My Murdering Spree

As you know, I have 7 children (I’ll have 8 in 3 weeks!) and my oldest is 9. And as you can imagine, one of our summertime struggles is remembering to shut the door behind us when we go in or out. I include myself in this, but I think you all know who the real culprits are…

Not only does this let our nicely conditioned air outside, it lets the hot and humid outside air in, as well as some other most unwelcome guests. Namely: flies.

I get a deep sense of satisfaction as their death count increases as the day progresses. My record so far is 14 in one day. I would rather have 0 flies in the house to kill, but once they’re in what my husband calls the “no fly zone,” what choice do I have but to rid the house of flies?

There you have it: my secret is out. I may pretend to be a good-natured animal lover and put on a good show… But deep down, I am a heartless murderous woman who will not stop my spree unless forced. Perhaps if I wouldn’t relocate the house spiders to the outside (rather than kill them) they could take care of my fly problem… But then I’d have a spider problem.

When it comes to flies and mosquitoes, “live and let live” is not the maxim to live by.

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The Calm Before the Storm…

A more accurate title might be “The Calm Between the Storms.”

I’ve been having a bit of a crazy life. Our co-op is done until next year, but we’re still finishing up some other curriculum (all of which should be finished by next Friday!!!) All 3 of my children enrolled in the co-op achieved the Sola Scriptura Award, meaning for the 28 weeks worth of scripture memory, they memorized all of it. (They memorized some memory work in other subjects, but the only other award is for all 28 weeks in all 9 subjects.) This cycle, the scrupture memory was 26 weeks of ABC Bible verses and 2 weeks of the Lord’s Prayer. Since we say the Lord’s prayer at dinner, they already knew that going in and memorized a verse a week and reviewed like crazy.

Added to that, Ethan celebrated his 9th birthday, Jachin his 1st, and Dan just celebrated his 5th.

My husband started a new job at an oil refinery shutdown… Which will be nice for our bank account, but that means he’s working 6-10s, and will soon start 7-12s.

Between schoolwork, birthday-party-planning, amd general household chores with daddy home less (the kids are so much more obedient and helpful when he is in charge), I haven’t had time to think, much less write and post. I do want to be more regular… But then I don’t think I have much of a following, so maybe it doesn’t really matter anyway.

But with the schoolyear wrapping up and no birthdays until August (except my dad’s birthday later this month and father’s day next month) I am finally finding a good rhythm. I wonder how long it will last… Not only will Phoebe be 4 on August 2nd, I plan to deliver her baby sister a week later. And 2 or 3 weeks after that co-op will start back up. I have already decided we won’t start curriculum at home until after Naomi’s birthday, which is always around Labor Day and a day we would take off schoolwork anyway.

I am so excited planning for next schoolyear, and I’ve already spent a considerable amount on books for next year. I am so thankful we qualified and were picked for the NOSF scholarship that reimburses us on school expenses. We can and would afford everything without the scholarship, but that reimbursement is a HUGE perk… And I use the money we get back to buy more school stuff, so it feeds into itself.

I am curious how homeschooling with such a newborn will go, but doing only co-op will be a good way to ease into it. Housework and homeschooling my be crazy for a bit, though.

We also just became official chatecumens in the Orthodox church… That doesn’t involve much time, other than personal free time spent furthering my knowledge of the faith and making sure this is a decision I wholeheartedly want. The church also will be examining me to make sure my faith and desire is genuine.

I am officially in the 3rd Trimester with this baby girl! We have decided to name her Chloe Sophia, and she’ll even our numbers up nicely… 4 boys and 4 girls. I am chomping at the bit to pack my hospital bag and wash/put away all her clothes, but I have until August so I can definitely take my time.

Nesting will happen this summer when my schedule is more open, which will be nice. Before the next storm hits…

Celebrate! (A Day Late)

Yesterday marked my one year anniversary on WordPress! So much has happened.

Yesterday was spent nursing my 3 year old back to full health and helping my 2 year old puke in appropriate places (bucket, toilet… NOT my shirt). So no post on the actual day, sorry.

I’m paying for it today by having the most massive headache I can remember and my tummy is doing flips.

I am 20 weeks pregnant today! So maybe some tummy flips are really baby kicks, but let me tell you that doesn’t make me feel less queasy.

February Blahs

February is always my most difficult month. Not only is it mid-winter, a time when sunny days are generally few and far between, it is also smack dab in the middle of the school-year, and I just want to get done so I can start planning for next year. Planning is my favorite.

This blah month, combined with being 14 weeks pregnant with 7 other children running around the house, has left me feeling rather lethargic and apathetic. I just don’t feel like doing anything, although I know things must get done. Feeding said children and completing schoolwork are about all I want to put in my to-do list.

Having a family means having some repetitive chores… Having a large family simply means those chores are repeated more frequently. Dishwasher is run at least once a day, and must be emptied and reloaded almost immediately. We use paper plates to cut down on some of this, but some of it is also unavoidable. We only use plastic utensils when we’re away from home (co-op or park picnics, for example). And it is nice and satisfying to wake up to a clean sink/kitchen. That is my goal every evening… Although it is not always achieved.

