Friday, October 21, 2016

Seven Thoughts On Raising 7 Children!

Seven Thoughts
On Having 7 Children!

Life has been incredibly busy these past few weeks...

In case you missed the announcement on my Instagram, Jeriah Luke
has arrived!!!

That takes our kid count up to seven now...

And boy, oh boy, what an adventure it's been :)


The other day I started jotting down notes to myself.

I've been battling incredible fatigue since
having this baby, but I find writing and sharing
very cathartic.

So, without further adieu, here are my thoughts on life
since having our seventh child...

1) I am never bored.

I slightly recall that feeling of boredom one
experiences when you don't have anything fairly interesting to do..

It still creeps in from time to time from the pure monotony of
the day to day life of a "SAHM", but otherwise, boredom has been cured!

(in other words, if you're bored...get married & have some kiddos! ;) )

2) I appreciate sleep and quiet as a treat
that I used to take for granted.

Sleep used to come in huge buckets as a young person
without kiddos (many moons ago).

Now, I'm lucky to piece together a few chunks of it a night...

I savor sleep when I get it, and quiet is a sign everyone is either
sleeping (but me), or has disappeared for the eve...

3) I am learning "on the job" all the time.

I learn from homeschooling my kids for sure, but mothers can learn from 
simply being a parent.

Children teach us much; do we as parents want to listen to what they're teaching us?

Listen to them.
Hear them out.

Children have a unique (and often seemingly innocent) way of looking at life.

4) I love children.

I've always loved being around children.

Working with them in kids' church. Volunteering with them.
Having my own day care. Etc. Etc.

Being with children at home 24/7, I realize children have an
amazingly infectious joyful disposition.

They're incredible blessings to be around. (yes, even on "those" days that
we all have...okay, so for real on some days you want to sell them on Ebay, but those
days are usually far & few between!)

5) But I miss (sometimes) adult conversations.

Okay, true confession.

Facebook and Twitter are not sufficient in this area...

I do often miss when I used to freely converse with people
my own age on a regular basis...probably the main draw back
of raising my brood.

6) Kids are the future I'm investing in.

Hey, I'm an imperfect mother raising imperfect kids.
I struggle to get it and keep it "all together" on most days...

Yet, I realize that this "job" of mothering is incredibly important
and eternal in value...

I thank Jesus that He's so gracious & patient with me.

7) There is NOTHING I've ever done that is as
rewarding, interesting, adventurous or as 
challenging as raising kids!!!

NOTHING in my life has been as interesting...
nothing so adventurous, and 
for SURE, nothing as CHALLENGING as raising children!

But I love my family. Each and every one of them.

I wouldn't trade it for the world.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Five Easy Cleaning Hacks For Busy Moms!

Welcome to my blog today.
I hope you enjoy your time here.

This post may contain affiliate links. 
Which means that if you purchase from an affiliate link, 
we receive a very small commission. This is at NO cost to you.

Thank you for supporting our family :)

Keeping your home organized is hard when you have a child,

I admit I'm a bit of a neat freak.
My teen son says I have "Mom Cleaning Disorder"
because I don't have a cleaning day (like I used to...more 
on that later), but I clean in small snippets throughout
the day.

Every single day.

Today, I'm going to share my top five tips
on keeping your house (somewhat/fairly) organized.
Even if you have a whole bunch of kids, are
really busy, and find it hard to keep on top of things.

And no I don't follow a legalistic chart system (been there,
done that!). It's just five easy tips that'll help you keep
your head above the water.


Five Easy Cleaning Hacks
For Busy Moms

1) Every time you enter a room, do ONE thing.

I don't have the time or energy to devote a whole or even a half day to
cleaning. There's just too much to be done!

So, instead I make it my motto to clean while I go.
If I come into the bathroom, after I'm done,
I pick up the garbage on the floor. Sometimes
clean the sink.

In the kitchen, I may rinse some dishes, wash the counter, etc.
In the bedroom, pick up and fold some clean laundry.
As I walk throughout the house, simply pick things up that
are strewn around.

You get the idea. Clean as you go.

2) Your motto needs to be: "All Hands On Deck."

Hubbies sometimes need to be "taught" how
to help as well (depending on how he was raised of course).

On most days, for us, this is about 10-15 minutes
of simple chores after a meal. Each child and adult
doing one or two things (i.e. dishes,
clean up floor, stove/counter, living room, etc.)

