Oh–we painted a dresser this morning. And by we, I mean the girls and I painted. It was a bit of a scramble there for a while, trying to make sure one was pushing the baby in the swing, and the other wasn’t dripping too badly, the clumps of dog hair floating around didn’t get in the paint, the rollers weren’t dropped too many times into the leaves and dirt and gravel and they were each getting their equal share of doing the seemingly more important job of painting instead of baby pushing. I’m sure there’s a lesson there…

I didn’t actually intend for it to be purple and green, but the purple was mismarked, or else I just couldn’t see the color dot very well in the basement, but at any rate I’m happy with it. It’s empty right now, but I intend to fill it to the brim with crafty type materials and do a children’s seasonal display on top.

Well, we’ve been eating fresh from the garden. Thank goodness for Opa, who delivers the goods from my yard (in which he has his garden) to my door. I have pulled and cut a vegetable or two myself, but not nearly as much as I should having a lush thriving garden only across the lane.
And there’s been a lot of this going on lately. Cadrian is in a PHASE. I don’t know what exactly, but he sure loves his mama. I do love attachment parenting, but it can be hard when they are really, really attached, and you have to peel them off like wallpaper in a 150 year old farmhouse.

Since it’s summertime, what can be better than one’s very first root beer float? Made by a very loving Dada who took a special break in the middle of the day is just icing on the cake.

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Isn’t she adorable? I have no idea what she is talking about; I can’t hear her either. Nevertheless, she is just so stinkin’ sweet, I can hardly stand it.

And then she does stuff like this:

This is our new map. Our $20 map. The map we are supposed to keep nice, to use through all the grades. The map we just got on Friday.

I am frustrated beyond all recognition.

She KNOWS she is supposed to ask to use markers. She KNOWS she is supposed to color only on paper. She is smart. She has a stellar memory. She has been getting in trouble for a FULL YEAR for coloring on stuff!

This was last summer. Not only did she color all over herself, but also our bedroom wall, the doors, my bed skirt, the mattress and the carpet. I spent over an hour with the carpet shampooer only yesterday trying to get that permanent marker incident out of sight. Trying.

I feel like a failure. I feel like I am NEVER going to get through to her. I feel like she is too much for me. Like I can’t handle it. I feel like a bad mama. I feel like just not trying anymore.

And then I remember how God never gives up on me. How I still make the same mistakes, even though I have been walking with Him for NINE years. How stubborn I can be. How God keeps disciplining me gently and lovingly (completely unlike the …ahem… screaming that may or may not have occurred in this home). How He just keeps plugging away, working on changing my heart.

And I remember how much I want to be like Him. And I remember what His Word says: So don’t get tired of doing what is good. Don’t get discouraged and give up, for we will reap a harvest of blessing at the appropriate time. – Galatians 6:9

And so I suck it up, and try again.

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My Daybook ~27 July


Outside My Window … gorgeous blue skies, stereotypical clouds, cool breeze, warm, absolutely perfect weather

I am thinking … how useless it is to clean up around here


I am thankful … marital “discussions” that end on a happy note–and how far we’ve come in our marriage these past (almost) seven years.

From the learning rooms … Pompeii: Buried Alive! Pompeii: Buried Alive! Pompeii: Buried Alive! and some other stuff.


From the kitchen … grilling, farm fresh veggies, more birthday cake

Carrots and onion enthusiastically pictured here


I am wearing … grey shorts with a white stripe on the side, a pink “Cure” tee shirt, and my jewelry still from yesterday. Senorita Rose-alita toe nail polish.


I am creating … fresh air kids

I am reading … Ruth Beechick’s Language and Thinking for Young Children


I am hoping … Kevin and I are able to keep communications OPEN this week

I am hearing… Aviana singing, Cadrian squeaking, Brielle babbling

Around the house …Clean carpets–after 8 years with my $ Kirby, I finally used the carpet shampooing feature, a goal to keep the kitchen clean after each use


One of my favorite things … being creative

A few plans for the rest of the week … trying not to over-go, since last week was CRA-azy. My BIRTHDAY Saturday; family birthday party Sunday

Here is a picture thought I am sharing~“Box Day”

I love how Brielle looks like she’s a little hoodlum.
We couldn’t wait to dig into all our good Sonlight stuff. Our markable map gets marked on nearly every day!
And we have read Pompeii twice a day since we got our books. They love a good disaster story.

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Once upon a time

there was an adorable little girl, and another little girl, and a little boy. They were so cute, their mama couldn’t resist taking their picture. Or kissing them. Other people couldn’t resist kissing them either. Or taking more pictures.

Sometimes they were silly and sat in funny places.

Sometimes they were curious and got very very dirty.

But they all came clean in the end.

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You are Free to Roam about the Country

Or at least your back yard.

Have you heard of this lady? That’s Lenore Skenazy. She got “in trouble” a while back for letting her nine year old son ride the NYC subway by himself. You can watch a clip of the “much ado” if you like.

