Thursday, April 29, 2010

More Time

Everybody says they need more hours in their days. I know I say that. The husband always says that. He really could use a few more. It's 10:30 pm and he's mowing the neighbors farm with a flashlight. He didn't get home till almost 8. Overtime again. That makes Friday night, Saturday night, Sunday all day, yesterday morning, last night and tonight. (Sorry about that rabbit trail).

I read something yesterday that shed a new light on the more hours in a day. "There are just enough hours in the day to do what God has for you to do." Wow! There's a thought.

I think I'm spending to much time trying to do. You know, housework, schoolwork, cooking, etc.

I wonder why I don't spend more time building relationships, especially with my kids? Why don't I play that game that Leeny keeps asking to play? Or read that book to Bubby? I know he's capable of reading it himself and you'd think he'd be sick to death of my voice, but he wants me to read it. Or why not have that tea party with The Bug? Why? Is my housework and such more important? Of course not!

God gave me these kids and the blessing of being home with them. He gave me the same 24 hours as the next person. I need to spend my time differently. I need to enjoy this time more. The housework isn't going to end. We live on a farm so the dirt is always going to come in even if I just swept the floor 5 minutes ago. But the kids won't always be here.

I don't need more hours in my day. I need to put the important things first.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Cleaning Rooms

We were ready to walk out the door for church on Sunday. Because we were running late, we decided to go visit a church down the road instead of going to our church. As we were heading out the door, the phone rang. The Husband was going to work. Again. Friday night. Saturday night. And now Sunday.
I told the kids to go change, we were staying home. Then I told them they might as well start on their rooms. Talk about a mess!
They started at 10:30. Bubby didn't finish until 7. His room looked great. He cleaned off shelves, boxed up old toys, swept his floor, etc. Here he is organizing tapes and Cd's. Caught in the act of cleaning.

The girls were done in about 2 hours. Needless to say, their room isn't nearly as well done as his. Here is what I found them doing.
The Bug was supposedly straightening her bed. Should I buy it? Maybe.

Leeny, Leeny, Leeny. What to do with her? This is obviously NOT cleaning. Inventory? Maybe.

I'll just pretend she was taking inventory of all the clothes that need to be boxed up.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


The Bug posted this sign outside her and Leeny's room

I was so excited to see that while she spelled savior wrong, at least she spelled "save your" right.

Then I caught her spelling for believe in, "belivin."

Oh well. I think we're making progress.

Monday, April 26, 2010

A Taste for Reading

The Baby has developed a taste for reading. Literally.

I was trying to read a couple of Leeny's favorites from when she was little to The Baby. She just tried to lick the pictures.

She did like to look at the pictures though before tasting. I love watching her. I know she'll outgrow this very soon.

Then she'll like to read, just like her big brother and sisters.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Little Baker

The Bug has developed an interest in baking. So I decided to use that to my advantage and teach her one of my favorite cakes, homemade angel food.

She did a great job of separating the egg whites and measuring. We really had a lot of fun. And she did pretty much all of it herself.

We had only a small mess when we were finished. Now I understand why my mom always cleaned up the kitchen after me. I cleaned up after The Bug. Must be a mom thing. Or maybe we don't want ants. Anyway, the counter was sticky.

The cake baked and we let it cool. Then we planned to get a picture of it - to remember how perfectly it turned out.'s angel food and homemade at that. We couldn't resist. Here's the picture with a few pieces gone.

Good job Bug! You did a wonderful job! You're well on your way to being a great cake maker!

Just Venting

I might just smack the next stranger who says, with pity, that I have my hands full! or "are they all yours?" or "do you know what causes that?" So in honor of all those people I've compiled a list of comebacks. And one day, I may just use one of the funny ones instead of the nice replies.

1. You have your hands full

*If you think my hands are full, you should see my heart.

*Yes we know what causes it....and we love doing it.

*My hands are full but my wallet is empty. Can you spare a five?

*Don't say anything, just look puzzled at your hands. (This does obviously not work if you are carrying a baby :-)

*Yes, but I would rather have my hands full than empty!

2. Are they all yours?

*No, I like to gather up all the neighbors' kids and then go shopping

*HEHE!No, actually two are the mailman's and I am not sure whose is that one.....

*No, I picked up a couple extra in the produce aisle.

