Dishes? What dishes?!

Fun Fall harvest

The last two nights the girls have been doing the dishes. It’s another one of those chores that I’ve just felt it was easier to do myself, (what was I thinking?) Or to let my mom do, she’s pretty good at loading the dishwasher after dinner, even if she does fall on her butt sometimes while doing them.

I was making dinner last night and the girls were in the kitchen eyeballing the large pile of dishes in the sink, they exclaimed, “Wow, that’s sure a lot of dishes! We can help you wash them!” I said, “well, you can unload the dishwasher.” I knew they could do this task, so I was okay with letting them do it. I’m still making dinner, they said with excited glee, “WE can do THAT together!!!!” Silly giddy girls. One less thing to do tonight. They tore through that task with shining stars. Then wanted MORE. Long story short, I had them load the dishwasher. Then they wanted to clean the sink, and now can we wash these other dishes by hand? And can we dry and put these ones away? Can we wipe this counter and clean up that spot over here? They are cleaning machines! And I am LOVING it! They are constantly wanting to help in the kitchen and I’m always trying to find some way they can help.

As you can see, they can do a bit of the prep work for cooking and they LOVE that. Guenna said tonight while she was washing dishes, “I can’t wait until I’m a REAL mom.” Because you know, right now she’s just a “mommy-wannabe” and that makes me feel so proud. I had two boys first and was honestly a little freaked out about having a daughter, I got boys but I had reserves about raising daughters. But when I saw Guenna for the first time all those fears melted away I had this feeling so strongly, “she’s like ME” I get to raise her to be kind of like me. It was such a profound moment and I had another one of those moments tonight while I was cooking, Guenna was loading the dishwasher, Victoria was handing her dirty dishes and Cait was cleaning the sink. Here we all were in “our” element, working together, sisters. It was like a little portal into the future. I know I have a lot of teaching to do to get this machine really cranking out, but this little moment in time was one of those that I want to treasure forever. I love my girls, and feel so very blessed to have three beautiful daughters, and look forward one day to having SEVEN, and my girls also look forward to meeting their four new sisters one day when their brothers marry!

I leave you with this. Tonight the girls wanted to help with the dishes again. They looked like they were getting ready to scrub them and I instructed that they could just start loading the dishes now that the dishwasher was empty. Guenna has a way of speaking truth, she doesn’t mean to sound rude but… she says with surprise, “Is that ALL you do?!!” Oh Guenna, you do have a way with words. I love all my dear daughters!

Posted in Caitriona, Guenevere, Mothering, Victoria | Leave a comment

Laundry, maybe I don’t loathe you quite so much?

Laundry Selfie

Tonight I am thankful for my big boys, they are getting to be pretty capable young men (Aidan told Chris and I at the table tonight that he wants to get a job cleaning houses-isn’t he precious, he only needs six dollars he said!:) I’ve been working on getting caught up on laundry this week, and we’ve been staying on top of it. But I started to get that feeling today that I’ve got too much on my plate and I felt that too familiar feeling of defeat coming on, like I was kidding myself, we can’t do this. I need to sort and fold and put away these two baskets, usually that is my part of the laundry job, sorting, and they stay in the basket until I sort them onto the couch and then the kids help me put them away.

Short story longer, the boys help me with random chores from 8-8:30 and then they get to play on the iPad from 8:30-9, it’s a pretty good deal for all of us. Tonight they sorted all the laundry, put everybody’s clothes, underwear, socks away, folded blankets and sheets and got us all caught up again. You know what this means? This means that the kids are capable of doing every stage of laundry with very little assistance from me. The older kids get the clothes from the rooms to the laundry room, Connor does the washing/drying part and gets the washed baskets of clothes into the Red Room and the older kids do the rest. I’ve put a lot of hours into training these guys to get to this point, there is hope! :)

I have a lot on my plate, with the farm and homeschooling and cleaning house and cooking for a family of 9 or 10 (when mom comes for dinner). Aidan told me the other day, “I think a lot about the fact that you don’t get very many breaks mom and that you work all day.” It’s sweet to know that he notices that I work hard. I want our children to grow to have empathy for others and to learn to lend a hand when they see a need (my kids aren’t quite there yet, but they are getting there). But my feeling is I’m young and in a season of building, investing, laying a foundation. I work hard to lay a foundation with our children.

