Rosfelds by the numbers 2.0

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. ūüôā
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. ūüôā
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.

Life with boys

After finding out a few weeks ago we were expecting boy #5, we’ve heard lots of “really?!? Another boy?” or “Oh man, do you wish it was a girl?”. The truth is nope I don’t. I would love to have a girl someday, but after two losses in the last 12 months, I am delighted with a healthy baby and Lord willing I will be able to hold him in my arms in spring. I couldn’t be happier with another boy.
Life with boys…It’s an adventure. This past week especially. Here are some things I’ve learned about being the only girl in a house full of boys.

1. Teach them to clean bathrooms early. Once they start potty training, it’s pretty much guaranteed that you will need to clean the bathroom on a fairly frequent basis. At the very least the toilet will need a good wipe down and most likely the floor around it too. So…since I don’t use the facilities standing up I’ve taught the boys how to clean the bathroom. I haven’t cleaned a toilet in the boy’s bathroom for a couple of years. In fact, as part of our life skills day each week, our boys clean their bathroom and at least one other bathroom in our house…and most of the time they do a stand up job (Hehehe). Oh yeah…don’t put the good bathroom rugs in the boy’s bathroom either.
2. Get used to body humor. I don’t think it really matters how much you try to avoid this, but at some point with boys farts, burps and arm toots become really funny. I would, however, recommend limiting it to places other than the dinner table, public gatherings and church.
3. Save money for co-pays. We have learned to just budget for a co-pay each month. With 4 boys, we’ve spent our share of time in urgent care, the orthopedic office and the pediatricians office. By the way…did you know that they don’t put casts on in the peds office any more? They send you to the ortho office…it’s all just a scam if you ask me, but I can’t do anything about it. In the 10 years we’ve had our boys…we’ve had 4 broken arms (two broken arms on two different boys) and a broken nose. I’m pretty sure that the count will only go up from there.
4. It pays to have some dermabond (think super glue for skin) around. If we ran to Urgent care for every thing that needed to be pulled together we’d be very poor. Otto seems to be our “laceration/open wound” kid. We have had to take him for staples a time or two, but for most things the dermabond works just fine. I even used it on myself this last week when I had a run in with the camera. Actually, I was taking the picture and my son had a run in with the camera giving me a gem of a cut and a black eye.
5. I might also suggest being a nurse or at least taking a couple first aid classes. Again…cost savings here is totally worth it. Parenting in general isn’t for sissies and parenting boys makes it doubly true. Being a nurse helps me decide if it’s really something that needs to be seen or just a “rub dirt in it and walk it off” kind of thing.
6. Buy livestock. Seriously. We have purchased a whole cow the last 3 years. We have had just a little left at the end of each year. I can’t imagine what it will be like when these guys get to be teenagers. We already have 2 deep freezers and keep them fairly full. I’m thinking that a future in cattle farming may not be a bad investment…except we’d eat all the profits. Oh yeah…consider purchasing chickens (we go through 5 dozen eggs a month easily), goats (for milk…I hear they’re much easier to milk) and possibly 10 acres for a garden. I so wish our new community allowed you to at least have hens in town…and maybe a dairy cow.
7. Don’t buy expensive jeans or shoes. They wear them out so fast that it doesn’t matter if you spend $50 or $10 on jeans. Crawling around on hands and knees causes the same wear and tear. I promise.
8. Boys are physical. They play and fight and work physically. Everything they do is physical. The throw punches at the same time they’re hugging each other. They jump while they’re counting, folding laundry or eating dinner.
9. They are loving and tender-hearted. Our boys care about each other and other people. They write each other notes, make gifts and generally watch out for one another. Their feelings get hurt, they need reassurance that they’re growing up to be men and they need to know that you’re proud of them. Even though they’re busy…they need hugs and kisses regularly.
10. You will do lot of laundry. I mean lots. It will be muddy, dusty and sometimes slimy. I would suggest making sure you check pockets before you put them in the washer, otherwise you’ll end up with a basin full of rocks, sticks, coins, markers and possibly a small creature that didn’t survive the spin cycle.
11. I wouldn’t trade having boys for anything. We get a lot of comments about having all boys and people are always so astounded when I tell them I would take 10 more even if they’re all boys. I delight in our boys. I delight in their activity, in their energy and in their “boyness”. My boys bring me so much joy. They may be busy and active, but they don’t have me running crazy and they’re not a “disaster” or “trouble” like so many fear. My boys rock.
If I’m ever blessed with a girl…I’d delight in her as well, but it’s not like I’m disappointed that I don’t have a girl yet. If God gives me boys for the rest of my life…I’d be thrilled. I figure if I have all boys that I will get my “daughters” when they get married.
Every child is a gift from God, boy or girl. They each have their own unique personality and I really believe that it’s all in your perspective.

