February 2009


As I watched my husband unload wood with our two boys, that there was a more efficient way to do it.  He could have just done it himself.  Hopped up there, tossed the wood to the basement and been done with it.

Instead, he allowed our two boys to help.  Slowing down to alternate throws with them, tossing overtop of them.  Then they had to pick up the ones that Tim dropped short of the cellar door.

He could have done it much faster.  But he didn’t.

And it occurred to me that too often we have a, “Git ‘er done” philosophy.  There’s so much work to do in the day.   So much that presses on our time, so much to accomplish.  But I think perhaps instead of “getting it done” we need to be training hearts and attitudes.

Today, I watched  as my husband took the time to do this hard work with the boys.  And he taught them, through actions, not empty words,  to enjoy their work and to get the job done.  And our boys were proud of themselves.  Christian loaded that load of wood while dh cut it.  Just the two of them, out in the trees. 

My Boys

My Boys

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So sorry I’m so late posting this morning!  Woke up to no internet!  Apparently it was just one of those flukey things.  So, it’s all fixed thanks to our very nice cable man and I am grateful.  Now, I have to go work on something very special.  But, I promise to show you what it is soon.  Have a great weekend!

Reprint Friday everyone!  This is a reprint from my old blog dated July 15, 2008… Enjoy and have a lovely weekend

Yesterday was a bit of a… hmmm?  What’s that word?  Revelation!  That’s it. That’s the word I’m looking for!

Yesterday was our first day of school.  July in Iowa is sticky, hot, and sticky… Did I mention sticky?  So, we started school and we’ll take a break in late fall when the weather is gorgeous again.  So, new curriculum, new schedule, and new kids.  Well, okay, same kids, but I was hoping for at least the magical transformation of my three year old into this lovely, obedient preschooler.  Didn’t quite happen….

So here I am on Day 2.  I’m behind, lol, and I wonder, “How can that be?  How can I be behind on the SECOND day of school?”

See this year we are taking a new approach.  I’ve always made our own lesson plans, pulling eclectically from a hodge podge of materials that I’ve chosen based on merit.  This year, in a state of utter exhaustion, and admitting I’m not SuperWoman (who knew?!) I went with Sonlight.  Whew boy!  Didn’t QUITE realize *I* would be reading aloud 2-3 hours a day at a bare minimum…. (Three cores, yeah, that was genius.)

Yesterday was absolutely filled with revelations… Just one after another.

I sat here today sorting books and we’ve just recently picked up several of Mrs. Piggle Wiggle’s books.  And I found myself a bit resentful to be honest.  When we started reading Mrs. Piggle Wiggle I was reading rather intently, with the wild idea that I’d get something useful out of it.  You know you must be over your head a bit when you have a child’s book in front of you with a funny little woman on the front and you’re hoping beyond hope that SHE will have the secret to heeling your three year old.  Wrong.  Just wrong.  So as I put away these books this morning I really thought she was mocking me a bit from the cover.  She should be grateful she didn’t find herself in the trash can as I couldn’t find much use for her…  powders and candy.  If only.

My second thought came as I RE-sorted all the math manipulatives.  Our three year old (Noticing a trend?) came up with the delightful idea of playing with the lacing beads, attribute blocks, dominoes, stamps, pencils, paint brushes, and lacing animals… all at one time, in one big pile. 

And the thought occurs to me that “Quiverfull” is kind of like buying a timeshare.  Oh, it looks good on the brochure.  The cuddly, big family, curled in front of the fire… I think they use the SAME brochure.  But about ten years down the line……..  It just takes on a bit of a different look and you’re thinking, “Hmmm… would I have bought into this if I had known what I know now?”

Ahhhh…  In all seriousness I adore my children, with the exception of above mentioned three year old.  But I will be the first to admit there are days, lately, of utter exhaustion.  Those lovely moms of many know just what I mean!   Apparently, simply based on the fact that I get pregnant easily, this does indeed qualify me for Mom of the Year.  We have two olders (planned) 12 and 9.  Then, with Quiverfull conviction securely in hand, we’ve had the last six in seven years. 🙂  So now, they are trained well enough that I can take all of them in public with me.  And people are fairly certain that because they are all dressed, wearing shoes, and I look reasonably sane, that I really must be this amazing, fantastical mama, with a heart of gold and unlimited patience.  As I am not terribly fond of hypocrisy, I try to explain to them that this is simply not so and that I am a mama just like everyone else who does indeed occasionally lose her marbles.  This is of course then hurrahed as humbleness and I’m even more wonderful than before.

Let it be said here and now…  I am not SuperMama.  My kids would laugh at the very idea!

