You know, I’ve started this post 100 times in my head. It’s been over a year since I’ve posted. Every year the renewal comes up and I debate about renewing my hosting plan or domain name. There’s something I can’t let go each year.
It’s not that I don’t want to write or that I don’t have tons of posts started in my head. Life has changed so much from when I was posting regularly and it’s been so much busier. We’ve moved, changed jobs and added 3 more children.
I miss writing for fun. I hope to do it a bit more often than I have been. I don’t know what my blog will look like now. 6 years ago I used it as an outlet to grieve after Knox and Lily were born and to process their loss. We still think of them often but much has changed in 6 years so I’m not sure where this will end up, but this is a start.
Here’s a brief update:
We have 7 boys. Our oldest will be 15 soon and the baby is close to 1. Our lives are busy and we love it.
We are still homeschooling. This year has brought our first adventures into high-school with Gabe and we started kindergarten with Zeb. That leaves us with 5 homeschooling this year and 2 littles tagging along for the ride.
We have 2 dairy goats (plus a visiting goat), 40(ish) chickens, our farm cats and dog Cash. Our beloved dog Jenny died about a month ago. She was a sweet dog whom we loved much. We got her when Otto was 6 months old and she was part of our family for the last 13 years.
We’re living close to family again which has been wonderful. 3 years ago we bought a place in the country near where we grew up. We love it.
I work full time from home. I am transitioning to a new position as strategic operations manager after being involved in staff development for the last year. I’m so thankful for the answer to prayer this job has been for our family. I love my work family and the work I do.
Perhaps another update will be coming again soon. For now, enjoy a picture of Titus with one of our baby goats early this summer.
As a mom with a larger than normal family, we are used to having friends with fewer children than we have. We don’t mind and usually they don’t either (unless they have to feed us all and then sometimes I sense a slight bit of panic about all these boys to feed).
I’ve noticed a curious thing lately though. I’ve had several conversations with friends who have less than my 6 children and I’ve heard excuses. Excuses about why they don’t have more children. It usually goes something like this…
“Well, we’d like to have more children but it just isn’t physically possible”
or “We always wanted a big family, but due to circumstances we only have 2”.
You don’t have to make excuses. And honestly, I’m just really thankful you’re not telling me that my 6 is more than I can handle or “don’t you know what causes that?” I’m thankful you’re excited when we tell you that we are expecting again.
Sure, we have a larger than normal family and we welcome babies as they come into our family, but we also know that the more children we have has no bearing on our holiness or our standing before the Lord. We know that trusting God for family size means trusting God for both large and small families. We also know that trusting God for family size, includes using wisdom and discernment when it comes to health and childbearing.
The point about trusting God for babies, isn’t about having as many babies as possible to show we’re “super duper” favored. It’s not a contest. The point is to view children as the gift and blessing they are…whether you have none, one or 15.
We are delighted to be surrounded by people who rejoice with the announcement of a new life. We believe children are a blessing, regardless of how many are in your quiver. Seeing parents raising children to love and serve God, embracing the task of parenting and celebrating life…no excuses.
It’s been almost 4 years since I’ve posted to my blog on a regular basis. I keep renewing my domain name with the hopes that I would find my voice again and get back to writing. But the words never seem to come. The things that I want to say never seem to have enough importance to write…so it has been silent.
One of my resolutions this year was to write more. My goal was to publish to my blog regularly again. Here we are 3 months into the year and my first post…but it’s better than 4 years.
A lot has happened in the last 4 years so I thought a Rosfeld by the Numbers would be a great way to get started again. We’ve moved twice, bought a house, added two babies and bought some chickens. Here is the link to my last “Numbers” post 5 years ago.
Number of family members : 8 (so far) The next question that usually follows is “How many are you going to have” …As many as we’re blessed with. We believe in Jesus-full thinking. (Oh yeah…we’re still one of *those* families. I’ll share more about our personal convictions on another post).
Number of times we’ve moved since Kerry and I got married in 2001 : 12!
