Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Siblings and Babies


A common question when bringing a new baby into the home is, “Are any of the other children jealous?”

Thankfully, I have always been able to say no!  We have brought six babies home since our first, and we have never had any negative reactions. 

When we brought Tank home a couple months ago, Twinkle (22 months old) was a little unsure of him.  She kissed and ‘held’ him, but we could see in her face that she didn’t quite know what to think of the little guy.  However, after just a few days, Twinkle was all smiles for Tank and loved to help Mom take care of him. 

That is the worst reaction we’ve ever had!  I feel bad to hear parents talk about the aggression and jealousy their older children exhibit.  I certainly can’t presume to know exactly why some kids act out while others don’t since all children react differently to different things.

Let’s just be honest.  For us, having babies is a ‘normal’ event!  I believe there’s a balance between fostering excitement over the upcoming arrival and living your normal life, acting as though a new baby is a natural part of your family’s life.

I’ve never banned my children from being near the new baby.  I try to use “yes” statements ('”be gentle,” “use a soft voice,” “touch his arms and legs”) rather than “no” statements (“don’t grab,” “stop yelling by his ear",” “don’t poke him in the eye”).  Of course, all of the above have happened many times- the words and actions!

As the baby grows and gains more muscle control (mainly of his head!), I try to allow the older siblings to carry him around as much as possible.  Obviously, you must use some discretion here and err on the side of caution!  My three-year-olds are not allowed to hold Tank without some help, but my five-year-old is perfectly capable of picking him up safely and loving on him for a few minutes!  I believe this helps to foster a bond that would be difficult to attain if they were never allowed to touch him!

While our routines may be thrown off for a while, and everyone needs to pitch in to keep things running, we also try to remember that the world does not revolve around the new baby.  Life still goes on for all of us.  My older children are still just as important as they ever were.  They get just as many hugs and kisses (and probably more!).  We try to talk with them as much as usual!

Most importantly, though, is that I hope we’ve encouraged the belief that every new baby is a gift to our entire family.  He is special, and it’s our special opportunity to care for him.  I try to never ‘blame the baby’ for aches and pains during pregnancy or for my lack of sleep during those early months.  A baby is only ever a good thing!

I see the love my children have for their new brother in different ways. 

Twinkle gets upset if anyone else gets Tank’s diapers because she has claimed that as her job!

Minion 1 and Minion 2 want to kiss him constantly, and they laugh at nearly everything he does.  In fact, they think his cry is hilarious!  Okay, that may actually be a little disturbing!

Sweetheart Girl is a little mother in every way and delights in being allowed to do anything with or for Tank.

I love to hear McAwesome talk to him in a sweet ‘babytalk.’  He has always been so patient with all of our babies.

Finally, a conversation with Hero this morning is what prompted me to write this in the first place.

We caught a little clip of 19 Kids and Counting this morning.  Hero asked, "Are they godly?"  I told him yes, they are devoted Christians.  Then he said, "Oh, no wonder God has blessed them so much with so many kids!"
I'm glad he gets it :)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

A Conversation with Awesome McAwesome

Awesome McAwesome has a bad habit- he bites his nails.  In fact, I can’t remember the last time I had to clip his nails!  The problem is that I don’t ever see him do it.  Here is how our conversation went last week:

Me: McAwesome, when do you bite your nails because I never see you do it?

McAwesome: Umm, usually on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays.

Me: No, I mean when during the day, silly?

McAwesome: Oh!  Well, usually about 16 times in the morning, 10 times in the afternoon, and 30 times at night.

There’s a little insight into how my boy’s mind works…slightly scary, huh?!  He’s so funny, and  we really never know what he’s going to say next!

So about a week and a half ago, I posted a little calendar on the fridge, on which he gets to mark each day that he doesn’t bite his nails.  It’s really based on the honor system- but if his nails don’t grow, I’ll know he’s been lying!  If he makes seven days, he earns a little prize.

He’s already made his first seven days (and his nails are a little longer!).  He’s working on his next seven days now- and he says his nails are sooooo long, it’s getting really hard not to bite them!  In reality, his nails aren’t quite long enough to warrant clipping them yet!

I hear conflicting reports on whether it takes 21 days or 28 days to make or break a habit, so I’m just going to shoot for a whole month!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Happy Two Weeks!

Tank is two weeks old today!  Already!  It’s funny how in one way it seems like he joined us only a couple of days ago, but in another way it’s already beginning to feel like he’s always been a part of us.

Overall, we’re both doing well.  We had jaundice issues once again (it’s a blood-type thing), but that’s under control.  Thankfully, we were able to treat him at home with a portable bililight blanket rather than have to go into the hospital like we did with Twinkle.  He’s slow to gain weight like he should, and I’m doing everything I can to build up my milk supply so that we can successfully breastfeed…we’ll see…

The other kids love him!  Hero, McAwesome, and Sweetheart Girl kind of know the ‘new baby drill’ by now, and they are very patient with not having me be able to do everything the same way as before.  They always want to hold him, and McAwesome has been known to say, “He’s eating again?!”

Minion 1 and Minion 2 don’t care to hold him so much.  They prefer to give him a kiss (as I remind them again not to push on Tank’s head!), and see if he’s awake or asleep.  I’m not sure what the fascination is with that, but apparently it’s their job to tell me if his eyes are open or not- even when I’m holding him, and I can see very well on my own!

Twinkle tells me when he’s eating (thanks, Twinkle), and brings Tank his blankets.  I guess since she is somewhat attached to her blanket, she wants to make sure Tank has his!  It’s very cute!

