Tuesday, September 28, 2010

My Prayer for Today

Thank You, Lord, for my children.

Thank You for Nathaniel,
and for the way that he can laugh at himself.

Thank You for Isaiah,
and for the softening of his heart.

I thank You for Linnea,
and for her friendliness.

Thank You for Andrew,
and for his adaptability.

I am thanking You for Christopher,
for his vitality and for the way he makes me laugh every day.

Thank You for Elijah,
and for his amazement at {seemingly}ordinary things.

Thank You for Ruby,
and for her little-mama's heart.

I thank You for Ivy,
and for the way her face lights up
when she sees her siblings.

I thank You for my husband,
and for his patience with me.

Most of all Lord,
I'm thanking You for the gift of my salvation.
I humbly thank You that what cost You everything,
cost me nothing.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Measure Twice

Here is what I saw 
written on the marker board
in the kitchen:

1  2  16  16

I could tell who's handwriting it was
and I asked him,
"Andrew, what is this about?"

He said, "Isaiah told me to write down that measurement
so we wouldn't forget it."

"Oh?" I said.  "And what was the measurement?"

His response, seasoned with just a hint of respectful 'duh':

"One and two sixteenths."

(please bear in mind that I know this would be an improper fraction.  I just thought it was funny and wanted to share it with you!)

Friday, September 24, 2010

Isn't She Sweet

"Mom!  Go look at the table!" my Linnea said to me one day.

She had found a rock, shaped like a heart,
and it gave her an idea.

I think it was a good one,
don't you???

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The News You've All Been Waiting For:

You may remember 

I'm certain you do,
because I know all four of you 
hang on my every word.

Or not.

Well, I finally made my decision
and was able to go to the bookstore.

Three they had in stock,
two she had to order in for me.
They just came in this week,
and I'm so glad to have them all in my hands!

And now...
what you've all been waiting for:

My Treat(s)
(in no particular order)

Amish Peace by Suzanne Woods Fisher
I love the byline:  "Simple Wisdom for a Complicated World"

The Scarlett Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
I've always loved this book and wanted to own it for myself.

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
I've never read this book, and would like to have read many more classics than I have.
I'm slowly building my library of the greats.

The Three R's by Ruth Beechick
You knew I'd get a homeschooling book, right? 
I mean, like, duh.
It's my passion and I love it
 so of course I'd get {yet another} book about it!
This one has been on "my list" for many years.
Now I finally have it!

Lastly, How to Talk Minnesotan by Howard Mohr
Hilarious. If you live here, or in a neighboring state,
you really should read this book.
Be ready to laugh at yourself!

Thanks for all your input
I never get to have $$ just for me,
so I wanted to be sure I got books I really wanted.
I didn't know where to start;
you helped get the ball rolling!

p.s. I still have $3.80 left on my gift card.
I'll be able to get another little something,
and only have to pay a little out-of-pocket!
I love books!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Happy Birthday, Linnea!

Happy 10th Birthday
to our third child...first daughter...

L loves life
I intelligent
N never afraid
N no frills
E eternally His, receiving Jesus as her Savior when she was 4
A ardent, athletic, agile, amiable, able and awesome!

Monday, September 20, 2010

One of Homeschooling's Great Moments

My kids are so smart.

We were reading a book today called
as part of our Sonlight curriculum.

In the book, the character's "queue" is mentioned.
I was about to explain what that is;
I started with: "Do you guys know what a queue is?  It's--"
and they jumped in with "I know what that is--it's a ponytail;
it was basically their pride."

I was so impressed that they knew this;
I was sure it was because of the excellent teaching they have received,
certain that it was a direct result of having been educated at home.

Thinking it would be from a book, I asked,
 "Where did you learn that?"

Their unanimous, simultaneous response:


Saturday, September 18, 2010


Baby Ivy turned six months old recently.
Half a year.
Six more months till her first birthday.

She looks peaceful here,
as all babies do while they sleep,
but I tell you
she is a baby on the fast track.

She has two teeth,
eats solids,
rolls from front to back
and back to front,
and pulls up on furniture.
I should add, pulls up on furniture and then falls.

Slow down, Baby.
Slow down...

Friday, September 17, 2010

The Right Feet

You'd think a child would have a 50/50 chance 
of getting their shoes on the right feet.

I think all of my toddlers
have run more like 80/20.
As in, 80 % of the time,
their shoes are on the wrong feet.

 What I do know for certain is
that one day...

I will miss this.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

How We Obey

There are two reasons why I am sharing this picture:
1.  I thought my grandpa looked pretty cute wearing Elijah's cowboy hat.
2.  I've been wanting to share "How We Obey" and I happened to notice while looking through these birthday party pictures, that it was included on this one.
(My mom was so nice to let us have her pictures of the party, as taking pictures with my cell phone just ain't cuttin' it.  It seems a cruel irony indeed that as much as I love taking pictures of my eight beautiful children, a {functional}camera just isn't in the budget. *sigh*

back to
How We Obey.

