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.


Maybe Oil and Water can mix, after all.

In a rare moment of sharing without finding a way to be upset with one another, Oil and Water were reading a look and find “Where’s Waldo” type book together the other day. I had to take a photo, just to remind myself that it can happen. They play together on a regular basis. They just usually find a way to fight about it too.



TOS Review: Mango Languages

For the past six weeks or so, three of my older children and I have been using Mango Languages and their Homeschool Curriculum for teaching languages as part of the Old Schoolhouse Review Crew. For ages 6 to adult, I chose to do this review with Sterling, 6, Eden, 9, and Liberty, 10. Mango offers over fifty languages, so I chose French since my husband has a bachelor’s in French, has spent time in France, and his knowledge gave me courage to tackle a daunting subject. I’d thought we’d avoid it for a few more years, until high school, but when I researched Mango before the review, I couldn’t help but get excited.

Mango lived up to everything I’d hoped for.

The setup for Mango was a bit complicated, but once I figured it out, we were off. We do school four days a week, so we added this to our daily schedule and did it four days a week as well. The very first lesson, the kids met Blaine at the door after work with “Good Evening, Daddy” in French. When he responded in French… oh, the excitement. And we were off.

I found the lessons myself hard to absorb. Nothing to do with Mango and their teaching attempts, I’m having a hard time getting myself back into learning mode. My pregnant brain, plagued first by bronchitis, then the flu, and now a looming due date, does not want to absorb anything. It’s pathetic. The kids can talk me into a corner. Liberty and Eden have absorbed it pretty well, and while I do not expect them to be fabulous at French in the coming year, I am thoroughly enjoying listening to them learn and talk to each other and their Daddy with enthusiasm.

Sterling… that was a whole ‘nother story. He’s learned plenty, don’t get me wrong. He really wants to learn French. He gladly does his lessons each day. But. Getting him to talk to the computer was a little like pulling teeth, and once we got that far, I thought he was doing fabulously. One day, listening to him rattle off French from the next room, I thought he was making fabulous progress. Then I got closer and heard what he was really saying. With great French finesse, he was rattling off, “Blah blah, blah blah, blah blah blah blah?” He even had the uptick question cadence.

Really?! Oh, dear boy. Once I got over my desire to laugh, I corrected him at his less than stellar attempt to copy the French speaker on the computer, and we’ve moved on. He’ll learn plenty this year, to be sure, but I don’t anticipate it will be as much as he could if he were a bit older. I wouldn’t say he’s too young, but he’s easily frustrated when he can’t remember phrases properly and, unfortunately, gives up his attempt to be accurate instead of trying harder.

When Sterling spelled “pass” on his spelling test “pas” instead, he blamed the French lessons. He claimed got confused at the spelling, since “pas” is a French word (Meaning nothing close to the English word ‘pass’ and pronounced very differently.) That time… I did laugh. Poor boy, trying to learn these crazy things Momma throws at him and actually expects him to stretch his math-brain further than numbers and multiplication.

While we’ve been thrilled with Mango and all that it offers, I found out recently that even more is coming. I haven’t had to try those things yet, but to sum it up, here’s a list of what’s there and what’s coming:

What is currently available on the site:
Over 60 different languages
Progress Assessments

Built-in journals, discussions and wikis
Collaborative learning spaces
eNote messaging
/chat rooms

Access to embedded/downloadable content

Support from other community members

Calendars to schedule meetings or study groups

Over the next several months, they’ll be introducing other exciting features like:
Enhanced Tracking and Progress Monitoring - including seat time (for students and parents)
Goals and Personal Lesson Plans (both stand-alone and tied into Mango courses)

Resume and Portfolio Builder

Mango Languages offers the following introductory pricing:

  • 1 subscription - $18/month or $125/year
  • 2 subscriptions - $28/month or $175/year                   
  • 3 subscriptions - $38/month or $225/year                
  • 4 subscriptions - $48/month or $275/year                 
  • 5 subscriptions - $58/month or $325/year
  • Anything over 6 subscriptions is a special group rate that will depend on the number in the group.


To read more reviews from the Old Schoolhouse Review Crew, check out the Review Crew Blog.


Oh, Baby.



