Desperate Times

First, I just want to say that I am loving the Jesus Storybook Bible.  Loving!  It is so sweet, with a lot of illustrations that keep the wee ones engaged and an energetic style that both entertains and illuminates.  The focus is on the bible as a love story, and it just sings with joy.  I would say it’s most suitable for preschool to maybe 8 year olds.  They have a curriculum kit (I don’t have it) which is for upper elementary ages, but I would expect older children to be reading a more challenging bible storybook, so l’m not sure about their expectations.  This is definitely for younger children, but truly delightful.  And truth be told, most of my older children paused in their work to listen in from the next room.  Anyway, highly recommended!

Two cuties in the tub.

Two cuties in the tub.

Now, here’s a sad story for you.

I’ve been warning my people about this for several weeks.  I’ve been stressing about this for a long time.  I’ve got six adults in my household, and yet almost all of the work is falling onto me.  No one person has a lot of chores, but few of them are doing them without being reminded/cajoled/threatened.  All day long, I’m scrambling to care for my wee ones, prepare food for eleven people, two on a restricted diet, manage the household and the farm, and keep up with the never ending pile of laundry.

On Monday afternoon, Evie wet my bed while napping.  I had to strip the whole thing and rewash the sheets I’d just changed and the comforter, too.  Then I had to get the bed remade.  At this time of year, I end up trying to make dinner and milk the cows at the same time, and now I had to deal with the bedding on top of the regular crazy, and I was stressed.  The following morning was our Saint Nicholas celebration, so a special effort had to be put forth there, plus we usually watch Saturday Night Lights on Monday evening.  And I’d asked one of the (adult) children to make sure that there is firewood in the box in the mornings so that I can build their fire without having to go to extraordinary lengths.

But Tuesday morning, I woke at five, as usual, to a messy kitchen full of unwashed dishes from the evening before, an overflowing trash can, laundry and pillows and blankets tossed all over the living room, and no firewood.  I was pretty steamed.  And then my barn buddy never showed, so I headed out for milking and manure shoveling alone.  When I got back, one daughter had set the table and arranged the donuts, but she was sitting in front of a dying fire doing a crossword puzzle.  The others still hadn’t come down, even though it was 7:30.  I was just about boiling over.

A neighbor's barn at sunrise.

A neighbor’s barn at sunrise.

“Good morning, mama!” they each said as they traipsed into the room.

“I don’t want to talk to you right now,” I said back.

That is extremely alarming, when mama can’t even talk to you.

I would have waited till much later in the day to discuss my issues.  I would have waited until I had time to cool down and come up with a reasonable plan of action.  But after a while, somebody asked, “What is the matter, mama?” and that was that.

Mama went on strike.

Messy Life


For some reason, I feel very much like capturing all the messiness of real life lately. I love the photographs that completely and cleverly crop out all the disaster surrounding the subject, but, right now, I’m also loving the ones in which the disaster is the subject. Because the laundry isn’t always folded, the kitchen isn’t always clean, the flowers on the table aren’t always fresh, and the baby isn’t always happy. But that’s life. Real life, in all its messy glory. I kind of want the kids to remember that a little bit, so that when they’re going through those inevitable seasons when they don’t have their acts together, they’ll remember that it’s okay.


Also, I think it’s important to remember that, when one has a baby, one should expect to just take the next three months off. It will save a lot of angst to know that if you get the laundry done and dinner on the table, you are a rock star mom.

Confirmed in the Holy Spirit

Newly Confirmed!

Newly Confirmed!

And some family photos, which never come out quite as good as I’d like them to. 🙂

The happy (and expectant) parents...

The happy (and expectant) parents…

Just the boys!

Just the boys!

Just the girls!

Just the girls!

All the kids together. :-)

All the kids together. 🙂

The archbishop used so much chrism oil this morning, the confirmandi were fairly dripping with it!

