Saturday, April 27, 2013

Big Decisions and Boss Meetings

Last week was a crazy, crazy week. It blows me away just thinking about what happened.

My husband has finally been back in his Engineering field since the end of last year.  Boy, we're we relieved!  Charles loves his job and the people who work there but he wasn't liking his crazy long hours. Sometimes he wouldn't be home to 8 or 9 at night.

Recently Charles got a call from a recent employer asking if he'd comeback and work for them. He'd offer a $3 raise. Charles thought about it and decided to talk to his boss to tell him he might take it. His boss told him he loves having him there and will raise his pay another $6 an hour more than what he was making if he stays. So Charles told the other guy he's staying and but the the boss offered to match it. So Charles and I talked again and wondered what we should do. The other company offers more family friendly hours and Charles would be home much more. With butterflies in our gut, Charles decided to tell his boss he wants to leave because he misses his family and wants to see us more. His boss said no problem, he can change his hours to whatever he wants. Wow!  No more overtime and definitely no weekends. He'll even be coming home by 4:30pm every day. No more late nights. So basically, Charles got another $6 pay raise with better hours just for staying at his current job.

We are so blown away and amazed by God's goodness. I am so grateful to have a husband who wants to be home with his family and a boss who understands.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Ready for Summer Break and More Time for Family Fun

My poor hubby is just so tired from work. I've never been the type of gal that likes a guy to work overtime unless it was essential for overtime. We just want daddy home and we miss him
right now. Mr. Smarty pants has a lot of demands on him. Recently he got a really big raise which we were super excited about. However, he got a job offer from a different company willing to match his pay if he'll switch. They are very family oriented there and rarely ask for overtime. I guess our biggest worry is stability and not wanting to make the wrong choice. Sigh. Both companies are competing for him and now he just has to decide.

I posted some more pics of Juliet where instead of her wrestling with Caleb, she is playing with big Henry. Our big, big dog. She thinks the Chihuahua is a toy and Bella is very scared of her. That's why she had to hire Henry as her bodyguard.

We are trudging along with our homeschool curriculum but you can bet we are making a big switch this year.  We will be done with everything by May 30th.  YESSSSS!  That, my friend, is amazing and a miracle. We have certainly had our battles this year and keeping the kids on top of their work. I consistently follow a schedule everyday for the kids so they know what to do but still, after all these months, they try to get days off . Little stinkers. Daddy is gonna attend the homeschool convention this year to help me decide. We are so excited!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Baby Blues and Crib Crashers

My baby, littlest baby, is turning one in three weeks! What happened?  I've been changing diapers and not getting good sleep for almost 13 years straight but for some reason have never got sick of it.  I know why. I asked for patience and I thought I would achieve that after one kid. If that's a patience test, it is the hardest most amazing test I've ever had. No really. No matter how hard my days can be at times, they are such a joy.

Juliet is not happy being put in a swing, playpen, crib, or bouncer. She just wants freedom. Sometimes I let her but do you know how hard that is with so many other kids leaving stuff out?  Legos, for example. Killer on my feet and choking hazard for her. She puts everything in her mouth. I have to grab the broom and make it as spotless as possible. I know. Totally not in my nature.

Every morning Caleb crawls in her crib and they wake up slowly together. Once they really wake up Juliet will usually start to playfully attack him. It is so cute to wake up to them.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Buyin' Me Some Silkies Chickens and Right Being Made Right

Today I headed back to the feed store to buy more chickens.  This time I was finally able to get my Silkies!  Later, once I got home, I discovered one of them has a deformity in her feet and walks funny. I don't really care but wonder if other will pick on her as she gets bigger. Hmmm... I'm gonna have to find out about that because Silkies aren't "cheep" to buy.  Heh heh.  The bigger problem I had was that once I got them in with my still tiny roosters in a shared cage, the roosters started picking on them even though they are all the same size.  I know they will eventually do a pecking order and so I wasn't sure how friendly it was and if the new ones would be safe.


Today is a very good day but for reasons I cannot say.  Although my friend Homeschool and Etc. might know why.  :)  I had some visitors to my house today and they stayed for awhile.  It was wonderful!!!  At one time I was really sad about some events that happened and although I was grossly wronged and hurt, I decided not to be bitter and just wait for things to calm down.  Turns out, right was made right in a particular way.  Now there is a totally confusing paragraph for you.  LOL.