Elliot has regained the weight she lost in her first week, reached her birth weight once more, giggled in her sleep, learned to really, really like being held, and outgrown the few newborn size clothes I own. She’s finished her first pack of diapers and made me exceptionally glad I have a stash of cloth diapers to go to next, and she nurses like a champ. You don’t keep these rolls without a bit of effort, after all.

I love her.

My mom is here for a while, I haven’t touched the dishes since she got here, but yesterday Ellie and I oversaw the washing of Grandma’s car and my van while the kids worked played at cleaning it. She’s an excellent supervisor, to be sure.

I’m drinking in the newborn baby, loving these moments. Far too soon she’ll be rolling and crawling and walking and running. I look forward to finding out who Elliot is – so far, she’s pretty amazing.


Elliot: 1 week

Elliot BW 2

Blaine took some newborn photos of Ellie. She already fights the newborn curl… she was adamant her legs be straight. Apparently she’s enjoying this newfound freedom.


5 days out: goodbye, routine. Hello, padded room.

IMG_5056Life is just a little bit crazy right now. Blaine went back to work today, and Ellie met the pediatrician and got checked out. She’s doing fabulously, had gotten down to 9 lbs. 1 oz. but was at 9 lbs. 2 oz. today so we’re climbing again. Her heart sounds perfect, she’s not jaundiced, and we couldn’t ask for anything more.

But. How do you take seven children into a doctor’s clinic smoothly? How do you take less than twelve minutes to get everyone into the van and buckled? To carry an infant car seat or to put baby in sling? Stroller – double to contain Pierce too, or single and have Pierce walk? All these questions, along with about a hundred more, have yet to be answered. Hello, overwhelmed. I managed to lose Pierce for about 30 seconds in a small store, (he was by the toys mere feet away, but that didn’t stop the moment of panic) forget to pack a few things we really wished we had taken, forget to change the baby’s diaper before the situation became desperate, and we didn’t make it to three of the stores I’d hoped to make it to. It was a lesson in what not to do, pretty much.


When the doctor looked at my kids and said he really wanted to know how I do what I do, how I have such well behaved children, I couldn’t help but think… “Show them what overwhelmed looks like it. Show them what craziness really is. They’ll all be so terrified Momma’s about to lose the last thread of sanity she owns, they’ll fall into line and act like perfect little ducklings. Who knows… she might forget to feed them next. Yep, better keep your act together, or she’ll lose everything entirely. Our lunch is depending on it.”

IMG_5047I’ve had seven babies. Six times before, I’ve sponge bathed my babies, cared for their umbilical cord stump, waited for it to fall off. This time? I totally forgot. I decided Ellie needed a bath, took her into the shower with me, and was mid-suds when I realized I was not supposed to get her cord wet. Seriously?! Where is my brain? To top it all off, approximately 36 hours later, a friend was over, after spending the last 36 hours cleaning her cord with alcohol trying to ease my regret in having bathed a baby when they tell you not to. I was chatting with my friend when I looked down to the shoulder that Elliot had been resting on moments earlier. There stuck her cord, sitting on my shirt like something entirely revolting. Oh. My. Word.

The best part was when I was relaying the whole story to the pediatrician, waiting for him to scold me and tell me what horrible things I’d done to the well-being of Elliot’s perfectly shaped belly button (that no one will ever see in her teen and adult years, to be certain) and at the end of the story, the pediatrician laughed. He told me to leave it alone, put the rubbing alcohol away, and step away from my mommy guilt… and take a nap. Because apparently I need one.

Sterling drew me an owl picture. When I giggled at his rendition, he asked what was wrong. I pointed to the mouth of the owl, lips and all. I think Sterling was a bit offended at my reaction – until he realized he drawn lips on an owl. Oh, we laughed.

Ruby’s new line: “I was accidentally out of my mind.” She first said, "Is it 'My brain is out of my mind' or 'My mind is out of my brain?'" Somewhere along the line, it’s evolved. I can’t bring myself to correct her. She makes me smile.

Comedic entertainment. It’s all that’s keeping me going right now.


Elliot Adelaide

Elliot Adelaide FalkenaElliot Adelaide made a grand and scary entrance into the world yesterday evening. Her birth story is here, should you care to read it.

