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.

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.

Did you know?

When you order from my Amazon link, over on the right, a percentage of your purchases goes toward my blog and supports a big (little) family. If you have a purchase to make, starting there helps out and doesn’t cost you a thing.

Start here? http://www.amazon.com/?&linkCode=waa&tag=abiglittfami-20

Many, many thanks for your support!

8.20.2012

For Pete’s sake.

Last night when Pierce woke up in the night to eat, I fed him, put him back to bed, and checked the clock, wide awake and wondering if it was even worth going back to bed since it had to be nearly morning.

It was 11:20 pm. Less than an hour after heading to bed, and I couldn’t sleep.

Guess what I want to do today? Not a darn thing. But that couch is looking mighty inviting.

Orange (somewhat healthy!) Popsicles

1 tub (32 oz.) vanilla yogurt

2 cans thawed oj concentrate

1 tsp. vanilla

Mix, pour into popsicle molds, freeze. Mmm, so good.

Pizza night.

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8/10’s of the kids and cousins that were here this week. As you can see, not a one of them enjoyed the pizza. :)

8.19.2012

Back to your regularly scheduled chaos.

Vacation’s over.

Guests left, dishwasher’s running, and life is back to normal. The house is too quiet. Actually, it’s not quiet at all. But it’s all our noise and none of the joyful cousins-playing noise. Boringly normal.

So normal, in fact, that Blaine’s sick, Charlotte is still recovering, and Pierce is back to his mostly chipper self after a bout with a cold through the week. It remains to be seen if we shared the bug with our guests. Or with more siblings. Or with Momma.

There’s just never a dull moment. Quiet moments, yes. Quiet moments like when Pierce dumps the jumbo sized bag of honey nut cheerios on the kitchen floor. Oh yes.

But no one washed hair with the unlabeled contents of any cups this week, so we’re all good. Or at the very least, I didn’t hear about it.

Many, many thanks to our guests family that visited this week. We had the time of our lives. I haven’t laughed like that in ages. We couldn’t have asked for a better visit. Cousins played, laughed, and made the best of memories. Dominoes into the wee hours made for such fun after-mommying hours, and no one complained about cramped quarters even once. We even left ten children to them one night and Blaine and I went out for supper. I married into an awesome family. :)

8.15.2012

Hello… goodbye.

Interrupting this blogging silence to inform my throngs of readers that we have family visiting this week. Cousins, dominoes, and late night chats over root beer floats abound.

I’ll resurface soon. But for now… we’re having a blast.

8.11.2012

Gross on a Farm Road in Missouri.

Tonight’s bath time was out of a horror movie, Momma-style.

I had most of the kids in the tub, lined up. I walked out for a minute to check on supper (backwards, I know, bath then supper, but it’s the way tonight was going) and when I came back in, I set to work. Grabbing a cup off the edge of the tub, I stuck my finger in it to be certain it wasn’t cold and, finding it quite warm, poured it over one dear child’s head.

Minutes later, smelling pee in a bathroom I’d just scrubbed, I asked if someone had peed in the tub. Since Pierce was already out, all remaining parties were old enough to know better. Silence. And then the truth came out. Two small children, too lazy to get out of the tub, peed in a cup. Then, so kind to keep it out of the water, they set it on the side of the tub.

Have you filled in the blanks yet? Oh yes. I just wet one dear child’s hair with that cup.

The jury’s still out on whether I can raise up these hooligans up to be productive citizens.

8.09.2012

HELP!

I need a new blog name. It’s grown enough I’d like to get my own blog address, without the blogspot account… but I need a really good name before I venture into worlds unknown.

Suggestions? Discussions? Admonitions to leave well enough alone?

I want…

- a name that will work for a long time. A Big (Little) family has a limited shelf life… they won’t be little forever.

- something easy to remember. balesf5 has meaning to me, but who else knows what it stands for? And how entirely outdated it is?

- I’d considered something with falcon or birds or nests to write a blog about kids. No desire to write about birds, but our last name has leanings toward Falcons. I can’t find a straight answer if that’s really what it means, but there’s a good possibility.

- I’m so not creative like that. Anyone?

If anyone cares to chip in, I’d gladly make a child’s bracelet, a tube sling, or a pair of baby shoes for the naming winner who comes up with something that suits me. For the blog, you know. I really could keep my own name, thanks.

You’d be credited and have my undying appreciation. :)

Makes a good teether, I guess.

He was being awfully quiet.

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He found the potato and onion bin. Good choice on the potato instead of the onion, little dude.

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Mmm, breakfast.

8.08.2012

Friendly fire, ridiculousness, and midnight hairdos.

Night times are interesting around here lately. Temps are dropping in the night, Charlotte wakes up cold, climbs in bed with us, tosses, turns, kicks, kisses and giggles until I finally wake up enough to realize what’s going on. Put Charlotte back in bed. Might as well wake Sterling up, tell him to use the bathroom while I’m up. Back to bed. Lay there, trying to get back to sleep.

