Friday, November 15, 2013

Nov 15, 2013

I will be honest, I've been in an off again on again funk lately. Is it the weather? Could be, considering, I really don't like being cold. Maybe it is the shorter days. It wouldn't surprise me. I can admit that my lack of personal fulfillment is a reason. Another thing that it could be is knowing that my kids are getting older and the battles that rage on both with them and in me along the journey.

I look at my children, each of them, and realize time is slipping away and some days it seems faster than it did before. I wonder, am I giving them all that they truly need? Am I building strong relationships with them? Do they have confidence, faith, and independence? Most importantly, do they know that I love them?

There are nights, as I lie in bed, when sleep evades me and I think upon the events of the day, I actually have to ask myself, did I hug them all? Did I tell them all, "I love you"? I think about how I yelled or replay in slow motion the way I crushed them with a word, an action, or the lack thereof. It seems like no matter how hard I try to grow, learn, and be a better parent, I often mess things up. When sleep struggles to find me, I battle with the visions of how empty they might feel as they lay in their beds.

Not all days are so dark and dreary, though, I do often find it difficult to remember. I have it pretty easy compared to many of my friends. None of my children have any serious issues that call for a team of medical, psychological, or other types of professionals. I know I am richly blessed and hopefully I am a much better parent than I think that I am. It isn't even about how I compare to other parents, but about how full my children's hearts are at the end of the day.

When I lay there, nothing else matters to me, than "Do they know I love them? Did I show them? Did I tell them?" It doesn't matter what lessons we did or didn't do. It doesn't matter where we did or didn't go. It doesn't matter what we did or didn't accomplish. If the house is a disaster, if the day didn't go by my script, it doesn't matter. I do not know when we will no longer be together, no longer have the opportunity to fill their hearts. They days speed away over and over again.  .

Monday, September 30, 2013

Harvest Season

Though we don't have anything to harvest this season, from our garden, it is a wonderful time of year. From our peach tree, my husband has made many jars of peach jam and some canned peaches. Thanks to friends, I've been able to make apple sauce and can it. I tried goat recently as well. It was good. Soon enough, we will be processing turkeys and lambs, to enjoy over the winter season. I'd like to try my hand at hunting deer as well, but might have to hold off until next season, due to preparation that still needs to be done.

There is something about the fall season, I've always loved. The colors, crisp air, the  way the sun shines as the rays filter through the vibrantly changing leaves. There is a peace in the air and a heart filled with celebratory ideas.

It is often during this season that I feel most creative. I participate in NaNoWriMo. My oldest 2 blessings have joined me in this adventure the past few years. Crafting seems more of a delight, although right now my sewing machine needs to get into the shop.  I also get a desire for a fall cleaning. It's like spring cleaning. The desire to declutter all the unnecessary things from my heart, mind, and home. To re-evaluate and make changes, in preparation for the more reclusive days of the winter.

This year, I feel cluttered with materials. There are things all over my house, but what of it do we actually need? Why do we keep some of the things we keep? Why do we even buy some of the things we buy? Sometimes I envy, though I know we shouldn't, those who start out more simply. Accepting that they don't have to have this, that, or the next thing. How much easier would life be, if we didn't clutter it with unnecessary junk?

I've decided that this year, the kids should be able to pick out ONE thing they want the most, (that we can actually give them), for their birthdays. That way they might, hopefully, appreciate their gift and realize a few things.

My hope for today, is to clear out my house. It can be difficult to achieve, when there are so many people, yet they are all focused on different achievements. But it can be done, if that one chooses not to be lazy.

I suppose that is a problem I have. I can be lazy, but worse than that, I have a hard time picking ONE goal and making it happen and not losing focus over all the billions of other things that should/could also be done. Giving myself permission to decided, "THIS" is what is happening and I'm going to see it through to the end, BEFORE I do something else. I think I'd get a lot more done if I'd work like that. One room, one step, one thought, one dream, one goal at a time. I don't have to always try to multitask and then end up overwhelmed and feeling like a failure.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

One Reason We Homeschool

Such a wonderful day today. Waking to my jolly, playful baby. Though, I would not have woken up on my own, it was pleasant to snuggle with him. He was able to peacefully return to sleep after a bit, but I was up for the day. Downstairs to get things tidied up before the tornado, I call my children, arrived.

Blessing #4 was the first to join me. Since it was quiet, and I felt sure the others would be asleep for a while longer, we went out to tend the farm. Fresh water for the chickens and the turkeys. No egg collection, since the hens were still sitting. Then off to the garden to clear around our beans and check on our other plants. Hoping to actually get other things. We have a lot of sunflowers growing. Most of them must've been planted by the birds. I'm hoping to make a lot of sunbutter with them.

Overjoyed by my return, Blessing #2 handed Blessing #5 over to me. "He's been crying for an hour!" She claimed. "I was only outside for about a half an hour."

"Time to make waffles!" She said excitedly. We are trying a new thing, where the girls plan the meals for 2 days of the week and it is their pleasure to try to make the meals themselves, with mom and dad standing by ready to assist. We made enough waffles to sticks some in the freezer for another time.



When breakfast was had, this clever little lady, decided it was time to start prepping for pizza rolls. She had decided to make homemade pizza rolls, which we later decided to just make mini pizzas. I pulled up a recipe for her and realized, she was right. The dough would need some time to rest! Away she went, to get it all put together. And away I went, to get Blessing #1 going on school work. By the time we were all done getting the little pizzas ready we had enough leftover to freeze some of them as well!






That's pretty much how our morning went. Cooking with Blessing #2, while #3,4, and 5 all played, and #1 did school work. Blessing #1 has been so good about getting her school work done this week, though, and didn't seem to mind.




Once lunch was over, we left the mess, even from breakfast, and continued on with lessons for both girls. I did manage to get out to the bank and to pick up antibiotics for Blessing #1. I'm not a fan of antibiotics, having taken WAY too many in my youth. I even considered not bothering, but decided, this once, I would go ahead.

Today, the girls got to do art lessons. I even sat down with Blessing #1 and did the lesson right a long with her. It was pretty fun.

 Mine
 Blessing #1's
 Blessing #2's (Hers is a cave drawing, but it is really hard to see what she drew!

Blessing #1 got  to make dinner tonight. She did pretty good prepping her veggies for her chicken lo mein. Her dad stepped in to help her with the rest of her meal making. It was pretty good stuff.



More school work for all 3 of the older kids, after dinner, along with some kitchen clean up. My husband decided that it was a good night to make some peach jelly, also. So we paused the clean up and got it made! Pretty excited.




The one thing that was "rough" about today, is that Blessing #5 must've figured out that a lot happens after he goes to bed, because he doesn't want to anymore. At least not at his normal bed time. In fact, he just woke up again!

(Look, I used lots of pictures this time! ;D )

Thursday, September 5, 2013

First Week is Almost Done.

The first week of our "official" school year, is already almost done.

Yesterday and today, I managed to get through all the boys' lessons, before the girls woke up. Then got Blessing #1 through her lessons. Blessing #2 didn't get all her lessons done yesterday, so had to finished yesterday's and today's.

 Yesterday afternoon, I left Blessing #2 in charge of Blessing #5, as she seems to enjoy it more. Then I rounded up Blessings #1 and #3, to gather up and take out the garbage. With his black cape and batman shirt on, Blessing #3 gladly pulled the trash cans to the front of the truck bed for me and back to the tail gate when it was time to unload them. Then it was off to the barn to care for the turkeys and sheep. Blessing #4 joined us. With the barn animals cared for, it was time to water the trees at the front of the driveway. We filled buckets and old juice bottles and milk jugs. Once the trees were watered, we parked the truck once more. Blessing #4 headed back to the house, with mail in hand, while the rest of us made our way to the chicken coop. We forgot to look for eggs, in the new spot the hens have been nesting in, but we got them lots of fresh water and food. By the time we were all done with that, it was time to get ready for church. We finished out the evening with a couple chapters from "The Witches" by Roald Dahl. It may seem strange to some to go to church, then come home and read a book like that. It seems weird to type it, honestly. However, it is a good opportunity to talk to my children about such topics and to give them facts vs. fantasy

Today, by the time lessons we completed, it was time for Blessings #1 and #2 to visit the dentist. Amazingly #2, who doesn't brush every day and sometimes I wonder if she pretends to brush more often than she actually does, was given the dentist's approval. Blessing #1, on the other hand, was in tears by the time we pulled out of the parking lot. The concern wasn't so much cavities as she only had one minor one and then a tooth that lost a filling. (It's the 3rd filling that has come out!) No, it couldn't be something as simple as a cavity, instead she has at least 5 teeth that the dentist highly recommended getting extracted. All baby teeth, that for some reason, have not let go of her poor mouth, to make room for her grown up teeth, which are so desperately trying to come forth. The hope is, that by extracting the infantile teeth, the adult teeth will be able to make the journey into their proper places. The idea of having her teeth pulled terrifies the poor child. Not so much the idea of what she might look like with all those missing teeth, but the anticipation that it will hurt beyond anything pain she's felt before.

