Tuesday, April 14, 2015

How Different Will It Be with Siblings 3 Years Apart?

38 weeks pregnant and no dilation.  That's fine!  :D  I'm STILL enjoying being pregnant.

I can't believe my youngest two kids will be 3 years apart!  Now I'll know what it's like to have kids 1, 2, and 3 years apart.  I had my first three kids within 3 years.  They are now all best buddies.  IT still worked out with my kids that are 2 years apart.  What will it be like with a 3 year gap?  This should be interesting and Juliet SHOULD be potty trained.  Everything has to be her idea.  She really wanted panties and potty training toilet.  She was soooo happy when I presented it to her till a couple days later when I suggested she try to potty on it.  The look on her face when she realized this was something that wasn't her idea anymore.  So now she pulls up panties over her diaper and tries to act big walking around in them.  Cheater pants!!!  I've been changing diapers for so many years I've learned when they are ready they are ready.  I think when Jaxon gets here, I'll focus on it a bit more.  Right now I have my ONE baby in diapers and it makes me happy.  :D

Today we got locked out of our house and had to break the chain lock to get in.  Two of our kids had their leadership class, chain locked the front door, then ran out through the garage while it was closing.  Well, we don't use our garage for the van so didn't have the opener with us. So now I'm in panic that Juliet is going to escape midday right out the front door.  EVEN though we have it locked with a child proof handle.  I'd better replace that chain lock asap. No joke. Houdini's copy cat lives here.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Extremely Dark Week (37 Weeks Pregnant)

Wow, last week was definitely the worst week I had gone through in my entire pregnancy.  It was a painful, dark time and the only time I wished for Jaxon to come out and quick. 

It started Easter day when my son started throwing up and was feverish.  The night I woke up and threw up really bad.  I figured it was no big deal because by the next day, although another kid started coming down with it, Kyle was already back on his feet.  Okay, so it's a 24 bug.  But then it kept going and getting so bad I had to lay in a dark room for most of the day and nights.  Usually at night I struggle with acid reflux and heartburn during pregnancy but this was taken to a new level.  Once it hit about 8pm at night, I was in serious pain and throwing up bad.  Then nothing was staying down including water.  Finally I just went to the hospital because I hadn't been able to go potty in 2 days.  It was getting scary.  It took 3 bags of fluid to finally get me to be able to go.  They sent me home but nothing changed and was back in 2 days.  It took another 3 bags of fluid.  At night I finally just started crying because that time of the night was coming where I was throwing up acid and I was worried it was gonna be like this for 2 more weeks till Jaxon comes.  The acid was now going through my GI track and hurt very bad.  It takes a lot for me to cry but I was balling and balling because I couldn't spend the day with my babies and nights I couldn't sleep till I finally felt relief around 5am, when the sun was starting to come up.  The day after my second trip to the hospital my doctor prescribed me Protonix, which is a stronger version of Prilosec.  Only a half hour I took it all pain left and I haven't had a problem since.  Seriously?  That's all it took?  It was like the clouds instantly left and I slept like a baby for the first time in 2 months.  Thank you, thank you!

 I didn't want my last weeks with Jaxon to be a nightmare.  I look forward to every day but I embrace each day.  I've learned to enjoy living in the moment rather than thinking fun is around the next corner.  I felt serious guilt wanting Jaxon to come out and I felt robbed of my last pleasant weeks with him in my womb.  This is been such an amazingly, joyful pregnancy.  When a mom is that sick, taking care of kids is extremely difficult.  Charles ended up taking off work to care for them.  I'm so excited to have my life back, my babies back and I don't complain anymore about how many times I have to potty being pregnant.  Not being able to potty for 2 days at a time was extremely scary.  Not to mention being only able to eat one meal a day. 

Here's to an amazing 12 days before Jaxon is here!  I may lose sleep again once he comes but at least it'll be for a sweet, little one.  Not some dumb sickness.  :D

Sunday, April 05, 2015

The 37 Week Pregnant Procrastinator

Oh my gosh!!!  I'm a huuuuge procrastinator.  You know why?  I realized that I'm 37 weeks so I need to buy a stroller, car seat, outfits, and diapers and asap.  So you know what I did?  I ordered it all (except the outfits) within 5 minutes on Amazon.  AND THAT'S HOW IT'S DONE.  Bam!!! We only purchase a certain kind of diapers, car seats, and stroller.  We always buy a new stroller with each baby because we use and abuse the previous one sooooo much.  This family is so darn adventurous!  We seriously wear out the stroller so much it's good just for donating and that's it.  Not even a resale. 

