bless someone, volunteer your day for whatever they might need.

Things that have been hanging over me for over a year have been done. The fellowship was sweet, I learned from another, and cannot say thank you enough to dear friends for offering themselves for me and my family today.

Best of all: no judgment. The messy cupboards, the dirty floors, the disorganized mess that was my kitchen – none of it mattered. They just pitched in and helped.

I’m feeling so blessed.


My month in review.

I said I’d post photos of the van. I know. But I didn’t count on a little thing called “life” happening. As in, I got busy with motherhood and schooling and scolding and cooking and explaining and diapering and a whole host of other things. I’ll get there.

Blaine’s coming home tomorrow, Lord willing. They are packing up. It’s a good thing. If I lose my cool during one of the above mentioned activities one more time, I’m going to have mutiny on my hands. Something about stress and unfinished homework and super late bedtimes gets the better of me.

These last two and a half weeks, I have:

Changed a LOT of diapers

Washed not nearly so much laundry as is normal.

Polyurethaned 8 stools… with one coat. Someday soon we’ll do a 2nd and 3rd.

Filled one woodstove many, many times. We haven’t froze to death.

Chased four goats three times. Fixed fence… not very well… three times.

Cleaned one chimney one time.

Headed up to the chickens twice with a rifle trying to eliminate whatever is eliminating my chickens.

Failed at above mentioned elimination. But it wasn’t my sharpshooting skills, at least.

Patched the holes in the chicken fence created by said Eliminator. More successful fencing than the goat fence job, thankfully.

Made curtains! Hooray!

Taken six kids to church alone three times. No matter how bad that turns out, it deserves a medal… or a break… or a padded room.

Gone just slightly crazy. While I know that I can do this alone… I’d really, really rather not. Life’s pretty lonely… even when there are seven of us in one house.

Got slightly worried when walking up stairs made me out of breath. After all, I found out this news in 2010 while Blaine was in CA and this news in 2011 while Blaine was in CA. Then, hours later, I realized I’m getting a cold… and I’ve never been so thankful for it!


Full size.

I’ve joined the “I drive a huge van” crowd. Well, I haven’t actually driven it yet, but it’s sitting in my driveway. That counts.

What’s your dream vehicle? Mine, in recent years, has lots of seats and lots of space. If you had told me when I bought my little two door hatchback Escort that I’d be driving another Ford, 12 years later, but this one with twelve seats… oh my.

I’ll be learning to drive this week. I’ll also be parking at the far end of the lot, I’m afraid.

Photos tomorrow – as soon as I get the car seats all moved.


*And before y’all think I bought a van without Blaine – yeah, no. It was a gift. Yeah. Exactly. HUGE.


Dear, dear Ruby. Thanks for keeping me humble.

We  were digging through boxes of clearanced mittens and other miscellaneous at the local 1/2 of 1/2 store. You know, $.49 for a brand new Children’s Place hat, simply because it’s last season or needs about 3 stiches to close the seam that’s split a bit? This is how I clothe my children. Love it.

Ruby found newborn tights. “Mom, tights!”

“But we don’t have anyone that size.”

“Oh. Well, Pierce could wear them!”

“Pierce is a boy, honey. No tights for Pierce.”

A fifty-something lady nearby snickered.

Then Ruby found a bra. It came complete with cleavage, none of the wearer seemed to be required. She hollers at the top of her three year old little lungs, “Mom! Boobs! I can be like you!”

The lady snorted. I took the easy route.

In a completely deadpan voice, I said, “Oh, how nice Ruby. You’ll be beautiful.”

Pretty sure that lady would have had milk coming out of her nose. You know, if she’d have been drinking anything.

The laundry room is not a playground, don’tchaknow?

