About Me

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I am a 29-ish yr old married mother of 8. My family is my life and I wouldn't have it any other way. My darling husband is my very best friend and together we are raising 8 of the best kids in the world! They are Rose(12) Sarah(12) Ammon(10) Malachi(8) Gabriel(7) Hannah(5) Maggie(4) and Abbie(3) We currently own 2 dogs, 1 bird, 5 chinchillas, 1,000,000 rabbits, 1 cat, 4.5 horses, and one ferret. We just purchased a home that is definately a "fixer-upper", with land and room for the kids to roam. Our goal is to run a mostly self sustaining farm and live in peace as we grow as a strong family unit. We have seen our fair share of hardships, but we are thankful for the many blessings the Lord gives us on a regular basis!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

I was trying to think of a way to describe how things are going around here and this is all I've been able to come up with:

I have decided that trying to clean our house is a lot like shoveling snow in a blizzard!

The end :)

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

My five minutes of fame....

(PRECURSOR: I was told by a couple of people I know that this post came off a little bitter... That was NOT my intention at all! I consider the fact that I was able to share some of my thoughts with Gil Gross a very positive experience! I wish I had been on when some of these callers were on so that I could have responded in person because the written word is a funny thing. Meaning, you can either offend when you don't mean to, or people can take you lightly when you are serious. These are just some thoughts I was having as I listened to the show. The only irritation I had was with the final caller and I think that was pretty justified. )

Sooo...John got a voicemail this afternoon. It went something like this..."Hi, this is Steve Williams from ABC radio in San Fransisco CA KGO810am..." Huh?
"We're doing a story on large families and we were reading your wife's blog..." What?
"And we'd like to do an interview..." No stinkin' WAY!
"So if you could call us back at some point this afternoon..."

Needless to say... I called.
Feel free to click on the link to here my interview!


Another cool thing is that one of my very best friends, Stephanie Johnson, (Sorry! Her blog is private.) called in and spoke to Mr Gross too!

As for all of the rest of the show, I really wish I had been able to stay on and respond to some of the comments made by the other guest and callers. So here are some of my thoughts:

Can you really give 8 children the attention they deserve? ABSOLUTELY! It will be HARD. It will be EXHAUSTING! But... it IS possible. It is SO important to treat each and every child as an individual. One of the things that John and I do is "date nights" not just with each other, but with our kids. We take turns taking individual kids out with us. John may take one of the girls to dinner or I might take one of the boys shopping for clothes, just the two of us. We also have father/son and mother/daughter days. Just last night, I took our Ammon to buy crickets at the pet store for his lizard. We were there for over an hour talking about all the lizards and amphibians... and the fact that he wants a chameleon for his next pet! (We'll discuss that one later, Ammon!)It was time well spent.

We also make it a point to allow the children to have special time with their extended family. Nana and Papa will often pick up a child or two and take them fishing or out to lunch...depending on the particular child's interests. Those relationships are SO important!

As for providing "everything they need"... That is an interesting question. I think that far to many people think that children NEED a lot more than they actually do. Children need love. Children need a full tummy and clean respectable clothing. They need a mother and father that love them and teach them what is right and wrong. They need a comfortable (though not ornate) home. Children do NOT need name brand clothing. They do NOT need to go see every new movie that comes out. They do not need the newest game system or the car that will be bought for them on their 16th birthday.

As a family, we are lucky enough to be able to provide more than the basic necessities, but we make it a point not to do it all of the time. If we teach our children, through example, not to over indulge, then perhaps it will be easier in their adult years to maintain self control and stay out of debt. That also makes the times that we HAVE to say "no" a lot less painful.

In response to the email from Cathlene... I also believe that "family planning" is important. I PLANNED my family from the time that I was 12. ;) All joking aside... While I do believe it is important to preserve the earth and maintain it "responsibly", I do not believe that eradicating the world of the human race is a very "responsible" way to protect it. Even if you aren't christian, preserving a planet that no one is living on to enjoy, makes very little sense.

It truly broke my heart to hear Fran speak about his childhood. I am truly sorry that he felt so left out growing up. I couldn't imagine one of my children being gone for more than 20 minutes and me not searching them out to find out what they're up to! We (John and I) also try to make it a point to allow each child to have their own belongings and a space of their own... no one sleeps in the hallway. (but they would do it joyfully if it were necessary) I am also sorry that he never received the one on one attention that I spoke of earlier. But I think it is important to point out that you can have poor parenting in any situation, whether you have 1 child or 10. Unless parents make a consistent, concerted effort to give their children the love and attention they need, they can (and will) grow up feeling left out.

