Monday, November 13, 2017

Kevin is 47!

For a few brief weeks every year, I am 2 years older than Kevin. Well, not really of course, but our ages are 2 years apart.

And then, to everyone's relief, he turns the next year and I'm back to being only 1 year older again!

So now I am 48 and he is 47.

Interesting factoid.  My mother is older than my father, and my paternal grandmother was older than my paternal grandfather. That is probably a little unusual, to have 3 generations where the wife is older than the husband.  Not that it is important.

Happy birthday, my wonderful Kevin!


 We are at the tail end of one of our tedious fall/winter illnesses.  I don't suppose we get sick more often than most Americans. Maybe we do.  I do know that with a family of 11, it takes forever for everyone to get well. Or at least it feels that way.

I haven't been too sick. Unlike others in the family, I haven't had a cough or even a runny nose. But a week ago or so, I got totally exhausted one day. I was so tired I lay down for a nap after lunch, got back up at 2 p.m., lay down on the couch at around 4 p.m., was chased to bed by Kevin, and slept through the night until 7 a.m. the next morning except for being up for about an hour at midnight.

Wow. I haven't slept that long in I don't know how many years.

It has been a week, as I said, and I am still a bit more tired than usual though nothing like that.  And I keep getting headaches, though the weather changes may be partially responsible.

I like to get things done because it makes me feel good about myself.  As I've grown older, I've better embraced the truth that I am loved by God no matter what I do. Really.  As a Christian, I do have certain things I need to do because I love Jesus, because I love my Heavenly Father. But life isn't a bunch of tasks to get done to win God's favor. I HAVE God's favor.

Nevertheless, it is hard to take it easily. And yet...when I rush around more than I should, when I don't get adequate rest, it takes me far longer to recover.  Since we no longer have tiny babies who need frequent nursing, I can and should rest as necessary.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Saturday, October 28, 2017

The Small One

Partly these pictures are a record of how cute our youngest is. And she is really really really cute.

She's also not just one handful, but two. She's a pistol, a spitfire. A ton of work.

I am so thankful for Rose. She is healthy and smart and all of those things are gifts from God.  

But I also must say she is very exhausting.  She's busy almost all day every day, she's very demanding, she loves to make messes, and she rarely can be left alone (except in her room, which is child proofed) for more than a few minutes.

All this is to say that parents of small children deserve a lot of patience.  Some kids are mellow. I've had some.  Some are less so.  I've had some of those too.

I have confidence, based on experience, that Rose will mature and stop trying to destroy the house or herself.  In the meantime, a remarkable amount of our time must be devoted to her personal safety.  

May the Lord grant us wisdom, strength, and resolution.

Monday, October 23, 2017

48 years old!

Yes, friends, if you cut me open and counted the rings, you'd see I'm 48 years old as of this week!

Not many 48 years old are blessed with such a nice 3 year old toddler.  She keeps me on my toes. And young, I hope.

Kevin and the kids dug up the sweet potatoes. AND WOW. We got a bazillion. Awesome crop.

And the deck project is in full swing!  Kevin worked on it like 8 hours over the weekend and made great progress. The older kids helped some too.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017


Mocha has definitely decided we are 'her people'. She gets friendlier every day.  She is still small but has grown quite a bit in the last month.  In about another month we'll trundle her off to get her fixed. No kittens on our watch.

My back is way better. I am so thankful.  Kevin has had an aching back, as has his mother. So apparently this viral thing attacks backs.

This week we took a week off from 'normal school' -- everyone but Naomi, that is, who of course has to keep up with her classes.  Lydia's 1 credit class is done. She did very well.  I'm so proud of her.

Rose has her moments of not being a total terror. And then sometimes she is a terror.  Still.  Often.

I adore her.
That's about it for now. And the Terror wants me.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Oh, My Aching Back...

A few days ago, my back started hurting a lot.

Fortunately, it is just a virus.  Really.  That is fortunate. Nothing long term, nothing really serious. Just a pesky virus attacking my back.

That first day I could hardly walk straight.  Since then, it has been better but not great.

I'm extra tired, too.

It is hard being sick. I am blessed with older children who can do almost everything I can do, but the younger and middle kids rather need Mama on their case to make sure they do what needs to be done. The house is definitely a tad on the messy side right now.

Ah well.

