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.


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.


Christmas prep starts…

What started the day as a pair of ladies socks…


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!


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.

IMG_4718 (489x640)


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:


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


Saturday Night

Preparations for Sunday are underway...

Grandpa and Grandma's

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


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.


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.




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."




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.