*Gee, I never heard that question before!

*Yes, and they're such good kids!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (the kids love that one!)

*I don't know. How many do you count?

*Yes. But if you have any you don't want, I'll gladly take them, too .

*No. I've been an avid collector for years and just picked these up in the food court!

*Yes, we just enjoy sex soooooo much!

*Yes, I always want just one more.

3. Don't you know what causes that?

*No, please tell me!

*Of course, don't you?

*Yes, we do know what causes that and we like it very much, thank you.

*Oh yes, we finally figured it out and we now keep the tooth brushes in seperate glasses!

*Oh yes, I now wash my husband's underwear seperately.

*Water or sex but I don't want to give up either.

4. Don't you have a television?

*Yes, but we only get X-rated channels

*Yes! Did you know there are 28 porn channels in this area?

*No, we have much better things to do at night!

Really? I only have 4 kids. That doesn't really seem like a lot. But obviously it is, because I can't go anywhere where people don't comment about it or look at me like some freak of nature.

Ok. I'm done venting now. Thanks to all the large families who've come up with those comebacks. That list cracks me up.

Leeny and Chores

(Pardon the outfit. Leeny thinks since the pants and shirt have stripes, it's a match. The Bug is mortified by her lack of fashion sense.)
Leeny told The Husband that she was ready to start getting allowance like Bubby and The Bug. She wanted to know how much he planned to pay her.
The Husband wanted to know what she planned to do in order to earn allowance. She said she plans to take care of the dairy goats. He told her that he'd have to see how hard of a worker she was before he'd know how much she was worth.
Leeny takes her jobs seriously. She's always been a great helper. And eager too. So out she went to water. But she watered them with a flower watering can! Why I'm surprised, I don't know. That's just like her. Instead of a few trips carrying 1 gallon watering buckets, she took at least 20 trips using her little flower waterer.

I hope she realizes that she's not getting paid per trip!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Harder Than It Looks

He has big shoes to fill. His daddy is one of the hardest working men I've ever known. And his daddy never complains about hard work. Bubby wants to be like his daddy.
Bubby is purchasing his herd of cattle from Papa T. He's got his first payment plan and he's got 5 cows. The cows live down the road at Uncle R's farm.

The pasture has thistles and lots of fence that needs checked. The thistles must be dug out. Daddy isn't doing it for him.

So he drives his 6-wheeler a mile down the road with a watch, a spade and a water bottle and goes to work. A 10 year-old man in the making. I drive down to check on him. (He's still my little guy and there are 5 big cows and a bull in that pasture!) He's dug out about 6 thistles in 35 minutes. "This is harder than it looks," he says.

So is being a man, Bubby. So is being a man.

Monday, April 19, 2010


Love, joy, peace, patience, KINDNESS...fruits of the spirit. There are more like gentleness, faithfulness, goodness and self-control. But today, especially this morning, I was having a hard time displaying any of these. I woke up on the wrong side of the bed after a fitful night of rest thanks to The Baby.

Kindness was the one I was struggling with the most, followed closely by patience, peace, joy, well all of them really. I knew I was crabby. I knew I should take some time to read my Bible and pray. But I didn't....too much to do. So I grouched along.

About noon, I was finally doing schoolwork with Leeny. We got to her Bible lesson. Talk about feeling like a hypocrite! The lesson was on how God always hears us. (I know that and sure wish he hadn't been hearing!) But what really got me was the last part. "God is so happy when you think of others in a loving way. God will help you be kind even when you don't feel like it."

I didn't want to read it out loud. My conscience was speaking loud and clear. I sure didn't want one of them to point out that mommy wasn't being kind. Thankfully, Leeny didn't say anything about it and the other 2 were out of the kitchen.

But it spoke to me. And isn't that just like God? He meets us where we are and tells us what we need to hear. Even if it comes from a small child's Bible study.

Friday, April 16, 2010

A Different Perspective

I took The Baby in for her 6 month check-up and Leeny tagged along. We took her reading lesson along. You know, making the most of our time. At the end of the lesson, she is to read 2 sentences. Then I ask her some questions about what she read and there is a picture that corresponds to the reading.
The lesson was about a boy named Sam and a rock. The picture clearly showed Sam trying to push a big rock down a hill out of the path. Anybody could see that.
Not Leeny. She said that Sam was getting ready to ride that rock down the hill. I couldn't help but laugh. Because only Leeny would see it that way. And that is exactly what my little dare-devil would try.

