Saturday, February 24, 2018

An Off Week

An off week in more than one way.

I was sick for a few days.  Thankfully it was just headaches and body aches, not the flu.  Praise the Lord. And the kids didn't seem to get it, though Kevin had it as well.  We were both very tired.

I took the week off from school and thought I'd get a lot done.  Which didn't happen. Being sick didn't help.  Caring for Rosy Posy was, as usual, fairly exhausting because she's a high energy girl.

However, we did get a few things done.  I specifically wanted to START working on clothing needs for the summer and sure enough, I started.

I managed to heroically cull some of our DVD's and books.  That doesn't come easily, but I got rid of at least 75 books and maybe 6 videos?

Which helps.


Rose makes me chuckle. She has all these toys she adores so she has now found them a plastic tub so she can haul them ALL around.


And here is her 'submarine'. Please observe the crack so she has air.  We are careful.


Tuesday was WARM.  Like 70 degrees.  We spent hours and hours outside, which was good.

Naomi's college courses are going well.  She is a hard worker and organized.

Lydia is also doing well in her freshman English class.  It has helped a lot that Lydia has her license.  My weeks are much easier now that I don't have to drive her to class. Of course I pray for her and Naomi, that God will keep them safe.


We have made the fairly momentous decision to try and sell our 'big van'.  It is a 15 passenger that has served us well, but now that we have 4 drivers, one of whom is full time in college, we are using it all of once every 3 months.  We almost always take two cars to church as different people go to Sunday school and service.

Given that we are paying insurance on it, and it is worth a fair amount (still) we've decided it is time to pass it on.  For our occasional trips to Michigan, we'll either have to take 2 cars or leave two someones behind; but again, with both Naomi and Lydia being full time in college next year, that's not unrealistic.

Or we can take two cars.

Of course, we have to sell it.  What kind of crazy needs a 15 passenger van???



Saturday, February 17, 2018

Cuteness Overload


She loves this hat and pretty much wears it all the time these days.  Sometimes even to bed!


And sometimes, she just needs to hang out in the corner of the family room eating an apple.


And this is the GREATEST.  She's entered her "attached to multiple objects" stage in life. She has all these stuffed animals she adores, to the point that she can't carry them all at once. So being a sensible little girl, she found a container and carefully stacks them all inside so she can cart them all around at once. Problem solving at its best!

We love our little lady.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

(Not) Like a Well Oiled Machine

Usually our laundry routine works quite well. There are 11 of us, of course, which means a great deal of laundry. But we've got things down to a semi-science, with various people doing various jobs.

So we rarely get way behind, and we rarely have laundry catastrophes.

But yeah, yesterday didn't go well. We were running laundry cheerfully enough, when we suddenly smelled something dreadful in the washer.

Kevin, of the eagle eye and nose of bloodhound, successfully tracked down, yes, a small lump of fecal material, also known as poop, in our washing machine!

AFTER we had run a couple of loads.  My best guess is that one of the little ones had an accident and 'helpfully' threw a pair of underwear with unpleasant load into the washing machine. Because that's what you do with dirty undies, right?  Wash them.

So that meant we had to wash some clothes over again. Not that they really smelled, but I just KNEW what had happened so had to wash them again.

And then, to add insult to injury, we had a sheet problem.  Fridays are the day that the younger 7 kids change their sheets.  We have 2 sheets for each child, so when one comes off, another clean one should be available to put on the bed.  But SOMEHOW, the middle girls only had 2 clean sheets.  4 dirty.  We figured this out at night.  So here we are, juggling laundry that had to be re-washed with a frantic need to wash a sheet so Angela could make her bed before bedtime.

Result is that I have a half load of wet stuff from yesterday sitting in my entry room because somehow we overlooked it. Today we wash our sheets, so I have to wait for those to dry before I put the clothes from yesterday in.

We are close to being sorted out, but arghh.  Not a stellar day in the laundry department!


Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Newly Minted Driver!


And this lovely young lady is now a licensed driver!  She passed her test last Friday.  It is exciting for all of us. Yesterday she drove herself to her college class and it went great.  Congratulations to Lydia!