We had a little time before taking Blessing #1 to practice, so we did what any normal family might do. We gathered together in our den and watched the Duggars. :)

When practice was underway, the rest of the crew and I, headed to the park The older 3 ran around playing their own games, once they were done with their mulch fight. Blessing #5 spent a little time sitting and laying in the grass and enjoying the textures.

We picked up Blessing #1 and then set out for the grocery store. My hope was, that it would be pretty empty, since it was later. I was right. What I didn't expect, but praise God for, is how amazingly well behaved and helpful my children were. They are usually fairly helpful and pretty behaved, but they certainly out did themselves tonight. The oldest 2 even bagged our groceries, loaded them into the van, and then unloaded them and put them away when we got home. I would've helped them, but Blessing #5 was ready for bed, or so I thought. Turned out, he did NOT want to sleep, just eat and snuggled.  With a few more chapters from our book, it was time for bed. And so, that is what I shall do also.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

First Day of School

Yesterday was our first "official" day of school for the kids. And for the most part it was a very good day.

 I got up before everyone else and managed to complete a unit of my online hunting course. Two more units left. Right as I was finishing the test for the last unit, the boys woke up. I finished my test and took them downstairs for some breakfast.

After breakfast, it was still just the boys and I, so I sat them down and went through their lessons. It really doesn't seem to take us very long to get through their core subjects. Which is great, because I don't know that they'd give me their enthusiastic attention, as much, if the lessons were longer. They seem to be just the right length.

When the boys' lessons were finished, Blessing #1 joined us. I got her some breakfast and went through her lessons with her. By the time she was finished, Blessing #2 woke up. I sat down and did her lessons with her while the boys played and Blessing #1 fold towels.



As we finished up lessons for the day, we sat down for lunch. I got a shower, (yes, after lunch.) and the girls were supposed to get the boys ready for our first homeschool group trip of the year. The boys were not ready when I was. Then I needed to nurse Blessing #5 and told the girls, I wanted everyone else ready and in the van by the time I finished. They were all in the van, but the boys still weren't ready.

A Half hour after I wanted to leave, I texted my friend and let her know we WERE on our way. I almost didn't go, but I wanted to have a memorable first day of school. We made it to the zoo about 40 minutes after the agreed upon time. Then, a miscommunication meant, the kids and I spent the first 45 minutes or so looking at animals without our friends. Our friends caught up with us in the aviary. We were able to spend the next hour or so with them, checking out animals together. The kids had fun, although I did have to remind them not to whine and to behave. Next time I need to make sure we have water and snacks!



We had to leave and take Blessing #1 to practice. On the way out, we stopped at the fountain and took some pictures. Blessing #2 does not like her picture taken, and my timing was off, so there aren't any good pictures of her.

Blessing #1 did make it soccer on time, to my relief. I hate being late and had already been late once, yesterday!

While I was dropping her off, Blessings #3 and 4 were home, shucking corn, for daddy.



Last night my husband and I started making stuff with the fruit we've harvested so far. He seems pretty proud of the mulberry jelly. Although, it hasn't stiffened a lot. Not sure what that will mean. Maybe a syrup for pancakes and ice cream instead.


Friday, August 30, 2013

6am

Woke up this morning at 6 am. No alarm clock, crying or excited children, or dog barking, just a still small voice whispering "Join me. It's a beautiful day."

I got up, children all still sleeping, got out of bed and got our laundry going. Put away the clean load that had been in the dryer and started on the rest of the steps for my cracked wheat bread. When I was ready for breakfast, Blessings #4 & 5 joined me. Not long after that Blessing #3 came down. I ended waking up Blessings #1 &  2. We had friends coming over for a play date today, including the new friend I made last week. I also managed to clean a bathroom, sweep and vacuum. Although, the vacuum over heated and turned off. I'm pretty sure it needs a new filter. And this was all by 9:30.

Our play date went very well. Thankfully, my prayer, for sunshine and warm enough weather, was answered. The kids spent most of the time playing outside and checking out the animals. My bread was a success, which is fantastic since we were out of store bought bread, which is why I made bread this morning! I do want to get into the habit of making bread at home more often. For one, I like it a whole lot more. And secondly, of course, it is better for us.

After our friends left, we were ready for a quiet time. I allowed the older 4 Blessings to watch a movie while I got Blessing #5 down for his afternoon nap and quietly read one of our homesteading books. The more I settle into this home, the more interested I become in really getting into more and more homesteading.

I have found that Blessing #5 is finding his natural rhythm, which makes me so happy. It wasn't until blessing #4 that I finally realized that my babies had this (I know that is crazy...) and I had a good thing going with him until he was around 3 or 4 months and I went back to school to finish my massage therapy certification. This time, I am working really hard to pay attention to Blessing #5's natural rhythm and use it as an opportunity to re-evaluate the rhythm of our family.

On that note, I have been reading about the Waldorf method and am realizing that is how I had always envisioned raising my children, with some mixture of the Montessori and Mason methods. I'm hoping to use a combination of those methods to help my children and my family to grow this summer and beyond.

Oh, yeah! Yesterday I received my Baby's First Massage, Newborn Massage Instructor certification in the mail! And today we got our incubator! We've got a dozen turkey eggs in there and are hoping that in about 28 days we will have some baby turkeys to raise!

Lots of good and exciting things going on. It reminds me that we are truly, richly blessed! Waking up at 6 am wasn't a frustration, though it was unexpected. I accomplished so much and feel good about the day. I can go to sleep today knowing that I showed each of my family members love today, and that I blessed others too. 

Saying Goodbye to Summer

Well, a second branch split off from our peach tree. The tree is covered in many beautiful peaches, but they aren't ripe yet. We're hoping the ones we tried to salvage will still be useable. Granted, our tree still has many more peaches that are still growing and getting redder. So far we have 4 plastic bags full and half a paper bag.






I also was invited by one of my best friends, (I'm finding I have a lot of really close friends now), to go apple picking at her house. Would've picked pears too, but there were a lot of bees around the pear tree. I do hope to raise bees for honey, and the betterment of the world, someday. However, I've yet to discover whether or not I have an allergy to them, as my dad does. Although, it is possible I got stung the other night. I did get struck by something and it hurt for a little bit but then nothing happened. From our apple picking adventure, I now have 4 plastic bags full of apples as well. My hope is for applesauce, maybe apple jam/jelly, and apple pie. Not sure if we'll try anything else or not. Though it looks like a lot of apples, I know it takes a few to make each thing and the apples quickly disappear.


Today, my husband, blessing #4, and I went out and harvested about a half a plastic bag of wild grapes. There are still many, many, more out in the pasture and we haven't even touched the ones by the road. My hope for tomorrow is that the kids and I will be able to harvest the ones by the road. My husband recommended using our truck to access them more easily. I think I'll be trying it.

We also had our, "End of Summer", party with our homeschool friends. Normally our parties have some structure to them with greetings, activities, then food. Today, it was more of a free for all, with face painting, water balloons, and frozen goodies. The kids had a blast and didn't want it to end. Great way to say good bye to summer "vacation" and rev up for school to start on Tuesday!

Speaking of school starting on Tuesday, I'm very excited, but also nervous. My husband is great in working with our older two on their lessons. They don't whine or complain much with him, which is great, and it gives them an opportunity to have his undivided attention. However, I will be starting Kindergarten with Blessing #3 and possibly preschool with #4. I have Kindergarten all planned out, and am hoping it all works out! I think this will be the best year we've had homeschooling so far, mainly because, my husband seems just as excited as I am. That's a first!

Oh and we finally moved out youngest ram, Tiger, into the pasture with the other rams. Hopefully he didn't make any babies, though, I doubt he did. We are planning to keep one of our rams, though we haven't decided which yet, and get a second ram from somewhere else. The idea is, in November, we will put a portion of the ewes in with one ram and a portion in with the other ram. When they've had plenty of time to "mingle", we will put both flocks into the same pasture for the winter. This should eliminate, the worry of, winter lambing. 

