Monday, December 15, 2014

15 weeks pregnant

11 weeks pregnant

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Six weeks pregnant

Yep. It's true.

I made it facebook official, but hadn't spread the news to the wider world of my blog.

I'm really thankful I've had no real sickness this first part. Some days I'm super exhausted and want to be in my bed at 4 p.m. This hasn't been really handy, since Kevin is deep in the throes of harvesting and is working longer hours than usual.

There is a lot more mental and emotional processing happening because of the way Elivette's birth went down. We want to have a solid plan in place to keep me safe and keep giving the Farm Fresh Family their mama.

I also had gotten serious this year about getting my doula certification from DONA and possibly even taking midwife assistant's class, and I'm disappointed to put that all on hold. I know there are a lot of working moms out there, but for me, and our style of parenting, I'll need to wait until the baby is about a year old before I take new clients. I'm still taking clients while I'm pregnant though!

Monday, November 17, 2014


I get asked now and again for advice.

One of the questions people hit me up for is "How do you get your kids to do chores?" The last time someone asked me this, I was caught off guard and probably half asleep and answered, "I don't know exactly. They just do."

My friend got a lot of mileage teasing me about my perfect well behaved little cherubs who just do their chores. Let me assure you, that is NOT the case. We have balking, stalling, uneager children who don't want to help just like everyone else.

I thought I would share some of what we do around here.

We start early. Elivette is two and puts away the dishes from the dishwasher with whichever sibling is on task. We don't make her do it every time, but we encourage her to do it frequently. We have moved the plates and glasses to a lower cabinet so the children can reach to put them away and get them out. When a job needs done, I generally ask the youngest child capable of doing that chore to do it. Frequently, I ask an older sister to accompany said younger to ensure the job actually gets done.

Littlest Kitchen Helper 
We have assigned tasks. We have a zone chart. The house is divided up into zones and the children keep their zones for a month. This helps me know whose job is whose because it's not always switching. It also helps the child get good at their designated area because they have lots of chances to practice. We do get the "But it's not my zone!" complaint when I ask a child to help in another area, but I respond with letting them know it doesn't matter. We are a family living in community and we all help one another.

It's expected. It's just part of our life, our routine. We all pitch in.

We pay them. We opted to pay our kids five dollars a week for doing their jobs. The caveat is if I get annoyed by having to ask them too many times or because they have been consistently doing a poor job, their pay is reduced by a random amount. Never once has a child argued with me about this, because they know if they've been shirking. Sometimes I'll even ask them, "If you were me, how much would you take off your pay this week?"

We do it together. I work with a younger child, helping them become successful at the task at hand until they are capable of doing it themselves. We sometimes all swarm on a certain zone and get it perfect. It's amazing how fast they'll pick up when they can watch a show when they are done :). Sometimes we set a timer and holler "10 minute tidy!" and we turn on some music and all work on our individual zones until the timer goes off.

I don't know exactly how I "get them to do chores", but with consistent chore doing, we manage to do them.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

One month since

I last posted 30 September and now it's 30 October.

I am trying to figure out how to really enjoy blogging and make it truly work for me, without unnecessary pressure--self-induced, of course. I need to figure out what my goals are.I need to figure out what I really want.  Blogs I love to read always have beautiful pictures accompanying each post and I haven't gotten pictures off the cameras for over a month. I've also not taken very many pictures either.

Facebook is a super easy way to keep many of my loved ones up to date on our lives, but it also can be super time consuming and hard to make boundaries with it. I want to post there, but then I'm drawn to check to see if people have "liked" or commented, and I want to see what my friends are up to too and then I have a few groups I've been heavily involved in and somehow feel the pull to check those too, and before I know it, I've wasted many precious minutes/hours on other people's lives/articles I didn't know I wanted to read/answering questions I really didn't have time for when all I got on line for was to find a cracker recipe and "check my  news feed really quickly". Famous last words.

I went to the Mother Earth News Fair in Topeka, KS this past weekend and the girls and my dad and I had an AMAZING time. We're thinking about milk goats and bees. We're contemplating making more things from scratch. We're looking at how we can be living even more sustainably. (And then I come home to all the Christmas catalogs in my mailbox!)

I got to stay with my sister and her beautiful family and have a too short of visit with one of my besties. The kids did wonderfully traveling and it was a glorious trip.

I took a little internet break while I was gone, and now it's been a full week. I miss it and don't miss it. I miss knowing what my friends are up to on a regular basis, but I don't miss all the mental and emotional clutter it brings with it.

Today Aviana made bread for the first time all by herself. It's not wanting to rise, so I'm not sure if she made an error, or if our house is just too cold.

Today (and yesterday) we had chicken soup with rice for lunch.

We've put all the bikes and riding toys and wagons in the barn for the winter. It's staggering how tidy the yard suddenly became! Kevin is winterizing all the equipment as we are supposed to get a hard freeze tonight. He's done combining the soy beans and has about 100 acres of corn to do. He's rained out today. Hopefully this afternoon we'll get to planting my bulbs and mums. I am totally a fair weather gardener.

