Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Let's Talk about Big Families: Part 2

Much of family life has to do with if a family is healthy or dysfunctional.

Assuming a family is healthy here is what I see as benefits to having a big family.

It boils down to this: The more the merrier!

If a kid has lots of siblings then they always have someone to:

Wrestle with
Play with
Help them
Confide in
Make plans with
Build forts with
Read side by side with
Clean the house with (as they rock out to music)
Be silly with
Create with
Be celebrated by
Be encouraged by
Learn something new from
Practice a sport with
Walk down the road to visit Grandma with (Lord help me, I don't even want them walking a block alone!)
Jump on the trampoline with
Share a room with (what? you don't think that falls in the "pro" category? :)
Have jam sessions with (once my kids were playing the saxophone, guitar and flute together. Did they sound good? Um, that's beside the point!)
Cook with
Learn how to cut hair from (You don't think that it's a good idea for a 2 yro girl to copy her big brother by cutting off her hair? Yeah, me neither!)
Camp out in the back yard with
Re-decorate their room with
Hug

I'm sure I'm missing a ton of great things that siblings can do together whether a child has 1 or 10 or more!

Oh how I wish I could post pictures of some of these things for you! I'm having issues with my connection though....and it would take a lot of sorting through photos. Just know that all that I wrote above are things I have witnessed my children do together. And it's a beautiful thing!

Do you have siblings? What were some of the things you liked to do together when you were kids?

Monday, October 10, 2011

Let's Talk about Big families!

I love my family! I think being a wife and mother is the best thing in the world for me to be.

I have a large-ish family. Some people think so anyway. It's all a matter of perspective I guess. It depends on what culture you come from, what size family you were raised in, what size family you always dreamed of (if in fact you dreamed of such things), and what kind of families you spend your time with. Perhaps it even depends on what kinds of families you steer clear of and don't want to come near with a ten foot pole! I'm sure there are other factors as well.

Many people have made this comment to me, "I don't know how you do it." This is in reference to the amount of children I have. I'm not sure if they mean....I don't know how you have so many children and stay sane OR how do you ever get enough sleep OR how is it that your house doesn't look like a tornado hit it OR how do you feed them all? I'm just not sure exactly what that comment means. Maybe it means something different to each person that has said it.

I also get the questions, "Are they all yours?" and "You have all girls?" When people find out that I have 1 boy and 5 girls sometimes they say, "God bless you." With a bit of of sigh. At least once I have replied with a smile, "He has!" Sometimes I just say, "Thank you."

At any rate, I will attempt to give you a glimpse into our big family life and perhaps I will answer a question or two. I am by no means an authority on big families. There are many women who are better cooks, organizers, teachers, ect. But, by the grace of God, I do the best I can with my own little brood.

Below are my thoughts on some of the elements of having a big family.

Why have so many children in the first place?
-My husband and I believe children are a blessing! They are gifts from God. (Granted, my husband originally wanted less kids and I originally wanted more...but for now this is the size family we have agreed upon.)
-We LIKE kids!

Isn't it expensive to raise so many kids?
Yes. But, seriously God provides in fun ways for us all the time. We are also willing to accept hand me downs. We are thankful for God's provision and thankful to friends and family that are so generous to pass on clothes to us when their kids outgrow them.

How do you feed them all?
We don't eat out much. We don't buy fancy smancy snacks and goofy stuff that has cool packaging. We cook at home and we try to s-t-r-e-t-c-h our grocery dollars. (I need tips on meal planning, so if you have any please share!)
Can you say, "Beans and rice"?
When we do go out as a family we all know that it is a special treat and not the norm.

How do you keep your house clean?
Well, sometimes it's clean and then....an hour later....it's not.
My kids do chores. For example this afternoon one child did dishes, one washed the walls in the dining room, one swept the floors and one was watching my two year old outside. Now, lest you think that I normally sit around blogging while my kids do all the work I will say that even with them doing chores on a daily basis I still have *plenty* to keep me busy.

How do you get one on one time with each child?
I will admit that it is rare. On birthdays Shane or I will take the birthday child out for a meal. I mentioned in my last post that I spent some time with Aubrey scrapbooking...that was when the other girls were away and Ellie was sleeping. Sometimes Shane will grab a child just to go run an errand and that is one on one time.
But, you know what's kind of funny? Unless we are having a "date" with our child some of them think it's strange to NOT have a bunch of other kids around and they even miss it.
Tonight Shane will go to town to watch Monday night football and he will take any of the older kids that have their homework done. Not quite one on one time, but fun time with dad nonetheless.

