I’ve been pretty quiet in the blogging world the last few years. Life has been busy and I wasn’t always sure where I’d want to go or what I wanted to share. So I sat quiet…I keep renewing my domain name and hosting plan “just in case” I would ever find my voice again.
Honestly, I wasn’t sure I had much worth sharing anymore. I stopped blogging during a period of extreme hurt and difficulty because I didn’t want it to be my platform to vent. I posted some with brief updates and shared a few thoughts off and on, but it just never felt like things would come together. So, it’s been on the back burner.
This year, my renewal came up, I backed up my files and prepared to let it all expire. I even waited to renew my domain name until the very last day and then didn’t have a hosting site for a long time. But something about it…so much of what I shared…I just didn’t feel right letting it all go. So I found a new (cheaper) hosting plan and transferred my content over.
I’ve found in the process that my images didn’t always come with the content, so while the posts are the same…pictures may be missing. I am still trying to figure it all out, but for now…my posts are here, I am here and I hope to find my voice again enough to post more than twice a year.
Things have been quiet on the blogging front for the last few years. As I hope to ease back into posting regularly, I thought you might like a little update about what’s been going on with our family.
In a nutshell, life is busy. Life with 7 boys is busy. Life homeschooling 7 boys, raising goats and chickens, and working full time is busy. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Our boys are 15, 13, 9,7,4 (almost 5), 3, and 16 months. There is always something going on here! I recently had the opportunity for all of them to visit Grandma’s house for a day while I worked. It was harder than I expected to concentrate without the normal background noise I’m used to.
This last week we had our 20 week sonogram for baby #8. The boys were excited to find out the gender of this little one. A couple of the boys have been wishing for a sister and a couple of them were really hoping for another boy.
They wanted to do egg roulette as a gender reveal. If you’re not familiar with the concept, we boiled 17 eggs and left 1 raw. We dyed half the eggs blue and half pink. The color of the raw egg represented the gender of the baby. Then each boy took a turn smashing the egg on his head to see who got the ‘lucky’ egg.
Here’s the video we shot of the gender reveal…this is truly what’s it is like to live at our house. 🙂 Enjoy!
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.
It’s a new year…we have all of 2014 bare in front of us, with all the hopes and dreams we carry laid out…waiting.
Most people have a list of things they want to accomplish in the New Year. The optimism of the fresh year makes us silly with goal making. We feel as though standing on this cusp of fresh starts we can do anything. Our lifelong “to do” list is suddenly attainable. And for some it might be, but truthfully…I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone who has actually kept their resolution for the year. Including myself.
I’m a dreamer by nature so the New Year is kind of exciting to me. I like to dream about what the next 365 days will hold for me and my family. On this first day…I’ve often made a list a mile long of all the things that seem so possible. And I dream. BIG.
And then at some point during the year, sometimes before the first week of the New Year is over, I get a reality check. One of my kids barfs on the floor, we get a bill in the mail and I remember I’m no Cinderella.
I’ve been tempted this week to make my list. To do my dreaming. But this year I haven’t really. Sure, I have my secret Pinterest boards that guard my dreams, but those things aren’t making it on my list. Instead…I have one thing. One mantra this year. One goal. One prayer. Find the Joy
That’s it. To Find the Joy.
In the mundane. In the piles of laundry, the routine of everyday life. In the moments that pass by each day un-noticed and underappreciated.
I want to Find the Joy in the minutes, hours, days and weeks that make up my year.
I stop sometimes and realize that my life is flying by, my boys are growing quickly and it hits me that I’ve wasted time. I’ve wasted time wishing them out of diapers, wishing them to sleep through the night. I wasted time on Facebook reading about someone else’s life in the virtual world. I’ve wasted time complaining, worrying, yelling and trying to control what happens to me. And for the most part…I don’t get to. I’ve spent so much time looking at what’s wrong, what (and who) needs to change that I forget to Find the Joy in my day.
So that is my goal for this year. To Find the Joy in watching my children grow and learn (even when it’s messy, trying and not how I would have done it in the first place). I want to Find the Joy in my small house instead of complaining about the drafty windows and the lack of space. I want to Find the Joy in the midst of trials, when I’m grasping for direction and answers…I want to find it tucked there in the middle of the ashes and junk. That little nugget that reminds me God’s hand is in it all. He is in control and He is the source of all my Joy. Find the Joy
This is the day which the Lord has made; Let us rejoice and be glad in it.
I posed this question to my readers on Facebook this last week but remembered some of you dear friends aren’t on Facebook. So I’ll ask you here too…
What do you want to hear about this year? I’m doing some blog planning this week and want to write about things that interest you.
What do you struggle with? What do you enjoy? What challenges you and makes you think?
Please don’t think I have it all figured out…believe me, I’m far from having it all bundled in a neat tidy package. But we have something to learn from one another. We’re in this together.
So I’m asking, dear readers…what do you want to read about this year? Feel free to leave a comment here or drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I look forward to 2014 with you!
Yesterday I shared with you how I get started when I know we’re going to move. Once I get ready to pack I make sure I have my list of supplies. Here’s my list:
Boxes or plastic bins. Several years ago during a move, we decided to invest in plastic rubbermaid type bins. They stack uniformly, last longer than cardboard boxes and will hold up in storage a bit better. Most of our things go in these plastic bins.
Index cards, letter dividers and a box to put them in. I prefer the 3×5 ruled ones. You’ll be using these a bunch so you want a way to keep them organized. You can usually find these items in the office supply section of your local store.
Packing tape. I’ve found packing tape with a dispenser works better than duct tape.
