May 31, 2014

What-e'er thou art

What e'er thou art, act well thy part.

These words echo strongly in my ears this morning.

I think it's funny that sometimes I look at my 20 children, 10 acres, professor husband, scarred tummy, silly puppy, etc., and I wonder what my life would be like with one or two children.
Sometimes, I just don't want to mother or clean.  I don't want to learn.  I look at others with their shiny lives and my life, in comparison, looks pb and j sticky.

I probably shouldn't still wonder if we made the "right" choices- to have a super-sized family, a super-sized education and a super-sized yard (with upcoming super-sized animals).  Ha!
When I yearn for old friends and comfortable relationships, I wonder if we were crazy to move across the country so often.  And, New York?!  How on earth did we end up here?

When Ben wakes up at 5:30 am, Todd sends me texts from his pre-breakfast fishing trip and I'm sending Facebook messages about sex after surgery to other Accreta patients-- I sometime wonder at my life.  Am I missing something?  I spend my money at Tractor Supply, not Crate and Barrel or Anthropology.  (In fact, I can't even remember ever going into either of these stores.)  

Often, I wish I didn't analyze and wonder quite so much.  Don't you think by the time you actually have eight children you should be pretty convinced that is the life you want?  Haha.

Of course.  Of course I love this super-sized life of mine.  I do.  Ben's spirit called to my soul for years-- if I didn't have him, I would have eternally missed him.  I feel joy here in my crazy, busy beautiful life.

I'm glad my blog is a just plain mommy blog.  Not a fashion blog or a house decorating blog or a craft blog or a photography blog or even a place for beautiful English prose.

Today- I am a mom.
My Saturday list is organize the playroom and garage (I know this is too hopeful), plant a garden and prepare our barn for calves.
This is what I am.
This is my part-- and, I'm happy when I act it well.

Summer is coming.
My kids get out of school late.
I'm excited and nervous to have them home all day.
I haven't developed a great summer plan, yet.  
I'll try to link to some past year ideas soon.
But- I know what I'm going to do this summer...

I'm going to ROCK my life.
I'm going to be Boss (as mine would say).
I'm going to love my yard, our pool, the animals we have.  I'm going to embrace my opportunity to weed, launder and straighten, bathe and play.
I'm going to anticipate trips to the library, days at the lake, and McD's soft serve ice cream cones.

My house will have flip flops and dirty socks scattered throughout it and fingerprints on every sliding glass door, and I'm going to be grateful for these.
At night, I'm going to read Anne of Green Gables and Charlotte's Web again, to my little ones-- because I get to.

I'm here.  This is my space and my part, and I'm going to perform it with my whole soul.
What e'er thou art, act well thy part.
Can I tell you how much I want to do this?
I want to be a performer who just performs my part without being self conscious of those who are watching.  
I want to be a mom who never, ever dreads the mothering part.
Perhaps this is possible.
But, maybe it isn't.
Maybe all of us yearn, every now and then, for a more glamorous life.
And maybe, those with glamour look at our simple lives and wish for a little more simplicity.

Today-- life is beautiful.
I love my life.
I love my family.
I'm about to morph into the best, most inspirational, Saturday-morning-jobs mother ever.  
Because- this is my part and it IS good.

May 30, 2014


I know if I wake up at 5:45 our morning runs smoother.
I know I should write my blog posts at night, after the kiddos are in bed.
I know that an engaged, happy morning mother leads to an all-around happier home.
The spirit is willing- but the flesh is weak.
I'm 100% a night person.

This morning I woke up early and enjoyed some quiet inspiration before the younger kids awoke.  We had family scripture time, I did girl hair times 4, the fourth I did twice (due to annoying bumps).
And then- I found myself stuck, once again, laying on my bed while I listened to my cute husband navigating the morning hubbub alone.

I really love to listen to my life.
I wish I didn't zone out sometimes.
I'm tired today- so I zone.
I need to plan in those naps.

10 am doctor for Ben.
A trip to tractor supply for Drew's birthday.
A possible trip to my aunt's for manure.
Father/son camp out, after school friends, and then a mother/daughter fun night... (With strawberries, peaches, and cream- mmmm.)
Tomorrow we hope to plant our garden with lots of goodness and welcome baby cows.
I suppose I'll have to sneak a nap in somewhere.
Happy Weekend!
I think it's going to be a beautiful day!

May 29, 2014

Ending School.