The other day I had a chat with the kids about how difficult it can be to take them to the store, and how I know that they like to come with me but I have to deal with arguing and bickering in the car, and silly boys being rambunctious in the back seat, waking the sleeping baby, and not paying attention to where mom is at and staying in line behind me while we shop. After this chat with them you would not believe how many compliments we got in the store that day, several people stopped us and commented on how well behaved they were :) I was laughing to myself, and didn’t tell any of the commenters about the threats I made to the children before we left. One lady in particular was so sweet, we were sitting and eating in the food court at Fred Meyer’s, she got up to leave and put her hand on my shoulder and said, “you have LOVELY children, I think these are the most well-behaved children I’ve ever seen!” They were being especially sweet that lunch time and it was nice to hear such words about these kids that God has placed in my care.

Wait, wasn’t I talking about laundry? Well I guess I was just overwhelmed with a warm feeling of admiration for my growing boys. I went outside to milk and do my evening outdoor chores (and bring baby bunnies in the house more because they are cute and I like to hold them at night than because they really need to come in), and they were inside doing a chore that usually gets put off and overwhelms me. I’m excited about these days ahead, I’m really excited about their teen years. I know everybody says, “wait til they are teens!” and I say, bring it on! I know we’ve invested in these kids, and in those teen years we will reap a harvest of blessing as they grow into men. I can’t wait! I’ve heard every word of caution so I’m sure some of you will feel the need to warn me how wrong I might be, but I choose to believe in faith that seeds of love, faithfulness, work ethic, obedience to God, discipline, etc., these seeds are just beginning to grow in them. When they are teens they will be little sproutlings (as the kids like to call them) and with God’s grace and help will just continue to grow and flourish in their lives. Thank you once again, dear Lord for blessing us with these beautiful amazing, and often very challenging little people, I love them all with all my heart!

Posted in Aidan, Eamon, Mothering | 6 Comments

Going Deeper

Fun Fall harvest

Aidan has always been a deep well. A thinking child, kind of an “old soul” as some say. He has deep convictions, and fears, he feels great empathy as well as hurt when he is wronged, he has a deep sense of injustice and wants so truly for everyone to be in line, with God and for things to be just the way God intended them to be. Not just everyone else, but for himself too.

Tonight we had another one of those talks. Started by a conversation that he was having with daddy, I don’t even remember about what (he would remember, he could probably recall all the details of our whole conversation, and the last one, and the one before that). He has a remarkable memory, one that I think haunts him at times. He remembers the looks people made at him, or the way he felt when someone said something unkind, four years ago.

We talked about these things tonight, and he told me some things he’d been wanting to share with me, like about how sometimes I don’t discipline Victoria when she is being unkind and how that makes him feel. So we got to talk about it. I shared with him how in life there are going to be so many people fail you, fail him. But in those times we have to fix our eyes on the only thing that is constant, Our Christ, the Great Redeemer, the Steadfast One. He will never change, He is always faithful. And one day He will make all things right in the world.

We talked for quite some time and when I told him I needed to go wash the girls hair he said, “thanks mom, I love it when we talk like this.” I could see the peace coming over him and it warmed my heart. I told him that I look forward to many many more talks like this as he grows into a man.” He said with a smile, “Me too.”

I love this young man. I don’t always know how to be the best and most constant mom for him. I sadly fall short, daily. But I am so thankful that I can lean on the everlasting arms of my Heavenly Father who gives me strength each day to do this job. I put my children in His hands, He is faithful.

Posted in Aidan, Family | 2 Comments

Daddy is such a party pooper!

I can’t understand why daddy doesn’t want to keep markers in the house, I actually really like them!


He just doesn’t understand how fun they are…


Not to mention how yummy they taste!


Plus I think I look pretty cool with all this marker on my face and hands, don’t you think?


Really daddy? It’s not that big of a deal!


