Saturday, December 29, 2012

Just some pictures

December has been an overwhelming month for me.  Something about Christmas prep, and 2 birthdays being added to my schedule was really the straw that broke the camel's back.  I am feeling slightly better after missing Christmas Eve with my extended family and having a few days to just chill out and relax a little bit.  Hopefully I will be back to blogging soon, but more than that, I am hoping to make use of our last few days off so that I can jump back into "real life" rested, rejuvenated and ready for the next few months!

Friday, December 7, 2012


I haven't been on here in a long time!

Time goes quickly, and there is always too much to do.

Baby Everyn is now on the move, and so I am constantly saving her from legos, stairs and Christmas trees.

Berean has entered a difficult stage which involves frequent outfit changes, lots of climbing, and a great deal of ill advised independence.

We are in a push to get certain school things wrapped up for Christmas, and the boys are itching for break.

My house is in shambles, but maybe someday I will catch up.  For now it is time to kiss some sweet little faces and get them all in bed.

Then I will head out to work.

Looking forward to a long sleep tomorrow.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Dropping Things

Hi All!

We are all here, but I feel a little bit like I am treading water.  A rough work weekend followed by a long week, concluding with Noah's birthday weekend has me still playing catch up.

Today is our 13 year engagement anniversary.  Noah made Pumpkin Crisp.  yum.

Then we did pushups and folded laundry while watching Hawaii Five-0.

At 10:30pm I remembered that Lincoln is the "Big Apple" for school tomorrow.  Do you think the kids would enjoy left over Arnie Palmers?

Hopefully I can dig up some Oreos or Teddy Grahms or something.

I am working all of Thanksgiving, but Noah has a couple of days off- hopefully I can dig myself out of this hole!

Have a good week!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012


Berean is 2 1/2 now, and she is quite different than the boys ever were.  She is a little bit of a busy-body and likes to help with things and tell people what to do.  

Bre likes Dora the Explorer and has been known to tell Ever, "Ever, no swiping!"  And then she laughs at her own joke.  

Berean is still sleeping in her crib, but she climbs in and out of it at will.  She has been potty trained since her 2nd birthday, and has been wearing undies to bed for months.  She goes through a lot of undies, however, because she loves all of them so much she is always changing them out for "new undies"!  Thankfully, she can manage her own undies and pants now, and just needs a little help with her shirts.

She likes fancy, sparkly things.  Her favorite things to do at the Y are "read the princess books" and dress up in the "fancy shoes". She also likes to make her dolls talk to each other. She plays with her kitchen set and goes "shopping" with her shopping cart.

It has been incredibly fun to watch her form relationships with other little girls her age.  She plays with her little friend Maddie and they giggle and talk to each other.

The dress she is wearing in the next picture she refers to as "my magnet-girl dress".  She has some little magnet dolls that wear similar looking outfits, and she loves to play with them.

Berean is still fearful of animals at times, and is somewhat timid, but she does seem to be loosening up a bit.

She was at the doctor the other day and she has no problem answering questions and talking about what is going on.  She is always very aware of conversation and social situations.

Berean really loves candy, and has been known to try to steal it from the cabinet.  She is very confident in her abilities to pour her own milk and make her own PB & J.  Sometimes her confidence is misplaced.

Over the last few months she has taken a big interest in hanging out with the boys.  She likes to be near them in the playroom, and they are pretty good about including her (or at least tolerating her) as long as she doesn't wreck their stuff.  Usually she just does her own thing near them and that is enough for her.

She certainly adds a whole different dimension to our lives, and we love it!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Random Thoughts

Today I ran 2 miles in 16 minutes (on a treadmill).

Last week I ran 3 miles in 25 minutes, 40 seconds.

I may actually reach my goal of a 24 minute 5K!

I have been lifting weights and seeing major improvements in tone on my upper body.  I am almost to the point that if I were tan and didn't have 5 children hanging on me, wearing a bikini would not be out of the question.

Noah?  Did you read that?

Today I was going to write an update on Berean, but it is already pretty late and I am not really feeling it.

Anyway, now that my fitness plan is firmly in place, I have moved on to other self improvement/home improvement projects. My mind is churning with possibilities.  I am always full of plans and ideas, and I have several brewing.  My ideas don't always make it to blogland, however, because Noah usually is not as enthusiastic as I am about the elaborate schemes that I concoct.

