Monday, April 30, 2012

I'm Blessed: To Rock a Baby

I'm coming in at the end of the day to write along with Gretchen's I'm Blessed series on Mondays.
Have you ever thought about what a blessing it is to rock a baby?

I have come to the conclusion that I haven't thought nearly enough about that--nine children and I'm just now taking the time to simply revel in the beauty of rocking a baby to sleep.

Whether you're a mother or not, you've likely had the chance to hold a baby--have you ever thought what a gift that was?  That that little someone felt safe enough with you to fall asleep in your arms?  That their little body relaxed against yours, their crying stopped, perhaps their eyes met yours--they didn't cry, s/he just trusted you to keep them safe.  
When I can feel my little ones get heavier as their eyelids droop,
the last *sigh* as they give in to the sweet reprieve of rest--

Ahhhhh, what a blessing it is to rock a baby.

These Little Piggies

I love them so.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Deja Vu?

There's something awfully familiar about this chocolate pudding face...

Oh, NOW I know--
I've seen it before!!
Ivy  5/11

Friday, April 27, 2012

My Artist

My 'Lijah loves to draw.
His magnadoodle is a constant companion.
He came to show me this picture recently;
"Great job, 'Lijah-Boy!  Tell me about your picture..."
"Well, Mom, this is a picture of Christopher 'n Dad.  It's winter in the picture
and the spots are some snowflakes.
I drawed Dad with just a different kind of beard--y'know,
that kind of beard that grows under his nose.  I didn't draw his reg'lar beard."
"Oh, you mean a mustache?"
"Yeah, that's it."

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Baby, Dear

Where Did You Come From, Baby Dear?
~George MacDonald

Where did you come from, baby dear?
Out of the everywhere into here.

Where did you get your eyes so blue?
Out of the sky as I came through.

What makes the light in them sparkle and spin?
Some of the starry spikes left in.

Where did you get that little tear?
I found it waiting when I got here.

What makes your forehead so smooth and high?
A soft hand stroked it as I went by.

What makes your cheek like a warm white rose?
I saw something better than anyone knows.

Whence that three-cornered smile of bliss?
Three angels gave me at once a kiss.

Where did you get this pearly ear?
God spoke, and it came out to hear.

Where did you get those arms and hands?
Love made itself into bonds and bands.

Feet, whence did you come, you darling things?
From the same box as the cherubs' wings.

How did they all just come to be you?
God thought about me, and so I grew.

But how did you come to us, you dear?
God thought about you, and so I am here.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Hey, Hollywood

When my sister and I were little girls,
my dad would always say "Hey, Hollywood!" whenever we looked especially fancy.
 Here's my little Hollywood!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Never Fear

Never fear--"Thooper Ivy" (Super Ivy) is here!
 With a cape of green,
glasses to mask her true identity,
 and a helmet for safety,
she's on the job.
 I wish I could type how she says
"to the rescue!!!!!!"
(She speaks with a lisp and doesn't say her r's
if that helps you.)

It does make one feel safe,
knowing there's a thooper hero in the house.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

4+ Months

At 4+ months,
Elizabeth gives rewarding smiles to anyone who meets her gaze.

She sits up (in a lap) with no support.

She "talks" a lot.

Elizabeth wears 12 month clothes and receives many compliments on her roly-poly thighs.
(As a mother, I've always enjoyed that because I feel it keeps the attention away from my own roly-poly thighs.)

Her left eye is "weepy"; I believe due to a plugged duct.
(When I remember to massage it, it improves.)

Baby girl sleeps from about 10pm to 4am, goes back to sleep until 6, 
eats again and sleeps until about 9 am.

Her daytime naps are not planned,
we just take 'em as they come.

She is a delightful baby
and we are all oh-so-glad to be her family.
We love her so!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

There Was an Old Woman

There was a not-so-old-ish woman
who lived in a shoe on a farm.
She had so many children
she didn't know what to do sometimes found them sleeping in a laundry basket.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Homeschool Friday

 Y'know, sometimes I try to make homeschooling little ones too hard.
But really, it isn't.
I had a "duh" moment this week,
or maybe I should call it a "good idea."

I made my younger ones a book to draw in.

I printed several words on plain printer paper,
stapled them into a book
and let 'em have at it.

Some of the words I chose were
swingset, car, tractor, baby, a page for them to write their name,
banana, apple, table, etc.

They LOVED it.
Bipper said,
"Mom--look at my arms--I'm STRONG!!!!"

