Monday, November 17, 2014

Learning to Solve Sibling/Friend Rivalry

Boy, I don't think the timing could have been better to have a family with 3 kids move in suddenly. I'm learning to stretch my limits and I have to admit, just a week prior to them moving in I had asked God to help me learn hospitality.  Coincidence?  Our costs have definitely soared with extra people in the house (water, electricity) but I'm content.  My only weakness (maybe a strength?) is no matter who's kids are over, I always treat them as my own.  I mean, completely as my own.  I'll hug, tell them I love them, involve them in daily chores, talk to them, spend time with them, think about them, pray for them...just as my own.  It's hard for me to realize that, ummmm, the parents are living here as well and might find it offensive for me to correct their kid when they could have.  I need to explain better, it's never okay to go to someone's house and boss their kids around in my opinion.  I guess maybe it's different because the kids are living, eating, and sleeping in the same room as my kids. It's such a fine line and I'm always worried I'm crossing it.  I do love these 3 kids as my own and tell them often.  Ack.  If I do cross the line, it's never because I'm against the kids, just that I love them as my own and treat them as such.  Things like "no koolaid in the rooms, you need to finish your chores, pick up your mess, bed is by 8pm, etc." Things I would say to my kids.

I think the hardest thing sometimes would be the arguments.  If I'm not careful, I can get pulled into he said/she said type stuff all throughout the day.  Usually my rule is no tattling unless someone is being hurt or is being a pervert.  Sometimes I'll think someone is being outrageously bad, get all over their case, but then once I hear the other side of the story I feel bad because I didn't hear the other side first.  And sometimes, the stories are so wildly different I have to just walk away and tell them to just separate. I'm learning really quick to choose my battles very carefully.  If I don't, I'll be settling fights all day long. Sometimes I realize the tattling comes from boredom and a need for drama from the kids.  Sometimes it looks like I don't care to the kids but I've learned the worst thing I can do is when a case is brought to me, to look at the accused and rebuke in front of the offended.  Sometimes, and it's completely human of us to do this, kids find satisfaction in seeing another kid punished.  Dr. James Dobson has always suggested to take the accused aside privately and ask their side of the story.  If both sides are wildly different, separate them.  But don't lash out at the accused in from of the other kid.  I love that advice.  However, people that see me acting completely calm in the middle of an argument, it's because I'm listening to both sides and mulling it over in my head.  Once one of the kids goes back and plays, I'll quietly have a talk with the other one whether it's to ask more questions or correct their behavior. Not an easy parenting task, dealing with arguments.  Alas, it must be done.  Ha.

Terrible photo. Cell cam is messing up
Another common argument is who has got the hardest chores.  I try really hard to be fair.  The older the kids, the harder their chore.  Naturally, I'm not gonna give the harder ones to the younger kids.  There will always be someone that thinks they have the hardest.  That's when I look at them and ask if they'd like my chore.  Often I wake up to watching a sermon, get up, get ready, homeschool and do my chores, wash lots of clothes, feed everyone, and by dinner time it's the only other time I get to sit down.  I looooove my job.  I wouldn't trade it for any other in a million years.  But moms have the hardest job for sure.  I never believe in just giving all the work to the kids.  I'm working right alongside them.  If I really feel like a chore is just too much for a kid, usually it's because there is just too much clutter and a lot needs to be tossed.  I did that today in the girls room because my girls just couldn't clean it up everyone day.  There was just too much stuff hidden in all kinds of places. This picture is it.  My girls are so used to not getting attached to stuff, they wanted the room to look just like the picture below.  I wish my whole house was that clutter free!  Their chore is going to be much easier tomorrow. :)  I think if I had to pick a kid, Ryan has the hardest because it's the kitchen.  OH MY GOSH.  That poor kid.  Haha. Lots of cleanup in there.  He's fast though so he's the perfect kid for the job.

My girls have learned to love less stuff because it means less stress

Monday, November 10, 2014

Getting Adjusted to an Even Larger Family

With the added family here and the extra kids (and 2 more adults), I'm truly surprised how much as human beings we can stretch without breaking.  I literally expected the worst.  I did have a family living with us back in 2009 but it was a different situation and I was also different.  I couldn't handle a whole lot of stress and I really did feel I was gonna break.





As soon as the 3 extra kids moved in, we added them to the daily chore list.  Just to make the transition easier for them, I took the easiest chore from each of my kids so they can just get used to everything.  It's working out well so I don't think I'll be changing it at all.  I'm not saying their chore is like picking up one piece of paper, I just didn't want to overwhelm them and give them the hardest ones right off the bat.  My kids are keeping their main chores as is.  

I figured I was so stretched I couldn't possibly have any more kids after this 8th one.  After seeing how it's been with 10 kids I realize, it's very possible to have a lot of kids without going insane and finding myself in a corner sucking my thumb.  It is a little bit different because my kids know the routine.  Usually we do the same thing daily.  We eat in the morning, bible study, homeschool, lunch, chores, play, dinner.  Then at night after dinner they were always in their room at 8:30pm sharp.  They learned to never come out unless they are quietly using the restroom and going straight back to their rooms without talking to anyone else in another room.  It was mommy and daddy's quiet time.  I think that's the main challenge and getting the kids that aren't used to that routine, used to it.  As of now, we'll get them into their room but they'll come out for 4 hours straight with requests.  That's the main thing I'm hoping will change over the next few months.  :)  But if that's the only problem I'm facing (except house gets way dirtier faster), then I'm a blessed lady.

Today I'm 4 months pregnant.  Wheeeeee!!!!  My little boy is growing, has a very strong heartbeat, and I've only gained 4 lbs so far.  Hallelujah.  Ha ha.  I'm still thinking his name will be Jaxon but don't you think Dash is more appropriate for a boy name in this family?  Ha.

Monday, November 03, 2014

Family and Van Upgrade

Wow, my life has changed in the last two weeks.  You want to know why I haven't written?  Oh, let me tell you....

Washing blue van to sell so we can buy newer, bigger van

  • We sold our large 12  Ford passenger van.


  • Bought a newer 15 passenger Chevy van.