My 2nd Conscience

I have a certain child who is painfully honest. For example she has told me that I need to start using "that cream" so you don't get wrinkles in your face. She pointed out to Memaw that she can't see her belly button. She doesn't do it out of a mean spirit, it's just her. It usually cracks us up. But sometimes she is like a much needed 2nd conscience, especially when I'm ignoring mine.
Yesterday during our running around, lunch time had come and gone and we had not eaten. My blood sugar was dropping fast and I was starting to get crabby. We finally got to the restaurant and we were ordering drinks. Bubby was in la-la land (actually he was reading the menu, but as I mentioned, I was a crab). I ordered mine, the girls ordered theirs, and then it was his turn. He looks up and says, "I'll have the shrimp." We tell him that we're ordering drinks, and he gets this blank look like he hadn't even considered that. Of course I'm ready to strangle him!
About 5 minutes later some guy walks by and says the same thing that everybody says when you have more than the average 1.3 kids. "Boy you have your hand full." I in turn tell him that my hands are very blessed.
Then that child, the one who can be my conscience, says, "You know mom, sometimes you don't act like your blessed." OUCH! And she was right. I wasn't acted blessed right then. So I apologized and adjusted my attitude. Bubby got his shrimp. We all ate and laughed and the time was redeemed.
Someday I hope that child gets a 2nd conscience too.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Real Life + Real Books = Education

Today we had to run lots of errands. We needed the oil changed in the Suburban. All but Leeny needed some summer clothes, so a trip for clothes was in order. Of course we couldn't forget the shoes. Bubby's were almost a whole size too small. We had to eat. So Oh Charlie's was decided on. Finishing up the day was a mega trip to Sam's. No chance for schooling today, right? Wrong.

I had never really considered the value of real life - at least in recording it as a school day. But at convention this year, it seemed to be a recurring theme for me. Mind you, I have no intention of skipping the books. I just never counted real life as a "school day". Today though, I did.

We started out listening to a story about Bach and his music. It was fun realizing how much of his music we hear on tv and radio commercials. So we covered music appreciation and history. During the oil change, Bubby read a book and watched the news. Current events? Maybe. Reading? Check. Shopping was defiantly a math lesson (for me too - I was counting kids the whole time). On and on the list goes. We even listened to a Science Adventure CD on the way home.

You know what I realized though? I can't always categorize everything my kids learn - math, reading, history, etc. But I can't underestimate the things they learn that don't fit. Like learning to look people in the eye and order for themselves in a restaurant and patience when 40 jars of baby food have to price corrected one. jar. at. a. time. Where do you put following directions, building relationships, meeting new people, being able to comfortably communicate with people of all ages and unloading and putting away tons of food and clothes?

I don't know. Sometimes it just doesn't fit in the educational boxes. But they are learning.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Her First Tooth

Leeny was born independent. She likes to do things for herself. But pull out her first tooth?

Yep. She did.

"I pulled it down a little bit and then I twisted it really hard and then I heard a crack and then, that's all."

Monday, April 12, 2010

The B-I-B-L-E

Don't you just love those moments when you realize that you've overlooked something your child should know? You know what I'm talking about. Like the day you realize that your kid can read but doesn't know their phone number. Or when your child can add but doesn't know what behind or beside mean. Well today we had one of those moments.
Leeny and I were reading her Bible Lesson. She was loving it! We got to the end and it was suggested to sing The B-I-B-L-E. So I start singing. She just stares at me. She tells me she likes that song. So I ask her why she's not singing it. She says she's never heard that song before.
WHAT?!!? Every child learns that song. If not at Sunday School and church, than at home. Right? I mean it's kinda up there with The ABC's, Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star and Jesus Loves Me. I think I better check to see if she knows those. How embarrassing!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

We're Back

Well The Baby and I returned from the Homeschool Convention with lots of goodies. She was a great baby, hardly crying or fussing. She also became mobile while in Ohio. I put her on the blanket in the hotel room with a few toys and when I looked at her just a few minutes later, she was 5 feet away trying to eat...dare I confess.... my dirty tennis shoe! It's time to really keep an eye on her.

