Today, In Our Home

The end of summer is almost within reach.

There was a breeze blowing outside earlier. Don’t get too excited. It was still 91^ out today. The calendar says it’s September. We’re thrilled to know cooler temperatures are just around the corner.

The plants on my porch are looking droopy. They usually look ok until the temperatures start reaching the 90′s. They don’t like the heat anymore than my family!

I’ve actually been enjoying the heat just a little. (Shhh….don’t tell my family. Especially,Jacob. He’ll never understand!) I’ve been soaking in the Vit.D. It gives me a chance to sit in the quiet. Sometimes, I read and sometimes I just nap.

Zoe, will come and sit by me sometimes. I feel a little lazy just sitting there, but it’s so beautiful. I so often want to just stay a little longer.

It’s been a blessing to have that time each day this summer.

This has been a good summer. There hasn’t been anything huge happening. I think I’ve just enjoyed the normal rhythm of life. Each day has been full of watching my kiddos. They are constantly growing and changing. I love to sit and just watch, or listen.

This afternoon, Emma, Timothy and Benjamin are in charge of cooking dinner. It’s not a complicated meal. I started beans in the crockpot earlier. They are roasting smoked sausage and vegetables. It’s hard to believe they are old enough to be cooking. It seems like only yesterday, I was posting that baby Emma had a cold. Now, she cuts vegetables and talks on the phone with sweet friends.

Miss Emma many years ago….

Amazing.

Life in 2014

We’ve graduated.

Two months ago we had four children, four and under.

Now, we have four children five and under- it’s a big step in a world that threatens to be dominated by little people. :)

After falling out of his crib trying to escape, we packed up our second crib. Now we only have one.

Jackson is officially sleeping in a toddler bed. With this many littles, it is bringing with it an usual amount of craziness.

Tonight, we heard a sound of panicked giggling. The littles having been placed in bed for the evening, crept out of their room (and over the baby gate!) to the kitchen and took a whole container of Hershey’s cocoa powder. Deciding it wasn’t really fit to eat, they spread it THEIR ENTIRE ROOM.

Baths, laundered clothing, laundered bedding, the vacuum, and a rug that may never look the same again…all remnants of their evening activities.

It’s been something like this each and every day.

Yesterday, it was realizing Jackson and Darby had taken TWO entire packages of feminine supplies out of the bathroom and plastered them all over their room.

I could be stressed or angry (and I am telling them no!), but honestly I am so grateful for the sounds of their little feet running through the house. Everyone is laughing (though maybe not the budget- cocoa is expensive!). having seen them completely brown and all covered in cocoa.

The Lord is good in the big things and He is good in the little things. Blessed be the name of the Lord!

Owen at Four Months

This is just one of many moments when I am so terribly thankful I didn’t stop having babies when folks began to tell me I was too old. :D

Owen, at four months, is a joyful baby.

He has been rolling himself over for a couple of months. He adores anything he can chew on, or can fit in his mouth. He drools constantly. He’s just started saying “da-da”. He is wearing 9-12 month clothing now.

He smiles when he sees me looking his way. His fat cheeks must stay sore as I kiss them constantly. He has dimples that just make them even more adorable.

His head feels like a cotton swab.

He is terribly ticklish, especially if you kiss him under his chin.

He’s pretty much irresistible.

Big Families, Babies and Blessings

(Below is an edited re-print of a blog written in 2006. It’s fun to re-read some of these old blog posts. My life is so different now than it was then. It seems like lifetimes have passed since then.)

I am a mom of eight.

Yes, gasp, I know……most of you already know this but for those who don’t I just thought I would place that on the table so that we know the important facts here. *smile*

I did not start out wanting to be a mom, at all. Growing up, I remember thinking anyone who would have more than one or two children must be foolish and irresponsible.

All through high school I planned my life. College, and then a career (isn’t it funny how we actually think we can plan it all?).

Paul and I dated for a few years before we were married and we still had no plans for this life that we are now living. Our lives were going to be much more “tidy”. College, career, go to church every Sunday, buy a house, and have a good life.

It’s funny the twists and turns a life takes.

I felt so “enlightened” then. So much like I had the world at my fingertips and I would have that perfect life by doing everything those around told me would put me there.

