Thursday, May 29, 2014


I'm not feeling very inspired to make this interesting but thought I'd post a quick update.

I had an OB appointment on Tuesday. Everything looks good.  I had my first non stress test and Little Miss was asleep or bored during the first 20 minutes, so she didn't move much.  So I was on that machine for a LONG time. She finally woke up and started thrashing around like the OB wanted to see.

Wednesday, Angela got some new purple glasses. That means we've gotten new glasses for all but the 2 littles, and theirs are on order.  This year, we made sure everyone got the ones that darken in sunlight, which is good as it means their eyes are more protected.

  Oh, the pool!  It's open. The kids have gone swimming. It is cold.

It was 68 when they went in the first time.  The first pic shows the kids nervously stepping into the pool.  As of today, the water was up to ... 70 degrees. That is still cold, in my book, but the kids love it.
  Kevin has shot 4 raccoons and 1 possum in the last 2 weeks, all when the offending animal was on our porch eating cat food. I have to admit it is shocking HOW many animals there have been!  We don't like such creatures near our chickens or our kids, but it isn't fun for Kevin having to shoot them and then deal with the corpses.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Pool and a Birthday

  A few days ago, our pool looked like this...

 But after much hard work from Kevin, and some help from the kids, today it looks like...


The winter cover is off, the solar cover is on. The water is blue instead of green.  The water is still murky, but progress is being made.

It is COLD!  Like in the 60's.  But with the solar cover on, and some sunshine in the forecast, it should come up quickly.

We celebrated Daniel's birthday this weekend.  He turned 2 this week!

2 year olds don't care a lot about presents, but we did buy him a cow plush toy that makes a "mooing" sound when he presses the stomach. Daniel loves cows.  He often wants to go outside and listen for mooing, as one time in the last week he and Kevin were able to hear a cow mooing from a neighbor farm.

Here is our precious boy with a mound of stuffed animals.  He got up tired and just needed a little time relaxing on the floor.

In other news, we're about 3 weeks off from having this baby.  Wow.

I'm feeling excited but also anxious.  I don't like the physical weakness after a C-section, and Daniel has been extra clingy the last week or so.  He is very "mommy centered" right now and I'm concerned he'll have a hard time when Little Miss is born and I can't lift him for 2 months. Please pray he adjusts well.

But of course I am also very excited we'll be meeting our sweet girl face to face, very soon!

Friday, May 23, 2014

2 this week...

Our little man turns 2 this week.  Isn't he a sweetie?  He is a handsome, charming little fellow and, as I've said in previous posts, a real handful.

Today he stunned me and I don't stun easily with 7 previous toddlers under my belt (so to speak.)

I was reading a book to Sarah in her room, and had sensible removed the ladder from the bunk bed so that Daniel couldn't climb up it onto the top bunk where Angela sleeps.  So he climbed up the end of the lower bunk, grabbed the upper bunk, lifted himself up, and climbed over the edge onto the top bunk. So he managed to climb to the top bunk without a ladder. I was right there, I saw it, and still can hardly believe he was able to do it at the tender age of (almost) 2.

Like Gold!

It is funny the things that excite me these days:

Our chickens have been laying well and we've been low on egg containers.  Not any more!  :-)

And A River Ran Through It

2 nights ago, we got totally, completely, deluged with rain.

It really was impressive!

This is the view out our sun room.

Someone posted on Facebook that their rain gauge measured 5.5 inches of rain!

I don't know if we got that much, but it poured hard for a couple of hours so we at least got a couple of inches.

Not for the first time, we were super thankful we live on a hill.  We have never had flooding in the basement.  Obviously, we had plenty of water pouring into our back yard but it was harmless pouring -- our chickens were fine.

We took cover in the basement for at least an hour as the winds were fierce.  That would have been fine except that it was past Daniel's bed time. I have observed that the Little Lad has a fiercer desire (even than usual) to climb on things when he is tired.  So he climbed in the basement...on the furniture, on a book shelf, and even stood (wobbling) on the foosball table before I pulled him down.

He is a dear child, but very tiring.

We didn't lose power so all was well with us.  A friend had flooding in her basement and much of her art work was ruined, which was sad.

Today was beautiful and all was back to normal out back.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

TRULY Giant Egg

Scary.  Thankfully, no chicken died in the making of that egg.

A Little Sick...