And I just happen to have my mommy wrapped around my (marker stained) finger. Shhhh! Don’t tell her ;)


It’s okay Jack, she already knows. She thought cutting off your curls would help, but no such luck. You’re just too adorable!

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A little bookshelf I built for the girls today

The girls like to keep books in their room, they seem to have accumulated quite a few books that have been scattered all over their room. Today while I was helping them clean I decided to take some of the wood that was left over free wood from our barn (we got some really nice scrap wood given to us). I like how it turned out, I think they girls are going to paint it to match their room.

Girls New Book Shelf

Girls New Book Shelf

Girls New Book Shelf

Girls New Book Shelf

Girls New Book Shelf

This is the bottom
Girls New Book Shelf

I built the bottom first, then added a couple pieces on the sides (the ends) then the back tacked on, then finished adding the side pieces, then I put the top on. It was really easy :)
Fun :) The girls love it and it’s nice for Victoria to have a “table” that is just her size!

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At least now we know he’s not allergic to peanuts?!

The other morning I was distracted in the living room, enjoying a little peace and quiet before the rest of the kids woke up, I was proud of myself for getting up before all the kids and getting the milking done even before Jack woke up. When I got back to the house I heard him cheerful jabbering in his bedroom. I leisurely got him up, had a few snuggles with him and he was off to play while I peacefully checked my email. I had this feeling that he was doing something naughty because he was awfully contentedly playing by himself (which is usually a clue that he’s into something).

I finally pulled myself away from the computer to go check on him, and as I neared the kitchen my nose started to alarm, what is that I smell? Peanut butter? Why would I be smelling peanut butter so strongly?…Oh.

Jack likes to paint!

His masterpiece was just too good to not take a picture.
Jack likes to paint!

He loves putting lids on things, but a container full of peanut butter, that is just so much better!
Jack likes to paint!

So proud!
Jack likes to paint!

It’s hard work but somebody’s got to do it.
Jack likes to paint!

Hmmm, I wonder if that handle needs just a little more paint?
Jack likes to paint!

Hey mom, yeah I’m just working here.
Jack likes to paint!

No problem mom, I painted the tea pot for you! You’re welcome :)
Jack likes to paint!

Posted in Humor, Jack | Leave a comment

Farm Drama

Sometimes having a farm is sweet and fun, like this cute little baby bunny…

Benny at about 2 weeks, such a little cutie!

Sometimes, those bunnies grow up and figure out how to get out of their cages…

Pearl. Meet Willow.

Sometimes, messing with “Mother Nature” doesn’t work out how we want it to.

Peter and Pearl, naughty little bunnies!

Today was one of those days. It was time to breed our young white does. We have two bucks, one older proven buck and one young buck, a first timer. We have three does (first time for them too). I decided to put one in with Brutus (our older buck) and give Peter a try with one. Here is what happened. Peter’s cage was too big and he couldn’t catch his doe, I tried to “help” him by holding her, but even after trying both in the morning and in the evening he still couldn’t figure it out. I thought, maybe we have a female here and not a “Peter”, double check, yes male but only one testicle :) Oh well, shouldn’t matter.

Back to Brutus, he does great with his first doe, so I put the second doe in with him (a little too soon, I know for next time). This doe, I have no idea, is very aggressive and she rips open his testicle! I’m talking a large tear. This poor boy is such a sweetie. Guess where Pearl is headed, Pearly soup is on the menu in the next couple weeks. I think three does is too much for us right now while we are still trying to figure this whole thing out. Need smaller cages for our boys, and maybe get rid of the one with only one testicle, and let the one with the torn testicle heal before we try again, and butcher Pearl in the meantime! Whew! Sorry if you are queasy, but this is real life on a farm, it’s definitely not all fuzzy angelic rainbows. :)

