Category Archives: Family

ALL the Things

I have neglected this space for a while because it feels like ALL the things have been happening. I think the first thing was my husband, James’ Grandfather passing away. The guy was a legend. He joked about where they were going to put his monument when he was gone! He was monumentally important to a lot of people. His monument is in the people he left behind. My husband James and our sons are so much like their grandfather sometimes that each and every day I think about Bill Himelick, and I remember the great guy I loved!

Soon after the funeral various members of the family came down with an evil stomach virus. I lived through having 9 sick kids and a sick husband all at once. It was really bad. I think one of the worst parts of it was waking up at 3 a.m. and finding 7 out of 9 kids wide awake and getting sick. Spending two hours cleaning up horrific messes left and right was absolutely awful. I didn’t get sick, and everyone survived! I credit God, and my friends and family prayers with my wellness!  I felt like I had survived a war! My hands hurt for days from washing them so many times!

After the sickness, Jonah stopped nursing. We were cutting back on nursing, but while he was sick I let him nurse a few extra times during the day to help him stay hydrated. I nursed my last baby for the last time without even knowing the next day he wouldn’t want to nurse at all. It was so bittersweet! My hormones are still not normal. I don’t really know what normal feels like. I have grown and nourished other humans for 15 years.

Now we’re facing the COVID-19 pandemic. Schools shutting down wasn’t a big deal for us. We homeschool all the time. I stay home with the kids and James works from home most of the time. Then ALL the things started getting canceled. Church got cancelled. Kids’ arts classes canceled. Homeschool co-op meetings got cancelled, and homeschooling while quarantined at home is much different than normal homeschooling. Our spring break day trip was canceled and spring break swim lessons were cancelled. I had a plan for doing some Easter photography sessions, but I threw that plan out the window before I even got a chance to pitch it to anyone! We wanted to spend extra time with James’ grandma to help comfort her in the loss of her husband, but we can only video call her right now. Thankfully, THE NINE, haven’t been making us too crazy. Our routines are comforting, but that is a blog for another day.

Deep breath. ALL the things are a lot, but there is one really big thing that is true . . . God is still in charge of ALL the things. Death, sickness, and plagues are no match for the almighty power of God. Life is full of many different seasons, but if you look, listen and pray,  you will find God in ALL the things right along side of you!

Leave a comment

Filed under Faith, Family, Living Well, Mommy Thoughts, Parenting

The Meaning of Life

This coming Sunday we are blessed that not one, not two, but three of our daughters will be baptized! They have all decided to trust Jesus as their savior and commit their lives to God. They have had many conversations about Jesus with myself and their Dad about what this means.

In Acts 17:26-28 Paul proclaims about God,

From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. For in him we live and move and have our being. As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.

My heart is full because my girls have recognized that they belong to God. God has marked out each of their appointed times in history. They will not be perfect, because they are human and no one is perfect. However, they realize that God is always with them and He will help them in all of their life. I pray that they will always choose to seek him and find Him. I pray that for all of us as well, because their is nothing so sweet as finding God.

Leave a comment

Filed under Faith, Family, Living Well, Mommy Thoughts, Parenting

Baby Nine Update

My baby nine is due in about 49 days so I thought you might like a little update on how my pregnancy is going.

I passed my early glucose screen with flying colors and I was excited that maybe I wouldn’t have any issues.  No such luck! I failed my 1 hour sugar test by one little point and instead of taking the 3 hour test I opted to just start checking my blood sugar on a regular basis. What I discovered is that processed sugar is not my friend.  My younger brother has been a Type 1 diabetic for over 20 years and I do not know how he does it, except for the fact that it’s do or die. I am already tired of poking myself 4 times a day to test my blood sugar and I have only been doing it for a month. Being diabetic is not a walk in the park at all and watching what you eat to keep your sugar in check is a lot of work!  Don’t take your pancreas or eating what you want for granted!

I had carpal tunnel with my last three pregnancies.  This time has been different! I had some issues earlier but my carpal tunnel has actually gotten better over time. It’s a good thing because I have a lot of baby blanket crocheting that I still need to get done!