Cadrian is having a hard time with his reading lessons every time, but then every time he makes a break through and shows me he really is ready for it. It's frustrating and challenging to know what's truly best for him.

Brielle played well with Elivette this morning so I could read to the boys. They've been into these Star Wars books we got from the library but I am done reading that drivel. It's time to introduce them to Little House or Narnia or something. Cadrian does well listening to read alouds but Denton is still a classic interrupter.

I have plans to make some pumpkin butter this afternoon too, so I'd better be starting.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

My favorite

 Ten is a first born. Ten loves a schedule, solitude and creativity. Ten writes novels and stories and plays and journals and songs. Ten fills notebooks and loses them. Ten loves to play piano and sing. Ten practices regularly without being reminded. Ten needs lots of reminders when she's on kitchen zone. Ten loves to bake and then eat. Ten begrudgingly cleans up after so she'll be allowed to bake again. Ten loves to read and would read all day if she could. Ten loves to read with many voices and drama and accents when she reads to her littles. Ten patiently does preschool and games with them. Ten puts up with a lot of grief from youngers who pester. Ten is usually quite kind and thoughtful. Ten is helpful and can do so many things. Ten is brave and bold and unafraid of public speaking, but is reluctant to go up and introduce herself. Ten very much wants a bosom friend. Ten prefers the company of one to a crowd. Ten has great ideas. Ten folds her long legs and long arms up as small as she is able and lays her head on my shoulder and snuggles. Ten questions. Ten is quick witted. Ten is often a child but is often a young lady. Ten sprawls haphazardly and holds herself erect. Ten bursts into torrents of tears without warning or knowing exactly why. Ten is long limbed and long necked and blonde haired. Ten has sprinkles of freckles and a sometimes hesitant smile. Ten tries so hard to do her best. Ten is a perfectionist and ten is perfect and ten is my favorite.
 Eight is a commander. Eight is a challenger. Eight is passionate and wild and loud. Eight is persistent and independent. Eight follows through exactingly when she sees how she benefits. When she doesn't, garnering cooperation is an arduous ordeal. Eight loves to read and loves to climb and loves to make houses out of anything, jump on the hay bales, swing from the rope and play games. Eight is a leader. Eight is friendly and draws people to her. Knowing what will happen is important to Eight. Reality aligning with expectations matters to Eight. Eight can express her disappointment better now. Eight swoops up small children. Eight finds delight. Eight is creative. Eight loves stick fighting in Kuk Sool Won and is tenacious. Eight is gentle and rough. Eight is thoughtful and thoughtless and thought provoking. Eight is coming into her own. Eight needs reassurance. Eight snuggles fiercely and pulls away from being over parented. Eight likes her own ideas best. Eight likes instant gratification and works several months to complete a model sailing ship which she gives away to her friend the day she finishes it. Eight is generous and impulsive. Eight is energetic and calm. Eight wonders. Eight questions. Eight pushes. Eight encourages. Eight is pink cheeks and freckles and gap toothed grins and scabs and giggles. Eight is perfect. Eight is my favorite.
 Six is loud covered in dirt. Six loves rockets and volcanoes and airplanes and dinosaurs. Six does things big. Six moves fast. Six does all the puzzles all at once until in the middle of kitchen. Six fights with swords of sticks, of wood, of Styrofoam, of pegs. Six is a pirate, a knight, an army guy. Six is action. Six is the exact middle. Six is the little brother. Six is the "big bruvver". Six taught himself to write and can draw pictures, especially of monsters. Six is sensitive and self-critical. Six is unafraid to climb to the top of the windmill but doesn't like to talk with grown ups he doesn't know. Six will tantrum when tired or misunderstood, but usually has it under control. Six kisses fiercely and hugs thoroughly. Six is learning how to do the work well. Sitting is a chair is just not that fun for Six. Six will follow and also leads. Six loves people and to be alone. Six is tidy and trails a swath of mess.  Six eats as much as a grown man. Six is energetic and tiring. Six is growing into his sense of humor. Six generally follows the rules and has a strong sense of justice. Six is helpful. Six is learning to read. Six spoils his baby sister. Six helps his mama. Six follows directions. Six is tender. Six needs his story, his song and his prayers before bed. Six can wash his own feet but not the muddy tub. Six tries. Six is perfect. Six is my favorite.
 Four is fast and funny and friendly and furious. Four makes mad faces and hits and kicks mostly the air when he's frustrated. Four outgrew naps, but sometime he needs one. Four hides when he's mad or doesn't want his hair washed. Four is snuggly. Four is hungry. Four is thoughtful and sweet and gentle. Four needs to be told to not hit the cat with the broom. Four gets a bite of ice cream when he complies with a request the first time. Fours is giggles with gusto. Four apologizes for screaming. Four loves rough housing. Four's favorite is "sody pop and 'tato tips". Four loves Jeeps and fish and lions and flipping upside down. Four remembers. Four needs reassurance. Four notices. Four asks questions. All day long. "Dada, what would happen if the 'wuk tuwrned into a boat and ran wan into a volcano?" Four sits in on Six's reading lessons and answers the questions. Four is tender with his sister. Four catches Two and then falls down. Four does preschool. Four learns new things every day. Four is independent and needs to hold hands. Four wants to do it himself and needs reminders. Four loves to be read to and loves to race and loves to be silly. Four loves to make me laugh. Four is earnest and genuine. Four is sticky and sweaty and pudgy and solid. Four is bronzed and blonde and baby growing into boy. Four is quick and curious and contrary and certain. Four is dimples and dirt and dynamite. Four is perfect. Four is my favorite.
Two is adorable. Two is hilarious. Two is big eyes and curls and serious mouth. Two is grins and giggles. Two is mischievous. Two talks. Two is "ung-ee". Two prefers bread and bananas to broccoli. Two nurses when she wakes up. Two runs herself to the potty when her bummie is bare. When she has on bundies, she forgets. Every time. Two sleeps alone in a queen sized bed. Two likes to be where the action is. Two loves to play with water, to play with sand and to carry purses and dollies. Two kisses and hugs ferociously. Two is a fat little belly and dimpled knuckles and legs slimming. Two is thought filled and watchful. Two teases and jokes. Two loves attention and to make me laugh. Two opens, two gets out, two dumps, two strews. Two is curious and quick. Two is intuitive. Two eschews her high chair and sits at the table with the rest of us. Two is clever. Two helps put away the dishes and takes her plate to the dishwasher. Two climbs everything. Two is a problem solver. Two gets her shoes and wants to go. Two doesn't like to be left behind. Two wants to run with the bigglets but can't yet keep pace. Two tries. Two loves books and to be in the wrap and for Mama to be a monster and to grab. Two loves the kitties squishingly and the puppy only when Mama is there. Two dashes, Two cackles, Two babbles. Two is tiny and pure and innocent. Two is perfection. Two is my favorite.