And lastly, with this thought, keep cleaning
supplies readily available.

I usually have white vinegar readily available (great
for young kids to use for mopping!).

Or a natural cleaning spray on the counter.

Mop & broom are right where (hubs) and kiddos can see them.

3) Do what you can, on the days that you can.

Some days I can't do much cleaning or organizing at all.
I have to be okay with that.

Most days I just do what I can, when I can.
Here's another "secret"...

When cleaning gets really really overwhelming
(like when I'm pregnant or sickness is in the house for
a long period of time), then I do pay or trade a friend
to come in & do a few hours of cleaning.

I do this about two or three times per year, but it 
always lifts my spirits to see the house clean
without my toil & sweat!

Find someone you can afford, budget it in, OR offer 
to trade one of your services.

The less things you have, the easier this gets.

I get our kids in on this too, but basically we always have
a giveaway bag/box on the go (once full, I take it asap 
to the local thrift store), and regularly throw away
broken or no longer useable items.

Some clean outs are seasonal (i.e. before Christmas, before
or after a person's birthday, spring cleaning), but if you 
make this a lifestyle habit, you'll find cleaning
MUCH easier than before.

If you're overwhelmed and don't know where to start,
set a timer daily. Start with five minutes, and work up to
15-20. During that time your goal is pick
one drawer, one corner, one closet, etc. and 
sort. Get rid of anything you no longer use.

5) Have a place for everything, & keep everything in its place.

The biggest battle is knowing where to put something.

Have a place designated for everything,
and ensure the whole household knows where
that place is.

Every once in awhile sort through each "place" (like number
4 suggests) and get rid of outdated or no 
longer needed materials.


Question on the blog: 
what is your TOP organizing tip?




Sunday, August 21, 2016

What NOT To Forget! Packing For Labour Checklist

Welcome to my blog today.
I hope you enjoy your time here.

This post may contain affiliate links. 
Which means that if you purchase from an affiliate link, 
we receive a very small commission. This is at NO cost to you.

Thank you for supporting our family :)

Prepping for labour is sorta like packing for vacation.

You have a plan.
An idea of where you'll be traveling, and what
you'll be doing there.

You can even internet surf, and ask others
who have already been there before.

Based on that, you make a list.
You begin to pack your items (hopefully!) a 
few weeks before that anticipated time.

Ready to go at a moment's notice.

However, just like any experienced vacationer will tell you.
Things may not go, er, exactly as you had anticipated them.

But you prep, you get ready anyway.

So, today on the blog, I'm sharing
my packing & prepping list for labour.

So you can be ready for that adventure when it begins!


I sure am counting down the days til baby arrives!

As I do, I realize I need to start packing myself.


What Not To Forget!
Packing For Labour Checklist
(to copy & print)

After the checklist, don't forget to read the awesome
story of answered prayer at the end!!!

For Mama: 

*loose fitting comfy nightgown or sleep ware

*change of clothes (2-3; depending on if c-section or natural birth; one nicer outfit to go home in)

*something warm for your feet (slippers, socks, etc.)

*toiletries & personal beauty items (deodorant, shaver, make-up, shampoo/conditioner, hair care, etc.)

*cell phone/contact list (don't forget the charger!)

*large pads (heavy duty; some even swear by using Depends afterwards)

*chapstick or gum (optional; lips may become extremely dry during labour)

*breast cream (Lanolin; if nursing then apply generously before EVERY feed; safe for baby)

*tops you feel comfortable nursing in (nursing bra, or bra that fits very loosely; I prefer sports type)

*nursing cover or lightweight blanket 

*something to help with constipation (I use magnesium; could use fiber supplement)

*reading material (in case labour is long and you've had epidural)

*health card

*insurance info (if applicable, for room, etc.)

*CD and/or CD player/MP3 player (if desire relaxing music during labour)

*anything helpful to aid in back massage (for hubby or helper in labour)

*special snacks for after labour (hospitals usually will bring something but it's usually blah!)

