Tag Archives: babies

The Miracle of Birth (Baby #7)

You remember when I shared our fifth baby’s exciting arrival through a little mini-series of stories (first post of series) about four years ago? It was in honor of her first birthday (code for procrastination…totally). Well, we have had two babies since then….another sweet girl and last year, an awesome baby boy. He turned 14 months old last week and is a precious addition to our family. We all just love him to pieces.

However he also had a birth story that needs to be shared. Life has been pretty chaotic with seven kiddos and we moved (locally) last May. We bought a huge historical home in a neighboring town and have been overwhelmed with fixing it up ourselves. However, my favorite DIY project of 2017 was the discovery of baby #8 on its way.  (Clearly life was not just about nasty demo and painting last year. Haha.) So I’m just gonna keep this post short and sweet and let the video do the talking for me. Enjoy.

OB I85 from Stephen Stockton on Vimeo.

 

                               Thank you so much for reading.

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Life with 6 Kids

She’s been part of our lives for over eight months now. That’s unreal.

Life with 6 Kids

How does that even happen? Wow.

The older I get, the more amazed I become about the passage of time. It just FLIES by. I try to impart that bit of knowledge into my kids, but like all other young people, they don’t get it quite yet. But they will. One day they will.

So how am I faring with six kids some may ask?

Whenever I am out shopping, I get myriad of looks while herding my little brood in and out of stores. I can see their lips moving as they count—one,… two,…three, four. And their eyes widen…five, six. Sometimes I mentally count with them. It never hurts to double check and make sure that I don’t have any stragglers. 🙂

Then the comments come rolling in.

You’ve got your hands full.

My, you must be busy with all these kids.

Only one boy, huh?!

Life with 6 kids

And they smile. But I can see it in their eyes, hear it in their tone, and see it on their face. Amazement. Curiosity. Surprise. They are interested. Not for their own experience really, but to perhaps vicariously live —just for a moment—as the parent of a large family.

So what’s it really like? I mean, reeeally like to have half a dozen kids??

Life with 6 Kids

Settle in while I give you the low down on lots of littles, the honest truth. I promise.

Life with 6 Kids….So, What’s it Really Like?

Continual noise

Yes, let’s start with the noise. You are struck with the cacophony of what sounds like wild Indians during the settling of the old west before your foot ever crosses the threshold. The rooms echo with the sounds of childish babble and laughter fills the halls. And thudding. There is lots of thudding and thumping interspersed with the pitter-patter of little feet as they chase each other up and down the length of the home. A baby crying to be nursed and the long sobbing wail of one who cannot find her blanket. It all intermingles into one raucous clamor with minimal moments of silence. Long periods of silence almost never happen and if they do, always investigate. Silence during waking hours is not your friend. Nap time and bed time quiet are different story. They are truly golden moments after especially loud days and evenings. But then again, what am I saying? Nap time and bed time are treasured on any given day.

Mess

Frankly, it’s everywhere. We have eight people living in 1900 sq ft of living space. I try to remind myself that even if we were all adults, neatness would be an ongoing task and everyday battle. Obviously the entire household is not comprised of grown-ups, thus the clutter can seem even more overwhelming. The kids help out every day and have assigned daily chores, but I’ve come to realize that if I maintain a spotless house, I’m ignoring the lives of the little people in it. And babies don’t keep.

In other words, the mess reigns most days.

Food

Food?? I’m not overly familiar with it, it disappears so quickly. I am loving shopping at Costco more and more these days. Bulk buying is your BFF when you have a large family. Meals and snacks are devoured at a steady rate and you are left there staring at a pile of dirty dishes and trails of crumbs around the kitchen chairs. I’m not kidding. You blink and it’s gone. So dig in while you can. It’s the motto we live by.

Life with 6 Kids

Money

It disappears.

Adult conversation

It only happens between 8pm and 6am. Any other conversations attempted are interspersed with multiple offspring reprimands and boo-boo kissing. And let me tell ya, this makes some discussions with a spouse difficult and wearisome to follow. Many a tale has ended with these words, “Forget it. I’ll tell you later.” Followed by an understanding peck on the cheek.

It’s a season of life, only a season. At least, that’s what we tell ourselves. (between 8pm and 6am, of course)

No “me-time”

Your every waking moment is about others. Feeding, changing, teaching, bathing, cleaning, correcting….the list seems endless. Showers and bathroom breaks are your treasured reprieves. And even they are few and far between.

Life with 6 Kids

By now most of you are thinking,” I knew it.  I just knew it. These are exactly some of the reasons why I would never want a large family.”

Well, now I’d like to tell you otherwise.

