Back In the Saddle

Today at dinner we were discussing love.  As I introduced the topic to the kids Rachel blurted out, “Wuuuuvvvv???”  Followed by a big groan.  And she wasn’t the only one groaning.  There were moans and sighs and general sounds of discontent from all around the table.

Jeremiah piped up, “Are we talking about falling in love???”  Because, you know, falling in love is a terrible thing for a 4-year-old boy.

Apparently love is all we need….and the last thing that we want.

We are starting up a new school year.  It’s a bit strange.  Everyone around us is finishing up for the year and here we are, gearing up to start all over again.  It feels good to start getting back into routine, though.

During a grammar lesson yesterday, Abby declared her dislike for the capital letter “Y”.  “It’s weird.  It looks like a chicken foot on chopsticks.”  Okay, then….

Rachel is probably our most enthusiastic student.  Not in lessons concerning love, but in whatever she considers “school”.  I announced yesterday morning that we were going to start doing a few school subjects along with some changes in daily chores.  She asked who was doing school and I answered, “Jeremiah, Abigial, Hannah, and Joshua.”  That is not what she heard, however, because just after my answer she said, “Jer, did you hear?  WE are doing school!”

When it was Jer’s turn for his lesson with me, Rachel rushed to the table and sat down.  “What are we doing today, Mommy?”  I was not ready to give her any kind of a lesson, but thankfully I had some handwriting worksheets available.

After I said we were finished for the day, Rachel asked if we would do more school another time.  I said, “Yes, we will do more school tomorrow.”  But that is not what she heard, because after I answered she said, “Jer, Mommy said that we will do all of our school tomorrow.  There will be more than today!”  I guess I’d better do some lesson planning!

In addition to school, we have added some new household chore assignments.  Delegating laundry, mopping, and cleaning the bathrooms should be a big help around here.  Yesterday, Joshua, Hannah, and Abigail were trained in how to properly clean the bathrooms.  It was quite an ordeal with babies screaming, toddlers snatching bottles of cleaner, and preschoolers bickering with one another, not to mention the training part.

By the time we were finished I was exhausted and had nearly lost my voice (and that was without actually shouting).  Hannah came up to me and said, “Mom, did you know that it’s already 12:05pm?  That took us TWO HOURS!”  She was impressed.  I was just ready for bed.

Below: Random, totally unrelated picture of two super cute kids.  🙂

Patience, Parenting, and Perfect Progeny

I have been trying to yell less.  Trying to remain patient for longer than my naturally impatient self likes to.  And can I just say something?

My patience does not result in my children’s reformed character.

My recent attempts to be patient have been more successful than previous attempts.  I attribute this mostly to the cold that I have this week.  It has rendered me nearly mute (thank you, hoarse voice!) and therefore unable to speak loudly or even very much.

Due to the aforementioned cold and a lot of help from the Holy Spirit, I just managed to win a massive battle of the wills (Mom vs. 3-year-old) without giving into the temptation to be impatient and to raise my voice.  But that 3-year-old gave just as much fight as she ever could.  In fact, I don’t think she even noticed that I was speaking softly and firmly.

By God’s grace, this week has been quite good on the patience front.  I think I am finally making some headway with this life-long sin issue.  And do you know what?  The week was still pretty bad on the attitude and behavior front.  My kids have not suddenly started being sweet and kind and patient with one another, neither have they been super respectful to Claude and me.  In fact, I’m fairly certain that they have not even noticed that I have been yelling less.

My patience does not result in a good day or a good week.

What practicing patience does is help me become more like Christ.  But it’s up to my kids to practice that same patience (or other fruit of the Spirit) in order for that to develop in their own lives.  Lord willing they will desire to abide in Christ, to honor Him with their thoughts, words, and actions, and as a result bear the fruit of patience, love, kindness, etc.

But you won’t see me writing any books titled, “How to be a Patient Parent and Raise Perfect Progeny”.

Patience in parenting does not equal perfect progeny.

But it does please and honor the Lord.



On My Own Again

It’s been four weeks since I was on my own with the kids.  Claude was home for one week before Sarah was born and one week after.  My mom was with us for two weeks when Claude started back at work.  So I have essentially had a four week vacation from full-time parenting.  And I actually feel refreshed….kind of.

Yesterday was the first full day I was on my own.  My mom left Tuesday, so I did have a few hours then, but yesterday was the first morning till evening day.  It went smoothly for the most part and I even got quite a bit of work accomplished.

I had a helper in my cabinet-building endeavor.

He decided to multi-task and combine building with snacking.  Styrofoam may not be very tasty, but it certainly can fill the stomach!  It also, as we found out this morning, creates “Nassy poop”.  That is what Daniel had to say about it, anyway.  I chose not to comment and to get on with the task of cleaning up without contemplating too much on all that went into that particular mess.

Now that things are supposedly settling into a normal routine, the kids have felt free to let loose their worst attitudes.  I am currently being serenaded by the screams of a very unhappy 4-year-old who thinks that I should let him out of a much deserved time out.  And while he shouts at me from upstairs, I can hear other children shouting at one another downstairs.  Maybe one day, when everyone is 30-something, they will all be able to speak to one another instead of yelling at one another.  Too bad that will happen when they are already out of the house….

Until then, I will practice the art of ignoring all things that do not require parental attention or correction.

All in all the transition six to seven kiddos doesn’t seem to be all that bad.  Going from two to three was rough, and four to five was even harder.  But seven isn’t really that many more than six.  It also helps that Sarah is the easiest baby ever.  She eats.  She sleeps.  And once a day she stays awake for a few hours and quietly watches all the craziness that is going on around her.

Everybody adores her, including her littlest big brother who right now is looking at this picture saying, “Wuv Saya!  Saya coot!”  She is cute, isn’t she?

A Three Hour Wait…..Or Not!

Yesterday, we went out to lunch for an early Mother’s Day celebration.

“Let’s beat the crowds,” we thought.

Imagine our surprise when we showed up at The Cheesecake Factory (after an hour drive) only to find that the wait for a table of 9 was….wait for it….



So,we walked across the street to Red Robin.  Not as classy, but surely we could get a table.

Let me say this again.  We (2 parents, 1 grandma, and 7 children under the age of 10) walked through an extremely crowded mall parking lot AND crossed the street where mindless drivers were paying no attention to our little crowd in the cross walk.

The wait at Red Robin was one and a half hours.  Better, but still a no go.

At this point it was 3:00pm, our crew was weary, I was discouraged (and a little grumpy), and everyone needed to eat.  So, we trekked back across the street, through the parking lot, and around the mall to….wait for it….


And that is how, after spending half of the day getting everybody dressed, driving an hour, and hiking through crowded parking lots, we celebrated Mother’s Day at a fast food chain.

We’re classy like that.