I'm hoping by next week I'll be much better. I'm planning to do some major work on the kids' clothing and shoe needs for winter.  Daniel has almost no long pants as far as I can tell.

Kids also get to attend a birthday party next Thursday, which is fun!

Monday, October 9, 2017

Cogitations on TV

I haven't watched much TV in literally decades.  We decided against cable TV when we got married and the natural result was that we didn't watch television. Which was all to the good.  For me, anyway, TV was a temptation toward wasting time that could be better spent in other ways.

We have Netflix and Amazon Prime now, so have access to many shows now, but, and this is the big thing, we can decide when we want to watch something. TV doesn't control our lives since we can decide when and if we want to something.

I like mysteries.  I like forensics.  Last week, I heard about a long running series called Bones, about a forensic anthropologist and an FBI agent.  Our library didn't have the first season readily available so I found it on ebay for $5 and bought it. some ways, the first 3 episodes (the only ones I watched) were a lot of fun.  The main characters are amusing, the plots were interesting, the science was fascinating.

But I ended up throwing the disks in the trash yesterday.  Because, by the third episode I realized that 'sexual banter' was a pervasive part of the show.

The underlying worldview by episode 3 is that everyone is and should be having sex regularly, and having sex with random people is totally cool.

It is not cool.  It is not healthy.  The man who supposedly has slept with dozens of women didn't mention any issues -- pregnancy scares?  Worries about sexually transmitted diseases?  Emotional devastation on the part of the women involved?

It bothered me enough, and I had enough of a check in my spirit, that I threw out the disks.

Now I know everyone is different.  This issue really bothers me, far more than the gruesome nature of the dead bodies in the show.  Some people would probably be upset but since I knew it was just acting, it didn't bother me.  Some people can no doubt handle the sexual stuff without it being an issue.

But that calm acceptance of unhealthy sexual relationships was not good for me.

So I am going to try another show out, Rosemary and Thyme, British I believe, apparently very clean.  The library does have that one.  We'll see...

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Up Comes the Deck

We have a huge deck out back, and it needs replaced rather desperately.  We've been dealing with splinters and other sundry issues.

So we're pulling up the boards and have replaced one section with new cedar boards.

I'm taking a trip down memory lane right now. When we moved into this house, Naomi was 5, Lydia was 3, Isaac was 2, Joseph was under a year, and I was pregnant with Miriam.

Obviously, the kids were too little help, and I was too overwhelmed by child care duties and pregnancy to help Kevin with the truly incredible number of tasks that needed to be done on our house.  It was a foreclosure, and the project list was in the dozens, I believe.

So I kept the kids alive and healthy, and Kevin toiled away with some help from a couple of male friends.

This year, we have older kids and they are doing such wonderful work on the deck. Kevin's back is not suffering all that much and the work is going so quickly.

It is truly a blessing having a large family of willing, helpful kids.

(And they are being paid, which makes them even more willing!)

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Hard Week

Our 3 youngest are having a hard week.

I am tired.

A friend of mine named Debbie has given me so much good advice but one of the best things she ever said was, "Don't expect to always 'enjoy' your children."

I adore my children, love them, like being with them. Usually.

BUT there are phases which are not much fun.

Rose has been crabby.  Daniel has been crabby. Sarah has been crabby.

Crabby X 3 is exhausting!

I have been busy with 2 afternoons of work and 2 trips to take Lydia to her college class each week. It may be that the busyness is stressing out Rose, in particular.

In other news, it has been insanely hot for this time of year, but tomorrow the temps will finally fall.  I'm looking forward to fall weather.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Tired Rose

Rose very very rarely takes a nap anymore, but she was clingy and whiny this morning so after lunch I put her in her room, thinking she might fall asleep.

After an hour, it was very quiet. I poked my head in and looked around.

Where was Rose?

Ah, there is a Rosie foot!

She woke up and heard me.

But decided she wasn't ready to get up yet :-).

Cute girl!

Friday, September 22, 2017

I'm Thankful It Is Friday

Busy week!  Still sick off and on, though improving. My tailbone is better after a trip to the chiropractor on Monday. That actually helped a lot, and I'm thankful.

It has been a very busy week.  Chiro appointment on Monday, dental appointment for Sarah on Wednesday, normal work 2 afternoons a week and then Lydia has a class Monday and Wednesday afternoons for an hour, but she drives me here and there to get driving time in.