See that little sign right by my grandpa's head?
The one that's to the right of both the world map and United States map that are pinned to the wall? (Yes, we homeschool.)
The one that is just down and to the right of our alphabet chart? (Yes, we homeschool.)
Yeah, that's the one.

It's entitled 
How We Obey
and underneath it are these words

That's how it happens
every. single. time.
here at our house.

Guffaw!  Ha! Chuckle. Snort. Snort.


Ahh...Not quite.

That is our goal,
it is not our reality.

I've been working on this as of late, though,
one element at a time
even though I've had that sign up for about four years.

It seems I had gotten a bit lax in these areas,
and, whaddya know--there's been a few more kids in those four years who
are learning to obey quickly, cheerfully, and completely!

I realized I was allowing WAAAAY too much,
"Yeah, Mom.!  In a minute...I'm just gonna ________ first."
In that blank may be inserted any one (or more) of the following:
put away my shoes
finish my coloring
finish my game
do one more race with my car
ride my bike around one more time
get a drink
use the bathroom
tell so-and-so something
etcetera, etcetera, ad infinitum...

Minutes would pass and I, assuming they had done what was asked of them,
would be moving along to the next thing.
"Insert Child's Name--you need to do such-and-such now."
"But Mom, you told me to do __________."

"And you haven't done it???" I'd ask incredulously.
"No," they'd answer.  "I needed to ___________ first."

Such frustration,
for all of us.

It has just been this past week that I've decided to really crack down on the
Mom (or Dad) need to be quickly obeyed.

As a friend once shared
"To delay is to disobey."

I've seen a difference--
I had to quit letting them disobey me with all their delaying.
It has meant enforcing some consequences that I'd ordinarily
not push through on.

I knew I needed to do this
or we'd all lose what's left of our minds.

Next up?

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Party Post

It should come as no surprise 
that as the mother of 8 children
I've done a birthday party or two...or fifty.

We have three September birthdays,
so we celebrate them all on one day.
Ruby, Christopher, and Linnea
had their party this past Sunday.

This is how
I decorated the cupcakes:
super easy.
Especially since Linnea did it.
(Oh, and Auntie Tammy helped poke some suckers in, too.)

We've done a variety of things to celebrate the children's birthdays over the years.

When we had a few children,
each got their own special day.

Our extended families mostly live within driving distance.
We used to invite several people over for each birthday.
I'd plan a big Sunday noon dinner and
work like crazy the day before, stay up most of the night,
wake up early, get things set, head off to church,
and hope no one arrived before we got back home.
We'd eat dinner, visit, open gifts, have cake/coffee/ice cream, and visit some more.

Then, it got too much for me.
I had to admit it.

So now we do just grandmas and grandpas,
aunts and uncles
and godparents.

And I don't make dinner for everyone anymore.
We do 2:00 cake and ice cream.

Since our children's birthdays fall 
fairly close together
(2 in February, 1 in March, 3 in September and 2 in November)
they share their "party day" with the sibling who's birthday is in the same month,
on the Sunday afternoon we choose.

We have sort of developed a tradition of having Papa Murphy's pizza
on the actual day of the child's birthday.
This is also the day they receive their gift from Dennis and I.
We want them to have a day that's just about them.

The kids think it's great
because "it's kind of like getting TWO parties!"
Lucky for me,
they are easily impressed,
easily satisfied,
and easily entertained.
Ruby and Elijah sat in my dad's lap.
That's their favorite spot, I think!

Christopher blew hard and got all FIVE candles out!
Linnea gears up to blow out her two cupcakes.
Five candles was all each one would hold. =)

Monday, September 13, 2010

Mama Bear or Mother Hen?

We've all heard it said, right?
A woman gets upset when someone wrongs her child;
they say she's acting like a mama bear.

A mother perceives danger for her children
so she gathers them about her like a mother hen gathers her chicks.

In a conversation I had with another mom today,
she told me about something that happened with her child.
(Nothing life threatening or earth shattering, mind you.)

The way she handled the situation is very different
than how I think I would have handled it.

She's definitely a mama bear.
I'm more like a mother hen.

A mama bear approaches the situation with assertiveness,
coming to the defense of her child
or going ahead to fight for them.

A mother hen is more likely to retreat from the confrontation,
gather her "chicks" about her
and remove them from the situation;
avoiding the battle instead of charging into it.

Sometimes I wish I was more Mama Bear.

I don't think that one is right and the other wrong;
I think it has more to do with our individual personalities 
as mothers. 

I'm not an assertive mother.
I'm happiest when we are all home,
all together--all day long.
When we are here, 
no one can say the rude things people say (to my face),
no one can stare,
no one can judge.

When we are "out and about",
whether that be at the store, at church on Sunday morning, 
or involved in activities at church or in the community,
there are times when my kids get hurt.

And I hate it.

If we are at a playground, for example,
and some other child hits one of mine,
my way of dealing with it is to keep my child by me,
tell them to go play in another area,
or we leave.

My friend would go over and tell the kid to cut it out.

I think I need to develop my Mother Bear side.

I'll let you know how it's going.

Oh--and if you would,
tell me what kind of mommy YOU are:
Mama Bear or Mother Hen???