photos by the genius Sweekit Photography

Monday, September 22, 2014

A Day in the Life

I'm always curious about the average person's daily life. I found an amazing video on Netflix titled Life in a Day. It is a documentary of snippets of people's lives all over the world. It's a bit of time capsule. It was beautiful.

It inspired me to make one of my own.

I have done this before in written form, with pictures, but never with video. It took me quite a bit longer to put the thing together than I thought it would, especially because I got sick for several days right after I shot it. I stayed up late last night and now it's finally done.

I invite you to take twenty minutes out of your day to share part of mine. :)

Friday, August 22, 2014

The Throwin' of a Pirate Party

I LOVE to throw parties. I have a philosophy: Go Big or Go Home. Kevin, my everlovin' introvert, can't understand it, but he assists me in all the ways he can. He gets into it too!

I like to have a theme for our birthday party. We just have one a year to celebrate all of us, all born in July and August. This year's theme was pirates.

To set the scene, send out invitations. Of course, you could always do a facebook invitation, or text it, but people love to get something in the mail. I typed out pirate speak on the computer, tore them, dyed them with tea, wrote translations on the back as an afterthought, just in case. 

We built some pirate ships using hay wagons. I made the bunting from felt. 

A friend sent me the link to Catch My Party and these free pirate printables. I don't really think "treat bags" are a necessity, but they needed something to put their treasure in after the treasure hunt, so...perfect! They got a couple of mini candy bars and treasure. (jewels and gold coins I purchased from Amazon.)

First we frolicked and face painted until enough people arrived to start the festivities.

 We started with Pin the Patch on the Pirate.

I had a talented friend draw a pirate.


On to the treasure hunt!
putting the map back together
For the treasure hunt, I drew a large map on a folded out paper shopping bag, labeling various areas around our yard, such as the Petrifying Playhouse, Tire Swing o' Terror and the Willow the Wisp. I asked Brielle to tear the map into 15-20 pieces. She got carried away and tore it into 42. We hid those pieces around the yard and the wee pirates had to search for them like an Easter egg hunt. Then we had to put the puzzle back together. I'm not sure if we didn't have all the pieces back or if it was because there were so many of them, because it was a challenge! I was impressed with their tenaciousness. We had wrapped a cardboard box in yellow paper and hidden it in a hollow tree. Then we marched back to the front yard and I threw all the treasure up in the air and they stuffed their bags. The big kids helped the littles get their share. 
 Then it was time for A Battle!

We had the dads be Captain Scallywag and Captain Salty Dog. We numbered off by twos and got the kids loaded up with water balloon bombs, water bomb splash bombs and water cannons.

 Once the ammo was mostly gone, it was time to walk the plank.
 Kevin rigged up the teeter-totter into an admirable plank.

me best matey and meself

 Then it was time for cake and ice cream!
 Brielle and Kevin had been working (sporadically) on this model ship since December. It was the perfect addition to our pirate cake.
All our soggy pirates.

 I made a three layer poke cake. 

It was delicious, but as it turns out, none of us like grape jello. I was trying to go for the colors of black, red and white. Next time I'll just stick with red.

One of the wee little pirates.
 After playing on the hay bales a while, we loaded everyone up for a 
 pirate ship hay ride.

Elivette and her little friend Andrew

After this we had homemade sloppy joe sandwiches and the delicious sides that everyone brought to share. All in all, I would say it was a jolly good time