Likewise, at least one load of laundry must be done daily. I am good at washing/drying… Folding usually gets backed up, and putting away at least is tasked to the children… I just shudder when it’s time for me to check their work. Some things are simply easier to do for myself, even if it is more beneficial to them to have them do it.

The dining room floor is swept after every meal, and sometimes in between too. The bathroom(s) need cleaned at least twice a week, with regular clean-the-toothpaste-spit-off-the-sink happening daily. *sigh*

It doesn’t seem like much, but I’m just not in the mood… Then again, if you ask me mid-June if I feel like doing dishes, laundry, and housework (even without the schoolwork in the mix) I probably wouldn’t feel any more apt to hop to it. Although with this baby due mid-August, I may get a nesting burst of energy in July.

One can hope. (My husband, especially!)

One secret to my success…

Success can be measured in a variety of ways. One thing I have always prided myself on was my punctuality. Before I met my husband, I was typically awkwardly early tongatherings and events… But I was quite content to sit in my car and read until someone else showed up.

Then, I met my husband. He runs on “Timmy Time” (a play on his name, Tim -duh- and a cute clay-mation kids show about “a little lamb with a lot to learn”). Anyway, he was almost always at least 5 minutes late… If not more. He could be on time to work, but that was about it.

Enter children… And with each child, people seem more and more surprised when I make it anywhere on time, much less early, and even more surprised that I seem to be relatively put together.

How can I get 7 children out of the house, by myself, and rarely seem to be missing necessary items? Obviously, at least to me, this requires planning ahead. I have always loved this, from middle school days when I was issued a school student agenda book to now when my life is contained within the monthly and weekly calendar pages of my homeschool planner. (FYI, I love A Simple Plan from Mardel.com)

On the weekends, I look ahead in the week and see what we have coming up. Not too often do we go off schedule… Co-op on Mondays and piano lessons on Thursdays are about the extent of our travels. If I promise a zoo trip of a park play day, those often don’t get written in, but I plan them at least the night before.

Books/backpacks are gathered on Sunday for co-op on Monday. Snacks and/or lunches are packed both the evening before co-op and zoo/park trips.

But most importantly, I look up driving directions. I remember my pre-smartphone days. I’d get on MapQuest on the computer, and write down directions, and estimated driving time. Then I’d add 15-30 minutes to that. Pure and simple, I built in a fair amount of buffer time… To account for traffic or leaving a little later than planned or *ahem* missing a turn and getting lost or who knows what other unexpected surprises that could possibly crop up.

And there you have it. That’s it. With more and more children, I factor in 10 minutes van loading time plus 10 minutes *unloading* time at our destination. Plus about 15 minutes buffer time in addition to the estimated travel time.

So for co-op, I make lunches and prepare snacks Sunday night. Assembly line style… 6 lunch boxes plus my own as the baby still eats drinks only a bottle during the day. Backpacks are assembles in a row, in birth order or I get confused, on the couch. So when I wake the kids up at 7, they get dressed, eat the breakfast I have already made (usually egg muffins… Scrambeled eggs with cheese and maybe bacon bits baked in a muffin tin) and we can just grab their stuff and get out the door around 8. Co-op starts at 9:15, and is about a 20-30 minute drive from home.

Last week, I had time to go to Tim Hortons (because we were out of eggs believe it or not) for 6 10 piece Tim-bits (and maybe a donut or two for me) and to Kroger to drop off a prescription I got the night before from an ER trip whem my oldest son got glass stuck in his leg by taking out the trash that had broken glass in it… Whoo, what a night.

But because we were otherwise already prepared for the day, I was only 5 minutes later than my normal arrival time (we got there around 8:50 rather than 8:45) so we could unload from the van, drop our lunch things in the cafeteria (only a bag of rag rugs to sit on today as the fourth Monday is the blesséd pizza day), drop the babies off in the nursery, my things in the mom lounge, and make it to the opening assembly on time.

Life with 7, soon to be 8, children can easily get crazy. It is entirely necessary to plan as much as possible to minimize the chaos. I once read a (fiction) book where a character explained why battle plans were made if everyone knew they went up in smoke as soon as actual battle started… plans WILL go awry. You make up a plan so you can get back on track and things don’t go as awry as they otherwise could.

That and I’ve been waking up at 5:30 every day except Saturday. 😴

Church Family

I have always been one to believe that, as the church is depicted as the body of Christ, then your local church is your family – brothers and sisters in Christ.

Recently, my husband and I made the difficult decision to switch churches. We were attending a reformed PCA (Presbyterian Church in America) church, but through studies on our own of the 7 Ecumenical Councils, which were held between 325 AD to 787 AD, as well as a study of what the Reformation (which started in 1517 when Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the door of the Catholic church), we came to the conclusion that the Reformation was not as good as we had thought.

