Thursday, March 29, 2012

Thinking About Laziness

I love the Book of Proverbs, with its pithy and wise advice. One of the children and I worked on memorizing the following verse this week:

Proverbs 18:9

New Living Translation (NLT)
9 A lazy person is as bad as
someone who destroys things.

Now, how is this true? As I explained to my daughter, if a person isn't doing what she should do, things will fall apart around her. She may not intend to cause harm or disarray or entropy, but by being lazy, she will allow deterioriation -- maybe in terms of relationships, maybe in terms of personal items, maybe in terms of growing mounds of laundry, maybe in terms of clutter.
So being lazy is not a good thing! It is interesting that laziness doesn't pop up for me as a "serious sin" but actually it can be. When we choose to lie around or do what WE want to do, instead of what our duties are, we are causing damage. And we are really being selfish. One interesting thing in our home is that we have so many little workers that sometimes one will say, "Why can't so-and-so do this job?" There really always is someone else though we only transfer jobs for a good reason (like someone is injured or sick.)
Now, I am not habitually lazy. I have lots of faults, but that is not one of them. I've been a dedicated worker for a long time and have driven myself hard in school, in the workplace, and as a mother and wife.
But the one time I am tempted to be "lazy" is when I am sick. It's like a part of my brain that is always pushing me forward says, "Ok, you are sick. You can take it easily until you get better." Now there is some sense to resting when sick, but part of me wants to do NOTHING. I can usually do SOMETHING. The question is, how much?
Well, I'm not sick, but I am 32 weeks pregnant. And as is usual for me at this stage in the pregnancy, I'm having a hard time physically. The last week I've had several bad afternoons. Today was bad. I tried to take a nap, but was kept awake by sharp ligament pains. I started having frequent contractions, some of them mildly painful. I did what I've been told to do -- drank a lot of liquids and rested. Thankfully, the contractions did STOP and I feel much better now. It isn't just the contractions, though they are worrisome -- I just don't feel good quite often. Food doesn't go down that well sometimes and I'm very tired and weary.
Now, it is too early to have this kid. And I did end up in the hospital at 30 weeks with our 2nd child to stop contractions. So I need to be seriously CAREFUL about not overdoing things. Really, resting and hydrating are the correct response when I am not doing well.
But...where is the line between laziness and being sensibly cautious? When I am lying down, what should I be doing? My tendency is to pick up a fun and easy book. Should I be reading something more challenging? When I do feel better, how much should I try to accomplish?
It strikes me how easy it is to take advantage of other people. Kevin is very faithful and works hard to care for me and the kids. He is also cautious about my health in late pregnancy, and often tells me to rest. I so appreciate him and his hard work for our sakes!
I don't want to take advantage of him, or anyone else. But how easy it is to be selfish and think, "Well...I'm not doing great so I'll let someone else do this job that is usually mine."
So I keep praying. I keep talking to Kevin about what he thinks I should and should not do. I try to communicate well with others about how I am feeling and what needs to be done.
And I work on remembering the counter truth, that my value as a person is not based on what I accomplish, but who I am in Jesus Christ. He is the One who makes me valuable as a person, and He is the One who gives me wisdom to do what I SHOULD do.

Twin Bonks

Two of my sweet girls whacked themselves throughly yesterday.

I think Lydia's is obvious. She was working outside feeding chickens when she smashed into a tall pole at the end of the chicken coop. She was carrying a pail and was watching it.  OUCH! 

And then Sarah, who just learned how to climb the stairs, fell DOWN the stairs for the first time in her short life.  Well, half the stairs.  Only half.  Um, that's quite a ways for a little kumquat.

Of course we were concerned about both kids but they are fine.  Lydia didn't damage the eye itself, and Sarah just has a beautiful, knobby bruise on her forehead.

Thank you Lord for watching over our active kids.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Homeschool Assessment Tonight!

I'm pleased that I have pulled the children's portfolios together and tonight is the big night when I meet with a certified Ohio teacher for their homeschool asssessments. 

It is early to do that...I usually wait until May...but Baby Boy comes in May.

Of course, going through the children's work always makes me look back at our year and contemplate how we did.

And every year, I am pleased.  It was a good school year. 

