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Friday, April 27, 2012

New baby

It's been awhile since I have had my own new baby in the house - four years or so.   I forget about all the interruptions that come when you least expect it, and never have I ever had an eight month old and a 7 week old at the same time.  Yikes!!!! What was I thinking???!!! 

A co-worker where I used to work called me "The Crazy Lady with Seven Kids".  Now I am that plus 3, and soon it will be plus 4.  Double Yikes!!!! Thankfully, I have the whole summer to get the Little Miss settled before Junior arrives. 

Life is crazy around here, but I am so thankful to stay at home and be with my kids.  Next year I will just have 7 at home during school, but think of that!  Just seven.  To me that is bliss and freedom -- to most of you that is AAAAAGGGHHHH! :) 

For us the thing that helps us keep going through our constant stream of activity, chatter, school etc. is schedules. 

Hubby and I get up at 5:30.  There is always the desire to curl up for a few more minutes (hours) of sleep, but we are working on discipline.  His job affords the choice of when to go to work, but they do like him to be consistent.  So he's up at 5:30 to eat at 6:00 and be off to work before 6:30.  He likes to be at work by 7 and it's a half-hour drive. 

My phone is my alarm, so when I get up I put my phone in the boys' room so they will have an alarm.  It's set for about 10 till 6.  Consequences for not getting up are going to bed a half hour earlier.  Let me tell you this works, even for the one who loves to sleep.  He was up as soon as it went off this a.m.  Due to the fact that he missed half of one of his favorite shows. 

Breakfast is together, per Daddy's request.  If they don't get up when we do, they won't be ready for bed when we are - we have older kids whose bedtime is the same as ours now.

6:30 till 7 is dishes; then it's up to the bedrooms for some cleaning time.  It's easier to greet parents if my kids are in their rooms.  The first baby (Baby A) shows up around 7:30, sometimes even earlier.  He's with us until 5:15 or so.  The four-year old shows up as close to 8 as possible and stays as long as Baby A.  Little Miss shows up just after 8 and stays till 4. 

I've been letting the older children start school in their "spots" when their chores are done and when they've done some cleaning in their rooms.  My goal is to start after Little Miss' mom leaves.  By then we are the middle of Math and correcting that, while they move on to Language/English.  More instruction on wrong answers in their assignment books etc.   I teach Kindergarten (well, not really), 1st grade, 3rd grade, 5th grade, 7th grade and 8th grade.  Plus I have 2 four-year olds, 1 eight month old, and 1 seven week old.  It's pretty busy.

We've tried to assign spots for the older ones to do their work.  My 8th grader likes the piano room.  For an hour and a half, he listens to others practice piano, but other than that it's a fairly quiet room.  My 7th grader uses the garage.  Daddy has a big desk for his business out there.  Actually it's the best desk we own.  If he wouldn't get so distracted he would do well out there.  Aside from that it's the kitchen table which is super busy, which is why my Kindergartner may be doing Kindergarten again.  She reads - sort of, she knows her numbers - sort of.  Adding is what she's good at.  But she's just gotten missed this year a lot. 

At noon is lunch, dishes and then everyone goes to their quiet time spot for some reading or napping, sometimes coloring or even puzzles, but usually reading books.  The boys get wiggly and that's fine as long as they are quiet.  It's amazing how well this works, though I don't look for a perfectly quiet house.  Generally someone asks me something at least once or twice.  But it's my way of getting my quiet time with the Lord in. 

3:00 school is out and per Daddy's request again (and I love this idea btw), we put all our stuff where it goes and if someone has homework they work on that subject, but there aren't books strewn everywhere.  We do clean-up during this hour.  If your schoolwork is not finished by 3 - no Wii.  This tends to be an incentive for most.  We vacuum, and sweep and mop (with a crawler in the house we kind of need to do quick mops on a regular basis).  Laundry is kept up during the day by the one who is assigned that for the day.

4 to 5 kids are getting picked up, supper started and general chaos continues to reign.

Supper has been 6:30 or 7:00 because of soccer practice, but we're done with that so we can go back to normal, which means whenever Daddy gets home. :)

8:00 is bedtime for the little ones and 9:00 is ours.  Baths and stories are all done in their too, if I'm on track and not behind. 

So because of all this craziness, Colossians 3:1-3 has been quite special to me lately.  When I'm seeking the things above, I have a calmness and a peace.  When I'm focused on how long it's been since I've gone with a minute of noone talking, I'm pulling my hair out - and I'm definitely the Crazy Lady.