So I have a cold.  I think I have a decent immune system as I don't get sick all that often, and I'm feeling a tad grumpy about this cold isn't anything too terrible. I just need to wait it out.

Headache, sore throat, congestion, nosebleeds...ah well, life happens.

I am taking things very easily. Kevin very graciously took time off from work yesterday to run our 2 youngest children to an eye doctor appointment. Both Sarah and Daniel are far sighted and in glasses.  Sarah's eyes, in particular, are very bad.  Without her glasses, she crosses her eyes trying to focus.  So we thought it important to have her eyes checked now instead of waiting a few months 'til after the baby is born.  The results were encouraging. She isn't showing any signs of amblyopia (which is a possibility because one eye is worse than the other and she has an astigmatism.)  Both of the children are seeing quite well with glasses, praise the Lord.  Kevin picked out new frames for their new glasses and I'll post a pic after they come in.

I went to an OB appointment yesterday. Everything looks good.  I am so thankful I've never had blood pressure issues. My blood sugars have been decent -- maybe a tad higher now that I am sick, but decent.  I'm doing fine.

I weighed 168 lbs. yesterday, so have gained about 33 lbs already. Usually I plateau at around 36 weeks and I'm 35 weeks, so I probably won't quite hit 170.  Kevin and I joke that I try to catch up with him during pregnancy and never quite make it.  He is around 175 lbs.

I pegged out at 173 lbs with Daniel, and he was our biggest baby. I'm not expecting Little Girl to be over 7 lb, but I hope she is at least 6 lb. Naomi and Angela were under 6 lb.

I have less than a month before I'm supposed to have this baby.  Wow.  Well, yes, it'll be less than a month.  In some ways, that is hard to believe. I hope to make it at least 38 weeks and at 39 weeks, we'll have the planned C-section.

Lots of people have said, "Wow, this pregnancy went fast!" and you know, it did! 

I am really looking forward to meeting our sweet girl face to face. I'm also stressed about the post partum period, when I won't be able to lift anyone but the baby and when I will be recovering from fairly major surgery. I am SO thankful for big kids who can help a lot, but I'm a "doer" and it isn't easy for me to step back. I've already had to depend a lot on Kevin and the big kids. Kevin has been doing all the grocery shopping and the vast majority of the errands.  The kids are doing most of the housework these days.  I am sort of the brains behind housework in that I direct my troops.  I guess I'm the General. But my nature is to be in the trenches helping more.  But the baby needs me to be resting and taking care of me and her, and I am.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014


A few days ago, I glanced out our front door and observed a raccoon eating our cat food, in broad daylight.

Well, THAT wasn't good. First of all, we don't want a raccoon eating our cat food. Secondly, we don't want a raccoon around at all, because raccoons love fresh chicken.  Thirdly, raccoons are supposed to be nocturnal and the fact that this one was wandering around during the day was unnerving.  It looked thin and odd, so rabies was a possibility.

So obviously the raccoon needed to die.  We put some food out in the grass and that evening, Kevin got a shot at it.  He thought he hit it but not right in the body, as it ran off and we never found the body. That was regrettable as of course we don't want any animal to suffer.  It is possible he missed it entirely because...

2 afternoons ago, I looked out on the porch and once again, a raccoon was eating our cat food!  It might have been the same one, maybe a different one.

Again, we put food out in the grass.  About 10:15 p.m., I was lying in bed trying to get to sleep when I realized I was ravenous (yep, that happens when I'm 8 months pregnant.)  So I went downstairs, glanced outside, and Mr. or Mrs. Raccoon was out eating cat food.

This time, Kevin got it right in the body.  It ran about 20 feet and died.  So, problem solved with that one.

We know that at least one raccoon was living under our deck and indeed there may be more.  So we're keeping a close eye on our cat food. 

Our chickens have been Ok, so far.  Thankfully. We lost 9 chickens a year ago to 2 marauding raccoons who figured out how to get into the chicken yard.  Raccoons are smart.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Happy Mother's Day!

  A very happy Mother's Day to all you moms out there.

  We made it to church today. I was emotional because...I don't know?  Because I'm emotional. Because I'm 34 weeks pregnant and hormonal through the roof, and sometimes I'm weepy for no particular reason.

 Our pastor preached a sermon that was focused on moms but, I hope, was helpful for everyone. He also prayed for, and blessed, all the moms in the church. He made specific mention of those for whom Mother's Day is a hard day.  I still think sadly of a friend from 20 years ago whose only pregnancy ended in a miscarriage on Mother's Day :-(.