They were so proud of their "books"
and were excited to show Daddy what they had done.

Homeschooling littles doesn't have to be so hard, now, does it!
To see other ideas for keeping younger ones busy
click here and here.

We Had a Hard Night

We had a hard night, 'Liz-beth and me...
She was up several times, wanting to nurse and/or just be held.
Normally, this wouldn't have been such a problem
but she and I were on the go yesterday and I was as worn out as I could be.
I think that was her deal, too--just a little strung out from her not-normal day.

I confess that I get plenty frustrated when a baby or child has several needs during a night.
I like my sleep.
I really like my sleep.
And I got frustrated with Elizabeth for being so needy 
after we both had had such a long day.

But when I see her like this,
I sometimes wonder how I could get so frustrated
with such a lovely little being.

I am reminded this morning of Michelle Duggar's
decision to choose JOY.
On a dvd our Mom's Group watched last night,
Mrs. Duggar spoke of how some days with tears streaming down her face
from feelings of being overwhelmed,
she chooses to sing
"the joy of the Lord is my strength."
You may remember that song from Sunday School or Vacation Bible School...

It was just what I needed  to hear.
Because some days this Mommy-gig is a tough one.
But His strength is made known in my weakness.

Even though I'm tired,
today I choose to sing a song of joy.
I choose joy.

edited to add: apparently Nicki and I are experiencing the same feelings.
Her post from today is absolutely lovely.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Riding Horses at Grandpa's

In the middle of March
on a warm (for March in MN) day,
I took the kids to my parents' house for the afternoon.
It was sort of like a vacation--the closest thing to a vacation that dairy farmers can take:
a 10 minute drive to somewhere free.

Ivy is on her way to "help" saddle the ponies.
She looks so grown UP!  When did that happen?

Linnea, on the right, and her friend Amy, on the left.

Elijah is on one of my dad's ponies, Dusty.

Ruby was so proud!
(my dad has a glove on to protect an injury to his hand)

Bipper collected rocks while waiting for his turn.

Ivy Joy had a turn on Dusty.

Ivy thought her nose was so "thoft". (soft)

My dad really likes his horses

Christopher is kind of a dare-devil;
he has liked for the horse to run since he was very young.

Elijah upgraded to a big horse

Amy and Linnea made sure Ivy stayed safe

Isaiah even went for a ride!

I just plain like this picture.

I think Ruby got the good end of this deal! 

The kids especially love it when Grandpa rides, too.

All of the kids have been in a saddle before they were two.

"It's fun to just talk with Grandpa." ~Christopher

Saturday, April 14, 2012

11 Random Things

I was tagged by Nicki to participate in 11Random Things 
The first requirement is to share a picture of me, so here you go.
The next step was to list eleven random things about me.  Here they are, in no particular order.
1.   I like Vanilla Coke too much.
2.   When I was in 5th grade, my teacher called me "Missy."  I hated it.  Whenever it came time for parent-teacher conferences my dad would ask if there was anything I wanted them to address with my teacher.  I would always say, "Please ask him to stop calling me Missy."  Mr. Nelson tried hard, and finally succeeded.  Then, in 6th grade I decided I wanted to go by Missy.  Poor guy.  I went by Missy all through high school, switching back to Melissa when I went to college.  I still answer to Missy, thinking nothing of it, as well as "Lis", which is what my brothers call me.  My parents call me Lissa.  I also answer to Mom, but sometimes I pretend I didn't hear.  Just kidding.  Well, kind of.
3.  When I was a child, I always said I wanted to either be a veterinarian or a music teacher.  Today, I'm a homemaker, farm wife, and homeschooling mom--I wasn't far off now, was I???
4.  I am shy, but some people don't believe that.  I never know what to say in social situations and so like Chandler from Friends, I make stupid jokes and end up saying too much.  Maybe a better term would be socially awkward...
5.  Dennis and I watched the entire first season of 24 in two nights via Netflix.  Seriously, that show was like crack.
7.   I totally enjoy being pregnant.  I really do.
8.  I have probably learned more because of homeschooling than our kids have. 
9.  My brother recently told me about Pandora.  LOVE IT.  My favorite stations are Motown and Bill Gaither's Homecoming Friends, but in reverse order.
10.  When I was in high school, I went on a leadership trip for Girls State (for the American Legion).  We raided the room across the hall, stole their mattresses and put them on the front lawn of the dorm.  It was perhaps the naughtiest thing I'd ever done or have done since.  Well, except for that one time that, nevermind.
11.  When I was little, my bike had a name.  My bike also had a banana seat.  I don't remember what name I gave it, but I do remember that when it would make me fall off, I would get mad and spank it on the seat. 