  • Take new van back and forth to dealership several times to have to fix minor interior issues.  We noticed the seat belt adapters were missing and some of the kids couldn't buckle.  Actually, the dealership has been going above and beyond, even after we signed papers, to fix anything needed.  So all small parts are on order.
  • Moved in a family of 5 into our house till February or March.
  • Rearranged bedrooms to fit the extra kids and give newlyweds their own room.
  • My washer broke so I've been running back and forth to laundry mat.
  • Bought a washing machine today used for the same price as going to the laundry mat only one time.
  • Had to come up with a new chore list to accomodate the new members of our family for pitching in.
  • Train the new kids on the updated chore list.


  • Dig around for Halloween costumes for some kids in the family and extended family we didn't get prepared for.


  • Dress 10 kids for Halloween and take them all trick or treating in the neighborhood.  Collapse in bed.


  • Try to take and get new members of the family's car fixed so they have their car back and I won't have to help them get around.  (I only assisted, they paid.)  Smile big when their car if repaired. Ahhhh....


  • Try to get all the kids to realize that yes, their friends are spending the night every single night but that doesn't mean it's party every night.  Train kids on bed time and not coming out a million times.  If each kid came out twice to tell me something, that's 20 times I have to chase someone back to bed.


  • Etc....


Posing with my kids and our added family living here in front of new van

Ohhhhh, list goes on!  Ha ha.  Usually I wake up, get a cup of coffee, and just go, go, go till bed time.  With homeschool and sharing computers, I rarely get on one.  I love to blog too!  Lately I just haven't even sat down and watch a good show on TV.  My favorite is Duck Dynasty or 19 Kids and Counting.  Everything else is boring as heck and I don't have time for fiction stuff.  I guess maybe I just like to learn from others and if I'm not learning about something then it seems like a waste of my time.  Same with books.  It's so fun to always be learning and putting it into practice. :D

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

We Are Having a Boy!

I'm so relieved.  Sigh.  I'm only 13 weeks pregnant but I got the blood test done that lets me know if the baby is high risk for anything.  It says the baby is good. 

I was a little worried about having a girl again because girls are so much work.  Agh.  Very emotional. Then again, I thought it'd be neat for Juliet to have a younger sibling to play with.  Oh, well.  It works!!

I've always liked the name Jackson but I don't like that spelling. I was thinking about either Jaxon, Jaxson, or Jaxsen.  What do you think?

Ivy and her friend Kerrianne at project
I'm on antinausea pills right now.  Bleh.  Several days ago I had the flu really bad and almost had to go to the ER because I couldn't hold down any water or food for a long time.  The water is the more dangerous part.  Thankfully, it only lasted 24 hours.  I was so relieved because the very next day I was supposed to volunteer on an outdoor project.  I felt soooo weak when I first went out there but felt stronger as the day went on.  There is a huge project next door to my house and we were doing tile art on the wall.  Pretty cool!





Thursday, October 09, 2014

11 Week Ultrasound

11 weeks
Yesterday was an emotional day for me thinking about my ultrasound with the last baby in April. It was a 9 week one but baby was measuring too small and was dying. So yesterday at my 10 week checkup and having my scheduled ultrasound, I cried. I really didn't want to go in and I cried missing Genesis.  I cried all the way to the OB's office, just worried of bad news. I smiled right away when I saw this on the screen because I knew everything was okay. They actually changed my due date so I'm 11 weeks. Baby is growing, healthy, has very strong heartbeat. Now it's tears of joy. My new due date is April 27.  I can't believe I'm having a baby in a different month.  Wow, so different.  My older six kids have birthdays all two weeks apart and then Juliet made her own month.  Now this one is due two weeks before her.  :)

I told the doctor how nauseous I was and she prescribed me some medication.  Also, because of my age I have to take calcium vitamins and a baby aspirin along with my prenatals.  Well, I took the antinausea medicine last night.  I woke up for the first time without throwing up.  I went an entire day without heaving at every smell.  The only problem is I kept falling asleep everywhere.  Oh my gosh!  I couldn't even hardly wake up in the morning and when I finally made my way to the couch I slept more. I got up to make lunch and that wore me out so I put Juliet down for a nap and then put myself down as well. I slept and slept.  When Charles got home he said I looked like a drunk.  I finally went and took a look at that medicine to see if it had something to do with it.  It says right on the box that it causes drowsiness and don't use it if you need to be attentive.  Um yeah, I'm a mom.  I need to be very attentive.  There is no way I'm taking these pills again.  Since I took two last night, I'm took only one tonight to see if it makes a difference at least.  Ohhhh, my house is a mess now that I've been down and out all day.  Please, lets not have tomorrow be a repeat.  Eek! 

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Working Slowly to Becoming a Minimalist

I have cleared out so much stuff in my house but I'm working towards becoming a minimalist.  My sister already has it down pat but it's still rocket science for me.  I have been trying and trying to work on it for months.  I still have much clutter in closets and cupboards.  Sigh.  However, if we all work as a team we can get the house cleaned up super fast.  It used to be that it would take much, much longer because of all the clutter.  Have you ever seen any of the shows about gypsy lives? The only reason why I love it is I'm watching how they function with so little stuff and they have large families. Cleaning is so, so, so simple.  However, I can't seem to find a website that actually give a how to, like a guide.  I don't like talking about it.  Just give me the steps.  If anyone wants to enlighten me, I would love to find a website!  :D

Because of Juliet mainly, our walls in the house look horrid.  It's time for us to paint again.  I am terrible about picking out paint because I always do the wrong color.  In fact, I need to just call my sister and ask her.  She's like the beautiful version of Martha Stewart but without the jail time.  We also need a good cleaning of all the carpets.  We need a new couch, a new bed for Charles and I, and now a new 12 passenger van.  It died.  So, yay for us!  :D  Yeah, lots of work needed around here.


Side note:
Oh, my heart hurts.  I would be due soon with baby Genesis if I hadn't miscarried.  I still cry at least every other week.  I can't go near where I buried the baby because I'll bawl.  I have flowers and it's gated off from everything so no one can trample the area.  My baby.  Today I have a 10 week scan to make sure this baby in my stomach is growing properly.  I'm very nervous.

Monday, October 06, 2014

Am I Serving God or a Set of Standards?