Everyday I feel better, and if we can get Tank’s feedings under control, I feel like we’ll soon be on our way to our new routine.

To tell the truth, the first couple of months are not my favorite part of child-rearing, but these newborn days fly by so quickly that I’m trying to savor every bit of it.  There’s just something about having a newborn in the house that brings out the best in all of us.  Not that we’re all smiles all the time, but the reminder that God has blessed us once again is hard to ignore!  And babies just smell sooo good!

Thursday, October 13, 2011


Tank made his entrance at 10:49 p.m. on Saturday, October 8, 2011!!  He weighed in at a whopping 8 lbs. 6 oz. and is 19 1/2 inches long!
My labor was (blessedly) very short.  I woke up Saturday morning with my usual, occasional contractions that had no rhyme nor reason to them.  The only thing different was that I had them first thing in the morning, whereas they usually came on midday or early evening.  Because I did notice that difference, I did pay attention to them, but sure enough, as the day progressed, they disappeared!
With church the next morning, I decided to head upstairs early, so a little after 8:30 I went into the kitchen to make myself a sandwich before going up.  As I opened the fridge door, my water broke!!  Contractions started within 20 minutes, we had a 45 minute drive to the hospital, and about 40 minutes later Tank came into this world!
Welcome Little One!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

What’s Going On Here…

Well, we’re just in the waiting period for this baby now!  A couple weeks ago, I was having tons of contractions, and several times I thought they were the real thing (obviously, they weren’t!).  We were excited and felt like the birth was imminent!  But here we are, two weeks later, with no baby in our arms yet!

My due date is still not until next Monday, so it’s not like I feel like I’m overdue or that we should have had the baby by now.  It’s just that all signs were pointing towards a soon delivery!  Last week, all those signs pretty much went away!  I had only occasional contractions, and they were never worth paying attention to!

I am working with the midwives at Tucson’s Birth Center, and since I am a VBAC, I am on a bit of a time crunch.  I would be even if I were at an OB.  I only have so much time before I risk out and become a repeat c-section.  I suppose I could refuse and just wait for this baby to be born at home, but I’m not too keen on that idea!  I did find out that although the midwives can/will not induce with Pitocin, they can break my water and see if that works.  So if the time comes, I will definitely choose that over a c-section!  Of course, if we (mom and/or baby) get to a point where a c-section seems to be the best option, that’s what we’ll do.  I have done it before, and while I hated it, it wasn’t the end of the world!

Okay, enough about that.  Other news:

School is going well!  I think we’re on track in all subjects and ahead in a few.  So any time we take off shouldn’t throw us off too much!

Hero turned 9 years old a few weeks ago.  He has informed me that he feels different now that he’s 9, and he’s already excited to hit double digits next year!

Awesome McAwesome has turned into my little go-getter!  Nearly every day, he asks if he can start his schoolwork before I’m ready, and he often turns down his break time so that he can be finished early and have the rest of his day!  As an admitted procrastinator, I find this trait very admirable! 

Sweetheart Girl can never have enough to do.  Her schoolwork just isn’t enough for her, her chores get done, she asks to help me with stuff all the time, and still she often tells me she doesn’t know what to do!  Sweetheart Girl likes to keep busy!  She’s going to be soooooo much help when the baby is born!

The Minions are going through an independent/co-dependent stage with each other right now.  It’s heart-breaking to one if the other doesn’t want to play with him.  As mom, I find it slightly difficult to find a balance of encouraging the loner to play with his brother and telling the upset one that it’s okay to play by himself for a while!  Of course, they switch off in these rolls daily!

Twinkle’s vocabulary is growing by leaps and bounds!  She often speaks in full sentences (baby ones), and we are surprised at times at how clear she is.  Even when we’re not sure exactly what she’s saying, she finds a way to make herself heard- which sometimes is not so pleasant!

My laptop charger died the other week, and my battery is dead.  So until I get a replacement charger, I’m stuck using the desktop.  It’s slightly inconvenient since most of my files and pictures are on my laptop!  But at least I haven’t lost them- they’re just inaccessible for the time being!

I may decide to give up Facebook soon, as the most recent round of changes are exactly the opposite features of what drew me to give FB a try in the first place!  I’m not saying they’re bad or that everyone should close their accounts, but I liked FB because it was so simple and unobtrusive!  The verdict is still out, though, but if I do give it up, I will try to be a better blogger so my family and friends can still keep up with us!

I guess that’s it!  Hopefully I will be presenting our newest addition very soon!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Some Homemade Cleaners Recipes

Lately I’ve been scouring the web for homemade cleaners, and I thought I’d share my findings.  My reasons have been more for financial benefits than ‘going green,’ but most of these will definitely help keep some of the toxins out of the home!  You’ll notice there are only a handful of ingredients…I purposefully chose first the ones that would be the cheapest for me to make, and I figured if I didn’t like the results, I would then try some of the more involved recipes.  I can happily report that I’m very pleased so far!

All-Purpose Cleaner

equal parts white vinegar and water

a few drops of your fave essential oil for a pretty smell (completely optional)

This works really well for just about everything, even the bathtub.  Of course, if your tub is really grimy (ahem…), you can sprinkle on some baking soda to help scrub it all off.  If you skip the oil, you can also use this as a window cleaner.  I found out the hard way about the oil…

Laundry Detergent

1 bar of laundry soap (Fels-Naptha, Zote, Ivory), finely grated

1 cup washing soda (NOT baking soda)

1 cup borax

Mix ‘em all together, and use 1-2 tablespoons per load.  I use Fels-Naptha because it’s what my grocery store carries, and I’ve never had any residue left behind.