That is not to say that everything went smoothly. As usual, some bright ideas went by the wayside. As usual, some of my plans didn't pan out and I had to change gears mid stream (hmmm, I think that is a mixed metaphor.)

This particular year I got pregnant in early September, which made October and November and December challenging as I was battling early pregnancy nausea. 

But in the midst of it all, we learned a lot.  Naomi and Lydia participated in Na-No-Wri-Mo, the National Novel Writing Month.  Both produces wonderful novels.  Naomi's was 10,000 words long and very creative, amazingly so.  Lydia had never written much before but produced a 2000 word story about a charming bunch of kittens.

Isaac's handwriting improved to the point that he was able to fill in much of his own work.  He still has a glitch but he is able to do his own math problems and answer short Bible questions. His reading continued to improve as the end of the year, he had read at least one complex 300 page long book.  His love for graphic novels continues unabated, I promise you!

Joseph was probably my greatest concern for the year.  Every one of my children is delightfully different. Joseph is a very hands on child with a passion for tools and machines and science.  I wondered at the beginning of the year if he was also a budding dyslexic, as he mixed his "m" and "n" and his "d" and "b" often, and was struggling with reading.  He turned 7 in August, by the way.

This year he made a lot of progress. He is still not a fluent reader, but a few days ago he spontaneously read the title of one of my books "No Way Down:  Life and Death on K2" without any trouble.  A little light came on in my head -- Ok, this boy has made major progress with reading!  He also isn't mixing letters much anymore.

He's still not fluent, though.  And really, fluency  is more about ME than my kid.  He is only 7. It is fine he is not a fluent reader. But a fluent reader can teach himself much more easily than a child who is still learning to read.  And I have Miriam (only 17 months younger) growing up fast and finding time for them both, and Angela, and Sarah, and the new baby, is going to make next year exciting!

But God will make a way, I know that.  I need to pray for wisdom, and not worry.  It may be that over the summer his reading will get to the point that he can read a list of instructions and learn to do some of his work on his own.

Incidentally, the older 3 children do much of their work on their own now. I write up a list of instructions for the week and they tackle their work by themselves.  I am, of course, available to help if needed.

So, in spite of pregnancy and occasional illness and all the surprises that life brings -- it was a good academic year.  Goodbye 2011/2012.  Hello 2012/2013 (which starts at the beginning of April in our home.)

Leftovers are My Friend

 This is our refrigerator.  It is not a pristine environment, nor is it extremely well organized.  It tends to be quite full of food, some of it LEFTOVERS!

  Let me talk a bit about leftovers.  One of the little things I've learned in the last few years is that "leftovers are my friend" (I am not sure about the grammar there..."friend"?  "friends"?)

   Ok, back to our regularly scheduled blog.

   We eat a lot.  A LOT.  There are 9 of us stuffing food in our mouths, and one baby in my womb encouraging me to eat more. 

  A couple of years ago, I tended to throw away little dribs and drabs of food.  I'd look at a half cup of leftover corn and think, "Oh, that's not enough to bother saving" and I'd toss it in the chicken pan.

  I have learned the error of my ways (mostly).  We keep purchasing small glass containers, and I try to save as much food as possible.  And fairly often, we'll have a lunch composed of a little of this and a little of that.  You know, it works quite well!  We may have only small portions of 4 or 5 things, but put together they make up a meal for the hungry horde.

  Interestingly, this new understanding follows in the footsteps of my paternal grandmother (now deceased), who came of age during the Great Depression.  I of course am far younger, and when I spent time with her I occasionally found myself exasperated with her refrigerator. It was always completely stuffed and sometimes I found it difficult to FIND things in it.

  But I think she learned the value of food while struggling to make ends meet in the 1930's.  So she didn't throw food away.  Now, I'll be honest -- I am not sure what happened to the food. She was also an incredible cook and I don't remember eating many leftovers at her table. Did she eat it?  Creatively disguise it and serve it again?  I'm not sure.

  Anyway, I'm all for saving food if possible now.  It does presumably cut down on our grocery bill, and requires less cooking from me.