Now that AIMS week is over I am completely shocked how much laundry I have to clean in the house.  I'm due to make another 10 gallons of laundry soap.  When I went to the laundry mat recently, I washed so many loads that I ran out of laundry soap and had to buy some Tide.  It killed me to pay $6 for a little thing of Tide when I pay only $2 to make my own 10 gallons.  I know people say they like the Tide smell but I like the frugal smell!  Ha!  I just throw in some wonderful softener and it smells fantastic.  My laundry soap last 6-8 months!  It's awesome.  :D

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Crazy AIMS Testing Week

My boys had to go to school and do AIMS testing all week but since it only took 2-3 hours each day, we would wait at a nearby McDonald's. On Monday, before school, we took all the kids to Monday free breakfast at IKEA. On Tuesday, we took the them to kids eat free lunch after their testing was over. On Wednesday I took the kids to the feed store after testing so they could spend their chore money. They wanted to buy some baby chicks. They got two quail and two roosters. On Thursday, their last day of testing, I treated them to an ice drink for finishing. We are sooooo relieved it's over. We are so not used to playing the mommy taxi cab. It's actually quite exhausting and not very productive, that's for sure. Not much home cooking went on this week because of it and we easily spent over $50 in gas. So glad we homeschool.  :D

At IKEA Ryan introduced Juliet to the lemon and Juliet went back and forth from wanting it to shaking her head to get away from it. Was so cute.  I got each of the kids an ice cream cone there and Juliet squealed very loud to let me know she wanted one too.

I think Juliet is a bit spoiled around here. I've been sweeping and resweeping several times a day to make sure she can crawl around without putting stuff in her mouth. She hates being in the play pen or bouncer. She wants to be free!!  Well, even when I give her the chance to, someone else will come along and pick her up. It'll probably be awhile before she learns to walk because of it. :D

Monday, April 15, 2013

A Detailed Chore Chart for Large Families-Works for Us!

I've had some people ask if I would show what kinds of chores each kid does everyday.  So I figured I'd take a picture of the cards and post them here.  I really believe that each child should have a specific chore because if clear lines aren't drawn then the older could end up doing the bulk of the work. Then I'd see the younger trying to get away with a lot.  This way I can see who did their chore and who did not.  It starts every day in the To Do folder and as each chore is done they go down into the Finished folder.  :)

Starting with youngest to oldest.  Here is 3 year old Caleb's card.
Here are 5 year old Ashley's cards below:
7 year old Ivy's chore cards below:
9 year old Kyle's chore cards below:
11 year old Ryan's chore cards below:
12 year old Chaz's chore cards below:
If they don't finish their chores and homeschool by 3:30pm then they get to pick from the Extra Chore list to add to their regular chores:
Here is another list we have posted.  The two top ones are for me.  I have a schedule for clothes being washed.  They know to have the clothes they need washed in the hamper by their scheduled day or mama doesn't wash it.  The weekly chores is the extra chores I do on top of my regular daily chores.  The bottom is Saturday chores for all of us. :)
Hope this helps!
We have been following this system for five years and absolutely love it. Each kid is held accountable for their own area.  We pay for the chores they do to understand working.  They aren't paid a lot because I really feel these things should be done to be taught responsibility.  The other part of me wants for them to understand the reward of hard work and how someday they'll be working for money.  That's why we don't pay a lot but enough to help them see the reward.  They get paid biweekly like daddy does.  Some kids spend it right away and others save it for bigger things. :)

Friday, April 12, 2013

Boys First Homeschool Band Concert

I'm so proud of my drummer boys! They did so well in their first homeschool band concert. The boys think their teacher is a bit mean but I told them it's hard to find a mellow band teacher.  Haha. Charles and I both had band teachers that would freak out all the time.

I used to go home and practice my instruments every day and play in competitions. It was a big deal to me. I can't force my kids to love music but I like to encourage them to at least try. Turns out they really love playing drums. All three boys. Three drummers practicing in the house. Yeah!  It gets loud. Ivy is coming up next and she also wants to play drums. Hmmm... I'm hoping to get her started on the acoustic guitar because she loves that also. Thank goodness! Any more drummers, I think I'll have to give the rest of us ear pugs.  Lol.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Grace vs. Law Gestapos/Scared of Teen Days Coming

This season is tough and once again I have a couple of sick babies.  I've missed the last two church services and times like this I wish we had live streaming for us mommies at home. That sounds kinda spoiled, huh? Recently I thought maybe I should do what the other moms do and just sit out in the foyer. Okay, will not be doing that again. There are no chairs so I just pace back and forth and Juliet loves to be really loud so I was trying to keep her far from the church doors. I was wondering why I didn't just stay home and let her get better. I think it just feels nice to feel like you at least made the effort and God sees that. Not that church is what makes you a Christian but it's a source of nourishment and encouragement.

