Saturday, November 28, 2015

Thanksgiving Stress and Untangling Bad Habits

Old pic
We had a wacky and rough Thanksgiving.  Sigh.  Sometimes it's great having family and friends and sometimes it's.... hard.  I'll point out the blessings though.  :)  My mom helped me great in the kitchen and really took a load off my shoulders while cooking.  I had a friend coming over who had to work late so I waited to make a meal till evening time.  I was a bit tired but it was still awesome.  

It's been a bit of a transition for me into the fostering world.  Sometimes it's hard to retrain kids that aren't used to things being done the way we do.  The little girl we have absolutely flipped out when I asked her to help clean up with the girls.  I went to her brother and asked if she ever had to help.  He said no and that they had to do everything for her.  Luckily, she's young and there is plenty of time to fix that.  It'd be harder to retrain a kid with good habits in their teens.  Luckily, our teen foster son has really good work ethics.  He had to shoulder a big load before but we don't do that.  Here we have balance and everyone has to contribute down to 3 years old.  That way we don't have someone or just older kids bearing most the load.  Also, another thing we're adjusting is teaching her to get things for herself rather than relying on big brother to always rescue her to get menial stuff.  These are not big, big issues and little ones are easy to refocus in a different direction. 

I have so many things coming up like house inspection on December 9th.  Eek!  Also, we're right in the middle of foster care classes and although it's a lot of paperwork to study and fill out, we're one of the lucky few who can do it right from our home rather than be gone for hours every Saturday.  Yay!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Halloween 2015/ Foster Care Update

It's been amazing having 9 kids here ever since we got Michael.  It's definitely been an adjustment since I have a 6 month old and they both came in our lives almost around the same time.  So instead of adjusting for one kid, I'm adjusting for two kids.  So guess what??  I fought to get his baby sister Grace so now we'll soon be adjusting for 3! We will have 10 kids!  Wow!!!  Pray for Grace as DCS will be bringing it to court to get her in my custody. It takes a couple of weeks.  She's already in a foster home somewhere with people she doesn't know.  In my care she'll have her big brother.  So this is huge!  Michael has been in tears at times worrying about his little sister.  I can imagine how hard that would be on him.  He's always had a bond with her.  He has no idea as we are going to surprise him when she gets here.  I don't want to say she's coming and then it not work out in court. 

Ryan was a blind referee
Soooo, as much as I hate blurring Michael's face out of our family photo, it legally has to be done so I don't get in trouble.  It makes me sad because I don't like to leave kids out.  I explained to him it's for his safety and just the rules but we love him very much.  I'm just gonna make a personal album for us at home where his face can be shown.  :)

My sweet kids and little nephew Prestyn.  He's such a cutie and very smart for his age.  Anyway, we had fun for Halloween.  This was the first year we bought used costumes as we decided it was ridiculous to go and buy new costumes for only one day of the year.  If I had a couple of kids it'd be fine but for nine kids, it'd be a ton of money.  We had fun storming the used costume stores!  Haha. 

Monday, October 12, 2015

One More Blessing

We have another boy added to the family through foster placement!  Tonight I start my first class in order to get my foster care license.  Should be interesting adding it to my already busy schedule.  Michael is 13 years old and the sweetest, sweetest boy.  I actually am friends with his mommy and unfortunate circumstances temporarily took them from her care.  I love the mommy very much.  The whole process feels complicated right now being the life has already gone through some major changes this last year but I know God will help me through it.

We have been talking about turning our garage into a big fun room but now it seems more necessary than before.  There are 12 people in this house and we only have 4 bedrooms.  Also, our patio was made to be an optional 5th bedroom.  We need to enclose it to either make it a 5th bedroom or open up our living room more.  Either way it cost money so that's our only hold up.  We pay everything with cash and not credit. 

