Monday, September 28, 2015

That Middle Child

If you have enough children, you're bound to experience the joys of parenting a "middle child".

Coming from a family where there were only 2 children, this was all new to me!  My husband on the other hand, IS a middle child (he has an older brother & a younger sister - CLASSIC middle child).  When my third child began acting, an alien had taken over her sweet lil' body!!!......he was a bit more prepared than I.

Meet our Talitha:

Tali taste-testing her first batch of 4H cupcakes.

Practically perfect in every way!

(well.....except for that whole "being a human being" thing....)

Besides that, she's awesome!!

She is also a "middle child".  Isaac is first, followed by Selah (both display characteristics of a first-born).  Then there's Tali ~ followed by 3 younger brothers.  So she's the baby girl, yet older sister to 3 more boys.  She has TWO trying-to-be-the-boss, older siblings.  She can get *so* stuck in the middle, it ain't even funny.

Poor thing.

Tali's decorated cupcakes!
She is bound & determined to learn new skills,
often YEARS before she is truly capable.

Yet when her behavior begins to drop in a negative way.....whew, watch out world!!
I have had to learn how to mother her in a completely different way than my other children.
She demands a lot of attention.  Not always in a bad way, not always with negative behavior, but that NEED to be heard is obviously there.  She will not be kept in the shadow of anyone, nor will she quietly sit by while others pass her by.

She is incredibly stubborn, um, determined, and amazingly hard-working.  I'm often in awe of her, especially when she is facing any type of challenge.  Give that girl some time, and she WILL figure out how to get it done!

American Girl paper dolls ~ an afternoon project.
Momma & Me time!

She requires "Momma & Me" time, time that I love to give her whenever possible.
She also requires consistent parenting, knowing *exactly* what to expect for specific behavior - if you give her an inch, she will take two miles!

She is sensitive.  She is empathetic.

She shows her love with actions.  Acts of love.
She can also be a little manipulator!
(what's the positive word for "manipulator" - problem solver?)

Tali with her 3 younger brothers.
Oh my, does she enjoy "mothering" them!

She has brought such joy to our lives.  She has also brought us to our knees in prayer.
Again, and again, and again.
Frustration, even anger.
Amazement, joy, love.


I'm tired just typing all of this.....

A spur of the moment "tiara" for my princess.

I am so thankful we were given the opportunity to parent such a wonderful, challenging, beautiful child.
She is a blessing!


p.s.  That's Talitha there in my signature pic.  She is the only red-haired, blue-eyed child in our family.  This distinction makes her truly happy!  :)

Friday, September 25, 2015

My Journal

To be entirely honest, I don't do a great job at this whole "journaling" thing.

I don't keep up with it as I should.
I think I'm missing an entire year between pages at one point!

Yet I just keep coming back to it - keep adding another page, here and there, whenever I find the time, motivation, and energy to give it a go.

I first heard about this type of journaling from the beautiful blog, Eyes of Wonder.  Does anyone remember her name?  Her blog is no longer available, or maybe it needs a password - of which I am not privy - but it was absolutely gorgeous!  She had many children, all ages, she lived in the country, valued God, family, home....simply beautiful!

Anyway - I read about her way of journaling and she shared a few pages of her own journal.  Simple.  Beautiful.  I was ready to give it a go!

First, you start with some basic supplies.  I bought a spiral bound notebook with a hard-ish cover, something I thought was nice.  For me, that's fall colors!  Next, I grabbed some old magazines I had around the house.  I went through each one, clipping pictures or parts of pictures that I was drawn to.  I personally stay away from faces.  This is about my life, my days & my moments - I don't want anyone's face distracting from that.  Once I had a good amount of clippings, I gathered colored pens of various tips, scissors, and a glue stick

Then I was ready to start:

Basic supplies.

I pick a few pictures (or one large pic) and glue it onto a page.  Due to the weight of my paper, I only use one side, the right-hand side - but do whatever you feel comfortable doing.  This is *your* project!