This was my 3rd year attending. I'm always amazed to see how many homeschoolers there are. It's reassuring to see people like yourself, to know you're not alone on this journey of educating your children at home.

What did I learn? Pretty much that I need to relax. Quit trying to bring the school home. Read aloud more, play lots of games together, let them play and explore. And, a LOT less bookwork! Basically I need to remember that education "is not the filling of a bucket, but the lighting of a fire."

So here goes. We're going to grow butterflies in some kit thing I bought. A magnifying glass is going to open up a whole new world of little things (and I've always wanted to start a fire with one). We're going to play games and we're going to get back to loving learning.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Helping Daddy

The kids love to spend time with their dad. And he loves spending time with them. The Husband isn't one to play games or even join in the kids' play too often. But, he is fantastic about letting them tag along with whatever he is working on and making that "fun" for them. Usually he puts them to work. Usually they are VERY dirty and/or greasy when they get done.

This is a very old trailer that The Husband decided to spiff up for storing hay for all the critters.

The kids did a great job "painting" with used oil. I didn't even have to throw away any clothes after they finished!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Six Months

I know time flies, but this speed is crazy! It was just 1 year ago this week that we started telling people that we were expecting....again. After so many losses, I held my breath for the next 6 months. And now she is 6 months old. The baby is such a blessing, such an answer to prayer. The completion to our family (at least for now). She was sooooo worth the wait!

The Baby at 2 days.

The American Girls

3 months

Almost 6 months

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


I'm fairly picky about what my children eat. Now before you think poorly of me, I do allow them candy, ice cream and other forms of junk. I just put strict limits on it, much preferring they eat fresh fruit, cheese and good meals. Sugar really winds Bubby and Leeny up. The kids know that they must always ask before they can have candy. Don't just help yourself.

This morning Leeny came in and told me she had a dream. Usually I only half listen to her dreams because...well, they're kinda hard to follow. Anyway she tells me something about a merry-go-round that she was riding with Bubby and The Bug. The merry-go-round had lots of candy on it and Bubby and The Bug ate it. She didn't eat any because she didn't know if it was ok.

I couldn't help but laugh. How's that for training? She even asks permission in her dreams.

Monday, April 5, 2010

The Park

What do Washington Park, Easter Break and an 80 degree day equal? A huge crowd! Mom and I hadn't even considered this when we set out for our fun day with my kids and Big Bird. Anyway it was packed! I guess everyone had the same idea. We did find a picnic table for our lunch and later, a bench for me to nurse the baby. And other than a few attractions that were swarming with kids, our bunch found plenty to do and a great time was had by all.

Big Bird loved the teeter-totter.

The baby enjoyed watching people and dropping toys, binkies, etc from her stroller.

Mom visiting with Leeny.

Bubby showing me how tall he's gotten. I used to have to lift him up to reach that. Where has the time gone?

Memaw J swinging the big girls.

Me with my bunch.

My mom with The Baby.

The Bug doing one of her favorite things.

We'll be planning another day here for sure. But it will be when other kids are in school!

No Worries

Weather here in Illinois is capable of crazy extremes. Last night a big storm rolled in, producing tornado warnings for our area. Now we have lived here for our whole lives. And we aren't highly excitable people. (I have watched my husband and son outside working during storms where any sane person would have taken cover. You know the storms where lightening is touching the ground and things that were intended to remain stationary, fly away). So we don't head for the basement. In fact, we've only went to the basement for a storm one time in 10 years. But last night was different.

The tornado warning was for here. Not 4 or 5 miles away. The kids were sound asleep, exhausted after a full day of play and Easter candy. The husband decided to wake the kids and send them to the basement. First he woke The Bug and Leeny. They grabbed their blankets and went downstairs - no panic, just nice and easy. Then he went to wake Bubby while I grabbed the baby. Bubby sat up, looked through him, yawned and laid back down. It took 2 or 3 times of almost hollering at him to get him up. He wasn't worried...we have storms all the time he said.

Apparently we need to work on tornado and fire drills.

Saturday, April 3, 2010


We haven't had the best of luck with breeding turkeys. We chose to raise a variety that would be able to "handle" things on their own. (Apparently that is rare with modern breeds.) It's been almost 2 years since we purchased Tom and Jenny #1. They were about a year old then. Tom acted like a tom. Jenny didn't quite know what she was. The poor gal started growing a beard. And she just didn't act quite right. By the end of that summer, something had chewed off her head and we were left with a lonely Tom.