Since then, she has written a book and started a blog both called Free Range Kids.

I was wide awake, long past my bedtime, due to a nap yesterday, I spent quite a bit of time perusing the website. I had no idea there was such a controversy about this.

If you’ve never heard of the concept of “Free Range Kids” (kind of catchy, isn’t it?), you’ve probably never heard of the “helicopter parent” either. At opposite ends of the spectrum, the helicopter parent never lets their child out of their sight, hovers if you will. The extreme heli-parent gives the child a ride to school even if it’s only a block, puts a helmet on their child while on a tricycle, stays within arms reach at the playground at all times, and carries sanitizer in a holster.

The Free Range Parent gives their child room to explore, room to find their own sense of independence and love of the world. The extreme Free Range Parent then would let their toddler cook dinner over the stove, play with knives and guns, climb cliffs naked, and walk to pre-school unattended.

Of course most people are at neither extreme.

I’ve been thinking a lot about this, and shockingly, I’m a “free range parent”. And yet, according to some, I’m overprotective. No doubt about it, I am very protective.

Statisticly, there were 36.4 million elementary school aged children in the U.S. in 2004. In 2006, 115 of them were abducted by strangers. 40% were killed. This means the “Stranger Danger” we hear about? Nonexistent.


From Ms. Skenazy’s blog: If you, for some strange reason, WANTED your child to be KIDNAPPED AND HELD OVERNIGHT BY A STRANGER, HOW LONG WOULD YOU HAVE TO LEAVE HIM OR HER OUTSIDE, ALONE AND UNSUPERVISED HERE IN AMERICA, FOR THIS TO BE STATISTICALLY LIKELY TO HAPPEN? The answer, crunched for me by Warwick Cairns, author of How to Live Dangerously is this: 750,000 years.It’s more likely my child will be struck by lighting or attacked by a shark. And we live in a land locked state.

It’s not that being kidnapped is the only thing to fear. I personally know of several families in which a small child was killed or severely injured by being run over in their own driveway. Letting your child be more independent than most of us Gen Xers allow for our kids is definitely not the norm. We tend to veer more toward the helicopter end of the spectrum. I understand that.

I let my baby play in the dirt. It gets in his mouth. I let him explore the mulch, rain water in the wagon, green apples from the tree. I let him eat off the floor. I let my five year old and two year old play outside while I’m inside. I let them be in a different part of the library than I am. I give my children responsibilities and expect them to be team players in our home to give them a sense of accomplishment and independence.

I realize that the country is different from the city too. I “roamed” as a child. We played all over our neighborhood all summer long.

I was exposed to my first porn while being a “Free Range Kid”.

This is why I’m protective. I’m not all that worried about my children’s physical safety. I am EXTREMELY concerned about my children’s mental and emotional safety. Especially while they are so young and don’t have any discernment of their own right now. I monitor everything they read, watch and see. We talk about what they watch and what we read, and then we watch or read it again, and talk about it some more.

I fast forward through the scary parts in the movies we do watch (like the chase scene in Cinderella). We don’t watch TV, except for Curious George, bless his cotton pickin’ heart, who comes on right when I need to make dinner. When he’s on in the summertime though, it’s still daylight, and the kids are outside playing.

I don’t do babysitters, except for family. I’m very picky about who I do playdates with.

When my kids get older, I sure hope they will think the irony is funny.

Sure, go ahead and play in the creek all day, use Dada’s saw and drills all you want, climb that tree and jump out of it onto the trampoline, but you’re not doing any overnights with people whose hearts I don’t know.

I guess I’m a Fr-Heli-Range Parent.

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12 months–aka ONE YEAR

My baby’s a year now. I have mixed emotions. He’s beautiful. I love this age. I love his snuggles and hugs. I’m thrilled he’s developing normally and wonderfully. If he’s our last–I’m not ready to be done with babyhood.

He’s zooming around on all fours. He’s getting into anything and everything. He’s adept at exploring the world around him.

He refuses to sign, even though he has signed “nurse” for example, he usually only does it when he wants out of his high chair or out of his car seat, and steadfastly won’t do it when he wants to nurse, preferring the oh-so-subtle indicator of banging his head on my chest while trying to lift my shirt.

He loves to swing and of course be carried around. He doesn’t laugh frequently, but when he does he is completely contagious. He seems to be a more introverted baby than his big sisters, not vying for attention, but getting it nevertheless with that adorable six toothed smile and those gorgeous eyes.

Here is my sweet boy not walking.

And still not walking.

And. Still. Not. Walking.
But having a grand time nonetheless. I admit I am surprised that he isn’t walking. He crawled even sooner than Brielle did, and she was walking at nine months. He’s taken four steps total in his life, but I guess since he can get where he wants already, he doesn’t need to waste the energy figuring out something new.

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The Farm Fresh Family and Too Much Birthday

The cupcake was the most he’s eaten in days. Poor little critter just isn’t feeling too hot.