This morning I found my brand new $50 gallon jug of just-for-diaper laundry detergent jug on it’s side. I scraped up a quart of the liquid gold, (ok, at the current price of gold, not quite, but it sure felt like it!) cried over spilt detergent, (yeah, no, not literally. But if I were a more emotional soul you can bet I would have.) and used the mop water to wash the laundry. The dear, much loved child who knowingly knocked the detergent over and left it to spill out… I’m pretty sure said child understands to never, ever, ever decide to hide behind the washing machine again. Another dearly loved child commented, “Man. I’m glad that wasn’t me!”

Just for good measure we read the parable of the talents. It didn’t quite ring the message of good stewardship like I’d planned. The glazed eyes told me I’d lost them.


A good looker. Or finder. Or something like that.

Eden lost the spoon she’d taken with her to scrape the scraps to the chickens tonight. It was dark, and she and Liberty asked for help in finding it.

“Am I going to go out there and immediately find it? How well did you look?”

“We really looked for it. It’s not out there,” Eden said.

“She’ll probably find it right away, Eden. Mommma’s a good looker,” Liberty said.

I giggled. Then I had to explain the old good “looker” comment that you just never hear anymore. Or at least, I certainly don’t.

They both giggled and told me I was a good finder. Then they assured me that they think I’m cute too.



We’ve got a chicken thief on our hands. We’re down five hens in two days. I found a hole in the chicken wire. Why do these things always happen when Blaine is gone?

Fixing fence is a skill I (never wanted to, but) can add to my resume.

Sharpshooter is next.

Going green. Or keeping some, at least.

We’ve been discussing energy and resource conservation. You know, the “The electric bill is how high?!” discussion. My children are not the best at turning lights off when they leave the room. It drives me crazy. Our whole house will be lit up like a Christmas tree and no one would be home if the kids had anything to do with it.

So I instituted the “Fine.” clause.

I find a light on and no one around, I turn it off. Then I find the culprit and I earn a quarter.

I have yet to collect any quarters. It’s a win-win. I really didn’t want to confiscate their resources. I just wanted mine conserved.

But today, when Ruby asked me if I wanted her to turn off the fridge interior light, I wondered if I’d taken it too far.



Polyurethane and soot creates an interesting Dalmatian effect removed only by something stronger than soap and water.
Sweet friends watched my kids today while I put a coat of polyurethane on eight stools. Then tonight I cleaned the chimney. And then I searched for paint thinner.



My kids are sleeping underneath the kitchen table tonight. Their beds lie cold and empty while four children, sensible often, choose to very insensibly sleep on a cold ceramic tile floor.

Why? I haven’t figured that out yet. They think it’s fun and it didn’t hurt anything – besides, perhaps, their backs. And shoulders. And hips.

Oh wait, that would be me. Wouldn’t it be nice to do such things without paying for it? You know, in case you get the urge to sleep under the kitchen table?


I lose. Again.

Pierce cried and cried and cried unless I held him. Fed up and trying to make supper, I put him in his bed. Never made him nap in there before. (I don’t even make him sleep in there at night most of the time, who am I kidding?)

He went to sleep immediately.

Pierce: 1.

Momma: 0.

Huh, what?

Just in case my statement of my kids lack of sports knowledge seemed a bit exaggerated…

Pierce has a sweatshirt on with a giant orange basketball on it. Liberty saw it and said, “Baseball!”. I said “No…” straightening out his shirt to show the bright orange basketball. “Oh! Soccer!”

Really now. Next up: a lesson in sports with a brief intro to the rules. Brief, since I’m not so knowledgeable about them either… but I do know the difference in which ball goes with each game!

Football is not this boy’s game.

We borrowed Facing the Giants from the library and the kids and I watched it a few nights ago.

We don’t watch any sports around here. Blaine has no interest, neither do I. So when my kids say football or basketball, I check to see. It could very well be soccer or baseball they are looking at. They don’t have a clue.

So we’re watching the movie, it’s all about football, when Sterling had a question.

Why do they do that?”

I said because it is a fun game. The look on his face required a disclaimer.

“I think you have to like being tackled.”

Sterling replied, “Yeah, I think so. I would not like to play football.”