Number of pets : 2 dogs, 20 chickens, 1 turkey, 2 goats, 10 cats
Number of loads of laundry we do per day : at least 4
Loads of dishes : 2 per day
Vehicles owned : 3
Gallons of milk per week : 7-8 (thankful we get much of our milk from the goats)
Monthly grocery budget : $575.00
Meals eaten out : 3-4 per month always fast food, Sunday afternoons. 🙂
Legos : too numerous to count, but lots of sets and at least two rubbermaid tubs full.
Instruments played : 5 (flute, drums, trombone, piano, guitar — The 3 older boys are taking piano lessons from Grandma and Otto is teaching himself to play guitar.
Diapers changed : 12 per day depending on bowel habits. This number has gone down recently due to a certain almost 3 year old deciding to wear “big boy” undies (and pee on trees).
Outfits : 8 per day. We have at least two kids make one change of clothes each day which is why we do 4 loads of laundry each day. 🙂
Computers : 5. My work computer, Kerry’s computer and 2 for school. The last one is one sitting next to the piano ready for target practice.
Cookbooks : 40 at least. I like them for recreational reading.
Floors swept : 4 times per day. That’s our goal anyway…
Vacuuming : 4 times a week. If I can feel dirt on my feet when I walk I know it’s time to vacuum, I have 6 boys there is always dirt on the floor.
Pairs of shoes : 35-40. The range is because we can’t always find both shoes at the same time.
Hours of sleep : Kids : 11-12, those napping get 14, Grown ups 5-6. This time change is going to be miserable.
Hugs and Kisses : More than we can count, but never enough.
It wasn’t the meatiest post, but it’s good to be back.
Four years ago today I had one of the most amazing and rewarding experiences of my life. I had an awesome homebirth. It was what I needed to heal from some less than ideal birth experiences. It was my first VBAC after 3 c-sections. For those who haven’t heard or read the story, I’ve posted it below the pictures.
Titus has been such a blessing to our family. He is challenging some days with his strong opinions and preferences but he is oh so wonderful in our family. He has a stubborn streak a mile wide but he also loves and cares so deeply for those around him. I look back at the day he was born and am so thankful for the prayers God answered that day. We continually praise Him for the blessings He’s given us and His provision. We are thankful that God allowed Titus to be born at home (something we prayed for daily from the day we found out we were pregnant) and so thankful that we have been blessed with 5 happy healthy boys.
Below are a couple pictures from the day he was born and the days following and some more recent pictures too.
The 3 big boys on 8/26/2010
They were amazingly chipper and happy for being up so late the night before. Both Gabe and Otto stayed up until about 2am to watch Titus get checked over by our midwife. Otto couldn’t keep his hands off of his baby brother. We watched the video recently and could hear ourselves asking him to move because his head or his hand was in the way of trying to do the assessment. Zeke was the only one that night who got a good night sleep.
The next morning our birth photographer came to take pictures of our new little addition. He seems so little looking back. We loved getting to know all of his little features as a family. There is just something about a newborn baby that begs to be touched, held, kissed and loved.
He really enjoys waffles for breakfast.
BIRTH STORY (this is the story I posted a few days after Titus was born to Facebook)
We have been so blessed with the addition of Titus this past week! I’ve had several people send me messages asking if his homebirth was “on purpose” so I thought I’d write an abbreviated version of our birth story. In short…yes his homebirth was on purpose and it was awesome!
His birth story begins kind of with Gabe’s almost 8 years ago. I had a c-section with him after a failed induction at 37 weeks. With Otto I had a repeat c-section and when it was time for me to have Zeke, my doctor who had initially been VBAC (vaginal birth after a cesarean) friendly changed his mind and threatened to drop me from his practice. I felt very backed into a corner and consented to my 3rd c-section.
When I became pregnant with Titus, I wanted a different outcome and began researching my options and the current research regarding having a 4th c-section to having a VBAMC (VBAmultipleC). The research is limited, but what there is shows that even VBAMC are relatively safe and the risk of uterine rupture (which is the big fear with VBAC) is still less than 1-2%. The current culture in the hospital is not VBAC friendly even after 1 c/s and is definitely not friendly after 2 or more. So I began researching a homebirth with a midwife, discussing options and research with Kerry and covering each decision with lots of prayer. I would encourage any woman to do her research and pray before making her birth choices. There is a lot more support for VBAC there than some would have you believe.