Feeling pity for the downhearted Tom, we bought Jenny #2 last spring. She seemed to get that she was a girl. No beards. And she got the whole nesting concept. Only problem was, she wouldn't lay eggs. And she was a thief! She would steal chicken eggs and lay on them. Tom, not happy with the situation, would rid the nest of the eggs. She in turn would continue to sit....only on rocks....for almost 6 months! Toward the end of the nesting spell, The Husband put a few chicken eggs under her. Tom apparently had given up on Jenny #2, resigning himself to a life of solitude. He left the eggs alone and they hatched. She then gave up nesting and returned to Tom's side.

Last month Bubby and I witnessed Tom and know....."handling" things. Right in my backyard. Right on the path to my clothesline. Anyway we now have one happy Tom.

And guess who's sitting on a nest of several TURKEY eggs? That's right....Jenny!

I don't think she chose the best or safest spot to nest. It seems like she could easily be attacked by any number of things, including Leeny. Of course Leeny is who found the nest. But, we finally have a turkey that has laid her own eggs and is sitting on them. I guess I'll be happy with that.

No Fish

Today Bubby informed me that the pond across the road has no fish, only snapping turtles and frogs. Now I can't prove that there are fish as I've never went fishing there. Other people fish there so I'm guessing there must be some. But Bubby says there are not and the reason he knows is because he went for 30 minutes and had no luck. We may have to work on logic.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Best Mom

Isn't it funny how the littlest things make us "the best mom ever" or the "worst mom ever"?

This week I was awarded the positive one by this little man:


I let the kids make their own pizzas. Obviously I'm not a very fun mom if pizza making warrents that kind of compliment. But, I'll still savor the moment. It may be all to soon that I'm saddened by the opposite.

Here are some pictures of the fun.

Bubby working the dough.

Leeny "decorating" her pizza.

The Bug with her masterpiece

I think we'll be doing this again. They are an easy bunch to please.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

The Wrong Guy

While at soccer practice, one child was nasty to The Bug. He called her all sorts of names and said lots of mean things to her. I told her to grow thicker skin. I told her that's how little boys flirt. I told her to ignore the boy. Later, I was telling The Husband about the little boy and Bubby overheard. He said he was going to take care of it. Bubby is not the aggressive type, so I knew he wouldn't do anything.

The next day at soccer, I found Bubby had the boy cornered. He was just talking to the boy, so I wasn't too worried. Truth be told, I was kinda proud of him for standing up for his sister. Well the boy's mom was standing there too. She asked what was going on. I briefly explained the situation. I told her it was no big deal. The Bug needed thicker skin. She called the boy over and let him know that she wouldn't put up with him calling people names and she'd wash his mouth out with soap if she heard him.

We picked The Bug up for her soccer game. Bubby & I were pretty proud that the situation had been taken care of. The Bug was not happy, not happy at all. "Thanks guys. Now I'll have 2 people on my team that hate me." Two people? No, just the one that picked on you all the time, were my thoughts. She said, "You got the wrong guy!"

Oh no! I felt like an idiot. Of course, Bubby and I apologized. He to the boy, me to the mom. Next time I'll stick with my original thought. Bug, grow thicker skin.

Tomato Tree

Leeny and I were walking around the orchard. I told her I wanted to see if all our trees and bushes survived the winter. We started with the blackberries, then the raspberries, blueberries and grapes. Upon examination, she thought everything was dead. At each stop I would show her the new buds and explain how the plant was alive and that the buds would soon send forth new branches and leaves.

We moved on. I was checking each tree. "Mom, look! What tree is this?" First the 2 cherry trees, then each of the three apples, Leeny would show me the buds and tell me they were alive. We could even see the start of new leaves on some. She got excited, running ahead of me. "Oh no, these ones are dead." We were at the peach trees now. "Nope," I said. "Look closer and towards the bottom." She found the buds. The three peach trees were all alive. I moved on to the pears. Leeny didn't. She yells, "Mom, look at this tomato tree! It's really alive!" Tomato tree? She shows me the tag on the tree. "See mom, tomatoes." Oh boy! I sure hope our plums don't taste like tomatoes.