So I was talking with my family about a good day to be born on.  I told them as long as it's not on a prime number day or an odd number.  My exception would be the 25th as far as being an odd number (clearly not a prime number).  Did I ever tell you I have a thing with numbers?  I don't want to end up with an odd number of kids.  This complicates things for me because I think eight kids is a great and fun amount.  However, I don't feel done.  So, if I have another one, I'm just gonna have to make it 10 so we don't land on nine!  Who knows though because no matter what, God is in control. At least 9 is not a prime number.  Ha!  (Such a nerd).  By the way, 16 is my favorite number.  :D  No, I'm not gonna have 16 kids!  Ha ha!

With one of my favorite guys that help sick kids. Ronald McDonald!

Macaroni for 60!  Eek!
I've been getting way behind on housework lately.  Sometimes I just spend so much time with the kids and I neglect it.  My husband keeps reminding me to stop being a robot and have more fun.  He doesn't like to see me cleaning all the time.  However, larger families do come with more cleanup.  Even though we do chore time, my work load like meal times and laundry is naturally heavier. Holy cow, but not like the other night when I had to make my homemade macaroni for the Ronald McDonald house for sick kids!!!  I had to take the recipe from 4 servings to 60.  So instead of measuring individually, I just took the 1/4 cups and 2/3 cups and times it by 15.  Then I lectured the boys about why it is important to know how to multiply fractions mixed fractions.  Now they get it.  Next time I'm gonna have them convert it when I cook so they can see why we need it. Hands on is so much better!

Anyway, my back is burning sitting down to type this.  Hi to all my blogger friends!!!

Friday, March 27, 2015

Fun at the Beach and Knott's Berry Farm 2015!

What an amazing, fun time we had in California!  We took my family and some of our best friends came along with us in our 15 passenger van.  We stayed in the Knott's Berry Farm hotel with connecting rooms for four days. 

The first day we go there we wanted to check out the Santa Monica Beach.  That is definitely a fun beach if you are okay with the crowds.  It wasn't too bad being it was such a popular beach.  Maybe the summer would be worse?  On the pier there are so many options of fun.  You pick from tons of restaurants, my husband's fave was Bubba Gump Shrimp.  There are rides.  Being that the next day we were gonna hit up Knott's Berry Farm, we decided to just go on the ferris wheel and check out the sun setting on the ocean.  Was gorgeous!!!  That is definitely a very FUN beach!

Kyle and Ryan
Kyle (11)
Chaz (14)

Caleb (5)
We had saved up and prepaid for almost all our vacation before we got there.  The hotel and the tickets to Knott's Berry Farm included.  Another option we had when purchasing tickets was add meal bands and souvenir cups.  I was a tad worried buying the meal bands in advance.  What if it wasn't worth it?  Meal bands are $34 each and give you access to 6 restaurants in the amusement park.  Each ones has meals you can pick from AND you can eat every hour and a half!  One meal at Knott's Berry Farm can be anywhere from $10-15 so that band is definitely worth it.  In fact, we only got it for the kids that were gonna run around the park riding rides without us.  The ones that were with us, we only got the band for every other kid. The meals were so big it was easy to share.  Best money spent for food ever. The cups were worth it as well as you get free refills allllll day for that one day.  We refilled a lot and they even make it to where you can hang the cups from a stroller.  I didn't need to even use the cup holders.  Being I was 35 weeks pregnant with baby Jaxon, I could ride any of the rides.  The older kids ran everywhere while Charles and I stayed in the Snoopy area with the younger ones.  I had no idea they would make it so fun and have so many options of neat things to ride.  Even our 2 year old Juliet was able to do a lot!  Yep, my suspicions are confirmed.  My wild 2 year old isn't afraid of anything and would ride anything that was allowed for her.  She laughed her head off on every ride. We waited till we could get discounts so it was $305 for my family of 9 for the day.  Way cheaper than our last visit to Disneyland and faster, shorter lines. 