So, now that I’ve set the situation up for you, here’s the rest of the background.  We have really great older kids.  They’re wonderful. We adore them.  They are the kind of kids you LIKE to spend time with.  To about age 4.  We love our resident four year old VERY much.  She’s an absolute delight.  But, age three NEVER fails to disappoint…  We pretty much hate age three.  Bring on the two year olds, but I don’t like three.  It is inevitably at age three they discover they have opinions.  Generally, contrary to my own.  And at about age three, I always have a new baby…  (When don’t I have a new baby, my mom would say.)   So, despite the fact that I’ve gone through this several times, I see my sweet, adorable two year olds and assume that THIS child will not go through this willfull, naughty stage, and we spoil them to death.  Only to pay for this six months later. 

We’re at that stage.  Add in one potty training 22 month old, and one needy infant and mama NEEDED to get out of the house last week.

So, we get dressed and we head to the park.  We’re all in high spirits, congratulating ourselves on being dressed and out of the house by about 9:00 when the weather is still cool.  And as we walk we bump into an older mom, pushing her three year old in a stroller.   Now, I’m in a great mood, but I’m wiped out and you know, you just know you’re having one of those days when….

Other Mom:  “How many of them are yours?”

Me: “All of them!”  Big smile

Other Mom: “Wow! I don’t know how you do it.”

Me: “Oh, it’s not so bad.  They’re good kids.”

Other Mom: “You must be Mom of the Year.”

Me: “Why?”  And realize this is said in genuine shock and a little horror mingled with true confusion.   There.  That was my genius answer. 

It never ceases to befuddle me why people think we just have it all figured out because we’ve had LOTS of kids.  Like because I’ve been bestowed with children, I’ve also been bestowed with endless wisdom… Don’t I wish it? !

Truth is, the more children I have, the more sure I am that I don’t know it all.  I always joke that when we had our first, I was pretty sure I knew it all about parenting.  After all, I had read all the books and we were doing everything right.   With the birth of number two, I just KNEW that I knew it all.  I had two, both of them keepers.  With the birth of our fourth, who was a very high needs baby, I began to suspect that we might not know as much as we thought we did.   Then came number five… a baby who had constant diahhrea until I stopped breastfeeding, a baby who turned into a toddler who was VERY behaviourally challenged until we stopped giving her soy.  (WHO KNEW?!)  It was then and there I admitted I didn’t know much at all.  As a matter of fact, there were days when I considered it a miracle that I hadn’t left any behind somewhere.

Okay, okay, so the quiverfull brochure has lost some of it’s charm.  I did about seven loads of laundry yesterday and I’m ALMOST caught up.  I am using THREE, count ’em, THREE Cores in Sonlight this year.  I have a 7th grader, a 4th grader, a 1st grader, a K, a Pre-K, a potty training almost two year old, and one seriously high needs newborn that lives in her Moby…  THIS was NEVER on the brochure. 

But, I also have one really neat daughter who is almost a teenager and I love her more than I ever did as a baby because she is absolutely fascinating to me.  I have a 9 yo boy who loves to take care of his Mama and loves God.  I have a 6yo who is a delight and makes me smile every single day.   I have a 4yo who is just never upset, always happy, and smiles the biggest smiles.  My three year old, while not well behaved lol, is very umm… creative.  The two year old makes me think every day, “Thank you God that we didn’t stop having children.  How would I live without her?”  (I still think this EVERY SINGLE DAY and she’s 2.5 now. )  She brings me joy every minute of the day… even cleaning up puddles.  And this high needs newborn…  Sometimes I think maybe she is an amazing blessing as well.  If she wasn’t so fussy how would I have an excuse to hold her all day in a family this size?  She’s in her Moby now, snuggled tight into me, snoring soft baby snores, and blissfully asleep.  She has soft woolly newborn hair, and soft, sweet smelling, newborn skin.   And while this may not be what I THOUGHT I was signing up for…  While it is SO much more work than I ever would have wanted…  While I go to bed every night wiped out and wake up in the morning with a long list of “To Do” options, it is so much better than I could have ever dreamed.

How does that quote go?

I’m not what I should be, but by the Grace of God, I’m not what I was.

Goat books know nothing about goats.

I take everything back I said about it being WRONG to wean the kids from their mama.  The little theives (the triplets) along with help from Little Lola, have robbed me blind of my milk.

Yesterday morning was a banner day.  We locked the little ones in their dog kennel (5′ sq. chain link kennel in the loafing barn) overnight.  Milked mamas in the AM.