We found a midwife , who was also a believer,willing to take me as a client and began our journey. My pregnancy, like all of them, was uneventful and pretty normal. As part of my care, I saw a chiropractor once a month to help align my pelvis and spine and help position baby correctly. One of the reasons I had a c/s with Gabe was because he was malpositioned, so I wanted to avoid that if at all possible.
We prayed regularly as a family for God to honor our desire to have more children (something that would be really frowned upon after having 4-5 c/s) and our desire for a homebirth. Every time fear would creep in, we’d pray and turn it over to God. He has answered so many prayers along the way!
Towards the end of my pregnancy, I started to get nervous that my body wouldn’t know what to do. It had never been asked to actually “get a baby out”. I was wondering if it would know how to go into labor, how to birth a baby, and would I be strong enough to do it?
The day after my due date I started having a few contractions, but they weren’t terribly uncomfortable or regular, although they felt different from the contractions I’d been having for weeks. We spent the day running errands, I made a quick visit to the chiropractor (just in case this was really it) and napped in the afternoon. My contractions kept coming, but were still irregular and relatively comfortable. I called our midwife a couple of times during the day to update her, but felt like it was going to be a long evening/night if this was the real thing.
That evening about 7pm or so we took a mile(ish) walk around our neighborhood. My contractions were still irregular, but I had to stop a couple of times to let them pass. I was still able to talk through them. Being a L&D nurse, I really wasn’t sure this was going to be it or that it would be any time soon, because nothing was textbook. 🙂
I decided to rest and just hang out that evening and talked to our doula and photographer about 10pm. I talked to her through a contraction and told her I wasn’t sure I’d need her yet, but she could come this way just so she’d be here when I did. Mom and I set up the air mattress in our spare room because I was sure they (the doula) would be sleeping here. I also called the midwife and told her I was still doing fine and I’d have Kerry call when we needed her, but not to worry I thought it was going to be a while still.
I laid down on the couch to get some rest, and had one really big contraction that was quite uncomfortable. But the next couple were manageable again. Mom suggested I put a towel under me “in case my water broke”, I was sure that wasn’t going to happen, but though I would humor her anyway. (I was glad for the suggestion, as with the next contraction that’s exactly what happened). My water broke about 10:30 and that’s when things got “fun”. Kerry called the midwife to let her know and she said she’d head down. Kerry and I came upstairs to fill the pool (we had set up a little pool in our bedroom for me to labor in) and my contractions started coming much much faster and stronger. Mom and the big boys (Zeke was asleep) were downstairs watching a movie and had no idea things had really picked up.
I spent about 30 minutes in the pool and then walked to the bathroom. Once I was there my contractions were so intense and my mind was racing. Kerry says I was really pretty calm, but in my mind I was going nuts. At one point I told Kerry “I’m hysterical….I can’t be hysterical”. He said later he didn’t know what I was talking about as I was barely saying anything and appeared really calm to him. He wasn’t (at least he didn’t act like it) scared or panicked at all. About 10:15 I felt my body pushing and I couldn’t stop. In my head I was sure I wasn’t ready to push and was worried I was going to do something that would make my labor go longer.
At that point, Kerry took the cell phone to mom and asked her to call our midwife to let her know I felt like pushing and to hurry. 🙂 The midwife told me to go ahead and push if I needed to and that she was about 15 minutes away. Mom and Kerry stayed in the bathroom with me and the boys kept watching their movie. Kerry suggested I move to the pool again, because he thought I would be more comfortable and it would be easier to birth there. I made it about two steps before I said “I can’t” and kneeled on the floor. (I found out later both mom and Kerry thought I was just having a contraction, not birthing a baby)
The next thing I really remember was telling mom and Kerry “there is his head” and to “check for a nuchal cord” (a cord around the neck). He had a loose one that we could easily slip over and the rest of him was born. I was able to put him right on my chest and we covered him with towels and dried him off, he was pink right away. I think I kept saying “I did it! I did it!” Kerry was so excited, but still very calm and had the presence of mind to grab the camera and take a few pictures.