Now, fast forward to the morning at the big church I was attending, to my dear friend Christy and I sitting at the welcome center as people brought their children into church and signed them into the children’s department. I’m not sure how many people made comments about the size of my family that morning while Christy and I were together, but it was with the comment that went something like, “it must take you all day to sign all your kids in…” that made Christy turn to me and ask, “don’t you ever get tired of that?”.

I thought about that for many months and still do from time to time. I guess I had gotten so used to it that it was easy to ignore. After all, I know that they most likely weren’t trying to be rude, or were they?

I have, in fact, listened to these comments for years…..I even met a friend in the grocery store who has 10 children once. After she left I could over hear the cashiers saying to each other, “what is wrong with that woman”, “doesn’t she know that people are supposed to know better than that these days?” and so on, and so on.
I stopped to explain that the woman they were talking about was my friend. Her family was big and beautiful.

When out with our children, Paul and I are faced with comments and questions nearly *every* time we are with even a portion of our family. Folks will count each head.

I used to be offended (especially with the folks who will make horrible statements directed at my children). Now, I think I just see the whole thing as sad. I realize these comments are a product of a society that no longer values children.

It’s easier now (I hope I’m a little older and a more than a little wiser), to answer politely and patiently. I realize they may be learning (I hope!), just like I once was, that children are such a blessing.

Here are the questions we hear nearly every time we are out with our children. (…I do mean every time. Any of you who have been out with me have heard these, or have had these comments yourselves.)

“My goodness, are these all yours?”
A: “Yes, they are.”

“Your hands must be very full!”
A: “Yes, I’m very blessed!”

“Don’t you know what causes that?!”
A: I’m not sure at what point it became O.K. to ask such a personal question, but our responses range anything from just saying “yes” to a comment that my husband makes that you’ll have to ask him for yourself because I won’t type it here! LOL!

“You need to fix that!”
A: “I’m not broken! In fact, judging from the sweet little faces gracing my home these days…I would say I’m quite good at growing little ones!”

“You need to get a TV!”
A: Yes, this was a comment made to my husband in front of a group of men he works with. He decided that this was rude enough…it didn’t merit a response.

“I’m glad it’s you and not me!”
A: “Well, me too!” I’m so glad that God is blessing my home with these little ones!” -I am all too aware of so many ladies that would love to have sweet babies in their home and don’t. It makes me sad to think of them. I’m thankful for each and every baby in my home.

“How do you afford all of them?”
A: The fact is, if you read Parent’s magazine, most of us can’t afford a child, much less a house full of them, but let’s get down to reality. Children really don’t need all the things that we give them. Any grandmother will tell you that she lived without half the things on the “must have for parenting” lists and so can we. Even so, we’ve never went without.

“Don’t you worry that someone will be left out?”
A: These people have obviously never been in my home. There is no room for someone to be left out. I would dare say that there is never a moment when someone could be left out. I had someone say to my newborn son, Benjamin, “Bless your heart, you probably get stuck over in a corner and forgotten about!” I giggled knowing that I have to tell the children constantly to put the littles down in my home. Just this morning I had people lining up to play with Emma. If anything, it makes them a little rotten!! :)

“You can have it! I have one and I can’t handle him!”
A: (This is the saddest of all comments to me and it is probably the one I hear most frequently.)
Mothers don’t even consider how their own little ones must feel hearing them say things like this about them.

Parenting is really very easy. There is no secret formula. Children are no different today than they’ve ever been. Parents on the other hand, seem to grow more and more selfish. The idea of “me time”. The thought that their children are in the way, or that they need a life outside of their sweet children.

(Children are only little once and I can speak with all clarity in 2014 they grow up so fast. Don’t be in such a rush to push through the little years. One day you will have plenty of “me time”. )

One of my favorite questions is if we are trying to keep up with the Duggar family.

One of my friends once posted this on her blog:

It’s time that for once America had some real role models. At best, our children see musicians who in vast majority have filthy mouths and even filthier lives, politicians who will say one thing and do the opposite, how about anyone on T.V.? Is there even one that is a good role model? I bet you could count them on one hand. …but, here, is a family. A really big family (praise God!) working together to build their own home (debt-free, I might add!), spending precious time with their children, working in their local government and trying to follow the Lord’s leading in their lives. I’m not sure why it is so easy to make fun of people who seem to be doing the right things. Why are we not more likely to single out those who parade themselves around half dressed or make no time to parent their children or will not give up their seat for a pregnant woman in a waiting room? What has happened to us?

