Friday, August 26, 2016

Things I am Loving Right Now

The end of summer is coming!  We really haven't done much this summer (besides have a baby!), which I was expecting, but it has been a busy, full summer anyway.  We're trying to enjoy the last few weeks of summer, while also planning for fall and a new homeschooling year.  To bring some cohesiveness to all the random thoughts rolling around in my brain, I thought I'd share a few things that I've been loving lately!

1. Celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary.  10 years sounds so long!!!  I really don't feel old enough to have been married for so long, and of course I feel both like it has flown by, and like I've been married forever!  Mostly, though I feel so blessed to spent the last 10 years married to such an awesome guy!

2. A sweet two-month old.  This little guy isn't always the happiest of babies; in fact he often reminds me of Ezra, who was quite fussy.  But I think he's getting better, and he makes up for his not always sleeping much during the day by sleeping awesome at night, which is great.  And, he is starting to smile more, which is always so fun, and the rest of the kids just love him so much, which makes me so happy!!!

3. Our new playset.  If I had known just how awesome this would be, I would have tried to get one a long time ago.  Even though we haven't quite finished up the last couple of things on it (per our norm), the kids have been having so much fun with it, and they have spent way more time outside than they used to, which I love.

4. A bit more space in our home.  We are always trying to clear out excess clutter, and we recently got rid of a couple pieces of furniture, which has given us a bit of "blank space" and a little more room to breathe.

5. Target's new clothing line for kids.  I've found that the older my kids get, the harder they are on clothes.  Benjamin, especially, is really hard on pants, and has been known to wear holes in the knees mere weeks after I purchased them.  Target now guarantees their brand of clothes to last for a year, or you can bring them back, and I am totally taking them up on that!

6. Having a half-dozen kids.  I am so blessed to have all these little people in my life!  I never expected to have a house filled with so many boys, but I love it more than I ever would have imagined! :)

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

One Month with Linus

Linus is one month old now.  Like always, it has flown by.  After a rough start, he is doing great, and is eating and sleeping well.  Linus is fitting into our family beautifully; everyone just loves him and dotes on him.  Every time, I am surprised again at how relatively easy it is to incorporate a new baby into our family.  So much different from the first couple of times!  We have been really blessed this time with lots of meals being brought to us from family, church, and our new homeschool group.  A month in, we still are getting meals!  It has been so awesome!

There's never a dull moment around here, and despite having a mostly stay-home summer, we've been finding plenty to do!  We've been spending lots of time with Linus, of course, and we've been enjoying warm days in the backyard, thanks to the new playset, the bench I painted this spring, and a new (bigger) kiddie pool.

Last weekend we did get out and do something I've been wanting to do for years - an outdoor movie!  The kids lined up their camping chairs, and it was so cute!  We all had a great time, and we'll definitely be doing that again!

We still haven't gotten a new family car, but we're hoping to get that soon, since we have a few day trips that we're planning for August.  With those, planning for fall and a new homeschool year, and our normal daily stuff, August should have plenty to keep us on our toes!

Saturday, July 2, 2016


Our brand new baby BOY!!!

Linus Edward
Saturday, June 25 at 11:12 pm
7 lb, 11 oz
19 inches

We had an unexpected twist when he ended up in the NICU just a couple hours after birth.  He had low temperature and blood sugar, and they were concerned about an infection.  Later in the week we had a scare with breathing issues, a possible seizure and meningitis concerns.  Thankfully, everything serious was ruled out and although we still don't have any clear answers, the belief is that he had a minor infection that was cleared up with antibiotics.  After spending a week in the NICU, we're finally going to be able to take him home tomorrow, and we are so excited!  We made the decision to go with a hospital birth, thinking I might need some help, and while I didn't, thankfully, we were glad we were there when Linus needed to be.  It has been a long, stressful week, and I am so looking forward to finally being home and getting to enjoy time with the whole family.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Getting Ready for Baby

With only a few days to go before my due date, we're officially on baby watch around here.  I'm trying to finish up some little things I want to get done (grocery shopping, etc.), but for the most part I've made it through my long, nesting to-do list.  My garden has been planted, I got the windows and curtains washed, the tub scrubbed, and a couple of rooms painted.  I have food in the freezer, ready to go.  The Moses basket is in place and little newborn clothes are in the drawer.