He asked the big boys if they wanted to come see their brother and they both ran upstairs. Gabe (***note we later found out that Gabe handed the camera off to Otto) took the camera and took pictures, and he did such a good job! About 10 minutes after he was born our midwife came in. The apprentice midwife came about 10 minutes after that. Titus James was born at 11:32pm on 8/26/10. He was direct OP (which means facing up instead of down, the same position Gabe was in), but I truly think prayer, positioning and the care I received made all the difference. He weighed 7lbs 11oz (my second biggest baby) and was 19 3/4 inches long. The rest of the story is pretty “routine” for postpartum, but it just all happened at home which was awesome!
I didn’t really think I would go that quickly in labor, especially since I hadn’t done it before. I was completely surprised by the whole experience, but it was exactly what we needed.
I fully believe in birth choices. I think women should be able to choose when, where and how to give birth. By in large, those choices are being taken away for many reasons. If a woman wants to birth in a hospital, home or birthing center…let her. If she wants to VBAC or schedule a repeat c/s…let her. I often heard after my c/s that what really mattered was a “healthy mom and healthy baby” which is true…but that health also includes mental health. For some women it is mentally and physically the best choice to have another c/s, for others it is the option to have a VBAC.
For me, this time and every time from now on (Lord willing), homebirth will be my choice. I pass no judgement on whomever chooses something different for their birth. It is important that the risks vs benefits are considered for each option and in each case. And for each woman make the decision that is right for her, her family and her baby.
Each birth and each child is special and a blessing however they come. This birth for me though, has been incredibly healing, empowering and faith building. God is good and we are so thankful for His blessings and His faithfulness. I want to add too, how incredibly important it was for me to know that others were praying for me. My midwife, my doula, our families and friends. I believe God honored those prayers and they brought me so much peace and confidence throughout this whole process. He has blessed us many times over!
Two years ago, yesterday actually, our daughter Lily was born. I didn’t forget about her yesterday, I remembered her birth, but I didn’t write about it. I didn’t write about it because I couldn’t put it all in to words. How much she meant means to us, how much it still hurts sometimes to think of her death. I spent this weekend writing an article (out in December) about the hope I have in relation to the birth of a baby. It was a tough article to write. So I was spent.
It’s been interesting for me working again in L&D. My perspective has changed from when I was here before. I still enjoy it, but I’m even more in awe of the miracle birth is than I was years ago. The lives of Knox and Lily have made me so very thankful for every birth that happens. I was in a room last week and it was all I could do to keep from grinning like a big dumb idiot because I was just so happy for the parents that they were getting to welcome their baby. I mean seriously happy, elated, for two strangers that they were completely in love with their new little one. It’s caught me off guard.
I found myself working yesterday on her birthday. I thought about her a lot and what we were doing two years ago, waiting for her to be born. And when I came home, I snuggled my baby Zeb. As I breathed deep on the top of his head I thanked God for his safe birth just over a year ago. I thanked God for the perspective and the growth, as difficult and painful as it was, that He’s given me because of Lily’s birth. I’m thankful for the opportunity it’s given me to care for others.
Two years ago, we said hello and goodbye on the same day. We held her for the first time and the last time. We didn’t forget, we won’t ever forget. But we are thankful for her and the way she touched our lives and taught us much about the treasure of life.
I was so close to a dream this week I could taste it. I’m a dreamer by nature so it’s not hard for me to get caught up in the planning and visioning of what could be if only…
I’m usually pretty guarded though. I’ve learned that dreamers sometimes get disappointed (okay a lot of times). I’ve learned to temper my dreaming. Keep it far off in the distance and not let it run too wild.
But this one…this one was so close. I imagined what if, I imagined our family there…growing up…growing old. It took off before I could reign it in. And I let it. I let it carry me over the possibilities.
And I crashed today. Hard.
It’s been tough for me to not throw a temper tantrum, and honestly I have. I’ve been near in tears numerous times. I’ve struggled against spewing dreadful things at my family so instead I’ve been quiet and sullen. Short with my words for fear anger and disappointment would spill over or worse yet…I’d end up in a puddle if years like a two year old.
Sometimes dreams are fun, sometimes they happen, and sometimes they don’t happen. For me, today it’s a bitter pill to swallow. And I am disappointed.