I just want to be different, to live differently than the culture that surrounds me.  I want a plan for our family that is deeper than our material needs and financial goals.  I don't want to just change our spending and our self discipline HABITS, I want to change our motivations and our hearts.

I want to show our kids how to make good goals and then meet them,

how to persevere even if something isn't fun,

how to look beyond what we want right now,

how to realize that we live privileged lives.

I will be very honest.  I don't mind at all living a privileged life.  I actually like to have plenty of income and flexibility- but I desperately want Noah and I and our kids to be acutely aware, at all times, that our situation in middle class America is just that, a privilege that we need to appreciate and that we need to use wisely.

I fear for my kids.  They are bombarded by stuff, by excess.

They daily see people spending what they don't have, borrowing for what they don't need.

They have no place to learn the value of hard work.

What can I do now to help them understand what is really important?

It is such a goofy thing, blogging about running on a treadmill, while others around the world are running for their lives. This blog post just illustrates what I struggle with, the love of privilege vs. the use of privilege.

They are two very different things.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Day in the Life: Fall 2012

Here is the Fall Edition!
Once again I have been inspired by Laura over at Navigating the Mothership!

October, 2012

0735: Noah gets up to take a shower.   Lincoln climbs in our bed to claim Noah's now empty spot.  It is our morning routine- a few minutes just hanging out with my "early risers".  We hear Everyn thumping around in her crib, and Noah brings her in to be nursed.  She and Linc are happy to see each other.

Within a few minutes I hear Deacon and Roman turn their "Ramona Quimby" audio book on downstairs.  They don't come up, and I know they are sorting Pokemon cards or playing legos.  

A sleepy Berean wanders in soon to see what is going on.

0800: I set the baby down for play time, the other kids wander off.  I check email, facebook and schedule a couple of well child checkups online.  Ever and I head downstairs.  I haul the kitchen garbage out- Noah has already brought the can to the curb.  As I start hunting around for the camera and battery charger I answer Deacon's numerous questions about the habits of earthworms and whether or not you can ever drown an earthworm.  I finally find the camera battery, it seems that Noah had already placed it on the charger and it is ready to go.  

The boys start on their art projects, they have been really into sketching lately.

 0845: Breakfast is in process.  Lincoln and Berean like to try their hand at making their own toast.  Roman eats cereal.  Ever eats a banana and some baby food.  Deacon and I also eat toast.  I have four pieces of toast (with butter, peanut butter and sugar- we are out of jelly!) and some hot chocolate.

 I run upstairs to get the hamper from our room so that I can start on the laundry.  The hamper is no longer in our room.  Noah has taken it down for me and has already started a load of laundry. What a guy!

 The boys are dressing, brushing teeth and starting on their schoolwork for the day.  I take turns helping them with the stuff they need me for.  They do their math independently, and then they also have silent reading and math facts on their DS's that they do on their own.  I am still feeding the baby.  Lincoln comes up to tell me that he is wearing two shirts, a pair of pants and a pair of shorts.  This way he will be ready, no matter the weather.  Berean makes up a song about going potty.  The lyrics are something like, "I go wee wee and woo woo".
 1000: the boys continue their schoolwork and are already begging for a snack.  I hold them off.  I put Ever down for her nap, and deal with Berean who is throwing a fit over her clothes.

Somewhere in there I talk to my mom about borrowing one of their cars for the night.  It is a long and complicated situation, and not very interesting.  School work continues.

1145: The kids have a prelunch snack.  The baby wants attention and I give her a bowl of cheerios on the floor.  She immediately dumps them out and they fly everywhere.  I knew that was going to happen, but I also knew it would give me enough time to get lunch ready.

 Berean makes a bigger mess of the cheerios, but does get the plates out of the dishwasher so that she can set the table.
 The boys take a break from schoolwork to have a Pokemon battle.

 Since I am busy cleaning up the kitchen and making lunch, Berean thinks it is a fine time to start twirling the broom over her head (narrowly missing the baby's head) and unplugging the telephone.
 Somewhere in the morning I managed to take a shower.  I forget where I fit that in.
I took a picture of the peanut butter while I was putting it away.  Roman balanced his latest Lego ship on top.  The peanut butter is a very important staple of our diet.