Jakob took art this year and has really impressed me!
He was awarded the student of excellence in art.
(Actually, in Art, Spanish, Science and Spanish II- isn't he something?  He was embarrassed and surprised.)
My kids all are better than I ever was- at most things.
I love that.
Drew just gave the best 5 minute speech on Earnest Hemmingway.  This kid knows all about Mr Hemmingway.  I kept finding him practicing to himself.  He had a 5 minute plan- with an extra minute of stuff to say if he talked too fast.
I'm so impressed by his diligence.

Ellie helped me out with Ben last night as we sat (for hours) watching high school band and choir concerts.  Ellie is amazing with Ben.  I love watching her and knowing what a cute mom she'll be some day.

I could go on and on.  
My silly kids really are quite adorable.

(Lest you think my life is all rosey-- Eve was awful at the concert.  It was way past her bedtime and she may or may not have run from me up the aisle and out into the crowd of people around the hallway.  Little stink.  I was by myself with my 5 youngest and I actually left the concert and drove them home, put them to bed, and got back before Jakob went on stage.  L-O-N-G concert.)

I love my kids and they love me too--
Want to see?
I love you guys-- thanks for reading this braggy blog of mine.
I wish there are 100 of you, too!
Life is good!

May 28, 2014

Wednesday Weeds

This little chickie is still sleeping-- perhaps because she keeps us up all night.
Don't you love how light it is at night in the summer?
We do yard work together and push dinner back a bit.
Todd dug up our garden space with our friend's old roto-tiller.
I laughed at him the whole time as he struggled to hold on.
That thing was a beast!  Good thing Todd's built Ford tough...

Have you seen this-- BYU's A Cappella Rendition of Newsies?
It's cute.  I love Newsies.

And, this was an interesting read...
"Meet the Main Course" you can read it here.
"Watching Kaminer look at the living turkey whose life she will soon end and seeing the mix of fear, disgust and shock on her face as soon as the deed is done are powerful reminders of how much we take for granted. We are trying to hang onto this feeling of gratefulness for the animals that end up on our plates, to remember the reality of the slaughter even as we unwrap our feather-less, blood-less birds, so we may sit down on Thursday — and every day we eat meat — with true thankfulness in our hearts."

Today I need to vacuum and straighten my house, do some laundry, clean some bathrooms, and I want to take a trip into town to return a few things and pick up some odds and ends on my To Do list.

Can I tell you something?
I really love working.
It feels SO good to be able to work around my house or in my yard.
I believe God's curses are actually gifts.
(Just like the other trials in our lives.)
I believe that when Adam and Eve were cast out of the Garden of Eden, the ground was cursed for their sake.
Weeds and seasons are a gift to us.
Pulling weeds gives us something to do-- like our own free gym!  
Because DOING is so good.

Yesterday my boys took turns weed-eating around the fence.
I did one line of fence- and it's hard work.
The girls and I dug up a lot of dandelion weeds.
Ben and I mowed the back acres and got caught in a rainstorm.

I feel SO grateful that I am able!
Honestly, my yard is lovely and it will never be just how I like it.
By the time we finish mowing, the first place we mowed needs to be done again.

This land isn't something to do and check off... It is an opportunity to always have something good to be doing.
Caring for land and animals feels good.
I'm grateful for this opportunity.
Bed rest hurts worse than stretched muscles.

Moving, working, stretching, feeling the sun on our faces, having Ben outside on a quilt near me as I weed-- this IS a good, good life.
Weeds are a gift!!
Today, I am grateful.

May 26, 2014

A Full Day.

What a day to remember!

We started our day bright and early visiting baby cows.

The babies were sweet and getting two cows seemed somewhat logical and simple.

Talking to farm people (a livestock vet and his family) who have from 6 to 30 calves that their children care for, makes getting 2 seem easy.  "No problem!" they say, and I believe them even as I'm shaking my head in wonder.  I really think we might be getting cows.

This is a picture from Soulemama blog.  She uses a truck camper top for her pig shelter.  We are thinking about pigs, but don't want to build a house for them.  At lunch a friend of ours said he has a truck top we can have.  I think it's a sign.  (Still laughing and shaking my head a bit.)

We want to put the pigs in our woods to have them clear out the brush.  You only keep pigs 6 months before you butcher them.  ?? We'll see how it goes with the cows.  

We took a few minutes to drive through a local cemetary to  remember.  

We had a nice picnic with friends from church.
The boys went to a barn raising and helped out for a few hours.
And, we had another family join us for a casual, impromptu dinner.  
Oh, and we found a snapping turtle in our yard.

