Today your curly head lay against my chest as you fell into your afternoon nap. As a mom of 8 I know how fleeting these days are. I know how bittersweet the quickness of it all is, but the years have also whispered wisdom into my heart. Wisdom that screams at me to be soak in this short season. Because to mourn for the moment before or to reach for the moment to come robs me of right now. If I keep that repertoire, stolen moments become all there ever is, and I have hoodwinked myself out of the beauty of my life. I have willfully traded it for the mirage of memories and plans not yet materialized. Listen moms, don’t fall prey to the lies that the yesterdays and tomorrows trump the right-now. The right-now is what your entire life is made of!
Seventeen years ago an 18 year old girl stood hand in hand with a 21 year old boy and said a few simple vows beneath stained glass and wood.
With God’s amazing grace we have honored those promises that were made while we so very young. Seventeen years of growing up together. Seventeen years of ups and downs and everything in between. Seventeen years of wrestling to make a marriage work in a culture that doesn’t value its importance. Seventeen years of adding, one by one, to this family of ours until our number reached 10. A number I never dreamed of, but that God had always known since the beginning of time. Seventeen yeas of carving out a life where God comes first and everything else flows from that. Living out, in the flesh, the daily sanctifying work of family: the laundering and washing, the training and discipling, the serving and caring. Each task making efforts to smooth out the rough exterior of selfishness that is born in us since the time of Adam and Eve. Seventeen years of dreaming big, but most importantly dreaming together. There is absolutely NO ONE I’d rather be doing life with than my husband. Happy Anniversary, Mike!
Dear 8th Child,
One day you’ll be bigger than me. Your ideas and thoughts will be as wild and free as the wind, unique to only you. You’ll have sprouted wings and you’ll be standing on the edge of our little nest looking in awe at the big world that surrounds you. It will be exciting and terrifying and electric all at the same time. You’ll swing, at times, like a pendulum between boy and man. Between rowdy and responsible. You’ll have times where we, your parents, will be your soft spot to land and other times where the lies that we are against you will seem surprisingly true in your green ears. But know this. No matter what we love you. We want what’s best for you. We want to raise you to be a man of integrity and strength, but sometimes that comes with pain and failure. And it’s hard, damn hard. For both of us. To see your child struggle and fail is one of the most festering wounds a parents heart can have. But failure is the largest part of success. Picking yourself up and trying harder is a skill learned with practice. Making your path smooth and neat by removing all obstacles is not a long term solution to this broken world. We know you’re going to capable and competent, but you’ll have to be reminded of it at times by struggling and surviving it. And when you’re in the midst of it please KNOW that we are here. Know we will offer you love and support as you’re fighting the good fight. But also know that in time, when your slowly shedding the little boy façade, more battles will be left to you to fight. Know that in those in between years, as your boyhood is fading in a haze behind you and we aren’t stepping in to fix things, that we haven’t left you. We are preparing you. Preparing you to wield your strengths to help others and yourself. Preparing you to believe what God and we already know to be true: that you are capable. You are worthy. You are enough. Even in your brokenness. That you are given strengths to help others and given weakness to show God’s infinite strength. But for now… For now stay little for a while. Let mom slay your dragons for you. Rest your curly head on my shoulder when you’re tired. Because time is a thief and now is now and I will rejoice in you at this stage and every one thereafter.
What I am doing:
Kitchen work: Sheesh… – I don’t even know where to begin here! We decided to rip out our plate rack and within 1.5 minutes we were headed to Menards for some primer and paint… because that’s how we roll! Our former wood and cream kitchen now is a soft white. We still have to re-grout the backsplash, build a picnic table (for INSIDE), replace the pendant lights and shiplap the crap out of the kitchen island, but at least the painting is done, right?
Unit studies: I have confessed this before. I tweak EVERYTHING… even my own curriculum I tweak. Does that make me crazy? Unstable? Maybe… But there’s a blessing that comes with it! I have been doing little mini-unit studies to go along with my History curriculum and I am going to start sharing the resources I am using and what we are doing in blog posts AND with YouTube videos that SHOW how we are doing it! Keep an eye out for that!
What I am Wearing
Acid wash leggings (from Kohl’s juniors department) – Need I say more?
Graphic Tees! The Brave Momma Company (10% coupon code “afarmhousefull”) and Never Lose Hope designs (coupon code “Nicci20” for 20% off) are my current favorites. Both are super soft and comfy and have messages that I can stand behind!
What I am Reading:
Some schooling inspiration
- How Children Learn: https://amzn.to/2JNA9ay
- How Children Fail: https://amzn.to/2JNA9ay
- Teach Your Own: https://amzn.to/2JRBn4O
As well as some mothering/parenting inspiration:
- No More Perfect Moms: https://amzn.to/2J2J8nj
- No More Perfect Kids: https://amzn.to/2JQxHQT
- Professionalizing Motherhood: https://amzn.to/2IWskOH
- Parenting is Heart Work: https://amzn.to/2qxkunZ
What I am Making:
Besides failing 138 times at making a addition to a swimsuit (frogging work SUCKS!), I crocheted Easter baskets for all 8 of my kids – which I shared with you in my last blog post.