How are you not as big as a house after having six kids?
Okay, no one has ever really asked me this. But, for the record, I feel as big as a house!

How do you ever get enough sleep?
We believe in schedules. I know, I know. Some people think that it is cruel and unusual, but we don't. We train our children from a young age to sleep through the night. We believe it's the best thing for our family. We sleep well around here.
Even so, there is the part about the rest of the day. Yep, it IS exhausting. But it's also SO worth it. How do I get through the day? I take a nap or drink coffee or exercise.

There is so much more I could write about, but I have been discovered in my room by the 4 yro and the 2 yro. One wants to play a game with me and one wants to be loud.

So, for now I will end with a question of my own.

What are YOUR thoughts on big families?

Sunday, October 9, 2011

More Randomness

1) I posted my first items ever on craigslist. Two used sewing machines. I don't mind if I only get a little bit of $ for them. I'm just hoping to start a sewing machine fund....for a machine that is simple, new and has an actual manual to go with it.

2)I've started scrapbooking again. It's been so long and I realize that I really enjoy it. This past week I got in two sessions...once with my sister in law, Cheryl and once with my oldest daughter,Aubrey. Aubrey and I spent a couple of hours at it on Friday night while Ellie was sleeping, the rest of the girls were at Grandma's and the guys were watching a movie. I got three pages done on Ellie's book! Woohoo! The very first page for her book was done just days before when I was scrapbooking with Cheryl. And she's almost two...so I'm a bit behind. Cheryl introduced me to some really cool scrapbooking tools and it was great to have almost uninterrupted time to visit with her.

3) I am presently drinking a pumpkin spice latte that my husband made me. No whipped cream on top, but super delicious none the less. Thank you, Shane!

4) My older girls and I have been working on their room. So far all we have done is get about 6 boxes worth of stuff out of their room, painted it, rearranged it and Shane was so nice to put up shelves. This wasn't enough to make it look like an amazing make over, but we are simple girls and we are happy with the results so far. The color we chose is Robin's Egg (blue). We love it. The arrangement of the furniture is more fun (probably just because it is different) and the shelves give it a bit more mature look. I should post a picture, shouldn't I?
Next we would like to paint the top of their desk, buy a reading chair for the corner and find an amazing deal on a black dresser. We also need to buy two cute-ish hampers for the girls. The last dirty laundry thingy we had wasn't working that great for us. Aubrey also has some major decisions to make regarding her stuff. 5 boxes of stuff. She can't bring it all back in....and thankfully she doesn't want to. She is enjoying the amount of space that they now have since it is not cluttered with all her stuff.
And if we were rich we would get new flooring and put up baseboards. Ooh, and paint the ceiling peacock blue.

5) After years of working in the preschool or toddler room every other Sunday I have finally changed my commitment at church. I now go into all (but one) of the preschool classes to lead worship for the little ones. It's SUPER simple, but very fun. It doesn't take long, but I think it's still an important part of their Sunday school class.

6) My husband and I *almost* got to go for a motorcycle ride today. But we didn't want to leave until Ellie fell asleep (leaving our oldest in charge). But that little one did not co-operate. At all. Then, it started raining. Maybe next weekend we can go for a ride. Now, that is a picture I must post. :)

7)My son played in a soccer tournament this week. I LOVED watching him play goalie. So fun! They didn't win, but what does a mom care about winning?

8)Remember my goals that I posted in January? Oh, I have fallen so, so short of those goals. Maybe I will review them again in December. Maybe I can lose 35 pounds, get all caught up on my bible reading and play the guitar 52 times by then!~

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Something Different and New in My Life

In just 17 days my baby will be two years old. For the first time since I've been a mom I will have a child turn two without me being pregnant with the next baby. I started having children when I was 23 and continued until I was 34.
And this....makes me sad and relieved all at the same time. Let's face it, being pregnant is no picnic. But nothing in the world compares to having a baby in my arms. For me, nothing is more rewarding than raising children. But, at the same time, it is true that from the moment I had my first child I opened my heart wide open to the possibility of pain. It's painful to watch them grow up and become independent, yet at the same time it makes me proud. It's painful to see them make bad decisions at times, yet my husband and I get the honor of helping them walk through the process of making things right after those poor choices are made. It's painful to see them argue with one another, but so precious to see them stick up for each other or show that they value their siblings at an unexpected time. Nothing can be more embarrassing at times than my children....but I can honestly say that my children do so much more that makes me extremely proud of them.
I'm so thankful to be a mom to Christian, Aubrey, Isabel, Anna, Lucy and Ellie. They are my greatest treasures.

Our family over the years