Please pray that we can successfully get our foster care license.  I don't know if it'll be easier because we already have a foster placement in our home and already went through background checks and home inspection.  All that was passed.  I guess I'll see because this is all new to me.  I'm going to try and take the crash course in order for the process to go faster getting my license. :)

Friday, October 02, 2015

"Don't You Think Your Kids Need School Socialization?"

Well, the school thing for my kids has been unbelievably horrid.  I put Kyle, Ivy, Ashley, and Caleb in a charter school.  Kyle had gotten bullied so badly that we switched him to another school.  It went good for the first day and then went way downhill after that.  Kyle has been dragging his feet since the second day.  Kids are calling him gay and making fun of him for not going after girls.  Yeah, we've taught him over and over that you focus on academics and not on crushes.  Why would they?  He's only 12 years old and can't marry till he's 18.  It's okay to think a girl is pretty, of course.  Thankfully, he listened to the advice and he thinks of school as a place to learn and not worry so much about the opposite sex.  Kids have said vulgar things about him to his face.  Sex acts that they think he wants to do to other boys.  Writing love letters to boys and signing Kyle's name. Another kid would stand over him and block him so when it was dismissal time he couldn't get up.  Then if he tried, he'd get shoved down.  Kyle's confidence level has gone way done.  It's only October!  He's been in school less than a month.  All three bullies were separate incidences and all three were suspended.  However, when one kid is suspended, another kid steps up to take their place.  I get comments from the teacher that Kyle is very respectful to them and he's such a good kid.  In fact, his teacher from the first school said she misses him because he was her only respectful student.  Really?  REALLY?  Why?  Her only respectful student?  That is very sad.  :( Every morning on the way to school Kyle and I will talk about the bullying.  He asked me why they hate him so much.  I told him because he's different.  It makes people uncomfortable when you listen, do your work, are respectful to authority and they aren't.  It's like shining a light into their heart and exposing them.  He's not meaning to, but his exampleship not only makes him stand out, it makes them feel bad.  We talked about right responses to insults and violence done to him.  He's tried going to the principal but she's talked so down to him he doesn't want to go to her.  He shakes like a leaf in front of her.  I've gone into the office and talked to her.  I told her I've taught my kids to never pick a fight but they can defend themselves.  Both teachers he had from two different schools told me they are not allowed to defend themselves.  They just go to a teacher.  That's why sometimes bullying continues.  Kyle got in trouble because he got cornered and was being shoved down.  Because he was cornered and no one to help him, he punched the kid in the gut and was able to run away.  Soooo, maybe by him defending himself that kid will think twice.  Every day, every single day, Kyle begs me to keep him home.  He's been sad and lost confidence.  He LOVED the school on the first day but when you spend your day watching your back and enduring what he has, you lose your love of learning.  This is why I get upset when people tell me I need to socialize my kid.  Really?  With kids that swear all day, talk about sex acts they want to do with each other, yell sex acts at my son and make fun of him?  I vaguely remember 4 years ago my kids going through being choked and beat up in school and me saying that this was not the kind of socialization I want my kids to have.  I'm giving him the weekend to think about being pulled.  He wants to come home and be a part of bible studies again and learning here.  He will have regular teachers since it's through a school, it'd just be at home. 

Kyle's 12th birthday

I really don't think it's a mistake my boys are respectful.  I really, really believe it's because they've had good socialization.  We were able to watch what kind of friends they had and their influences.  Respect is taught at home.  Clean language is taught at home.  Kindness is taught at home.  Character quality is taught at home.  It's really hard to keep that training if it's sabotaged all day.  Teachers can only do their best but it's so sad when instead of teaching academics, they have to worry about bullying, disrespect, perversion, and keeping a bunch of rowdy kids from climbing the walls.

Next time a parent asks me if I think my kids need more socialization, I'll just say, "No thanks.  Not that kind of socialization."

Sunday, September 13, 2015

New School and New Bullies

Okay, this is the news.  I had talked about how I was going to take a break this year.  I had gotten so busy I hadn't blogged much this past year.   Now you believe me?  Ha!  I love to blog! 