The drama continues…

Posted in Farm Life | 4 Comments

Classic Cait

Do you have a child who is always pushing the boundaries? Someone who sees so much more to living than what they have in front of them? We do. I’ll be honest, some days parenting one of these dear ones can be challenging at the least, hair-loosing even, and utterly rewarding other times. We knew we were “in trouble” when she was two and I was painting our house. I like to provide ample creative outlets for our children and the house can get a bit messy (every day, because they draw, color, paint, create, at our kitchen table), I’m okay with it because I know they can clean it up for the most part. But our dear Cait always seems to find a way to push beyond the monotony of the every day and finds new ways to be creative. Whether that be sharpy all over so many walls, or crayon or pencil (why did I feel the need to paint these walls anyway)? Or lotion? Sometimes you need to add a little texture to the walls right? Or maybe she was feeling empathy, those walls ARE dry. If it’s not one thing it’s another. And as much as I have tried to “train” it out of her I’ve come to realize it’s just who she is. She’s a creative, beautiful, thrill-seeking, beauty-finding, adventurous, emotional, tenderhearted, encouraging, little lady. She’s curious, so very curious :)

Today I came in from working on the barn and the house that was mostly clean before I went outside, was quite a disaster. The boys had been making “shields” out of paper plates, which involves cutting up and taping numerous paper plates and all their pieces end up on the floor.  Along with the toys and food, and whatever else seven kids can manage to put onto the floor in a period of three hours (it’s a lot, trust me). So in my kindhearted way I decided to let the children pick their own chore. Aidan picked the table, simple. Eamon the dining room floor, safe. Connor the washer, normal. Guenna the counter, oh that’s a new one. Then comes Cait, “I want to clean YOUR room mommy!” Hmmm, how much actual “cleaning” do you think an extremely distractable child would get done in my room? I told her, “No hon, that’s mom’s chore.” She responds, “oh, until I’m an adult?” I said, “No, even when you’re an adult it will still be my chore, but thanks though hon” :) Love her. Remind me to lock my door.

Posted in Caitriona | 1 Comment

Taking obedience to the next level

Last night I told the kids, “Okay, everybody. Whoever can get to bed quickly will get a nickle!” Connor and his big brothers all got a nickel and I told the boys, “If you boys don’t whine and complain and ask for water and if you keep your heads on your pillows you will get to keep your nickel, if you get out of bed I’ll take your nickel.” They all got to keep their nickel. This morning when Connor woke up he came out of his room with his pillow(pet) stuck to his head, I was a bit confused. He said, “mommy, you said that you would take my nickel if I took my head off my pillow.

Isn’t he cleaver? ;)


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Summer…is it over already?!

We’ve had a lovely summer, with very little drama. Victoria is still going through nearly daily counseling over the loss of her princess shoe over the cliff when we went on a little hike at New Halem, but other than that we’ve been good. In fact the other day I was snuggling with Victoria and she said something silly, I laughed “oh Victoria, what am I going to do with you?!” She quickly made up her mind, “Um, don’t drop me over the cliff.” Post traumatic stress syndrome.
Chris and I discuss daily what a precious girl she is, and in the midst of the same thought are reminded of how very three she is. We are on our vacation right now at Birch Bay (pictures and blog to follow), and she is back to her old ways of wanting daddy to do everything. I want daddy to change me, daddy to dress me, daddy to put my lid on, daddy to buckle me, daddy to tuck me in and put my bandaide on, etc. etc. etc. She’s had her daddy around all week and I think she’d like to keep it that way, thank you very much.

I’m getting ahead of myself…summer! Continue reading

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Getting Away…


Do you ever take a break from the grind? We usually spend our Saturdays doing projects, mowing the lawn, fixing stuff on the farm, organizing yet another messy pile of salvaged wood or things that we saved because we knew we’d need them one day. This past Saturday we milked the goats in the morning, had some breakfast, made sure the kids looked “decent” and headed out for a day of deep breathing in God’s beautiful creation, the North Cascade’s. If you haven’t ever taken Hwy 20 about 1 1/2 hours east of I-5, Burlington, you really need to. The drive is breathtaking! I’m not going to narrate a whole lot but wanted to post a few of the zillion pictures we took. It’s been about 4 or 5 years since we’ve gone out there which is kind of crazy because Newhalem is only 45 minutes from our house! The kids had so much fun and I think all their little love tanks were filled by the end of the day. It was a beautiful trip, and we have so much to be thankful for!

Connor was especially impressed with the train at Newhalem! But let’s be honest, what four-year-old boy wouldn’t be?!