“Nope, I’m pretty certain you' wouldn’t.”

“Not al all, Momma. That does not look like fun.”

Maybe he’ll play baseball. Or run track…

Just laugh…

You know that moment that you are headed for bed, walk past a mirror and the image makes you stop and gawk, it’s so bad? And then you relive your day, realizing all the people that saw you like that?

It’s grand. I showered, threw my hair up, and got busy. Yikes. Add chasing the goats and fixing fence and you’ve got a regular disaster going on with clothes, hair, everything. Perfect.

I had company over last night. Not one of those known-you-for-years friends. A just-getting-to-know-you friend. Again, perfect.


Boys vs. Girls

Today, we made slingshots. Sterling was using a hairband as a slingshot and I decided we could do better. We wandered our woods, found sticks (4… we couldn’t not make one for all the bigger kids) and patched together rubber bands, dental floss and fabric. Sterling was thrilled.

Liberty used hers to swing a small doll figurine in.

Therein lies the difference between boys and girls. Sterling will use a hairband as a slingshot. Liberty will use a slingshot for a doll bed.


Daddy’s away… again. And finally:

One year and three days ago, I posted this post:

Today, I can finally post this picture:


I love it.

And now, so I can place your talent admiration squarely where it belongs… in March, my mother offered to make the quilt. I declined. In July, she offered again. Still I dumbly declined. And this fall, I said something along the lines of “Moooooooooooooooommmmmmmmmmmmmm?”

And without batting an eye, she took my bags of fabric rectangles I hadn’t touched for many months and bailed me out.

So I made curtains to match.

Did I mention I love it? Thanks, Mom. I owe you one a million.

Hello, can you say distracted?

A friend from church volunteered to watch my kids for a few hours today.My kids love when she comes, I get a break, and it amazes me how many stores I can go to in a short time without dealing with so many kids and car seats. Thank you, Janie. So, so much appreciated. And those leftovers… I need the recipe. They were really good. Smile

So I got home to find the goats out. This isn’t, unfortunately, the first time. A little chasing, stick throwing, a G-rated name calling later, the fence was fixed and the goats were captured. So I did the reasonable thing in such circumstances – I looked at my good shoes on my feet and decided they’d live. I put each of the four goats in the stanchion and trimmed their feet.

Blaine, you might not want to hurry too much. Eau de Goat permeates the house at the moment…

Never a dull moment.

Dear Blaine,

Hurry home.






They are in cahoots together. 2 against 1. I lose.



A truer measure, perhaps?

Friends keep asking how I’m doing with Blaine gone. I keep saying I’m fine. Blaine spent a lot of time getting things set up around here so this month would go smoothly.

This morning I started pouring Cheerios in my coffee.

Maybe I’m not doing as well as I thought.


What I walked into the kitchen to find just now…


Ruby liked it. Obviously. She even added a bit to her hair. You know, for color.


As did Charlotte.


And now that she’s soaked in the tub for a bit, I’m going to go see if I can chisel her cheeks free…

Your world, according to Ruby.

Ruby and Sterling were arguing. Sterling stated he didn’t like supper. Ruby insisted he did. That was an interesting conversation. (Amazingly enough, Sterling ate it anyway. Turns out, not eating lunch – because he didn’t like what I made – makes him very hungry!)

Why, when I leave the room because I cannot hear my phone conversation, do they follow me?

Charlotte sat in her chair, finished with her supper hollering, “Tee Tee! Tee Tee!” So glad she’s so dependent on Liberty. She didn’t yell for Momma.

I made popcorn last night. Usually Blaine makes popcorn on Sunday nights – it’s my night “off”. I was told my popcorn was better – it had more salt and butter. We all sat in the living room and ate it. This morning my hardwood floor had an impressive sheen. Thinking Daddy’s less-buttered popcorn does me a favor in the world of over-shined floors.

Sterling told me goodnight twice last night. “The second time I’m going to pretend you are Daddy.”

How does sleeping in one hour late put me three hours behind all day?