I couldn’t agree more! I can’t imagine a better compliment than being compared to the Duggar family!

Today, I am more enlightened than in those early years..

I am following the Lord’s direction for my life. That’s about as enlightened as anyone can get!

This does not mean my life is easy. In fact, I have to say that it is much more difficult to go against the world’s standards. The Scripture tells us we are strangers in this world (1 Pet 2:11 “Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul.”). We have to resist the things that are not of God. This means we should be living life according to the Word and not according to the world.

Am I being irresponsible for having so many children?

Absolutely not.

My faith for everything is in my Father.

Luke 12:22-24 “Then Jesus said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds!” (NIV)

God will provide what we need…in one way or another. I would rather always that my faith be in Him. I can’t imagine having depend on anything or anyone else! : )

We’ve even apparently been responsible enough to plan our retirement…(though this part was not intentional! )My cousin once commented that while everyone is worried about paying for their retirement….we have created the ultimate retirement plan. He said that surely out of eight children, one of them would be willing to care for us when we were elderly! I chuckled…I had never thought of this before.

Are we “backwards” for having so many children? I mean, people just don’t do this anymore! On the contrary, I was not raised to believe these things, I’m an only child and Paul is one of two children. We have prayed and felt directed in this area. We made these tough decisions when we knew no one else doing so. Is this backwards? I don’t think so. I’m applauding those who are making tough decisions even though they know that others are not going to approve.

So why do we hear most of these comments from folks that profess to be Christian? Why are children quickly ushered out of church services and hidden away in little corners of the church where they won’t disturb the adults?

There are many pastors (not to be read as all pastors), that are not teaching the word of God. They are teaching the world. I’m not saying that they mean to (or maybe they do), but in their efforts to not ruffle feathers within their congregations, they refrain from teaching the very Word that they profess to teach! The Bible says: 2 Pet 2:17-20 “These men are springs without water and mists driven by a storm. Blackest darkness is reserved for them. For they mouth empty, boastful words and, by appealing to the lustful desires of sinful human nature, they entice people who are just escaping from those who live in error. They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity– for a man is a slave to whatever has mastered him. If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning.” NIV

15 years and I wouldn’t change a thing. I hope that the Lord continues to bless our home and our family. (edited-Ha!  Almost 25 years and I still wouldn’t change a thing and I’m still praying the Lord will continue to bless our family!!!) There is no greater blessing than the gift of a child (except salvation!). Each day is a new adventure, a new experience, another hug, another “I love you”!

It’s exhausting to be singled out for trying to do the right thing.

When did it become wrong for a woman to want to be a Mom or a wife?

(2014- I’m editing to say, I’m not so exhausted anymore. I have grown children in my family now. I can see the rewards for raising children to follow the Lord. I have no regrets in life where my children are concerned. I actually welcome these comments and questions and have learned that a kind response will often open a window to a nice conversation!)

It’s Been Said…

“September, the harvest month…Summer is over and autumn has arrived.”

                                                                    —–Cynthia Wickham

It’s Been Said…

“The English rose greets the summer garden with a profusion of color and perfume and our doors and windows are thrown open to allow the season’s intoxicating atmosphere to envelop us and our homes.”

                                                                  —–Sydney A. Sykes

Jackson Turns Two

It just can’t be true! Has it really been 2 years?!

He is a happy little man. He loves to be cuddled and giggles so that the whole room will begin to giggle right along.

We’re deep in the beginnings of potty training.

He colors with his older siblings and loves to play with bubbles.

He reminds me of Jonathan and Timothy. Sometimes I see a little peek of Joshua or Jacob. Other times I’m seeing Matthew, and with Benjamin’s playful spirit.

What a sweet blessing he is in my home. I love him so very much.

So the day started with gifts. I’m assuming always being told not to take things apart, he pretty much had a melt-down when we began to try to persuade him to actually take the paper out of the gift. :/

No worries, though. He caught on! They always do….

Little people, a latch and lock board by Melissa and Doug, and a rubber duck cake. I gave him his first haircut, (he looks older to me now).  All the makings of good memories and a happy two year old.