 I will spare you the pictures of the french toast (complete with peanut butter and syrup) that I served the kids for lunch.  Everyn loved it, Roman didn't.  In fact, Roman threw a fit over the lack of a likeable lunch and the fact that I told them that I was bringing them to the pumpkin patch in the afternoon.  There was a few minutes of chaos while he lost it and Berean also chose that time to scream about something.

I called Noah to see what he thought I should do about the pumpkin patch.  Taking 5 kids to the pumpkin patch all by myself is one thing, taking 5 kids anywhere when one of them doesn't want to go is quite another.

In the end I decided to go.  I unloaded and reloaded the dishwasher, cleaned up the kitchen and we finished up the boy's schoolwork.

1400: we leave for the pumpkin patch.  Roman is still upset, he thinks he is going to have to do a lot of walking, and he doesn't care much for walking.

1425: We arrive at the Farm.  I had gotten a Crowd Cut deal, and it turned out to be a really good deal for our family.  There were very few people around, and the kids all had a great time.  The first thing we did was stand in the pirate ship and watch a pumpkin get shot out of a cannon.

 The boys love photo op booths.

 We took a wagon out to the pumpkin patch.  I made the mistake of dressing Everyn in a warm (but blue!) sweatshirt.  She was assumed to be a boy for the remainder of the day.
 Roman was quite pleased about the presence of the wagon.  As he told me, "I like to ride".  Berean was quite impressed with the patch.  One of her recent library books was all about Dora the Explorer in a pumpkin patch.  Bre walked around picking up pumpkins and commentating about their sizes.

 In the end we chose not to get any pumpkins from the actual patch.  It seemed easier to pick up ones at the exit- I had little desire (and no hands!) to try to manage 4 pumpkins.

 And the kids were surprisingly ok with that decision.

 I love it when I can get photos of them together!

 There was a big slide with a lot of steps to climb.  I think Berean went down that slide about 20 times.  She was crazy- hair flying everywhere with a frenzied expression on her face.  It was fun, I guess.

 I liked the "How Tall This Fall sign".  Good idea.

 I finally drug Berean away from the slide and the boys started chasing each other all over the dirt track on the large trikes.  As near as I can figure, when they saw the trikes and  a couple of buildings that they could play in,  their imaginations went wild and they soon were in character with an exciting storyline.

There was a Criminal HQ and lots of chase scenes, that's all I know.

 Berean couldn't quite make her trike go.

 Next we went to look at the petting zoo.  I had no quarters for food, and Roman apologized very nicely and eloquently to the poor goats. Berean actually enjoyed herself.  Maybe her fear of animals is lessening?  This donkey was braying loudly and looked quite scary as he did it.  I don't know what made him so angry.

 We looked around a little more and then I let them each pick out a pumpkin.  They wanted ones that they could carry, so my total pumpkin bill (at 35 cents a pound) was only $7.25.

 1630 we drove home and arrived around 1700.  I had been intending to make Wild Rice Soup, but it was really too late to start if we wanted to eat before 8pm.  I called Noah and  asked him to pick up Papa Murphy's Pizza.    The girls stayed sleeping as I brought them in from the van.  The boys cleaned up the family room, completed their jobs and started their "screen time".

Since I was off the hook for supper I wrote up a list for Noah for the weekly Tuesday shopping trip and tried looking at some recipe/menu plans.  I got distracted by the allure of emeals and looked into the details of that plan.  I may sign up, and it may be soon.  I also packed up the boys swimming bag for the next day.

Noah arrives home around 6 and we throw the pizza in.  He gave me a package. I had been looking at this book online, and must have left the page up.  He ordered it for me.  We talked about emeals and menu planning.  It is a lot of work to homeschool the kids all day, then do all the cleaning/other stuff and then come up with suppers.  Next to the book is Fels-napha laundry soap.  Time to grate some more up for laundry detergent. sigh.

 Everyn is always very excited to see Noah.

 After this the pictures stop.  We ate supper and then loaded everyone up in the van to drop Noah's car off at the mechanics.  Next we swung by my parent's to pick up the vehicle we were borrowing.  When we finally got home everyone was read to and pj'd.  Noah took over the bedtime routine so that I could lay down.