One page, right-hand side, with only one large picture.

I make sure to put the date at the top of the page, then I simply write about whatever is on my mind.  This could be about anything from the weather, what's for dinner, a sick friend or relative, upcoming trips, cute sayings from my kiddos, goals for myself or our schooling......anything!  I use lots of different colored pens, just to keep it pretty!  I'll write under pictures, down the side of the paper, draw a heart, a smiley face, maybe some arrows.

Lots of colors, lots of topics!

I've discussed struggles I was going through, stages my children were in, how God was talking to me through my day, what curriculum I was thinking about, literally anything!  Even though I am fairly open and honest, I do want my children to look at these pages, to remember their own childhood moments, but also to see their Momma perhaps in a different light.  To see what I struggled with, yet also where I found my joy!  To that end, I personally choose to be open & honest, yet there *are* subjects I may not write about.....I guess we would all have to choose where that line is for ourselves.

One of my latest journal pages.

So there ya go ~ I simply journal, but oh, so meaningful!
I enjoy reading through old pages, remembering moments I may have forgotten.



Thursday, September 24, 2015


I am quietly, nonchalantly, re-entering the blog world.


This blog was here for me for many years when i needed an outlet.  When I had many little ones, as my family grew in size, until one day....we grew right out of the blog world!

But now, now that I'm done having babies, done with nursing littles, (almost) done with potty training.....I may be ready to try the blog out again.  Give it a test run, see if it fits into this new stage of life.

And new stage it is!
Here are a few "catch up" pictures....

The kids are growing!
Isaac is 14, and just received a guitar for his birthday.
My boy.....*sniff*

Selah - resident "might as well be a teenager" - at 12yo.
Here she's modeling a new scarf/hood for the etsy site that she crocheted.
She's getting really good! (and beautiful, but I'm a bit biased)

Kit-Kat is still around, plus a new cat - Storm.
We created a new garden space this year and it did fairly well.
Except for the corn, but let's not go there, shall we.....

We have settled into a church family again!
A small, Baptist, coming-out-of-fundamentalism congregation.
They have challenged us, forced us to look at what we believe and why.
It's been up and down, but it's been good!

We've had family & friends visit ~ with lots of local sightseeing & fun activities!
The Blue Water Area & the Thumb of Michigan are simply gorgeous!

Of course, the birthdays just keep happening!
Gideon, the baby, is now 3.
When did this happen??

Blessings keep happening as well!
The two oldest kids decided they needed to get baptized.
My heart just keeps filling up!

Activities are starting up as the school year begins again.
Ballet lessons, guitar lessons, 4H group, craft group, HS support group....
We've discovered inexpensive (even free) ways to add fun & learning into this journey!

There are sick days, emotional days, and the financial struggles don't seem to be going anywhere.
And yet....I believe, I hope, we are getting a bit better at finding the joy in our days.
Joy in our days, in simple moments, in big experiences, and even in the struggles we face.

Family & friends are such a gift from the Lord!
We can share our struggles, and find companionship as we walk this journey God has placed before us.
With toddlers and's good to find someone who can understand you!!

Everyone is growing up ~ too quickly!
Tali (10yo) had some "oldest sibling" time, when her two older siblings went on vacation recently.
It was good for them, it was good for her....yup, it was even good for me!

So we continue on.
Family, friends, joys, struggles.

So that in no way covers life for the past few years, but that's okay.
I feel as though I stepped back onto the stage, shared a few pics, and we'll go from here.
Sharing a little bit at time, day by day, moment by moment.
Until before you know it, the blog will be full again!

Thanks for reading!
Blessings to you all ~ I can't wait to get to know everyone all over again!!


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Fall Traditions ~ The Apples

Our bounty ~ a bushel of goodness!

Gideon had so much fun ~ especially being lifted up to pick his own apples!

Our local orchard has these great, old, metal wagons to pull apples (and children) along!

