Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Snow Days/Rainy Days.....Just Embrace it

It's been a long winter for most of the USA and while spring has sprung, or at least is trying to spring, here in the south I know that many places up north are still buried in snow.  We had more than a few snow/ice days here in North Carolina this past February and I must admit I got a little tired of it.  I didn't grow-up with snow so it's still kind of a novelty for me so I do think it's beautiful.  But not so much when it starts to turn all brown and dirty and everything, including school, gets canceled.  Then we all become a little stir crazy.  I know you other moms can relate.  And most people think that because we homeschool, that we just keep going with school...not!  My older kids, who go to private school, are off and my homeschooled kids want to play in the wonderful snow, like all day.  This makes quite a mess when you have 9 people plus a few friends, coming in and out of the house with wet, muddy, snowy clothes.  We did have a fun time and the day we got 6 inches, I even went out and played in it.  I finally just gave-up trying to keep the house clean, do school and stay on a healthy diet.  Because you know when it's snowy outside then everyone wants homemade hot chocolate and all I want to do is bake cookies.  But when I did just give-up and embrace the reality of "snow days" that is when I started to enjoy it and relax.  These days are so fleeting and no school work or clean house is worth us moms walking around the house all grumpy.  So, let us moms just chill out some and enjoy life. You know the saying, "If mom's not happy, ain't nobody happy."  This is so true and we want our children to have happy family memories.  I'm talking to myself mostly here. Let's just embrace the snow days, the rainy days, even the sick days and be thankful for the precious children God has given us to make memories with. 

Saturday, February 28, 2015

The Scale

I saw this above picture on a friend's facebook page and it really hit a cord with me.  I guess because I know so many women that really seem in bondage to the scale.  I for one, do not own a scale and rarely ever weigh myself and this is why.  I realized in my late 20's that my happiness or how I felt about myself was greatly dependent on what the number on the scale said.  If I weighed within what I thought was good for me, then I was so happy but if I weighed more than I wanted to, then I was pretty much depressed the whole day.  That is just plain wrong!  Nothing should have that much control over our emotions or how we feel about ourselves, if it does then it is an idol.  I grew-up with a father that weighed himself every day and wrote it down.  He didn't seem to stress over it, but he's a man and his daughters and wife sure were stressed if they felt fat at all.  A few years ago when I was loosing baby weight, I was looking at buying a scale at Target.  My husband quickly said, "no way!"  He did not want me weighing myself regularly and getting into bondage and passing that on to my daughters.  I never talk about weight to my girls.  I talk nutrition, being healthy and fit to do what God has called them to do but I never talk weight or fat.  I also try to never down-talk myself or my body.  That is also a really bad example that your children pick-up even if you don't want them to.  Now, if a person has over 30 pounds to loose or has been told by a health professional that they should loose weight, then they should weigh regularly to make sure the scale is going down.  I still would shy away from owning one though.  It seems that most women I know that are bondage to the scale are already thin.  They weigh daily and get upset when it's up and they have been "eating basically nothing but vegetables."  I do not think God wants us obsessing with the scale or numbers.  I really do only weigh when I have to go to the doctor.  Instead of weighing, I just go by how my clothes are fitting.  Once I got to the size I wanted to be when I was doing THM after my last baby, then I just decided to maintain by exercising daily and eating healthy. And for the record, I didn't really weigh when I was doing THM either.  I lost a good amount of weight and when my husband and daughter told me not to loose anymore, then I relaxed and was not so strict.  Anyway, I think we as women need to walk in freedom and just say "good-bye" to the silly scale (which can fluctuate by the minute for us women anyway!)  Just like this saying above, we are valued by our love for others and the love they have for us.  What makes us truly beautiful is the love of Jesus shining from our eyes and our lives, not how thin we are. 

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Daddy daughter Dancing

My darling husband took my 3 younger girls to a Valentine Daddy/Daughter Dance

What a precious thing, Dads and daughters celebrating Valentine's together.  My father never took me to a Daddy/Daughter dance.  Maybe because these didn't exist in the 70's and 80's but boy I wish they would of!  When I think about how fun and special that would of been, it brings tears to my eyes. Probably because my father has passed away.  I do remember dancing with my dad, particularly on a river cruise boat and the special times we had alone doing things together.  Mostly we played tennis, rode bikes, or just had fun driving around in the car singing together.  We as moms need to encourage our husbands to do special things with our daughters; things that don't involve us.  These are memories that will stay in our precious girls' hearts forever, even if they are "sharing" their dad with a sister.  We can't forget the importance of a father in the lives of our daughters.  According to a study released by Baylor University,

Shared activities. When dad and daughter do something together.
The daughters in the study, all 22 years or older, identified three kinds of activities that changed the course and depth of their bonds with their dads:
  1. Sports: Doing a sport opened lines of communication, created shared play moments together, and encouraged the daughter to “take risks and stand up for themselves.”
  2. Working Together: Engaging in some tasks together helped daughters see a different side of their dads.
  3. Vacations: Time spent together on vacations opened up communication and deepened bonds in unique ways.
Not only that, building these bonds with our daughters apparently helps them be more successful in school as well. As a matter of fact, researchers are seeing that dads sometimes have a bigger impact on their daughters’ success than moms."
So, like I said we moms need to give our husbands opportunities and ideas to help them with our daughters.  Don't let this special time pass by!
Sweet Caroline

Darling Elisabeth Daisy

My littlest sunshine girl "Cakey"

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Mulltitasking Gone Wrong

Never multitask while driving!