Our small parish shares a priest with another nearby, and the Confirmation Mass today was held at our sister church.  Therefore, we ran into lots of people who either don’t know us at all or see us only occasionally, and so there was a lot of, “When is the baby due?!” At eight days late, we’re long past worrying about due dates, though.  So when will the baby arrive?  Some theories:

All of my babies have been born on either Wednesday or Saturday, with the exception of Tommy, who is generally acknowledged to have a special destiny.  He was born into the darkest period of our family life, and he was a bond and a bridge between two people who had forgotten how to love each other.  He has exhibited his whole life a gentle compassion and empathy for people.  I think it’s safe to consider his Thursday birthday a special case.  So, Wednesday, April 20 is a good option.  Hopefully not Saturday the 23rd, because two weeks is overkill, yes?

Another good option is Tuesday, April 19.  I was born on the 19th, as was my mother, and her mother, and her mother, so there is a tradition there.  We considered the fact that it may not be a girl, and have decided that there is a possibility that gender is not a concern, even though this birthday phenomenon has occurred along the female line thus far.  But!  My mother had only one sister, and her mother, if I recall, was one of three girls.  I’m not sure about my great-grandmother, but it appears that there may not have been any boys in these families, so the fact that it has generally passed along from mother to daughter may be irrelevant.  Therefore, we consider that, boy or girl, the 19th would be a good day.  Also, I have been ten days late three times, but never later, so that’s another boon for Tuesday.

Then again, we’re talking about a baby here, and they are generally unpredictable little creatures, so none of our theories or guesses matter in the slightest.  We’ll just have to keep watching and waiting, and whatever will be will be.  🙂

14/365 Apples And Evie

14.365owlOne of Davey’s cousins gave us this bowl for our wedding, some months after the fact.  We were already living in Colorado, and she was out there vacationing with her family.  She picked it up at a shop in Denver and told us we could exchange it if we didn’t like it.  Davey thought for sure I’d want to take it back; most everything I’d ever owned up until this point was some sort of mix-and-match neutral.  Oh, but I was head over heels in love with the colors!  I’ve been a big fan of bright, bold colors ever since. 🙂

14.365eviemomoThis girl.  She’s got an insatiable appetite for books!  Every night, I read aloud to them.  Board books.  Picture books.  Novels.  And then we say our prayers together, and then Evie brings me just one more book.  I read it to her, of course, because she’s irresistible.  And then: “No more stories tonight,” I say, but she gets another one anyway and climbs into my lap.

She knows she’s got me wrapped around her finger.  I sigh.  “Okay, but only because you’re cute.  But this is the last one!” She smiles and snuggles in, and I read.

And then? She brings me another! “I’m not reading you any more stories tonight!” I say, determined to stand my ground this time, and I set the book aside.

She eyes it for a moment, then, assuming I don’t like that one, she gets a different book. “Only because you cute, Mama,” she says, climbing back into my lap.

And I guess you know what happens after that!


Nature Therapy

Sometimes, cleaning therapy is not quite enough, and you need to get away. Not shopping. Oh, no. That doesn’t fill the heart or soothe the soul. But nature does.

So I packed the children and our lunch off to our favorite park. It’s located between the Walmart and the entrance to Fort Knox, and it’s such a lovely and well-maintained nature preserve, I’m always surprised to see so few people there.

Pleasantly surprised. Because the whole point is to kind of get away from the everyday, you know?

Also? I really, really love this girl.  She loved wading in the creek today.  At least, she did after she recovered from the initial shock of the chilly temperature.  And only three of the children slipped and drenched themselves, which makes it a highly successful trip.

8x10 evie by fence

The Cousins Are Coming!

People think depression makes you really sad. Maybe it does; I don’t really know what went on inside of Davey for all those years, but outwardly, he was just angry and hateful. Nobody really knew what we were going through. Our misery was so complete that it seems like everything else was crowded out. Relationship with my sisters has been one of the many casualties of those years. His depression was such a big, dark thing in our lives, I could barely see around it, and I stopped picking up the phone.

There are so many things we have yet to recover from those years.

But I love my sisters so much!  And one of them is coming to visit us this week!

I haven’t seen her – or any of my family – in years, since our last reunion. That’s one of the few downsides to this homesteading life. We were going to try to have another reunion this summer, but we kind of dropped the ball on planning. Also, my other sister has a new baby, so maybe traveling is less fun. I know I never liked traveling with a baby.