I didn't get my garden planted yet... Hopefully this week.
I'm tired.
Life is good.

Tots, Teens, and Today

I hope we can visit a grave yard today.
I want my children to take time to remember.
Today I'm feeling the pull- teens who wanted to stay up late watching The Hobbit, a sick toddler who was burning up through the night, and a baby who awakes at 5am.
We have had a fun, busy weekend.
I try to maintain a healthy balance of fun and work-- although they like the fun more and I like the work more.
We are going to visit some more cow this morning.  I can't tell you how it warms my mother soul to watch my babies caring for animals.  These kids of mine are kind, compassionate, hard workers.  They are good with their animals.  I love that.
Lily found her true love-- baby sheep.  (They really were darling.)
Oh my brave little Eve.
My life feels beautiful and blessed and NORMAL.
Oh normal day-- how I have missed you!!

May 24, 2014

Raising Dairy Bulls for Beef- for Dummies

Well, the professor is safely out of town and so-- the kids and I are trying to decide what new animal to adopt.
(I'm sort of kidding.  He is out of town, but we are communicating.  He actually suggested guinea pigs- saying "I love guinea pigs." Ha.)  The professor easily votes for any animal he can eat.  Male.

Drew (a male) is turning 14 next week and he really wants to raise beef, both to eat and to sell.  We have a friend who is a cow vet.  He thinks he can get us two dairy cow bulls (that we will bite into steers).  Mmm.  

We know all about raising cow because we watched Alaska- the Final Frontier and The Moo Man on Netflix. 
Seriously.  We've got this.  (Haha.)

The more I read about how our food is produced, the more convinced I am that raising our own food is not only a great teaching opportunity and a healthier quality food, but also a more ethical choice.  I feel better about eating an animal that has been loved and lived a good life, than I do about eating animals from large feed lots.  (Weird?)

I know it will be sad to kill our pets.  But, I think giving my children the opportunity to really understand meat and love these animals is worth that sadness.  Hopefully, when the time comes to butcher one animal, there will be a baby to take it's place.

Honestly, I am the biggest softy of all of us (well, me and Anna).  I have no idea how this will work out.

I'm actually surprised that EVERY person I talk to mentions the killing part of having animals.  Like it is this huge, awful thing.  Even though ALL of them eat meat.  

I'm really weird about this (amoung other things).  I actually want my children to connect LIFE and DEATH with the food we eat.  I like that connection because it's real.  I think of a little chicken every time I defrost two chicken breasts- and we eat a lot less meat that way.  I don't think death is awful- I think it's natural.  Living and dying are part of life. I also don't try to shield my kids from hard.  I think this is something we can work through.  We'll see!

There are baby piglets for sale down the road.  Ellie has decided if she can't have a horse, she wants pigs.  A sow (to breed) and a boar (to eat).  Oh my.  Wilbur!!!

I don't know where we can put pigs?  They are a special kind of stinky.  Our barn has wood and cement floors and barn pigs need cement so they are easily cleaned.  We have fields, but no structures.  Building structures is expensive...

My biggest concern as we start down this path is-- yard and waste management.

My land is beautiful.  I don't want to over-graze it.  I'm not sure where we should dump our manure and I know nothing about composting.  I want horses eventually and I don't want a barn that is ruined by livestock.  I'm somewhat of a "pretty" farmer.  Aesthetics are important to me-- I don't want a yucky, smelly, dirty, muddy yard.  (Can I have two pretty cows please?  For cheap.  Oh, I know I'm snotty and silly.) That's why these animals will always be pets to me not real farm animals.  


I almost died this year.  It changed me.  I was brave before my surgery, but I have a different time table these days.  It's like my brain says-- why NOT get a cow?!  Just do it.  Life is short!!  Create the memory NOW.  

I have really weird, confidant, independent children.  They know that they would be responsible for these animals and they are actually more responsible than I am.  Drew needs something extra-curricular to do with himself.  I think we may have found his new project.

Moooss Mooooments-- coming soon.
U of M-Tully welcomes applicants to the center for organic meat.

Life is good (if it doesn't smell too much like a cow pie)!

May 22, 2014


Just shopping.
Oh how my life is full and good.
(Morning love.)
Sock curls.
And lots o food...
Produce!  Makes me happy.
Happy Friday Friends!

Spring Sprucing

I can feel my house transforming as I come back from the dead.

I finished my last landscaping garden bed yesterday- just cleaning up from winter.
Now I just need to start back at the first one.
We can't afford a huge truck of mulch this year, so I think we'll be weeding!