So yeah, I feel stretched.

Kids went crazy checking things out on the microscope one day this week.  It was homeschooling on the porch!  It was great.  I think that was one of my "not feeling well" days so it was terrific they were excited about learning when I was just in survival mode.

(To be totally clear, I am NOT PREGNANT!  I know that sick Laraba makes people think that but dudes, I'm almost 48. No more babies!)

Mocha, the kitten, is still timid and nervous and living in our shed, but she is warming up to us.  Lydia touched her for the first time today.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Still a Little Sick

And I'm getting tired of it.  Sigh. I think I am improving but this morning hasn't been good.  I'm functional but not happy. Nausea, fatigue, aches and pains.

Kevin has had it, some other kids have had it, Kevin's mom has it.  It is just taking a while to get through the system.

And when I am tempted to be whiny, I'm reminded of Nabeel Qureshi, who did pass away yesterday from cancer.  While I rejoice that he is with Jesus, free from his pain, I grieve intensely for his wife, his daughter, his extended family, and his friends.

Not that I know the man. I just know his books. His story is being repeated all over in other families losing loved ones far too young.  But for some reason his life resonates because his books have meant so much to me.

This is Mocha.  She is a small calico kitten (we presume female) who showed up a few days ago.  She is super skittish and won't let anyone touch her, though she is friendly with our cats.  We tried to capture her in the garage and she sank sharp teeth into Lydia's finger, then hid in the underside of Kevin's car, before fleeing into the back 3 acres.

But she was back the next morning, and is getting to the point that we can get within a few feet of her.  We're feeding her and hope she'll get comfortable enough soon that we can touch her.

We don't know her story, but she is small and needs care, so we've adopted her.  Or she's adopted us. Not that we need another cat, in any way, but...we're cat lovers and we aren't going to turn her away.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Weird Week

Let's start with the new car.  In the picture above you can clearly see the front bumper on the passenger side.  Looks pretty good, doesn't it?  Well, the second day we had it, I bumped the minivan into a pole!  It made a big dent in it.  Kevin has been toiling for a couple of weeks to get the bump out and paint on and it looks terrific now.  Thank you sweetie!


Rose asleep on her bed.

More chess on the computer.

Our cold pool. It was a fairly short swim season due to a cooler summer than usual.  Kevin will be closing it soon.

I am sick this week. Last week was of course the great tailbone catastrophe, and it still hurts.  Now I have a virus on top of it.  It takes a lot to put me off my food, but this virus is doing it.  However, it really is just a virus and I really will only be nauseous for a few days. Compared to 3 months of early pregnancy, this is (sort of) a breeze.

I'm thankful for big kids who have been so helpful with the littles.  We did school this week and when the children weren't doing work, they were often helping.  And playing chess for fun.  I am not good at chess so it is wonderful we have several kids who enjoy it.

Naomi is doing very well with her college classes. She is taking 4 and that requires a fair amount of organization. So far she is getting high A's in 3 classes and a high C in the fourth; the last is due to some confusion on one of her assignments so I am sure she will bring it up.  I am so proud of her!

Lydia is toiling away in her class. She is doing well though she is shy so not looking forward to an upcoming group presentation, but I know she'll do fine.

In the middle of irritation over tailbones and viruses, I am both counting my personal blessings and grieving over Nabeel Qureshi.  He is former Muslim turned Christian evangelist and his book Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus is a favorite of mine.  He combines excellent apologetics with respect for those of the Islamic faith and lifestyle and a big dose of humor as well.

He is dying of stomach cancer.  Like, last few days dying, probably.  It is heart breaking. He is only 34 with a wife and one child.  

Breaks my heart.  He'll be with Jesus but his family and friends will miss him so much!  Of course God can heal him and I do pray He will, but I really don't expect it for some reason. But maybe that is lack of faith on my part. Well, it isn't. I have faith the Lord can heal him. But I have a sense that this is one of those "I don't get it God, so I'm giving it to you" situations which happens all too often in life.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

The Gift of Pain

A totally fascinating doctor named Paul Brand, and a well known Christian author named Philip Yancey, wrote a book called The Gift of Pain.

The basic idea is that pain is a gift from God, because pain helps us figure out that we are hurt and therefore that we need to protect ourselves.