Heartburn is always an issue for me during pregnancy and it has been extra rough this time around. I am on a prescription that I take twice a day and sometimes when the baby is super active I still have heartburn. It’s the pits.

I have never weighed this much in my life or during any of my other 8 pregnancies.  The aches and pains are starting, but I am truly blessed that up until this point I haven’t felt too bad!  I’ve been able to do all the things that I want to do. I had to take off my wedding ring this time around but I still have the permanent indentation of my ring on my finger from 17 years of marriage!

I had a recent ultrasound to check the position of the placenta and our little mister looks to be healthy and well and thankfully the placenta is not low-lying any more! Hooray!

With Thanksgiving next week and Christmas following close behind I know the next 49 days is just going to fly and I’m going to try my best to take one day at a time! After all I know that babies are easier to take care of on the inside!

Leave a comment

Filed under Family, Mommy Thoughts, Pregnancy Thoughts

A Room for Six Sisters

There is not going to be a photograph attached to this post because I’m going to confess that the six sisters ages 9 and under have not and cannot seem to keep the room picked up or in any kind of order . . . Unless you count the days when they shove everything under their beds!

The bedroom for six sisters is actually a 2nd family room.  There are 2 bunk beds and a combination twin and trundle-bed. There is no closet but there are three dressers. One dress is tall and the other two are long. There is a storage ottoman and two big toy boxes. There is also a small metal cabinet.  Each piece of storage has a designated purpose. The dressers are supposed to be for clothes storage!  The cabinet is supposed to be for shoes. The storage ottoman is supposed to hold extra blankets. One toy box is for costume storage. One toy box is supposed to be for toys! We also have two extra big cloth storage bags for stuffed animals that double as bean bags to sit on!

I am still hopeful that things will get better as they get older!  I’m trying to keep a positive perspective that there are a LOT of kids in one room. I have seen bedrooms where there is only one kid and the room is a complete and total disaster so I know that having a super clean room with 6 girls all under the age of 10 is probably not very realistic.

It did not help me when my doctor was telling me about his oldest daughter leaving for college and mounds of clothes junk on the floor and pizza boxes and cups of moldy Lucky Charms cereal under her bed!!!

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Family, Living Well, Parenting

Mother’s Days

For Mothers Day I got a sweet book about me filled in by my oldest son. I also got painted rocks, flowers, a big stack of cards and pictures, hugs, and mushy wet kisses . . . It’s wasn’t unlike every other day, but when you love being a mom like I do . . . every day is Mother’s Day.
 
Mother’s day also came with body fluids, falls, spilled milk, lost shoes, crying, 1 stolen donut, yelling, and protests of hunger and thirst! it is highly important to keep perspective about the good and bad of mother’s days.
 
They say the days are long and the years are short and they are not lying.

1 Comment

Filed under Family, Mommy Thoughts, Parenting

A “Love’s” Story

It is worrisome when your battery indicator light comes on. It’s more worrisome when you are traveling on the interstate.  It’s more worrisome still when you are on the interstate miles and miles away from home on vacation with your husband and eight kids. It is down right horrible when all of this happens on a Sunday night.

We about a half and hour away from checking-in  to our cabin in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee when battery light came on.  I was in the passenger seat and so I looked in the manual to see what it said . . . the battery is not charging correctly.  We started to lose power so we pulled off the interstate and tried to get to a gas station before our van completely died. We told the kids to pray.  We made it to the Love’s gas station in Dandridge, Tennessee. IMG_6309-1.jpg

James called AAA and they said they would send someone out. He explained that we he was on vacation with his wife and 8 kids.  The AAA guy called us and said he was about a half an hour away.  Mike got to Love’s and charged our battery. Then he checked to see if the battery would hold a charge. When he tested things, he discovered our battery was good, but we needed a new alternator. On a Sunday night with eight kids we were stranded in Love’s parking lot. The AAA guy closed to van hood and said he would make a few phone calls.

