Friday, April 18, 2014

A Month- Already?!?!

I can hardly believe that it has been over a month since our new little girl made her way into the world.

After a short and intense labor, the little Rosebud was born within minutes of the midwife's arrival.

She was born on a Sunday and I did total bed rest for an entire week. By the second week, we were all ready to get back into a more normal routine. With so many weeks of being sick and recovering from that, it feels like it has been far too long since "normal" happened. For the next 2 weeks, I managed the house and home school in the morning, and then rested the rest of the day. It's been a wonderful recovery for me. The baby is easy going and is happy to sleep 3-4 hours at a time at night.

The children are all smitten with her. When #5 met her, she was sleeping in her bassinet. Daddy was holding him, and he just looked at her for a bit. All of a sudden he must have realized what he was seeing because the biggest, sweetest, most delighted smile lit up his face. He spent the next few days trying to make sure she was taken care of. "Him can sleep in my bed." "Her can have my lunch" (Obviously he needs a bit of pronoun help, but no help with knowing his job as big brother!)

#6 needed a bit of reassurance the first week, but he's been fine with some extra snuggles and attention- none of which was hard to find in this house!

What fun to have a tiny baby girl!

Little boys with Baby Sister
"She's King hat" said #5

Friday, March 14, 2014

Baby projects

After a very long string of boys, the news of a girl was super exciting. Of course, that meant that lots of projects needed to be done!

Recovered bassinet for a *girl*

 Knit hat and sock set

Long tailed hat

embellished onsies for newborn

Vertebrae sweater
Not pictured is another sock and hat set to go with the above sweater in purple. I had to do something while I was sick in bed :)

I look forward to many many more knitting and sewing projects!!

People happenings

For a family that enjoys "just being" as opposed to "being busy", we really have been much busier than we normally are.

We had homeschool co-op every Friday, volleyball and Bible study with friends every Saturday, and each week usually brought another activity.

The end of January was the Rock and Mineral Show

The first week in February was our first historic dance (we had been going to dance practice every week, not to mention having all of the young ladies at my house sewing their costumes) What fun we all had!!

Girls with rag curls for the dance

#1 Dancing

#5 being a "weasel" 

#3 Dancing

#2 Dancing

Little boys

We went along with Daddy to Dallas for a speaking engagement and did a little shopping at Grapevine Mills Mall.

I took the 3 oldest to the Natural Science Museum in Houston.

We repainted the kitchen, dining room, and hallway .

I took #1 to see the Hobbit for her Birthday, and #2 enjoyed seeing it with Daddy for his "unbirthday"

We celebrated #4's 9th birthday.

We graduated to a big white van in anticipation of #7's arrival.

And then we got sick :(
A nasty cold swept through the house right before Baby Girl's arrival and even sent me to the hospital for the day- yuck!
While no one likes to be sick, it did slow us down and keep us home as we wait for our newest member to make her arrival.

 We're all on the mend now, and finishing up all of those projects that I didn't really think we would get to before Baby's arrival (like taxes and catching up the blog!), but each day goes pretty quickly since there is always something to do.


Our little homestead is always changing to meet our needs and goals. We've been here four years now, and no two years have ever looked remotely the same. Step by step, we keep improving and stepping up to the next level.

This chicken coop (or chicken palace, as I like to call it), was probably one of the most ambitious projects that we've ever done. Hubby worked many many months making it just perfect, and creating for us a complex rotational chicken yard.It is awesome!

Greenhouse- finished January 2014
 complete with shelving, a grow bed and a aquaponics tank.
 #3 was probably the biggest helper in this project.

Key-hole raised beds.
There are 4 of them now to the side of the greenhouse. We are using raised beds for our main growing space this year.

The 4 beds were completed the first week in March.

Under Daddy's leadership, the 3 oldest undertook their first year selling seeds. Last year, they grew out, harvested, and packaged our favorite seeds, and they sold them this winter/spring. Team Work! They did good, too- making a nice profit their first season.

We're all looking forward to a busy and productive spring!

Friday, January 17, 2014

Catching up

I can't believe it has been an entire year (plus) since I updated this blog! Life really does go by in a whirlwind. It is all too easy to neglect to reflect and remember, not to mention savor the moments- the very reason I began a blog to begin with!!

I'll attempt to give the Cliff's Notes on the past year.

-I made and mostly accoplished my goals in 2013.
-We are sucessfully growing our business.
-We made our first trip to Disney World as a family and had an absolute blast! My children have only seen a small handful of Disney movies, but the trip was every bit as "magical" as I dreamed it would be. (even if we did drop like flies with a tummy virus during the trip!)The next trip is already being anticipated!
-We had a local famer's market. We all participated, and the older children sold their own produce.
-My dad died.
-About 2 weeks upon arriving back home from his funeral, we found out we were expecting our 7th child. Wow!
-I spent the next 4 months just surviving as I had crazy "morning" and motion sickness. (so bad, I couldn't even swim for the whole year- the water waves made me sick!)
-before I could blink, it was time to start school and I had high schoolers- whoa.