*change (or credit card) for parking 

*camera (if not on cell phone)

For Baby:

*pack of newborn diapers (pack a few size ones if you anticipate a bigger baby!) 
OR cloth diapers/products


*sleepers (newborn or 0-3 months; 4-5 depending on how long you anticipate being at hospital)

*onesies (especially if winter)

*nicer outfit to take home in (optional)

*anything needed to feed baby (if formula feeding; everything for bottle)

*baby blankets to swaddle baby in

*burp blankets for your shoulder after feeds

*newborn hat (usually our hospitals give, but just in case)

*mittens (if baby's nails are long, these help keep scratching at bay)

*diaper bag (could simply pack everything above in)

*snowsuit for newborns (seasonal)

*baby wash or other toiletries you desire (bum cream/powder etc.)

*car seat (CHECK DATE!)

*stroller (optional; can bring when ready to take home; snap car seat in)

For Anyone Else Attending:

*snacks & drinks for them

*money to send them on errands (hey, you might need more snacks! labour is SO tiring)

*parking money

*carmera/cell phone (charger)

*numbers for them to contact in emergency such as babysitter, parents, etc. 
(***as well as birth announcement contact list)

*toiletries (if overnight labour anticipated; toothbrush, deodorant)

*change of clothes (again if overnight labour; or sometimes they just need freshen up too)

*wallet (again, insurance info, ID, etc.)

*reading material for them (if labour goes very long)

*thank you gifts or cards (for midwife/nurse or partner: optional!)


God's Faithfulness

"God, who has called you into fellowship with His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful."
1 Corinthians 1: 9

In spite of all my short comings, and flaws, I am
constantly amazed at the mercies of the Lord.

This pregnancy has been tough.
On my body & my emotions.

Things that normally never bother me when I'm not 
expecting, can really tick me off when I'm preggers!

Alongside that, there have been lots of natural stressors
in our lives.

Financial pressures.

Teens going through normal development.

Sickness (me with pregnancy & my hubby is just getting over shingles)

Disappointments. Hey, life happens.

My hubby's super busy work schedule!

Lately, I've been stressed when I think about our
upcoming year of homeschooling.

I feel inadequate. Unsure of myself.
Particularly with a new baby on the way.

I had begun to pray, however, that God would provide
a balanced break in the midst of our school week.

A long-term co-op for our children.

A homeschool co-op is basically a place where (usually once) each week
you attend with your children.

 You either share teaching roles OR get a break
from teaching altogether.

I love homeschooling, however in this season
I realize that while hubby has to work hard at his business,
I need to have some breaks in my schedule.

For my peace of mind...

In our area, there is a very well-known co-op where
parents simply drop off their older children/teens
once a week for their pre-selected classes.

I was on the wait list, and praying intently that we'd
get my older two homeschooled children in it.

Earlier in the summer, I heard news that it probably wasn't going to happen
due to their very long wait list...

Probably due to the pregnancy, one late eve I found myself crying & crying over it...

Asking God why things weren't coming together...
(that one day free a week was my hope of having a sanity break)

I surrendered it and went to bed.

That very next morning I ran into a friend at swimming lessons
who told me about a BRAND NEW co-op in our area.

For older children only, but still a full day
of learning coupled with the ever popular "socialization" aspect.

I decided to enroll our eldest (homeschooled) child into it.
Only one child could attend this particular one, 
but I knew he would enjoy the time out.

I did try once more to see if there was a remote possibility
about the original co-op being a go,
(hey, persistence pays off sometimes, right??)
but the door was slammed shut 100%.

Okay, so that's how the cookie crumbles...
well, at least I have something for the eldest one, I thought to myself.

 Not what I had been hoping for, but an answered prayer nonetheless.


Then, out of the blue, I got this email last week:

"Hi Rachael! Would you still like to join the co-op this fall? 
We are looking at our numbers and trying to see if we can fit your family in!"

This particular co-op consists of one morning out
per week, however, it has a FULL slate program for ALL of my children.

And to boot, every mama gets to attend bible study
and visit with other Mamas while the children are in class
(my extravert heart craves this so).

I felt elated at this new offer!

First, I talked pricing, and how many days per term, etc.
Hubby & I discussed it, and we came to the 
conclusion that this would be a wise investment
in this very hectic season to allow me to
refuel :)

Even as I write this, I am crying again knowing how much
this (seemingly small) answered prayer means to me
in this season.

He has heard the cries of a (sometimes overwhelmed) mother's


Question on blog: what do you ALWAYS
ensure to pack for labour?

And, what are some of God's answered prayers
to you lately?





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