Most mornings now, Rose sits on my lap for 10 minutes or so drinking her milk.  This is new and special.  The child rarely sits still for long so these moments when she just cuddles without frantically wiggling are a lot of fun.  She has also started sitting still for me to read her books.

This is the first time in my parenting life that I've had a 3 and a half year old youngest child.  It really is different. I don't have a baby or a toddler now.  Rose, though she is still very active, is calmer than she was a year ago.  It'll be interesting when she is 5 years old. 

Friday, February 2, 2018

It's a New (Used) Car!


Lydia is a brand new driver!

And we bought a 2016 Toyota Corolla last week for both girls to drive.

I've never been a parent who thought their children 'deserved' a new car at 16.  Indeed, I have always thought that a ridiculous point of view given that cars are expensive and kids' insurance is higher on new cars.

BUT, we decided that the old car that Naomi was driving, a 2003 Civic, wasn't nearly as safe as a newer model.  Tremendous strides have been made in safety the last 15 years.  More air bags, improved crash protection, rear backup camera...

So yes, we decided to buy a safer car.  Which is red.  Now our fleet of cars includes 2 red cars, 1 red minivan, and a silver 15 passenger van.

It's been an expensive year + what with one thing and another.  We bought the Pacifica for me, the Corolla for the girls, orthodontia for 3 kids, decking, and no doubt other things I am forgetting.  And of course we eat a lot.  Our grocery bills went up last year as Isaac in particular did his classic "I'm a teen boy with a hollow leg" thing.

All this is to say I am very thankful for Kevin's job.  It pays well and we are able to care for our large family well.

And congrats to Lydia!

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Superhero capes by Lydia




We were gifted some fabric and Lydia made capes for the three youngest. So adorable!

Monday, January 22, 2018

Choices

I spent (not enough) time this morning praying for our children and their career choices.

It occurred to me that we live in kind of a weird time in history.  Our children, both girls and boys, have so many possibilities for careers.

For centuries, most women in most countries had very few options. In many countries today, women had few options. And many young men have also been expected to follow in their father's footsteps. If your father was a tailor, you were expected to become a tailor.  If he was a farmer, so were you.  And so on.

So now we live in a country where both men and women can do almost anything.

And while that is great freedom, it also means that the choices can seem overwhelming at times.  I mean, there are like hundreds of possible careers. Which is the right one for a particular young person, especially someone who naturally doesn't have experience in the working world?

There are ways to narrow things down, like doing career analyses.  I have some of those books and the older girls have worked their way through. Naomi is an introvert so spending a lot of time with random people, as a salesperson, for example, wouldn't be a good fit. 

Lydia loves children.  Loves children.  So she'll probably end up doing something with little kids.

Or animals. She love animals as well.

So yes, I was praying for God's guidance.

But maybe even more important than picking the "perfect career" is being at peace with not really knowing the future.

I went to college and chose metallurgical engineering as my major, based on a week long trip to Michigan Technological University the summer after my junior year.  We had a half day session on metallurgy.  That wasn't much information about a whole major, but I figured I could switch majors if it wasn't a good fit.

Turned out it was.  I really loved metallurgical engineering.  My graduate studies were more all encompassing and my degree was in Materials Science and Engineering. (Metallurgy is focused on, you guessed it, metals.  But ceramics and polymers are also vitally important materials, of course.)

So I spent almost 10 years in college. Yes, 10 years.  Graduated with Ph.D.  Got married.  Worked for a couple of years.  Had a child.

And wow, was I unprepared!  I hadn't been around small children much at all for decades.  I was teary eyed with hormonal upheaval and fear the day we brought Naomi home from the hospital. Of course I had researched and read books and thought about baby care, but it wasn't something I had much experience with and I was so stressed about messing it up.

Did I mention she was under 6 lbs at birth, and born in the winter?  She was so tiny and I was so unprepared!  I loved her with a fierce passion that defied description, and felt inadequate.

But you know, I figured it out. And then we were blessed with 8 more children, and my life settled into a routine and I became a bona fide expert with small ones.

So sometimes you start in one direction, and life takes a sudden turn and you do something else.

That's encouraging.  Our kids don't need to figure it all out. They can take a few steps in one direction. If they need to adjust, that's Ok. God can guide them through His paths for their lives.

Just as He guided me.