The turkeys and chicken are all doing well. Though, something has been getting into our pasture and eating turkey eggs. Both, fowl, have been pecking away at the fallen peaches out back. Pretty sure, they've also gone to town on the ticks. I know they die down in the summer time, but we really haven't seen any ticks, even when walking through the tall brush.

Blessings #1 & 2, along with myself, are gearing up for hunting. I've already started my online course to prepare for the field training. I need to get them started as well though. We take our training in a week! I'm hoping that all 3 of us do well with both the class portion and field training. We'd each like to bag a deer this year. None of us has ever hunted before and we may try to go with friends who have, but we will see.

I'm really looking forward to the upcoming months. I think that, though the summer is nearing it's end, a growing period for me and my family is just beginning. I am excited to see where and how we each bloom.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

The Beginning of Some Good Things

I haven't been so great about taking pictures since we got back from visiting some friends in Ohio, but a lot has happened recently.

We decided earlier this summer to sign the girls up for Calvert's virtual charter school. We now have the curriculum for both girls. Blessing #1 is already started with reading and math. Blessing #2 with math and phonics. So far they both seem to like what they are doing. Hopefully that rings true, when we actually start school, next month. (Which is just over a week away!) Blessing #3 has been playing his Rev Up for ... games. There is one for reading, writing, and numbers. He is enjoying them and hopes to be reading by the end of kindergarten. He is 5 right now, but turns 6 about halfway through the year.

Our animals are doing well. Mama Turkey, who hatched her own clutch, has been spending more and more time near the barn along with her babies. This is great for us. I haven't harvested our wild grapes and don't know if I will, though I should. Most of them are on higher parts of the pasture fence, and I'm just not going to use a ladder anytime soon. Maybe next year. I'm still not fully bounced back from the fall earlier this summer.

We had a small thunderstorm the other evening and one of the heavier branches of our peach tree split off. We decided to go ahead and salvage whatever peaches we could and hope for the best. Blessing #1 has requested peach jelly. My husband is hoping to get canned peaches. I think some frozen peaches, to be used for cobbler and smoothies, would be good. So we will see! I haven't walked the back part of our land lately, so I don't know what is going on there. However, I have been able to harvest some peas and beans from my garden. My pumpkins keep having their flowers eaten off, but our watermelons just might produce something. We do have a random squash plant, possibly a few, growing from one of the spots we had a compost pile. We're looking forward to discovering what grows from that.

I also decided to start my own Mary Kay business and am very excited about that. It is already proving to be a growing gift in my life and an opportunity to really connect with other women. There is a saying out there that "You become like the 5 people you spend the most time with." For me, that would be my children. This isn't a terrible thing at all, at least not to me, but the older I get the more I realize how important "girlfriends" truly are. Especially ones who will pray with and for you, seek God, and share Him with you. I hope to be that for my clients. Someone who really loves them and cares for them, as a sister. Someone they can call up when they have a prayer request or praise. I want to help women know and remember that all of us ladies are God's princess and to Him we are valuable.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Reading and Other Things

I have been reading, for pleasure, a lot lately.  I haven't done that in a long time. It has actually sparked a part of me that I thought was gone long ago. I've always loved to read and love to write just as much. I haven't written much in a long time either. Today, however, I cracked down and decided to work on some of my unfinished writings. It feels good to put pen to paper. Not just for stories, but also for my thoughts. I've started writing on paper, once again, the things I feel that I can't say to anyone, but God. Things I don't want to have become verbal diarrhea, especially all over my children.

My reading has also brought a new energy to the child in my heart. Not my children, but to my own spirit and soul. It has been very refreshing to feel new life and growth within me as I learn about new things that fascinate me or am inspired by the imagery others have shared.

I've missed this side of myself, ever so much. I actually feel as though my courage and boldness are strengthening, through it all. Honestly, part of me wonders if this post belongs with my musings. Though, I suppose it can stay here.

I'm trying to finish up my preparations for our first month of school, which will begin next month. Planning an end of summer party for some of our homeschool friends. I look forward to using "Further Up and Further In" along with the Narnia book series, as a diving board to so much more. I think the girls will really like the history we sink our teeth into this year. They were asking me just the other day about the World Wars. I hope to really inspire them this year and help ignite a passion for learning and growing within them, that has seemed dull in recent years.

We're done hatching turkeys for the year, as far as I know. Our current count is 2 adult Toms, 3 adult hens (with a possible 4th.), 9 of our first hatched batch, 8 or 9 of the mama hatched batch, and 10 or 11 of our 2nd hatched batch. One of our hens went missing at the end of spring and never returned. Another was found just lying down dead outside of the barn. No sign of an attack. Not all of our eggs turned out viable and some of the chicks who did hatch didn't make it. It's all a part of raising turkeys, I know, but still a little sad.

The sheep have been doing great. It's already time to move our youngest ram in with the others. He's been getting "frisky with ladies", lately.

Our chickens have also been doing well. They've been producing about 7-12 eggs a day. Thanks to a friend sharing zucchini with me, I intend to bake some zucchini bread this week, for the first time. I've had other people's and thought it was good.

The kids have actually been helping out around the house this week. I turned on some Veggie Tales Silly Songs the other night and Blessings #3 and 4 washed the dishes and wiped down the counters for me, while I cleaned up the room off the kitchen and swept. Blessings #1, 2, and 3 all helped me finish painting the playroom yesterday. Still have my bible clips I want to get up there, but the main scenery is done! Now to build the furniture! I hope to be able to get started on that tomorrow.

I know I'm horrible about posting pictures on here, which makes my blog somewhat drab, but I'm getting better about taking photos again. I don't know why I ever slowed down on that, since I love taking pictures. I think it was because I was so worried about missing the real moments because I was too busy trying to get a good shot. I'm not very good about loading the photos everyday, onto the computer, though. Yes, I use a real digital camera, not my cell phone, unless I don't have my camera with me.

I think that is about all that there is to post on here tonight. Blessings to all!

Friday, August 2, 2013

It is finished!

Finally finished our family tree painting today!


A Brighter Day

Last I wrote, I was in a frustrated state. Today, I'm much better, although my ribs are still somewhat of a pain and my ear and throat are acting like they are fighting something.

My husband stepped in and began working more diligently with our oldest blessing on math. I don't know what he did, or if this is purely God, but things are finally clicking for her and she seems to be feeling more confident about her math. I pray this continues and math become more of a pleasure for her than a hated duty.

I got my hair cut today, for the first time in a year. So far, I'm liking it. The stylist specialized in curly hair and seemed to know more about my hair than most stylists do. We'll see how I like it in a week. It does feel lighter which is really good. I have really thick curly hair.

On the farm we have about 30 or so baby turkeys right now. I'm very excited and nervous about it. We are hoping to have enough to help feed our family for the next year, add a couple hens to our flock, and to sell. We'll see how that goes.

We've been getting enough eggs to barter 2 dozen for baked goods from a friend, which is nice. I'm hoping next year we'll have better luck with chickens and hatching. We've talked about getting more from someone else to expand our flock a little. We at least want a second rooster. Apparently we shouldn't have eaten so many of ours!

We are done picking mulberries for the year, but are hoping to be able to harvest some wild grapes, blackberries, and maybe even elderberries this year. I'll be doing u-pick apples and possibly blueberries, as we don't have our own yet.

I have some research to do on having a four season garden. I was reading "The Four Season Harvest" and getting inspired, but haven't gotten back into the book lately.

The chickens have been getting into my herb garden. I need to decide if I want to pot them and bring them indoors or do something else about it.

I'm very excited about the upcoming school year, but also looking forward to having August off! We've been trying to catch up on a couple of things all summer. The girls will be using Calvert's online school this fall. I've made an eclectic plan for the year for the boys. I'm also planning on using the "Further Up and Further In" unit study as a fun family journey through "The Chronicles of Narnia" series. I'm trying to decide if I want to start that in September when we start school or wait until October when we have more of a groove. I'm thinking we can do the unit study in the morning and the "regular academics" in the afternoon, that way my husband can be more actively involved. When we finish "Further Up and Further In", I'd like to try out "The Prairie Primer" and then a unit study on the "Anne of Green Gables" series.

Fall is my favorite time of year and knowing that it is getting closer has really perked me up.

Lost Things and Discoveries

For some reason my 4th Blessing finds it entertaining to take my things and hide them. Currently missing are my cell phone, which is a blessing "in disguise", in my opinion, as well as my wallet. Not such a blessing, or maybe it really is, I don't know yet.

My back is healing, but it is still uncomfortable to sleep on my sides. This is not fun, since I am a side sleeper. I can carry, Blessing #5, in my Beco and Blessing #4 on my hip without discomfort, again.

