Tuesday, December 28, 2010

What School (Sometimes) Looks Like at Our House

Boys working side by side.
Another day, they may be pushing each other's books to make their own space.
Learning by osmosis.
Another day, they may be wrestling on the floor.

While Ruby makes a fort of sorts 
using the picnic table.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Just 'Cause It's Funny

I thought this picture of Ivy was 
(If you click on it, you can enlarge it.)

In MckMama style,
it begs for a caption.

Send me your thoughts, would you?
Let's name this photo!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Monday, December 20, 2010

Saturday, December 18, 2010

A Nasty Rumor

There's a nasty rumor out there.
*ahem* C.E.K.
That perhaps I have a favorite photo subject,
since the majority of the pictures on blog
as of late have been pictures of Ruby.

My big boys are rarely in the house,
the middle boys are into making crazy faces for the camera,
Linnea doesn't like getting her picture taken,
and Ivy, well,
I can't seem to get a decent picture of Ivy.
Believe me, I've tried.

Case in point:


Here's what I think Ivy thinks of pictures:

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Another Treasure

This is another of my favorite ornaments.
It is Isaiah's first Christmas ornament.
Each year, 
I have bought or made the children
an ornament.
One day, 
they will have enough for their
own trees when they are out on their own.

When the children decorate our tree each year,
they remember the stories that accompany each of their ornaments.

This one takes me back to when we
were a much smaller family!
We had our two little boys,
I was still in college,
little did we know what all would come our
way over the proceeding years.

I remember how this one caught my eye
and I knew it was just the right one
for my little baby boy.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Q and A: Cloth Diapers

Hi Melissa,
I have a few questions for you... Do you still have 3 in diapers? Do you use all prefolds? I read in another post you had that as first you didn't CD, at what point did you decide to CD? How long, or how many children, would you guess that your diapers will last through? Have you considered elimination communication, or would it be more work than it's worth?
Thanks Melissa!

I love to entertain questions!  It is my nature to always ask, ask, ask because that is how we learn--about life and about each other.
Thank you for your question, Genevieve!

So, do I still have three in diapers--No. * Only* two. ;-)  Ruby (2) and Ivy (9 mos.)
Do I use all prefolds?  Yes.  I use Chinese prefolds; I have both 6 ply and 8 ply. These are certainly the most economical for cloth diapering.  I also think their design allows them to get washed more thoroughly.  I have not had any problem with buildup or stink.  I have tried one fitted diaper much like this one and two contour diapers and I prefer the prefolds because they won't stink!  I have used a snappi, but I have found a fold that works well and then I don't need the snappi. (just fold down the top of the diaper as much as you need for length and then fold it in thirds, lay it in the cover and voila! I have not had problems with them bunching down in the cover...if it becomes a problem, just use a snappi or a pin.)
I use Thirsties covers and LOVE them.  Again, very economical.  And cute.

I vividly recall when I decided to cloth diaper.  I was expecting child #7, and putting #s 5 and 6 in the tub.  I was just thinking things in my head and literally caught my breath when I did the math--realizing that when Ruby was born I would have THREE in DIAPERS.  I cried.  Seriously.  For like 5 seconds, but still.
It just so happened that I came across an article in a magazine about a mom who began her own business selling cloth diapers.  Within the article was an invitation to order her free catalog--so I did.  I showed it to my mom; she had also read the same article!  I thought if anyone would say I was crazy, she would.  She said, "I absolutely think you can do this."
I literally read through that catalog a bazillion times; it contained many helpful articles about cd-ing.

How long, or how many children, would I guess that my diapers will last through? Well, I'm on the 4th child using the diapers.  They are showing some wear, but still do the job very well.  I wash every other day and I just store them dry in a garbage pail.  I don't soak the diapers because then they are stewing in sewage. I do soak the covers, just in a small rubbermaid storage container in the laundry room.  I wash diapers and covers seperately.
I keep some disposables on hand for just-in-case...like if for some reason I'm out of covers (I need to get some more with two girls wearing the same size).  I would say I buy a package of diapers at Target about once every two months, if that.  Cloth diapering does require a bit of an investment up front, but it is so worth it to not have to be buying diapers all the time! And you can't argue with the savings of having several children be able to wear the same diapers!  I wish I would have started sooner!