Our third day we went to Seal Beach.  It was so neat seeing the military ships way off in the distance.  That's partly why I wanted to go.  I think every time we go to a beach, we like to try a different one.  This was new!  The kids were able to see seals, starfish, and other fun sea stuff.  The day was warm and this time we weren't freezing with sweaters!  I was so worried we'd get a foggy or rainy day.  It's hard to plan in advance because you never know how the weather is gonna be.  It was great!  It was an amazing day and we didn't plan anything else as we just wanted it to be all about our time together at the beach.  Sigh.  It was great!!!
Ivy (9)

Ryan (13) holding dead stingray

See full album HERE!!!

Monday, March 09, 2015

Homeschool/Unschool vs. Public School

Lately, I've being giving homeschooling/unschooling a lot of thought.  I hate this battle that goes on inside of me every single day.  My biggest desire is to meet a family that maybe does a little of both but is further ahead of me.  We do some of both.  We do structured Math and Language Arts.  We only do American history and and we only do Science if interested and we learn often through experiences.  We're leaning towards interest led learning for the kids that know what they want to do.  

It would be nice if I could be super confident in our choices.  All I can do is look at my own experiences growing up in the public school system.  I absolutely loved school before 4th grade.  Kindergarten was amazing as it was mostly learning through play.  We had naptimes, a dollhouse, legos, books, toys, reading time.  It was fun and a great introduction to learning.  Only when we hit 1st grade then it got serious about reading and numbers.  What I learned in 1st grade, kids are now learning day one of Kindergarten.  There is no easy transition.  I will never forget the shock on my firstborn's face as I led him into his kindergarten classroom.  Blank, white walls and not a toy to be seen.  He looked out of place and ready to bolt.  He HATED his first day and I didn't blame him.


4th grade was a disaster for me as that's when the bullying started. There was so much peer pressure to be cool and if you cared too much about learning and getting ahead then you were a nerd.  If you didn't have the most expensive clothes then you were shunned and out of their circles.  Each grade on up got increasingly worse but one thing I really noticed was the older I got, the less the lessons made any real life sense.  High school was getting ridiculous to me.  Whatever happened to learning what we actually needed in life?  Every single time I ask a public school kid fresh into the summer break what they learned in History that year, they shrug their shoulders and say, "I don't know. I can't remember." 

A friend pointed out a really neat video going viral.  If you have a hard time understanding the words in the song he has them written out under the info of the song.

Don't Stay in School

Monday, March 02, 2015

Spiritual Heart Surgery- A Lesson on Hospitality

I miss my blog. It's where I went to put things in perspective for myself.  A lot of times I held back because of my blogger spies that frequently let me know they are watching me and making sure I don't say anything I shouldn't.  It got me in trouble before with people but I just don't care anymore. I have definitely changed my direction in life in this past year and it's been such an incredible change.  A very good change.  How could I not shout it from the rooftops what Jesus has been doing in my life?  It may not be the path they wanted but the only path I'm interested in walking God's.  Not man's.

Another reason I hadn't been blogging was because I had an extra family living with me and I had zero time.  There is no exaggeration there.  I would run nonstop from wake up till I fell in my bed.  I've been able to get my kids on a schedule since 2009 so it's not as hard.  They knew what to expect from day to day.  It's a whole different story taking in kids that aren't used to it.  I wasn't able to train my kids overnight so it wasn't easy to try to get it going with the new kids.  I felt like I was finally gaining some ground after they had been here for 4 months but by then they were gone.

You know how each mom is different?  There is a saying, "There is no perfect way to parent but a million ways to be a really good one."  I've finally learned a couple years ago that moms have to stop pushing their way onto each other.  Respect each other for our differences.  My friend and I wildly, wildly parented our kids differently.  Down to how we discipline our kids, bedtimes, habits, eating, cleaning, homeschool, etc.  Does it make her bad or me bad?  No.  It just means we had different ideas on how to raise our kids.  But being that we have our own habits and routines, it made the differences in the home tiring at times for her and I.  Often at night, I would just collapse in my bed completely exhausted.