I’m on top of the world! :)

No, I did not feel that it was necessary to include Jack in this picture, it was frightening enough letting our “loose cannon” Victoria up there out of our reach! Continue reading

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Connor has reached the “age of randomness”


I love the age “4”. There is something so special and unique about 4-year-olds. They have come out of the phase of baby talk, but haven’t entered the age of logic and reason completely. They often blurt out what is on their mind with no care or thought of who might be listening, and without knowing that one’s factual thoughts might actually hurt someone’s feelings if spoken outloud. Every mom has been there at one point in her mothering career. And we often laugh at each other’s stories, and share those embarrassing moments like a kid sharing his new trophy to his best friend. They are little treasures, that most of us mom’s carry with us that bring a smile to our faces and our hearts when times get a little hairy, as they often do.

Connor is there, he’s officially reached the age of randomness. Like tonight at the table, we are just talking about our day and he starts to tell us about, “when I get married, and I’m at my wedding, and you and daddy can come to my wedding…and then at the end I will kiss my wife…and I will be kind of embarrassed (smirk on his face) cuz then we will do like a karate dance…” Aidan tried to correct him, of course, and tell him that he wont be doing a karate dance. Of course I jump in to assure Connor that if he and his wife want to do a karate dance at their wedding, I’m sure that will be fine. But where in the world, did he get that? I just love it.

So today, I take all the kids to Wal-Mart to give my husband some time to “actually” work on his “at home work day”. It was going pretty well, I had Jack in one cart with me and Connor on the side so I can keep and eye on him. Cait, Guenna and Eamon walking in a line behind me, then Aidan is pushing another cart with Victoria in it because she couldn’t handle Connor touching the cart she was in, ok then. Made it almost to the checkout (for the first time, to buy lunch before we shop), someone, now everyone has to go to the bathroom so we start to head that way. I’m letting Connor hold onto the cart, standing next to me, he hasn’t quite reached the age where I can trust that when I tell him to walk behind me, he will actually walk behind me and not wander off like Victoria does). When a kid is walking next to you, holding onto the cart, it makes the aisle that much smaller, and when I large person needs to get past you it seems even smaller. We had one of those moments, no big deal. But Connor noticed, oh dear. Before I knew it, and just after said lady walks past, Connor says plainly, “that was a…BIG grandma!…A really, REALLY fat grandma!” He actually kept repeating himself quietly, and I was having to deal with someone else at that point so it went on much longer than I would have normally let it before I stopped him. Still need to have a sit down chat with him about that one…who knows if she heard him, I’m just thankful we weren’t walking behind her!

We made it to the restrooms, thankfully. And everybody is quickly filling the stalls, and by the way I don’t think I’ve ever seen a dirtier bathroom than it was today, disgusting! While I’m waiting, there was a sweet mama, changing her baby, and waiting for her kids to use the bathroom, she had four little ones. Then it was my turn, and all the kids are finishing up washing their hands. I get through washing my hands, and turn to leave behind that sweet little family and Connor blurts out, “Mommy! I met some friends that live in the VILLAGE!” I say excitedly, thinking that they had told them something about living in a village while I was using the restroom, “you met some friends that live in a village?” He says excitedly, “YEAH! And they have hats, and buckles, and dress costumes!!!” And that was when I realized that this sweet Mennonite family didn’t say anything to him about living in a village, he just came up with that all on his own. Oops. Oh well. At least he was sincere :)

I love my little random boy, full of life, and love, and hugs, and forgiveness and feeling. So glad for all these moments I can tuck away in my heart. They make the hard moments a little easier, and bring a warm smile to my heart when I feel at times that mothering this little boy couldn’t get any harder (at least I hope it can’t). I love you Connor boy, with ALL my heart!

Posted in Connor, Kid Conversations | 2 Comments

Kids…you can never have too many!

If you know me, or have read my blog for long you may have gotten the idea that I like kids. We have seven, so I guess that’s a good thing. I partially convinced my husband to get me goats so that it might help with my addiction to human children (only I don’t know that it’s helping, in fact it might even make it worse but don’t tell Mr. Burns). Anyway, enough about me, you just have to see these, and then you’ll understand.