James told me the bad news. We told the kids to keep praying. I looked up some auto repair shops and all of them were closed or closing in just a few minutes. James and I talked getting the van towed to a auto repair place, renting a vehicle, and finding another place to stay if we missed our check-in time.  We talked about how much money all of this would cost.  We talked about the possibility of spending the night in the van at Love’s gas station and calling for a tow, taking the van to the repair shop, and getting a rental in the morning when we knew things would be open.

The AAA guy, Mike, was talking on the phone for quite a while. He got into this truck and sat for a while. He got out of the truck and walked toward us.  James thought he was going to come over to talk to us so he got out of the van, but Mike stayed on his phone and kept walking back and forth so James got  back into the van.  Finally Mike asked James to pop the hood.

Mike got off the phone and motioned for James to come talk to him and then he started changing the tire on his own work truck. He then told James something totally unexpected. Mike had found the alternator at an auto parts store and he would change it that night after he got his truck tire changed! He gave me a thumbs up and mouthed, “we’re good,” at me.  Curious to know what was up I opened my door and James told me the good news!

Mike drove James to go get the new alternator. They got to the auto parts store at 8:02 p.m. and the store closed at 8 p.m.  They saw the guy inside, but he shook his head at them and waved they off.  So Mike called another store a little farther away. They had the part and didn’t close until 9 p.m. so they went there.

Mike changed our alternator and by 9:30 p.m. we were on the road again. Mike would only let James pay for the alternator and he refused to accept any money for changing it out!  The kids and I tried to sing happy birthday to Mike but he was embarrassed and walked away. We thanked him profusely!

While we sat there our oldest daughter said I know the name of this place is Love’s but I hate it! It was not fun sitting in the van for 3 hours at Love’s gas station, and none of the kids wanted to go to a Love’s gas stations again, but I can’t say that I blame them!

God can take what seems like an absolutely horrid situation and turn it into a story about how He is watching out for us all the time!

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Faith, Family, Parenting

My Important Stuff

There is a little shelf beside my bed that has my important stuff on it. My family recently moved to a new house so I have been thinking about what things are most important to me. A stuffed animal moose and a camping nightlight moose remind me of Alaska where I went on a mission trip that brought me closer to God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit.

A little heart that reads, Always My Mother, Forever my FRIEND. My mom read different ones to my 5-year-old daughter at the store and picked this one out for me. It truly is my prayer that my kids will grow up and see me as someone who is their friend.

The footprint painting is a surprise find that was lost in our old house but my super awesome landlords/friends found and returned to me. On it are the footprints of our five oldest kids and it reminds me of my JOB and my kids. My mom job is the biggest, scariest, most awesome and most important job ever.

One book on my shelf is “14,000 things to be happy about.” It is just a quirky book that I bought a long long time ago that so me! Also on my shelf are the books, A Christian Mother Goose Rock-A-Bye Bible, Tuesdays with Morrie, and Many Ways to Say I Love You by Fred Rogers. My little prayer jounal with Bible verses, prayers, and quotes that I have been hiding in my heart is sitting on my Bible.

Another lost and found treasure is a plastic license plate that reads “Smile God Loves You!” My family got it for my grandparents who had displayed it in their kitchen years and years ago. I kept it after my Grandma went to the nursing home and now that both of them have gone to eternity in heaven it is a little thing that remind me of the BIG TRUTH that they helped me learn: God Loves Me and everyone else too!

I keep a little album of photos of my grandparents by my bed. The other day was 16 years since my Grandpa has been gone and though I miss my grandparents so much I celebrate that they are with Jesus! Photos are priceless memories!

My stuffed animal purple turtle that my husband let the kids pick out me because they know my favorite color and my favorite animal! James was pretty surprised to find it because they knew what they wanted to get me! a purple turtle! It reminds me that they do love me (even if it sometimes seems like they are just trying to make me crazy)! An Ewok from my sister who knows I love Star Wars. A Precious Moments white porcelain cross that was our wedding cake topper, and a plaque with part of the Footprints poem are on the bottom shelf. They are symbols of my two best friends my James, and my Jesus.