Let me be clear: my husband came to this conclusion before I did. I was reading articles and watching YouTube videos on subjects he would bring up, and he still is further along on the path we’ve chosen than I am, but I am not only submissively following him (as good wives are Biblically called to do), I am actually finding I agree with what I’m learning.

The hard part about this, however, is that we love our church family. As you would probably find anywhere, we had minor complaints… But we would have stayed 50 years at that church with the complaints we had. Those are not even worthy to be discussed and had absolutely zero factor in our decision to leave.

The struggle is that people so identify with their way of thinking (“reformed thinking”), and it was once a way we too thought, that when we reject it, people we thought were our friends take it personally that we’re calling them out on holding to a wrong or bad belief. That is not at all what we are saying, and we tried to back away quietly.

Then Tim called the pastor, just to do him the courtesy of telling him we are leaving, and why. We have had families leave the church before, families we have remained friends with, but the church cast them in a such a light that made it look as though they took the easy way out and should have stayed to work through their issues. We wanted to be clear that it was no grievance that made us leave, but a change in theology.

As you may expect (but we didn’t), it didn’t go well. The friends we have reached out to have mostly been encouraging – encouraging us to get involved at our new church and to stay in touch with them. But there have been a few who say we are sinning (by bucking the authority of the church which says we are wrong in our change of theology) and we need to repent and come back.

But the church we are now attending is so glorifying to Christ. Not only is it extremely similar, from what we can tell, to the churches that Paul planted in his journies and all those early churches, but it is completely centered on the Incarnation of Christ. The songs are straight out of Scripture, the prayers are focused on drawing us closer to God, and the teaching is deeply theological, yet presented in an easy to understand 15 minute homilee in the middle of all the singing and praying. Our bodies are involved, in what we see and hear and smell, all of which is misunderstood by the reformed tradition, but clearly commanded by Scripture as a right way of worship, which the councils supported.

One more sad thing about leaving, I have been saying that if this theological change doesn’t pan out, we can always return to our old church. Swallow our pride and I’m sure they’d welcome us back (which I still think would be true). But in leaving, things were uncovered that completely changes my viewpoint of the leadership. While we weren’t enemies by any means, we weren’t exactly friends, but now I wonder how truly friendly we were being treated, or if it was all for furthering some nefarious end.

We continue to pray for our brothers and sisters at that old church, and even the pastors and elders and deacons there. But we have found something that is true, right, noble, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy. All thoughts I’ve had of returning there are gone. Blessed be the name of the Lord.

Thank you if you’ve read this far. I just wanted to get some thoughts out of my head, and I don’t even plan to share this. If you happen to come across it and take an interest in anything, I would love to chat about it. I am by far not an expert. I will become a catecumen around Lent, and even then won’t be an expert. But I do have my personal experience, and those kind of testimonies have always resonated with me.

Many blessings.

Dental Hygiene Hijinks

I am slightly ashamed to say it had been a decade since I’ve visited the dentist.

I went twice a year until the year I got married (2009) and then my dentist had a stroke, survived, and retired.

Then I got married, and my insurance changed. Then I had a baby… and then another baby… And then another baby… And another baby… Up until now, and I currently have 7 “babies” of various ages.

Life got crazy. Life has not gotten any less crazy, but I finally decided I needed to see the dentist for myself, and not just take my kids.

Actually, what sparked this, was that Olivia, my 6 year old (way back when she was 5) had a cavity *cue Mom-guilt for not making sure she was brushing well* and around Easter the filling fell out… But she didn’t say anything until the end of July when the hole where the filling had been started to get worse. I left four messages with her dentist, which still have not been returned. I did a Google search, found a dentist who not only was open evenings (for future appointments) but could fit her in at 8:30 the next morning.

She ended up having to have the tooth removed… Which is a whole other post that I don’t need to get into. But, since the new dentist was not limited to pediatric care, I made myself an appointment too.

They were surprised my mouth was in as good contdition as it was, as it had been 10 years since my last dentist visit, but I had 5 small cavities.

3 on my right side, we’re filled today. And I got to use the numbing injection that isn’t as effective because I can’t have epinephren due to Baby #8 being discovered a few weeks ago.

It all turned out fine, and I have a joint appointment with Ethan at the end of January, as he had a cavity from his last visit that needs filled as well.

It’s weird, laying on the chair, I find myself clenching my fists, and forcibly relaxing them, because my fear is accidentally twitching and making the drill slice into my tongue. I’m glad these imaginings stayed in my head. Until next time, when I’ll probably think the same thing!

Public Service Anouncement: Visit your dentist!

So much has happened since my last post. My baby is almost 9 months, we bought/fixed up/moved into a new house, a new baby was discovered the weekend we moved, homeschooling is going so much smoother than last year, and we left a church we have known and loved for the past 10 years into a completely different branch of Christianity.

I hope to be a more regular poster in 2019, if only for my own selfish reasons. But I definitely have much to post about.