Fabric Softener

white vinegar

Just fill your washing machine’s fabric softener dispenser or a downy ball, and walk away.  Otherwise add about a cup during the rinse cycle (who has time for that?).  *Note* Sometimes you can smell the vinegar when your load is done, but as soon as it goes through the dryer, you’re good to go!

Drain Refresher

mix 1/2 cup baking soda and 1/4 cup salt and pour it down the drain

then pour 1 cup of heated vinegar down the drain (it will fizz and bubble)

let it go for about 15 minutes, then run hot water for a minute

I did this one today after noticing an unpleasant odor coming from the sink (I didn’t have any lemons or oranges around to use in the disposal).  Smell be gone!

Homemade Febreze

2 cups warm water

1/4 cup liquid fabric softener

1 tsp baking soda

Just mix them up in a spray bottle and voila!  Obviously, if you’re looking for a green product, the fabric softener is not going to fit the bill.  I suppose there are green fabric softeners out there, though.  Also, there are a lot of recipes that use vinegar again, but since that smell is around until it dries, I knew it wasn’t what I was looking for.  I often only remember to use Febreze when someone is coming over to hide the stale diaper smell that likes to hang around here!

These recipes are all over and there are tons of variations, but these are some that are working for me.  If you have any of your own to share, please do!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Our First Day of School

Well, it’s over!  All the kids are asleep, I’m prepared for tomorrow, and I can breathe!

Our first day was okay.  Hero, McAwesome, and Sweetheart Girl were all excited, and thankfully they maintained their enthusiasm throughout the day.  About 20 minutes into the morning, all three little ones suddenly demanded my attention, and I could not seem to get them occupied with anything!  I admit, I spent a few minutes berating myself in my head for even attempting this this year with practically all new materials.  I did send a text to my husband telling him that I was going to need a Coke by the end of the day!  (He took my oh-so-subtle hint, by the way!)

Eventually, the littles calmed down and I was able to focus some attention on the big kids.  It felt a little disjointed, as I didn’t figure very well how much time some subjects would take, but I suppose that will work itself out as we get into a rhythm.

My biggest disappointment of the day is that I didn’t take any pictures!!  They all dressed themselves so nicely, but then the morning took a bad turn for a while there, and by the time I thought about it…well, they all had lunch leftovers on their faces :)  Guess I’ll have to get some later in the week and pass them off as the “first day of school” pictures years down the road!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

10 Things I Love About My Husband!


Ten years ago, I married a wonderful man!  I was young (18), but I knew the Lord had brought us together and had planned something great for us!  Maybe sometime I’ll write about how we met (we don’t actually remember!) and fell in love (I knew I loved him when I was 16!), but today I just want to share 10 things that I love about him.

In no particular order (except for number 1):

1.  He’s saved AND following the Lord.  Needless to say, in the ministry we see often the struggles when this is not the case!  Marriage takes work for even the most faithful Christians, and I can’t imagine going through it with a man who did not have a heart for God.

2.  He WANTS to be a good husband.  I mean, he is, but he is because he makes an effort to love and care for me like Christ loves the church.

3.  I never fear talking to him.  I know women who do not feel welcome to open up to their husbands, so they instead share everything with everyone else!  Even if I’m not always sure how to approach a matter, even if I’m fairly sure he won’t agree, I know I can talk to him.  I rarely feel a need to talk about my husband to anyone else because I know I can just talk to him!

4.  He’s an incredibly involved dad.  He changes diapers, he gets up during the night, he’s willing to take on the majority of the discipline…that doesn’t mean he likes to, but he does them anyway!  He plays Parcheesi, Red Light Green Light, wrestles, gives hugs and kisses, and…he’s not afraid to take all six kids out by himself!  Which leads me to number 5-

5.  He’s understanding to my need to get out every now and then.  Even aside from being a stay-at-home mom, my personality is such that I like to go out and do things!  He is willing to let me go out by myself for a few hours and often will tell me we have 20 extra dollars this week so why don’t I go look for something to buy.  That’s the best :)

6.  He’s funny.  We share a sarcastic and mostly nerdy sense of humor.  Those of you who know us, know that we’re nerds and we’re okay with that!

7.  He works hard.  And I mean hard.  I’ve never been under another pastor who has shown so much effort, time, and study when he preaches.  He’s always making a visit, calling a church member, and praying for someone.  He puts his heart and soul into the flock that God has given him, and it shows. 

8.  He’s hot- and he keeps getting better looking every year!

9.  He’s very discerning.  I appreciate that he knows the Bible and has the ability to interpret a passage accurately.  He can see things about people, about why they may be acting a certain way, about what the real issues are behind it, and he’s bold and caring enough to address it.  And if I see something differently than he does, he is often discerning enough to listen to me :)

10.  He is proud of his family.  I love it (and somehow am embarrassed at the same time) when we go out somewhere, especially to a pastor’s fellowship meeting, and he introduces the whole family by name.  That’s quite the list to get through…

Of course there’s more, but I’ll pace myself.  There’s always next year!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Spelling Practice Ideas

As I continue preparing for the school year, I’m continually on the lookout for other’s great ideas.

One area I knew I wanted to put some effort into was spelling practice.  We’ve always just copied and say-spell-say (said?) the words every day, and quite frankly, it’s boooring!

I read an article a while back with some great ideas, and I just found it again this morning!  Here’s the link:


The Homeschool Classroom is a site that I visit often, and even when I have no intention of putting something into practice, I still enjoy reading about what others are doing.  It’s often full of encouraging words and sometimes points out the not-so-glamorous struggles homeschooling often entails!