Paul Brand did groundbreaking work with people afflicted with leprosy. He discovered that the leprosy bacterium destroys pain sensors, and people with advanced leprosy stop feeling pain. They don't take care of themselves and their bodies are badly damaged.

As a simple example, many will stop blinking because their eyes don't register discomfort from getting too dry. And some go blind.

Diabetics have similar problems, especially in their feet.  High blood sugars can cause long term damage including the inability to feel pain in the feet.

Anyhoo, I'm in pain, and I'm trying to be thankful for the gift of pain.

I'm not in pain all the time, just when I sit wrong :-).  Wow, I walloped myself when I fell a week and a day ago!  I'm sure it is just bruised but it is taking its sweet time to heal.

But I have a nice doughnut pillow to sit on, and the pain tells me to sit "just so" to prevent a flare up.

Here's an interesting story.  Paul Brand did a test where he had people walk long distances in specially prepared shoes that had small blue gel balls under the foot.  As the people walked, the gel balls broke.  The result was that he was able to see the major pressure points during walking.

People without pain impairment will constantly shift their pressure around to prevent sores in the feet.  Leprosy patients will walk exactly the same way all the time unless taught not to.  Thus, even with good shoes leprosy patients will tend to damage their feet because they don't shift around to prevent blisters.

True for diabetics too, I believe.

Anyway, my tailbone is recovering slowly but I'm still not a totally happy camper.

But I am thankful for pain to tell me when I need to shift my position to take pressure off that sensitive area!

Friday, September 8, 2017

Our Precious Adorable Terror

I truly adore this kid!  She is so bright and energetic and amazing. But she's also a TERROR!

Today we had some guests who were buying our old minivan (yes, it is sold!  We pray it is a good vehicle for the gentleman who bought it.)  Rose had just had a bath and was wrapped up in a big towel in my lap.  She actually sat quietly on my lap due to shyness for, I don't know, 3 or 4 minutes!  It was amazing.

Because she usually will not cuddle with me. She is way too busy running around, throwing water on the floor, and writing on the walls (thankfully, usually in pencil.)

We are not lax parents. We have lots of experience. We discipline her.  We are working with her on self control and obedience.

And she is still a ton of work.  A TON!

We are very thankful for her. But if you happen to see a kid throwing a tantrum in Kroger, that might be our kid. And give us grace.

Thursday, September 7, 2017


I don't think I've mentioned our garden this year.

Cucumbers have been great.  Beans Ok but not terrific.  And the tomatoes, oh, the tomatoes!

Kevin has been toiling away and we have 41 quarts of tomatoes!

Stay tuned for our sweet potato crop.  (Which Kevin thinks won't be wonderful.)

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Thankful We Started School in August...

  I am not feeling too terrific today.  In addition to a sore bum, I have aching arms and legs and I'm tired. So I almost certainly have a virus. What fun.

However, one of the many joys of starting school early (in early August) is that I feel at peace about taking a week mostly off from school.  Naomi is full time at Clark State so of course she is working away. Lydia has her college class.  Most of the kids are doing math. But other than that, we're taking time for me to recover and the other sickies as well.

I don't think I mentioned that I had a minor bump in the new van the DAY after we got it.  Combination of distraction from a loud child and confusion about the way the car worked. Kevin has spent hours and hours learning how to fix it, and he mostly succeeded. It looks almost as good as new.  We have some paint on order to cover up a few scratches and then it really will be as good as new.

I am grateful, not for the first time, for a talented husband.

Right now, Hurricane Irma is sweeping through the Caribbean, heading toward Florida. It is scary.  It seems strange sometimes to be in a safe place when I know people in our country are dealing with floods and wildfires and hurricanes.  And in other parts of the world, very hard things are happening with natural disasters and wars and political craziness.

So in spite of not feeling well and being frustrated by not feeling well, I am grateful for what we have, and am praying for those suffering far more seriously than I am.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

A Hard Fall

  So I took quite the fall yesterday.

Rose likes to watch Sunny Bunnies and Monica Toy on Youtube. Don't ask. It's for little kids. But it keeps her quiet and less inclined to climb on the fans in the ceiling, so indulge her.

She was wiggling, as usual, and I was adjusting my arm around her, and I lifted her toward me, and I sat down on the computer chair...

Except I didn't.  Said chair, which has new castors, had drifted deliberately away from the computer desk and I instead fell hard on my keister.