Today, we went down our trail and I was able to harvest a handful of blackberries. So yummy! Unfortunately, there aren't many out there and, honestly, I'm a little scared to climb in the chest length brush trying to reach most of the bushes. I wasn't always so unsure of adventure or cautious. Although, I suppose that goes without saying. I also gathered some mullein flowers while I was out there. I'm hoping to gather enough to make a tincture with it. we saw lots of interesting plants while we were on our trail, as well. I'm very interested in learning how to forage and about herbs and weeds and such, in general, since we have so many! Here are a few pictures of what we saw today.

This is mullein, above.

                                         Blessing #1 took this photo of a bee on a flower. We don't know what type of flower that is, though. Not sure what the rest of these are either.



 


The newest turkey hatches have been moved to a pen in the barn. We currently have 22 incubator hatched turkey babies and 9 hen hatched. One of hers is missing. We are also now missing almost all of our other hens. We thought we saw one today with a ton of poults, but then we saw 2 other hens and realized it was probably a group of wild turkeys. It can be hard to distinguish sometimes, because we have Narragansetts and they look a lot like wild turkeys. We also saw some Sandhill Cranes while we were out there.

 It's really hard to see, the turkey hen, but if you look above the pine branches, on the left, you might be able to see her head.
                                          These are the two Sandhill Cranes that we saw.




We moved our "shooting range" from the rams pen to another part of our little valley. Don't worry, the "range" was there before we put up the rams' fence and we haven't used it since. It's made of big old telephone poles. I was able to help out some, but not as much as I might've, due to my ribs. It was fun, though. I kept thinking about how much it looked like a HUGE bonfire pile. 

This week, I discovered, thanks to a friend, that we have a lot of Queen Anne's Lace on our property. I found this blog, New Life on a Homestead , very helpful in figuring it out, as well.

Queen Anne's Lace. Notice the purple dot.

I've also been working hard on our playroom. I don't remember if I mentioned or not, my dream for the playroom. Each wall is a different season and a different time of day. I plan to have toy box/benches under the windows and a small entertainment center and book cases. Hoping to have a couple of shelves on the wall dedicated to library books, so hopefully, we don't lose them anymore! Would also like to put up an art hanging system and a metallic chalk board. Eventually, my kids, would like glimpses of bible stories all over too. It is coming along a lot better than I thought it actually would. I'm not a professional artist, and am not too concerned with perfection, but I am impressed with how nice it does look, to me.Here are the pictures for fall and winter. I've actually done more on them, today. I took these this morning.




Also, this week, we've ditched the diapers with Blessing #4, during the day. He is doing fantastic with it. To some it may seem crazy that our almost 3 year old isn't in underwear full time yet, but we learned with our first two, especially Blessing #2, that it is best to wait until they actually want to use the toilet. A lot less frustration and headache that way.

Lastly, in honor of World Breastfeeding Week, Blessing #5 rocking his froggy hat and nursing, away.




Thursday, July 25, 2013

One of THOSE days

Today is one of those days that I ask myself, I ask God, "Why?" It is one of those days where I look from the present perspective and shout "I've failed again!" It is a day where I acknowledge the mistakes I've made as a parent and wish I hadn't made them. I think of all the things I should've done differently and how, if I'd listened to my instincts more in the early days, and not the "advice" of others, things might've turned out better. I don't want to look to the future today, because my mind is focused on "the worst".

Today, I wonder why I do it? Why do I put my kids and my hopes for their future before what I want to do in life or what I want out of life? Why do I give them all that I do, when there appears to be no point, no value, no reward in doing so.

My kids are spoiled. Granted I can stand back and look at kids in general and say, "Y'know my kids are actually pretty good kids." Today, I don't want to do that. The fact is they are spoiled. They are expectant. They are deceptive and mischievous. They are mean and spiteful! They are selfish and greedy. And I'm just supposed to accept it and tolerate it, because they're just being kids. I ask them to do something and all of a sudden they are hungry, or can't do it because it is too hard, or won't do it because the other person isn't doing it. It doesn't matter if it is a chore, school work, or just something simple. 

I'm not expecting them to be perfect. I'm not perfect either. And that is my problem. I've failed at building good character qualities in them. I've failed at leading them to be responsible, respectful, and helpful. I've failed to fill them with positive attitudes and love, compassion, and consideration.

I know that isn't completely true and that other people constantly compliment my kids. However, as their mom, I see them at their worst. And it isn't pretty. I pray it doesn't get uglier as they get older. I pray I'm not that ugly. Not from a physical perspective. I'm average. From a spiritual perspective, the perspective that matters most.

Today, I feel somewhat hopeless and pitiful. It is easy to think of all that I could accomplish, without them, even if it was just sending them to public school all day. Why not let someone else raise them. They show more respect to others than to me anyway. Right? The truth is, I know that is not the answer to solve this dilemma. It may alleviate some of the symptoms, but it won't take care of the root of the issue. Granted, all that "free time" would mean I'd actually have a clean house and be able to pursue my own interests. Sounds ideal! It also sounds selfish, for me. Not for everyone. For some people it is what is right and best. For me, it comes from a selfish heart. I don't want to do the difficult parenting, especially when I don't know what to do and I'm afraid of just making things even worse than they already are. It has happened before. I love my kids as unconditionally as I know how to and wouldn't really want to lose any of them for any reason. It's just one of those days where I feel crushed and overwhelmed.

I know in my heart I am not alone, and that God sees what I cannot. I know that not all our days will be this low. Not all of our memories will be negative. I also know that I'm not alone, because all parents have days like these. I just wish they weren't so frequent.  This is one of those times where I need God more than average. I'm thankful that He never leaves us or forsakes us and He carries the burdens we give over to Him. I just need to let go.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Bruised Ribs, Family, and Hatchings

It's been a rough and wonderful week and a half.

Two Thursdays ago, I went out to pick some more mulberries. I've been worried about poison ivy near the tree so I've been hand picking them. It's pretty tranquil, listening to the sound of the many creatures in our "swamp" as I converse with God and gather berries. I can spend hours out there just enjoying it all. However, that day I reached and grabbed a branch. Turns out it was too far from me and as I pulled it closer to myself, the ladder started leaning towards the branch. I let go of the branch, hoping to stabilize the ladder, to no avail. It continued to fall. I don't know for sure, but I think I tried to jump off it. As I fell I could see the ladder land into another one we had nearby, and then smack, I hit the ladder. Crack! Then I fell off. I laid on the ground staring up at the sky, for once totally clear of any thought process, as my brain focused on just breathing. It hurt. I shouted "OUCH!" a few times and then to my oldest blessing. No one heard me, though. They were all inside. I knew no one was going to come. So I laid there, praying. "God, please don't let it be that bad. I'm not ready to die. I haven't done anything for you yet." After I don't know how many minutes, because it seemed like forever, I rolled over, grabbed my bag of mulberries, thanking God it wasn't all in vain. I got up, walked slowly to the house. I washed, bagged, weighed (1.5 lbs) and froze my berries. Then I had my daughter get my brother in law, as I realized it was definitely a hospital worthy injury. I didn't have to wait long in the ER. They gave me a shot in the tush, for the pain, that felt like fire burning my bum and took me to get x-rayed. When they returned me to my curtained area, my husband was there waiting. He'd been at work, when I'd sent him a text. All he could do was shake his head and give me a look. "Really? Twice in one week, you fall off the ladder?" Yeah, I'm that special. The doctor returned, with good news. I'm not going to die. I'm not broken. I may be fractured, but the fractures are too small to see on the x-ray. The diagnoses, bruised ribs. They send me home with Ibuprofen and Norco. I haven't taken the Norco and have been using less Ibuprofen. I'm not a huge fan of taking meds, but it does help ease the pain enough for me to sleep. I've now learned how dependent I truly am on using my left side for things and how much I really prefer sleeping on my sides!

In spite of my injury, I took my kids to a birthday party and a bbq on Saturday and sang at church on Sunday. My dad and his wife came in on Wednesday for a weekend visit and we kept busy. I didn't get the rest I should've during that first week, but the memories made have been priceless.

My visit with my dad and his wife were wonderful. We saw Despicable Me 2 and ate ice cream. Went to a nearby water park. I shouldn't have done the lazy river, but that is a special time blessing #3 and I can look back on. Hit up the flea market, farmers market, and a street sale. And played tons of board games! (We love games.) The icing on the cake was unexpected hatchings. We weren't expecting any turkey babies until the 27th. We now have 11 hatches and 3 more working on it. One did hatch with shell stuck to it because it got dried out. I managed to gently remove the shell by running warm water over the areas affected. That poult is doing great now. The first hatch batch is now loose in the barn and we thought we had lost one of them, but my husband found it under a couple of empty litter boxes, yesterday. So we still have all 10 of those. We also have a hen who actually hatched her own brood of 10 and they are all doing very well. They aren't growing as quickly as the ones we incubated, though they are no more than a week apart. It makes me wonder how healthy the ones we incubated, really are.