I go through these really, really bad drag down phases where my past beliefs come back and haunt me.  It's almost paralyzing because I didn't even go to church yesterday and I was really looking forward to it. My husband very well knows these phases I go through because I'm usually in tears and curled up on the couch almost the entire day.

Even though my family went ahead to church without me, I looked up some of my favorite preachers that I recorded and picked a couple of sermons.  Something that really stood out to me, and it's weird that I just happened to watch it on that day...

"There are many gospels out there, be careful which one you listen to.  There is a gospel that tells you to go by your morals (by your works) to stay saved.  I believe in good morality but I believe good morality is a byproduct of right believing.  When you believe the true gospel, there will be a fruit of the spirit."

I can absolutely, 100% testify to how true this is.  Of course it's not gonna be a breeze to serve God in this day and age but when you put your focus on Christ, falling in love with Him, rather than on what you should and shouldn't be doing, those things fall into place on it's own.  Before, I felt like I had to try SO HARD to keep making right decisions.  I felt guilty over tiny things which led to condemnation, which then led me to feeling like not even trying anymore.

For example:

Several years ago on our anniversary we were walking the mall.  My husband and I decided to go into the theater and watch an animation cartoon.  Totally innocent movie. We had no TV at home.  The next time I was at church a lady whispered in my ear that she caught me at the theaters and saw us go in.  I looked at her and replied that I watched nothing wrong and I wasn't worried if anyone saw me.  However, I felt ashamed.  Why did I feel ashamed?  Did I watch anything I shouldn't have put before my eyes?  No.  It was just a works based mentality that came with a set of rules. I broke a rule, not a biblical moral standard.  From that point on I slowly, very slowly began to see how I was following rules whether or not there was a biblical reason for it.  I wasn't serving God, I was serving a set of rules and if I broke those rules even without sinning, I felt ashamed.  Then I would think, what does it matter now? I broke a rule anyway.  I might as well give up.  

For so many years I went through these highs and lows.  When I was faithfully reading my bible, going to bible study, praying, attending church, following the rules, I felt like a super Christian.  I was making people around me happy and it turn it makes God happy.  If I missed a couple of services or I slipped and watched a movie, I would get depressed and just say I want to throw in the towel.  I would lay awake at night in fear that God was angry with me and I was gonna die and go to hell that night.  Let's just say I rarely ever slept good.  But now that I look back on it, how was I sinning?  I wasn't! I was condemning myself and Satan didn't even have to.  I was doing his job for him.  I was serving a set a rules.  I realized that I didn't even know if I was serving God.  I was serving A God but not the true God.

One day the sleepless nights and the weariness did me in.  I was completely and totally drained and I had no more strength to try anymore.  I told my husband I would never set foot in a church again and I meant it.  I went to another church with my husband but for several months I sat there and questioned whether or not God was even real.  I decided I was gonna quit all together and I wasn't gonna serve a God I didn't even know existed.  One night I begged God to save me from the brink.  I was finished but I needed God to make Himself real to me.  I begged Him to show me the truth in scriptures about salvation.  He did.  He answered my prayer just a couple days later through a friend that recommended Robert Morris' Overwhelmed by Grace series.  It thoroughly explained the purpose of the law and how grace works.  That burden was completely lifted.  I finally understood and for the first time I saw scriptures to absolutely back it up.  How was I so blinded to these scriptures before?  I saw what I wanted to when reading scripture.  I picked out things that proved that we stay saved by our works.  The sad thing is I when I did that I was completely taking it out of context rather than keep reading. 

I said all that to say this, be careful that you are serving God and not a set of standards.  Serving God doesn't have to be so tiring that you are dragging your feet.  Once I just put my focus on Him, knowing and loving Jesus, it's like those wrong desires that were tempting me before just faded away.  It wasn't nearly as strong as it once was because the Law arouses sin.  When you serve the Law, you will find that temptations are gonna hound you a hundred times more.  When you serve Jesus, those righteous desires fall into place.

Good morality is a byproduct of right believing.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Visitors From Heaven or Hades?

Just when we are looking forward to some amazing events coming up, our van decides to just fall apart.  On Ashley's birthday the van wouldn't start.  I literally have everyone loading up and excited to spend the day at Amazing Jakes.  The van won't even start.  I am sitting there lightly banging my head on the steering wheel with my eyes tearing up because I have to go in and tell Ashley that we are going NOWHERE for her birthday.  Turns out our alternator died and killed our battery on the way down.  On top of that our head gasket is blown, need new spark plugs (not a big deal but the head gasket is) and it's gonna be a lot of money.  Thankfully I had some savings but the head gasket is gonna be huge so that's gonna have to wait.  So basically I'm told I can take my van very short distances only.  Ohhhh man.  Stuff happens and that's why I'm finally starting to understand that it's always good to save for emergencies.  I've been taking a class by Dave Ramsey called Financial Peace University.  So far it's been amazing and now I especially see the need for big emergency money.

Sigh.  

That was a few days ago.  Now I'm being told that my van probably won't make it another few months without getting a whole new engine in it.  I can't break down and go find a van where we have to make payments.  I need to save, save, save till this one dies.  We've only been using cash to buy cars for a really long time and I really don't want to get stuck in a payment as that wouldn't be very wise.

I know what I write below might step on some toes of dear friends I love but I just write how I feel.  Personal experience and opinion.


Last week I had a knock on my door from a couple of ladies.  They were very nice and wanted to share the gospel of Jesus with me.  Well, that's good.  I never have that happen so I was open to listen even though I very much have Jesus in my heart.  It was great until they told me that because I believe it's possible to lose my salvation, I'm already going to hell.  Then I can't be saved and they wanted to pray the sinners prayer with me.  I was taken back a bit.  You mean, I'm considered to be on my way to hell even though I've devoted my life to Christ and I believed I'm saved by grace and not by works, all because I'm unsure about eternal security?  Then that leaves about 95% of the world on their way to hell with no hope.  Forget all the Christians that serve Christ with all their hearts.  If they believe it's possible to lose their salvation, they are hopelessly lost.  This is very, very harsh.  She showed me tons and tons of scriptures but none of them straight out said that what they were saying is true.  Nothing. 