Steph

Monday, April 23, 2012

Seek those things which are above... part 2

How exciting to read my last post and see the places and changes God brought to us that very day!  He does all things well.  I definitely hope I don't forget too quickly the lessons I've learned this past week.  Surely if I learn them well, I won't spend so much time worrying next time. 

DH called me the same evening I wrote the last post.  He told me that he felt that I wasn't able to handle all the things on my plate and that some should be removed.  His first thought was to remove the babysitting.  I didn't like that but continued to listen as he expressed concern for the children's schooling.  I agreed with him, hadn't I, just hours before, written these exact same things?  He hadn't read my blog, so I know that it was God working in our hearts together.

As we continued to talk, I asked about the Christian school at our church.  It has never been an option because usually we are tight financially, but I wondered aloud if babysitting would offset that cost.  If babysitting would bring in even a bit more than the cost of tuition, then at least my income would not be $0.  The more we talked the more we liked that idea better and I liked not needing to tell some parents that I couldn't watch their kids anymore.

We've had a few freaky moments where we forgot that my income isn't part of the budget anymore and started worrying about if it all adds up.  But God is seeing us through and I'm excited to see what He is doing in our hearts and in our family.

My week ended with Gracia Burnham speaking at our church Sunday morning.  What a joy it was to see her again!  I have babysat her children, though that makes me feel old and her husband Martin was the pilot that flew us in and out of the village for awhile.  Her words were super encouraging and gave dh and I pause to think about some things she shared.  She re-ignited that desire to be in ministry again.  We don't know where God is leading us, but are continuing to pray that He would show us if and when and where He wants us to move.

Steph

Monday, April 16, 2012

Seek those things above

Colossians 3:1-3 "Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.  Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on the earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God."

I've had a little break from blogging.  The in-laws came and we had so much fun with them.  I took a break from all things dealing with the computer, even from school.  It was very nice to have a break.  But I was ready to come back when it was time.

New carpets coming have me cleaning out my closet.  While I am doing that I decided to de-clutter a lot of things.  Not everything that comes out of the closet has to go back in.  So with that in mind, I started to go through my memory box.  It holds things that my dh and I have held dear at some point in time and not wanted to let go.

Through this process letters were gone through.  I read through my letters to dh while we were dating and his to me.  It was fun to go back and remember what I desired at that time and put my focus on what fun it is to be a wife and care for the home.  Lots of times I forget.  Also amongst those letters were letters from my dad and an aunt and the time was around when my mom passed away.  I was so blessed to remember how these two and others as well, carried me through this time in prayer and in letters that were so touching.  I pray that I can minister to another in such a way.

But all this reading brought grief as well.  I remembered the hurt and pain to go through losing my mother.  Also bad weather, decisions about homeschooling and whether or not to take on another baby, all were weighing heavily on my brain.  I haven't had time to process all this or to discuss things with dh.  I lay in bed wondering if our decision was right.  How can I care for others' children and still teach well.  I couldn't even focus my mind enough to pray.  Do others look down on me?  What if they think that I'm being irresponsible?  What if...?  What if...?  What if...?  All my learning from Elizabeth George that what if's and if only's are worriers went out the window.  I needed sleep but sleep wouldn't come. 

Today I needed to read the verses above.  Actually they aren't on my schedule for studying Colossians yet, but I needed their reminder today.  What matters is that dh and I prayed about homeschooling.  We were entrusted by God with our children and this decision is ours.  I committed it to the Lord and realized that if we are together on this, either way it will be good for our kids.  In our opinions there is nothing wrong with public school, nor is it wrong to homeschool.  

As to the other issues, they are still not settled.  A tiny baby girl will join our motley crew during the weekdays starting Wednesday.  I have plans to make a little corner of our home into a nursery.  We still have a girl who occasionally comes for a weekend when her parents are working.  God is working in our lives and we need to trust Him.  I need to seek Him and come what may trust Him for the outcome.  Others have their opinions, and we may do things differently next year, but for this year decisions have been made.

One thing I must say is I have friends who have chosen differently and that's fine with me.  They know their family and they know how God is leading them.  The thing I find most comforting is when a friend disagrees with a decision and yet supports you and encourages you through it.  Obviously we are not talking about sin issues, but preference issues.

And with all that rambling, I will close.
Steph