Have I considered elimination communication, or would it be more work than it's worth? I have only considered it very briefly--as in, for about 2 seconds, if that.  My friend has done elimination communication, and I feel bad that I haven't asked her more about it.  Obviously with as much consideration as I've given it, I have zero ground to stand on on which to offer an opinion.

Again, thanks for the question!  I hope you found my answers to be helpful!

Monday, December 13, 2010

I'm an Idiot

No one has ever accused me of being well-spoken.

I'd like to think I'm well-read, that much of what I write is well-thought-out, but that's most likely a matter of personal opinion. (as in, mine.)

I feel awkward in social situations...I make stupid jokes and feel like it's my obligation to fill silence with words.  Call me Chandler.
I'm getting better than I used to be, but still slip up from time to time.

This past week was no exception.

We were at our church's Christmas party, standing in line to eat.  My older boys were just ahead of me in line and we were visiting with a couple that was next to us.

Dennis had given the boys the night off from chores so that we could go to this evening at church...we were explaining that to the couple.  Isaiah happened to mention that Dad is really good at getting the calves off the bottle and onto a pail.  (We feed baby calves via bottle for roughly 2 weeks, then they are weaned off the bottle and taught to drink milk from a pail.  The calves are Isaiah's responsibility and he says Dad has better results when trying to wean from bottle to pail.)

So what do I say after Isaiah's statement?

You'll like this, I know.

I said, "Dad's a good wean-er, isn't he."
(Now say that out loud.)

Isaiah could barely contain himself, but he did well.

The man we were speaking to tried hard, too.

I felt like an idiot and my face turned several shades of red.

Maybe I should just stick to reading and blogging.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Three Gifts

Many people get overwhelmed with gift buying during the Christmas season.

A dear woman shared with me (and some other moms) how she handles gift-giving for her five children.

They get three gifts.

Now, before I launch into this any further, I want to say this:
I don't care how much you spend on your child(ren) for Christmas.

I see/hear so many parents trying to "out-do" how much they don't do for their kids at Christmas.
"Oh, we don't give our kids hardly anything..."
"We only volunteer at a soup kitchen for Christmas.  NO gifts."
etc, etc.

Again, I don't care how much you spend!  It's not up to me!  That's up to you as a family.  It's not my business what you spend or don't spend!
Whew!  What a relief.

Also, if you volunteer instead of gifts, good for you!  But don't make others feel selfish for giving gifts to their children.  We do it in honor of the the Greatest Gift.

I think that gifts should be meaningful.

What this mom told me (us) was that she gives her children Three Gifts: one for their body, one for their mind, and the other for their spirit.
Body, Mind, and Spirit.

Let me show you what that looks like for one of our kids.
I have to pick one who can't read because my bigger kids all read my blog...so I'll do Ruby.

For her body, I bought her a pair of fuzzy pink pajamas.  These will keep her warm this winter in our drafty house.
I will package that up together with the little cup I found that has her name on it and a matching bowl for the cereal that nourishes her body in the mornings.
For her mind, I bought her some lacing puzzles.  These will help with her fine motor skills and give her something to keep her busy during school time.
For her spirit, I bought her some darling little cowgirl boots when they were on sale at Target this fall.  She loves to dress up and wants to be like all the bigger kids who wear cowboy boots.

Obviously, were you to implement this within your family, it would look quite different.  Different budgets allow for different gifts.  Different children have different needs for their bodies, minds and spirits.