It's tough being a Christian with so much media and entertainment everywhere. The influences of Hollywood seem to be everywhere. I know some people take it extreme and won't even allow themselves to see a Christian movie or own one. If I did that, In my opinion, that would be just bordering the line of living by rules rather than by grace. The whole point of avoiding Hollywood is because their morals are so jacked up that they pretty much go opposite of the bible. Not a good thing to be cramming into my kids' heads. (I know there are some innocent movies like Finding Nemo that don't violate morals). Movies of moral value and encouragement, such as Facing the Giants and Fireproof, are not only encouraging but are teaching morality and the Scriptures. Believe it or not, I've had people get on me for owning Christian movies. I pretty much chalk it up to the bible times where Jesus would be questioned nonstop by the Law Gestapos . Their thinking was way off base. Thankfully, Jesus confronted them on it and it must've been pretty important for us to know because it made it into the Scriptures!

Speaking of...  I've been really trying to balance grace vs. being the rule master with my two older ones. Now parenting is getting much tougher for me. My two older boys are really starting to pay attention to the Bible and applying it to their daily lives. Or shall I say, they are starting to really understand temptation and the influences of the world around us. I've been noticing my boys having to avert their eyes more in public. Girls being flirty towards them, etc. Agh!  I don't feel ready for this teen stuff that's about to hit. Last night as I laid in bed I just longed for them to stay little. I don't mind the diapers, sippy cups, bottles, and little offenses here and there. Heck, I've been changing diapers without ANY breaks since the year 2,000. No joke. That is no big deal in comparison to what I feel is coming. Sigh...  I better make sure I completely and totally seek God's counsel and DIVE into scripture for guidance. Excuse me while I go get my swimming clothes on.

Monday, April 08, 2013

Homeschooling Kids in Band

The kids band concert is coming up so I've had to get more serious about getting their instruments all set up. I've spent a lot of time in music stores the last three days getting what they needed. We had a drum set before that got completely destroyed when I had some kids over. I didn't bother fixing it because I was worried about the cost. We're finally getting around to getting it all repaired. Otherwise I'll be having to pay $300 for another new set like it.

Today I visited the band room to see how my kids were doing with listening to their teacher and playing their instruments correctly. Also, I wanted to see where they needed help in reading their music.

I loved that I grew up knowing how to read music!  By having that skill you can pretty much play any instrument you want.  My husband is an amazing drummer I can can quickly see the difference at church between drummer players. Whether or not they are a trained drummer. Trained drummers can play different styles. Anyway, I am so blessed this school for homeschool kids gives them this opportunity.

A few of the kids are gonna take guitar lessons so we took Ryans guitar in and got some things fixed on it. So excited to see the kids into music!

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Don't Judge a Parent by a Picture

Negativity can wreak havoc on people like you wouldn't believe. Sure, I've been one of the people that think I know everything about parenthood. I had plenty to say back when I had no kids. "My kids will never do this and my kids will only act like that. I will dress them perfectly at all times. My kid will be extremely well behaved and will be the best kid in church and the store."

Well, I had kids! Agh! Very little went as planned. Some days I had to walk out of a store because my kid was embarrassing me and throwing a fit. No matter how much I train I still have to deal with attitudes every now and then. I still have toddlers to teach basic self control skills to.  I have preteens to STILL teach self control skills too and also managing their thoughts.  What we allow to nest in our minds. 

Kyle fell sleep at store window during photo session. View from outside mall store.

No way am I a perfect parent. Yes, I still have kids that love to wear their costumes to a store.  Yes, the costumes can get completely worn out and look like they should have been thrown away a year ago.  Have you ever had a little 4 year old beg for you not to throw out their favorite Batman costume?  Have you wondered how people would look at you because your kid wants to wear a Batman costume to the store?  One that's been worn so much that the yellow Batman logo is completely worn off?  I have.  My son Kyle used to have this favorite costume and I wouldn't throw it out till I found another to replace it.  The costume wasn't dirty.  Just worn. 

As I'm typing this I have a 5 year old playing on the piano and an 11 year old practicing on his drums for his upcoming band concert.  Lots of noise everywhere.  It doesn't mean my kids are out of control.  Kids come with noise.  I can't expect them to sit down and shut up like some would think I should do.  If it bothered me so much to have kids and noise I would just go buy some ear muffs and happily be about my business caring for them. 