And then Rosie, to finish the deed, fell hard on me and drove me further into the floor.

Major major ouch.  I was like, crying, literally, it hurt so much.

I have this vague memory of Rose either saying something encouraging or annoying, but I don't know which. I was in too much pain to respond.

Lydia asked if she should Kevin (who wasn't up yet) but I wasn't that far gone.

So, bruised tailbone. I was afraid it was broken but I'm nearly sure, now, that it is merely a bruised and/or swollen tailbone.

Kevin drove me off to CVS and we got a blow up pillow for me to sit on.

I rested a lot yesterday and today I feel somewhat better.

And I am realizing again the true blessing of older kids. It has been a hard day as I have a sore posterior and Sarah and Daniel and Lydia are not feeling well.  But Naomi and Isaac and Joseph and Miriam and Angela are doing a lot to keep the house in reasonable shape.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017


  Last week, I told Kevin that I wanted a new car.

  Yesterday, we picked one up from the dealership.

  Of course (I hope it is 'of course') there is more to the story than a demanding  and spendthrift wife!

  Seriously, we've been thinking about replacing our old minivan for at least a year.  It has served us well, SO well, but it is over 17 years old.

  We've been looking around and thinking and praying about the proper replacement. After much cogitation, we settled on the new Chrysler Pacifica.

 Now we're enthusiastic about used cars.  You can usually get a good deal on a car that is a year or two old.

 BUT the Pacifica is new as of 2017.  There are a few out there on the market that are used, but they aren't substantially cheaper than a new one.

  We love the blind spot monitoring, the additional safety features. Kevin is excited about the ability to fold the middle seats into the FLOOR. So much easier on his back than hauling out the seats as needed.

 It has 8 seats.

  We can't quite pay for it outright so we took out a  loan which we plan to pay off soon.

 So Kevin had been in contact with a dealer for a couple of weeks and we made the decision a few days ago. Yesterday, we went over there and picked it up and I drove it home.  It's a sweet ride.

My Dad's Surgery

  Sunday afternoon, my dad had an emergency appendectomy.  It came out of the blue, really. Saturday night at 8 p.m. he suddenly felt sick, like really really sick. He was miserable all night.  My mother firmly took him to the ER on Sunday, and within a few hours he had been diagnosed, prepped, operated on, and was in his room.

  We are very thankful for good outcome for him!

  And here is the "God" part.  I will give the Lord the glory for this!

 A week or so BEFORE my father's surgery, our neighbor's 3 children suddenly showed up on our doorstep asking if Lydia could come next door to watch them as their father was sick with, you guessed it, possibly appendicitis.

  Lydia and I went over and sure enough, our neighbor was in pain and misery and was about to drive off for a CAT scan.  I offered to drive him but he said no, he could make it so long as he was sure the kids were Ok.

  And it WAS appendicitis, and he was operated on that day.

  So I mentioned this is an email to my parents, and my mother thought of appendicitis when Dad got so sick so suddenly.

  What are the chances of that?

 And to make things even more bizarre, our neighbor's nephew had come down with appendicitis a couple of weeks before he took ill with it! So our neighbor had possible appendix problems on his mind.

  We live in a world with sickness.  I am so thankful that we have good medical care in our country and that people with appendicitis can be operated on and saved.

And I'm very thankful my daddy is Ok.

P.S.  I just remembered that for Five in a Row this week, we are reading "Madeline", which is about a little girl with appendicitis!  She was in the hospital 10 days  in the book. My dad was released within 24 hours of surgery. How times have changed...

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Cats and A1c and Supergirl, oh My!

And the kittens are OUT!  Outdoor cats, I mean. They've been living in our sun room but getting more and more ancy.  Then one of them (who will not be named in a public blog) started peeing in the corners. Ok, we're done. So far they love being outside.  When winter comes, we'll beef up our cute little outdoor cat area. We already have little houses for them but I have plans to make an even nicer 'cave'.   We knew they'd be outdoor cats eventually and the peeing just made the decision for us.

And Lydia is Supergirl!  For Renu, the youth group. They are having a series of 'days' where they dress up like a superhero, or with crazy hair, and so on.  She won first place, not surprisingly.

Our sweet little one is actually mellowing.  She sometimes sits for minutes at a time and 'reads' books and drinks her milky. Though in this case, she had copped some yummy liquid from her grandmother.

Crazy photobomb.