I hope the boys enjoy their spelling drills with some of these new ideas!!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Peace, Be Still


Mark 4:35-40  And the same day, when the even was come, he saith unto them, Let us pass over unto the other side.  And when they had sent away the multitude, they took him even as he was in the ship. And there were also with him other little ships.  And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full.  And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish?  And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.  And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith?

This was the main text of a session that I recently attended at Spiritual Leadership Conference at Lancaster Baptist Church.  The topic was surviving the storms of life, and, as usual, I was reading the notes ahead while I waited for the class to start.  As I read this very familiar passage, something stood out to me that I had never seen before.

Jesus calmed the storm before He taught his disciples a lesson. 

No kidding, huh?!

But I believe God was teaching me a little parenting lesson at that moment.  As you can guess, with six young children in the house, there is no shortage of storms in our home.  Someone hurt, something broken, etc. and the kids are frantic.  I realized that far too often, I am trying to scold and/or teach while in the midst of the storm.  And, big surprise, that’s when my volume level rises!  Soon I’m nearly as frantic as the kids, and when everything finally does calm down, I have to repeat everything I just said because no one could focus before!

Maybe this is overly simple, but I’ve been trying to watch myself very carefully these past few weeks.  And I’m making a point to be very quiet, soothing when necessary, until the storm has calmed.  Then we can all focus on what needs to be said.

After all, God speaks to His children so often in that still, small voice.  Why shouldn’t I strive to do the same?

Friday, June 24, 2011

A Funny Conversation

Last Sunday night, I was able to go out to dinner with a few ladies after church.  We had Japanese, in case you’re wondering- I declined the sushi!

Anyways, one of the ladies said something that got me to chuckling.  She was telling some story about friends of hers from her hometown, and in the middle of her story, she looked at me, and said:

“They have 7 kids, too- so you guys could be friends!”

And on she went with her story… I couldn’t help but laugh though.  This young lady meant absolutely nothing by that statement, but I had to throw in that I am, in fact, friends with people that have 1, 2, or 0 kids too!


Thursday, June 16, 2011

Father’s Day’s a Comin’

I saw a really cute and easy Father’s Day card that the kids could make and thought I’d share!formal-greetings-fathers-day-card-craft-photo-420-FF0605ALMBA02

Chances are you already have what you need to make this. 

You can find the directions HERE.

I’m going to have my Sunday School kids make one to take home.  If I pre-cut everything, it takes all of two minutes!

Now, technically the iPhone my husband got a couple weeks ago is his official Father’s Day gift (not to mention his anniversary gift!), but it seems that he should receive something from his children on his day, so we made this:100_4771[1]

We just spray painted a wood frame from Michaels and some old puzzle pieces, add a little glue, and voila!  Just add a picture!  I’ve got the perfect picture waiting for me at Walgreens. I just love being able to order prints online and pick them up in just a few hours!  No more hanging around the store for an hour or making a second trip a few days later!

Back on subject-

Happy Father’s Day to the best dad in the world!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Catching Up

I’m still here!  But in a different place!  We’ve finally moved, and that’s one of the main reasons I haven’t been around here for a while.  We didn’t even have phone or internet for nearly a month!

So we’ve officially moved into a wonderful new home, to which my husband lovingly refers as a mansion.  It’s not that large, but we have nearly 3000 sq. feet of space to grow into!  We still can hardly believe we’re living here and are in awe that the Lord would provide such a home for our family.  Since the actual moving took place much later than we’d expected, we had only a few days before we had guests arrive!

My mother-in-law and niece came for a two week visit!  It’s been 4 years since we’ve seen them, so needless to say we were so happy to have them come, and we had a great time.  We didn’t really do anything too special, but even just being at the house was enjoyable.  All the kids got along well, and that always makes for a nice visit!

They left last Wednesday morning, and Thursday night my sister and her family flew in to town!  We had them with us through the weekend.  Their daughter is about the same age as my older kids so they loved having another playmate around! 

So this week I’m finally trying to get settled into the house!  We had all the important stuff in, but our garage is still full of boxes to be sorted through.  Little by little we’ll get it all done!

We have a busy summer ahead of us.  This week our church is having Vacation Bible School in the evenings, next week my husband will be away at Teen Camp, and then we’ll have two weeks of ‘normal’ at home.  I say ‘normal’ because those two weeks will be largely spent preparing to leave for the Spiritual Leadership Conference hosted by Lancaster Baptist Church in California, and from there we will be driving to Oregon for a vacation/family reunion.  All in all we will be gone for roughly 3 weeks!  By the time we get home, it will be time to prepare for our next school year and I’ll be in the final couple of months of this pregnancy!  I figure we should be all settled in just in time for this baby to make his arrival and throw us into another couple months of chaos!  I wouldn’t have it any other way!

Yes, I typed his on purpose!  We are expecting a little boy!  All of the kids wanted a boy, so I’m happy we could accommodate their wishes :)

Many of my friends and family reading this already know the name we’ve chosen, but I think I’ll keep at least that much secret from the internet world until the big day!

Okay, I think we’re all caught up!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Sweetheart Girl’s First Sewing Kit

I was looking through some old pictures, and I realized I had wanted to blog about the little sewing basket I put together for Sweetheart Girl’s 5th birthday last month.

Before I begin, I should say that I saw a similar project on another blog that I stumbled upon quite a while ago, but I cannot find it again!  I need to give credit to someone, but I just don’t know to whom it belongs… so…sorry to whoever you are!

I was able to find this adorable basket at a thrift store that I believe once held a little tea set.  The little nooks and crannies were perfect because I was trying to figure out how I would be able to do that on my own!