Ryan tested into 9th grade rather than into 8th so him and Chaz will be starting high school together.  I got them into a school district but they do their work at home.  They have their own teacher so it takes the load off of me a bit.  I asked them if they wanted to attend a high school together.  The only catch is I would not allow them to go to a regular 4 year high school but one that goes down all the way to Kindergarten.  It's a charter school and they'd be with their siblings.  They both said no, they'd rather stay home.  So it is what it is.  :)  Four kids at home and four kids in a charter school.  The only one that does not want to be there is Kyle.  He got bullied on his first day and every day since.  Thankfully, they're completely against bullying and once he brought it to their attention they caught the boy and got him to stop.  Hopefully he's done bullying my son for good.  We'll see.  Many times I've always believed that bullying is learned behavior.  The sad thing is I'm hoping it's not because the bully is being bullied at home or anywhere else.  :(  Maybe Kyle and I should pray together for him.  He said the kids in the class are extremely disrespectful and swear all the time. Just because he doesn't do those things, it's made Kyle more noticeable. Now they're coming after Kyle because he's different.  I told Kyle to stand strong.  It's a GREAT thing to be different and it's even more awesome that it's because he's respectful and does his work!  :D

Sunday, August 30, 2015

New Year, New Changes

Wow, some big changes around here.  Can't talk about the details.  Just that there was a domestic violence situation with a family I knew, drove out of state to get them, did a stakeout for 6 hours, pulled them out, and now they are in a domestic violence shelter far away.  It was a very rough time as they were temporarily in my home until we could find a place.  It was so packed full of people here we always had a line to the bathroom and to the microwave.  Haha.  It was a rough time as it really worked on my patience level to be able to manage 15 people in the house. 

I've been homeschooling for a few years now so I decided to take a break this year and only homeschool my oldest two.  I'll four kids in charter school.  So I'll have four kids in school and four kids at home.  I'm gonna spend this year really focusing on my older two and their education.  I'd like to take them on field trips and just spend this year getting closer to them.  Also, I need some time with Juliet and potty training her.  I don't know.  I just wanted to shake things up again.  Change the routine.  The four kids going to school are super excited and I think we all needed a bit of a change for awhile.  Sometimes it's hard to appreciate things when in the same routine for a long while.  Tomorrow is their first day.  :D

I already have my whole week planned!  I have to schedule appointments for the heart doctor and skin doctor for myself.  My doctor was a bit concerned.  My son Chaz has to have a blood test to make sure he's okay.  Jaxon might be getting a helmet for his head in two months.  He'll wear it till he's 18 months old.  So basically for a year.  Juliet, like I said, needs potty training and some focus on her behavior.  Right now she's got so many siblings catering to her. Argh.  That's the problem when you have a naughty 3 year old that is just so cute they get away with things.  I have some major projects I need to do in the house, like turning my garage into a playroom. It's gonna be a huge job.  I have huuuuge plans for this school year and need the extra time. 

My life just has exploded with busyness and I need to get a grip on it.  I'm absolutely in love with my family.  Wow, as hard as I work for my husband and eight kids, I wouldn't trade them for anything!! Just need a change in the routine.  I even have their new curriculum sitting on top of the armoir right now but I sending it back on Tuesday.  I'm hoping I have lots more time for blogging as well.  My kids actually went to bed early in anticipation for school tomorrow.  We'll see how long that lasts.  Haha. 

Anyhow, I have to include an amazing video of my kids and their friends at camp with our church this past summer.  Amazing!  It is neat seeing them in the video.  I absolutely with all my heart love the people at my church.  Wow... :D

Hey remember that one time we went to Camp. Oh yea that was cool!
Posted by 4Eighty Student Ministries on Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Sunday, June 21, 2015

What God Joins Together...