 The middle kids all made something for me at church, with of course the help of the wonderful staff in the children's programs. 3 of them brought candy home for ME, but of course I can't eat it so they shared it.

  We got home around 12:30 p.m., had a hasty lunch, and I put Daniel down for his nap while the older kids played games.  I went to bed as well. For a while, I could hear Daniel kicking the crib but eventually he fell asleep.

  I got up around 2:30 p.m. and called my mother, and we had a nice chat.  Around 3:45 p.m. I decided Daniel should get up from his nap.  I went up to find him totally zonked out, and very warm as I had overdressed him (I tend to do that.)

  When he did wake up, he was a total crank.  It is 5:30 p.m. and he has spent a remarkable amount of the last 2 hours and 15 minutes crying.  Sigh. 

  In other little kid news, Sarah got up this morning and changed into underwear but did not use the potty. And then she peed on the floor in the basement. has really been the very epitome of motherhood. I've had super cranky little kids. I've had warm hugs and loving words from older kids.  The baby I'm carrying has been kicking me enthusiastically.

So I guess it has been a good day.  I find it hard dealing with a toddler who is very unhappy but that too is life.  I am very thankful to be a mother.  I am thankful be a mother of many. I am thankful for the gift of children. I am thankful for a wonderful and supportive husband.

Happy Mother's Day!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

More Organizing and Decluttering

 This is our study on the main floor of our house.  Until last week, it didn't have a bed -- but we pulled pieces together from our basement and got a mattress from Kevin's grandmother's house, and voila...a bed.  We put it in there because after the baby is born, it will be convenient to have a bed where I can rest without climbing stairs. 

We originally were sensible and pushed the bed against the wall, but our Little Man quickly discovered he could climb on the bed and rip down sections of our American History timeline. So now the bed is in the middle of the room.

I also went through a pile of cards that were mixed all together in a bin.  I threw out  probably half of the cards as they were either ripped and torn and creased, or the decks were incomplete.  Just a little organization, but it is nice having it better.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

This Week in Pictures

My parents came to visit last week.  They kindly took our kids to the Boonshoft Museum extension near us, which is in a mall.  I don't have pictures yet but apparently it was TONS of fun. We may try to go there again when the baby is old enough.  One huge advantage over the normal Boonshoft is that the extension is only on one level, so the adult(s) can easily keep track of kids.  The normal Boonshoft has one glorious spot with ladders and climbing ropes and slides that spread over 3 levels. It is a nightmare to keep track of kids there, though the kids love it.

My mother made dresses and shirts for all the kids!  Even Oholimibah.  (That is my parents pet name for the baby I am carrying. We won't really name her that!)  Doesn't Sarah look adorable?  My parents got the fabric in Hawaii, when they visited my brother.

Here is Daniel in his shirt.  Isn't he a cutie?  He is also a climber.  Not even 2, and climbing on our play towers with ease. 

We've had a cool spring but this morning the temperatures were lovely. All 8 kids were out and about, playing happily.  It is supposed to hit the lower 80's this afternoon.

I sent the kids around the path in our back 3 acres, and asked Naomi to take pictures.  Spring is fantastic, and I love spring flowers.
My brother and his wife had their first child, a son, at the beginning of the year.   I had already given them my boy clothes for a little baby, but their son is growing fast and needs new clothing.   I went through my clothing tubs yesterday and discovered that my 6 to 12 month clothing for babies is almost exclusively MALE.  So I'm going to box it all up and send it off.  I am Ok with putting a little girl in blue, but I prefer to avoid trucks and planes and very "boyish" clothes and all these seemed gender specific to a boy. That means I'll need to acquire girl clothes for our little lady when she is bigger -- I have enough newborn stuff -- but I know from past experience that friends will give us some and we can buy other items from Once Upon a Child.  It'll be fine.

I am including this picture because I think it is funny.  Daniel (who yes, is wearing a girlish sleepy outfit) is displaying a remarkable capacity for eating whole apples. My other young kids have insisted for YEARS that apples must be cut up "just so" for them to eat them.  Daniel has started pushing a chair over to the fruit bowl and helping himself to an apple, which he then eats while marching around the house. I am not thrilled with that and lately have been sending him to the table. But still...look at how well he has munched into that apple!