The crop of apples wasn't great this year ~ all were considered "seconds" ~ yet we thought they were still quite yummy!  No one seemed to mind, especially at $8/bushel!

Nothing better than your child so very happy!

Unless it's your father laughing hysterically!!

Isaac, ever my meticulous child, wanted to make sure the apples we picked were up to snuff!

Love the smiles!

Big hay bales even provided entertainment for the teenager among us!

Tali, enjoying the hayride!

Giddy & his big sissy!

Elijah Rock ~ waiting to try and pick an apple as we pass by the trees...
Luv this lil' boy!

**and lastly, my folks finally got their stove installed ~ along with our wood burning stove and the boys infra-red heater, ALL the levels of our home are ready for the long Michigan winter!


p.s.  coming up next ~ making apple butter & more family traditions (at Lowe's!)

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Life beyond Facebook

I just went on a Facebook break.


I have been on Facebook, pretty consistently, since about - oh, I don't know, 2007 or 2008.  So.....that's a long time without a break!

I want to focus more on my family, my kiddos, their schooling, their behavior, my marriage, cleaning the house (well, I don't *want* to do that, but I probably should), and doing more of the "extra" fun stuff (sewing, crocheting, crafts with the kids, more experiments).

Isaac learning about long-barrel rifles and early American life.

Blue Waves baby blankie ~ yes, I'm STILL working on it....

Yes, I spend too much time on Facebook....

Me and my beautiful girls!

Plus, I'd like to focus a bit more on me and my needs in this season of my life.

I'm about to turn - *gulp* - the big 4-0, and I need to start paying better attention to my health & happiness, in addition to my family's health & happiness.  Yes, they mostly go hand in hand, but there are things I can - and should - be doing for myself that just aren't happening.

Mother's Day ~ by Tali

My Michigan winter slippers!

There's also this part of me that wonders how my emotions and self-confidence are affected by Facebook???  There's a lot of comparing, seeing how we measure up, wondering if we're doing things the "right" way or the "best" way.  Even if it's not done consciously, I wonder how the day in and day out viewing of other people's lives - and the NEED to share from my own life - is truly affecting me??

Enjoying the family!

Anyways, perhaps it's nothing.
But I want to take the break nonetheless.

My Baby ~ I miss her.....

So I'll try to keep up with the weekly blogging.  That seems a bit more do-able.  And blogging has always held a sort of journal or diary status for me.  I miss that.

So, here's to my Facebook break!

Selah-belle ~ my artist!

I'm excited to delve deeper into my life!
Ya know, IRL!!


***edited to add:  I'm going to go ahead and "share" this on Facebook, so my friends will know I'm blogging again.  Is that cheating?  Nah.....:)

Monday, September 29, 2014

Our Homeschool Lifestyle

Yup, that's us ~ we live life, we school, it all kinda gets mixed up.....whatever happens to us in life, naturally becomes a part of our education.  The kids are learning, and I am learning too!

As a way to record some of our day-to-day homeschool life, I'm going to post something weekly (more or less) about what we're learning.  This gives me a chance to sort through the collective chaos and see what we're actually learning, plus gives all of us a way to look back and enjoy some pictures of "school".

Most recently we have been studying some Jewish culture.  We thought we could start by learning about some of the yearly Jewish celebrations, or feasts.  Rosh Hashanah was just around the corner, and what a better place to start than the Jewish New Year!

I'm not sure where I picked up this book, but I've had it for a few years, wanting to learn more about the Jewish holidays with the kiddos, yet never seeming to find the time to make it happen.  So this year we just went for it!

We started off, Wednesday evening, at sundown - well, 18 min. BEFORE sundown, to be precise!  The girls lit the candles - one for each person in our home - and Rosh Hashanah officially began in our home.