Well, this is exactly what I have been studying as of late in scriptures.  I used to believe I could lose my salvation at the drop of a hat.  One mistake and, darn, there goes my salvation again.  I guess I maybe had a Catholic-Christian mentality.  Always have to run back to church and ask for forgiveness and never having an assurance of salvation.  Basically, a life of fear.  In my recent studies I have been surprised to learn it is not at all like that.  We are sinners saved by grace and sustaining grace.  Well, what happens when someone blatantly lives in sin, unrepentant, for years and years on end?  Like someone who lives with their boyfriend, never marries?  Okay, well, I don't know.  I have been studying and studying about it.  Those two ladies told me that no matter what a person does, once they ask Christ into their hearts, they could go on a murder rampage for 30 years or until they die and they are destined to heaven.

After these ladies left, I just felt a heaviness.  They told me it was from God they came since I just happened to be studying about this.  However, I wasn't so sure.  Could it have been a total blow to discourage my studies?  That's exactly what happened.  I was discouraged because where I once had joy in what I had been learning, I was now told that since I doubt eternal security, I'm going to hell.  My gosh.  Well, I can't just buy whatever someone sells me at the door.  I need time to study the truth in the scriptures.  I have not once found what they are saying is true so that must mean I'm doomed.  I'm sure God's grace and mercy doesn't throw people into hell for loving, believing Him, living for Him yet they are just unsure of small parts of doctrine.  Goodness.  

That was about a week ago and talk about total joy ripped from my heart.  I've been really struggling since.  I did do some studying after they left and I can't find any scripture to back it up.  I do believe I would be wrong to believe I keep my salvation by my works.  Yes, I found many, many scriptures that say we cannot trust in keeping our own salvation.  It's completely by grace alone.  I also did some study work about "blotting the name out of the book of life" and was SURPRISED I had believed so wrong about that all my life as well.  So yes, I do my own study work. It's important to know scripture for myself.  But what an extremely discouraging experience to go through.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

The Terrible, Terrible, Terrible Twos

Oh man, I've been feeling yucky.  The other night I tried to go to the store to buy food to make dinners for the week.  Every aisle made me gag.  I walked out with Cup O' Noodles for everyone.  No joke.  I'm gonna try to go shopping again tonight.  After all, I'm starving exactly every two hours of the day.  I have to have food.  So do they.

Juliet pooring milk over brother's head
Now I'm seven weeks pregnant and I take naps every day when Juliet does.  She literally wears me out so it's not all hormone.  I mean, most of it is from pregnancy but she just has me running all over.  For the sake of everyone's sanity I've been trying to mostly keep her gated in the living room with us with some toys.  She constantly begs for bottles but I give her sippy cups which she hates.  She would rather go thirsty than drink from a sippy cup.  Sometimes I'll cave for the sake of sanity and just give her a bottle.  She'll drink only some of it and then poor the rest over her play kitchen, blankets, and toys.  Wow, I am thanking God that this next baby isn't coming till Juliet turns three years old.  Lets hope and pray she's a tad bit more normal.  But, hey, we are talking about the three year old stage.  The one positive thing I could gain from it is Juliet will be on the road to potty training.


Juliet poking her brother's eyes
Lately, or shall I say the last several months, Juliet has been stripping off all her clothes and her diaper and running around naked.  I will redress her constantly because I have boys in the house.  She'll quickly restrip.  The problem with this is the peeing and pooping.  Today, during her nap hour, she was supposed to be resting but I caught her naked with poop smeared all over her bed.  Ohhhhhhhh, this girl..... To make it more challenging, every single time she knows she did something bad, she will kiss me like crazy.  Kiss my leg, my hand, my arm, my foot.  Then she'll give me the most winning smile ever.  Today when Ryan was in trouble and had to sit alone somewhere, Juliet went up to him and kept giving him kisses knowing he was in trouble.  She was wanting him to feel better.  Ha. 

Help me, Lord!  These terrible twos are the worst I've ever gone through.  Eek, I'm starving again.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

My Scare at 6 Weeks Pregnant

I haven't written in a few days because I had a scare.  I'm only six weeks pregnant but about 4 days ago I started bleeding and my stomach hurt.  I thought, "Uh oh, here we go again."  Out of fear I was going to lose this baby just like Genesis, I cried and cried on my bed.  I eventually came out and ask the kids to pray for me.  They were quick to.  They vividly remember surrounding me on the bed when I was in pain letting go of Genesis.  When I asked, they all gathered in a circle holding hands and prayed their hearts out for this baby.

Feeling in limbo, I mostly laid around and DREADED going to the bathroom.  Everytime I did for two days it was a reminder of the bleeding.  I put a post out on facebook asking for prayer.  Soooo many people responded.  I know some people say they also bled in their pregnancy.  The reason I was scared was because bleeding was following the pain in my stomach.  Like a cramping.  That is a very bad sign and it was identical to my last experience.  

My mom taking the girls during my doctor's visit
I hate feeling like my life is on hold but not knowing what to do, I mostly did nothing.  I could only think about this little one.  I had hoped that even though the baby is teeny tiny that maybe if I did nothing, it'd be safe.  I know more than likely, if I lost a baby it just meant something was wrong with the baby.  I don't know.

Eventually I went to the ER with a heavy heart and prepared for the worst.  They gave me an ultrasound to make sure the baby had a heart beat.  Can you believe that when most people find out they are pregnant, there is already a heartbeat?  I mean, I'm only 6 weeks and I saw that teeny little baby's heart beating on the screen.  Wow.  Even better, it was a good heart rate.  They gave me another Rhogam shot since I was bleeding.  Of course they sent me papers home about a possible miscarriage.  Still, after seeing that heartbeat, I had hope.  

My heart broke when I found out my high risk pregnancy doctor dropped me because she didn't feel I was high risk anymore.  She said I've had lots of healthy babies and there was nothing to worry about.  Well, I had to be off and running to now find a brand new doctor I've never had.  Argh.  I don't like this process because I've had a BAD one before that we almost took to court for some very bad things she did.  I almost lost a baby at 28 weeks 5 years ago because of her negligence.  I was scared in meeting a new one now.