In other news, I've had a pretty good week physically with the pregnancy.  Kevin and the kids have been ill with a virus.  Mostly the kids have runny noses and headaches.  I think I got a touch of it too.  I had a bad ankle for a couple of days, and suspect I tweaked it somehow and the pain was more than usual due to the virus.  I have been tired but have not had many contractions.  My blood sugars have been good.  So I'm very happy with how things are going.  Mid June is the current plan on delivering the baby.

Oh...names.  We don't have a name picked out. I suggested again to Kevin we should work on a name and his idea yesterday was Georgie Winifred.  Hmmmm....(he was joking -- that does not fit the Biblical model with the other girls.)

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Benge Biography: Ben Carson

  The husband and wife team of Geoff and Janet Benge has written literally dozens of biographies for children in the past decade.  The Benge biographies are written at probably age 9 to 11 reading level.  Some of their books are about Christian heroes, others about Heroes of History.

  I love this series.  The Benges have written books about some people I had previously never heard of, and their stories are inspirational.  I have been discerning in when I let our kids read certain books, because while the Benges aren't too explicit, the truth is that some of the people they write about experienced VERY hard things. So, for example, I didn't let our fluent 7 year olds read about Corrie Ten Boom. Even writing carefully, the Holocaust is a challenging theme. 

 In general, I strongly prefer the Christian Hero ones, but this week I read a book that really is both -- a biography of famed neurosurgeon Ben Carson.

  This one is particularly interesting in that Carson is still very much alive and kicking. He is only 19 years older than me and has made forays into the political arena after retiring from neurosurgery.

 So...Ben Carson.  Born in inner city Detroit.  Father was a low level criminal and a bigamist.  Carson's mother was in a difficult family situation as a young person, and wanted to get out so she married Carson's father when he was 27 and she was...13. I'm serious, she was 13.

  At some point, Carson's mother realized his father had another family on the side, and she had the courage to put her foot down and send him away.  From then on, she raised her 2 sons alone.

  Honestly, there is nothing about Carson's early life that is very encouraging.  His mother was illiterate and working multiple low wage jobs.  His father was out of the picture.  They were living in a difficult environment and the schools weren't good.  But thanks to the Lord's power, and the strength of his mother's love and diligence and encouragement, Carson went on to become a world renowned neurosurgeon who is most famous for successfully separating twins conjoined at the head.  He is also a strong Christian and has managed to keep his head straight, in spite of many honors and accolades. 

  I won't spoil the whole story, but I did want to philosophize a bit about the role of education in Carson's life.

  For Carson, education was his ticket to freedom and a valuable life.  He is obviously very intelligent, though that wasn't obvious when he was young -- he did horribly in school for several years, and it took those years to discover that he couldn't see!  The poor kid didn't know that the world isn't supposed to be a fuzzy blur and when a vision test showed he needed glasses, and he got them, his academic performance improved immensely.

  Ok, so...academics.  His mother was, as I mentioned, illiterate. But she was determined her boys were going to live a better life and she pushed them hard academically.  And I applaud that.

  But, I admit that as a homeschooling mother, I am not a big fan of devoting oneself to academics over everything else.  I'm praying for wisdom on this, since I am the primary teacher of our children. My perception is that our culture worships academics, to the point that sometimes family relationships and other relationships go by the wayside. 

  Kevin and I both are pretty bright cookies. We both got PhD's in engineering.  We both find math and science come relatively easily. 

 When I was a teen and 20 something, academics were my one big area of success.  I worked very very hard at school. I studied and thought and pondered and toiled.  And I was very successful.  But I wasn't great at interacting with other people and I almost always put my academic work over my relationships.

  I was out of balance.  The academics had their place and were important, but I'll say honestly that I "over studied". It would have been better SOMETIMES for me to set the books aside and spend time with family and friends.  I wasn't a total hermit, but I can look back now and see that a more well rounded life would have been healthier for me.

  Looking at my own kids, I've got some that are very diligent academically, and others that love to procrastinate.  I am seeking God's wisdom in encouraging them to be hard working in every area of life -- for some, relationships come easily and academics are not too exciting -- for others, diligence with academics is easy, but getting along well with others is more difficult.