Yes, I'm a Christian.  I asked Jesus into my heart when I was a little girl.  He has STAYED in my heart since then and I love him.  I'm so grateful for all he's done. But....



Today, I will not punch anyone, kick anyone, or make dirty faces at anyone who hurt my friends.  I will try and stay calm.  No, I WILL stay calm.  That is what Jesus would want me to do.  I can't teepee someone's house.  How in the world can anyone justify interfering in someone's marriage and try to pull them apart?  Especially their own kids' marriages?  Why?  How is that okay?  I have seen this happen over and over and over.  Never from a Christian mom though.  Christian moms should know better because of the scriptures saying for a man to leave his father and mother and be joined with his wife.  That no one should ever come in between them.  A Christian mom KNOWS better.  It HURTS to stand by and watch it happen time after time again. 

Lord, help me to pray for them and not just be angry.  Being angry of the constant pain moms like these cause doesn't help anything.  Prayer does. 

I will pray...

"Jesus, I pray for this awesome, beautiful, amazing family.  I pray you will protect them and keep them safe from anyone that would try to hurt them by coming in between them with a purpose to separate.  I pray you'll protect their hearts and give them joy and peace.  I pray against any curses spoken against their marriage.  You created marriage, I know you can began to work a healing.  Please hold this marriage safely in your hands.  Amen."

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Time is Passing

As a mom, how do I be okay with watching my little ones just grow up and move away.  I sit here at 1am, looking at photos of acquaintances and their kids, realizing that I only blinked and they're grown.  Why does time have to go so fast?  Why?  Can't we hold onto time just a little longer?  In 2 months I'll have a 14 and 15 year old.  Did I do enough?  Did I show them the love of Christ through me?  Do they really know I'd give my life for them if I had to?  Not just in serving my family but in every way.  How do I let go?  Now I understand that look on my mom's face the day I moved out of her house into my little apartment.  Her baby was leaving...

Chaz (6) at school

A bored Chaz (14) sitting through a lecture at a school
It felt so safe when all my kids were 10 and younger.  No need for driving lessons, high school, and no teenage hormones to deal with.  It was simple before.  I only had to worry about toys, pj's, favorite snacks, and teasing.  

Kyle (3), Ryan (5), Chaz (6) being silly
This pic above is how young they were around the time I started this blog.  :D

How is it that some parents are so happy their kids are grown and gone.  I'm still sitting here reminiscing with their old favorite blankies and telling them funny stories from when they were small.  I'm only 36.  I can understand when people say they feel so young, yet their bodies show everyone else their real age. I still remember dreaming of the day I'd get married and have a little girl named Ashley.  Now I have a Chaz, Ryan, Kyle, Ivy, Ashley, Caleb, Juliet, and Jaxon.  Ashley made it on that list. Right there in the middle. Surrounded by love.  Who knew I'd get blessed so many times over?  I could never of imagined. 

Ryan (13) saying hi through our cameras while daddy was away on business trip

Monday, June 15, 2015

Yes, Christians Can Have Peace

These last few months have been a mental struggle for me.  As much as I've tried to put my past beliefs behind me, I somehow have people in my life that follow me to remind me I've gone astray from God.  I know God's promises.  I remember His peace He gave me.  When I had this peace, I was mocked and was told "It's only because you've given up so the devil won't fight you anymore." With that I said,

"You will keep in perfect peace ALL who trust in You, all whose thoughts are fixed on you." Isaiah 26:3-4

"The Lord gives His people strength. The Lord blesses them with peace." Psalms 29:11

No, it's not a sign of true Christianity when you're constantly tormented or vice versa.  It's okay that Christians go through trials and it will happen.  However, it's also very possible for God to give peace even through these trials.  Me having peace doesn't mean I'm unsaved.