I don't care how good of friends I am with anyone, living with someone is not easy.  Add kids to the mix and it's not easy.  Two moms in the house?  Just ask some polygamists.  They often have to work through the same issues.  Daily.  I only had to do it for four months.  By the time she moved out she was relieved and her kids were relieved.  We were relieved and my kids were.  I slept well for the first time in months.  It's just hard like that.  My house was quiet and stayed much, much cleaner.  She doesn't have to deal with Juliet and her getting into everything.  So we both appreciate things we otherwise might have taken for granted!  I greatly took for granted how hard I have worked on my kids on their routines and homeschool.  Having our days go back to what it was four months ago makes me really proud of all the years of hard work and training.  I've just been so encouraged by the entire experience.

Sometimes when we allow God to do a work through us, even if it's hard, in the end it was a huge lesson to be learned.  If we're not careful of our attitudes in the process and after, we'll lose the lesson that was meant to teach us and bless us.  Especially where there can be growth in our own hearts!!!  I had a terrible time with hospitality.  I've lost a ton of friends (maybe not real friends?) by switching churches.  That hurt and because of it I grew very withdrawn.  I wanted to just be with my family and not reach out anymore. A week before this family moved in I asked God to help me with hospitality.  Coincidence?  I don't know.  Maybe.  But I took it.  Was it for money?  No.  They paid rent but we still went in the negative from the extra supplies used, water, electricity, etc.  You know why I didn't mind?  Because it wasn't about the money.  I knew it was a work on my heart and I badly needed it.  It's almost as if my heart went into a major surgery that was badly needed.  It pushed me to my limits and taught me patience I thought I already had. I'm sure it did the same for my roommates!  The fact that a friendship can survive through such differences and never getting a break from each other is a wow factor for sure.  :D 

Maybe in the future I should stop running from tests just because I'm afraid it'll be hard work. I'm glad I didn't run from this one. It was hard but worth the journey. 

Don't just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good.
-Romans 12:9

Monday, January 26, 2015

Duggar and Large Family Bashing

I ran across an unschooling group I'm a part of on Facebook.  I really don't have a Facebook account so I can stay social with people I already know.  I have a Facebook account so I can join groups that I can seek advice from or get ideas.  I've been doing this for a long time.  Even when all my Christian friends quit Facebook because they were told it was evil, I kept it because it was literally the only encouragement I got from anyone.  I recently joined an unschooling group so I could learn a little how they work.  I was shocked when they started bashing large families including the Duggars and said they don't get enough personal time with each kid.  They said way more than that and it was extremely cruel.  I quickly unfollowed the group. 

I want to be free from people who can't realize we're in America and can choose not only our religion but how to raise our kids. No matter if you agree with small families or very large families, both can come with abuse or neglect. I know people that only have 2 children but they are so busy with their careers they ignore their kids. I know other people that have only 2 or 3 kids but ignore their kids to watch TV for hours and hours a day.  That's pretty much a widespread problem.  I have 7 kids and I spend way more individual time with each one. When you barely watch TV, homeschool your kids, and you put your family as priority above any other ministry, it's easy to spend individual time with each one. My kids fight over who gets to be the next buddy when I'm pregnant. When I found out this one was a boy, my little daughter cried because that meant her brother was the next buddy instead. We plan vacations twice a year as a whole family and each of my kids go on individual daddy/kid or mommy/kid dates. So neglect can come in families of all sizes. I have kids of small families that tell me they so wish they could be in our family because it's obvious my kids are so happy and blessed. It's just perspective and opinions. To each their own. Life is way more fun if you focus on the positive and how to help your own personal family than bash families you only know from books or TV.

Michelle Duggar gets mocked for always smiling and is accused of being fake, but I understand that smile.  I rarely yell, I try to always keep my cool, and usually no matter how I feel I try to maintain a positive attitude around my husband, kids, friends, etc. People say I always smile. I am not a robot but I am careful of my attitudes. When you know Jesus and have a close relationship with him, the joy He gives! I have a peace and joy now like never before. Some might see that kind of smile and call it fake, it's not. It's just there is a difference between happiness and joy. Happiness is circumstantial. Joy is unconditional. Of course there are times for sadness and grief, but in general, someone that has peace in their heart, they are often accused of being fake.