 

5 ways to help boys learn

Let’s face it, boys are different (in most definitely a good way). As a homeschooling mother to 4 boys I had to learn how to teach them differently. They’re rarely content to just sit and do workbook pages all day long. It has been a delightful adventure finding new ways to teach them the same concepts I learned in school sitting at a desk.
1. The number one way to help boys (and children in general) learn is to have realistic expectations. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to sit at a desk all day. I hate sitting through hour long meetings 3 times a month. So it’s unrealistic to expect our children to sit there and be happy about it. If we, as parents, don’t have realistic expectations for our homeschool, we hinder the learning that takes place. Having unrealistic expectations makes our home stressful, we put pressure on our children to meet those expectations and we they don’t, we get cranky. It’s much easier to adjust our plans and be FLEXIBLE than to try to push our agenda.

2. Let them wiggle! Is it really such a big deal if our 7 year old stands up while he does math? Does it really matter if he needs to dance around a little bit while he’s remembering his spelling words? I really don’t think so. Some kids learn better when they can move around. I know I did. I remember being in nursing school and being able to retain information so much better if I could read it or try to learn it standing up. I distinctly remember taping the flow of blood through the heart on the back of my closet door. If I could stand there and shift my weight back and forth I was able to retain it so much better.

3. Show them how to apply it. Very few people enjoy learning stuff they never get to apply. The same goes for our children. It helps solidify the knowledge in their little brains if they can learn about something in our school and then apply it in real life. For our boys, the excitement (yes I said excitement) for math comes when they learn a concept such as subtraction and then see how we use it in real life. Or in Bible when they memorize scripture, but later can apply it to a life situation or circumstance. How awesome that they get to actually USE the knowledge they’re getting. The same goes for the little guys. My 3 year old is delighted when he recognizes a letter we’ve been learning in school on a sign in the store. His eyes light up like it’s the coolest letter Z he’s ever seen!

4. Let them study something they like. While there is a time and place for them to learn the “boring” stuff, sometimes they should be able to learn about something that fascinates them. My 9 year old son just finished reading a book from Vision Forum called “Mini Weapons of Mass Destruction”. It was all about how to build these mini weapons out of household and “junk drawer” stuff. He collected stuff to build them, he built the weapons with dad and then tried them out on Lego guys and stuffed animals. It wasn’t in our curriculum but he learned some great lessons in¬†trajectories, geometry and weights. We did have to set some limits on when he could break out the book, but it served as a great motivator to complete his daily work.

5. Take learning outside. ¬†Even if we’re just “doing math” the boys enjoy learning outside. When Otto was learning to add we took it outside. I would say “Otto! Go get me 3 rocks as fast as you can!” He’d run around the yard and find 3 rocks. Then I’d say “Otto! Go get 5 more rocks.” He’d run and get 5 more rocks. Then I’d ask “How many rocks do you have?” He would say “8” fairly quickly. Then we’d write the math problem in chalk on the sidewalk in front of us. If I would have just written 3+5 on a piece of paper in the house it would have taken 30 minutes some days to get him to do the problem, which resulted in frustration for both of us. We do nature walks when the weather is nice enough to be outside. We have really enjoyed watching our trees start to blossom or the seedlings sprout in the garden. Kids are meant to be outside. There is no reason they can’t be.

Trying to pop popcorn with a magnifying glass.

The most important thing we can do to help our children learn is to have fun with them discovering the world around us. Remembering that we’re not re-creating a public classroom at home, but we are learning at home, together.