Pool's open-- kids read outside, climbed trees outside, and did homework outside.
Eve is going to be my challenge-- she is way too confidant and curious around the pool.

We added latches to the gates and doors that lead to the pool area, so Eve follows Rocco under the deck from the backyard to the pool area.  
Under the deck?!  Oh Eve!

I went through my clothes tubs yesterday and got out summer clothes.
While I was at it, I sorted my storage room.

Wow!  It feels AMAZING to DO!
I found a whole pile of Ben's preemie clothes that touch a spot in my soul.
There were two flannel blanket dolls that I remember keeping near my in the trauma ICU, visitors to the NICU would swap the doll so Ben could always lay near my smell. Oh Baby.  (Google- Snoedel)
I have a huge box of baby boy, big boy, and baby girl stuff that I can get rid of.
It feels NICE to be wrapping up these stages.
Yes, I loved having children (obviously, I have 8).
But, I am loving being DONE!
I cut lilacs from my trees and scattered them throughout my house!!
They are lovely.
My bedroom smelled so good as I was climbing into bed.

I will admit that yesterday was the first time in a very long time, that Eve really frustrated me.

Todd was mowing and left the gates open.  Eve let Rocco out and he was chasing barn swallows all over the pasture.  She decided to go visit the baby geese out by the pond.

I sat by the gate calling and calling to her, but she just looked at me and kept on walking.

By the time I trekked 2 miles (not really) through moist grass to see her, I was only mildly thawed by her (adorable) description of baby geese who needed her.

I'm trying to figure out how to teach her to obey without scaring the life out of her.  (Not sure I should have told her about the three year old who drowned.)

As I'm feeling better, I'm packing a lot into my day.  I am tempted to think "once I get this done- then I'll slow down."  But, that's a lie.  You are NEVER done. 

I'm glad I have little ones that force me to see the baby geese.  I know when I'm frustrated that it is ME not THEM.  Eve is just three- and she is the same darling three that she was before I had a To Do list.  She deserves my time and attention.  She is absolutely adorably active!

My kids get out late for summer- I'm so glad.  I need another couple of weeks to prepare.  I've decided I NEED time alone in my house each week to straighten up. So, as I sort, I mentally prepare a list of things I can have them do while I straighten.

-play outside
-go on a picnic
-walk to the ice cream shop
-walk to the library
- read outside
-build a fort in the woods/basement

I'm going to buy a big poster board today so we can compile a list of every book we read this summer!

Life is SOOO good.
Oh-- I love bedtime!!

May 21, 2014

Tully El-e-men-tare-y

I really love living in a small town.
Especially a sweet, small town.
(The WHOLE town says El-e-men-TARE-ee, it's humorous.)

Yesterday, I signed up for-
You can place an order online from local farms to get produce, dairy, homemade cheeses, grass-fed meat, honey, breads, etc.
On Thursday you pick up your order from the Tully Free Library.
Fun, huh?!

I love fresh, healthy food.
I've been reading about Paleo eating and Whole30.  I really love fresh food.
Can I just say something though?
I don't believe God intended us to have to live off of coconuts.
I just don't.

I don't think grains are evil.
I think God made it so that even poor people can be healthy.
I'm not sure what this means exactly, but it does keep me moderate and cautious with every new food fad.

Anyone know how I can find oats, rice, corn and wheat that is healthy?  Because I believe that-

 14 All grain is ordained for the use of man and of beasts, to be the staff of life, not only for man but for the beasts of the field, and the fowls of heaven, and all wild animals that run or creep on the earth;

 15 And these hath God made for the use of man only in times of famine and excess of hunger.

 16 All grain is good for the food of man; as also the fruit of the vine; that which yieldeth fruit, whether in the ground or above the ground—

(This is from the word of wisdom- from modern-day revelation.)

I just think grain is good for the food of man.

My girls had an art gallery and choir concert last night.

My kids are adorable!!  (Check out Facebook or Instagram if you want to see them boogie down on their solos.)  

I absolutely love school, I love teachers who invest time and effort teaching my children.  I love watching my kids interact with other children.  I love their confidence, spunk and SHINE.  And, I love spending time with them at BK after the littles are asleep.

Being a mom is great.

I love small towns.

Life IS good.

(Today is open the pool day!)

PS- we have crazy barn swallows that built nests in our barn and above our screen door.  I'm a bit of a Fern Arable and I wouldn't let my husband knock the nests down.  But now, I wonder if we should.  These birds are building a commune.  Um, what do you do with your barn swallows?

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