She and I are recovering well, and the rest of the kids are in love. After minor disappointment that Ellie was not the gender he so strongly desired, even Sterling has to admit he’s happy to have another sister. Something about holding a newborn that snuggles right into you, I’m thinking. Pierce is determined to share all of his things with Ellie – so far, he’s tried to feed her an almond, an orange, and brought me the gallon of milk when I told him she just likes milk, informed me baby needed my “boo” because she was hungry (I’m hopeful that means attempts to feed her other foods are no longer threatened.) and shared his favorite blankets and his pillow with her within moments of meeting her. I’m thinking jealousy isn’t an issue. He’s her protector. Except when he tried to put the baby chew toy in her mouth… but he was trying to be helpful, I’m sure.


Quick update.

At my last midwife appointment, my midwife said she thought I’d be having a baby within a week. Exciting… nervous. I’ve been through labor just enough times to know that there’s no expectation of anything concrete. Contractions, yes, a baby, yes, but time frame? Unknown. Scenario? No idea. I’ve had a baby after 32 hours of labor, I’ve had a baby after half an hour of labor. I’ve had one breech baby via c-section, one who I had all sorts of interventions with, one who was born at home unassisted, without any interventions whatsoever. I’ve had one who followed the textbook scenario, one who did anything but. But… fear and trepidation aside, I can’t wait to meet this baby. I look forward to being on the other side of this, and the knowledge that it has to end. Soon, even.

I washed up a handful of boy and girl outfits from storage and put them in a basket for the baby. They’ve been unfolded, folded, rearranged, and compared to each child’s photo album to see who wore what in recent days. Excitement is building. Pierce has donated many of his pairs of socks, no matter the size. If this is a girl… she’ll be wearing too big boy socks, compliments of Pierce. Time will tell, but I don’t see him being jealous. I hope I can still say that in a month!

TOS Crew Review: KinderBach

My first review for the new year! I was a part of the Old Schoolhouse Magazine’s Review Crew for 2013, and am again for 2014. I have several reviews in the works, and my first for the year is for KinderBach. Three of my children, Sterling, age 6, Ruby, age 5, and Charlotte, age 3, have been doing KinderBach for over a month now and LOVE the KinderBach Online Piano Lesson Approach with Teacher Corner approach to piano and beginning to learn more about the keyboard. KinderBach offers 6 levels, each to be worked through four days a week for 10 weeks for a total of 60 weeks of instruction.

Written for ages 3-7, KinderBach had all three of my children in this age range, and my two year old as well, enthralled. The videos are short and colorful, and Dodi the Donkey, teacher Miss Karri, and Frisco quickly became a household phrases, and Kinderbach had them learning a few simple songs just in the first month while we did this review. The kids begged to “do piano” each day and loved all the printables. The printable to do with each lesson are showed during the lesson, so my older children were quite clear on what page they were supposed to be doing each day.

I lined up all of my children to watch the videos each day during our school days. The crowd around the computer became a pushing session, making me think as we continue with our KinderBach membership that one at a time would be a far easier proposition. There’s only so much learning that can go on while you’re getting elbowed in the ribs. Even so, piano quickly became the most-loved subject in Sterling and Ruby’s world. (It was equally loved in Charlotte’s world – it was also her only subject.) KinderBach brags the value of learning piano and it’s long term benefits – and who’s to argue? Learning rhythm, reading notes, and more is a lifelong skill. To begin it so simply, at home, without expensive lessons, on something as simple as a small keyboard, makes this a gentle beginning easy for child and Momma.

For access to all of the KinderBach lessons and levels, the PDF downloadable worksheets, MP3’s and more, the KinderBach website has more information here. Priced at $95.88 a year, which works out to $7.99 a month, it provides a great beginning to piano for homeschoolers and other alike, with lessons that my kids absolutely loved. Their only complaint: the lessons were over sooner than they wanted them to be, so they soon figured out how to watch more lessons and ended up doing more lessons on the computer than they were supposed to. Since the beauty of homeschooling is working at your own pace, I let it go. Those videos were oft-watched and re-watched, while much giggling went on at some of the antics of the teacher and characters on the videos. I did end up slowing them down a bit so they could practice what they’d learned.

A free online trial is available here. Many sample lessons are also available there so that you may better see what the program entails. KinderBach also offers a iPad and iPhone app – I do not have an appropriate device to try out the app, but others on the review crew were able to try that out as well. The Review Crew Blog will give you a chance to read those reviews as well. To read what others on the 2014 Review Crew thought about KinderBach, head over to the Review Crew Blog.