  I just read an article about a young man who was accepted to all 8 Ivy League colleges.  I was pleased to read that he applied to all because he wasn't sure he could get into ANY. He wasn't just trying to rack up acceptances.  The article went on and on about how he was an amazing student, and athlete, and volunteered at the hospital, and played 3 instruments. The colleges obviously loved him! all that, does he spend any time with his FAMILY?  His parents are pushing him hard and they pushed him to be an academic superstar.  I probably sound critical and I don't mean to be. I'm sure his parents love him very much and want what is best for him. But I do STRONGLY question the idea that the "best life" for a teen is for him to be out of the house ALL the time except when he is toiling away at homework.  As a culture, we separate.  So many of our children and teens spend almost no quality or quantity time with parents and siblings.  I don't think that is good.

  So as Naomi steps into high school next year, I'm thinking and praying about the role of academics in HER life.  Most of all, I want her (and all the children) to do God's will.  If He wants any of our kids to be renowned neurosurgeons, that child will need to hit the books hard.  But...I'm not focused on our kids being lawyers or doctors or engineers.  If that is where God wants them, than that is where they should be. But if He wants plumbers and book editors and child care providers, I'm happy about that too. 

May we have wisdom to walk the road the LORD has for us.

This Week...

SIX dental appointments this week!  Those appointments dominated Monday and Tuesday.  One child got sick when she was supposed to go, so that is pushed off until next week and then we are done with dental appointments for half a year.

None of the children had cavities, which is good news.  We like our dentist and the hygienists who care for us all. 

Yesterday was a relaxing day.  I stayed home all day except for a quick trip to the library.

Kevin talked to our big girls about how "I wasn't always sensible about resting enough" and that I shouldn't be cooking much. Bless Naomi, she has really taken that to heart and has been preparing a lot of food around here.  Yesterday she made lunch, and Naomi and Lydia together made dinner.  It helps a great deal for me not to stand long periods and I am truly grateful!

I read a magazine article (at the dentist's office) about a mother of 6 who thought she was "done" having children at age 34. Then at age 42, she was surprised by a 7th pregnancy.  She had many fears and concerns about how the baby would disrupt their family life, and her pregnancy wasn't easy.  Then, to her surprise the whole family completely went bananas about the baby and he bonded them all together in ways she couldn't imagine.

For me, there has been no big break between pregnancies.  This child I am carrying is the 3rd full term pregnancy that I've had in my 40's.  I was encouraged by this magazine article that it really IS Ok that pregnancy is hard for me.  I am doing fine in so many ways, but I'm tired a lot, my digestion is messed up, and I have periods when I have many (presumably Braxton Hicks) contractions. I too wonder sometimes how life will be after the baby is born in terms of finding the time to do everything that needs done.

But this little one is a blessing to us all.  We're already in love with her, and know when we see her sweet little face, we'll be even more in love. The first few weeks after her birth won't be easy, but they will be good.

In other random news, my parents are coming for a visit today!  We are excited.

American Heritage Girl Fashion Show

Our older 4 girls have been participating in a local American Heritage Girl troop for a year and a few months.  AHG is a scouting organization with similarities to the Girl Scouts, but it is Christ based.  The Girl Scouts, on a national level anyway, have been getting more and more liberal.  I am sure there are some local GS troops with leadership that aligns with our core beliefs, but AHG is Christian centered all the way. So we are truly grateful a troop is nearby.

Naomi and Lydia are the oldest girls in the troop.  Naomi had to work hard this year, because she only had one year at her level (the Pioneer level) and to get her level award, she had to complete all the work that typically takes 2 years. She did it!  I am very proud of her.  Not only did she do it, she did it with almost NO help from me. I was too busy with kids, and too pregnant, to help her get organized and keep track of the badges.  So she just took control and did it. That's my girl!

Last Sunday was a BIG day as Naomi and Lydia culminated months of work of organizing a troop fashion show. Their theme was "the Color Spectrum" and almost all the girls wore an outfit centered around a specific color.  One girl did wear a rainbow outfit, which was totally appropriate!

Kevin was eager to see our girls in action, so he took them to the show while I stayed home and napped :-). 

This was before the show.  Miriam did red, and Angela did black.  Both our middle girls got rid of their shoes before their runway "walk". 

The leadership specifically asked that we not post public pics of other kids, so I won't.  But the other girls in the troop also did a charming job and it was fun.  Kevin kindly recorded it so I got to see the whole show.

Afterwards, Naomi met with the board of review and was cleared to receive her level award.