What I am Using:
I can not say enough about my new editing software. It is amazing and FREE! If you want their watermark removed it is still only $60. Totally worth every cent! I am so glad it is working out because after downloading 2-3 of them that I didn’t like I was starting to think I would never find on that was both user friendly AND had the features that I have been eyeing that my ancient Window’s Movie Maker didn’t have! The real reason I switched is because the computer that had it installed on it crashed and died. Any good recommendations for a PC laptop that can handle video editing well?
- Jute Twine: https://amzn.to/2HcBXvu
- Acrylic Worsted Weighted Yarn: https://amzn.to/2EzD5Eb
- Size K Crochet Hook: https://amzn.to/2qna3T8
- Large Tapestry Needle: https://amzn.to/2GRgF3f
- Craft Felt: https://amzn.to/2GPEa0A
- Fabric Glue: https://amzn.to/2v5OSup
- Scissors/Scissor Sharpener: https://amzn.to/2Jxu2Ho
Holding 2 pieces of yarn and 1 piece of jute twine make a magic circle
- Ch 2 tightly and work 8 hdc into loop, sl to join (8)
- Ch 1 loosely, starting in the same st as joined, 2 hdc in each hdc around, slst to join (16)
- Ch 1 loosely, starting in the same st as joined, *hdc 1, 2 hdc in next* 8 times, slst to join (24)
- Ch 1 loosely, working in the BLO (for this round only) of the hdc, hdc in each hdc around, slst to join (24)
- Ch 1 loosely, hdc in each hdc, slst to join
- Same as round 5
Ch 15, sc in second ch from hook and each ch after, finish off (14 sc)
Sew opposite end of handle to basket and weave in all ends.
Pin the letters/numbers print out to the felt and cut them out using small sharp scissors. Attach to baskets with hot glue or fabric glue.
When it comes to homeschooing there are so many different choices that parents have to make. One of them is what type of yearly schedule works for your family. Our family chooses a “traditional” yearly schedule. We tend to start our school year around Labor Day and try to wrap things up by Memorial Day. We take a whole month off for Christmas and a week off in the Spring around Easter. This comes with both pros and cons which I will be sharing with you in this post. If you’re interested in other types of schooling head over to these fellow YouTubers and see how their methods are working for their families!
Year Round Schooling (Ashlee at Grave and Grit)
Sabbath Schooling (Abby at FullTimeWifeLife)
The traditional method works best for our family and we have used it since I started homeschooling my now 15-year-old. I have toyed with the idea of switching schedules once in a while, but I always come back to this one being, hands down, the BEST fit for our family.
Similarity – This type of schedule matches up with most of the other families in our area, whether they are public-schoolers, private-schoolers or homeschoolers. This means the kids have more opportunities to get together with kid because they both are “off” at the same times.
Summer – We live in the Midwest and summers are glorious and short. We really want to savor the old fashion lazy, dog-days of summer. Our kids fill their days with staying up late by the bonfire, sleeping in, hanging with siblings and friends, camping, heading over my parents’ lake house, wading in the creek near our home and helping me in the garden. It also allows me time to plant and nurture our large organic garden and our small fruit/berry orchard.
Compliments My Husband’s Schedule – My husband owns a landscaping company and his busiest time in in the summer. I work from home, so my busiest time is during the school year when I am both running my business and homeschooling my small army. Having different busy seasons allows up to help one another so neither gets too overwhelmed with their responsibilities.
LONG Break – We LOVE the long, extended break that summer offers. To have the time to relax into a nice easy routine and enjoy an old fashion summer of the past is an amazing thing that we don’t want to give up.
Although this schedule works well for us, it isn’t perfect and has a few cons.
Burn Out: If you aren’t not careful you can get burnt out during the 3 seasons of schooling. Having week after week of school without a real break can seem overwhelming for some.
Vacationing – If you’re not into roadschooling (we will be doing this THIS winter!!!!) then you will be more than likely taking your vacation in the summer months and when vacationing is both more crowed and more expensive.
Cypress Oil is an amazing oil to keep in your oil cabinet. We love it and not just because our 8th child’s name is Cypress!
Cypress can be used both aromatically and topically. This is not intended to be used internally, so keep that in mind. Also note that MOST essential oils in your big box stores are NEVER to be used internally (because they are synthetic chemicals). If you’re new to oils go here and learn more about why I love and trust doTERRA.
Bladder Support: Dilute and apply topical over the abdomen before bed (especially for little ones who have a hard time making it through the night), before a long car ride or whenever you need a little bladder boost.
Respiratory Support: Cypress has wonderful antispasmodic properties lending it well to aid with coughing and chest irritations. Dilute and apply to chest or inhale from palms of the hands. It can also be added with “Breathe” to the diffuser.
Circulatory support: Dilute and apply to the muscles before and after a workout. It can also be used on areas where veins are concerned. Apply to the area of concern.
Monthly Support: Dilute and apply over uterus and abdomen to support your monthly cycles. It is especially supportive if you’re prone to heavy cycles.