Sunday, July 7, 2013

Where Did June Go?

We have been very blessed here on the farm.

In the past month we have hatched 5 eggs, that were fully incubated by us, and 5 that one of our turkey hens had abandon in the middle of incubating them naturally. Then we discovered a week or so later another turkey hen had hatched 10 on her own! We have around 25 or so eggs in the incubator as well. Looking forward to having plenty of turkey to last us a year, as well as, hopefully, some to sell.

We've also been discovering many surprise edibles on our property. Last month we had a Montmorency cherry tree burst forth with plenty of cherries for me to make 3 pies and 2 pints of jam! We also have what are either choke berries or black berries. I don't think I'll be harvesting them. I tasted one today and it was awful! I have, however, been harvesting lots of mulberries lately. I have about 3 and a half pounds of them. Not a lot, but I'm hand picking them. I just read an idea about laying down a sheet under the branches and shaking them. The problem is, our tree is growing next to our "swamp" and there is plenty of poison ivy around the base of the tree. Something we need to deal with, but haven't yet. So hand picking is what I'll do for now. Today we also found a June berry tree. Those are pretty good, but I don't know that I'll be harvesting any of those this year. We also have what appears to be black raspberries along the pond, but the bushes are surrounded by poison ivy. And either the same berries are out back or they are blackberries or red raspberries. I'm hoping to go look at them tomorrow, again. They don't have poison ivy around them. In the back we also have a peach tree that has tons of unripe peaches on it. All over the property we have wild grapes. Looking forward to harvesting those!

So lots of edibles all over the place. Our garden doesn't appear to be doing as well as the rest of the property. We do have corn growing. Summer squash, zucchini, possibly eggplant, beans or peas, pumpkins, sunflowers and watermelons are also growing. We started the garden from seeds. We did buy some herbs that seem to be doing ok so far. Although, the chickens have been digging in the garden where my herbs are. I've been harvesting barley the past few days and when I'm done doing that will move onto our wheat.

It certainly has been an adventure the past month!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Gardens and Turkeys

We've been working on our garden lately. It is the biggest one we've done ourselves, so far. About 53' X 27'. And yet, I don't know if it will be big enough. I went a bit crazy on the tomatoes and peppers and am not sure if I'll have enough space for the broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, radishes, squash, and cucumbers I still want to plant. I've marked an area for pumpkins and canteloupe (musk melons) already. Still need to plant them, though.

Yesterday my husband found a broken turkey egg near our barn. We know that one hen was sitting on a nest in some tall grass near the house. He broke the membrane and found an almost, but not quite, fully developed baby turkey. It did not survive. Later, he felt the hen had abandoned the nest, so he gathered the rest of her clutch. He candled them and seeing a dark egg, he cracked it open to make sure it wasn't just rotten. I tried to tell him not to. I was right, baby turkey almost fully developed. Also didn't make it. He took the rest and put them in our incubator. Hopefully they will hatch. He had been noticing random egg shells here and there last week. We're pretty sure something, possibly our dog, was getting into her nest. We have another missing hen. We're hoping she is also sitting on a nest somewhere on the property and will come home with some babies. I guess we'll have to wait and see.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Daily Theme

So, this week, I have been trying out having a daily theme. My plan for the week was this.
Monday - Nature day
Tuesday - Baking day
Wednesday - Market day
Thursday - Craft day
Friday - Friends, Fun, and Field Trips day
Saturday - Sabbath day
Sunday - Service day

I started this Monday. I planted flowers with Blessing #2 and took Blessings #1 and #5 grocery shopping with me. Originally it was to get stuff for baking day, but it ended up being a regular market trip.

Tuesday I made blueberry muffins and tortillas, but didn't really bake with my kids as I had hoped to do.

Wednesday, I baked cookies with the kids since we'd already gone to the market. I also started work in my garden. I offered the kids, 1 cent for every rock and weed they took out of my garden plot. There are so many rocks in there it could cost me a bit if they actually keep collecting them. My thought is, we can either use them for art or to someday build a chimney for a wood burning stove. We don't have one yet. We have a gas burning stove. I hope to switch it out someday though.

Today, I spent most the day working in the garden. For crafting, Blessings #3 and #4 tried finger knitting with me. It is actually pretty easy, so I thought they'd catch on quickly. Blessing #3 decided pretty quickly it was boring and Blessing #4 just followed #3.

I'm looking forward to seeing what tomorrow brings, if we are granted another day. In fact, I'm looking forward to what the summer will bring as we build our rhythm.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Rhythm

I've been reading up on the Waldorf method and am surprised at how much it was just a natural thing for me, that has been strongly discouraged and stomped on by others. After doing some reading on it and realizing that I'm not alone in seeking a home that moves in such a way, I decided to focus on the rhythms and relationships in our home this summer.

This week, I've been working towards respecting Blessing #5's natural daily rhythms. In doing so, I've also started working on encouraging the rhythms of my other children. My main focus right now is creating a bedtime rhythm. Blessing #5 has been consistently falling asleep around the same time every night and waking here and there around the same times as well. The more respectful I've been the better it has been for him and the better he has slept. I'm finding that the more I focus on this time with each of my kids, the better they all are sleeping and the more peaceful our home has been. On top of that, it actually gives me some quiet time at night to do things, such as cleaning or hobbies, whatever. It is a very nice change.

Sometimes it is frustrating looking back and seeing all the advice I should've taken. Even more so all the advice that I took, that I shouldn't have. Especially when what I'd been doing had been good all along. I've often doubted myself, but I'm learning more and more through out the years how important my instincts and such really are.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Memorial Day

As a woman attached to many veterans, today I'm thankful for those who do, have, and will serve our country. For the survivors, who actively fight for all that America is supposed to stand for. For those who will not return home to all they've left behind.

For the families waiting on the edge of their seats for the return of their loved ones. For those who are missing the one(s) who they can only say good bye to. I pray for them all. I pray for love to fill their hearts and comfort to bring them peace. For a shoulder to cry on and arms to hold them. For them to be surrounded by strength so they can be allowed to be weak for a time.

I thank God today, that I haven't lost anyone close to me through war. All my closely connected veterans have survived their times of fighting and defending. I can't imagine the heartbreak and grief that comes with such a loss. As a former military child and wife, I know the feeling of knowing that the one who went away may never come back. The faith that tells you they will because everyone else I know has. And the fear that I may be wrong. I do not know the pain, brokenness, emptiness of truly losing the one I missed. I've never witnessed a friend losing their parent, spouse, or sibling. May the Lord be with those who have and hold their hearts in His hands.


Sunday, May 26, 2013

Glad to be Where I Am.

As usual, I have no pictures to post. I've been so horrible about taking them. Don't worry, I do have some of the baby and even my other kids. But none from my activities for today.

We had a great time at church this morning, where I actually got to "mingle" with many other grown ups, while my kids played. Blessing #5 was passed around for the first time and I was able to line up one of the ladies to hold him on the days I sing. I also got to hold my friends little one who is a couple weeks younger than Blessing #5. Even though she was fussy, it was sweet. She is so much smaller than Blessing #5, but he was a "big" baby.

This afternoon I joined some other friends for a beach day. The kids all played for HOURS. They caught fish, a snapping turtle (actually the men caught that.) and a muck turtle. Today was about getting the beach cleaned up and ready for the summer time. We don't live close to family. In fact, we haven't since my husband graduated from basic training years ago. And though I've made a few friends here and there over the years, I know we are right where God wants us. Through my friends, God has built a family around mine that I haven't really had. There is no telling what will happen when we get together. There is just the knowledge that there will be plenty of love, laughter, and joy. These people are a great people. Always ready for an adventure, willing to help out, and always doing whatever they can to be a blessing to those around them. And to me they have been a great blessing. It's not just one group of people, but 2. My church family and my bible study family (I can't think of another name for them right now.)

I have been so blessed since we moved here. We have a wonderful property. I've made more friends than I've probably ever had at one time. I've found a great church. I teamed up with terrific midwives for a beautiful home birth experience. Our homeschooling choice has becoming quite the adventure. And so much more. I'm thankful for where we are, the people around us, and the things we have going on in our lives.

