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.


Supper prep conversations.

I stepped out of the kitchen while making supper, leaving Ruby at the realm. When I walked back into the kitchen, Ruby was coming out of the laundry room.

“I thought you were stirring this?” I said.

“I was, but I couldn’t for a minute. I was doing laundry,” she says as she throws the dryer lint away.

Precious, multi tasking three year old. I love you.

As Sterling saw me put brown sugar in the sloppy joes he asked, “Are you supposed to put that in there, or are you just doing that so that I’ll eat it?”

My dear boy. Equally loved, to be sure, but you are a goose.

Afternoon giggles.


Liberty woke up feeling the need for her fat pants this morning.

Or we got into a discussion about how I, in my high school years, tucked my shirts in but I never, ever do now… something about that post baby belly that makes that less than attractive. In went Liberty’s dress, into her leggings, and we got a giggle over the view of skinny Liberty with a less than skinny gut.

And then she wanted me to take a picture. To which, like any good blogger, I replied that I would – provided I was allowed to blog about it. She agreed.

You choose the scenario.

Pierce: 5 months

Tomorrow, this blue-eyed boy is five months old.


He gave me a fun short photo shoot this afternoon.


And then, he got bored.




It happened. Ever since we got our new van, and every seat is no longer full, I’ve been counting heads before we leave in it. I used to just glance around… every seat with a head peeking up from it meant all was where it ought to be.
Today, headed to co-op in a mad rush because we were bordering on late, I got everyone in, bags in, lunch in, backed down the driveway about ten feet, and put the van in park to go get the sleeping baby out of his bed. Ouch.
Sterling, sitting next to Pierce’s car seat – his empty car seat – didn’t seem to think it worth mentioning that Pierce wasn’t in there. Pierce is in a rear facing convertible car seat, so until I did my mental, “Buckled Charlie. Buckled Ruby. Sterling’s there. Eden’s there. Liberty’s there. Pierce… oh no, Pierce!”
And yes, I looked around to see if anyone was watching. We live in the country… but still, the vision of me backing up, stopping, heading back into the house, and coming back out with the baby… it was a sorry sight.
There you have it, dear friends. I so do not have it all together.
Pierce was in the doctor’s office for his four month checkup. Never mind that he’s flying toward five months at a rapid pace. He was 17 lbs. 2 oz. and 26.75 inches long. He’s by far my biggest for his age – as in, Liberty weighed about that much on her first birthday.
Next up: a four five month photo. Because he’s sleeping now – and I’ve learned to let sleeping babies lie. You know, except when you’re going somewhere. Then it’s good to grab the baby.


Friday morning honesty.

Someone asked me yesterday if I ever get overwhelmed. Asked during one of those moments when everything is going well, no one is screaming and it’s looking like I have it all together, I stumbled saying something like this.

“Oh yeah. But then you remove your emotions from the equation and just do the next thing.”

Emotions are tricky things. They cause me to sin, often, when it comes to my kids. Sure, we laugh, we love, we have a ton of fun together. But when it comes to things not going well and the emotions in those moments, sin usually happens. Since when does you not having your shoes on right now have to be about me? But it does. I’m angry, you’ve sinned against me, you’re making me late.

You’re making me look bad.

Yep. All about me. Pretty pathetic, isn’t it? Somewhere along the line, I’ve learned – mentally, anyway – that if I step back and do the next thing, ignore the emotions running through my loud mouthed brain, I can get through the moment without adding my sins verbally to the situation. And one day, my brain might follow suit, do the next thing that needs to be done, and skip the selfish tirade that threatens to add itself to the situation.

Pursing Godliness. Thankful for His grace as I grow and those constant little reminders that I cannot do this on my own.


Hungry? You will be.

After very nearly taking out a sparrow on our way home last night, I said, “That bird was almost toast!”

“Oh, I get it. Because the window is so warm today,” said my new front-seat passenger, who is learning all she can on driving from her new vantage point.

Not exactly. So I set out explaining what “toast” can mean. The first thing that came out was “creamed”. Really? Are you serious? How many food references can one language take? And why on earth do I, in trying to explain one weird English word use, do I throw another one out there so that now I need to explain two?

I challenge you. Talk only in concrete verbs for a day. No weird English add-ons. It’s really, really hard.

You’ll be toast get creamed.

Insulated underwear.