I love to glean wisdom from people. I think people get confused with "giving wisdom" and just being "overly critical."  I'm a very teachable person.  In fact, any time I get around people that grew up in a large family, get ready for it because I will ask a lot of questions.  I want to know how they did their daily work, how mealtimes went, handling the laundry demon, and how the older ones interacted with the younger ones.  I tend to find two different extremes.  One extreme is the mom who expected their older ones to care for the little ones.  Even going to friends' house they were expected to bring the little siblings.  Mom was off in the laundry room, cooking, or cleaning all the time.  The way she had a perfect house was her taking care of all that while the other cared for each other.  That's one extreme.  The other extreme I've seen is to where the mom does EVERYTHING and kids just play, play, play.  You'll literally see the kid throwing stuff over their shoulder and the mom behind them picking it up and putting it away.  Mom sacrifices sleep in order to do it all and make sure her kids completely enjoy the innocence of their youth.  Not really training them to one day be adults but instead trying to completely preserve their childhood as long as possible.  Mom is completely worn out and kids grow up not knowing how to care for their own household.

Okay, so I've taken those two extremes and figured there had to be a happy medium.  So, how to do I this?  Well, I figured that although it's good to care about each other as siblings and do kind things for one another, I've never put them in charge.  Because I've made sure they know that I AM mom, they tend to beg to have the opportunity to mommy a little one out of their own desire, not something I force on them.  I use the Buddy System in order to teach them to show sibling love and care about someone besides themselves.  This means when we are out, just keep an eye out for their chosen buddy and make sure they stick together.  The older ones are not asked to take over for me and take care of all the little ones.  They are only given one buddy and the buddy system is only used when we are out and about. It means if 3 year old Caleb needs to go potty, 11 year old Ryan is the one that takes him.  Ryan loves it and each kid had a choice of their buddy.  Someone they got along with well.  You should see the wonderful bond that has formed between Ryan and Caleb. Ryan isn't resentful because he doesn't have to do EVERYTHING. 

Caleb sitting next to big brother in church

Chore time?  That's easy.  The house is split up into sections.  I know it's tempting to just have the older ones take over since they tend to clean up right.  I can't let that happen.  I give each kid a chore I think they can handle for their age.  That means 3 year old Caleb's chore is just to pick up shoes and put them in the bucket.  That's what he can handle.  It doesn't mean I have Chaz and Ryan doing everything because it's easier than finding where the younger ones are hiding because they don't want to do chores.  It's WORTH training each and every child.  None of my kids put away my things.  I don't use having kids to be my maids.  I take care of my own stuff and plenty, plenty more.  I don't do chores for kids just to make their life harder and mine easier but because I want them to not be afraid of work when the time comes for them to have to work a job.  It BLESSES me greatly when someone tells me that my kids did a fantastic job helping out somewhere and they don't seem to be afraid of work. That they worked with great attitudes.  Then I KNOW I'm doing something right.  Recently the boys had to do some landscaping to earn their way to a Navy Seals Base in a different state.  Rather than just pay the money from mom and dad, they were proud to have worked for it.


Of course I will make mistakes.  I'm human.  I know it's easy for people that don't have kids to feel like they have it all together or for parents of parents to have tunnel vision and criticize. Don't you think it's better to encourage?  To show by example rather than send hate mail?  Believe me, I have lost sleep over trying to make sure I raise my kids right.  I've read over a hundred books.  I've asked grandparents. I've asked grown children.  I've prayed about it.  I've searched the scriptures.  I've researched the history of different styles of parenting.  Most importantly, I learn each day in each circumstance.

I may be biased but I don't feel like a neglectful parent who can't care for her own kids.  I can't help if in the hate mail people say they feel sorry for my kids.  I can't help that they only know my family through pictures, or through my blog, or watch from a distance.  They don't live in my house.  No, my children are not starving Africans.  No we are not on government assistance.  On that note, stop attacking families that are.  You don't know their situation.  Especially as a Christian we should be praying for families going through financial hardship.  It has not been an easy economy.  Maybe, just maybe, a family started out great and then a job fell through.  You must think, "There go I but for the GRACE of God."  Pray for families, pray for parents.  Don't sit back in the computer chair and spread gossip and hate disguised as knowledge and concern. 

By the way. I'm new on Instagram!

Monday, April 01, 2013

Happy Resurrection Day 2013!

Here are lots of pictures of our Easter Sunday. Of course we celebrated Jesus' resurrection at church and did the communion. The highlight was me leaning over to tell Kyle to be careful not to spill. As I leaned over I bumped into his cup of red juice and it spilt all over the front white seat.  Ummm....  Lol.

After church we had an Easter egg hunt with family.  It was pretty hot and by the end of it I got a really, really bad headache. I went home and just laid in a dark room. It didn't go away all night. Argh.  Was still a great day except for that!