 Of course, sometimes food gets left on someone's plate (we don't make the kids "clean their plates") and plenty of food does go into the chicken pan.  And I'll say that is yet another reason I like chickens -- they will eat our leftover food so I feel like it isn't entirely going to waste.  Our extra food is producing at least some eggs :-).

Sunday, March 25, 2012


Yesterday, I tackled our shoe situation.

You can well imagine that with 7 children, it takes major effort to keep track of shoes.  They keep growing, for one thing.  A pair of shoes that worked a few months ago may well not work now.  Secondly, it is hard to convince ALL the children, ALL the time, that shoes need to be returned to the shoe bin.  Lastly, our 1 year old daughter is a shoe enthusiast.  She loves to pick them up and carry them off, so I keep finding a stray shoe or 2 in odd corners.

Lydia has been reminding me that she needs some sandals, and indeed she does.  But I didn't want to run off to the store without a better feel for our shoe needs. 

So I made a chart. I was SO organized!  Kids' names on the top, 5 catagories going down:  atheletic shoes, sandals, nice shoes, chicken shoes (for when the kids go out into the chicken coop...very messy!), and casual shoes.

So yesterday, I spent a surprising amount of time going through our shoe tub, removing outgrown shoes, and looking for shoes that fit in the basement storage room.

We keep our extra clothes and shoes there and we have a LOT of extras.  We have more storage space than most people have, and I dislike shopping, and I'm cheap, so I tend to hold onto shoes and clothes.  I really should get rid of more things but it takes time to make those decisions.  (I DO donate many things to Goodwill, but probably could safely get rid of a couple of hundred garments but don't have the energy.)

You would think that with 2 older girls, our younger girls would be set for shoes but it only sort of worked out that way.  Miriam and Angela do have sandals, nice shoes, and casual shoes from their older sisters.  They don't have athletic shoes but probably don't need them.

The big girls and Joseph do need sandals.

And almost everyone needs chicken shoes, as they deteriorate.

Yes, a trip to Target or K-mart is in our future.  Trouble is, I am really not feeling too perky. When will I have the time and energy?  Well, I'll make it happen.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Locked Door

Yesterday was VERY busy. I worked, and then midway through the day Kevin and I took Sarah to an orthopedics appointment (more on that in another post.)

By evening, I was wiped out.  The older 3 children stayed up late watching Kevin play a game. He sent them off to bed.  A few minutes later (at close to 10 p.m.), Isaac came trailing back down with the news that his door was locked.

And Joseph, who had inadvertently locked the door, was fast asleep.

Joseph is...a deep sleeper.  Various people called him, but he didn't stir.

So our younger son was trapped in his room (albeit happily) and our older son was separated from his bed.

Kevin went to work with tools, but had no luck.

I am proud to say that I figured out how to open the door.  Hooray for the mama!

(I usually am not good at that kind of thing, but learned how to open simple locks when I was a child.)

So whew, emergency over, and Isaac went to bed.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Book Review: A Good and Perfect Gift by Amy Julia Beckert

Every once in a while, I casually pick up a book at the library and am completely blessed by it.

Such was true with A Good and Perfect Gift, by Amy Julia Beckert.

Amy is a Christian mother of 3 children, and the eldest was unexpectedly born with Down Syndrome.  Amy herself is an intellectual person with a stellar academic career.  At the time of her first daughter's birth, Amy and her husband were "house parents" at a very elite boarding school whose attendees were all college bound.  It was an environment where academic achievement was celebrated and lauded, and mental and physical limitations were largely unknown.

It came as a terrible shock for Amy when her little girl was born with DS.  The book chronicles that shock and the subsequent struggles both in terms of caring for her daughter (who had a few minor health issues like hearing loss) and the grieving of her picture of "the ideal daughter".

It is an honest book and a very happy one. Because Amy and her husband loved their darling from the start, and soon embraced Down Syndrome as an ingetral part of who their daughter is.  There was much wrestling with DS but through the Lord, she triumphed over her fears for her daughter and her future.

I can relate to Amy in some ways in that I also have an "academic" background...I spent 9.5 YEARS in college and emerged with a Ph.D. in engineering.  In reading Amy's book, I am reminded of my own journey of evaluating the true worth of a person and how it relates to academic achievement.