I bought some yarn needles, cute big buttons, and a sturdy, plastic embroidery hoop, and I had everything else at home.  I cut some ‘bobbins’ out of some sturdy cardboard for the yarn and knotted one end of the yarn and taped the other end.  For the ‘fabric’ I used shelf liner, netting from a bag of limes, and tulle.  I also gave her one of my extra measuring tapes, a thimble, and some ‘pretties’ (lace, etc.).

Sweetheart Girl LOVES it!  Here’s a picture of the very first button she’s ever sewn!


I just love her crazy ‘fresh from the bath’ hair.  She’s inherited my frizzies- sorry, baby girl :)


Notice her dress up shoes?  Those are the one item she asked for, and she received seven pairs from the grandparents and a friend- needless to say she was a very happy birthday girl!



Eventually I’ll start teaching her some basic stitches, but for now she’s just having fun (and learning how to keep her yarn from getting all tangled up!).  Of course, I’m not much of a seamstress myself so I’ll probably practice right along with her!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Soooo Busy!!!!

Whew!  Since coming back from Mexico (which was fabulous!), we haven’t stopped!

After being gone for just a few days, there was a lot to catch up on, and by Thursday, the kids and I needed to get out of the house!  So we met a friend at the children’s museum, and spent the morning playing there.  This is the first time that Twinkle has interacted with the exhibits so she was fun to watch.  Apparently, Minion 1 developed a fear of the dinosaur section and wouldn’t let us go in it!  It’s a small section and I was able to stay out with Minion 1 while the big kids went in- but he about fell apart at the thought of Minion 2 and Twinkle going in- it was hilarious (in a sympathetic way, of course).  Here are a few of my favorite pictures:







I'm blaming pregnancy brain, but I can’t even remember what we did Friday, and Saturdays are always busy with church soul-winning, errands, and preparing for Sunday morning.  Due to our other activities, the house was extra messy, and we had guests coming over for Sunday dinner, so I REALLY needed to clean house!

Sunday was an absolutely wonderful day.  My husband preached a great message on separation and holy living, and it was really a challenge to our church to step it up!  Our afternoon was filled with good fellowship, and the evening message was just as convicting (for me, anyways).

On Monday we took the kids to the county fair, and spent a few hours there.  The first thing we did was watch the shark show.  We got good seats, but we had to wait for a good 20 minutes or so.  When the show was starting, they played the JAWS theme music.  That music scared Minion 2!  It took a little convincing to get him to stay and watch the show!  We explored the 4-H area, the petting zoo, and saw a couple more shows, and then this mama needed to go home!  I was beat!  A few pictures from our day:








Tuesday, our church hosted a Bearing Precious Seed conference.  This is a ministry out of Ohio (I think) that prints Bibles, New Testaments, John and Romans, etc. in many languages and sends them out all over the world to missionaries and churches that request them- all in the good ol’ King James!  Really, all we were doing was opening our building for them to use, but somehow there was a miscommunication and we found out Monday morning that we were supposed to serve breakfast and lunch for them!  Oops!  We were scrambling a bit, but a dear lady from church (thank you- I know you’re reading this!) came and helped, and everything was pulled off without a hitch!  The kids were great, which was such a blessing because staying calm and occupied while Mom is busy all morning and preachers are in a meeting is no small feat for 6 children!

All that last minute stuff was really a blessing in disguise for me, though, because I had not planned on going to the meeting, as there was no need for it.  However, I had not even thought that the couple running it were dear friends, and I would not have seen them if I had not gone.  The time spent with Miss Bonnie was so precious, and I’m so thankful the Lord arranged all of it!

Tuesday night we observed the Lord’s Supper with the church family, and that is always one of the best services of the year for me.  It’s still amazing to me that Jesus Christ was willing to sacrifice Himself for me.  I hope it never becomes ‘old news’ to me.

Oh, and Tuesday the paperwork was signed on the house!  Praise God!!!  We spent all day Wednesday there beginning the cleanup work!  The fridge and freezer smelled so I began cleaning that.  On the surface, it didn’t look too bad…but then I started taking the inside apart…ugh!  I found a back panel that I think the previous owners didn’t realize was there because the original tubing for the water line was still there- anyways, they definitely never removed it because behind was blood and food drippings and particles.  When I took apart the door shelves in the freezer, there was mold everywhere!  It took me over an hour to get that thing cleaned out to a point where I felt I could be comfortable putting our food in there!

Okay, to wrap up this novel, Thursday I was wiped out and sick (I felt it coming on since Monday) and was of no use to anyone (not entirely true because the family did get to eat, and I did get the girls’ disaster of a room organized and ready to pack), and today we spent another day at the house cleaning, fixing, and prepping.  I’ll show pictures of the house in a later post.

Well, I’m off to bed- oh wait, it’s only 8:15…there is a pile of laundry on the loveseat that I should probably attack..

Monday, April 4, 2011

An Update

Well, I’ve been busy and in the midst of early pregnancy woes, so I haven’t felt like blogging in a quite a while!  So here’s a quick update:

Pregnancy: By the end of this week I will officially be in my second trimester!  I’ve been dealing with typical first trimester stuff- all-day nausea, exhaustion, and the general feeling of apathy towards anything that seems unnecessary and expends too much energy!  However, I really can’t complain, because I certainly know many women who have it much worse, and I myself have felt worse in previous pregnancies!  And I forgot to mention…there’s only one baby this time!