Long story short(er), I had a disagreement over how many coats one dear daughter needs, I made a declaration that one church coat is adequate and the other, unworn yet this year, needs to be in the tote for next year. Since the well-worn, much-loved coat has been worn for, ahem, 4 winters now, it’s getting on the small side. I said to finish out the year with the much loved coat and then next year the other can be worn. Tears. Tears. More tears. After spending the afternoon thinking the tears were over the coat headed for the tote and then finding out it was over me having declared that the loved coat cannot be worn for a fifth winter, I asked, “Do you think if I still wore the coat I wore when I was your age now, would it be cute?”

Giggles. “No! It would be like a bra on you now!”

And just like that, there were no more tears. Except for me. I laughed so hard I cried.



The excitement around here when Charlotte woke up dry. With diaper rashes often a problem for Charlie, she’s run around bare bottomed a lot. I’ve dug out the potty but not actually tried to potty train her. Something about 16 months old sounds a little young to me.

But she was dry! I plopped her on the potty and, wouldn’t you know it, she peed. Hooray!

And then she pooped in her high chair. Excitement over. Hello, bleach.



My kids have to help with chores. It’s accepted as life around here. But the motivation, the lists, the checking on their work, the forgetting – it was all about to drive me batty. Methods of reminding are constantly evolving though. I made morning routines. For a while, it worked well. The kids each had a paper with what their mornings should look like, and in theory anyway, it worked.

Until they forgot to read their morning routines. Or lost them. Or, or, or. So we made new and improved morning routines. A binder was discussed and scrapped.

Yesterday, we instituted Chore Cards. Each of the four older kids gets a refrigerator magnet containing their plan for the day. Basically, 3x5 cards with steps for the day on them. When that job is done, it goes into the basket for another day. When your fridge magnet is empty, you have free time until supper.

So far, very good. The house is picked up, chores are done and we’re all getting some free time. If they need a shower today, it goes in their stack. Homework for Sunday school or co-op? In today’s stack. All of their chores except for the animals outside got moved to after school, removing all excuse for a late start at school. Ten minute speed cleans, where they set the timer and pick up as fast as they can for ten minutes, are spread apart, each kid getting one at a different time of day so the house gets picked up more often, is keeping toy mess minimal. I like it.

My fridge got wiped out. The broken egg that Mr. Nobody broke is cleaned up. The cabinet doors are cleaned, and the toilet paper roll is restocked. And I didn’t have to ask a single question or remind anyone. If it’s in the basket, it’s done. If it isn’t, your lunch isn’t served yet. So far, so good. Ask me next week.

*If anyone is interested in the cards I made, I can send you the Xcel file. Attaching it here isn’t an option, I’ve found.


Ten years ago, I was eighteen years old. I was new to the state of New York, having moved to Long Island to take a job as a nanny. I’d been placed there with an agency.

Two weeks after I started that job, I was having a hard time finding a likeminded church. A friend from my home state of South Dakota encouraged me to go to New Jersey to the church she’d grown up in and where her family still attended. I didn’t think much about it until my friend’s mother called and invited me to come, attend worship, and spend the day with their family.

Awkward, but how can you say no to that?

So I went. I got lost on the way there more than once, lost again on the way home, had a great day with that family but swore I wouldn’t do it again. Being lost in the Bronx was a little more than this farm girl could handle.

Two weeks later, I received another invite. I went. I got lost. I met a cop in Queens who, despite living in New York City, did not know how to get to the bridge to get out of it.

But eventually, I got there.

And then…

I met a man. Tall, blonde, in a three piece suit, twenty-four and ever so confident, it was, well, “You’re too old” at first sight.

But then we all spent the day together. His family and I, all at his house for the day, and by the time I meandered around Long Island long enough to find my way home again, I made the “He’s perfect. Now I need to find someone like that… 5 years younger.”

But that was Sunday, and on Tuesday he called and asked me to have supper with him. Somewhere along the line I got over the (gasp!) six and a half year age gap, and now, ten years later, we’ve been married for nine and a half years and have six kids. We’ve owned two houses, moved eight times, and loved and laughed our way through ten years together.

Guess what? We even get to have a date tonight.

Happy ten years, my dearest Blaine. Ten.


the darndest things

Eden used to say the funniest things. Usually it stemmed from speaking beyond her knowledge of vocabulary. Today, we went there again.

Looking through their photo books, Eden saw a photo of Ruby with our hamster. “Oh! There’s our ger-bil.” Hard G. No “j” sound. She frowned at me when I told her the g was soft. She still doesn’t believe me.