With all that is happening in the world around us, I've no doubt there is a God. I see His blessings in our lives every day and in the lives of others. I pray that I can be more of a blessing to those around me, especially those who need Him the most.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Busy Week on the Farm

We have a new addition to our farm. Our last lamb of the season was born on Saturday. His name is still to be determined. Some of the family is voting for the name Tiger, due to stripes on the lambs back. I think Zebra would work better since he is also black and white. There are a few other suggestions floating around as well. Our oldest is considering keeping this lamb for 4H. This lamb was our only single birth, which was a small surprise since all the others had been twins. We now have 5 ram lambs and 1 ewe lamb.

This past week we also took our daddy ram and our ewe who'd prolapsed, to be processed. It was sad, but that's one reason we have them. We got there meat today and tried a little of each. They did taste good and it wasn't as weird as I thought it would be. Now if I had to do the processing myself, I don't know if I could handle that. My husband is the one who has processed our chickens and turkeys. We have a good amount of meat from just those 2 and, now that the daddy ram is gone, the kids and I can confidently go into the pasture again. He was a challenging guy.

We did have baby turkeys born recently. Only two. One was blind. Neither of them survived sadly. I'm not totally sure what happened to them. Originally we thought about bringing them in until they were big enough to go out to the barn, but the mothers seemed to be doing such a good job with them, that we figured we should let nature be natural.

We have ordered an incubator, which should be here soon. We've had chickens sitting on different eggs for long periods of time with nothing happening. I'm pretty sure it's a ratio thing. Too many hens for our 1 rooster. My husband has decided to get a couple more roosters soon. And the turkey hens had also been sitting on eggs, but only hatched 2. We're hoping to hatch some turkey eggs to start with. We have a dozen set aside right now.

Today a friend of mine tried having our first baking day. She made corn and flour tortillas, which I'll be using ours for tacos this week. I made flax seed bread, cracked wheat bread, and challah. We learned some lessons today. For me, it was to make my bread dough the day before and let it sit in the fridge overnight. I think there were plenty of steps I messed up as I'm not used to baking with friends. It's ok, though, because I had a great time and look forward to doing it again. The challah came out wonderfully though!

I have no pictures for today, though. Giving birth and recovering from it has really thrown me off my groove on a lot of things. I haven't posted much lately, because I'm usually busy with my blessings and/or trying desperately to get caught up on the projects in and around the house.

I'll admit, most days, I do forget that I'm still post partum and it is OK. That really we're pregnant for around 10 months and should allow ourselves at least that long to wholly re-balance after all the changes that happen during pregnancy, labor/delivery, and the baby's 1st year. Of course, that is usually easier said than done, but I'm getting better at just accepting the state that I'm in each day and allowing myself to just be.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Making Friends

I've never had an easy time making friends. I pretty much wait for other people to talk to me before I talk to them, 98% of the time. Today was no different and yet I talked with 4 or 5 strangers that actually led to real conversations. Oh yeah, I should mention normally when strangers talk to me it usually doesn't go very far. They might ask me a question or something and I reply with a short answer and feel awkward. Today, I was sociable. I even braved up and shared my info with one of the women I met. I hadn't found a smooth way to do that with the others without it feeling somewhat awkward for me and yet, if I see them again, I'm sure they'd say hello. They were all very friendly. I know, I sound like a teenage boy looking for a date, hahaha. The truth is, I don't often reach out to others like that or give people much opportunity to reach out to me. Not because I don't want people to reach out to me, but because many times I just don't have anything to say back. I don't really talk to parents at soccer, t-ball, softball, or other places like that. Once a month, for the whole school year, I've been in the same place as some of these women and never spoken to any of them! I'm really glad I did and plan to do it more often. It's nice making new friends.


Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Been a Good Day

My babymooning has been going well. Taking the time to really appreciate how short this time with my newborn is and to listen to my own body and rest, has been wonderful. Not always easy. In fact it is much easier to let it all slip by and become frustrated by all the stuff on my to do lists. There have been moments when I feel the pressure of it all weighing down and I have to remind myself of how richly blessed I am and how thankful I should be. Thankfully, my husband has been pretty fantastic about it all. I've never allowed myself this sort of freedom to just take things one day at a time. I usually am worrying about something and stressing out. He has been very supportive of my resting, even though the house is a disaster zone and he is back to work.

Being mainly "off duty" lately, I haven't been out in the barn since I had Blessing #5. Today, my husband discovered our broody turkey hens were not sitting in vain! We currently have 2 baby turkeys and possibly more coming soon. On top of that, it turns out the one ewe we had who hadn't had lambs a couple months ago, and we thought hadn't gotten pregnant, has her milk bag. We should be lambing one more time this year, in about a month or so!

What made the day even better, was being able to take my younger 4 blessings to the grocery store and having it actually be fun. They were so good and Blessing #2 was such a great help. I love days like these.
Days when I get a glimpse of what a wonderful and blessed life we live. We have our rough edges, but really, when we boil it all down, we have so much to be thankful for.

Oh and blessing #5 already has the cutest, biggest grin I've ever seen on a baby. He looks like he is laughing and even squealed with delight yesterday. It was music to my ears.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Feeling Motivated

It's been a few months since I've looked at it, but today, I decided to use my down time to work on the 1st chapter of my second draft of one of the books I'm working on. I'm very pleased with it, so far, and am hoping to make time to work on it over the next couple months to complete my second draft for my friend to edit.

I'm wanting to start taking my writing more seriously. I have a few other first drafts hiding around my house, that I'd like my friend to look at. Those ones are for smaller books. Once their polished up and ready, I plan to add my own illustrations to them. I do hope to publish them someday. Preferably someday soon.

I'm also planning to start up my crafting again and hopefully earn some income from that pursuit. I've got some ideas brewing in my mind and heart, and pray that they will come out at least somewhat close to what I am envisioning.

Resting has been very good for my body, and I plan to continue doing as much of it as possible over the rest of these next few weeks. Although tomorrow, I'm hoping to make it to Blessing #3's very first game. I'm so excited to see him play.

Blessing #5 has been doing great and is already more and more awake, observant, and strong. I'm trying to take as much in as I can. I know all too quickly, he'll be more and more active and eventually all grown up. Blessing #1 isn't all grown up, yet, but there are certainly days when I feel like she is and like I'm so close to losing her. I'm definitely the George Banks in my marriage. (Father of the Bride)

I'm not looking forward to my husband going back to work at the end of his paternity leave. For one, I really think Blessing #4 is going to have a melt down. He has been every time his daddy goes somewhere without him, this week. I know he'll get over it, but it still breaks my heart. My husband has a great job and he is awesome at it. For the most part, he is pretty happy and that does make me happy. I'd still rather have him home, though. Sometimes it's hard doing what has to be done. I'm just thankful that he does get paternity leave and pray that it will be a smooth return to the usual routine, for all of us.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Babymooning

Almost 2 weeks ago Blessing #5 made his lightening speed entrance into this world. It was a wonderful birth and a pretty easy labor, as I trusted in the Lord to be my strength and allowed myself to receive the contractions instead of fighting against them.

I will admit that I did experience some fear. Fear that I didn't have what it took. What it took to make it through the labor and give birth. Fear that I didn't have what it took to be a good mother to all my blessings, especially since I wasn't feeling like I was doing that great before. Fear that my body would fall apart even more than it had the last birth, where I'd ended up with a grade 2 cystocele. I had worked hard in physical therapy and had just finished it when I got pregnant. A lot of thoughts went through my mind, but I managed to turn from them and focus on God's word and pray. I honestly believe prayer is what got me through labor this time and through it so quickly. That and the wonderful team I had with me. They only became involved as necessary and let me do the rest.Two midwives and Blessing #2 got to witness the arrival of Blessing #5. Even my husband was doing everything he could to support me and send positive loving energy my way, though he missed the actual arrival while taking care of Blessing #4. Blessing #5 arrived almost immediately after my water popped. I did manage to listen to my body and the currents of energy flowing through me, and only pushed when my body insisted. In fact I really had no time to not push. The midwives commented how they had enough time to say "Oh! The baby is here!" That's how quickly he came.