And oh yes, A1c for ME.  I went in this week and my latest A1c was 5.0!!!  That is the best it has been since I was diagnosed. I have to think that my minor weight lifting is helping?  My weight is actually UP, as I said previously, but I have real muscles now.  I'll keep exercising.  My doctor took me off all diabetes meds and I'm now a "diet controlled" diabetic.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Health and Weight in Middle Age

I have always been thin, and in that totally irritating way that probably has annoyed scores of friends.

Because, ya know, we live in a culture which celebrates being thin.  And my whole life I stayed thin without much effort.  

Now I haven't eaten anything I wanted since I managed to become diabetic in the middle of all this thinness, so I've been eating low carb for 14 years.  But yeah, in the midst of a restrictive diet I still ate plenty and stayed thin.  I lost weight easily post partum.  

I've rarely been in good shape as I disliked exercising and have spent much of the last 18 years pregnant or recovering from childbirth.

But I was thin, by gum.

It has been probably 18 months since I started taking Lexapro for anxiety and my weight has been climbing since then.  I'm up almost 15 lbs. now.

I have said, and thought I believed, that the important thing in life is not how much I weigh, but how healthy I am.  But the actual reality of being a bit chunkier has been harder than I realized.

In the last couple of months I have ramped up my exercising. I am actually lifting weights some, and doing other strength and core exercises. I have been able to do 3, count them THREE, push-ups.  Which really is a major accomplishment as I couldn't do a single one 2 months ago.

And yet, the weight keeps inching upwards.

It is really pretty easy to gain weight in this culture, isn't it?  I am wondering if my constant anxiety and adrenaline rushes meant my metabolism was ramped up a lot before Lexapro?

Or maybe I got to be in my late 40's and my metabolism finally slowed down?

I'll keep working at being healthy, but I really am trying to embrace that my weight may be higher and that is fine. It is better than fine.  I'm going to focus on cardiovascular health and strong(er) muscles and eating well and not worry about the weight.

Because it really shouldn't matter. But in this culture, it does and it takes hard work not to worry about it.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

It Begins

School for the year, that is.

This week, the children will start a very slow, gentle dive back into the waters of homeschooling.

Now that's poetic, isn't it?

The two youngest studying rocks.  We have lots of educational things around so the kids learn even when we're not in the throes of school, of course.

But yes, this week we will be starting math up as well as a little assigned reading.  That's all. The next week, more.  And more, until we should be up to full schedule by the beginning of September.

Naomi's school this year will mostly be at Clark State, a local community college.  She's studying New Media, which is a series of classes focused on digital media on the internet.  I think.

She has already taken 3 classes at Clark State and has A's in all of them.  She's a hard worker, and smart.  This fall will be the first time she has close to a full load so it'll be challenging but I am sure she'll do fine.

Lydia will take a one credit class this fall and then a freshman English class in the spring.

And everyone else will be taught entirely at home.  This year I have 7 school aged children which amazes me, since Sarah is now legal school age.

Let the homeschool year BEGIN!

The Rose

And just like that, this beautiful little lady is mostly potty trained. She is doing GREAT.  From clueless to an adept in one short month. We're so proud of her!

  She's also calmer and safer than she used to be. I say that because yesterday she had a really bad day, and reverted to her crazy ways, and it made me realize that she is generally wiser and more careful of her personal safety!

I took her to the library with 2 other kids mid afternoon and she was a total terror there, running all over and getting into stuff.  Later in the day, I hid in the bathtub enjoying a long epsom salt bath while our competent older girls took care of her.  In addition to other ballistic behavior, our sweet girl leaped from the top step into Lydia's arms when Lydia was chasing her up the stairs.

But as I said, she's usually calmer now (that kind of behavior was an all day, every day thing 6 months ago.)

Of course, we always love and adore and enjoy her, but I am appreciative of her new maturity in a number of areas.

And yes, we may have purchased our LAST box of diapers from Sam's Club. I just can't even wrap my mind around the wonder of THAT.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Miscellaneous mutterings

         This is our downstairs bathroom.  It is not remarkable in any way except for what is missing in this picture -- namely a diaper changing pad.
         Yes, our sweet Rose is doing very well potty training!  She's not 100% but I decided we could put the changing pad away.  It makes the counter look strange as there has been a changing pad there for most of 12 years!
        I am very glad things are going so well with Rose in the potty department.