That was promptly followed by asking about a photo of her with a Dora and Boots in costume. “That looks like it was at a carnivore.” Carnival, carnivore… you know.

Turns out, all those funny things return as she flips through yesteryear.

Sterling wants to know why he can’t jump down our five steps like Liberty, Eden, and Ruby. I told him it was because he was scared.

“No I am not!” Sure, Dude. “Mom, maybe I should practice.”


“I’m scared.”

“Yep, I know Buddy. It’s ok. I don’t want to jump that many steps either.” He decided to start small and jumped down, one step at a time. Poor guy.

Great news.

Great news. I have it all so together.

I just ordered prints for the first time since October 2010. You know, when Charlotte was a newborn.

On the bright side, my cart in Snapfish sat so long that the coupon codes saved me $21. Sweet!

I’ll catch up someday. Maybe. Probably not.


Time for a more masculine project.


I’ve been wanting to use this pattern for a while, but I couldn’t find wool at any of my local stores and hadn’t gotten the chance to trek across town to better stores. Complaining to Blaine about Hobby Lobby’s lack of wool material, he suggested cutting up his coat.


You know, the one that has been sitting in a tote for as long as I’ve known him? The one we’ve moved eight times and has just been waiting for me to get an itch to sew with wool?


Thank you, dear Blaine, for giving me the coat off your back out of storage that you didn’t want anymore.

Your boys look so handsome in it.


It was so fun to make something for the boys for a change.

And now, I’m imagining these in pink…

Waiting until after 7:30 am and the boys were fully awake (and, ahem, not still in bed…) might have given me less “deer in the headlights” – but what fun would that be?


Dumb bug.

Friday had four girls throwing up. Saturday had Momma wishing she would. Sunday it was Daddy’s turn and Charlotte went for round two. FYI: Do not feed a child hot dogs if there is even a remote chance of seeing it for a second time.

Sterling and Pierce are the anomalies around here. Sterling is pretty proud of his constitution right about now.

Can we be done now?


Just when I think God’s given me more than I think I can handle, He shows me mercy.

Pierce is napping in his own bed. Just this week, after fighting and losing and spending ridiculous amounts of money for D batteries since the swing was the only place he’d sleep, he started napping in his own bed. He’s up, he plays, he eats, he gets crabby, he gets laid down. He sleeps for 1-2 hours, and we start the cycle again.

It’s wonderful.

It’s also time to buy a sound machine. Because, while I loved country music as a teen, now, I love silence. Pierce does not. He sleeps far better with the radio on. But if I hear one more sad ballad from someone who I cannot tell to stop having a pity party to, I’m gonna scream. And yet, the radio just keeps on playing.

I’m thinking waterfalls. Rainforest. Anything but a guitar.



Every so often, I get a crafty idea. And thanks to the internet and people far more crafty than me, I can usually find a tutorial for whatever I can dream up. Someone before me has already thought of it, made it, took pictures of it, and gave me the measurements needed. It’s fabulous.

Today, I had an idea. I wanted to make myself some headbands. But, as it usually goes, my four dear daughters caught wind of the whir of the sewing machine and needed something of their own. And then…


the best idea I’ve had in a while was born.

Headbands, from this tutorial, and flowers from this tutorial, and something sweet for my babies.


Cute, right?


Once in a while, rarely so, my ideas turn out cuter than I imagine. Love these.



Many thanks to Grandma for her quilting scraps. Such fun.


It’s a ‘Girls Only’ club.

Yesterday, we had a fun day with no school, friends coming over for supper, and a little bit of cleaning before a lot of free time planned. And then…

at noon, Eden lost her breakfast.

By 2pm, Liberty lost her lunch.

Around 3pm, Ruby lost hers.

At 6pm, Charlotte joined the club.

We have a gender specific bug. All four girls threw up more times than I could count, neither of the boys got sick – and I’m still holding out hope that we’re done. Every twinge of my stomach makes me fear that I’m next. Everyone ate breakfast this morning. We’ll see!


We’re quarantined.

Why is it that just when the floors are cleaned and the laundry done and the house is company ready, a child loses her breakfast (and lunch and snack) and all plans are off?

So frustrating.

Nothing like a little demo.

Trying to teach Pierce to nap in his bed instead of on me. Crying it out isn’t my method of choice, but since informing him of his responsibilities isn’t working, it’s my only option. Pierce has the crying part down pat. But yesterday, when Blaine decided he’d had enough of Pierce’s crying in the living room, he put him to bed.

He didn’t even fuss.