We all know that multitasking is good and we as moms do it all the time, like..........
-make dinner, while talking on the phone and teaching spelling.
-referee a fight between 2 children while at the same time counseling your best friend on your cell phone via text.
-return emails during your kids soccer practice.
-nurse a baby and paint your nails at the same time (yes, I have done this and actually you get to where you can nurse a baby and do just about anything!)

Well, you get the picture.
We were made for this, as women, you know. I really think God did design the female species to be able to do 3 things at once so we could manage a household and children.

But sometimes multitasking can really go wrong.  I was convicted recently about this so I'm speaking to myself too.  
Here are some examples, particularly related to our spiritual lives; things that I have done to save time (I am all about efficiency and saving time.)

Listening to my Bible on speaker phone while I'm showering and getting dressed in the morning.

Having my prayer time while jogging/walking in the morning.

My only time of praise/worship happening in the car while driving kids around town.

Wow, what an efficient Christian mom I had become!  I could check 6 things off my mental to-do list in the time it takes me to do 3!

Now, there is nothing wrong with doing the above things, but when they begin to replace our regular Bible reading, quiet time or prayer time then we are headed for trouble.  You know, God doesn't want just part of us.  He doesn't want to be in our "multi-tasking/how fast can I get this done" category.  We really need to spend quiet time alone with Him, just sitting in His presence and mediating on Him and His word, just really worshipping Him with ALL our focus on Him.  I read an article recently in a popular secular magazine that went on and on about meditation being so healthy for people and how healthy, happy, famous, successful people do it everyday, etc, etc.  I thought how the world is searching for peace and sometimes they know better than us Christians the importance of spending time quiet, clearing our minds and focusing on the good things in our lives (the Lord) and cultivating a thankful spirit. 

And while I'm thinking about multitasking with the Lord, I also got convicted about multitasking with our children.  Our children are our most precious gift from the Lord and how many times do we not really listen to them, really watch them, really play with them because we are "multitasking"?

Just because we rationalize what we are doing as multitasking does not make it right.  I pray that we can slow down and focus on what we're doing, have our true quiet time with the Lord and really be in the moment with our children. In fact, my littlest guy wants me to play soccer with him right now and I'm going to do fully.....no multitasking allowed!

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Things People Ask My Children About Being in a Large Family

Recently I was in the kitchen with a few of my kids (actually it seems like I'm always in the kitchen with a few of my kids : ) and one of them told me a question that they had been asked at school about being one of 10 kids.  The other child laughed and said, "yeah, I get that same question all the time, plus a few others."  I had never heard them talk about this and thought it was rather funny and interesting.  So here of some of the things they told me that they get asked quite a bit.........

1. Who is your favorite sibling? (this child said he doesn't have a favorite)

2. Who are you the closest to out of all of them? (I think this changes with the age the child is)

3.  Do you have to fight for your food? (like, seriously)

4. Do you get enough food? (my children are all on the thin side but really, do they look malnourished?!)

5. How do your parents feed all those mouths? (well, this is a challenge)

6. Is it super loud in your house all the time? (well, not all the time)

7. How do you get your school work done with so many people around? (this child said he worked better with noise and family chaos ;)

8. Do you have a giant house? (it's plenty big, 5 bedrooms, even though my husband thinks it's not big enough) 

9. Are there any twins or any adopted? (I get this one a lot too and the blended family question)

10. Are you guys Catholic or Mormon? (this one my son says he gets the most and no, we are neither)

11. How old are your parents? (now that one is kind of personal)

12. So, are you going to have that many kids too? (I don't even want to know the answer to that one!)

These are all true questions they have been asked.  I did a blog post a while back on the questions and comments my husband and I get titled "Things People Say."  
You other moms of many should ask your kids what they get asked and let me know : )

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

So You're Thinking About Having a Large Family

Maybe you're just starting out on the journey of parenthood or maybe you already have a few children or maybe you're a young woman just thinking that you'd like to have a family above average in size, either way this post is for you.  I had someone ask me what are some ways a couple could prepare for having a slew of kids.  Well, here are some things that came to mind.  Some of these I wish someone would of told me when I was pregnant with my first few.  I always knew that I wanted a large family, but when we first got married my husband agreed to 5.......well that doubled! Anyway here goes......

1. Make sure that you are healthy.  Start taking vitamins and watching what you eat. Not that you have to be a health fanatic but you want strong bones, good immunity, and healthy iron stores.  