I’m having flashbacks…

Pierce was having fun with my and Blaine’s boots the other day.


It reminded me of photos of yesteryear, with a similarly aged Eden…


Funny how things change, and yet, stay the same. Looking for these photos of Eden was a ton of fun… with six kids crowded around to see photos of the former them. Just fun.


Muddy times

Guest post by Alexandra…

Our part of the world has been pretty dry this winter. Not much rain and not much snow, until last week. It rained for a day and a half and then snowed for an entire night. For what is called the high desert, 1 1/2 inches of rain and another 2 inches of snow on top of the mud is a big deal. We are in the middle of a 2 year long drought right now and so the moisture is greatly appreciated, –except first thing in the morning when it is feeding time.

Feeding the cows has become more of a chore than normal, and what normally takes 2 hours to do now takes 5. It’s not freezing at night and so we can’t feed with the pickup right now because even with chains all the way around the pickup can’t pull the feed wagon through the mud. Every morning we start a tractor, load the trailer and then hook the trailer to the tractor and haul the hay to the cows that way to pitch it off the them.

Yesterday, we buried the trailer to the frame in the mud.

So we unhooked the trailer, unloaded the hay off the wagon with the tractor, hooked the trailer back up, pulled the now empty trailer out of the mud, unhooked the tractor, loaded the hay back onto the trailer, hooked the tractor back up to the wagon, and started feeding from there. Any questions? Smile


The 2 older boys don’t drive the tractor when the ground is so soft and feeding is more challenging, so Gus helped pitch hay instead. Tell thought he should be allowed to help when we stopped moving.

20140210_10273620140210_102801 (1)20140210_10421920140210_104537

In a little more light hearted news, Tell loves the dogs and feeds them from his high chair whenever they are available to be fed. Today he reached a new level when he climbed onto the table and got the french toast that was waiting for Matthew’s breakfast and went in search of a dog to feed it to.




My dear husband surprised me last week with a potato/onion/garlic bin for my kitchen, freeing what I had been using for fruit, something that completely thrilled me. I now have ALL my big metal bowls clean, off the counter, and available for other uses. In a completely uncharacteristic never-happened-in-our-12-years-together move, he made me something completely out of the blue. He took an oak pallet, sanded it down, and made this for me:


With a love for the antique look that dominates my kitchen, (and a LOT of cookbooks, that also dominate a good portion of my kitchen…)


I LOVE this. So, so cool. (I also love RADA knives. If you couldn’t tell.)


I just had to brag a little. Thanks, Blaine.


Liberty was struggling yesterday with trying to figure out which way to twist the salt grinder to be counter clockwise. She was feeling foolish, and this story came to mind. It made her feel better instantly.

Blaine and I had been dating a short time. I was 18, he was 24. I was already feeling rather out of my league, mostly as far as age and life experiences go. I’d been living “on my own” as a live-in nanny on Long Island for just a few months, and Blaine had spent a year in France, traveled to England with friends, graduated with his bachelor’s degree, and was working full time and renting his grandmother’s house. (She’d moved into a retirement home.)

I drove to spend one Sunday with him in New Jersey, and we were on the way home from the evening service at church. Since I was driving my boss’ car, Blaine wasn’t allowed to drive it. That left me, completely turned around in a different state, taking directions from Blaine in the passenger seat.

I’d always had a problem with right and left. I found myself turning north to face the direction my class had been facing way back in first grade in public school, when my teacher taught right and left. Problem: driving doesn’t allow you this privilege. Problem: I didn’t even know which way was north on the curvy hilly roads of northern New Jersey.

Blaine gave instruction for my to make a right up ahead. I turned left.

Left turned out to be down some perfect stranger’s really, really, steep driveway, full of cars, with no place to turn around.

Here’s where I should insert a major issue: my boss’ car, that I was driving, was old. Really old. Beat up. Really beat up. Ornery. Specifically, it didn’t like to go into reverse. It was a try, try, try again method to get it to drop into reverse. I avoided the issue by parking in pull through spots.

So there I was, in some stranger’s yard, trying to get the car to drop into reverse so I could back out onto a pretty busy road and head back up the hill the other way.

Somewhere in all of this, mortification set in. My dear now-husband was laughing at my predicament, and I just wanted to shrivel up and die of embarrassment.

Eventually, the car cooperated, I got out of the driveway, didn’t kill us backing out into the busy road, and headed up the other way. I’ve yet to live that one down, though.