When the woman called in shortly after Fran my face got red hot. I have to say that I resented the implication that my oldest daughters raise my younger ones. My girls are as "little girl" as possible! They play, and run, and jump on the trampoline. They have chores, and violin/karate lessons, and school work.

To help prevent that kind of thing in our home, we have a standing rule. If I tell a child to do something, they do it. But they know that if I ask "Would you mind...?", they are allowed to so "Yes I would because...". Trust me, they have exercised that right on more than on occasion! The important thing to remember as a parent of a large family, is that I am the one that chose to have all of these babies, not them.

It irritates me that people assume that older siblings are always forced to raise the younger ones just because they "knew a large family" once. When I was in my teen years, I had a very good friend that was being violently abused by both of her parents...and she was an only child. I don't assume that every family that only has one child is abusing their one child.

It all comes down to this. As a mother, I am constantly second guessing myself. I am constantly wondering what my children are going to be speaking to their counselors about in their adult years. Parenting is a learning process. Do I screw up? YOU BETTER BELIEVE IT! But I always try to make it right. I show my children that I love them every day and ask for forgiveness if it is needed. That is what we do as parents. We hope... and try... and do our best...and PRAY... a LOT!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

A trip to Narnia

When I say that our family has needed some "alone" time. I mean it. We have been run ragged, and we haven't been out hiking as a family since sometime last spring! We have found ourselves in a rut of never ending school work, house work, and extra activities. We haven't been able to spend ANY time outside as a whole family for months!

Unexpectedly John suggested that we go to Tonto National Forest yesterday.
While we were there, the kids found Narnia! (See the following pictures for proof!) For the rest of the day they were searching for sentars and Aslan! (I have no idea if I spelled either of those correctly!)

All in all, the day was beautiful and the sun was shining! The kids were happy and Mommy and Daddy were able to connect with them in a way that we haven't in a looong time! I am so thankful that Heavenly Father gives us those wonderful moments to help us remember why we as parents do what we do! There is no better time than this and I want to treasure it forever!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

I suppose I should be angry...

...that when I heard and odd sucking sound and followed it, I found this! My naked Maggie eating a candy bar that I had "hid" on the top shelf of my upper cabinet, behind the bread. How do I know that she was actually the one to get it down? The clothing and diaper I found on the counter were my first clue...Oh, and the toaster that had been moved so that she could use it as a step-stool, put the nail in the coffin!
(To bad my kitchen is so trashed or you might have a picture of that too!) That'll teach me to do school work with the kids!
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Saturday, January 17, 2009

The other side...

I was going to write a sweet and witty letter to a lady that I had a run in with at Sam's club today. But then I remembered that's been done before. If you're up for some good reading I highly recommend that you click_here. It's from my cousin J's blog archive. Scroll about half way down the page to a post entitled "The Wisdom to Truly succeed". In this particular post she writes a letter to that woman we've all had to deal with. You know the type; perfect hair, perfect children, her mother is there to help her in case she needs to run to the IKEA restroom to sanitize the perfect pacifier that fell on the floor. You know, the one that gives you the "mean look" because your children are behaving less than perfect, and some how, you never manage to look or feel perfect when she's around!

I don't know why, but I always try to act as sweet as possible to the mean-look-lady. She never deserves it but each time I am so caught off guard by her behavior that I give her more than enough room in the isle at the grocery store. I ooh and awe over her children if a chance arises. I even make my child apologize politely to her when she bumps into them!

Here's the thing, tonight I was the "mean look lady"! I not only gave a mean look but said something hateful too! I am admitting this because I feel so horrible about it. It was COMPLETELY out of character for me. I almost wrote out a list of reasons why I did it. but I realize that there was no excuse for my behavior. No matter how tired or annoyed I was, I had no right to try to make someone else feel as though they were any thing less than a child of God.

There are two really sad things about this experience:

First-I have no idea why I did it! There have been so many times that I have sat crying in a parking lot, after trying to keep my composure the entire way out of the store, because the mean-look-lady had glanced in my direction. I have always pictured those women as heartless; with snotty children that would grow up bedecked with fine clothing, surrounded by fancy things, and never knowing the meaning of charitable love. (because their mother was obviously incapable of it) I'm not that kind of woman... or am I?

Second-I can't make it right! I won't ever see that lady at Sam's again. She will never know that I was tired and PMS-ing. Nor will she ever know that I understand what it's like to have evenings like the one she was having. No, to her I am just another heartless mean-look-lady that she can add to her list of people that have kicked her when she was down. She will never know how sorry I am tonight or that I felt compelled to blog about it. She will never know that I know she is a daughter of God and that she is probably doing her best to be a good wife and mother. (I was rude to her husband too)

So, on behalf of all mean look ladies out there (I can say that because I am officially one) I'd like to apologize on our behalf. We are tired, and cramping... and annoyed (maybe not at you but you're close enough)... and it won't cause a fight with our husbands if we lash out at you. So the next time one of us looks down on you and makes you feel bad remember that you are a daughter of your Heavenly Father and we'll probably remember that...shortly after we've hurt your feelings. Some of us (though not all) will come looking for you in hopes of apologizing. Only, you won't be around for us to say we're sorry.