2.  Start exercising, if you don't already.  Nothing too intense because intense exercising can decrease fertility and increase risk of miscarriage.  But do begin to do some form of exercise just about everyday.

3. Be at a healthy weight.  Not too thin but as close to your ideal weight as possible.  Believe me, gaining 35+ pounds 5 or more times, then nursing which makes you starving, can wreck havoc on your weight if you are not careful.  I'm glad that I started this whole process of having 10 kids (actually 15 pregnancies) technically under weight according to my doctor's chart.  

4. If you are not an organized person, read some books and try to get your house, daily schedule and life pretty organized.  No one need be a fanatic, but you need some order and routine.  Your house should basically have a place for everything and everything in it's place, as they say.

5. Have some savings in your bank account.  Of course, there is no amount of money that some people ever think is enough and then because of that they don't have children.  But I do think when a couple first gets married they should live on the husband's salary and bank the wife's.  This achieves 2 things, you get used to only living on 1 salary and you grow a savings account. 

6. Make sure that you and your husband are close and able to communicate well.  I remember that my husband and I went on a few marriage retreats and couple's seminars with our church and they were invaluable.  You think that you will have time to do this later in life, but once the kids come it's harder and it's just wise to lay a healthy foundation. 

7. Learn how to cook. Nothing fancy, but practice making healthy meals and learn to like it.  A large family mom is basically running a small diner.  Take a cooking class, get some cook books, practice on friends, whatever but get to the point where it's second nature.  Read up on nutrition while you're at it too : )

8. Make sure you know how to do some basic sewing and mending.  Most young women now-a-days never learn to sew.  It's great to be able to mend things, decorate your home on a budget and even sew clothes if you're really brave. 

9. Think about where you are currently living and if it's the best place to raise a family.  Living in large cities is glamorous when you're single or even newly married but it's hard to raise kids there.  Start to think about how you want your kids to be raised.  Is it important to you for them to have green grass to play in and build forts or is being near a fancy art museum more important to you. 

10. And really probably the most important, be involved in a church community.  Nothing is more special, helpful and fulfilling as living along side a group of like minded people.  It's so great to have other young moms around as well as older people, singles and college age adults to help and encourage.  You want your marriage and family based on the Lord.  Raising a large family takes His strength, believe me!

Friday, December 19, 2014

Christmas.....The Most Wonderful/Busiet Time of the Year!

Shopping, shopping and more shopping, but really that's not what this season is all about, right?  It's about cooking, baking decorating, cards, events, etc,.....Well, no that's not it either.  It's about memories....good and bad.  It's about family, yes that's the real reason. Actually, no that's not it either......I think it's about Christ.  It's about giving and making memories.  I'm so glad that I have good memories from my childhood in regards to Christmas.  I also do love to give and shop and give and shop some more.  I feel so blessed to have so many to shop for but I have to work to keep my peace and not to try to be perfect.  You know how us moms do.....perfect decorating, perfect baking, kids in perfect matching Christmas outfits, etc.  Well, this holiday season I have really made an effort to get out of the materialism and perfectionism and keep Jesus the center of this Advent Season.  I bought a new and nicer Advent candle holder and we have really been celebrating Advent every night at dinner time......well, just about every night that we have a family dinner.  When my husband and I were out of town recently, but older son led it.  My daughter even videoed it for me and sent it to me.  It's was kind of funny but really great that they were doing it even though we were gone.  I purchased 2 books from Amazon that I would really recommend.  Here is the first.......

It's great for a family with young children.  The devotionals are just long enough and we all really like that they include a Christmas hymn/carol to sing together around the table every night.

I purchased this one for myself to use during my devotional time and it has been great. It's by John Piper. I feel like I am learning so much about what Christ's coming really was all about.  

I do love Christmas and look forward to this time all year long.  Here are some Christmas time pictures that we've recently taken for you to get a glimpse into our "crazy" but fun Christmas season here with a family of 12. 

We get our live North Carolina tree at the same friend's farm each year on the weekend after Thanksgiving.  We have to go at night so the kids can play tag in the trees. This year we had some cousins with us too.

This year, I chilled out and let the kids do just about all the decorating.  So, it's not perfect but it's great having older kids that love to decorate and younger kids who are so eager to "help." I sat on the sofa and drank spiced tea : )
My darling Caroline has a December birthday and this year for her 12th bday we had an artist friend come and do an art party.  It was wonderful and they all did so well!

I had to include this picture of my mom in her Christmas sweater from the 80's.  She's a treasure to us!

Patrick got to sing on stage for his preschool Christmas production.  He was so cute......tears in my eyes and he's definitely not one of my shy children.

My little guy loves to help me shop but talks me into buying way too much junk!

My husband had a conference in New Orleans so I was able to go meet him there and see my sister as well.  There is nothing like New Orleans at Christmas time.  It is beautiful and the food is as wonderful as I remember as a child.  There is also nothing like laughing with your sister and spending some time away with your husband.