School: McAwesome finished his schoolwork last week, and Hero has just a few lessons to complete this week.  Hero will be done today or tomorrow!  They are, of course, very happy, and I am slightly concerned that this will be too long of a break before we are able to begin next year (our summers are always very busy!).  I can already see signs of boredom so I’ll have to stay on top of that.  The reason that we picked up the pace to get done this early is…

We’re Moving: I haven’t blogged about this yet, but it’s been in the works for several months now.  The house we’ve rented for the past 5 years is up for sale, and (long story, short) we’ve found a wonderful home to rent that is almost bought.  However, it’s a foreclosure house, and apparently the bank just doesn’t care if they get around to selling it!  We were supposed to close March 15th, then it was delayed to the end of March.  We were supposed to close last Friday, but the bank had still not sent the paperwork to the title company!  Grrrr!!  Supposedly, we’ll get it this Friday, but I’m not holding my breath.  We don’t have to be out of our current home until the end of May, but the new place needs a bit of clean-up work first, so we’d like some lee-way time!  Well, more on the house later…

Weekend Getaway: My husband and I are leaving this Thursday to visit some missionary friends in Arivechi, Mexico.  We’ll be bringing them some supplies, and they have some special events over the weekend.  The kids will spend the night with our close friends on Thursday, and my parents will come get them for the weekend.  We’re very excited to get some time together, and it’s been ages since I’ve been able to go visit and help in any kind of mission work- something that was vital to bringing my husband and I together in the first place!

Well, that covers the basics!  I’m slowly starting to feel better so hopefully I will keep up a little better from now on!

Friday, March 18, 2011

First Prenatal Appointment

On Tuesday, I had my first appointment at the birth center.  We got a sitter for the kids so Daddy-man could go with me, and we both really liked it there.  The midwife was very kind and spent a lot of time with us.  Everything seems pretty standard as far as I can tell, and as I thought, I will be delivering at TMC (the hospital) due to my previous c-section.  That’s slightly disappointing because we’d love to be able to deliver there at the birth center, but I expected it and it will be fine.  A good friend of mine had her babies at TMC, and she enjoyed her experiences (plus they offered her a post-delivery massage- I could work with that!). 

Later today I am going in for an ultrasound to get some better dates.  Truth be told, I’m fairly confident in my dates, but I am looking forward to seeing how many babies are in there!  Even though my chances for multiples are decidedly higher now, the odds are it’s only one!  I tend to think there’s only one, but I didn’t think there were two before!

I’ll update later…

Friday, March 4, 2011

The Happiest Baby EVER!

Everyone was so sure we’d stop after having the twins, and I admit, I shared that thought at times.  But if we had, we wouldn’t have had our sweet Twinkle! 

Don’t get me wrong- she gets overtired, teethes, and is now asserting her independence, but Twinkle is without a doubt the happiest baby I’ve ever known.









Now, I realize these pictures may be a bit repetitive, but she was just in the silliest mood that day!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Breakfast Smoothie

Here’s an easy recipe for a yummy strawberry-banana smoothie:

4-5 frozen strawberries

1/2 banana

1 cup vanilla yogurt

about 1/4-1/3 cup of juice (orange for a tangy flavor, apple for a sweeter flavor)

Put it all in your blender and blend until smooth.  Delicious! 

This is just one good-sized serving, but you can easily adjust the measurements for more.  It’s an excellent choice for those who can’t handle milk products, and when I buy a bag of frozen strawberries, it seems to last forever!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Digital Scrapbooking

There was a time that I loved to scrapbook.  Actually, I still love to scrapbook, however, it has become a difficult hobby for me to maintain.  Supplies get expensive and space to spread out around here comes at a premium! 

Enter Digital Scrapbooking!  I learned of this from my husband’s cousin (thank you, Facebook), and when I saw her work, I knew it would be a much better fit for me.  You don’t need much, and once I got my layout software, I haven’t paid a penny for this hobby.  All of my ‘papers,’ elements, alphabets, etc. have been downloaded for free off of various sites on the internet.

Here are some of the pages I’ve been working on this week:

Twins 2nd Bday


At the Beach

Kicky Boots

Who Loves Caroline

Luke's 8th Bday

Some of these were quick pages (Kicky Boots and Whoo Loves You)- pages that someone else designed, and I just stuck in my photos.  Some were designed using a template, and some I came up with myself.

I love it!  Obviously, there’s no mess, no extra space needed (well, you need space on your hard drive!), and I love that it still looks cute!  And it suits me because I can pick it up at any time or leave it alone for months!

There’s no substitute for real paper, of course, and although I love digital scrapbooking, I can’t bring myself to get rid of my paper supplies.  I still plan on doing special projects from time to time, and maybe someday I’ll have some space to really get back into paper scrapbooking.  For now, however, I’m totally into the digital world!  One of these days, I’ll get these all printed out and place them into an adorable book!


Saturday, February 19, 2011

Saturday Sillies

Okay, these are for my fellow nerds out there, copied from an uncle’s Facebook status a couple days ago.