Somewhere along the way, in the nearly 12 years since, right and left has sunk in properly and I can give and take directions without messing them up. And now my dear daughters are a bit less mortified about struggling with clockwise and counter clockwise directions.

So glad I could be of service.


35 weeks.

IMG_5030 (2)

So you all may be slightly disturbed at just how large one baby belly can be at 35 weeks, a photo.

I have outgrown nearly all my clothes, I’m not quite to my due date, and the email I got this morning telling me of my stage in pregnancy stated that baby “just puts on weight for the next month”. Yippee. My midwife tells me this baby will more than likely tip the scales as my biggest baby. Sterling, Ruby, and Pierce were 9 lbs.-9 lbs. 2 oz., so I’m a bit intimidated by that thought.

Putting socks on at this point is my daily feat. Shoes that tie are out of the question.


My work is not done.

Pierce still wears a diaper to bed. All of his sisters except Charlotte regularly pitch in and put his (cloth) diaper on. Tonight, Sterling offered to help Pierce get ready for bed. Sterling headed to the place that I keep pull-ups reserved specifically for co-op. He grabbed one. I reminded Sterling that those are NOT what Pierce wears to bed. He asked me what Pierce wears, then. I stared at him.

Really? Same routine for all of Pierce's life, at the very least, the same thing we've done for the eight months since Pierce stopped wearing diapers during the day. I pointed him to the diaper shelf... in another room entirely.

He came back with a newborn diaper. Uh... no. Try again. He came back with just a diaper cover. Still, no. Charlotte headed to tell him which diapers Pierce wears to bed. Let's be fair here, though: 80% of the diapers on the shelf are the ones he wears. Sterling was totally set up for success. And yet. His three year old sister had to show him.

When I told Sterling he really ought to pay more attention, he told me it wasn't his fault. "The girls play with dolls and stuff. They know how to do this because of that." Yeah, sure.

I have a lot more work to do before his future wife thanks me for teaching him how to be helpful with the baby. He's been sharing under the radar, it would seem.

After he put the correct diaper on Pierce, with an extra liner for whatever reason, he headed to brush his teeth... and I tightened the snaps on the diaper that failed to cover Pierce's hiney and was headed for his knees instead.

Nope, my work is not done.



How… disappointing.

I stayed home from church yesterday. Self diagnosis: bronchitis. I can’t remember the last time I was in my own house, entirely alone. Probably about 10.5 years ago. There’s usually a baby that stays home with me or a small toddler who isn’t capable of sitting in the pew with children and no parent. We don’t use a nursery, Blaine has duties during the service often, so me not being there means a likely noisy child. But… Pierce went and sat like a pro I’m told when Blaine had to leave. Amazing.

Anyhow. There I am, in a silent house, wondering what on earth I ought to do for what promised to be at least four hours of silence. I took a shower, briefly considered cleaning but quickly nixed that idea, read a chapter in a book, and decided on a nap.

I woke up four hours later when the front door flew open and my children piled back into the house.

Once I was over the adrenalin rush of being woke up like that, I couldn’t help but be disappointed. Alone for what turned into nearly five hours, and I slept through it. How… disappointing.

I do think I’m on the uphill climb though, thankfully. I don’t typically get completely incapacitated by illness, but this one has knocked me down. I love my new recliner, but I’ll be glad if I don’t ever have to sleep in it to keep upright enough to be able to breathe ever again. I’m so glad, if I had to get this, that it’s now, and not with a newborn in the house.

A newborn. Eek. It hit me last night. We’re about to have another baby. This pregnancy will end. Soon. 5.5 weeks to due date. Back to nursing, diapers, a child who cannot walk, and waking up in the night. Life’s about to get more interesting, my friends. I’m excited… and a wee bit curious how this will look. Chaos upon chaos.


Cleanly confused.

I've been making my own soap for nearly two years now. I was cleaning out the bathroom cupboard a few days ago and found half a dozen bars of Irish Spring from before my soap making days. Charlie was in the tub when I stuck a bar of it into the tub to use it up.

"Is that ice?"
"No, it's soap."
"When did you make green soap?"
"I didn't make it. I bought it, a long time ago."
"You can BUY soap?! WHERE?!"
"Wal-Mart. Lots of stores sell soap."