I am thankful that I realized a long time ago that academic achievement doesn't guarantee either happiness or godliness. Some of the world's smartest, most educated people are total jerks or worse.  Some people with very limited intellectual abilities are devoted followers of Christ and bring light into the lives of those they meet. 

As Christians, we must, we MUST, overcome our cultural "bent" which says that the intellectual elite are better than others.  I believe that those with intellectual gifts should use them for God's glory, definitely. But may we never suggest that a "smart" person is better than anyone else.

On another note, I found Amy's journey to be a comfort as I look forward to the birth of our son.  We chose not to get specific testing for chromosomal defects, though we have had 2 ultrasounds.  Neither showed any markers for any kind of chromosomal problem.  This kid looks great!  Still, I AM 42 and at higher risk than younger moms for Down Syndrome. 

I have thought more than once that it would be a huge shock to give birth and find out the baby has a serious medical problem like Down Syndrome (I say serious becuase DS children are more prone to a variety of ills.)  It is a comfort to read the story of a woman who experienced just that shock, and to know that God walked her through it and brought her to a place of peace and joy with her daughter.

Pregnancy Update

Tomorrow I am 31 weeks along in this pregnancy.  The baby will almost certainly be born at least one week early, so I have 8 weeks (or less) to go!

8 weeks, 8 weeks, 8 weeks...

It isn't very long at all and I know in some ways it will fly by.  In other ways, it will seem to last a  long time :-).

I find pregnancy difficult but not extraordinarily difficult.  Isaac's ophthalmologist is due 4 weeks before I am, and when I saw her on Friday she was limping significantly because one leg is swelling up for no apparent reason.  Another friend of mine with 2 children was hospitalized during pregnancy with a variety of issues, including high blood pressure and gestational diabetes.

So I know how blessed I am.  I feel sick for 3+ months at the beginning, but I can keep food down.  I feel bulbous and struggle with sleeping well the last trimester, but have never had serious swelling or indeed any serious symptoms except for preterm contractions. Those are worrisome and I need to take things easily -- not a trivial thing for a mama of many!

Right now I definitely feel slower and wearier.  Climbing stairs is no longer a jaunty, energetic thing -- I plod.  I sometimes feel very weary midway through the day and have to sit down and rest.

The early days of a newborn's life are hard for the mother as he is up a lot at night. But I'm usually so uncomfortable by the end of pregnancy that I am just SO ready to have the baby, and of course I look forward to meeting our little guy face to face!

So, 8 weeks, 8 weeks, 8 weeks...

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Cockerels are out in their coop!

Naomi and Lydia carried the cockerels out to the new coop, one by one.

Kevin stood by to open the door to put them in the coop.

Happy cockerels (can't really call them chicks anymore. They are big!)

We put a heat lamp out for the night and they did very well.

Temperatures are supposed to cool off in a week or so. We'll see. Today the high is supposed to be 86 degrees!  CRAZY!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Parenting a "Slow" Child

One of our daughters is a slowpoke.  We have 5 daughters and I won't name the specific child :-).

When I say "slow", I don't mean intellectually slow. She's VERY bright, almost scary bright.

BUT she moves slowly, especially in the morning.  She hops up pretty well out of bed, but then sits at the table and s..l..o..w..l..y eats breakfast, all the while chattering away about whatever is on her mind.  After breakfast, she usually needs to use the bathroom and again, she spends an amazing amount of time "hanging out on the potty". On occasion, I have realized she's been sitting on the potty for 20+ minutes!  And no, there is nothing medical going on, she's just concerned about being thoroughly cleaned up to the point of obsessive.  And often a sibling sneaks in to chat, and that's fun too!

  All this is kind of cute, but I admit it is a struggle too. Mornings are incredibly busy around here. We have breakfast to eat and then a big chore time follows.  Often, one child's chores are dependent on another child finishing his/her chores.  When this child doesn't do her chores, it holds everyone else up.

  I am struggling to be patient, I admit it.  I know everyone is different and few people are as enthusiastic about mornings as I am.  But it really doesn't work well for our little girl to be still doing chores at 9 a.m. because the entire school schedule gets messed up.