Cinderella – 4lbs even
Gypsy – a whopping 5lbs. 10 oz.

This is a fabulous amount of milk for us!  We were thrilled. 

The children told me yesterday, “The triplets nurse off of Cinderella and Gypsy.”  “Oh no,” I told them, “Cinderella won’t feed any of the babies.  She isn’t their mama.”  Elizabeth pipes up, “And she nurses Lola!”  Now, I’ve caught Lola sneaking milk, so I know this to be true.

Sure enough.  Milk time rolled around last night and Cinderella gave me…

What?  Four pounds?  No.  Three pounds?  Nope.  Not even TWO pounds of milk.  That’s right.  The little milk stealers took almost all of it.  Now, I had some set aside (for my REAL children, not the kids) that I got to feed the other four starving goats.  Do you think I gave Lola her full bottle?  No I did not! 

And so it’s official.  All babies are all weaned as of today.  They’re getting bottles and I’m not letting them back in with the big does until they know milk doesn’t come from UDDERS, it comes from a BOTTLE.  Maybe this way we’ll end up with a little milk too.

Heartless?  Maybe.  But I tell you I’m figuring out this goat raisin’ learning curve.

Ooh, I want these so badly!

Ooh, I want these so badly!

Yes, it’s true.  They didn’t know you could MAKE play-doh.  Sigh.  Briana and CJ were telling the little ones, “We never had boughten play-doh.  Mama always made ours.”  Um, yes, that would be a guilt trip you hear.  So, Tuesday, we made play-doh!

Bless the genius who thought of using Kool-Aid to “scent” the play-doh, because not only did I get points for making the play-doh but it was SCENTED!  Rebecca was absolutely over the moon with this and spent THREE hours yesterday playing with our play-doh.  We only made three colors. (It was supposed to be four, but who knew the “berry” kool-aid in the BLUE packaging would color my play-doh pink?)  But, it didn’t matter.  She was thrilled.  Rebecca really likes to use her hands and just function a little in her own world.  (That’s another post someday.)  But, it was neat to see her busy at work and showing off her creations.  I’ll post pictures sometime today!

The Play-Doh Recipe:

Per Color:

2 cups of flour
1/2 cup of salt
1 tablespoon of oil
1 tablespoon cream of tartar
1 package of kool-aid
Stir well into a large sauce pan.  Add to this:
2 cups of very hot water
Food Coloring if you choose
Stir over med./low heat until it loses it’s stickiness and forms a large ball.

Then go have fun with your little ones!  I give you permission to put off the dishes, ignore the laundry, and let the dust settle!

The “kids” (both human and goat) decided to work together on the goat shed today.  We have all ten goats, loose, outside.  Gypsy won’t leave the barn, therefore neither will her triplets.  Cinderella can’t stand to be more than 3 feet away from a human at any time, so we’re not worried about wanderers.  The kids are working on the barn, the babies are working on the brush! 

Sweet Little Heidi - our most beloved

Sweet Little Heidi - our most beloved

Goats HAVE personality.

Gimmee a kiss Baby!

Gimmee a kiss Baby!

 

Whatcha taking a picture of Mom?

Whatcha taking a picture of Mom?

 

Ana & Legend

Ana & Legend

 

I'll jes' nibble on 'yer ear a 'lil.

I'll jes' nibble on 'yer ear a 'lil.

Yes, Legend looks a little pathetic here.  No, he did not get in trouble. 😛
He was asked to look at Grandma instead of snufflin’ whatever was in front of him and he was a good boy when told, “Leave it,” but it sure didn’t make him happy!

On the other hand, Legend is proving to be a very worthy farm pooch.  Despite being “talked” into um, “playing” with the chickens this morning by “that other” dog and getting into very serious trouble, he has been trying to herd the little goats by nipping their tails.  Cinderella takes great offense at this and we have to watch her very carefully as she would love to get in a hard head butt.  All things considered, I think they get along famously!

What a great day!

(And on the school pictures, bah!  It’s too nice to clean my house and do a lot of school.  Maybe tomorrow!)

I’ve been making soap for a good while, but this is our first batch from our own goats!  Made from calendula infused olive oil, shea butter, goatmilk, and more!  No synthetic fragrance oils, just lavender essential oil….

Lavender & Goatmilk Soap

Lavender & Goatmilk Soap

 Oh thank you, thank you, thank you Miss Prissy!

Guess what I’m making this weekend?

An egg incubator.  Yes ma’am you heard it here first.  We’ll call it a homeschooling expense, shall we?  (Even though we really know it’s just for mom.)

Link for those interested:
Great Incubator Instructions

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