But you just said…. And you just listed….Yes, yes, I know. I know what I just said and what I just listed. Mothering half a dozen kids is rough. I often fall into bed dog tired at the end of the day, both mentally and physically. It can be a struggle. And the kids win, most days.

I said that I would be honest here, and I have been. But I also would be remiss if I didn’t tell you this.

Some noises are nice. Like the noise of an infant laughing for the first time. Or the giggles of the entire family as you all watch the antics of a two year old. Or the happy chatter as you gather around the table for a meal or a game of cards. Or the sound of music as songs are being rehearsed or piano lessons are being practiced. You see, the absence of noise would actually be the saddest sound. And while nap time and bed time truly are golden moments, Hubs and I often find ourselves halfway wishing we could get the kids up again after a half hour of quiet. We just plain miss them.

Food, well, it’s meant to be eaten. And many memories are made when families gather to share meals together. Nothing warms my heart more than to see all of their sweet, young faces seated around our kitchen table. It’s during moments like those that I feel supremely blessed, my heart full. And when you realize how fortunate you really are, what’s a pile of dirty dishes or two? Instead you feel incredibly grateful as you sweep up that trail of crumbs. Again. For the seventeenth time that day.

Life with 6 Kids

Money. I didn’t say much about this earlier and I won’t say much about it here either. We have more possessions, riches if you will, than most people in the world. Do we have a huge house? Drive fancy cars? No and no. Material things don’t bring happiness and neither does a fat bank account. At the end of the day, what we obtain here on this earth is of little consequence, but the lives that we impact are everything. Besides, as my dad has always said in regards to wealth, “You can’t take it with you.”  End of story. 😉

Adult conversation is on the rise. How’s that? Well, babies and children have this unusual habit of growing up and I’m finding this to be true in our home as well. Bunny and Fuzz love to chat about their day, about their likes and dislikes. You name it and they’ll talk about it. I often find myself gazing into their faces while the sound of their voices fade to the background, completely mesmerized. These beautiful, young girls are my daughters. And I shake my head in disbelief as the topics of politics, world history and religion are frequently discussed at the dinner table. However, there are still days after evening devotions and family time are past and we prepare to leave the table that I come back to reality when my oldest daughter asks me a question. “Can I go play outside, Mom?”  Inwardly I smile as I nod my head. Yes, adult conversations may be on the rise, but we are not there yet. And I’m fine with that. Let them be kids.

And then there is the illusive “me time”. Now I will not deny that having a moment of quietness and solitude can at times be refreshing, especially on particularly overwhelming mom days. We all need the ability to unwind and/or recharge. But if every thought and deed is inward focused, then I need to reevaluate my purpose. Since when is life supposed to be about me? Has our generation become so narcissistic that the thought of serving and living for others seems mundane, boring and a drudgery? Sure, I do a lot of the same things over and over every day. And so does everyone. That’s life. I would much rather spend my time in the daily trenches of life with other people—people I love—instead of by myself. I love nothing better than continually shouldering with my husband, working as one as we raise our children. We’re in this together. Plus, he knows me inside and out. He gives me chocolate and a quick escape to a quiet place when I need it.

So what’s it like raising a large family you ask?

It’s messy and it’s beautiful. Consuming and yet worthwhile. Stressful and also satisfying. Wearisome and energizing. Full of tears and full of laughter. It takes and it gives.

And gives and gives and gives. <3

Life with 6 Kids

                               Thank you so much for reading.

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One-Half Dozen

The week before Christmas I received an unexpected, yet joyous gift.

Five turns into six

 

I felt so blessed—a sweet new life to nurture and love.

I reached thirteen weeks yesterday and praise the Lord for a healthy pregnancy thus far. My biggest issue this time around has been extreme fatigue, more so than I remember. Perhaps it’s because I’m older or maybe because I have five children to care for during this pregnancy instead of four. My prenatals really seem to be helping as well as the fact that those first few weeks are now behind me.

I’ve had my first OB appointment with my midwife and all went well. However she was unable to capture a heartbeat with the hand held fetal doppler and thought that I measured a bit earlier than twelve weeks. (Three months is the threshhold where a fetal doppler can be used to pick up the baby’s heartbeat.) We also did not have a solid due date because of my weaning Baby Van which had resulted in an inconsistent cycle.

The birth center typically does not encourage an ultrasound other than the anatomy sonogram at 18 weeks or so, however they sent me to a local hospital to establish a due date for this new little one. My appointment was scheduled for Monday, February 2nd. I tried not to fret as my mind filled with very vivid memories from three years before.