She was amazed. What a strange life we lead. She doesn't remember anything other than homemade soap. What other misconceptions am I unknowingly teaching my children?!

Pierce was in the shower with me the other day, and I was sitting in the water spray, rinsing his hair when he apparently decided the water was too hot. He marched over to the faucet and flipped it to cold. Ice cold. There I am, big pregnant body trying to scramble up while taking a now cold shower. If I could have seen it instead of experienced it... It would have been hysterical. I share this story so you all may laugh instead. I'm still trying to recover.

And... back to my misery. I can't remember the last cold I had that kicked my behind quite this bad.



I got a recliner. After many pregnancies wishing for one, and many newborns without a rocking chair, I’m thrilled with my craigslist find – it matches the couch. Problem:


The kids really like my new recliner too. (Sorry about the photo. It was impossible to get a good shot. The coat hooks are on the wall directly behind the chair. Ugh. Six kids times two coats each plus fleeces and purses for four girls equals one mass of outer wear and going-out accessories. Summer can come, anytime.)

Today is pajama day at co-op. Ruby is sporting her feeted zipper pj’s and slippers. She thinks it’s fabulous. Sterling is equally decked out in flannel pj pants and shirt and fuzzy slippers. As a “when you’re awake, you’re dressed” household, they are tickled pink at the thought of leaving the house in their pj’s. Eden’s participating as well. Liberty… she’s wearing jeans. I get that. Me? I’m staying home to deplete the Kleenex box at a ridiculously rapid rate. It might just be pajama day here too.


Shifted purposes.

I am not enough.

There’s not enough of me to go around. I’m tired and sore and wishing the next weeks away, longing for the day I’ll feel normal again. For the day I feel normal again.

I can’t ever take the kids to the park enough times to suit me. The zoo pass sits lonely and unused far more often than I’d like. I haven’t played with my kids outside since the first time it snowed. That was at least a month ago. But lately, it’s not just “not enough”. It’s “not at all”.

The subject of “mommy guilt” has always confused me. Guilt about what? Lately, it’s all come crashing in on me. Guilt about everything. There’s something about pregnancy hormones that will do that to you.

And yet, as I lay in my bed last night, unable to sleep, I couldn’t help but wonder at the thought process. My children aren’t complaining. They rub my belly and look forward to the day they can hold their newest sibling. They take joy in serving me… most of the time… even if, in Pierce’s mind, it’s bringing me a Coke four times a day. (Since I bought the Coke to marinate deer meat, it’s an interesting gesture. Basically, it has him moving Coke from the box in the basement to the fridge in the kitchen because I don’t have the heart to tell him I don’t want it. So I procrastinate and send him to put it in the fridge for me. We’re getting a huge stash up here, only to be taken back down… he must think that box will never, ever empty itself.) Liberty offers to make supper every single night. Eden loves to look through cookbooks to find me recipes to make with the ingredients we have. Sterling is the expert “stand on a stool and stir this” supper helper and Ruby loves to get things out of the garage for me. She usually comes back giggling with a tale of “I had to climb into the chest freezer to find the broccoli.” Such hardships, I’m sure.

I wonder. Is pregnancy a way to make me slow down? Is this an opportunity to teach my children service, empathy, and the value of offering to help instead of spend their time doing less fruitful activities? In my guilt over what I’m not doing with them these days, have I missed the bigger picture?

Our home is still functioning. The floors are swept… most often by an eight year old these days. Laundry is as caught up as it ever is. (You decide what that means!) My older two have learned how to sort, start laundry, switch loads, fold, and put away. The younger four are fabulous at taking laundry to the laundry room. School has happened every day, just like we always do. Grocery shopping is enough to make me need a nap – but my children pitch in and put groceries away and while I have yet to find the onion soup mix we bought last week… that’s minor. I’ve had more chances than normal to sit and read books to the kids, to snuggle up next to my little ones, to convince Pierce to take a nap – with me.

Maybe, just maybe, I need to look at this as a season to live differently, a chance to teach my kids things they’ve not learned yet about service, compassion, and empathy. Maybe, instead of seeing this as what they aren’t getting, I can see it as a chance to get something entirely different.

It’s hard. I’m thankful it’s not anticipated to be long term. But instead of looking at it for what it isn’t, I’m going to look at it for what it is. Guilt free.

To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under the sun… (Ecc. 3:1)


Another woman.