Yesterday in service I was watching my son in the front raising his hands in worship, next to his best friend who was also lifting his hands in praise.  I was in awe.  So in awe of the changes I have seen in these boys.  Seeing my other son serve in sound ministry and with a joyful heart. Wow!  At their age, I was more worried about when service was going to be over and what we were going to have for lunch.  It's almost been 2 years since we attended our new church and the investment they have put into my kids has dramatically made a difference.  That's not how I was at 13 and 14.  Sometimes I have to shake my head to see if I'm dreaming.  Did God really take me out of deep depression and give me this new life just a year and 9 months ago?  How did I deserve this?  Even when I was shaking my fist at God and asking why.  More like shouting.  He never left me.  Even through the heartache and abandonment by my friends, I shouted and I cried, but He never left me.  He was always there.  I didn't know because I put man's opinion and rules above His.  He never meant for His people to carry such a heavy burden of works.

"For My yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light." Matthew 11:30

Yet, as much as I felt burdened by other people's heavy standards, I have no hatred, no bitterness, but a sadness.  I've been there.  I've carried the burden of works and had no peace.  I had none because every night I would question whether or not I did enough to make God pleased with me.  I constantly testified about what God was doing in my life and how He's given me joy and peace.  Every bit of it was a lie.  I knew what to say but never truly felt what I claimed.  I felt like a liar every time I said it.

When I realized a whole section of the bible, tons and tons of scriptures that I once had been blind to, was about how we can't earn our way into heaven.  Not before OR AFTER salvation, I felt like that guy in the movie "Pilgrims Progress". The part where he's standing at the cross and the humongous burden on his back falls off and rolls away.  I thought that part was just for sinners.  No, it was for me.  That heavy burden was of works.  Does my back still sometimes feel sore from carrying that burden for 34 years?  Yes, it does.  But when I remember His promises, that we are saved by grace, not by works, I straighten my back and keep on going.  I can never, ever, ever let anyone take His gift of peace from me.  He doesn't give a select church group peace.  He gives ALL his people peace.

"God saved you by His grace when you believed.  And you can't take credit for this; it is a gift from God.  Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it." Ephesians 2:8-9

"So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.  And because you belong to Him, the power of the life giving spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death.  The law of Moses was unable to save us because of the weakness of our sinful nature.  So God did what the law could not do.  He sent his own son in a body like the bodies we sinners have.  And in that body God declared an end to sin's control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins.  He did this so that the just requirement of the law would be FULLY satisfied for us, who no longer follow our sinful nature but instead follow the spirit." Romans 8:1-4

"You foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you, before who eyes Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified?  This is the only thing I want to find out from you: did you receive the Spirit by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith?  Are you so foolishHaving BEGUN by the spirit, are you now being PERFECTED BY THE FLESH? Did you suffer so many things in vain, if indeed it was in vain? So then, does He who provides you with the Spirit and works miracles among you, do it by the works of the law or by hearing with faith?  Even so Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness." Galatians 3: 1-6

Thank you for Your peace, Jesus. 

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Survival Mode

Okay, sometimes there are days where Juliet puts me in complete survival mode. I feel as if I'm literally just surviving the day. It's gotten that hard. It's like she took the confidence I had in how I raised all the other kids and shred it to pieces. Yet, she can be incredibly cute. Do you know what that means? It means she wars with our heart. Haha. One moment you want to scream and the next moment you want to cuddle her. I would cuddle her AND scream but that might look scary. I've tried gates yet she figured them out. I have one gate left she can't figure out that keeps her in the big living room area. She has closely been watching people open and shut it. She's currently working on it. I keep lots of toys and fun stuff in there yet she's not happy with only having a living room to rule. Have mercy!!!!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Circumcision Day for Baby Jaxon