2030-2200  I slept.
2200: Noah woke me up and I got dressed for work.  No time to do my Monday night pushups (we usually do pushups together on Monday nights- we use a deck of playing cards and keep flipping and pushing until we are through the deck).  Also, although I have kept up with the laundry all day, I have not put it away.  Oh well.

2225: I leave for work.  Noah stays home and does pushups.
2300: my night begins!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Everyn Laura

The other day at the Y the worker wrote out Everyn's name like this: Everynn.

I liked it.  I looked at it and wondered why we hadn't thought about adding the extra "n".  I mentioned it to Noah when I got home and he said, "why would you do that?  Why just add an extra letter that doesn't do anything?  That is crazy."

I guess that is why we didn't spell the made-up name with an extra letter.  That would be too crazy.

Ever is about 9 1/2 months now.  We moved her bed into Berean's room, and that has been going well.  Ever goes to bed around 8pm and sleeps until 7 or 8.  She occasionally will get up earlier than that to nurse and then goes back to sleep.  I am having to supplement a little, and that helps her to sleep longer.  She shares a bedtime story with Bre most nights, and then we give her a kiss and pop her in bed.

When one of us goes to get her in the morning she is usually just looking around, and when she sees us she starts kicking her legs with great rhythm and abandon.  It is the same thing she does in the bathtub.  That girl loves to kick those little legs!

This little girl really likes to eat.  She eats baby food, but also is quite good at bananas, bread with jelly, waffles and pancakes.  She can eat soft fruits, vegetables and beans.  She is not a big fan of pasta.  She is doing better at "big people food" and really does prefer to feed herself.

She is not crawling yet, and even though we are anxious for this milestone, we are also kind of happy that she can't get everything yet.  She likes to put things in her mouth and I will be quite busy as soon as she can get wherever she wants to go.  She tries to move, but usually ends up going backwards or gets frustrated.An eager sibling is always ready to run over to "rescue" her and either dumps more toys in her lap, or delivers her to my lap.

Ever loves her siblings and her Mom and Dad.  She watches the other kids and laughs and laughs.  It is so funny because she knows when they are being silly and she is quite willing to give them lots of positive feedback.  She demands attention when anyone walks in the room- if they don't pay enough attention to her, she tries to get their attention by making little noises, then louder noises.  She rewards anyone who acknowledges her with a big grin.  I haven't had her to the clinic lately, but she will be going soon and then I will see how big she is!

As Deacon often says, "I think we have the happiest baby in the world!"

Catch Up


I have pictures to post,

kid updates to write,

thoughts in my head.

I feel like I am always playing catch up.  I want to do better at blogging, just like I want to do better at staying organized, keeping my house clean, eating healthy and "playing" more.

I am sad when I look back for birthday pictures/updates and see that I never managed to write them, and I am going to try to prioritize my blog at a higher level.  We'll see.

but for now, here are some quick goal updates.  Hopefully I will get the kid updates/current pictures out as the week goes on...

Social: This fall I started meeting with 2 friends to work through a Beth Moore Study.  We do the daily lessons on our own and then meet once a week (late at night after kids are in bed) to watch the DVD lesson together.  It is very informal.  We watch the DVD and then we just catch up on life.  It is a nice "adult" break in my week.  The study is really good too, and is challenging me in a lot of ways.  I was skeptical of Beth Moore for a long time, until I did one of her studies- now I want to go through them all.

Marriage: Life's been busy.  I am all about date nights being raking leaves and heating up leftover pizza, but Noah likes to do more formal (and less productive :) dates, and we need to work a little harder on that.  I have friends with relationship drama and I was thinking how nice it is not to have that...of course we have conflicts, and we need to work on things and we can always do better, but it is good.

Kids: School, play, changing diapers, helping with conflicts- it is my daily life, my daily joy, my daily struggle and my daily calling.  I love my kids.  People wonder why I have so many children, I wonder why they don't have as many children.  They are each different, and each very fascinating.  I love to analyze and watch people, and I have 5 charming little subjects, right in my own home.  After a full day of being a mom, I need my break at night.  I am trying to figure out how to get everyone in bed by 8, so that I have  a little time to do other things and still go to bed at an ok time.  This may require eating without Noah etc, so it requires some thought.