After two days of bleeding it stopped. I held my breath in hopes it would stay that way.  Two days later the bleeding hasn't returned but, ohhhh, how scary. At first I was preparing my heart to lose another baby but then decided that it was not at all faith to be like that.  I fully remember how much faith I had last time and still lost Genesis but then decided that no matter what happens, I need to understand that God is in control.  He has my Genesis with Him right now.  And whatever happens with this baby, God is so good.  Whether I have this baby here on earth or someday in heaven, that's still a beautiful child of mine I've been gifted with!  

I saw my new doctor today.  Oh boy, what a type A personality she has which scared me right off the bat.  I like successful people and all that are go getters but some can be rude without meaning to be.  Or they come off as blunt.  But she slowly won my heart over when she said "Oh, have as many babies as you want.  That's your business and no one else's!"  Ha.  She's blunt all right.  But she's great towards large family mamas which is what I needed.  Funny enough, even though my other doctor dropped me, this doctor will be sending me to my old doctor for some visits and scans since I'm 35 years old and pregnant.  So ha!  My other doctor has me partially back.  However, I was feeling a bit old as a pregnant mom being I have to go somewhere special because of my age. 

I'm praying for a full term, healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby. :)  Would you please pray with me?

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

How Fry's Food Made Me Hate Couponing

I used to loooove couponing.  I would put at least 20 hours a week into getting my papers, cutting coupons, organizing them, and the best part, taking them shopping to get my discounts.  After many, many hours of hard work, my reward was getting discounts on my food.  That doesn't mean I cheated on my couponing.  I never tried to get items that weren't on the coupon nor did I ever try to print out bad coupons from my printer.  I was just an honest to goodness coupon loving gal.  Well, something changed all that.

Every single store I ever coupon at (pretty much) have the same policies.  I could walk into Safeway and they'd almost always tell me the same thing. No matter who I was talking to.  Same goes for CVS or Walgreens.  They are easy and simple.  They knew their store policies and didn't have an angry look on their face when I took out my coupons.


The second worst (before I tell you the first) would be Walmart.  I printed out a store policy and stores pretty much go between two different policies.  Either they follow it perfectly or they changed just one thing about it.  It's not as much fun to coupon at Walmart because they never have sales (sorry, but a penny rollback doesn't count) and they don't double their coupons in any way.  However, in general they can be cheap. Still, it's way more fun to shop at stores that have great discounts on different foods for different weeks out of the year.


The worst, worst, worst store I ever deal with as far as couponing goes is Fry's Food.  Some places call it Kroger.  Not only does nobody know the policy but most managers don't agree on it.  It's almost like it's up to each manager to decide how much they want to follow the store couponing policy or not at all.  I can go to one Fry's and they'll allow 50 coupons in one transaction.  Then I could go to another down the street and they only allow 10.  Why?  It's nowhere on the policy.  At times I get looked at with disgust by cashiers and managers at times for being a couponer.  I've never broken any rules but it's very confusing when each store chooses how they want to handle couponers.  I am not ridiculous and expect what I can't have and in fact, I'm really polite to the cashier.  I try to never hold up lines and I don't go during the rush hours.  There are times I was even told just to go home because my coupons froze up their system.  I wasn't offered to be helped on a different register.  Whether I coupon or not, I still on average spend about $900 a month on groceries.  I'm a good customer.  When I started to wonder why each Fry's were so different on their policies, a friend that is a manager confirmed it to me that it's left up to the managers to decide how to handle couponers and most are confused about it.  One time I reported a manager for being extremely rude to me.  When he was called up and confronted by corporate, to save himself he lied and said he was only telling me I couldn't price match to other stores.  I would never, ever do that as I know Walmart is the only place that does that.  It's easy for corporate to take the manager's side because they are in leadership but it left me as a customer with a mark on my head as a liar by other managers.


I finally just let it go for my sanity.  I worked too hard to deal with the anger I got from managers and the people working the registers.  It's really hard knowing the policy (which seems super simple and easy to understand) but deal with so much confusion.  My last straw was a few weeks ago, couponing, trying to save some money, the register freezing up, being told to just go home without my groceries, my car getting keyed by gangsters while shopping and right in front of their security guard, trying to report it to security, and being turned away because it was too late and they were about to close.  I had it.  It was on tape that it was done in the parking lot but I was brushed away.  I love, love Fry's for their weekly discounts and doubling of their coupons but their customer service is greatly lacking and drives customers to higher priced stores for the sake of good service.

That's why I gave up couponing. I'll never treat a register person or a manager rudely back.  It's not right to act angry and spew out things I'd later regret.  When they'd turn me away, I learned to just walk out and deal with it.  But I think the BEST thing Fry's corporate could do for their customers is maybe hold a class on just their coupon policies alone and how to treat couponers fairly.  There may be people that abuse them but a lot of us out there are just trying to find ways to stretch our money and are good customers.  :P

Friday, August 29, 2014

Do Moms Lose Their Memory with Each Child?

This is how I see my husband before work. My tired hero.
Oh man!!!  Today I'm feeling the tiredness.  Last night I worked on decluttering till about 4am, took a shower, then went to bed.  Then I got up 5 hours later.  To top it off, we had no coffee left.  I do have some decaf but I'm sorry, that's insulting. (Shhhh, don't tell Charles I made him decaf as well.  He doesn't know.  When he came in to tell me he was still tired and coffee wasn't working, I had to try not to laugh.  Hahaha.) It'd be better to wake up fast by banging my head on the wall 10 times or throwing freezing ice water on my face.  Maybe even do the ice bucket challenge.

Oh, so there's the ice bucket challenge.  I completely forgot to do it being that I was challenged.  That's how bad my memory is.  Also, I forgot I had church nursery duty last Sunday morning.  I'm sooooo grateful I go to church with gracious people.  I'm hoping and praying that was the only time I forgot.  I don't know because I can't remember.  Ha ha. By the way, what is the huge fuss about people doing the ice bucket challenge?  Some are saying people that do the ice water rather than donate are being cheap. Well, at least it's bringing it to people's attention around the world that can donate.  Because of this challenge, tons of money was raised to bring awareness to ALS.  I think that's amazing!!!  Let's do more stuff like this!!!

Today I put my old red van up for sale.  I got so many calls today I could hardly work on my decluttering project I started yesterday. We've had this van since 2009.  It served us for 5 good years but we just simply outgrew it.  Awww.... so many good memories.  Ashley was a year and half then, now she's turning 7 soon.  When we first got this red van we felt like we were driving a house.  We upgraded from a minivan so this was luxury to us.  Now we have a 12 passenger!  Ha ha.