 I grew up with no TV, only Christian radio, standards on modesty, no theaters, and no getting close to boys even as friends, no school dances, no prom and I always had watchful eyes on me. Did I feel abused? No. I actually have very, very good memories. My family was just as strict as the Duggars and I had an awesome upbringing! My parents chose the lifestyle and you know what I did? I respected them and now I thank them because while I had friends growing up watching TV shows where teens are talking back to their parents or kissing boys underage, I was protected from all that. Half my friends were pregnant by 16 while I was very much enjoying my childhood safe and sound. The only time I ever got in serious trouble was when I veered off onto my own destructive paths that they warned me from.  Don't assume that kids kept wholesome in their minds and hearts are being left out. I THANK my parents often, no joke, for protecting me from what I saw my friends go through.

Grow up!  It's America!  Different families, religions, lifestyles.  If you don't understand someone else's happiness, don't bash them, be happy for them rather than assume they must be freaks. 

Friday, January 16, 2015

My Diaper Dumping, Underwear Jumping, Table Crawling Child

Jumping with brother's underwear on her head
Juliet has gone from tough to really, really hard.  I need strength.  No joke.  I've had the terrible twos experience a few times but nothing like this.  I have all the doors chain locked.  I had a child safety door handle on every single door knob in the house so she can't freely roam the rooms, bathrooms, or escape outside or into the garage.  I have 4 baby gates that are all now busted.  I'm telling you, she's really difficult.  Today was the first time I just had my head in my hands because I was just done.  I don't know what more I can do to protect her.  Today she poured hand soap all over her body, then went around hugging the kids and I got it in my eyes.  It burned really bad for awhile.  She went through a Costco size diaper box that has always lasted me 2-3 months.  She strips and dumps so many diapers around the house that she went through it in less that one month.  LORD HAVE MERCY!  Yes, she's fun and exciting but let's all hope and pray she channels this energy into a good direction.  (I was a really hard kid for my mom by the way).  Please, God, don't let her be me when I was little.  I'm hoping she mellows out around four years old at least. 
Taking off her clothes at auto body shop
Showing me how she got into my makeup
moving large sign across waiting room
Showing us her clothes selection

Thursday, January 01, 2015

Lazy Break for Christmas

We took a homeschool break for 2 weeks for the holidays.  It's been kind of nice but I think it's making me lazy.  :P  I'm used to my routine.  You'd think that I would have taken advantage of it and got caught up on all the organization needed but noooooooo.  I've mostly just been chilling and trying to do lots of fun stuff.  I guess I shouldn't feel bad because life is short and we only have to so long to enjoy our little ones.  However, my house is needing lots more work and my laundry pile is majorly backed up.  Phooey.  It's going to be a challenge to go back to my routine because I stay very, very busy. 

I'm almost 6 months pregnant!  :)  In just a few days.  So weird.  We had a check up with baby Jaxon yesterday and he's doing well.  They are gonna monitor him some because of where his umbilical cord is.  It could cause issues with him getting enough nutrition as time goes on.  We'll see.  So far he's doing great.  I can't wait to meet this little guy.  Being that I have an extra family here though, I can be patient.  They will be able to find a place before this little guy comes. 

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Thinking About Virtual Academy and Fast Pregnancy

 I think it's funny how just before I had friends move in, I wondered if I could handle having 8 kids since I'm pregnant.  Okay, I'm no longer worried.  10 kids are living here now and it's working out with our schedule.  Also, Charles and I decided to go ahead and enroll Chaz and Ryan into Connections Academy.  I hated K12 Virtual Academy so much that I said I'd never do that again but this place is different and I've had friends tell me a lot of positive things about it.  My two older boys are in Junior High and very close to going into high school and it's important I can get them into college easy.  I have some pretty amazing moms that know how to do homeschool on their own and get them into college.  I would love the help so having them be able to call their teacher when needed would take a huge load off my shoulders.  :D  I still will be homeschooling 5th grade and younger on my own the the older boys will homeschool alone in their room with a teacher they can call whenever.  :D  Yay for me. 

Well, I'm 19 weeks pregnant and all is well. I love feeling little Jaxon move in my tummy.  It assures me that he is okay.  I can't believe I'm almost half way done with the pregnancy.  I feel like I just found out I'm pregnant.  Man, time is flying so fast it makes my head spin.  In a week I'm going in for a 3D ultrasound so that'll be fun.

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.


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.