The shelf itself was made by my husband’s late great-grandfather. He loved his family and he loved to make useful things for his family.

It is hard work to unpack and organize after a move. It has made think about what is most important to me and why it is important!

Leave a comment

Filed under Faith, Family, Living Well, Mommy Thoughts, Parenting

Tomato Soup

With 4 out of 8 kids recovering from a stomach bug I opted for a super simple dinner.  I suggested soup, and even one of the kids who hasn’t been sick wanted chicken noodle soup. I suggested sandwiches to a healthy kid and the kid was not impressed. All of the things he wanted required extra cooking and time. I went to the pantry and looked for other options and found one single serving microwavable tomato soup cans and offered that to the healthy kid. The tomato soup was approved. Sandwiches and soup were prepared and dinner was served. After the kids prayed, one of the sick kids said to me, “Thank you for making supper.”  The healthy kid flashed a big grin at me. It made me feel like the best mom ever just because the kid was so thankful for the tomato soup.

I am happy that I could make my kid happy by heating up some tomato soup. It seemed like a very small thing to me, but it was a big thing to the kid. You never know how the things you say or do no matter how big or small affect those around you!

I am happy to report that no one has been sick since early this morning and everyone seems to be feeling better! We are so thankful for the prayers of our friends and family!

Leave a comment

Filed under Faith, Family, Mommy Thoughts, Parenting

It’s a Good God Thing

When James and I were going to get married, I bought the first wedding dress that I tried on. I tried on another just to make sure that first dress was the dress for me!

When James and I needed to find a bigger house to live in we only had two little boys. God led us to the first and only house that we would look at and we’ve lived here for over 8 years.

When James and I felt led to find a different church to attend, God led us to the first and only church that we visited and we’ve gone there for over three years.

James and I need to move to a new house. Our landlords are selling the house because they need to move out-of-state to be closer to family. I did a lot of searching for houses and very few people even responded to my messages or phone calls.  Most rentals in our college town are August to August leases and we need to move by July 1. God led us to the perfect house for us and it was the first and only house that we looked at, from friends, in a neighborhood that we like where most of people on our block are related to our friends who are also our neighbors!

Our dryer recently died and that same day loaded all the kids up and went to pick out a new dryer. The first one we picked out had a door that could be reversed. That one was not in stock so we picked out a second dryer. When the guy helping us went back to look for the only one in stock he couldn’t find it, so we ended up picking a third one. Each dryer was more expensive than the first but we only were charged the price of the first dryer!

Remember how the first dryer’s door could be reversed?  I thought it was a real bummer when James realized that the door cannot be reversed on the dryer we got!  BUT . . . At the new house the dryer will be on the opposite side of the laundry room AND the dryer door will be on the right side! How about that for God being in the details.

God is in the big things and in the small things and in absolutely everything . . . keep looking up!

Leave a comment

Filed under Faith, Family, Living Well

Looking Up

Maple Tree LeavesWhile walking through the woods I often pause to look up at how the sunlight streams through the leaves above. I can’t remember when I started doing this, but it’s a long-loved habit of mine. The TRUTH for life is this . . . If you stop to literally and figuratively “look up,” you will see that God’s light shines on everything.

I connected with another homeschooling mom who is from Indiana and has 10 children because she authors some homeschool books that I use with my kids. Amazingly, she makes enough money from her book sales that her husband is able to be home full-time and they do missionary work in the Ukraine. I secretly thought it would be wonderful if there was some way that my husband could be home full-time too, but I didn’t tell a soul about it. I thought it was impossible, but nothing is impossible for God!

My husband’s new job as a historian/archeologist allows him just that . . . He works from home! Not only that but he got a significant pay increase, he’s salary, and he has unlimited paid time off and vacation days. The other benefits he has are too many to list.

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. Ephesians 3:21

God is so good and I cannot thank Him enough for how he has provided for me and for my family!

Leave a comment

Filed under Faith, Family, Living Well