Pierce wakes up to eat. While he’s eating, Charlotte comes back into bed with us. She’s back to pushing and pulling and stealing my pillow and laying on my face and “fixing” my hair and beeping my nose, and it occurs to me.

This, my friends, is ridiculous.

It’s like a war zone. Friendly fire. Really cute, energetic, demanding, friendly fire, outfitted in blonde hair and blue eyes.

Ridiculous. It’s just ridiculous. One of these days, I’m going to get up and go sleep in their beds.

Just as soon as they graduate from the crib mattresses.

How’s that for taste?

Ruby asked me for more sun tea tonight. I poured it for her, and a bit later she came to find me. With a complete straight face, she informed me,

“My sun tea didn’t taste that good. It was kind of sour, because you left a wipe in it.”

Oh dear. Charlotte had put the baby wipe she used to wash up in Ruby’s cup. I poured the tea in near darkness and missed it. Yum.

Ruby drank it all anyway.

Double yum.

Startling moment.

In giving Sterling a haircut today, I cut my knuckle.

When did my hands get wrinkly enough to be able to hit them with scissors and actually catch skin?

Is this what getting older feels like?

8.07.2012

And… he’s off. Pantsless Pierce has a new skill.

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Life just got a little more interesting. Pierce went from standing at the bottom of the stairs to scaling them in seconds… and then trying to dismount just as fast. If I accomplish nothing else today, it’s still a success. I caught the baby AND I took photos for the blog.

8.04.2012

Insta-tan.

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Eden Rayne helped her daddy in the crawlspace today.

That bathwater was b-r-o-w-n.

Pretty sure the crawlspace is slightly more spacious now. She took quite a lot of dirt out with her.

Conversations with Ruby.

Ruby to Blaine:

“I say waps instead of waps".” (Wasp. A word she cannot say. Yes, she mispronounced it both times.)

Blaine – “I love  you Ruby. Do you know how much I love you?”

“No.”

Blaine – “I love you TONS.”

“Well, you should.”

Blaine - “Why should I love you?”

“Because God made me!”

8.03.2012

Amazing.

Four friends and I all met at one of our homes (not mine… a larger one was highly necessary!) for lunch yesterday.

One child was missing from the crew. Kid count: 23. The oldest was 9.

Three nine year olds.

Three seven year olds.

One six year old.

Three five year olds.

Three four year olds.

Two three year olds.

Two two year olds.

Two one year olds.

A ten month old.

An eight month old.

A three month old.

A two month old.

My ears were ringing. The noise was deafening. The mess was pretty spectacular.

Afterwards, our hostess offered to keep my kids so I could go shopping by myself.

She’s one incredibly brave lady.

Charlotte came with me. I bought myself some new clothes. It was amazing.

Not quite as amazing as 23 kids in one house for 5 hours, but amazing nonetheless.

New sanitary guidelines. Highly recommended.

Blaine came to me the other day with news I’m still not certain I wanted to hear.

“Charlotte emptied her potty chair by herself.”

Ok. Not exactly what I’d like, but fine.

“She spilled a little.”

Perfect. I’ll mop.

“She wiped it up herself.”

With what?!

“She used the hand towel.”

And then she put it back.

Hand towels are overrated. I’m a fan of the drip dry. I thought it was because it’s faster. Turns out, it’s for sanitary reasons and I didn’t even know.

8.02.2012

Projects

This was my 1am project earlier this week. I made a hooded Mei Tai for me to carry Pierce in several months ago. Since I never got a photo of mine, here’s another one I made this week. I had Eden model it for me before I give it to a friend.

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She’s obviously a little small for it, but since she’s the only one fully dressed so far this morning…

Pierce usually rides on my back. He loves it. I love that nothing hurts after hours of wear.

I love it slightly less lately, when it’s been over 100 degrees every day. But Mr. P is happy enough in it, I’ll suffer through. :)

8.01.2012

Oh for cute.

IMG_3946Our local library has rewards for it’s summer reading program. I posted this photo on the Facebook of a restaurant who participated and gave my children free cookies this afternoon. But really, it’s worth posting here too. She was really enjoying that cookie.

It rained last night. I was up ridiculously late when Charlotte came running down the stairs, first crying, then laughing. “The airplane scared me!” It was thunder. We sat outside on the porch, watching the rain. Amazing how rain seems entirely spectacular when it hasn’t rained for a month and a half.

Realization of the day: My girls can mop. My girls like to mop. As one of the chores I always do myself, when I told them to do it today (having more on my list than I could accomplish and deciding something was better than nothing) they were actually excited. The floors are cleaner than when they started, the girls are thrilled with their accomplishment, and I’m calling that an all around success!

Second realization for the day: Staying up until 1:30am sewing ruins any and all ambition for the day. 100 degree weather doesn’t help lack of ambition. At all.