There has been a theme around here of starting projects and almost finishing them, but not quite, so a big portion of my list was working through those things.  Our bathroom trim, which has been unfinished for over two years because we weren't quite sure what to do with it, is finally done, which makes me so happy!  We had to do a bit of toilet fixing, for the third time, and we're hoping this time's the charm.

I also finally finished painting the trim in the living room.  I was hoping to also finish the trim around the front door we put in a year ago, but we weren't able to get to that one.  I still have hopes of finishing it before winter, but we'll see!  :)

Seth built a new front porch last summer, and it was done except for one final coat of paint that we didn't get to before the weather got rainy, so I finished that up.

The last big project were working on is a play set for the kids.  We've talked about doing this for a long time, but we were never sure if we wanted to do it because we also keep talking about moving.  But since we haven't moved, and since we don't have anything on the horizon, this seemed like a good time to do it.  With a brand new baby, we're planning a quiet, stay-home summer, so having something new and exciting in the backyard will be a good thing for everyone.  We're hoping Seth will be able to finish it up in the next few days.

So, we're ready to meet this new little person, and we can't wait to see who it is!  :)

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

What's Been Happening Lately, Part 3: Daily Routines and Homeschooling

Even though I've known this truth forever, I am constantly amazed at the effect a good routine can have on things actually happening.  I've made a few tweaks to our daily routine recently that have just fit, and as a result, our days have gone smoother while also accomplishing my goals. 

One such example is our outside time.  I know I've mentioned before my struggle to get outside everyday.  Some seasons, like summer, lend themselves more naturally to this, and it's not a problem to get outside everyday.  But in the middle of winter, it feels like hard work to get outside, so it often doesn't happen.  But I just recently borrowed an idea from my preschool teaching days and decided to try going outside right after lunch each day.  And this has fit our routine perfectly.  It's already a transition time, which somehow means that it doesn't take nearly as much effort to actually get outside.  Most days the kids take their scooters out to the road, and we spend 20-30 minutes there, but if I need to, I can also send everyone to the backyard while I finish cleaning the kitchen up.  This little tweak has been a game changer for us right now.

The other routine change I made was with our "school" time.  I finally had to admit that my plan of doing our "school" time in the afternoon just wasn't working.  I had been pretty intentional in choosing that time, but for various reasons, most days it wasn't happening.  Given my unschooling tendencies, it wasn't that big of a deal, really, but I did want to make sure we were working on a few things regularly.  Part of me thought that if I just disciplined myself better, and kept trying, I could make it work, but I knew that it ultimately came down to making the routine work for us.  So, I've moved our school time to the morning, which is definitely my more disciplined, productive time of day.  This does make the morning a bit busier, but it also means that we're actually doing it on a regular basis.

Speaking of homeschooling, I wanted to give a little update on the resources we chose to use this year.  Thankfully, everything has been wonderful!  We love the Story of the World history, and we're currently on our second listen-through.  The kids usually listen to a chapter while I get lunch ready, which works really well.  

We have loved Life of Fred as well.  I really appreciate the relaxed approach to math, and the kids enjoy it.  Another resource we found for math is Bedtime Math.  We borrowed the first book from the library and have been using it during our Morning Time.  The kids LOVE this.  The author's goal is to make math as much fun and as much a part of everyday life as a bedtime story, which fits my philosophy exactly, and it has been just that for us.  The kids say this is their favorite part of morning time, and even Toby asks for a turn with a question.  After we finished the library book, I promptly purchased all three books, which is high praise!  The books include questions for a few different age groups, but because I have so many kids so close together, I have had to make up some of my own questions, too, but having some ideas to go on already has made that pretty easy.  We just started book 2, which is also great, though the questions so far seem easier.  Anyway, we highly recommend these books!