Puns for Educated Minds

1. The fattest knight at King Arthur's round table was Sir Cumference.  He acquired his size from too much pi.
2. I thought I saw an eye doctor on an Alaskan island, but it turned out to be an optical Aleutian .
3. A rubber band pistol was confiscated from algebra class, because it was a weapon of math disruption.
4. No matter how much you push the envelope, it'll still be stationery.
5. A dog gave birth to puppies near the road and was cited for littering.
6. A grenade thrown into a kitchen in France would result in Linoleum Blownapart.
7. Two silk worms had a race. They ended up in a tie.
8. Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana.
9. Atheism is a non-prophet organization.
10. Two hats were hanging on a hat rack in the hallway. One hat said to the other: 'You stay here; I'll go on a head.'
11. I wondered why the baseball kept getting bigger. Then it hit me.
12. The midget fortune-teller who escaped from prison was a small medium at large.
13. The soldier who survived mustard gas and pepper spray is now a seasoned veteran.
14. A backward poet writes inverse.
15. In a democracy it's your vote that counts. In feudalism it's your count that votes.
16. When cannibals ate a missionary, they got a taste of religion.
17. If you jumped off the bridge in Paris, you'd be in Seine .
18. A vulture boards an airplane, carrying two dead raccoons. The stewardess looks at him and says, 'I'm sorry, sir, only one carrion allowed per passenger..'
19. Two fish swim into a concrete wall. One turns to the other and says 'Dam!'
20. Two Eskimos sitting in a kayak were chilly, so they lit a fire in the craft. Unsurprisingly it sank, proving once again that you can't have your kayak and heat it too.
21. Two hydrogen atoms meet. One says, 'I've lost my electron.' The other says 'Are you sure?' The first replies, 'Yes, I'm positive.'
22. Did you hear about the Buddhist who refused Novocain during a root canal? His goal: transcend dental medication.
23. There was the person who sent ten puns to friends, with the hope that at least one of the puns would make them laugh. No pun in ten did.

Friday, February 18, 2011


My hubby’s home tomorrow!

My hubby’s home tomorrow!

My hubby’s home tomorrow!

My hubby’s home tomorrow!

If you can picture that I’m doing a little song and dance, you’ve got that picture right!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Midwives and OBs

Well, I called Tucson’s Birth Center (staffed by midwives) to make my first appointment.  I’m a little nervous about the change, but the lady was so nice on the phone, and she immediately started in with the ‘healthy pregnancy’ stuff.  You know, no drinking, no smoking, eat healthy, take your vitamins, and the like.  Not that I didn’t hear the same things from my previous doctor’s office, but never on the phone when making my first appointment.

Supposedly, the level and type of care will be very different with midwives in a birth center than with an obstetrician in an office.  We’ll see.

I LOVED my OB.  Very rarely do I click with anyone upon first meeting, but I did with her.  She has been with me through all six of my children’s pregnancies and births, with the exception of my Twinkle, who came so fast, the nurses caught her!  I’ve had good experiences in the hospital, and I’m so sad to leave her.  Why am I leaving?

Well, ironically enough, it’s because of her nurse-midwife!  I see her just as much throughout the pregnancy because she and my doc switch off on appointments until the very end, where the doc takes over complete care.  I’ve never particularly enjoyed her, but there was never any real reason for that.  I always thought she was a bit aloof and rough with her exams, but it wasn’t so bad because I got along so famously with my doc!

And then, my last six-week check-up happened.  Without going into detail, she made her opinions about our ‘reproductive habits’ abundantly clear (including loud sighing and dropping her head when I declined the Pill), to the point that I was sobbing all the way home!  I wish I had a bit more backbone and could have been a bit more firm with her.  It’s so funny because midwives are supposed to be so much more caring and natural about the whole thing.  Actually, my doctor was the one that told me it wasn’t her job to tell me how many children to have, she was just there to deliver them and help to ensure we all came out of it healthy.

So my husband and I discussed it, and he told me to do whatever I was comfortable with.  I know I can’t see that midwife anymore, whether I said something to her or not, and obviously, my OB can’t change her whole practice just for me so I’m leaving her.  And I’m sad.

At the same time, I’m excited for the new experience!  I’m curious as to how they will want to deal with a VBAC (I’ve already had one successfully, but AZ can be a tricky state when it comes to VBACs).  The birth center is way in town, so I hope I don’t have a speedy labor during rush hour!  It’s two minutes away from the hospital (a different hospital than the one I’ve gone to), and I have a feeling that because of my VBAC situation, they’re still going to want me to deliver at the hospital.  We’ll see.

Well, I guess there’s no point in speculating any further!  I’ll find out soon enough!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


Baby number 7 is on his way!!!!

We’re all super excited!  Hero was (very) momentarily speechless, and Awesome McAwesome jumped up and down clapping.  Sweetheart Girl immediately said she wanted a boy, which surprised me!  I haven’t really said anything specifically to Minion 1, Minion 2, or Twinkle because they don’t really understand :)

Finding out I’m pregnant while my husband is gone is something new, and I debated whether to wait till he returns to tell him.  However, he’s with his family right now, and I thought it might be special for him to be able to tell them in person! 

On top of that, my hubby said to spread the word!  He doesn’t like to keep this kind of news a secret!  Since I am not the ‘stand up and make a big announcement’ type, I figured the kids could do the job.  And boy, did they!!  On Sunday, McAwesome was meeting people at their cars to tell them that we’re gonna have a new baby!

And I love that the kids say We are going to have another baby!  True, mom and dad are having another baby, but we are a family, and welcoming a new life is something we do together

I’m right about 6 weeks along and feeling pretty good.  Definitely a good bit more tired, but normally by now I’m completely wiped out and praying for a spurt of energy so I can show my other kids some attention!  Considering I’m still without a husband for a few more days, I’m soooo thankful that I’m still feeling good!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Potty Training Twins

So my husband is gone for 2 1/2 weeks (one week down!!!), and for some inexplicable reason, I’ve decided to try once again to potty train the twins!  We tried a few months ago, but there was zero progress so we stopped.  Recently, I’ve seen some readiness signs, and since we’re going to be moving soon, I thought I’d better take advantage of this window of opportunity before we’re thrown into a bunch of changes!