But Beckie is coming with her two girls, and the children love their cousins so. By the time she arrives, the weather will have cooled off again, and it’ll be perfect for outings and chatting outside under the trees. It’s going to be a great week.

Beckie and Miguel, with their two lovely children, Angie and Maddie, circa July 2012.  I bet those girls haven't changed a bit. ;-)

Beckie and Miguel, with their two lovely children, Angie and Maddie, circa July 2012. I bet those girls haven’t changed a bit. 😉

Busy Weekend

cluster of blueberries We went blueberry picking!  Evie ate too many blueberries.  Blueberry poops are not fun.  Everybody was wondering why blueberry poops are so terrible, so when it finally came, I showed them.  Penelope peered into the diaper and nodded.  “Yup!  That’s what happened to me, too!”  And if that wasn’t enough, I fed them beans for dinner that night.  I must be a glutton for punishment!evie eats a blueberry



On Saturday, we went to the Kentucky Renaissance Faire in Eminence.  It’s near Shelbyville, if you live in that vicinity.  Tropical Depression Bill was still working his way through the area, so it was pretty rainy till around noon, and even after that, it drizzled off and on for most of the day.  As the fair was set in Scotland during the reign of Robert the Bruce, the characters just chalked it up to good Scottish weather.  🙂

IMG_9669There was a lot of audience participation, but none of the shows lasted more than ten minutes, and there were long gaps between things to do.  Lots of it was kind of slapstick, too.  The human chess game, for instance.  Instead of playing out the game, which I have seen done, and done well, they moved all the pawns up on both sides, had a slow-motion fairy ninja fight, then sent all the pawns off.  Then they had all of the rest of the pieces, except the kings, fight it out in a cuteness contest.  (Our team won, thanks to Evie storming the board!)  Finally, the kings faced off in a wooing contest, and it was all over.  (The opposing king was a very good wooer.)  See?  Silly.  The whole thing was like that. sweaty baby evie

But, if you like dressing up and spending the day with knights, fairies, and assorted royalty, it’s a fun day.

Most enlightening was the conversation with the jousting troupe toward the end of the day.  All of their horses were rescues, and they just travel the country doing shows like this.  They were kind of keen on getting us to go back to our native land, so we could see them in action later this summer at the much livelier Renaissance Fair in New York.  They said it’s grown to about 18,000 people per day vs. 1500 on a really good day here in Kentucky.  It wasn’t nearly that popular when we last went in the early ’90s.  🙂

We also enjoyed a live band called Saxon Moon.  Did you ever see the movie Serendipity?  Do you remember the Lars character?  It kind of reminds me of that sort of music, a folk rock sort of sound.  Anyway, I like it and I bought two of their CDs.

In whFunny story:  Since he was already wearing the costume, Tommy was selected to play the Knight In Shining Armor in this medieval melodrama.  The little princess there, she got to decide whether to go with the dragon, with the knight, or to give them both the boot.  She chose the knight, of course.  That long haired fellow there, he looked at Tommy and he said, “Congratulations. You’ve won the princess.  Now you’ll have to buy her a castle, and get her food…”  And Tommy interrupted here.  He looked at the dragon, then he looked at the man.  “Well, we can just kill that dragon and eat him.”  Methinks the princess chose wisely.  Also, he’s an extremely handsome young knight.

‘Twas a happy weekend.

Yesterday, of course, was Father’s Day, which we did not celebrate with a cookout.  Actually, I had to go shopping for our event this week, and Davey got Saturday for his Renaissance Fair.  He couldn’t have Sunday, too!  😉

How was your weekend?

rain on blueberry leaf

Family Movie Night: Enchanted

This is a hilarious romp through pretty much all of the Disney-esque fairy tale cliches.  It begins in standard animated format, but before long, those shallow, animated characters find themselves thrust into the real world, interacting with real people.  Is there really such a thing as true love?  What is it?  Can it still be found in our jaded world?   This is actually a pretty sweet film, and laugh out loud funny.

Fourteen month old Evie highly recommends the dance sequences, as well.  I had no idea, but that girl sure can twirl!