Zane wants to be in the circus, riding a horse!  But he's stuck with balancing precariously on a rocking horse. So cute. The three kittens were all neutered this week and are doing very well.  They were a bit groggy for a day or so but are back to their usual crazy antics.

             Kevin went on a work trip this week to Arizona.  He went to an Air Force facility where many out of service airplanes are stored. Some (a few) are airworthy, but most are being kept for parts or research. Obviously that is a picture of a big old cactus. He had a nice trip but it was great when he got home.

             We are still missing Kazuma but I think lots of crying and mourning helped us process his death quickly.  At least it was the obvious right decision.

               We start school in a couple of weeks.  Wow.  I feel like the summer just started in some ways!  We always gradually move into school in August and I try to be at full load by September.  Naomi is planning to take 4 classes at a local community college this fall, which will be a big change for her.  She'll have to manage her time and schedule well.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Good-bye Kazuma

We are very sad today. Last night, our beloved cat Kazuma suddenly couldn't walk straight or steadily. He was staggering around, and this morning he was worse.  We took him to the vet who diagnosed, vaguely, something very serious -- stroke, seizure disorder, blood clot. We could likely find out what with extensive testing, but it wouldn't have changed the fact that he was an old cat with a major problem who was completely miserable.

So we made the very hard call and had him euthanized.  They gave him a sedative and I held him in my arms as the terror left his limbs and he fell asleep in my arms.  He was peaceful as they administered the drug that stopped his heart.

Kevin buried him in our back 3 acres after a little time of reflection as a family. He was a really good cat and this was really hard and we've cried buckets of tears.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Potty Training the Littlest

Potty training is not for cowards.

If that is indeed true, I am a brave mama for training 9 kids thus far.

Of course, it is the children who have done the really hard work.

And it IS hard work.  Yes, some kids just get it all at once and have the whole thing down in a day or two. I have a friend who told me her eldest had one accident total. One.

We have had a couple of potty prodigies, as we call them (though they weren't as amazing as our friend's daughter) but most of our kids have taken awhile to master all the complex issues surrounding using the potty.

There is the actual peeing and pooping. There is getting the underwear off and on. There is dumping the small potty into the big potty. There is washing the hands.

There is recognizing the need to use the bathroom in the middle of an interesting video or game time.

So having said all that, Rose is doing very well. She's consistently able to use the potty and while she has accidents, we're proud of her progress.

AND, she is the last kid. When she is done, we will be done with diapers!  For real!  Wow. Amazing.  17+ years of having kids in diapers and yes, we will be done done done!


Saturday, July 1, 2017

20th Anniversary

Incredibly enough, Kevin and I celebrated 20 years of marriage this week.  It really is hard to believe, hard to FATHOM, that we've been blessed with 20 years together!

Marriage is hard works It is worth it, definitely, but it isn't easy.  I would say our first year was in some ways the most challenging, as we worked out what it was like to live together in marriage together.

On the other hand, back then we didn't have kids waking us up at night. Or fighting.  Or peeing on the floor.  Or falling over and scraping themselves.

In the Princess Bride, Wesley tells Buttercup, "Life is pain, Highness, anyone who tells you anything else is selling something."

It's a funny line in context, but there is a streak of truth. Anyone assuming life will be peaches and cream, all fun, is going to be sorely disappointed.  Our lives are joyful and happy.  Our marriage, our children, our GOD, are a blessing.

Yes, God has carried us through 20 years of marriage.  We are so thankful for His strength, direction and wisdom.

20 years.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Lydia is 16!

Our sweet Lydia is 16!

I remember like it was yesterday the night she was born. I went into labor about midnight and she was born less than 5 hours later. She was tiny and beautiful and such a blessing.

And she still is.  Not tiny, but a very beautiful blessing.

She is fantastic with small children and animals. She writes very well.  She loves God and other people.  She is an extrovert.

We are very thankful for her.

Happy birthday, Lydia!

Saturday, June 17, 2017


Our smallest boy turned 5 a few weeks ago.

He liked his bubble mower, which makes wonderful sounds and blows bubbles (outside, of course.)

And Rose turned 3 this week.  I took the crew to Young's Dairy, a local ice cream place.

Lydia makes beautiful cakes.  She made both Rose's and Daniel's.

We are thankful for our small people.