Exercise: My long runs were killing me, because I never got them done.  I was always having some other problem or situation coming up and they would get pushed off.  This fall I enrolled the kids in some classes at the Y, and now I have a set schedule of my exercise.  On Tuesdays I run as far as I can at a sub 8 min mile pace and then slow down until I get to 3 miles.  So far I can pretty consistently do 1.5 miles in just under 12 minutes.  Last time I was able to go back to 8 min mile pace after a short break.  My goal is 3 miles in 24 minutes by Christmas.  I also do strength training on Tuesdays.  On Wednesdays I swim laps.  On Thursdays  I run 3 miles as fast as I can.  My last time was 25 minutes and 40 seconds.  I also do strength training on Thursdays.  Noah and I do push ups on MWF.  I would tell you more about that, but we are in training for a casual competition,and I don't want to give away our status.  I am supposed to fit in a long run on the weekend, but that is very difficult to get done.

Yard: We are mostly done cutting down trees and last weekend we rented a woodchipper and chipped up all the branches and extraneous wood we had laying around.  The lot looks much neater and bigger.

House: The domestic chores are still a struggle, and I think they always will be.  We have a lot of people in a small space.  We are here a lot, and we have lots hobbies, activities to keep track of.  All that generates a lot of stuff.  I want to go through things and purge again, but that takes a lot of time and effort.  The boys are helping more, and I am going to increase that even more (slowly though, so they don't notice).

Homeschool: It is good.  I like it. It is a lot of work, but it is  rewarding and I feel very strongly that it is the right thing for our family.

Well, I have a whole day packed full of stuff tomorrow, better try to get some sleep!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Monday, October 8, 2012

10 Reasons I Love Homeschooling

I feel very strongly that homeschooling is right for our family.  It is a bonus that I love doing it!  Now, there are days that things don't go right, but after 5 kids I have learned that tomorrow is a new day, and I try not to get too worked up about it.

Here are 10 reasons why I love homeschooling my kids:

1. I am learning so much!  Now, you might think that I should already know basic 3rd grade history, geography and science, but the truth is, there are things that I have forgotten.  I supplement their text books with books from the library, and I am picking up tidbits of information all of the time!  In fact, I don't even like Deacon to do his history on his own, because then I miss stuff :)

2. Reviewing phonics is never a bad thing.  Phonics has never made much sense to me, but going through it as an adult is very beneficial.

3. If one of my kids is interested in something, we can do a lot of extra work and research on the subject.  If there is something that is not interesting to them, we can just plow through, get it done and move on.

4. We have time during our school day for AWANA

5.  I am there during the day for their instruction, so I am also the one that is there to field all their questions.  This often leads to opportunities to discuss Biblical world view and the Scriptures.

6. FLEXIBILITY!  I don't have to meet busses., I don't have to call and say they won't be at school.  If I decide that we are going to have a day off, or a light day I can do so.  If they are in good learning moods,  we can do twice the amount of work.

7.  They are around to help with the running of the household and to interact with their younger siblings.

8.  The boys have lots of free time, because we can get done with school so quickly.  They have lots of fun building with their legos, running around outside  and genuinely enjoying being together.  I love that they can do the things that they love during the day.

9.  Appointments during the afternoon- when we are done with school, but the public school hasn't let out yet!

10. I know exactly what they are learning, and what they are supposed to know.  Because of that, all of our week (and weekend) is prime time for casual reinforcement and review of the weeks lessons.

There are things that I don't like about homeschooling.  For example, I dislike projects, science experiments and making lunch.   It bothers me sometimes that I can't get out with my little ones to do "age appropriate" play groups.  But when it is all said and done, the good outweighs the bad and I am glad I have the opportunity to be a homeschooling mom!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Iowa in September

Earlier in September we went to Iowa to visit Noah's grandparents.  The kids love to visit Grandpa Jim and Grandma Ruth.  They talk fondly of the house, the park, the food and of course Gpa and Gma.  

The gardening stool was a big hit with Roman, Linc and Berean.  Roman was interested in tinkering with it and attaching things to it, and Linc and Bre just liked to ride.  Linc and Bre are starting to play together more, and that is cute to see.

Lincoln and Berean 

Don't they look like they should be on a motorcyle?

I followed the kids around to the back garden to find Berean heading up the fence.  That girl hates to be left behind!  She may wear pink, but she can climb as well as the boys ever could!

Some day my gardens will look as beautiful as the ones that Grandma Ruth tends!