I found a whistle in the sandbox. Ruby found it later. Getting a mouth full of sand didn’t slow her down. I now have sand blown onto my freshly oiled floors… she must have thought a little grit was necessary to prevent slipping.

Can I saw how thankful I am for friends from church? A big crockpot of spaghetti was dropped off today – enough for leftovers for tomorrow too. It was wonderful. Even Sterling likes it. Ruby says so. Winking smile


Pierce: 16 weeks

In honor of Pierce’s 3 month and one week birthday, some photos.IMG_3264

He’s 15 pounds, growing some impressive eyelashes (and eyebrows)


happy (part of the time) when he’s held or swinging


and far larger than any of my other babies at three months old.

It’s crazy.

He likes to sleep in my bed, and rarely cooperates with the “back to sleep in your own bed” plan. Because, after all, it’s really, really hard to nurse all night long from there.

He’s so not my first baby.

A long time ago, when I had just one, I was horrified when a father of nine told me that their ninth was sleeping in their bed. He said you just relax about these things. I thought never, never would I allow a baby to sleep in my bed. That’s not what the books say to do. It’s not what the pediatrician says to do. It’s just wrong.

I was wrong.


Wanted: One mommy.

Ruby informed me this morning “If I hugged you really tight on your neck and you couldn’t breathe you would die.”

“Yes, I suppose that could happen. But it would have to be a really long hug,” I replied.

“Then I’d have to buy a new mommy.”

So glad to know I’m easily replaced. Smile

Ah, the lovely gravelly feeling of staying up half the night to aid in hanging sheetrock on the ceiling…

and the joy of almost having a ceiling in the laundry room!

Achy. Totally worth it. Thanks, B.


It cannot be as bad as what she finds out of doors. I’m certain of it.

Brady used to keep the area under the kitchen table clean. Then I bought lamb and rice food for her and she got picky. When the 5 lb. dog goes through one 40 lb. bag of dog food a year, I could justify the good stuff.

No longer. Next time, it’s Ol’ Roy. Maybe then the table scraps lovingly supplied by the kids would be more desirable.

In the meantime, I love to see Blaine’s cringe when I call for Brady when Pierce spits. Oh, it makes me laugh. I refuse to call it gross after seeing what the dog chews on outside.

How’s that for a glimpse inside the walls of this house? Oh dear.

Such fun.

Today’s white load contains five pairs of tights, pinned up to dry on the clothesline.

I’m not sure what amazes me more. The five pairs of tights or the 54 degree weather in January that allows for clothesline use.

I love them both.

Christmas vacation, unscripted.

We’re back to school today. After planning one week off and taking two, it was time. The break was wonderful.

Somehow I thought my house would be cleaner than this, having so much free time, but it’s not.

I thought I’d have my bedroom curtains made, but I don’t.

But the break was wonderful. Did I mention that?

We went to the zoo. We went to the library. We played games. We put puzzles together. Sometimes, rarer than I ought, I remember that these days are short and I choose the nobler thing.

Here’s to a messier house and happier kids. And a happier Momma. Because really, who has kids for the clean house value?

Dear Pierce,

I’m flattered, really. So glad you love me so much. But if you wanted to go to someone else, just for a little while, that would be ok with me.

My back hurts.

I really don’t know how you know so instantly when someone else has you. I’m sure that your sense of smell or whatever it is that alerts you to this will serve you well someday. I’m not quite sure how, but we’ll think of something.




Life has been chaotic lately. We’re off from school until Tuesday, and still, life is about as stressful as it comes. Craziness.

Blaine leaves for his yearly work trip to California this week. Getting back into school, co-op, and being alone – and so very not alone – isn’t something I’m looking forward to. Blaine will be gone for about three weeks. Trying to get things ready, feed for the animals and wood stocked up and split has Blaine hopping.

Pray for me and the kids, if you would? I rather hate Januaries. I never thought of myself as a worrier before, but life is getting to me right now. So not cool.