Please except my apology... All joking aside... sincerely... and humbly. We will try not to ever let it happen again.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Jane Roes prolife commercial

This brought tears to my eyes! You have to watch it and post it every where that you can!!!!

Chi and Gabie playing the wii

We just got a wii. Now, normally I hate video games but this thing is COOL! Even Hannah and Gabie can do it.
We all work up a sweat and the whole family is involved. I am a little worried that our TV might not survive the Boxing game though!

Going somewhere?

Rose was very helpful this morning, and gave Maggie a bath. (I was right there the whole time) Then she got her all dressed up in a pretty pink dress. Later, while I was doing Hannah's hair she (Maggie) brought me two pink bows and had me do her hair.

Then I walked into the school room and saw her sitting by the front door in an old Easter hat, working very meticulously with the straps on a pair of Hannah's sandals. I smiled and walked into the kitchen and then Ihad a thought "She's leaving!" I turned around and sure enough the door was open just a slit (a Maggie trade mark) and Maggie was gone.

I ran out the door just in time to see her little legs disappear into the driver side of the van! My first thought was to get her out but I ran back into the house to get the camera first! By the time I got back she had situated herself in the drivers seat and was waving and saying "byeeeee...byeeeeee...byeeeeee!"

Apparently Rose had left the the van door open when she went to get something out of it. When I brought her in after our photo shoot she cried and cried! Apparently my little girl has made the connection that the only time she gets a bath is when she's leaving! I wonder why that is.

Happy Anniversary!

John and I were married 12 years ago today, in a courthouse, in Boone County KY! That always makes me giggle! Even though I know we were fully clothed, I always picture myself barefoot and pregnant (neither of which I was) when I remember my wedding day. No one would have guessed we'd still be together now. Let alone, be sealed, have 8 kids, and be homeschooling...except us of course!
Happy anniversary Honey! I love you!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Ammon earned his belt... Sarah earned a stripe

Here are my two Karate kids with their instructor (well one of them anyway)! She is amazing! The whole class is! She said that Sarah is the best in class at her block set. (I still don't know what that means though) Sarah earned her first blue strip by doing one "brave thing" each day this week! This normally constitutes running upstairs on her own (or with Lady) to put something away. But this after noon she braved the bathroom all by herself and took a shower with out any one else in there with her! She hasn't done that in over a year!
Ammon surprised us all by volunteering to demonstrate a few things! That is normally way out of his comfort zone. Thus he earned his belt. I must have seen them cheer for him and hi-five him 20 times during class.
I can not tell you what all this positive reinforcement is doing for these two!!!! It has been a long time since I have been so happy about an extra curricular activity! I can't wait to see what they learn next!!!
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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

My Karate Kid!

(This is her PROUD face!)

Sarah decided that the Cello was not for her. She finished the semester and we are very proud of her for finishing it out even though it was challenging.
She's been talking about taking a martial arts class for years now and we have finally decided to allow her.
I actually found the gym that she goes to by searching for a gymnastics class for Malachi. When John and I went to tour the facility it was quiet and peaceful and we were the only two people besides a few students and the two owners. We eventually signed Chi up for a trial gymnastics class and Ammon, Sarah, and Gabie up for a trial karate class.
Well, when we got there last Thursday, the calm environment I expected was GONE! There were cheerleaders and gymnasts EVERY WHERE! It was like a three ring circus...only there were like 20 rings! As soon as I saw all the flips and tricks they were doing I knew what I was in for. They ALL wanted to try gymnastics! I was bummed, but I let them all go with the gymnastics classes.
About 15 minutes after they started I went up to the balcony area to watch... Ammon Malachi and Gabie seemed to be happy. (Malachi was thrilled!) Then I saw Sarah. She was happy too...Happily playing in the chalk! She was so distract by EVERYTHING that was going on I knew there was no way that class was going to keep her interest...let alone TEACH her something. That's when I had a very good Mommy moment.
I went down stars and asked the receptionist to pull Sarah out of the gymnastics class. I told Sarah that I wanted her to TRY the Karate class. She looked really disappointed and tried to get me to let her to stay in the gymnastics class. I told her that if she truly didn't like it I wouldn't make her take it and I would let her do gymnastics. Well, she got right in there and kicked and punched with the best of them. She was being high-fived and praised the entire time, and she had the biggest smile on her face I have seen in a long time.
I knew I had made the right decision when she walked out of the class, took one look at me, and said "KA-RA-TE!"
Chalk one up to "Mother knows best"! I truly hope that this will build her confidence and self esteem. She has already "earned" her belt. (They don't get the belt with the gee. The teacher makes a big deal about them getting it in front of the class.)
Ammon has also decided to take karate and has had his trial class. I hope things go well for both of them and they stick with it! I really think that this will help them both overcome their individual challenges and improve both of their strengths! I will get pictures of him in his gee when he gets it.
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Not that I'm trying to brag or anything but... while most of my family is suffering through winter storms and ice, we were out side playing in the sunshine for most of the day! The REALLY interesting thing was that it got up to 78 inside the house and I had to turn on the AC to cool it down! By the way, that's "Randy" that Sarah is holding. He's Malachi's farret.