It’s been a while since I’ve posted. I’ve had lots on my mind and I’ve sat down to write many times, but the words just don’t come or a baby wakes up or I get completely distracted talking to my husband. I’ve yet to perfect the art of writing during the day when I’m in the midst of schooling, playing and caring for the boys. I just haven’t been able to do it. So for now, it’s a fly by update to let you know how I’ve been “Finding the Joy” lately. (Remember that New Year’s post?)
1. It’s warming up! We’ve been so thankful for some nice days lately to be able to go outside and stretch a bit. It’s been warm enough to even have school outside a few days. As a side note, I completely underestimated how distracting the trash truck might be. The boys got up every 30 seconds to see if they were coming to get our trash.
2. I’ve learned to Find the Joy with messes. Let’s face it boys (well kids in general) make messes. I’ve had to learn to let go a little and allow them to experience the mess and delight in it.
3. We’ve been studying Medieval times with the older boys. So I’ve Found the Joy in sword fights, Knights, castles and teaching boys how to be men.
4. We discovered food allergies. Okay, so there isn’t much Joy to find in having to rid our entire house of peanut butter (a staple in this house). In fact, it was really really scary. But I am so thankful that we have the ability to pay for the life saving medicine we need in case he has another reaction. I’m also really thankful that his first reaction wasn’t worse.
5. We’ve had some great times with the cousins and grandparents. We have been finding the Joy in being closer to family.
6. I’m teaching myself to crochet. Seriously, moms often feel like they wash, dry, teach, fold, cook, clean, rinse and repeat every.single.day. It feels like you never get anything done. So, I decided I needed to learn to do something that meets two criteria. First, it must be able to be picked up and put down relatively quickly without having to start over again. Second, it has to stay done. I needed to be able to have a project and have it stay done, like forever (or at least for a while). I really enjoy sewing but I can’t get fabric and a machine out very quickly and I don’t have room to leave it up…so that’s out. And hello! Pins + crawling baby = bad news. So, crochet it is. I’m making of list of “stay done” things I’d like to learn. Next on the list embroidery and guitar.
And now just a few pictures of the last few months. I *hope* to post more often. In fact, in my brain I’m working on a series…called “Feeding the crew”.
On Friday’s we silence the inner critic. The loudest of all naysayers. And on Fridays we remind ourselves that The Word is for us and loves us and welcomes us.
So come and write with us. Together. On one word for five minutes. Here are all the details. And then link up your post or leave it in the comments. But remember, the one must rule here is that you visit the person who linked up before you and encourage them in their writing.
That’s it. The gift of encouragement – pass it on.
Today the word is the one that’s been beating hard in my heat the last couple of weeks. Today the writing prompt is SMALL.
I have struggled with feeling small lately. Like my days and activities are small compared to everyone else’s.
See, I used to be somebody. I was present when babies were born for hundreds of families. I taught mommies how to swaddle their babies, I calmed fears and coached labors.
I taught future nurses how to be nurses. I taught them how to care for people, how to recognize symptoms and intervene. I drew concept maps, graded care plans and shaped futures.
These days I teach ABCs and numbers. Some days I feel like I’m failing. We’re still working on telling the difference between green and blue. I make peanut butter and jelly, paper plate face masks and shape play dough.
And some days I wonder if it all matters. I feel small.
You see, I’ve bought in to the expectation that I have to do something the world deems worthwhile to be important. And the world does not value motherhood. So I feel small.
I have a Masters degree. It allows me to teach some from home and for that I am thankful. But when I tell people I’m a stay at home, homeschooling mother, most of the time I qualify it by adding the fact that I’m a nurse too…and I teach nurses (not just my children).
We worked for years for me to be able to stay home. It was our goal…it’s what we were working for. And I remember what it was like to go out the front door everyday.
I remember the struggle of leaving sick babies on snowy days to go to clinical. I remember driving away with little noses pressed to the window waving good bye to mommy and crying as I drove to work. I remember putting on the brave face and teaching those nurses.
And now here we are.
I am home, and grateful but some days I still feel small.