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

What's Been Happening Lately, Part 2

As I've been thinking about the last few months, trying to decide what to put on my blog, I've been realizing that there's been a lot of growing going on in our house recently.  Physically, of course, as everyone is getting bigger.  Benjamin turned 7 in November, lost his first tooth a few months ago, and has become quite a good reader.  Joanna turned 6 last month, is learning to read, was the first child to learn to tie shoes, and has become really detailed in her drawings.  After both of them had their birthdays, Ezra is eagerly waiting for his, in June, when he will turn 5.  He just learned to write his name.  Toby practically potty-trained himself last fall, catching on so quickly that I really felt like I hardly had to do anything.  He's finally started talking as well, and has more words all the time.  Simon, of course is growing constantly.  He just started walking, following our family's schedule of walking at 13 months.  He still loves to get into things, but he's learning to listen to Mommy's "no"!  :) He loves to go outside.

Our food consumption has really gone up in the last several months, so much that I was feeling like I was spending almost all of my time in the kitchen.  In an attempt to simplify a bit, I decided to eliminate our morning snack time.  I wasn't sure it was possible, but it actually has gone surprisingly well!  We eat a little more at breakfast, and I adjusted our schedule to allow for an earlier lunch, and it's working great!  I now am making less food, and spending less time cleaning the kitchen, so I feel like this simple change has made a noticeable difference.

Not only has there been a lot of physical growth in the family, but I feel like there has been a noticeable shift in our family dynamics.  Instead of having five little kids, there are two different groups now: big kids and little kids.  That seems obvious when I say it, but it's really only been in the last few months that I've noticed it being true for us.  Benjamin, all of a sudden, has been declaring himself too big for things, like certain movies and books.  Even though the four (or 5) kids still frequently play all together, more and more I've noticed them playing in groups, older and younger.  Ezra is kind of the wild card, switching between groups, depending on the activity.  Our bedtime story time has changed, and instead of reading picture books with everyone, Seth has been reading a chapter book with the older two, while I read picture books with the three younger boys.  Last fall Seth and I felt like it would be good for the older kids to have some kind of outside activity they were doing, so every week the older three kids go to an AWANA group and Seth and I have just the two little boys.  The older three all have regular chores they do around the house, and they are a really big help now with the work.  I'm finding myself frequently talking about the "little boys".

I feel like it was interesting for me to make this realization.  I'm not sure I totally like this shift; some changes have made me a little sad, and I'm having to get used to it.  I know this is our new normal, and the trajectory will probably just continue!

Sunday, March 20, 2016

What's Been Happening Lately, Part One

I've wanted to post here more often than I have lately, but my time and energy has simply gone to other things.  So, a little update of sorts is in order!  :)  First up, our biggest recent news:


Baby #6!!!  We are so very excited to meet this new little person around the end of June!  Joanna, of course, is hoping for a sister.  :)
We now have the oh-so-fun task of purchasing a new car ahead of us, since we've outgrown our minivan.  Hello big family van!  We are very sad to have to say goodbye to our beloved MPV.  It has treated us well.  :(
My one disappointment this time around has been our decision to go with a hospital birth.  We made that decision based on some complications with previous births, and while I have peace with that, we really miss our familiar midwives and birth center!  It was so much more family friendly, especially for appointments and such!  My consolations are that I'm so much more prepared this time around than I was the last time I gave birth in a hospital (with Benjamin!), and that I will still have a midwife, not an OB.  So it will all be fine, and at least we won't have to worry about needing a hospital transfer.
Anyway, we're down to just over three months, which will fly by, of course!  And we are all so excited!!!  :)