We spent the first week of his life hanging out on the couch on the main floor of our home. The day after that I decided to brave the stairs and go to my own bed. Good idea, since I've been getting better rest up here. Monday and Tuesday I decided to be up and down the stairs and carrying my little guy around. Not a good idea. I'd almost stopped bleeding after that first week, but by the end of Monday it was back with avengance. Not so bad that I needed to see someone about it, but still unpleasant. Yesterday, I decided it was important to rest, as frustrating as that is when I feel like I'm superwoman and should be up and about by now and going on with life. I've spent all of today, pretty much, in bed as well. Once again the bleeding is slowing down and I'm starting to feel human again. I decided to look up postpartum rest, as I felt like I'm either getting old (I'm about to turn 31. I know not really old.) or that maybe my body is just kaput. God knew what I needed to remember and to know, as the first thing I came across was this blog at The Leaky Boob. http://theleakyboob.com/2010/12/a-time-to-heal-a-look-at-postpartum-recovery/  I think every woman about to have a baby or who has just had a baby in our get up and go society needs to read this and be reminded that we just went through a process of something amazing and we deserve to take time to heal, that we might heal properly. So far, my prolapse doesn't seem to be any worse than it was pre-pregnancy. I may have a slight diastasis, but I do feel as though my body is healing in ways it never had a chance to before as I've always gotten up and gotten back to the daily grind within days of giving birth. So for now, I plan to do what I can to rest and enjoy this time snuggling with my newest blessing, because all too soon it will be over.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Update of My Week

I haven't been posting lately because I haven't known what to write. Our days have mostly been the same lately.

I haven't wanted to go anywhere. Although I did take Blessing #2 to her softball practice Thursday and nearly got in an accident and I don't know if I just wasn't paying as much attention as I thought or if the other person wasn't. Maybe neither of us were.

The other day I decided that I would take the whole month off from trying to structure the kids days and educations the way that I have been. The girls have their syllabi and can come to me with questions, but it will be up to them to make sure they take care of their work.

Yesterday, I got fed up with all the clutter in our house. I started in their room, which I've been on them about cleaning for a month now, and I threw out pretty much everything that was on the floor and took away any clothes left in laundry baskets. With my husband backing me up, I was finally able to get my 3 older ones to actually help clean up around the house. I hope he saw the benefit of the team work between us and in getting the kids to be more responsible.

I'm not due til Tuesday, but I keep hoping today will be the day. It doesn't help that for the last month people have acted like I should be having the baby and doing countdowns and stuff. I've always passed my due date and I know this and I've told people this. This is why I try so hard not to tell people when I'm due. By the time I reach my "due date" I feel like I'm late because for the past month people have been anticipating the baby. For all I know, I have another week or so left, yet I keep hoping this one will actually come sooner. I hope that with all of them though. I should be enjoying the time I have left with my other blessings as just a 4 pack, before baby arrives. Instead I feel like I'm going to be pregnant forever and that I just want to have this baby already!


Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Quality

Well, I'm still pregnant. I should expect to be, considering I'm only 38 weeks. I've been so antsy about just having the baby already. I'm uncomfortable, irritable, and ready to be able to roll over in bed without it hurting. After talking without my midwife yesterday, and taking some real quality time snuggling my kids one on one, I realized how much potential there is there. Here I've been whining and boohing about how done I am and how I can't wait to meet this little one and all that, that I have not really celebrated the last few weeks/days/moments I have with just me and my 4 children. There is about to be a shifting of balance in our family. How quickly I forget how important it is to really feed into the needs of each of my children, when I'm so busy thinking of my own wants. It was so nice to just snuggle each of the ones who wanted snuggles and to let them know, mama still loves them. I hadn't realized how much our quality time was suffering, with my birth preparations and self centeredness.

With a new baby on the way and sports season picking up, it's even more vital that I make sure that we have genuine quality time together. Not just being in the same place at the same time, or doing school work together, or any of that. Time having fun, smiling, and laughing together is what my kids seem so hungry for. You'd think that would be easy, but we busy ourselves so much that there are nights I lie in bed thinking about how little I truly interacted with my kids.

On a more positive note, last night I celebrated the Passover for the first time since I was around 10. I know these festivals are not required and some would even say it is wrong to celebrate them. (I have been told this) It was a Messianic sedar. I found the "ceremony" to be interesting and am glad I participated. There are so many things in the old testament that when we look at Jesus we see them fulfilled. I want my kids to understand that.

I'd write more, but my boys are now awake and asking for some attention. I'm going to take advantage of that.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Boogers and Bands

My husband seems to have brought home a cold or something. My boys and I are sneezy, snotty, and stuffy. Hopefully it will pass quickly.

Last night my girls went to their first concert. The youth group at our church was going to Winter Jam and allowed my daughters to join them. My oldest loved seeing Toby Mac, her favorite singer. Blessing #2 said she thought Red's pyrotechnics were cool, but she wasn't a fan of their music. Too much screaming. They both agreed it was lots of fun and were glad they got to go.

Then it happened. The fun turned to fighting as each told me how the other one was mean to them. They fight every day. Blessing #1 tells me Blessing #2 hits her and makes faces at her. Blessing #2 says Blessing #1 says mean stuff to and about her and hits her sometimes too. Then Blessing #1 started crying because she doesn't understand why Blessing #2 is so mean to her. Then Blessing #2 rolled over in bed pouting because she doesn't understand why Blessing #1 is so mean to her. And there I stood not knowing what to do. Between hormones, hurt feelings, and all that, what do I say? I've tried to talk to them about it before and tried to help them with it.  I don't know how much each of them says is true since they both have lied to me. It is stressful and frustrating.

On top of that, my husband is considering putting Blessing #1 in public school next year and my heart says no. But what if my heart is wrong. Academically she just might do better in that setting since she spends most of our time fighting with me over her schoolwork. Namely, math. But I invest so much time to working with her that I don't seem to have much time for the rest. It's emotionally draining to work with her resistance as well.

I went to bed praying for God's guidance and for His will to be done. That He would bring  my husband and I into agreement on what to do for each of our children as individuals. That we would be in alignment with Him.

There is also the baby. I'm now 37 1/2 weeks along. Baby has started dropping, but wasn't quite engaged on Tuesday when I saw my midwife. However, they can come any time. I'm so excited to meet this new person and to hold them, snuggle, them all that lovely stuff. But do I have what it takes. Will I be the mom this baby needs, when I feel like I've failed at being the mom my other children need? I know anything is possible with God. I just keep trying to lean on and trust in Him and what He can do.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Another Great Weekend

It has been another great weekend for us. Saturday, Blessing #3 got to go on a daddy/ son date and shop for t-ball stuff. Then I went to a baby shower held for me and a friend at church. I had just enough time to drop off the gifts I'd received, at home, before heading off for a little outing with couple of my other friends at a local cafe`. During that pit stop at home, I found my husband working away in the bathroom that I want to birth in, getting it ready to be painted. He spent the whole evening working on this, as the kids played.

Yesterday, though we woke up late, the kids and I managed to make it to music practice at church, on time. Usually we only sing for the morning service, but yesterday we sang for both. Both services had messages that gave me something to really "chew on". In between services, I had planned to clean like usual, but I was so tired. I considered a nap, but resisted. Instead, I ended up playing a game of phase 10 with Blessing #2. I didn't hold back and blew her out of the water. She kept up with me, pretty closely on phases. It was her points that really lost her the game. I could go easy on her, but she can always tell when I do, and doesn't want to win that way. Though, there was much to be done around the house, I'm blessed to have taken the time to spend with her instead. While we were at church in the evening, my husband was working away on the bathroom again, getting the trim painted. I can't wait to see when the bathroom is all finished! He is doing a great job and I'm so thankful that he is willing to do this. It all started with me, a picker, finding a piece of peeling wall paper and slowly ripping all the wall paper in the bathroom down. He certainly puts up with a decent bit from my curious and creative mind.

This morning I got up at 7:30 and woke up my girls. I had made an agreement with them last night that if they would get up and get their school work all done we'd have a much better chance of convincing daddy to take us to the Henry Ford Museum. They've been wanting to go and check it out. Not enough, though, seeing as it is about an hour later and they still haven't gotten out of bed. I've managed to stick to my own plan for the morning, thankfully. Getting the downstairs all tidy. I will be 37 weeks tomorrow. Which means I could have as many as 4 weeks left, considering my last 2 stayed in for about 41 weeks each. Then again, this baby could come any time! I want my house to be manageable while I'm taking my baby moon. Normally, it's a disaster. Clutter everywhere! Usually just lots of small stuff scattered everywhere to look overwhelming when, really, once you get cleaning, it takes like 10-20 minutes to get it all put away.

Whether or not we will do anything outside of the house today, I'm not sure yet. It has started snowing and is kind of windy outside. We may choose to make it an at home family day.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Zoo Day

It was a zoo school day, today. Blessing #1 gave a report on moose families. While the older 3 blessings enjoyed their classes, my husband and I took Blessing #4 to see some of the animals. First it was the primate area. There is a new baby gibbon there and Blessing #4 loves to watch as it clings to its mama and the older ones all swing around. Then it was off to see the frogs and other amphibians. I pointed out each of the ones I could find and we listened to what they sounded like.