I’ve been struggling lately with breakfast. The boys go through so much cereal it’s crazy and let’s face it…it’s not like store bought cereal is that healthy for them. I need something quick and easy for them in the mornings. Something that doesn’t take a lot of brain power on my part because I am not a morning person and it takes me a bit to fire on all cylinders first thing. I tried this recipe for baked oatmeal this morning. The boys gobbled it up!
Baked Oatmeal: Ingredients
2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup brown sugar + 2 tablespoons for top
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup raspberries (I used thawed frozen blackberries).
1/3 cup blueberries
1/2 cup chocolate chips (I didn’t add these, but I will next time)
2 cups milk
1 large egg
3 tablespoons buttermelted
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
1 ripe bananapeeled, 1/2-inch slices (I omitted this too)
1. Preheat oven to 375°F and generously spray the inside of a 9×13 pan.
2. In a large bowl, mix together the oats, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, half the berries and half the chocolate. (Save the other half of berries and chocolate for the top of the oatmeal). In another large bowl, whisk together the milk, egg, butter, and vanilla extract.
3. Add the oat mixture to prepared baking dish. Arrange the remaining berries and chocolate on top. Add the banana slices to the top then pour the milk mixture over everything. Gently shake the baking dish to help the milk mixture go throughout the oats.
4. Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until the top is nicely golden brown and the milk mixture has set. For an extra tasty top, sprinkle a tablespoon or so of extra brown sugar. You can place brown sugar on top before baking or add when casserole is finished baking and broil for a couple of minutes.
5. After it has cooled, cover with plastic wrap and store in fridge. When ready for breakfast, heat in microwave for 1-3 minutes, or until warmed through.
So in looking back over the recipe this morning, I realized I completely forgot the butter. Oops. It tasted okay without it. I had some blackberries I picked up at a local market last week so I used those. I think it would be good with strawberries, peaches, raspberries etc. I didn’t use the banana because they’re really not my favorite although the boys thought they would have been good too, so I’ll probably just add them to half the pan next time.
We sprinkled ours with a bit of cinnamon and sugar before serving. The best thing I liked about this dish is that I baked it last night and we heated it up this morning. It was super easy, warm and very tasty!
So about a week ago I shared my goal for this year. In 2014 I want to Find the Joy.
I have prayed each morning for God to help me Find the Joy in each day. And I’ve had a week…with some great days and some not so great days. It’s been a tough week.
It started with me getting sick. I mean sick….with influenza. Fever, cough, achy feeling yucky. And of course it was right after my dearest husband had to go back to work after break. So last Thursday I drug myself out of bed…barely and tried to make some semblance of the day. I felt like I’d been hit by a truck, backed over and then hit again. As I’m laying in the recliner with half an eye on the baby and the big boys watching TV (I totally admit to TV time when mom is sick)…I remember my goal…Find the Joy. Seriously? What joy is there in being sick? In feeling so exhausted and rotten that you’re not sure how you’re going to make it? This was going to be way harder than I thought.
But then lunch happened.
We’d joined my brother’s family for supper the night before and my sister in law sent home leftovers! They might have been hotdogs and brats, but they were easy to heat up…throw a piece of fruit and some carrots and we’ve got a meal with minimal effort. That was my joy. Easy lunch…blessed by leftovers. For me that day, it was something simple, something I would have overlooked before. My joy for day 1 was hotdogs.
Friday brought a broken fever and a bit more energy (which means I totally over did it that morning). Thankfully my in-laws were willing to pick up the big boys and watch them in the afternoon for me so I could get some rest. And my afternoon was filled with things like this…
And so it goes. I’ve been purposefully finding my joy each day. Little things and big things (like having a warm home on very very cold nights).
And then my morning started this morning at 5am…with my son next to my bed…”Mommy, I don’t feel good” New sheets, a drink and emergency barf bowl just in case, along with a 3 year old brother who woke up in the process and said sickie 5 year old all cuddled in bed together. As I snuggled with them…exhausted before the day even started…I sighed heavy…Find the Joy.
And I did. Fitful sleep for another hour or so. While he dozed on the other side of the bed his hand reached….searched under the blankets for mine. I lay there with his palm resting in mine and I found Joy knowing mine was the hand he was looking for. Even in his early morning fever stupor he searched me out. And I thanked God for the blessings cuddled around me and sleeping in the next room. The blessing of children and family.