We’re on our fourth day, and it’s not gone nearly as badly as I’d thought it would!  They’re only wearing diapers during naps and bedtimes, and they’ve stayed dry through every nap.  All in all, they’ve each had a few accidents and a few successes, but overall they’re just not going very much!  Of course, they are soaked when they wake up in the morning so they must be saving it!  Neither one has yet told me that they need to go, but they both tell me when they’ve wet their undies.  That’s a good sign!?

One of the biggest obstacles so far is that they are afraid of the toilet!  I tried to take them at church last night, and they both freaked out when I put them up there!  I’m not going to carry their little potties around everywhere, so I may have to consider buying one of these foldable travel seats.


The funny thing is that all three of my older kids hated the little seats and wanted to sit on the real thing!  Ah, kids…

I’m not overly stressed out about this- after all, no kid ever went to college in diapers!  But, I don’t want to be inconsistent!  These two have a tendency to pounce on any inconsistency, and they have each other to back them up!! 

Somehow I believe we will survive this, but when my husband gets home…I’m taking a break :)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Oil Cleansing

I don’t consider myself an ‘all-natural’ type of girl at all- I believe the term is “crunchy.”  It’s just not me.  I shop at a regular supermarket, I use disposable diapers, and I’ve never made my own butter!

However, several months ago, I came across this thing called the “Oil Cleansing Method.”  We’re talking about cleaning your face with oil!  When I first read about it, I thought, “Well, how nice for you, weirdo, but there ain’t no way.”

I have a love/hate relationship with my skin- I hate it because I’ve been plagued with some sort of malady since I was a teen.  I had some serious acne back then, and I still get breakouts today.  However, my ‘grown-up’ skin is incredibly dry, tight, and flaky, until about 3 in the afternoon when the oil kicks in. 

On the other hand, I love my skin because it keeps my insides in where they belong :)

I’ve tried many different products, some better than others, nothing overly expensive because, well, I have a family of eight, and they like to eat.  In the end, none of these solved the problem, but some helped a bit to mask it.

Well, I kept coming across this oil cleansing stuff, and I began to consider it.  I finally bought the stuff a couple weeks ago, but it sat on my counter for those couple weeks because I was too nervous to actually put oil on my face!

Here’s the basic idea:  despite what we’ve been told, oil is not the enemy.  Oil dissolves oil.  There are really only two products to use.

Castor Oil:  This is your ‘cleansing oil.’  It draws away the dirt and oil from your pores.

EVOO:  This is your ‘moisturizing oil.’  In fact, there are many oils you could use for this purpose- Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Sunflower Seed Oil seem to be the most common.  Since I don’t have any health food stores near me (where you would be able to find these other oils), I stuck with EVOO.


BTW (Mom, that means By The Way), this method supposedly works great for all types of skin and is a miracle worker for acne-prone skin.  But, don’t hold me to that claim!

Here are some sites with more info (because I don’t feel like typing it all out!):




I finally did it last night!  The results?

My skin still felt a little dry- but not nearly as much as usual, and it wasn’t flaky.  I did not use any moisturizer afterward, although you could use a bit of your oil mixture as a moisturizer (I’m still too paranoid to actually leave oil on my face).  I also think I overdid my efforts to wipe my face clean- again, the paranoia!

Despite the slight dryness (which I think I caused), my skin felt soo smooth.  But the real test for me came this morning.  When I took my shower, I just wiped my face with a washcloth.  Normally when I get out of the shower, my face would be a dry, flaky mess, and I would slather on moisturizer in an effort to hide it- but today…nothing.  I don’t feel dry, I don’t feel oily.  Just smooth.

I like it.

Maybe I’m becoming slightly crunchy.  If these results continue (I’ll keep you all updated), I may even try skipping my shampoo


Monday, January 24, 2011

Loving Lullabies

*Yes, I know I haven’t blogged in a while…we’ve been sick, busy, out of town, etc., and when I’ve had a few moments to myself, I just haven’t felt like blogging!*

Last night, I experienced one of those ‘I’m so glad I’m a mother, otherwise I would have missed this’ moments.  It happened again tonight, so I thought I’d better write it down, so I would remember how special it was to me!

When I put the Minions to bed, I sing to them.  4-5 nights a week, they do not want to go to bed, and 99% of those times, singing their song calms them down so they can sleep. 

While I’m placing their blankets over them, I sing:

Minion 1, you are my Minion 1

You make me happy when skies are gray

You’ll never know, dear, how much I love you

Please don’t take (kiss) my Minion 1 away (kiss kiss kiss)

Obviously, I use his real name, and I then sing the same with Minion 2’s name in place of Minion 1’s.  The kisses are their favorite part because they change based upon their moods!  The crankier the boy, the crazier the kiss.

Well, last night after I sang, Minion 2 says “My turn, Mommy!”  And he began to sing:

Mommy, you are my Mommy… (complete with kisses)

And my heart cried, “Aaaawwww!”

Tonight, Minion 1 was the first to sing to me.


I’ve had six children now, and lullabies didn’t automatically work their magic for every one of them, but nonetheless, I sang to them.  I love lullabies!  In the middle of the night, they entertain me as much as they soothe the baby (sometimes much more so)!

Obviously, in a family our size, a lot of things get passed down, reused, and recycled, but one thing that each of my children has received is their own lullaby.

Luke- Edelweiss

Jackson- All the Pretty Horses

Kate- Hush, Little Baby

Minion 1 and Minion 2 - You are My Sunshine (sunshine is replaced with their names)

Twinkle- Jesus Loves Me

I didn’t do it on purpose to start, and I never specifically planned out which song each child would get, but somehow, as I would hold each baby in my arms, these are the songs that poured out.  And, somehow, they just seem to fit each one, and these are the songs that will remind me of their baby days (and nights!) no matter how old they may be!