Still plenty of time to snuggle with my little boys.

-We joined our local homeschool co-op and met lots of new people.
-We grew a great deal more of our food this year than in year's past. Every year we get better and better!
-Daddy and the older boys had a mini vacation in Arkansas and visited the mines for a few days. They had a great time.

-Our oldest daughter sold her dairy cow that we gave her for her 14th birthday and she raised from birth

-We celebrated our first Christmas in 11 years. We worked hard to make it a very family focused holiday, and had a wonderful time!

Of course, there was lots more- games, gardening, and a whirlwind of activities. Lots of laughs and a few cries. A year of a lot of effort placed on family and relationships, and that time is never wasted and doesn't come back void. 2013 was a good year, and the fruits of our efforts are evident.

Truly, I look forward to 2014 and all the moments that are to come!

Monday, December 24, 2012

The ties that bind

Traditions- those that we realize we have, and those that we aren't even aware of: they are so very important to families. They are the very things that we remember from our childhoods.  The things that add specialness to an occasion. The things that we look forward to year after year.

Growing up, there were very very few traditions in my family. I was practically giddy with glee with anticipation the first holiday season married with my husband. Ever a completely hopeless (unrealistic) romantic, I was sure that his family played the annual game of touch football on Thanksgiving and sang Christmas carols with someone playing the piano at Christmas.

That isn't quite what happened. Instead, there was the annual bickering that got more and more complicated and , frankly, soul-sucking.

The only "traditions" that could be found were nothing like my imagination, and nothing like what I wanted for my family. Even Mr. Grinch learned that the traditions that mean something weren't found under the tree. Yet, it seems like that is all too often the greed and materialism is the only reason for the season.

Dreams of family traditions faded away under the stress of making everyone happy and keeping the sanity.
Added to that, any little traditions we had tried to grow in our own little new family often felt silly and forced, especially when our children were tiny. No child really cares about those types of things. 

Making family traditions takes work. Just like any other good habit, the fruit isn't seen for many years, and sometimes it just seems like a waste of time. The easiest thing is to quit.

I wish that we had fought to make and keep the kinds of traditions that were meaningful and special. Legacy that could be looked back on with fond memories that were so special they want to keep them for their own families. I don't remember a single present that I ever opened in my childhood, but I do remember some of the things that made the holdiays special.

For my own children, I hope that they are able to push past the hard work of creating their own traditions. I also hope that they include me.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Getting together the school "year"

Even though we school year-round, things always feel like they are "starting" in the fall. It's probably the fact that my shopping cart gets filled with wonderful school supplies. I do love some school supplies!

In truth about half of our subjects begin in the fall, the other half in the spring. In some ways, that makes things a little bit harder because I'm always adding in new curriculum and needing to change and tweak things. In other ways, it is easier because I don't have to prepare so much all at one time.

My printer and copier are very busy going through reams of paper as I print out and prepare for the coming quarter. I used to love being the teacher's helper, and I still enjoy doing my own preparing. It allows me to get  to know the curriculum, and gives me time for things to settle in my mind how everything is going to work together. I do admit that I wish I could clone myself for a few days to get all caught up though!!

This year I am teaching 8th, 7th, 5th, and 2nd grades. From Algebra to phonics. I'm thankful that I am a multi-tasker through and through. That helps a lot getting through so many different kinds of tasks every day.

Every year I make mental notes on what each student needs to accomplish. This year I am writing it down and posting it on my cork board as goals to make sure that we are keeping on track. I've been spending a lot of time making goals and really thinking about what the most important things to accomplish are.  This is the last year that the oldest has before high school and I want to make sure that I have met goals and filled in holes.

We took 2 weeks off of science to celebrate our accomplishment of finishing BJU's Life Science. One week just to relax, and the other to do a unit of Forensic Science, which they really enjoyed.

 I agonized over which middle school science to use, but I really feel like I made a great choice. The courses are very challenging, and have really stretched both of them. They have learned so much- not just about life science, but also about how to read a textbook, how to pick apart the most important parts of the text, outline it, and use those notes effectively for a test. Such valuable skills for them to have. Even with all of that workload, they've still managed to develop and maintain a love of learning science.

Showing Daddy what they've learned:

Looking at blood:
These pictures were the very last lab that we did (and we did all of them): dissecting a heart. We had a sheep's heart, but it just so happened that we slaughtered a beef. Knowing our experiment was coming up in a few days, we kept the heart and also used it. It was great having this giant model to use!