I needed to do this more for my own sake than for my kids'.
I hear many people talk about how their kids make atrocious statements after opening gifts (ie, "that's it?" or "Is this all I get?") Praise God, I have never encountered such a thing.  My children have always been very gracious about what we've given them.
It was me who was finding all kinds of little "perfect" gifts for them and wanting so much to give them these things.  This helped me to focus my thoughts and look for something specific and to fulfill a need that they have.

I would love for you to share your thoughts on how your families handle gift-giving!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Thank You, Whoever You Are.

On Monday, I received a package.
"Hmmmm,"  I thought.  "I didn't order anything..."

I opened it up and there inside was a bunch of Mrs. Meyer's items along with socks for all my kids!

I LOVE it!!  The kids were so excited to get new socks, too!  (I realize some of you may be thinking, "Kids excited over socks?  Really?"  I say to you:  Really.  Yes, excited about socks.)

There was no indication in the package of who it was from, so in case You are reading...

"Thank you. Your thoughtfulness brightened my day immensely!"

Thursday, December 9, 2010


One of my favorite decorations for our tree
is a set of these beautiful snowflakes
that were crocheted by Dennis' grandma Alma
and given to us as a wedding gift.

I would love to find a pattern for them
and make some myself.
We have 12 of them,
two each of six different patterns.

I love what they represent...
the time she spent stitching them,
how her eyes were failing
and yet the stitches are flawless,
I imagine her "seeing" with her hands.

I think of her making them for her grandson
in preparation for the household he and his wife
would share.

And when I look at them,
I think of her
and her funny little giggle--
she was too cute!
She'd throw her head back
and clasp her hands in front of her.

Do you have precious ornaments/decorations
on your tree?
I'm sure you do--
please tell me about them!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

An Empty Stable

The stable is empty!

Where could everyone be?

The shepherds, the Wise Men,
Joseph, Mary,
Baby Jesus?????

It appears they were
more interested in looking over the 
music rack of the piano.

it's possible Ruby was messing
with the Christmas decorations again.

Monday, December 6, 2010

All Dressed Up with Nowhere to Go

I've mentioned before that Ruby 
loves to dress up.
She insisted on wearing this lovely dress--
even though we were just staying home.
Some may call her Donna Reed-ish;
you know--pearl necklace while dusting...

But, wait--
until you see what completes the ensemble:

stunning, I know.
They say it is the shoes that 
make the outfit, don't they?

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Now That's Tired

I guess Ruby fell asleep.

(I find this picture strangely reminiscent of
a scene from the Wizard of Oz, don't you?)

Friday, December 3, 2010

Look Again

Ruby and Elijah
two straws
one can of pop

What did you think they were doing?

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Ivy Joy

 One minute, she's peaceful..
so innocent-looking...

 the next:
she's so excited to see you,
she can hardly contain herself!
Her arms and legs a-swingin',
her smile bigger than her face.
She's gonna get you,
one way or another.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Watch Yourself--Ivy's on the Move

This baby...
crawls everywhere

pulls up on everything

empties laundry baskets

finds every minuscule thing that can't go in her mouth

smiles all the time

chomps with those teeth

brings such joy to my life.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Mama Ruby

 Ruby's like her mama...
always a baby in her lap or on her hip.

She's also really in to doing this
scrunchy nose thing when I ask her to smile for a picture.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Story Time

 Linnea helps me with doing school with the littler ones.

Their favorite book is a collection of classic stories,
Goldilocks and the Three Bears, 
The Three Billy Goats Gruff,
The Gingerbread Man,
Little Red Riding Hood, 
The Three Little Pigs,

Each of the us takes a part...
it is so fun.
I get Mama Bear, of course!

I also love hearing the little voices jump in with,
"Not by the hair of my chinny chin chin!"

Linnea can keep the story going,
even if I am over at the stove getting 
dinner ready!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Ruby's Clues

When I let Ruby watch a movie,
she will either choose "Max and Ruby" (surprise, surprise!)
or "Blue's Clues".

She loves to write in her
handy dandy......

She carries one around in her purse, too.
I love this girl.
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