All of this is very minor in the grand scheme of things, but I still need wisdom.  I know, of course, that I shouldn't get exasperated.  But what SHOULD I do?  Any suggestions?

Friday, March 16, 2012

Our tree is budding!

Can you see the buds?  Our lone tree near the house is showing that spring is upon us. I am so happy!

30 weeks pregnant!

He's getting big, and so am I!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

New Coop

Kevin took off yesterday to build a new chicken coop for our rapidly growing chicks. They aren't really chicks anymore. They are big!

It isn't quite done yet, but it is close. You can see the design is triangular.  The covered portion will provide protection when the rain is coming down.  We will hang their food and water in that area as well.  This coop doesn't have a floor so will be set on grass...when the grass gets eaten and thoroughly trampled, we'll move the coop to a new area so they'll have fresh grass to eat and bugs to hunt for.

I'm very proud of my amazing husband. He is so talented with his hands ... and his head!

Here are the young chickens at their favorite activity, bellying up to the food bar.  We got them 3 weeks ago and I think they are ten times the size they were as baby chicks!  They are growing feathers.  And they have big feet.  I guess all chickens do, but somehow I really notice their big feet!

In 5 or 6 weeks, they'll be off to the butcher. Depending on the weather, we'll move them out into their new coop in the next week or 2.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Good-bye Skunk

So he or she was back on our porch this afternoon, eating cat food.  Kevin banged at the door and it started moving off the porch, but it was walking and acting strangely.  It looked sick and really shouldn't have been out at that hour as skunks are largely nocturnal.  Rabies was a possibility so Kevin decided it should be killed.

But it took a while to get our gun and Kevin missed his 2 shots.  Mr. (or Ms.) Skunk waddled into the neighbor's yard. So we called the neighbor.  The neighbor likes animals, wild and domestic, but was also concerned about its behavior.  But by the time he got HIS gun out, the skunk had moved on to the next neighbor's yard!

Another phone call to that neighbor and he came out and shot the skunk.  Whew!  I am thankful as I don't like the idea of an ill skunk near our kids, cats, or chickens.  Of course, I don't have anything in particular against skunks...I just want them out away from our house.  So this is a warning to other skunks...stay away from our house!

Excitement with an Animal

Yesterday, Kevin and our electrician friend Mr. Pete spent most of the day working on wiring our barn for electricity. They have now worked 3 full days already on this project and both are ready to be done.

But of course, there was a problem. And there still is a problem. I don't know much about electrical work, but the gist of it is that there is a box buried somewhere between the house and the barn, and in the box are some wires, and one of the wires has a problem.  But we don't know where the box is.  To explain further, the barn is built on the foundation of an apartment that burned down years ago.  It of course had electricity and we knew where the endpoint was, so thought wiring the barn wouldn't be a big problem.

So late in the afternoon, Kevin started pulling up boards from our deck in search of the elusive box.  He didn't find it and maybe it had nothing to do with the next excitement, but I suspect it did.

Isaac went out front as the weather was warming rapidly, it was sunny, and the kids are aching to run around outside like calves released from their stalls.  I heard a call from him:

"Mom, there is a small animal on the front porch!"

Ok, small animal. Squirrel?  Mouse?  Chipmunk? Someone's run away gerbil? 

"Is it alive or dead?"  I asked.  I wondered if this was some present from the cats.

"It's alive!" 

Ok, maybe I'd better check this out.

"Mom, I think it's a skunk!"

Um, Ok, I had better CHECK THIS OUT!

I raced to the front door and looked out.  Sure enough, there was by this time a skunk waddling up our driveway, headed towards the barn. And there was quite the smell of skunk in the air.

Kevin and Mr. Pete were in the basement and I informed them of the latest turn of events.  Our house smelled like skunk.  Isaac really didn't, fortunately, but we had him change his clothes and take a shower.  For a very short time, he and the skunk were on the porch at the same time, which is an unnerving state of affairs.

That was mostly the end of the story, or at least we hope it was the end.  I talked to the neighbor on the phone, and from his house he could see the skunk heading into our back 3 acres. We hope it stays there and doesn't come back.