Sunday, January 11, 2009

Happy 99th Birthday Mini-Nana!

Mini-Nana turned 99 on Wednesday! We had a very nice party for her today!

Here are a couple of the pictures we took with her. She had lots of guests and one of them even played the piano for her for almost the entire party. Rose and Sarah sang "Amazing Grace" for her and she really liked that. After the party we had our own little out door photo shoot and took about a million pictures! I normally don't like to put Mini-Nana through that but she was in good spirits. And besides...It's not everyday, you turn 99!

I had never really though about the fact that Nana had been an only child until Mary was talking about how because of one person there were now 60 + more on the earth. The numbers really can astound you, if you think about it!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Sunny Smiley Abbie!!!

These are just some shots of sweet happy Abbie as she crawls around. She is always ready with a HUGE smile when ever you need one. She isn't walking yet but has figured out how to stand up using chairs, table legs, couches or any thing else she can find to give her a boost.

Earning my stripes!

Today, I spent three hours getting my hair done while John kept all the kids! I am so excited! I have wanted this kind of highlighting for years and finally broke down and had it done... after my darling mother-in-law strongly encouraged it! Then she brought the twins to the mall to meet me for lunch and to do a little shopping!!!! Note the new shirt! I can't even tell you the last time I had so much fun!!!! Thanks Mary! You're amazing!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Jed's last day in AZ!

Today was beautiful! The weather was perfect. We ran late getting up but only left 40 minutes later than I had planned. Not bad for not having John to help and an extra kiddo! We got to the zoo at about 10 and one of those paid people offered to take our picture with our camera (if we let her take one with hers) Brittney and and her mom had dashed for a potty break and I for got to get a group shot with the two of them so this is what I have!
Any way, as most of you know today was the official proposal! Jed got down on one knee in front of a group of people in the middle of the monkey village!!!! I tried to video tape it but Jed was so nervous he was whispering! I haven't seen the video but I think it just has me saying "Speak up we cant hear!"
When the lady working in the monkey village realized what had happened she announced it in case any one had missed it. Every one applauded! I don't know about you guys but I thought that it was rather fitting that Jed proposed to his future wife in the Monkey Village! It's SO Jed...and now it's so Jed and Brittney!
Since we were later getting there than I had hoped we all had a little snack at the cafe and I told the others they could go and I'd stay behind with the kids and finish the zoo. I knew the kids would be sorry to see Jed go but I didn't expect the sorrow that I felt...and not just for Jed but Brittney too. We were all crying... You know...You get an awful lot of odd looks walking through the zoo with a bunch of kids with their heads hanging down silently crying. I was so glad we had the distraction of the zoo for the rest of the afternoon. Once we got to the Maned Wolf their spirits were lifted and we had a pretty decent time for the rest of the day.
It's still kind of hard to swallow that he's gone and who knows maybe Brittney will end up with some in laws that live near her. The kids (and I) all feel like they've lost a brother. Don't get me wrong we are all very happy for them but it's sad not to have him around.

When BOY becomes MAN!

So Frankie came to visit for the New Year.... and ended up in the ER...TWICE!
The first trip was a due to a mistake I made with his meds. I don't need to tell you how bad I felt about that!
The second time was because he rode our scooter down the hill in our green way and flipped it. The kick-stand somehow sliced his side about 2 1/2 inches! It took 8 stitches to put him back together!
When I walked into the ER and said "I think he needs stitches." the receptionist looked at me and smiled and said "You were here yesterday."
To which, I replied "I know and his mother is never gonna' let him come to my house again!"

You really have to give this kid credit though! He stayed calm. Not a single tear was shed and kept telling me every thing was gonna be fine. I have told him that this officially made him a man. He agrees!

Happy New Year!

Updates soon to come!