Now to answer Nicki's questions to me.
1. What is the first thing that you do when you get up in the morning?
~ use the bathroom.  What?  TMI??? Oh, I mean, feed the baby.  Then--coffee.

2. What product could you NOT live without?
~CoffeeMate French Vanilla creamer.  Or tinfoil.  It's a toss-up, really.

3. What is your favorite book?
~Black Beauty.  A timeless classic.  Did you know?--it's the only book Anna Sewell ever wrote; she died shortly after it was published.   FYI:  the movie is stupid and does the book a great injustice.

4. In one sentence, what advice would you give to a new mom?
~Asking me to say something in one sentence would be like eating one Pringle, but I'll give it a shot.  My advice for a new mom would be:  Write down some things that you would like help with and give it both to your husband and to a trusted friend for those times when someone says, "How can I help?" and in your sleep depravity you cannot call anything to mind or you find it too awkward to ask but your husband or friend can arrange on your behalf.  There, that was one sentence.  OR you could post this link to your facebook page and see if that helps. 100 Ways to Encourage a New Mom

5. What room in your home do you spend the most time?
~the kitchen.  We don't have a "school room" so much is done around the kitchen table.  Between school and meal preparation, consumption, and clean-up, I spend A LOT of time in the kitchen.

6. What is your favorite part of the day?
~Truthfully?  The end.  Some days I'm so physically weary by the end of the day (sometimes by 4:00 in the afternoon) I'm just. so. done.
I also really enjoy the days in which kids get all most of the their work done and they go outside all together; I brew a pot of coffee, sit in the recliner and simply be.

7. How many minutes do you spend reading to your children each day?
~some days we might read for an hour or more.  Some days, none.

8. What is the messiest room in your house?
~the bathroom.  We have boys.

9. Do you have a guilty pleasure?
~When I have a meeting or some such obligation and I leave with enough time to swing through a drive-thru to eat something good all by myself.

10. What is your movie recommendation for families?
~any of the Sherwood productions.  Flywheel, Facing the Giants, Fireproof, and Courageous.  Oh, and Remember the Titans.

11. If you had one more hour each day, how would you spend it?
~sleeping or crocheting.  Sometimes I sleep and crochet, but that doesn't usually turn out well.

Now, I'm supposed to "tag" five friends and ask them to do the same.  Because I like to blaze my own trails I decided to change things up a bit:  I want to invite everyone who reads this to join in, too!  Because not everyone has a blog, I'd like for you to pick some or all of the following questions to answer in the comment section.  I'd love to see your answers.

If you have a blog, consider yourself "tagged"--especially if you're my friend!!
Leave me a comment telling me you made a post about it, m-kay?

1.  What is your favorite childhood memory?
2.  What is your biggest fear?
3.  When you started driving, what kind of car did you have?  (Whether it was the family vehicle or you were given it just for you.)
4.  What moves you to tears?
5.  Why do you think babies spit up on you whenever you've just put on clean clothes?
6.  What was the hardest life-lesson you had to learn?
7.  What is something you are good at?
8.  Fast forward 30 years and then look back.  What is something going on in your life right now that you'll probably miss in 30 years?
9.  If you have children, what is something he/she/they have taught you?
10.  Name something on your "bucket list".
11.  When you are dead and gone, what do you hope people will remember about you?

I can't wait to see what you have to say!

I Say

I say it's good not to take oneself too seriously.

Friday, April 13, 2012

It's Best to Be Prepared

When playing frisbee and smooshing ants
in your "high heels",
it's best to be prepared.
Safety is a priority for Ruby.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Is It Just Me?

Is it just me
or does Elizabeth look a bit like her biggest brother??
The picture is of Nathaniel at the same age Elizabeth is now.


Baby Sister

Big Sister


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Farm Boys

You know you're the mother of farm boys 
when you meet some friends at the park
and in the course of their play,
the boys head toward the far side of a tree
and you experience the very real fear that
they are headed over to "use the bathroom"
so you call out, "Boys!  Remember we're in town!"
and they look at you funny and tell you 
that they were only going to play hide-and-seek.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

It's In His Genes

 Do you ever think,
"My kid does some weird stuff..."?

 And then you take a look at his grandpa and realize

he comes by it pretty honestly.
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