Tag Archives: large 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!

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

BB-8 Gender Reveal

Our sweet “BB-8,” also known as Baby 8 has caused quite a stir among our friends and family! So many have been wondering and praying that our new addition is a boy because we have shared God’s promise of three sons!  We have a deal with God! James and I are up for whatever God wants and how ever many kids He wants for us!  We have been trusting Him and He ALWAYS has a better plan for us than we do!  If James and I would have stopped at three kids we would have missed out on a whole lot of love!

Here’s a video of us telling the kids the news by giving them some gifts to open! You may need to turn the volume down at the 1:40 mark!

BB-8 Gender Reveal

Gift number one: A little ornament


Gift number two: a totally neural outfit

Gift number three:  A note that read, “You get to find out today if a brother or sister is coming your way.”

Gift number four: a tiny snowman sleeper

It should still be nice and cold in Indiana in mid-February when our sixth baby GIRL comes home and we can’t wait! Our ultrasound showed that she is healthy and well and an estimated 15 oz.  Praise God!!!




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My Gum Ball Hero

God knew that I needed a little old lady to stop and talk to me how wonderful she thinks large families are. She told me that she only has three children, but she always admires large families. I confessed that they are some times exhausting, and she agreed before saying, “But just look at them.” Thankfully at the moment they were behaving!

The kids were blocking one lady and as we passed she told me that her daughter has five children but they are all teenagers now. She said something about how hard it is for them to get ready in the morning. These nuggets of truth I can do without knowing . . . I know it will be a different kind of hard when they are all teens!  I’m trying to survive here and now!

Three different strangers asked if all the kids belong to me. I never know how to answer. I usually just say, “Yes they do!” If he hears people ask, Mr. J usually pipes up that there are seven of them. He tells them that there two older boys and five sisters. He goes on about how hard it is to have so many sisters. It’s hilarious.

God also knew that I needed a stranger to buy two extra gum balls at the gum ball machine as we were leaving. Two of the kids started crying when one gum ball fell onto the floor and we were another gum ball short! Some times God gets our attention with huge things but other times he uses the little things! That guy who spent 50 cents on my kids was my gum ball hero!


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Encouragment for Today

smDSC_8597b It’s feels like it has been a really long week, but I got several doses of encouragement just when I needed them!

My kids folded a whole couch full of laundry and two laundry baskets full of laundry and they put almost all of it away! After dinner one of my girls started putting away the dishes that were in the dishwasher without being asked. Then she asked if she could do the dishes. I said YES!  I wish someone could have taken a photo of my face when I asked her why she wanted to and she told me that she wanted to do it for me. One kid has been really wanting his Minecraft time so he’s been helping clean up around the house for the past week. It is encouraging that my kids want to help out around the house!

Today I took the kids on a little walk for a fall photo super mini session. I have to confess . . . These are totally my “beautiful” confessions here . . .  It was a extra tiny session because my camera battery died but I was able to take 40 photos in 5 minutes. I got some really good ones along with some that are just plain funny!

While we were on our walk we met a white-haired gentleman who was sporting a black NRA hat and walking his little schnauzer. He smiled as he let all of the kids pet his dog and he asked me, “Are these all your children?” I proudly replied, “Yes they are.” Oh my goodness he said. He told me that when kids grow up and move away they will start repaying you. He said, “That is what my kids did, they repay me so much.” He told me right now I am paying while they are young. I am sure the gentleman didn’t know at all how much his words meant to me. In the chaos of every day life I can’t look ahead at what life might look like some where down the road, but I am encouraged when I think about how blessed I will be some where down the road.

I’ve been sharing some recent photo shoots with my oldest son and asking him what he thinks after all the other kids have gone to bed. The other day I asked him to choose a favorite of three different photos and he shook his head no. He couldn’t pick a favorite and told me they are all great. Tonight I was showing him photos of our family friends and he said, “You are really good at taking photos.” I am so thankful that people trust me to take photos for them, because they think that I’m a good photographer.

It is so good to be encouraged!

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Life with Seven Kids

DSC_6036It feels like forever since I’ve written a blog. I have a few drafts of blogs that I have written and not published in the past 7 weeks. It has been a crazy time since my baby girl was born. Usually I bounce back pretty quickly after deliveries, but this time was much different. Soon after arriving at Labor and Delivery it was discovered that my baby girl was breech and I needed to have a c-section.

C-section recovery with seven kids is tough stuff. A couple of times I called the doctor’s office to ask questions and the nurses told me to rest. It was hard not to laugh out loud at them. Seven kids need to be fed and clothed and kept alive. Resting seemed nearly impossible. There were times I would fall doze off only to be awakened by kids yelling. Thankfully I had a lot of help. My church family made us dinner here and there. My mom came to help me with the house. The kids pitched in to help. My husband was amazing as always. He can get everyone bathed at lightning speed!

We survived those long weeks and now our girl is seven weeks young and this year is half over. I finally feel almost back to normal.  I can almost get my wedding and engagement rings back on! I’m packing away most of my maternity clothes and we are settling in to our new normal.

The day starts with one early morning nursing session with Miss A usually around 3 a.m.  Miss A usually nurses through breakfast around 7:30 and big brother gets all the other siblings started with breakfast. We are still doing some school through the summer but on a much more laid back schedule . . . not that our school routine is ever rigid by any means.  Nursing Miss A seems to take the most time because she is a spit-upper! To decrease the amount that she spits up she needs to be held upright for at least 15 minutes after she nurses! Sometimes I can hand her off to the two oldest boys but most times I just sit with her.  Feeding the rest of the crew hasn’t changed much. Lunch is always something simple. Peanut Butter Jelly time rules. Dinner has been what I struggle with most. Miss A always seems to be the most fussy when I want to try to make dinner.  After dinner Miss A likes to have nursing marathons. It seems like I nurse her and nurse her and nurse her for two hours or more every evening, but if she lets me sleep and wakes me just once in the middle of the night it is worth it.  She’s constantly growing and constantly changing! The boys have been given a few more responsibilities and the girls are used to helping out with different things.