Oh, and do moms lose their memory with each child?  According to eHow pregnant women do.  Come on!  I need a study that shows moms in general have memory loss.  I know I do.  There is just soooo much to keep up with.  I get myself in trouble forgetting important dates but it's because my calendar is hilariously full.

Anyway, it's past midnight and I'm so close to be done with my decluttering project.  Better hop to it!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Sick of the Clutter and Throwing it Out- Here We Go Again

Alright.  When I walk into a room, scratch my head because I don't know what to clean first, and walk out, that means it's time to do the red carpet treatment in that room.  It may seem like I do this process all the time but actually it's because I attack one of the 6 rooms of our house throughout the year.  So yeah, if I post about it 6-12 times a year, that's why.  I've been doing this for awhile and it solves all my "woman, get your act together and keep it organized" issues.



Yeah well, my bedroom tends to be the drop off room when everyone does their chores.  Also, The Destroyer goes in there (my toddler) and loooooves pulling anything and everything out of the drawers and off the shelves.  I had it today and emptied my room out into my living room.  Kyle and Ashley volunteered for free and I still paid them hourly.  Yes, I teach my kids about earning money per job.  It's awesome and teaches them fast.  If it's not part of their chores or personal things then I consider it an extra and it makes a good lesson about earning money.  Wow, the kids and I emptied everything out quick!  The hard part is going through it but if you wait to do this process when you are SICK OF THE CLUTTER, it's the best time to do it because you throw out stuff easier.  They sort of just threw it all over the carpet which is fine.  The deal is it has to stay on the carpet.  It used to be a red carpet which is why it's called Red Carpet Treatment.  Ha ha.  Not it's brown but brown would be weird sounding.  I love my corny sayings.  Anyway, this is what my living room looks like right now with my room emptied all over it.  I'm up late organizing!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Why Can't I Be Like Everyone Else- Mommy Insecurities

I need to step up on my game.  Sometimes I feel so insecure because I can't get the house perfect like I see in all those Instagram and Facebook photos.  I don't get it?  Ha.  I was the baby of the family.  Babies are known to be the messies.  Whyyyyy can't I retrain myself to be like this fantastical, amazing, pefecto woman, wife, mom, everything?  My husband said, "All those women you compare yourself to, are they homeschooling a large family?  Because it's just not the same otherwise and it's not fair to compare yourself to someone where their life is just completely different."  I love my husband.  It always puts it back into perspective for me.  :)

Not sure how clutter gets back into my house but it does.  We are not shopaholics here but it just makes sense that which 9 people, stuff can just add up quick with birthday and holidays.  It's like this never ending carousel for me that I've learned to just deal with rather than loathe.  Some people can just stay right on top of it.  I'm amazed by them.... unless something or someone(s) important in their life is being replaced to do it.  I want my kids to grow up and really feel they know me.  I hope they'll say we had a relationship.  I promise, the clean house doesn't matter because that's such a faded part in my memory of my own past.  I remember the relationship stuff.

Juliet has got to be the world's lightest sleeping baby.  She will go to bed on time but because she hears people going to the bathroom in the middle of the night, she'll wake up.  She never puts herself back to sleep but instead calls for us to come play with her.  I have to keep certain pajamas on her and keep a gate up at her door or she'll run naked throughout the house in the middle of the night.  She doesn't just strip and run, she laughs wildly while she does it.   Ha ha.  So cute but soooooo much work. 

Usually the softie to come to her side is Ivy.  Ivy will hug her, change her diaper, get her a bottle, and they'll snuggle.  However, Ivy got trapped into playing in her castle with her at 1am.  Anytime Ivy tried to walk out Juliet would cry.  In fact, when I took this picture, that's exactly why Juliet was crying in it.  Ivy felt bad, came back in, and when she did, Juliet pushed-forced her towards the castle. Ivy and Juliet are giggling their heads off right now. 

Friday, August 22, 2014

Death of Robin Williams- Endless Void

I've written a lot about my grace journey this past year.  I also mentioned the incredible depression I was going through a year prior.  It was like an emptiness in my soul.  I don't even know how to describe it.  It's like a void that no one can fill.  Not your friends, loved ones, or any form of materialism, success.  Yeah, yeah... I heard a million times.  Jesus is the answer, Jesus is the answer.  HE IS.  I'm not saying He isn't.  But when you think grace only exists for for a short time, when you receive Christ, but after that you are on your own with your own good works, it can be tiring.  I thought I knew who Jesus was.  Boy, was I waaaaaaaaay off.  I thought I knew the Bible backwards and forwards.  Especially the part about why Jesus had to come.  I thought I knew. I didn't. If you want to hear my long study, explanation of where and why I was losing faith, I explain why in the next few paragraphs.  Otherwise, skip to bottom to the words in blue. Continued....

_____________________________________________________________________
Personal Study

Many, many time the scripture is quoted to me.
Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. Matthew 5:17
This is the part I was confused about.  Does this mean we still live by the law? Jesus was explaining the true significance of the moral content of Moses' law and the rest of the Old Testament. Fulfill means the fulfillment in the same sense that prophecy is fulfilled.  Christ was indicating that He is the fulfillment of the law in all it's aspects.  He fulfilled the moral law by keeping it perfectly.  (Something we cannot do).

*Bear one another's burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ. -Galatians 6:2

*Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another, for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law. -Romans 13:8


Well, what is the law of Christ?  Is it the same law as the old testament?

Insert from Christian Truth Center:

What is the law of Christ

The law of Christ 150x150 What is the law of Christ
the law of Christ
What is the law of Christ? Is there a law of Christ? Many people do not differentiate the law of Christ and other Biblical laws.
The law of Christ is the grace; the New covenant (New Testaments). This law is so much different from all other laws in the Bible. There are only three major laws in the Bible. These are;
  1. The God laws (the Ten Commandments)
  2. The Mosaic law and
  3. The law of Christ.
The old covenant,  the law, is grievous and only leading to damnation not salvation. See effects of the law. So there was need for God to change this old covenant and bring a new one. Jesus Christ was and is the author of the new covenant while the old covenant (the law) came through Moses. 
For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ (John 1:17).
____________________________________________________________

Continued from top....
The explanation I give in my study explains my extreme weariness which also turned into depression.  I had NO CLUE about this so called grace.  I thought we were still living under rules, rules, and more rules.  Slowly I was sinking and the more I sank, the more I felt God disapproved.  God of love?  Ha. I felt like he was shaking His head in great disappointment of my ability to follow all the laws and added man made laws. (Man made laws: Meaning, giving extra rules to people they have to follow in hopes to help them serve God better.)