The birthday girl; in time out; at her party.

She’s happy with her presents!
In the middle of the scavenger hunt; in the rain; with freshly mown grass; 19 or so children all told; still a success and fun!
Enjoying the “best birthday of her whole life!” while Ella and Brielle look on
Gettin’ our Hullabaloo game on
Our party minus the other grown ups and two more little friends and a little brother
They could NOT wait to break into the Paint Your Own tea set; this is right after Quiet Time.
It’s been a fun couple of days intermixed with periodical whining, crying and sassiness. It’s unfortunate Kevin and I were gone this weekend, leaving the girls here with my parents. They were in wonderful hands, but it’s not the same. Even though we tried to keep their routine the same, it’s not the same.

Two days of birthday festivities is just too much for little bodies to deal with well, I think.

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Have you missed me?

I’ve missed you! I hate it when real life gets in the way of my virtual life *smiles wryly*.

So here’s what I’ve been doing the past several days:

Wed:: 6 kiddlets here
Thurs:: the same 6 kiddlets here and also, a headache and a chiro appointment

We’re doing a little science here. We traced their shadows incrementally throughout the day to observe how the earth rotates.

And really, my sister’s kids are heavier, but not by much…

Friday:: Clean up. Pack up. Make two false starts, and we are headed halfway across our great state for a wedding. I was a bride’s attendant to my best friend from seventh grade. Get lost. DON’T end up tense about it. (hip hip hooray!) Rehearsal. Rehearsal dinner.

Saturday:: Mimosas at 9 a.m.
Hair. Make up. Random errands. Helping. Aiding. Finally wedding worthy. Pictures.

Lighting the unity candle with her son.

You may kiss the bride!
Waiting to blow bubbles

On the way to the reception
The cake

The candle centerpieces
The sleepy head

The dorks
The cool couple
The adoring mama
Sunday:: Drove home and unpacked and took care of my girls who missed me. Put Kids 2 and 3 to bed with fevers.

Today::That sweet boy is ONE today! Buy a steal of a dollhouse from a guys who’s a friend of a friend. Toy store. Balloons. Birthday crowns. Birthday presents. Grocery. Ice cream. Popsicles. Fruit. Naps.

Ok, now you’re all caught up. Mostly.

And his sister turns FIVE tomorrow!

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Mrs. Farmer’s Busy Days

Yesterday we met Dan Wardell (a hilarious and high energy storyteller from Iowa Public Television) at the library.
Rumor has it he even wears his cape to Target when he’s not working.

Aviana loved his antics.

Other people, not so much.

After some technical difficulties with my camera, we finally got a semi-decent picture.
We were home for an hour and I left the kids with my mom to go to my arch nemesis: the dentist. I tried yet another new dentist. This time, I liked them. After 11 years of searching, and complaining, I have a dentist in my area. I no longer hate the dentist. As a bonus, my teeth are super slick.

I got home for an hour and went to Bible study. It was great, as usual. Then I got to stand in the parking lot and chat with my friend unhindered by small people. That was super great.

Busy Day.

Today I’m home all day, but with six kids. It’s been really fun for my children to play with their cousins.

Different. But still, a Busy Day.

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My Day

Up. Sneeze. Sneeze. Wipe nose. Sneeze. Nurse. Sneeze. Sneeze. Wipe nose. Sneeze. Sleep. Sort of. Nurse. Up. Sneeze. Sneeze. Wipe nose. Sneeze. Dishes. Sneeze. Sneeze. Wipe nose. Sneeze. Counters. Sneeze. Sneeze. Wipe nose. Sneeze. Floors. Sneeze. Sneeze. Wipe nose. Sneeze. Laundry. Sneeze. Sneeze. Wipe nose. Sneeze. Closets. Nurse. Scrap. Sneeze. Sneeze. Wipe nose. Sneeze. Baby up. Play. Sneeze. Sneeze. Wipe nose. Sneeze. Cook. BURN FINGER! Sneeze. Sneeze. Wipe nose. Sneeze. Dishes. Sneeze. Sneeze. Wipe nose. Sneeze. Counters. Nurse. Baby down. Sneeze. Sneeze. Wipe nose. Sneeze. Rub eyes. Cry a little. Floors. Scrap. Sneeze. Sneeze. Wipe nose. Sneeze. Change. Sneeze. Sneeze. Wipe nose. Sneeze.Drive. Swim lessons. Sneeze. Sneeze. Wipe nose. Sneeze. Walk. Sneeze. Sneeze. Wipe nose. Sneeze. Park. Walk. Sneeze. Sneeze. Wipe nose. Sneeze. Drive. Buy. Sneeze. Sneeze. Wipe nose. Sneeze. Husk. Sneeze. Sneeze. Wipe nose. Sneeze. Cook. Scramble. Supper. Nurse. Stories. Sneeze. Sneeze. Wipe nose. Sneeze. ‘Puter. Sneeze. Sneeze. Wipe nose. Sneeze. Scrap.

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