The cuteness.


Do you see what I mean? The combination of the goat kids and the human kids, it’s just almost too much!

Baby goats,

And then there are the baby bunnies…oh dear!

Little bunnies

Cute kids by the fence…


And another cute kid by the fence…


Cute kid feeding the cute kids


Proud milking maid!


The eyelashes. Ahhhh!


Sometimes my kids are even clean. And when this happens we always try to make sure we take a picture, for proof.


Hopefully this pictorial blog can help you understand why it’s not my fault that I have a “problem” with addiction, it’s their fault. They are so cute, I just can’t help myself!


Lately life has gotten very busy with homeschooling, kidding season, baby bunnies, bottle feeding, gardening, braces, doctor’s appointments and laundry oh and feeding the human kids. I’ve not blogged very much but I’ve been thinking about blogging. My thought this morning was, I wish I could just bottle up these memories, the picture of Jack watching me milk from the window and seeing his excitement as I start to walk towards the house. The statements from Connor about how he loves his baby Jack, last night on our drive into town he says, “I can’t wait to hear how Jack talks when he’s a kid!” The one on one time milking with my older children, little conversations. Planting the garden with each of the kids. Watching Victoria bottle feed the babies and telling Gracie (the mama goat) she’s MEAN because she starts walking towards Victoria. All of it, the tough stuff and the easy stuff. Precious times in the lives of these little ones. My heart is full. I love them all, with every thread of my being. My life is all about them, what an honor to be their mama!

Posted in Goats, Kid Conversations, Kids photos | Leave a comment

Aidan’s braces – phase 2

Phase 2

It’s been a month since Aidan got his braces put on and it’s looking like that big tooth in the front has already moved back a little so that’s encouraging! Yesterday he got two more braces put on. During the appointment the doc thought that maybe he would be able to expose the central incisor (middle one) but after doing quite a bit of cutting on the gums with the lazer he wasn’t able to get to the tooth and decided that we would go ahead with the original plan of letting the oral surgeon take care of it, along with the extra tooth that is up there keeping that big tooth from coming down.

Phase 2

He’s doing pretty good today, in spite of having gum cut away and having a brace attached to a tooth that hasn’t come in yet. The whole orthodonic experience is pretty amazing if you think about it! So thankful to be through that first week which was pretty hard. The next hard thing will be the oral surgery which I’ve heard that even that wont be that big of a deal (although I have a hard time believing it!).

Phase 2

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Braces – Phase 1

Happy smiley boy with braces :)

Well, he survived! Because of the missing teeth this is going to be kind of a long process.  On our way there I asked him, “do you want me to be in the room with you?” He said he did. The last two times they’ve had him go back there by himself and have been fairly quick appointments so I didn’t push it. Then he said, “I feel better when you are in there with me mommy.” Oh my little big boy still needs me! I told him that I would just tell them I was going to come back with him! :) He just got the back brackets on the molars and the two braces in the front. They are needing to make room for the permanent tooth to come it and that big front tooth is in the way. In about four weeks they will attach a brace on the other side, they will also open up the gum and attach a brace to the tooth on the left that is almost through the gum. The orthodontist said that it’s probably going to be a few months before they do the surgery so a little more waiting!

New braces are a lot of work!

Aidan is doing great with the braces. The only part that has been hard is that the braces in the back are hurting the inside of his cheeks. We’ve tried putting the wax on them but it wont stay, not really sure how I can help him with that. I put wadded up paper towels on them but that doesn’t work either. :( This morning he was reading about all the things he shouldn’t eat, it was more or less a list of all kinds of candy and junk food. He had never heard of most of them and the ones that he had heard of he would say, “don’t eat that except for on Halloween.” :) But now I think he’s thinking he’s been pretty deprived of all these other options, thanks for that! ;)

Doesn't he look like Eamon in this pic?

I’ve never really thought that Aidan and Eamon look very much alike but doesn’t Aidan look like Eamon in this picture?! :) Love my boys, so glad this process is started but will be glad when he gets through the scarier part!

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