My point?  When I truly understood the love of Christ and the true sacrifice He did for all mankind, for me, I felt the void filling up with a love and fulfillment I hadn't ever felt in my life.  Almost like the fountains of the deep filling up with joy and then not just bubbling over, but bursting out for everyone to see!  For the first time I understood, I was soooo lost.  Jesus came to save those which were lost.  well, I qualified! 


I remember seeing a picture of Robin Williams about a year ago and seeing a sadness in his eyes that I could completely understand. I know that look in people's eyes. Often, I battled thoughts of suicide.  I just wanted to end the pain.  If I couldn't please God, then why try?  What happens when there is no hope from not knowing Christ? What comes after this life?  What's the point of life?  When Hollywood can't bring the fulfillment you were looking for?  When all the money you could ever want just doesn't fill that void?  It's scary, but just a year ago, exactly 11 months and 2 weeks ago I was there.  I'll never forget.  Only Jesus can fill that void.  I know.  In fact, religion can't fill that void either because I tried it.  I tried being the perfect Christian that followed all the rules and worked hard to get people's approval around me.  I felt that void and had that same emptiness in my eyes.  No one knew I was sinking.... Most people around Robin Williams didn't know.  

Once I finally accepted Christ's FREE GIFT of salvation.  Without condition. Once I discovered I wasn't just following a set of rules to stay saved, the void was gone.  That horrible EMPTY void vanished.  It's much easier to love yourself and more importantly love others when you know God's love.

I cried hearing this song (below) today because it exactly explains the love in my heart, the joy that only Christ was able to give me.  In turn, it's help me to love others more like I never thought I could.  Before, living in the law, I could never say these words.  When I did, it came with a blank expression.  When you understand His amazing love, you get EVERY SINGLE word in this song...

Pointing people to Jesus

From song in video below:
I abandon every distraction
My attention is set on You
My devotion, Jesus my portion
My affection is set on You

I was made to worship
I was made for Your embrace
I was made to worship
I was made to bless Your name

I will bless the Lord at all times x2
I was made to worship
I was made to bless your name
I will shout your praise forever x2
I was made to worship
I was made to bless Your name

Captivated by Your goodness
Overwhelmed by Your majesty
Swept away in Your holy presence
Giving over all of me

My heart and flesh cry out
for You to fill me up
You satisfy me
Fill me with power and truth
Fill me with love from You
You satisfy me


Thursday, August 21, 2014

Pregnancy Blessing After Loss

Unless my body is tricking me, I took 2 pregnancy tests and they came out positive.  I was starting to wonder about my body after the miscarriage in early April.  


Two nights ago I had a dream that I was pregnant and then my husband got a $1.50 raise.  I woke up with a smile because, yeah, that's a happy dream!  Haha.  Last night I just randomly bought some pregnancy tests but didn't think I was pregnant.  Well, I had my suspicions but lately I haven't been trusting my body too much.  I felt like it had dealt me a bad blow this last pregnancy. Well, it immediately came out positive even though I'm so early. So I took another one this morning and, yep, it was positive just as quickly!  

I jumped up and down and told my husband who was just as excited.  In fact, I don't remember him being THIS excited before.  I mean, he's always been really happy but I saw how hard the miscarriage was on him as well.  One day, not long after losing Genesis I was moping around and grumpy.  I was being short with him and he said, "Don't you think I'm hurting too?  Don't you think I miss Genesis?"  That broke my heart.  I always hear women talking about pregnancy loss but I've never thought to think how the husband is hurting too.  I realized how selfish I was acting and stopped being so rude.  Well, he was REALLY excited when I told him about this time.  Can you tell by his text in the picture?  Tee hee....

Well, one half of my dream came true, that raise would be awesome.  Just sayin'!  No matter, God has always provided.  I'm sooooo richly blessed in so many ways and I'm not talking just about material ways. God is so good.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Don't You Feel Seven Kids is Enough?

I'm in such a weird stage of my life.  I never thought about it coming.  EVER.  I'm 35 and I've been blessed with 7 beautiful, fun, amazing, challenging, heart wrenching, adventurous kids.  One is in heaven, although it's heartbreaking, I'm excited to meet someday.  ;) 



Last week I dismantled the crib for the first time in 14 years.  Not super excited about it.  Why am I feeling that way?  Aren't some parents happy to get out of those diaper and crib stages?  Doesn't it mean less physical slavery work but more drama? (Older kids come with more drama.)  Ha.  I wasn't happy about putting the crib in the garage.  I was sad. I love the little pitter-patter of the feet across the house.  I love the kisses and babbling.  I don't care about all the diaper changes.  I've never had a break so far for 14 years and that's just fine with me.  


On the other side of it, no more babies means less work, less sleepless nights, no strollers, no diapers, no crib, no packing a diaper bag, no nursing, no binkies, no bottles.....



I don't know...... I'm extremely content.  The weirdest thing is before I got pregnant with baby Genesis that we lost, I constantly was setting out 10 dinner plates.  We'd be sitting at the table and I'd look around to see who was missing.  It would dawn on me that we are only a family of nine.  I'm talking about for months I did this.  Once I got pregnant and lost the baby, I've never accidentally done this again. Weird, huh?  My heart hurts thinking about never, ever having a little baby in my tummy again.  Never again experiencing the miracle of birth. I don't mind waking up to those newborn cries a zillion times a night.  I'm so used to it now.  And believe me, it's not baby fever.  I have person fever.  Every single kid I have is so uniquely different that I just love learning about each one of them and I love their differences!  It's so fun to see all the different personalities.
 