Saturday, September 11, 2010

It's the Bipper's Birthday

My Mr. Bipper is 5 today:
a whole handful.

This boy is one of the biggest joys of my life.

He's a little crazy.

and a LOT silly.

He loves to go to the lake

and ride his bike.

one of my favorite quotes??
"Mom...I just loooove doing school..."

He's a SUPER big brother.

Did I mention he's a lot of silly????

I did mention he's silly, right?
I just wanted to be sure.

Best of all, though?
This boy,
this fourth son,
fifth child...
is ours.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Back to School

For many kids,
today is the day to go
back to school.

As a home educating mom,
today is a day I'm really glad
that my kids are with me.

Even on the days when I am ready
to pull my hair out,
lock myself in my bedroom and never come out...
days when I feel like I/we am/are making no progress--
I still say 
that the decision to educate our children ourselves
has been the best one we have ever made.
Hands down.
No doubts.
No regrets.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Road Hog

On my walk,
I noticed this guy coming toward me.

He came closer and closer,
hoggin' pert near the whole road.
(I didn't feel funny pointing my cell phone at this farmer, seein' as he's my husband and all.)

Turns out, he was after this:
He wants to chop it, make it into silage to feed his cows,
and then plow the field so it looks like this:
'Cause that's what dairy farmers do.

Ya know, when they're not doing this.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

The Language of a Dairy Show

I thoroughly enjoyed watching the show as I sat in the coliseum at the State Fair, but I nearly got the giggles as I thought of how the judge’s comments might sound to an “outsider” to the dairy industry.

If you didn’t know what you were watching, you might wonder what in the world you’d stumbled upon while watching a Dairy Show.

In case this is not familiar to you, the cattle walk in the ring and begin to make a wide circle around the judge.  (I bet you know why they call it a “ring” now, huh?)  The judge starts his/her judging immediately, sorting and reasoning out why they will place each animal in the order upon which they decide.

The judge will then motion to the exhibitor to bring their animal to a certain place within the ring.  Occasionally it only takes a matter of minutes.  Other times the judge is hard pressed to make a decision as to who is the top animal.  He or she will then have them stand in a line this way, then stand another way, maybe circle around again and then start placing them again.  After s/he has them lined up, s/he may still make some changes, pulling this one out and placing this calf/cow above another, etc. 

Dennis and I love to watch the judging.  Many would say it’s about as exciting paint dry.  Me?  I’d rather watch a day of dairy judging than a football game or car race or pretty much any sport.  As they say:  to each their own.

After the judge has placed the class, comes my favorite part:  S/He gives their reasons for placing them that way.  These are aptly named the judge’s “reasons”.

They go something like this:

“This is just an absolutely beautiful group of cows out here today.  Top of the class is going to go to the young man with the big black cow on the right.  She carries herself on just about the finest set of feet and legs that I’ve seen here today.  Her mammary system is just beautiful…the bloom to those quarters…excellent teat placement and size.  Her openness, and depth---just a fine specimen today.  I’ll grant that the number two cow has a straighter topline and is neater from hooks to pins, but just doesn’t have the spring of rib that the first cow does.  I’ve placed two over three because three doesn’t have quite the openness or depth.  I’ll give the nod to the three cow for the beautiful set to her legs, her fore udder attachment is so nice and snug; she just lacks some of the clean lines of the cow above her.  Three over four for size.  I would like to see just a little more size on that fourth cow...just not quite the dairy-ness that the others have here today.  I will grant that four has a lovely openness to her body.  I also placed her at the bottom of the class today because I feel she’s just a little over-conditioned, not quite as clean cut as a dairy animal should be.  All in all, a lovely group of cows out here…let’s give them a hand as they exit the ring.”

Now you may be wondering…”what in the world was all that jabber about?”

It’s really too hard to explain.  If you re-read it, you can probably figure it out. 
If you wanted to, that is. 
Which you probably don’t. 

I think my all time favorite from the show at the State Fair?
The judge said to the crowd, “I wish you could all come down and put your hands right on her.  She is just silky.”

It made me laugh.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Riding Horses at Grandpa's

Linnea on Hot Shot

Christopher on Princess

Elijah on Rascal

Two little boys on two big horses.

Ruby on Paco.
He was pretty content to just chomp the grass
so that was a good speed for Ruby.

It was windy.
Betcha couldn't tell.

Andrew on Princess

Grandpa (my dad) loves to share his love of horses
with the children.
All of the kids have been on the back of a horse
before they could even walk.

He built this circle pen for them to ride in.

This is what they spent their time doing
while we were at the State Fair.

And people wondered if they were bummed to be left behind...
Yeah right.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Baby Roo is TWO!!

My baby Ruby is two years old today.
Here she is in her new dress!
(with her baby, of course!)

I hung it on her dresser early this morning
to see what she would say when she woke up and saw it.
At first she thought it was for Ivy
and so was doubly excited when I told her it was for her!

This girl makes me smile
every. single. day.

Ivy and Ruby

Oh, and Ruby's baby had to have a picture, too.
Ruby said so.
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