We are living the life!  I’m up for the adventures that seven kids will bring. I’ve figured out that Mr. A is big enough to push our second stroller so we can all go on walks while Daddy is at work.  I took all seven kids to the grocery store by myself for the second time since I’ve had seven kids. I put the Miss A’s car seat into the back of the cart and Miss G into the seat of the cart and all 5 big kids had a hand on the cart. I paused for a minute and thought to myself, “I get to do this!”  It’s not all sunshine and roses all the time but I honestly love it!

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Shenanigans! Again!

There are always lots of different things going on at any given moment around our house! Isn’t there some movie where the main character shouts, “They’re everywhere! They’re everywhere!” That was me with my kids today. It started two pretty rotten nights of sleep. One 5 hour sleep night, and then another that was very broken with an over dramatic almost three-year-old who was so miserable with a cold that she cried and yelled and eventually was allowed to sleep in my bed. She only had congestion and runny nose, but at one point she almost had me convinced me that she needed to go the hospital. It was her yelling and crying frantically while pushing on her eyelid and says, “Ouch! My eye hurts! My eye hurts!” over and over for over for more than 15 minutes, that nearly sent me over the edge in the wee hours of the morning. Amazingly she didn’t wake any of the other kids and her Daddy only stirred to ask if she was okay.

Our morning routine consisted of everyone doing Bible Study together. We are taking about the names for Jesus during the Advent season. Miss Isabel today was grumping about everyone being mean to her and wearing a frown all morning so I asked her aunt if she would take her for an adventure with her cousin.  Miss Danielle was a snotty puffy-faced mess all day today. She would complain about her nose, her throat, and her hurt finger at different times though out the day.  Her nose would run or she would sneeze start crying! I had to coax her into getting tissues to wipe her nose. That high-pitched crying, “ugh, ugh, ugh,” was like nails on the chalkboard for me today.

Then Gabrielle was into absolutely everything. She had two baths within 2 hours. The first bath was only partly her fault. Her brother left a mostly eaten bowl of yogurt on the dining table. She climbed into a chair and helped herself to some yogurt but not without getting some in her hair.  Her brother tried to help by wiping her off. I noticed that her hair was sticking up in all kind of funny directions and when I asked what happened to her hair Andy told me that she had gotten some yogurt on herself and he had wiped it off.  Upon further investigation I discovered the dishcloth that he used was not a clean one but one that I had used to clean the dirty stove off earlier.  After taking her into the bathroom I undressed her and turned to get a towel and came back to her standing in a puddle on the floor. Fabulous! I threw a hand towel over the puddle and instead of starting on dinner, Gabrielle and her crunchy hair got a good scrub.

The dinner request was for little pizzas today. This is something Daddy started with them and they loved it. They cut out rounds of pizza dough and then top their own mini pizzas. Andy was telling Gabrielle how Daddy invented the little pizzas, because of course Daddy is a hero in the eyes of his son. This was all well and good except that Danielle wanted a front row seat and was coughing and sneezing and snotty. I kept trying to get her out of the kitchen but she was so pitiful.

While I made dinner with the kids, the older kids were all arguing. Apparently Andy wanted very badly to work on learning German using the Duo Lingo app on the iPad and his siblings were not making it easy for him to hear the speaking part of his lessons. He took the iPad into the bathroom to complete the lessons and every so often one of the kids would come to me and tell me that Andy was being mean or doing this or that to them because he did not want them in the bathroom.  He came out a few times to tell me that they were bothering him and he could not hear the lesson to finish it.  I ended up making his mini pizzas for him so that he could learn German.

The pizzas had been in the oven for a little while when Isabel ran up to me and said, “Mommy it’s an emergency. Gabrielle is in the bathroom and she got soap all over her head.” :::Sigh::: “Who left the bathroom door open and the light on?” I walk into the bathroom and sure enough Gabrielle has the shampoo and a big glob of it in her hair and on her shirt. Into the bathtub she went for yet another bath!  I remember the pizza after taking her out of the tub and I yelled for Joshua to hang on to my damp and towel-covered girl. I check the bottoms of the pizzas and they look slightly brown so I pull them out of the oven and then get Gabrielle dressed.

After sitting down to eat I realized that my pizza was still a little doughy. Because making pizzas with little kids takes a long time the pizza dough was more thick than usual and needed to bake a little while longer. The kids ate their pizzas and I ate less than half of mine.  This is why we let Daddy cook whenever possible.

I had this awesome plan to get everyone’s socks and underwear washed before bedtime.  I washed my clothes first because I only have so many things that fit me correctly these days. I had the kids gather up all the laundry so I could wash whites. It was after dinner that I realized I still had not gotten the load of whites in the washer. No sweat, I thought . . . I let the kids stay up and watch a short video to give the clothes more time to dry but it did not work out! Thankfully there was not too much argument about not having what they needed at bedtime because they were so tired they didn’t care.

It’s not even 10 o’clock but this Mommy is going to join her kids in getting some shut-eye! I am hoping and praying for better health and maybe a few less shenanigans, but who I am kidding! Life without shenanigans just isn’t any fun!

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