I'm sure lots of people go through these feelings.  I just don't personally know anyone.  If I express these feelings to people in my life they'd most likely say, "Well, don't you feel seven is enough?"  When did it ever become a number?  They are not a group to me.  I know each and every kid personally.  I make it a point to spend personal time with each one.  And boy, I enjoy it!  Yes, it's sooooo much work.  Yes, housekeeping is a battle for me because it's getting messy as we're cleaning.  Okay, so what?  Who said a perfect house even matters?  Good grief.  I love toys strewn across my house.  It shows we love living.  A perfect house just feels unlived in and kind of empty.  Besides, I have no friends that are perfectionists.  I find that personality a bit annoying.  (Sorry if I offended anyone).   I'm not saying I like it messy but to me there is a balance.  If you randomly show up at my house, it's gonna look lived in. 

When is it time to move forward?  I thought by now it'd be so obvious to me.  People have told me many, many times that you'll always just know when you are done.  Well, good grief, I'm still waiting for that definite feeling.


Friday, August 15, 2014

A Brain That Won't Be Quiet

There is so much to learn and SO LITTLE free time for me in the day or night to learn it. I want to learn about:

*Financial Peace University with Dave Ramsey
*Considering career fields according to my children's interests
*How to do more interest-led learning
*What kinds of college classes does my husband need to take?  Costs and what college? (He's wanting to further his degree)
*Study the bible on topics such as Grace vs. Law, Giving, and toxic friendships
*Read a book my dad lent me
*How to change the belt on my broken washing machine because I like fixing stuff myself.
* How to build up my chick coop with the most popular and best egg layers for selling again.  

At midnight, off the top of my head, that's what I came up with that is on my brain every day.  I know I have more but I'm tired. 

When we wake up we do our bible studies, homeschool, and then chores.  By then I have to do my chores and then get ready for dinner.  Often, by the time I get everyone to bed I'm just tired and have only an hour to pick one of these to study about.  I'm a hungry learning horse and just soak up information.  I love it and enjoy it on my free time. Just wishing I had more.  Regardless, my family is the most important to me above all else.  :)  I just need 1 1/2 hours a day to myself and I can go to sleep happy at night.  Having a family is the most fulfilling thing I've ever done. Some day I might go to college to finish my dream but then again, I have sooooo many!!!  How do I fulfill them all?

*I want to learn Culinary skills. Get a degree.
* Work at an orphanage (Lifetime dream and already have one picked out)
* Work with homeless people (because right now, all the opportunities have been during Charles' work hours and my babies come first.)
*Go to school and become a Master Gardiner
*Maybe get a teaching degree
*Go to school and try to figure out how we ended up with Obama for president. (Just kidding)

My family IS my first ministry.  First priority.

Argh.  So that's the list I've already conjured up for when all my kids are raised and I have free time.  Then again, will I be a busy grandma?  Because to me, my family will still be first.  I have seven kids so I have the potential to be a grandma to many.  I already thought, "Okay, if each of my kids have four kids then I could be a grandma to 28."  Then again, even if each had only two kids then I'd be a grandma to 14.  So, yeah.  :) Charles and I already designated which rooms will be for grandkids.  Like a nursery or something. 

Seriously, my brain never stops.  I just have to take one day at a time.  ONE DAY AT A TIME. Okay, I'm gonna go wash my dishes.  Ha ha.

"Thank you, Jesus, for my beautiful family and thank you for giving me dreams and a hope for the future.  I'm amazed at everything you have done in my life and in my family.  The changes have been dramatic. But please help me to take one day at a time and appreciate each and every little moment.  It's a gift.  I love you!"

Monday, August 04, 2014

Overwhelmed By God's Grace - Shout it From the Rooftops!

It's so hard NOT to shout it from the rooftops for everything God has done in my heart and mind.  I copied my last weeks studies here.  Actually, I've been studying the scriptures in these videos for the last three months. It helps if I put it all here for quick reference.  I've watched these videos several times because I catch more than I did the last time.  :)

 
I was desperately begging God to show me that not only was He real, but show me he isn't angry, vengeful, and really does still love me. Sure, I had given my life to Him but all I knew was to live by works to please Him. Grace was not in my vocabulary or understanding. One day I stumbled onto this series. My eyes lit up and I listened to this very first one. I couldn't stop. Within one day I listened to the entire series. I cried and cried and cried. I cried till my throat hurt. I felt this heavy burden lift off my shoulders. I had heard of saving grace but not sustaining grace. I was completely dependent on my works to stay saved and it was crushing me. God made Himself real to me. He was always there but I was blinded by pride, my own works. Thank you, Jesus, for your healing in my mind and heart. I'm so excited for the first time in my life to serve You. I actually look forward to the journey ahead and getting closer to You.

Overwhelmed By Grace Series
The Righteousness of Grace

Immutability means unchanging.  God didn't just save us by Grace so we can go on to earn our way to heaven after that. We live righteously not so we can be made righteous. We already are when we asked Christ into our hearts. We live righteously because we been made righteous through Jesus Christ. There is not enough church services, outreaches, or bible studies you could attend to keep your salvation. It's completely by grace.

Overwhelmed By Grace Series
The Immutability of Grace
 
Overwhelmed by Grace. This one is great because it explains the purpose of the law and why we are no longer married to it. The law points out everything we do wrong or right. Once we die to ourself, accept Christ in our heart, we are no longer married to the law but to grace. Why then would we go back to the law?
 
Overwhelmed By Grace
The Marriage of Grace
 
Romans 7:7 For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said, "you shall not covet." 
 
Overwhelmed by Grace. This is one of my favorites because it explains in detail purpose of the law. The law does have a purpose but not as a tool to hit somebody else with. The law helps us to understand the moral standards of God. It reflects the parameters of God's desires. The law is used as a mirror to look at ourselves. The reason He doesn't want you to do those things is because it hurts people. Stealing is wrong because it hurts others. Lying is wrong because it hurts others. The law is like a school master. It's a list of do's and don'ts. We are no longer having a relationship with "a list" but with a person. Jesus Christ.
  
Overwhelmed By Grace
The Law of Grace
 
It'll change your life. I promise. ;)

Overwhelmed By Grace
The Gift of Grace

This series has totally blessed my life. God showed me so many things that just brought me to my knees in thankfulness.  I have to share.  :)