We've had skunks before, of course.  Kevin shot one, and 2 others have drowned in our pool.  I have no objection to skunks in an objective sense, but I don't want a skunk spraying us, our kids, or our catst, and I don't want a skunk going after our chickens -- which apparently they WILL do.

Tune in for further updates...

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Yearly Assessment for Homeschooling

I've decided to go ahead and do our yearly assessment in the next few weeks. This assessment is legally required by Ohio; well, I should say, it is one way to fulfill a legal requirement. The other popular way to fulfill the legal requirement is to have the children take a standardized test.  I have no moral objection to that option, but have always gone the assessment route.

I've never done my assessment in March before, but then I've never had a baby who will be born in May before.  Does this mean the school year is "done"?  Well, one of the great JOYS of homeschooling is figuring out our own schedule. We started school on August 1st and took only 1 break at Christmas.  So yes, we are done.

But that doesn't mean we won't start up 'til fall. My plan is as follows:

Next week:  normal school
Following week:  finishing up a few things and doing some "outside the box" activities while I pull together the children's portfolios.
Last week of March:  no school but I will have the assessment.

First week of April we will start the next school year. I hope to teach through the end of April, by which time I'll be very pregnant and ready to take a break.  I am guessing we'll be off until July when we will start up again.

Into the Garage

We've learned a lot during our first foray into raising chicks.

Data point #1:  Chicks are smelly.

The books said so. They were right.  Our go to book, "Living With Chickens", said that after 2 weeks we would want them out of the house. OH yeah.  We wanted them out of the house several days ago but figuring out their new place to live took some time.

Last night, Kevin toiled away for a couple of hours to fashion this new chick habitat in our garage.  It has a warmer.  It has food and water.  It has a chick thermometer in a plastic bag on the floor so we can monitor the temperature in there.  So far, the thermometer has measured between 82 and 86 degrees in that one spot. The chicks seem happy enough and are not crowded together...indeed, many seem to be enjoying some more space to move around.

Tonight the temperature is supposed to drop outside significantly compared to last night. We will probably rig up a second heat lamp to make sure the chicks don't get too cold.  So long as there is a place in their cage to move if they get too warm, they should be fine.

We've decided that in the future, we will wait until spring to start chicks so they don't have to be inside at all. They are cute and fuzzy... but smelly.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

New Digs for the Chicks

  The entry room where the chicks live now was getting very stinky, and I suggested that we needed to change their litter -- again!  When Kevin started that process, he discovered their cardboard box was, well, disgusting. So out it went, and Kevin constructed this new habitat for them made out of chicken wire and tarp.   It is somewhat bigger and we also purchased new food and water dishes for them. They are growing SO fast.

  The process of moving them out of the old box and getting them into the new box took some time -- and the time was lengthened after Kevin cut his finger quite badly.  The smallest chick apparently had a very hard time with the process because he started failing on Sunday afternoon and was dead by evening.  Poor chickie.  Our chicken book says that most groups of chicks have at least one runt, and runts usually die because something is wrong with them.  So it was sad but not unexpected.

  Kevin and I have spent a fair amount of time pondering the next step for the chicks. We want them out of the house soon as they are smelly.  We thought about our sun room, but after putting a thermometer out there yesterday we realized the temperature swings are too dramatic in there.  Sometimes it is cold, sometimes it gets positively hot when the sun is shining in.  That will be hard on the chicks.  So the current plan is to move them into the garage, which is cold but consistently cold.  We'll purchase another heat lamp and we think we can keep their new home warm enough.  By the end of the week they should be happy in 85 degree temperatures.

  They are growing fast and their feathers are developing.  In 2 or 3 weeks we hope to move them outside into a coop that Kevin will build.  We'll have the heat lamp out there for chilly nights, and they should be large and feathery enough to do well. We hope.

  This whole experiment has been slightly less well planned than is ideal. In retrospect, we probably should have waited until mid March to buy chicks as the temperatures outside are still cold at night at the end of March, when this batch will be ready to move outside.  We got them early (in February) because we didn't want Butchering Time to Coincide with Baby Time.  Our little boy is due in May so we want to butcher the chickens before that.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

This Week in Pictures

It was a busy week.  I was sick last Sunday with the infamous stomach virus that has been making the rounds in our family.  Ugh, I have not felt that badly in a LONG time.  Ugh.  Sunday was a blur as I slept most of the day.  So thankful that Kevin was home and able to run things.