I took Blaine's van to Bible study the other night. It gets better has mileage than my big van, so whenever I head out alone, I take that instead. Shortly after getting in, I smelled perfume. Strange.

I didn't think about it too much at first, but I kept smelling it. Littered with jumper cables, car seats, random photography paraphernalia, cereal bar wrappers, and the like, smelling foreign perfume is odd. The thought of my husband going out to lunch and given a co-worker a ride crossed my mind, but he always packs a lunch. I kept smelling it, all the while wondering why it was bothering me so much. I've never had a moment's worry regarding the man I married. He drives a fifteen year old small minivan we outgrew two kids ago that leaks oil like it thinks it's doing the lawn a favor, dripping fast enough to leave a puddle everywhere it sits.

This man of mine goes to work faithfully, teaches our children as he works, slowing him down but certainly worthwhile. Father of nearly seven. Faithful. So why on earth is the perfume smell sending my mind in all sorts of circles?

I decided I was being absolutely ridiculous.

I proved myself correct when I took my hair down when I got home, late in the evening in a sleeping house. The scent of my new conditioner hit my nostrils and I nearly choked on my stupidity. Somebody, please. Save me from myself. I. Need. More. Sleep.



Shopping battles, missing ribs, and toy invasions.

Life has become mere endurance. At 32 weeks pregnant, I’m miserable beyond words. I. Hurt. Everywhere. But, baby kicks and rolls and from all appearances is doing fabulously. I was warned by my midwife to expect this one to be bigger than all my others, since he/she is already larger than most. My heaviest was 9 lbs. 2 oz. so I’m rather expecting to birth a three month old at this point. The constant question is whether I’m positive I’m not carrying twins, how sure I am of my due date, and if I’m done. Oh, and one particularly fun comment about being like one of those prize pumpkins that never stops growing. I hold onto the knowledge that I won’t be pregnant forever.

I bought new fabric for pillows. We might, by the end of tomorrow (because I need another pillow form, so that’s been added to today’s grocery list) have matching pillows on our not completely mismatched couches for the first time in history. I’m rather excited about this. No, it’s not nesting. I purchased the fabric the day after Christmas. Christmas sewing and dread for getting on the floor to cut out fabric had me putting off the sewing until now. But if my living room could be more intentional, that would be fun. Of course, the Lincoln Logs, the train set, the car basket, the Legos… it’s a toss up on whether I can win this battle.

Pierce got a handful of Tonka toys for his birthday last year. Sterling has had a dump truck since he was about two, so when I found a bunch of them on Craigslist, Pierce got them for his birthday. He loves them. They had, however, been used in the sandbox and lived outside or in the shed. Sterling begged to bring them in for Pierce when it got cold, willingly put them in the tub and scrubbed them until no sandbox remnant remained, and made his brother one very happy boy. My living room/school room now looks like this on a continual basis:


I’ve decided Sterling is just trying to balance out the boy toy/girl toy ratio. Or kill me, tripping on large wheeled toys in the night. Take your pick.


I told the kids to get ready for the day. The day consists of school and grocery shopping. Sterling feels like he’s headed into battle, apparently. This is what he came up with.

Last night I made barbecued pork ribs and baked potatoes and our own canned green beans for supper. I got all the kids’ plates dished up, and Ruby went to the garage fridge for more milk. She plopped the brand new gallon of milk down… on the edge of Sterling’s plate. Just like that, potato, beans, and pork rib went flying, catapulted toward nearby Pierce and the floor. Some of it landed on the table, some landed on the floor, but that rib simply disappeared. Brady (the dog) was not so very far away, and the fear that she’d snatched the meat was voiced. Even if she had, a pig rib vs. an eight pound dog seemed like an unlikely match. Surely something would be left. She can’t eat a bone that big that fast. And so the search continued. Everyone’s plates were checked for the extra portion, but no one found it.

It struck me as awfully funny. Eight people, searching floor, plates, counters, and curtains for one catapulted rib.

Finally, I spotted a bit of the sauce on the back of Pierce’s chair, and his chair became the focal point of the search. The rib was behind Pierce, on his chair. Supper was saved, Brady was innocent, and the idea of catapults was discussed.

Pretty sure I’m not going to forget the food flying through the air, plate and all, anytime soon though. Supper around here is never dull… but that was a new one, even for around here.