Markers — colored markers like the kids use for school. And a black sharpie
I try to pack items by room, either by the room they’re in now or by the room they’re going to be when we move. This last moved involved me packing before we had a house to go in to, so I packed things according to the room they were in or the one I *thought* they were going to go in when we got there. Some things, like “homeschool supplies” are assigned a category rather than room. I assign a color and shape to each room or category. For example, books are pink circles, storage items are red circles, garage items are red squares etc. Be sure to make a master list of your colors and categories.
Next I start making cards for labeling. Each box will get two index cards. One with a large colored shape and number for the bin itself and one with a smaller corresponding shape and number in the upper left hand corner for my index card box. I let the boys help make my labels. It’s a great learning activity for shapes, colors, writing numbers and counting. I usually start by making 10 or so of each color/shape. This last time we moved, I pre-wrote the numbers in pencil and let my 5 year old trace the numbers in black sharpie. A sharpie works better than a regular black marker because it bleeds less. Then I pack my bin. I write everything I put in the bin on the index card with the smaller shape. Sometimes I’m really specific, like with my kitchen or crafting items. Other times I’m not as specific. With books I don’t write every title down rather I write the shelf the books came from or whom the books belong to (ie Dad’s commentaries or children’s books for book time). Remember, each bin gets two cards. The card with the bigger shape goes on the bin as the label and the smaller one goes in the index card box. I assigned a letter to each category as well. B was for books, E was for boys only because E was the next available letter in my card box.
Every bin, box, plastic storage box gets a colored label and corresponding index card for the box. I know that it seems like a lot of work to just pack a box, but I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been really thankful I packed our things this way. If I know my kitchen items are purple circles and filed behind K. I can look on my index card and tell that my rolling pin is in purple circle 5 and I can send someone to go find it. When we moved a couple times ago, I had the luxury of being able to pack months in advance. I consequently packed a few things that I ended up needing before we moved. It was so nice to be able to pinpoint the exact bin containing my item and send someone to get it rather than having to unpack every kitchen box or struggle trying to remember what other stuff was in the box. If you’re fortunate enough to have a little space in the first room you pack or even in your garage, you can start moving packed, labeled boxes to the free space to reduce clutter and the feeling of walking over and around boxes all the time. This was hugely helpful when we left Colorado. I had one wall of our garage stacked with bins and when we had loading help for the truck, they could just grab the bins and load the truck rather than walking in and out of the house repeatedly.
It takes a little more work on the front end of moving, but it is oh so helpful when it comes time to unpack or search for an already boxed item. Tomorrow I’ll share with how I unpack and organize efforts when we get to our new home.
Some of you have noticed I’ve taken kind of a break over the last year. It wasn’t planned or necessarily intentional, but it happened. It isn’t that I stopped writing, rather, I stopped hitting the publish button.
This blog started at first as a way to keep up with family and for them to follow us while we were living a distance away. Then it morphed into a mom, wife, family kind of blog and for a time it was an outlet for me to grieve when we lost our babies. But writing has always been my outlet. It’s how I process things going on in my life, it’s how I muddle through and try to make sense of it all. I’ve always wanted this blog to be a comfortable place for you to come and share in our lives, to share struggles, victories and “hacks” for making it in life.
This last year or so has been challenging for us as a family. We’ve been loved and cared for, we’ve been hurt and abandoned, we’ve healed and grown and we’ve learned together. I’ve written a lot as a way to make sense of it. But some of what I wrote, I wrote when I was angry and hurting…and words sting. They can’t be taken back or undone. So while I wrote, I didn’t publish. It was simply for me to express safely. Someday, when I’m further out and it’s not so raw I may share, but for now they stay there in my “drafts” folder or in my own writing in my journal.
I’ve been wanting to write again to you, my readers. My brain is turning and my pen (er…fingers) are itchy to write. I have ideas and things I’d like to share. It may take a bit for me to get back in the swing of things, but I thank you for being patient with me. For waiting while I wrote for myself. So, I guess this is it. I’m back. I hope to start back writing once or twice a week. Something to share, something to get me back in the swing of blogging regularly. So grab a cup of coffee, let’s sit down and chat. I’ve got things to share…
1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community..
I am reminded today about the importance of living in the present. Soaking it all up, drinking it deep. A school mate is dealing with his 9 year old son having cancer, battling it to the teeth and holding on to every moment for dear life. I see mama’s who are learning about horrible diseases their baby’s have, learning there is no cure, no treatment and in all reality they will be saying goodbye to the baby before he turns 1. I have a friend who grieves for the daughter she lost 5 years ago, she is missed every day, thought of every day and impacts lives even now.
And I hug my children tighter. I thank God for every moment I have with them. I cry out in prayer for these families and many others. I wonder why such sweet children, parents, families are called to walk this path. And I am reminded that none of us know when we are living our last day. We will all meet an end, for some of us it may be today, tomorrow or 50 years from now. We should all live in the present.
Each day lived full, letting little things go, making memories but most of all loving those around us. When I think about it, I think about what I want my children to remember about me if this is my last day. I think about how I want to be faithful to what God has called to do. I also think about what I’d want to remember about my children if, heaven forbid, this is their last day too. I think about the way my oldest son’s eyes light up when he laughs and how even at 10, he so wants to be a man but is still a boy who loves. I cherish my second son, the way he cares for others and his stories…his stories! And my blue eyed 3rd son, who charms with his smile and his words. I treasure in my heart the smile he seems to give at just the right moment. Then there is my spirited 4th son, such a challenge for me, but oh what a child who drinks in life. He lives the experience! And my precious gift in my 5th son. My baby born after losing two babies. He feels redemptive and healing. His countenance so happy and sweet. When I look at him, I can’t help but think “My Joy comes in the morning”.
I sear these images, these memories and their faces in my mind. Wishing I could take snapshots in my brain and rifle through them each day. I pray for God to help remind me that I need to live in the present. I need to take it all in and take each day for the gift and the moments that they are.