Cuddling Jaxon after he had his circumcision
Man, I feel emotionally drained from yesterday.  Jaxon had his circumcision.  After the doctor took him in I left outside so I wouldn't hear him crying.  However, he did have major numbing first.  I think they more hate being strapped to the board.  STILL.  My baby, strapped to a board, getting circumcised.  Sigh.  Needed to be done. After it was done I had to sit in the office, feed him and then let them check him again.  It's sad seeing it the first day.  :(  His first diaper change he cried so hard that I cried right along with him.  I was crying hard while trying to change him.  Then on the way home I had to change him again.  I was fumbling because he was on my lap and I couldn't work fast.  He started peeing all over me and screaming.  Oh gosh... my mommy heart. By the night he no longer cried during diaper changes.  I made sure to completely cover in vaseline with each change and put a nonstick pad over the top.  This morning he didn't even fuss at all during both diaper changes.  He's back to his happy baby self.  My eyes are bloodshot from crying.  Gosh, I love my sons.  This is my 5th son getting circumcised.  When I found out at 3 months pregnant I was having a boy, this is the first thing I thought about.  Oh man, another circumcision.  Thank goodness they heal SO FAST.  Another reason I was feeling down yesterday was because he's only gained 7oz since he was born.  They told me he's not gaining enough and I have to suppliment with the bottle.  I've always, always struggled with my milk supply with every baby.  :(
Jaxon (2 1/2 weeks old)
Juliet (turning 3 this week) and daddy
The house is often so quiet with only a few times where it gets loud because we're all playing together.  Often I don't feel like I have eight kids.  It happens to me often where someone will tell me they are pregnant with their ninth kid and I'm like, "Holy cow.  Pregnant with their ninth!!  Wow, blessed lady!"  Then it dawns on me...wait a minute.  I have eight kids as well.  What am I talking about?  I'm blessed as well!!!  It just doesn't register to me that we are a large family.  I thought it'd be so much harder to have so many kids.  The laundry and mess piles may be bigger and the food dinners bigger to prepare but overall, once I had my first kid, that's where the real battle lay for me.  My selfishness had to DIE.  It was a really hard, hard, hard, hard, hard battle.  HARD.  Now, when new babies come, it's truly a JOY because I appreciate each little, tiny phase.  No more wishing I was done with this phase or that phase.  I was truly worried that when I had Jaxon, it would be hard to have a newborn again.  Nope.  It's been wonderful!!!  Even getting up in the middle of the night, watching him under the moon glow.  It's his most awake time.  Mama is tired but I know it's better to give him kisses than to grumble about my sleep.  Newborn time is such a tiny period.  :D  Happy, happy, happy sigh.

Thank you, Jesus, for each little phase of childhood.  Each one is truly a blessing as it changes and challenges us in different ways. 

Monday, May 04, 2015

Baby Jaxon Martin!!!!

Okay, so I'm in love.... again!!!! My sweet baby boy was born on April 24th.  What an amazing experience and by far my easiest labor. Can any future babies I have be this easy to deliver?

I went in at 7am but they didn't get things started till 9am. By 3pm I had him after only one push! By the time I was dilated to a 9, the pain was so manageable that none of us thought it was time. Sigh... If only it were always this fast and easy. After I birthed him I wasn't tired, worn out, nor was I sore. Just an incredible experience. Maybe God had mercy on me after getting so sick with acid reflux the last 3 months. Ha.

Anyway, what is wrong with me? I don't blog as often. I know I'm a mom of eight (whoa) but still.... I love to blog!  I still don't feel like I have 8 kids. When I'm around them it feels like a small group of kids. I JUST had Jaxon and my oldest son is asking me to have more. He's worried I'll run out of time and get too old. Funny! I'm only ummm.... (seriously can't remember how old I am. Hold on.) I'm only gonna be 36 this June! Okay, if I was gonna be 37 in June I would have freaked. Phew. WOW, I really am running out of time.... Sigh. Why does time have to go so fast? Why do we have to age so fast? There is sooooo much living to do but the childbearing years are so short. :( Thank you, God, for my 8 babies and the one You have in Heaven. Thank you for alllllll your blessings.

Anyway, I can't wait to share more photos soon!

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