August baby

My heart was in my throat as I entered the sonogram room at the hospital and I was so tempted to close my eyes and not watch. I couldn’t do that though, I had to see.

Tears of relief and joy filled my eyes as I took in the precious sight of a new little life, kicking and flipping and waving at me. The sound of a steady heart beat filled the room.

(I measured just at eleven weeks that day which was why my midwife had been unable to get the heart beat on the doppler a few days before.)

I was thrilled to have a little picture of our precious baby and to hear that new heart beat for the first time. It just never gets old. I couldn’t pull my eyes away from the screen, watching the flipping and waving  arms and legs going everywhere.

February 2 holds so many memories now—tears of grief and tears of sadness.

God is so good.

Coming August

August 23, 2015 (or a day around that time!) is a greatly antipated day for our family. We look forward to welcoming this new bundle into our family.

One-half dozen here we come. 😉

XO,

The Personal Puzzle {31 Days of Life. Contained.}

Life Contained 2014 button

This post is part of a series called 31 Days of Life. Contained. Want to catch up on the entire series? Click here. Want to stay connected and not miss another post? Follow me on facebook.

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The kids are screaming in the backseat and Mom and Dad are staring at the 5.3 hours left on the ETA, ready to pull their hair out.

“Are we there yet?” “He’s touching my sleeve.” “I’m starving.” “There’s nothing to do.” fills the air and turning on classical music doesn’t always help.

Mozart does not solve everything.

A diversion is desperately needed, but you have nothing in your car.

Sound familiar?

Ok, maybe this scenario will ring a bell.

_____

You are racing against the clock as you browse the clearance racks at Target. Lunch time was forty-five minutes ago, the normally scheduled nap time is in twenty, the baby needs to be nursed and you have a thirty minute drive home.

As a result, you’re shopping like a crazed woman. You are on a mission—hunting for bargains, browsing through the 70% off racks and stuffing necessary coupons in your pockets to give to the clerk later at checkout.

You’re doing it, though. You’re getting it done.

All noises have faded to mere background cacophany as you try to serve your family by being the best financial economist you can be, a true Proverbs 31 woman, a wise steward of your hard earned cash.

Then one lone cry pierces through your trance-like shopping expedition.

“Mommy, my pants are wet.”

Grrrreat. And you forgot to add a change of clothes for your three-year old to the diaper bag this morning.

_____

I’ve been there.

I’ve apologized to the Burlington Coat Factory employee as I sheepishly pointed out the wet puddle on the carpet behind me.

And at Babies R Us.

Yes, my face was pink.

It happens.

I’ve stripped my kids of their wet clothing and squeezed them into a size 2 diaper meant for a baby twenty pounds lighter than them. Or worse yet with no alternative action, I’ve simply lined their car seats with brown paper towels from the public bathroom and plopped their wet tushes down for the ride home.

I have totally been there.

Why do I find myself in these frustrating mom moments?

I’m not always as prepared as I should be.

After over a decade of motherhood and five kids, I’ve learned a few things along the way—most of them from embarrassing issues like those mentioned above. Here’s my emergency zone to remedy these situations.

the personal puzzle

This is a handy dandy car organizer that I purchased on clearance at Target a few years back. It is stuffed with all the necessities of those life emergencies that we sometimes find ourselves in.

Puzzled about what to put in it?

creating a kid zone for the car

I have an extra change of clothing for my three youngest children (5, 3 and 1). This entails a full outfit change with socks—underwear for the five and three year old.

Select a seasonally appropriate outfit and remember, it is a spare change of clothes in case of an emergency. Don’t pick an outfit that will be missed from their wardrobe.spare kids clothes in the car

Diapers and wipes for the baby. car storage for moms

Hand sanitizer and pocket tissues for dirt, germs and sticky situations.car organizer for mommies

Small toys, books and healthy snacks can also go a long way in maintaining peace while traveling. I try to select snacks that will handle storage in the car well, the elements and lots of bodies pressing in.

car organization for mommies

Here’s my complete list for surviving life with little ones while meeting their personal needs.mom storageThere you have it. My answer for solving the little personal puzzles in life…well, in my car, actually.

A car organizer for moms—because my purse just isn’t big enough for all of this. 😉

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tip 23

Ever find yourself needing something personal? Do you have a dedicated spot for helping with those unexpected moments in life? Any other mortified moms out there? Take a moment to pack some extra gear in your car for emergency purposes. This post may have been written for mommies, but it really applies to anyone. What are some things in your life that you may need to have handy? Wipes. Snacks. Gum. Socks. Clean t-shirt. Tylenol. Create an emergency zone in your car to meet personal needs.

Thanks for reading,

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