Unfortunately, I do not believe I would make a very good Jewish wife.....ha!  I was having a hard time getting dinner on the table, and the natives were getting restless!  Luckily, Rosh Hashanah is all about having a *sweet* year.  They tend to eat sweet foods during this two day celebration - and my apple dessert was ready and waiting to go!  So the kids ate dessert first!!  Can I just tell you how excited they were?!!  Wait, really, Momma??  We can eat the dessert FIRST?!?  Yup ~ I'm officially "Awesome Momma"!!

When we did get to the dinner portion, it started off with our circle challah bread.  We have made plenty of challah, but never in a circle shape, so this was something new.  It turned out beautiful!  We tore hunks of the bread off, right there at the table, and drizzled them with honey.  Perfect!

A few more traditions we partook of:  we ate breakfast "cookies" as part of the sweet foods portion of the holiday.  They were actually a fairly healthy cookie - which is why I could justify serving them for breakfast!

We also threw bread crumbs into the Black River.  The crumbs represented the sin in our lives, issues we are each personally dealing with.  The River represents God's grace & mercy.  He washes our sins away.  He no longer remembers them, nor holds them against us.  They are gone!  It was good to watch the bread crumbs float away.....

Lastly, we learned about the shofar - the ram's horn.  This is the Feast of Trumpets!  Luckily for us, Isaac has been learning to play the trumpet via YouTube lessons.  He has only had a few lessons thus far, but he knew enough to blow some notes which represented our "shofar".  I told him the shofar was typically sounded 100 times each day of Rosh Hashanah in the synagogue.  He told me he didn't think he could manage that....ha!  I was impressed by his lung capacity when it came time for the final trumpet blast - whew!!  Can that boy BLOW!!!

In other hs'ing news:  We're learning about Ancient Greece, the Medes & the Persians, the Babylonians & the Assyrians.  The Persian Empire is about to go to battle with the Greeks!  We are all excited to see what happens next!  The Map Work is probably the favorite part of History around here.  Well, that and the stories I read from historical works & myths.

In science, we are studying habitats around the world, characteristics of each habitat and the animals that live there.  We are currently in China & Australia.  We have taken a LONG time with this curriculum, studying other things in nature, letting the kids' interests lead us.  Once we are done with this curriculum, we are heading into Astronomy.  I can't tell you how excited Isaac, my 13yo, is!

Math is math - some do Math U See, some do free printable worksheets, some are working their way through, and we do have a few math workbooks, but those are mainly for fun.  Just when the kids are bored and are looking for something, ANYTHING, to do.

Isaac is learning trumpet, Selah is working her way through our library's art instruction books, while also keeping up with piano here and there.  Tali is working very hard at the piano - also with YouTube lessons.  She desperately wants to learn how to sew, so I try to include her in whatever I am working on.  I am learning patience.  Daily.....

The girls are starting a ballet class tomorrow - just four HS girls in their class.  The teacher is very local (right on our street) and the price can't be beat!  They are very excited, even though they realize they are a bit old to just be starting ballet - they don't care!  I hope they have a blast!!

The little boys....oh, where do I start?!  They are outside whenever possible and I try not to discourage that.  I have never seen a child so eaten up by mosquitoes as Micah Dean (5yo/K).  They participate in all our school lessons & discussions, usually coloring or working with shape pieces.  Lots of educational "busy bags" keep these two entertained - and I really do believe they are learning as well!  They are both working their way through Explode the Code phonic books too!  Lots of reading going on~

And lastly, the baby - well, Gideon is two already, not really a baby, I guess.  But he's OUR baby!


My crochet hobby is in full swing - that happens in fall, doesn't it?!  I've been trying a million new projects and pulling out a few old ones as well!

Flower Buttons

Pumpkin Coasters

Bobble Beard Beanie ~ perfect on my Elijah Rock!

And it wouldn't be fall without some Pumpkin Spice *something*, am I right?!?  Here are some pumpkin spice sugar cookies, with vanilla glaze.  Oh my....

Now I need a cup of coffee.
And maybe a cookie....

It *is* National Coffee Day, ya know!
Have a fabulous, fall day!!