Monday and Tuesday I was still somewhat ill, but certainly much better.  Our older 3 kids were able to do their schoolwork though a couple of things had to be left for the coming week as I didn't have the energy to help.

 Wednesday was my work day and I was able to go.  When we got home, the children were happily playing outside. It was an amazing day -- in the upper 60's.  Ah, spring!  Well, a brief hint of spring.  Of course it cooled back down the next day.

Here is a picture of our chicks, taken Thursday.  You can tell they are growing like hungry weeds.  Wow!  They are supposed to grow fast, so we are happy.  Kevin is thinking about the next stage of their lives as we want to move them out of the house soon.  They've done well, but are starting to get quite smelly.  We lost one chick on Sunday, but the other 15 are thriving.

Here is Sarah, looking cute.  She has finally figured out how to walk everywhere.  She is also amazingly busy and leaves a trail of mess behind her unless we corral her somewhere. 

Friday morning, we visited some local friends.  Here is Naomi, playing on a trampoline and enjoying it thoroughly. I got to visit with a dear friend and the children had a wonderful couple of hours.  There were 13 children in the house under the age of 13 and it was incredible how well they all did.  We didn't have many altercations and a delightful time was had by all.

On the way home, I stopped by the house of some local relatives who had purchased Christmas gifts for our children but had not had the opportunity to get out to our house.  So the morning ended with our children opening late Christmas gifts.  Needless to say, they were ecstatic.  So it was an exciting, and fun, morning for our family.

Unfortunately, the afternoon brought my first round of semi regular contractions in this pregnancy.  I am 28 weeks and this is the time I usually start having problems. I spent the afternoon resting as much as possible, and by evening felt better.  I will probably have to curtail trips out and about with all the kids from here to the end of the pregnancy. I was in the hospital with preterm labor with our 2nd child and we don't want a repeat of that.

Last, but not least, let me mention our much maligned adult laying hens.  There are 13 of them now, as Kevin dispatched the 3 roosters that were crowing a lot and not (obviously) producing any eggs.  The hens have picked up the pace and we have been getting an average of 6 to 7 eggs a day. That's not magnificent, but it could be worse too...

Friday, March 2, 2012

God's Direction and Promise

One of my favorite passages of Scripture is:

Philippians 4:6-7

Today's New International Version (TNIV)
6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
I memorized it long ago, and repeat these words to myself often.  Why?  Well, I guess a big reason is that I AM prone to worry.
I know I said this a few months ago, but high school is weighing on me.  We will homeschool for high school unless something truly bizarre happens.  I definitely feel God's call to homeschool the children during that time.  I know God will make a way. But I find myself doubting ... not God, but myself. I know I'm not perfect, I know I'm weak.  I fear my own limitations.
But really, that describes every living person on earth, doesn't it?  No one is perfect.  God works through the weaknesses of everyone.
I know part of the problem is that my personality lends itself to planning ahead. I was one of those students who usually got work done EARLY.  If a term paper was due on March 31st, I had it done at least a week ahead of time.  I was NEVER up late the night before finishing it. Whenever I feel pressed for time, I am prone to panic.
So I have been planning ahead in terms of reading books and thinking about high school.  Naomi is 12 and will be "7th grade" next year.  So we have a couple of years before high school begins, though of course her academic load will get heavier in the next 2 years as well. 
Naturally, the people writing about high school from a homeschool perspective don't agree with one another 100%.  One of the beauties of homeschooling is that there are many ways to homeschool effectively.  But in a way, that is challenging for someone like me, who loves to plan ahead.  I want to know EXACTLY how we are going to do this.  And I don't.  That of course leads me closer to the Lord as I have to keep trusting Him with the unknowns.
Part of the excitement of next year will be guiding our older children while caring for 2 little people.  Sometimes I can hardly BELIEVE that our son will be born in less than 3 months.  We are going to have a little baby when school starts back up here in July or August.  It really seems more than I can do in my own strength.  And it is.  I think God has me right where He wants me as I learn to trust Him more.