Pierce: 1,254

Momma: 0.

I cannot figure this boy out for the life of me. But that two hour nap he took in his bed – I accomplished something right about then. Both in my house and, hopefully, in Pierce’s habits. Hopefully.

Liberty is impatient with my efforts to teach Sterling to read. Or maybe she’s just tired of Sterling’s hourly requests to be read to. Either way, she got out the phonics charts and decided to teach him herself. Her methods are a bit interesting, but Sterling likes the attention. I have a feeling she’ll get it done. Next up: teaching him to tie his shoes. For as many little children that I have, it feels like I taught Eden these things forever ago. It’s kind of fun to have another one enter the grand world of education.

Every six months or so, I leave the much-used mop in the closet and wash my kitchen on my hands and knees. Mops can only do so much, and a good scrubbing now and then does the floor wonders. Judging from the looks of my jeans when I was finished, I shouldn’t have waited so long. But the feeling of my bare feet on the floor this morning made it very worthwhile. And then my kids ate breakfast…

We had a dresser with every drawer falling apart. It was headed for the curb this morning, but I wasn’t sure how I was going to get it there after Blaine forgot it. The girls had fun with the drawers. Jumping on them made them fall apart – really, it didn’t need much help. I decided to push the dresser off of the porch and see if I could get it to fall apart so that I could carry it.

One push had it as flat as a pancake. The whole thing just flattened. It was the most fun I’ve had with a task in a long time. If everything were so obedient and efficient, I’d get a whole lot more done in a day! Nothing like a little demo.


Phonics with a four year old.

Sterling was sounding out three letter words in the beginning of our reading venture… we haven’t made it very far.





He wasn’t getting it.

“We call boys this,” I hinted.

“Dude?” he guessed.

Oh dear.


Umm… sure.

“Ruby, can you take your bloomers off, because we’re pretend cops and cops don’t wear bloomers?”

Nod and smile. Sometimes it just doesn’t have to make sense. Nod and smile.

In other news…

We’re down to just three vehicles. For a bit there, we were looking somewhat like a used car lot. With just two drivers, we had four vehicles and a total of seating for 30 in all of our cars. Really now.

One minivan gone, we now have the pickup, Blaine’s van, and our big new van. Which I love, in case anyone was wondering. I have yet to go through a full tank of gas to check gas mileage, so I’m living in happy oblivion and loving the space. Wednesday at the zoo, when I met a friend there that drives a van bigger than mine and also has six kids… there was a fun moment. Two giant white vans parked side by side in the parking lot made me laugh.

Every morning I put Pierce in the bouncy seat for his morning nap. Every morning he fights and hollers and gets redder and redder until he finally gives up and goes to sleep. He likes the swing so much better – but the amount of batteries we were going through was slightly obscene. Pierce has a temper like none other. In Sterling’s words, “Mom, he’s really, really red.” One of these days he’ll just go with the flow. Right?

My back is back to mostly functional. Turns out, abuse something for too long and it’ll protest and finally just give up. It’s a painful proposition.

Cow? Pig? Tastes like chicken.

Liberty came to me this morning. “Mom, what is that thing in the sink?”

I had a huge pork tenderloin thawing.

“It’s pork,” I said.

“Wow, that’s a big cow!” Liberty replied.

I’m talking to myself in this whole education endeavor, it seems. Back to school.


Every so often, my back fails at it’s normal functions and I’m slightly informed of what being old will feel like.

It’s gonna be miserable. Walking bent over, feeling a cane would be helpful, and being unable, despite best attempts, to stand up straight isn’t fun.

Carrying water to the goats is enough to make me want to cry. Carrying babies is nearly impossible.

My kids think I’m nuts. So do I. Me and the bottle of ibuprofen are necessary friends, and there’s no end in sight.

Back to my hot pad.


Happy birthday, Eden Rayne.

Eden’s seven. Seven. How did that happen?
It would seem that, just yesterday, she was tiny and sassy and saying the craziest things.
Today, she’s big. And sassy and saying the craziest things. Ok, so maybe less has changed than I think. It’s just crazy to think she’s seven.
For her birthday, she chose Andes Thin Mint Pie. Ice cream, chocolate, thin mints… it’s a fabulous combo that made headlines in our house… that one’s happening again around here. Mmm.
She got crocheting materials for her gift, among other things. I’m amazed how much I remember when I started trying to teach her. Turns out, it’s like riding a bike.
She’s learning quickly. Now that we’ve covered the proper pronunciation. That was a trip.