After picking up the older blessings, my husband took Blessing #1 to the aviary. Last time we went the other 3 blessings wanted to rush right through it, but Blessing #1 is interested in ornithology right now and wanted to take her time. The younger 3 blessings and I went and checked out the elephants and the penguins.

There they are watching the penguins. One of them was actually swimming around this time.

After we got home Blessing #2 challenged me to a game of phase 10. She's getting pretty good at it and almost beat me. 

Then we watched Father of the Bride 2 while working on our knitting. I still have to finish the baby blanket. I don't know why I always use such skinny needles. It always takes me FOREVER to make things with them.

It has been a pretty good day.


Thursday, March 14, 2013

Beautiful Day

Though we aren't completely caught up on lessons, we certainly are pretty close. I was actually able to get my girls to sit down and be attentive, without moods and crankiness getting in the way.

After lunch, with the sun shining and the sky so blue, we headed out on some errands. I was able to get the rest of what I needed for my birth supplies. Too bad I didn't realize we were out of regular trash bags, though. At least we don't need a new one yet. The kids did hit a down slope while we were shopping, but by the time we got home we were back to an upswing. Instead of keeping them cooped up inside, I sent them all out to enjoy the sun and play, while I cleaned. Nesting is definitely kicked in. Now if only I can get more beautiful days like today where I can make the kids go outside so they aren't undoing all I'm doing!


Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Ready for Spring

With spring on it's way, our green thumbs are itching. We decided to pick up some fruit trees and seeds today, after a pit stop at a local bakery. I will say, trying to climb in and out of our truck is currently difficult and uncomfortable for me. Trying to put car seats in, myself, is pretty much impossible. Or at least it feels that way. Thankfully Blessing #2 enjoys helping with stuff like that.

Also thankful my kids played well together today, as I took a bath trying to settle some of my discomfort. Afterwards, they joined me up in my bed for snuggles and stories since I was still not feeling great. Blessing #2 decided to work on her palpating skills. She can't wait for this baby to arrive, but loves playing with my belly. She's getting better at feeling different parts.

I did manage to get us to church tonight, in spite of how I felt, Blessing #1's mood, and the incessant fighting of Blessing #1 and 2's. We were a little late, but didn't miss much. I'm thankful we made it and I was able to have a small break from the kids, the house, and all the stress both involve.

Back home chaos smacked me in the face. The playroom disaster didn't bug me. I actually welcomed it, because my kids actually played in there today. It was the garbage the dog had spread across the kitchen floor that got me. I over came my frustration, cleaned it up along with the dishes. The playroom is still in need of attention. Blessing #3 has said he will help clean it, so that he can vacuum. Currently he is playing treasure  hunt, with a map he made.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Monday Madness

Monday was an emotional day for me with highs and lows. I woke up with a plan of making a recipe I'd seen on pinterest. It was bread with somewhat cooked bacon and an egg inside a muffin pan. Bake for a little bit and ta-da something yummy looking! Sadly, we were low on bread so I threw that idea out the window and decided to see if my girls wanted to try their hands at helping make pop tarts. They did. I used the pastry pies/tarts recipe from my Betty Crocker cookbook, this time. It worked wonderfully. However, it took a long time to make our pop tarts for some reason. They ended up being a mid morning snack.


Blessing #2 was able and willing to get all her school work done as soon as we were done eating. Blessing #1 was doing great, until we hit a snag with her math. She was doing great at first, seeming to understand. She watched the video and seemed to understand even more, but then we took a break. When it was time to get back to it her mood and everything changed and I just don't know what to do about it. Suddenly she was complaining about being hungry and how she just didn't understand it and how I wasn't even trying to help her. She threw her papers to the floor and roamed the kitchen complaining about how we never have anything to eat. How I never feed her. This happens almost daily. It is very frustrating. I decided to let her have a break.

Most of the day I spent working on cleaning this that and the next thing around the house. Blessings #3 & 4 decided to help me with their playroom today, just so they could try vacuuming. They actually did a great job of it too and were good about taking turns.

After allowing her to take some time for herself, I tried again to help Blessing #1 with her math, but the battle began all over again. I had to walk away. Angry words don't help and I was overwhelmed with frustration so I went to my room where I cried and prayed. We never finished her math yesterday. I'm hoping today will be a better day.



Sunday, March 10, 2013

Great Weekend

It has been a busy but wonderful weekend. It is the first weekend in a while where we have not been trying to catch up on school work, so we were able to actually relax and enjoy each other.

Friday, the kids and I went out shopping for their gifts for the baby. It was great watching them each, even my youngest, looking at everything trying to figure out what they felt would be special. That afternoon I allowed the girls to have a friend over for a sleep over.

Yesterday morning included a softball evaluation, running to the post office and library, and some bird watching. The girls played with friends all afternoon. I got to read my library book, "Quiet". The boys just played.

 Last night was our second Saturday Family Chopped Night. My husband vs. Blessing #2. The ingredient for dinner was rice. For dessert was tortillas. My husband made a garlicky rice with peas and mushrooms. A bit strong on the garlic. He topped it with a simple pan cooked chicken breast. Blessing #2 made white rice topped with soy sauce. It was a bit crunchy, though. I helped her make some bbq chicken as well. It was tender, juicy, and I liked it a lot. Due to plating, creativity, and the fact that Blessing #2's rice was crunchy, we decided that my husband won the dinner round. Dessert was a little harder. Both of them chose cinnamon chips. Although my husband also made whipped cream and actually toasted his chips, Blessing #2 won the dessert round. Her chips actually had the cinnamon sugar flavor to it. I had to admit I was a little disappointed that their wasn't a Mexican rice dish made and there wasn't more creativity with the tortillas, at least from my husband, but it was still a good time that got us cooking as a family and that's why I love doing it. Next week is supposed to be my brother in law vs. Blessing #1. Ingredients are supposed to be, dinner: ground beef and dessert: fruit of any kind. I hope with the advanced notice on ingredients they can come up with some really yummy stuff. We'll see!

Another great thing about last night, was that we all worked together to clean up. Sure there was more we could've done, but we went to bed with clean counters, tables, playroom, den, and fireplace room and I didn't have to do it all by myself, like I usually do. I hope we can make that more of a habit as well. To me, a family is like a team. We all need to work together to be able to have the time together that we want. When one person is left to do it all, there is no time for them to enjoy the gift of being with the others. 

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Caught Up

Finally my girls are, pretty much, back on track with their lessons. I still need to help them get caught up with Science, which is not too bad and they have health and character to work on. I'm hoping that by the end of today, we will be all caught up. This will make "school" and life a lot more enjoyable for all of us. I've got the rest of this semester all written out in each of their planners so they know what they need to be doing each day and I've given them permission to get ahead where they want to.

All our library books are back at the library too, which is another weight off of my shoulders. I hate when we borrow books and then get so busy that the weeks fly by and it is time to return them. I would like to have a routine of going to the library weekly, but we just haven't gotten there yet. Sounds bad with us being homeschoolers.

Tomorrow, I'm hoping to catch up on my house cleaning and meal stuff. 5-6 more weeks and this little one should be here! Hopefully with everything caught up, we can all stay on task and still have plenty of fun. So much more free time when things are caught up, at least for us.

I plan to catch up Blessing #3 with preschool over the summer, so he is on target for starting Kindergarten this fall. I feel as though all this catch up the girls and I have been doing has really hindered what I've done with the boys. We're pretty relaxed, too, so it's not that we need a break!

It has been a wonderful day and I'm so pleased with them, though. Seeing the improvements in Blessing #1's handwriting since we started doing handwriting lessons at the beginning of the semester. And her use of proper capitalization has improved as well! Blessing #2 is starting to pay more attention to directions, realizing that she can fly right through the work a lot better when she does. Otherwise she makes mistakes and has to correct them. I don't always acknowledge these growths, but the truth is each little growth is important enough to let my kids know, I see them. The way their eyes lit up today when I told them some of the things I noticed and was pleased by, warmed my heart and reminded me of one of the reasons why we homeschool. Even though it is often a battle, a struggle, and I often think I should just give up. I'd have a cleaner house, my boys would have more attention, and I'd have more time to do my thing if I did. But then, there are reasons I've chosen to take this route and even though I don't always see the rewards of it, they are there. Growth is happening. And it is all well worth all that I "give up" to make this possible.